Girl I met...
Disclaimer: This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to anyone is purely a coincidence.
Night travel wasn't new for me since I moved to Bangalore. And post marriage I was always accompanied by my wife (or shall I say, she was accompanied by me). However, my last travel was unusual not because I was travelling without her - but the next seat was occupied by a seemingly charming and extravagantly beautiful girl. Well, most guys (read all guys) when they travel alone and their next seat is empty, always (I repeat ‘always’) wish for someone of this personality to grace the void! Now that I was married to a wonderful person (Ah! This statement will surely save my ***) , I decided to behave like a gentleman. (Not that I haven’t before marriage and not that I was having any other intentions).
Two of my buddies, both bachelors, were travelling in the same bus, needless to say sitting next to each other. I turned back to check their expression and then their eyes, face spoke to me in a silent manner – ‘bloody hell… you lucky rascal…’ – even though not even a single word came out of their mouth, their expressions carried exactly the same words all over their faces.
Understandably, she wasn't very comfortable as she settled down making sure there was enough space between the two of us. I hold onto my seat like I was glued with feviquick! After an hour or so, the bus had crossed outskirts of Bangalore racing with a speed of over 100-120 KMPH. The bus was moving smoothly, lights were off and I guess some of them were already in deep sleep as I could hear their snores. I always had trouble sleeping while travelling. And then it so happened that my eyes caught another pair of eyes staring at me… It belonged to the girl who sat next to me. The eyes kept on starring without even blinking once. It felt as if she was in deep sleep except her eyes! It scared the hell out of me despite the fact that, she had those most beautiful eyes and were still in the right place where it should be!
I turned back, closed my eyes and tried to make myself believe that I was only dreaming. After making sure that I wasn't, I looked at her… Her eyes were still wide open! A weird thought which had a logical explanation to this came to my mind…. ‘Is she dead!?’. It made me sick but how do I confirm! 'Should I check her pulse!? Or should I check if she is still breathing… But then if she isn't dead and only crazy, how will she react if I stretch my hand towards her nose or hold her hand to clear my doubts!!' All this while when my mind was having a debate, those eyes were still looking at me without blinking…. ‘Should I wake other passengers?’
"I am not dead" a sweet... music-to-ears kind of sweet voice came from her. Even though the word ‘dead’ is considered to be scary, in her voice it never felt the same way! ‘Oh thank god you weirdo… yet beautiful women’ my inner mind said!
"I can keep my eyes open like that for a very long time you see… sorry if I scared you" she continued. "Ok! But don’t do that again miss…" I replied.
"I am Giya…" the words came in perfect synchronization with an outstretched hand. "Hi... I am Sunil…" I shook her hand gently still recovering from the little shock she gave and still doubtful of what she was up-to. "So, why were you staring at me like that?"
"I was having trouble sleeping you see… And you seemed to have trouble sleeping too… So I thought, will play a prank so you wouldn't do anything…" she said stressing the last two words wittingly.
I knew how some people behave in buses so I understood what she was trying to say. Although it hurt a bit that she categorized me among such people.
We kept on talking almost our entire journey - about work, life, friends and many other general topics. She was friendly, full of life, full of energy type of a person. I had seen (even known) attractive people or beautiful girls (beautiful from their looks & attire) having some kind of attitude like they are angels and they can never be friends or even talk to average looking people. But this girl was not like those plastics! A very down to earth, sensible and practical person. An engineer by profession who completed her education throughout on scholarships. Loves her parents to the core, who gives most of her earnings to them. She even donates some significant amount to one of the charity that looks after orphan children, which she visits once in a week. She possessed such maturity, elegance & pure heart that anyone would love her presence around.
I must say, I enjoyed her company throughout the journey. As the bus neared our destination we exchanged numbers, Facebook profiles.
"It was nice meeting you Gia. Do pay a visit to our place when you are free… I’m sure my wife will be happy to see you", I told her as she got down from the bus.
"It was nice meeting you too Sunil. But I’m afraid I won’t be able to meet you never again…" she replied and just walked away.
That was rather an unusual way to say goodbye… I felt. I couldn't digest such a reply as I was certain I made a new friend that night. She was weird indeed… I thought and went home.
After a week, while I was browsing the internet I opened Facebook to see what is happening with my friends. Usually I check the notifications and messages first but then I remembered Gia and so opened her profile…
I was shocked to see the comments written all over her timeline!!
“Gia was no more!“
I read all the comments and got to know that - Gia knew she was dying as she was suffering from some strange disease. It took some time for me to realize what I was reading is actually the truth. And then it hit me… her reply while getting down the bus made every sense! It was hard for me to believe that a noble person like Gia had such a short life! Then as I looked upon the unread messages I found one from Gia…
“Hey Sunil… I hope you are doing good… I am getting admitted to hospital tomorrow as the doctors, in their own words say, what would be their last attempt to save my life. I am not sure if I will be alive to check your reply again. Perhaps I may even be dead by the time you read this message as I know you are busy at home. Inside me I know that I am not going to make it. So that is why I didn't respond to your goodbye the way I usually do… I didn't wanted you to feel bad about my condition. Or at-least I don’t want to remember your ‘sad face’ as the last thing that I can recall about you… like all my other friends… Over the last couple of months I was tired of people showing sympathy and their sad faces…I have enjoyed my life though short and I only wish people to remember what I have been throughout my life and not moan about the way it ended...
I wish you good health and a prosperous life ahead… Give my regards to your wife…I wish I could meet her...