Read the First Part of the Story here.
For the next 15 seconds, we just stared at each other, like we were speaking with our eyes.
"What is it?"
"I just wanted to catch your attention"
"What is it?"
"Did you notice I was crying?"
"Why is it?"
"Don't you want to ask me?"
"Why should I?"
"Aren't you curious?"
"Why Should I?"
"Come on, Ask me na.."
"Yes I should" I thought , disturbing the wordless conversation and asked her, "You want anything?". But I somewhat guessed the answer. She didn't have the apologetic face, the one which normal human beings have after waking another fellow being from deep sleep. She just pointed at my leg and said "Can you just..."
Damn it, apparently, my leg had gone 2 mm into her "territory" and that had apparently disturbed the natural equilibrium of the bus. Had it been some other guy, he'd either ignore it or push it from his leg. This Boy-Girl co-passenger funda clearly wasn't fun in any way. My female Co Passenger was the most annoying co passenger I've ever had. I apologized, pulled my leg from her "territory", put her bag (which gave the kick previously) from below like a physical partition between the 2 countries. Now here we were, legs, shoulders, mind and mood separated from each other.
It took 10 minutes for me to catch next berth of the Sleep Express. It was hardly 15 minutes after I got into Sleep Express that someone pulled the chain. The same distinct prodding that woke me up 30 minutes back.. Yet again I was, staring at that unapologetic face. I was literally cursing the traffic and the driver for not crossing Nelamangala and not yet turning the lights off. I really wanted to shout "Now What?" but then marveled at my tolerance level. I just moved my head asking "What is it?".
She said, "Hey, I know I'm irritating you too much today, Can I have water?". Upendra's famous song "Bari Olu, Bari Olu" started ringing in my ears followed by his popular dialog, "Ella OK, aaga Show off Yaake?". I silently reached for the water bottle from my bag. But as I reached for the bottle, I also got a chocolate in hand. So as I gave the bottle to her, I asked "Chocolate?" knowing that the answer was "No". As expected, the answer was a "No, thank you" but it was accompanied with a smile. I calmly unwrapped the chololate and put into my mouth. "Good Job Raveesh, now you REALLY gotta sleep, you really don't want to look like a Zombie tomorrow in the Reception Snaps".
I asked her to keep the bottle in the water holder in our seat. Since the FM reception was breaking, I decided to switch to some Trance music. As the Voice of Enigma fell into my ears, the driver turned off the lights and "TADAA, this is the end of disturbance" I thought. But I was never more wrong. I caught sleep quickly but it wasn't peaceful at all. The window pane of my seat had a broken latch and hence it couldn't be latched completely. The December Chill was at its worst and the bus was cruising at 60+ kmph. I had to get up every 15-20 minutes to pull the window to shield the wind. It goes without saying that even my Co Passenger was shivering too.
It was in Hassan when the bus stopped for dinner break (??) at 1 AM that I decided to take off my jacket from bag. The girl was awake, texting something. I took off the jacket, stuffed the bath towel and other clothes inside. As I got up to keep the bag, I saw the girl (she was shivering). As if it was an involuntary reaction, I asked her, "You want a jacket?". That is when it stuck to me, "What would the girl think about me?". "Am I trying to be too friendly?" "Will she think I am trying to take advantage of the situation (whatever it is)"?.
But she accepted my offer but added "Will take only if you have another one for yourself". The reality stuck then, "Why on Earth will someone travel with 2 jackets?". Surprisingly, I had an answer which now makes me feel like a jack ass.. I said "Its ok, I have a bath towel, I can manage with that one". Typical movie scene isn't it? Hero offers heroine his jacket and he bears the cold??
As the bus started to move, I heard her saying "Have you truly loved someone ever?". Unexpected question and a completely unnecessary situation. Turning towards her, I said "True love is something....". Damn, she was on phone and I became a maamu.. Embarrassed, I turned sideways. In a minute or so, I heard it again, "Have you truly loved someone ever?". I didn't turn her way, knowing that she was on phone but I was wrong again. A distinct prod on my sleeve told me that question was for me.. I turned at her and said, "Oh, Me?? I thought you were still on phone.."
"Have you truly loved someone ever?"
"Well, True love is something I am yet to be blessed with" I said
"You are lucky, you're single'
I wanted to say "Looking at your situation, I am indeed lucky" but refrained. "Indeed I am, very independent".She said, "Oh, nice.. Thanks for the jacket btw. Its very warm. Hey, What is your name?"
"I am Raveesh Mayya from Belthangadi, quite close to Dharmastala". Before I asked her name, she said, "Wait a minute, I think I know you.."
It happens occasionally that people who attend Microsoft Events or Quizzes or Dance shows would find me on stage announcing my name. So I said, "I am into activities like Dance, Dramatics and quizzing". She said, "Oh, that is what.. You've acted in some movie right?"
WHAT !! Movie and me.. No ways. I told her, "A couple of times, I've come in a reality TV show in Suvarna Channel accompanying my friend who was a contestant. I've also come in MTV Youngistan once. But that's it. Definitely not into acting".
She was quite sure she didn't see me there. I mentioned about the books I authored ("No, I don't read books" she said), told her about Microsoft Student Partner program ("Dude, I hate to call myself a software engineer") told her about my dad who's a Mathematics Professor ("I didn't study there" she retorted). So the next 3 minutes went trying to help her get the right neurons fire. Even I was curious.. But unfortunately, Murphy's law prevented just the right ones from firing.. We finally gave up this exercise of remembering..
Just before sleeping, I told her "You know what, no one can hurt you if you don't want them to. I love my life and wouldn't do anything silly with it for someone else". She agreed. She said "Yes, you're right but.. " the conversation ended there..
It was 3 AM in the morning when I woke up to pull the window pane when I realized that a head was resting on my shoulders. The next instance I woke up, my sleeves were held (with her arms) and the head on my shoulder. That is when I realized that the divider which I had pulled down just before sleeping was moved up by "someone".
Human Behaviour is very strange isn't it?? Sometimes, you distrust people you know for years for some petty reason. Some times, you trust a stranger, oblivious to your previous state of mind. The girl might have found me trustworthy, else one wouldn't be sleeping that comfortably, clutching my arms and her head resting on my shoulders. Lets assume she was sleeping all this while :)
As usual, the conductor woke me up at the last stop in Belthangadi. The bus was ready to be moved to the Depot. No one was there in the bus. Slowly I got up, pulled down my luggage, took out my hand luggage from below the seat. It was when I saw my jacket on the next seat that I remembered what happened through out the journey. For almost a minute, I had forgotten my encounter with that mysterious girl. The girl had left obviously. Stuffing the towel inside the bag and holding the jacket in hand, I got down from the bus hoping to see her but she might have got down somewhere in between itself.
"I will search for her in facebook" I thought wearing the jacket. It just struck me then, "Oh, I haven't asked her name I think".. "What's her name?? Anuja? Nisha? Radha? Neeti? Sneha? Shwetha? Shruthi??"
"Damn, you haven't asked her name" my mind declared. "Ok, no issues.. What would I have done knowing her name? I wouldn't add her to facebook myself anyways.. So chuck it". I reached to my jacket pocket to take out "Orbit White" when I felt my bus ticket in the jacket. "Hold on, my bus ticket is in my bag". It wasn't mine. I pulled it out to find that it was of a person named "Rajesh". No clue how it came into my pocket. When I was about to throw it, I saw something written behind the ticket. It read
Thanks for everything Raveesh.Take care..
There I was standing in the bus stand thinking that 2 of my questions might never be answered.. Where had she heard my name before and what's her name..