The Start…

“Hey, where are you going?” “H… Hi… To get my bags!” She answered. “Where, India?” He asked. “huh? What? No!” She giggled and left. That’s how their eyes first met. He was holding a night lamp and going to her house. He wore a cap, and a big friendly smile on his face. She wore big glasses, that could hide her sadness from the world. However, something stirred in her for the first time since she came to the foreign land. That was their first official meet. Rahul and Anjali had no idea what this stupid locking of eyes would cost them.

A week before; “Where are you Rahul?” “Almost there!” He answered his phone. “Tina! Welcome to the US of A.” Rahul said. “You’re late!” “I know; I am sorry.” Rahul apologized, and then they hugged and made up. Rahul and Tina were old friends. Rahul came to US a year back for higher studies, and Tina whom he thought of as a big sister, arrived a year later. “So where is your friend, Anjali?” Rahul asked shyly. “Anjali? Uh-huh someone seems too desperate. Her cousins had come to receive her, she left with them.” “Oh!” Rahul gasped. “Aww…” Tina teased. “Shut up, come on let me show you the US of A” And that’s how it all started.

After a week, Anjali came to San Jose, where she was suppose to share an apartment with Tina and 5 other girls. She had been residing at her cousin’s place, to get acquainted with the new country. “Anjali, I got to be in some other class, however Rahul will be there on my behalf. Find him…” She said and left. Anjali, searched for Rahul but couldn’t locate him, so she took her seat. She looked behind, one last time, and there he was, with his favorite cap. Anjali waved towards him, and their eyes met, yet again. “Hey… How are you?” He asked. “I am good.” And the class started, and that was the end of their second conversation.

Days passed, time flew, and Rahul’s curiosity to know Anjali grew with each passing day. “Anjali, Rahul wants to show stuff around; you’re coming, right? He insisted, that you should.” Tina winked. “Um.. okay.” Otherwise always grumpy Anjali, agreed and smiled too. They were accompanied by one more roommate of theirs. Rahul was waiting for the girls in the car, and upon their arrival, his eyes first scanned if Anjali was present or not. Tina took the front seat, beside Rahul, and Anjali and her roommate took the backside seat. Rahul started driving and chatting making the moment light. Rahul kept looking at Anjali from the rear-view glass, Anjali knew about it, but acted ignorant. They reached twin peaks, in San Francisco, it was too cold, but very beautiful. Anjali, for the first time after arriving in USA, felt contented and happy viewing the beauty around. “Smile please, Anjali” Rahul said with a camera in his hand; and she smiled. It was the most electrifying smile Rahul had ever seen, he fell for her at that very moment.

The friendship between Rahul, Tina and Anjali grew stronger and stronger. “Hey, this is Karan.” Rahul introduced his best buddy to Anjali and Tina. Hence, from then, the four of them were inseparable. Rahul and Karan were seniors so they helped and guided Tina and Anjali in every possible way. “Stop sulking, Anjali. It’s enough. You’re in a different country, without your parents. Even we are, deal with it. Get over it. Get over everything and everyone. We are tired of trying to get you out of your misery. You got to help yourself.” Rahul screeched at Anjali; and from that day Anjali actually started living her life in the foreign country.

Everybody knew that Rahul had hearts for Anjali. Even Anjali knew, thanks to Tina’s not so concealing hints. Anjali thought it was one-sided, but when she started feeling jealous when Rahul got too close with other girls, she knew she was in trouble. Yet, she kept her feelings hidden. Why? Because she was scared. The guy she had dreamt off, read in books about, was right in front of her, and so she was scared. She tried hard to find some, any fault in Rahul, but she couldn’t. In vain, she then concluded, he was perfect and she was not, that she didn’t deserve him; and so, kept mum about her feelings for Rahul. Anjali always used to hid behind Tina; because she knew, if she got too close to Rahul, she wouldn’t be able to hide her feelings. In addition to that, she used to constantly catch up an argument with Rahul, thinking that would create distance between them.

It was summer, and Tina left to the other side of America, to her brother’s place; and now Anjali had nowhere to hide. With each passing day it was getting difficult, and difficult to hide her true emotions for Rahul. Then one fine day, at a party, all of a sudden, when everyone were discussing their love lives in dim light, Anjali held Rahul’s hand and leaned on his shoulder. It felt very normal to her and to Rahul, as if it was meant to happen. There was no tension no sweating, like how you read in books. No fast beating of heart, in fact the holding of hands synched the heartbeats of Rahul and Anjali. The lights were turned on, and at that moment she realized what had just happened; she drew apart, and Rahul let her, as he didn’t want the world to know before him. Anjali avoided Rahul in possible ways after that day. However, Rahul was determined. He called Karan and one more friend of his and Anjali for a dinner party. Rahul had everything planned, there were drinks too, and he knew Anjali always blabbered her heart out, when drunk. So he made sure she got some, but not too much; and then taking the advantage of Anjali’s semi drunk state, Rahul took her away in some secluded place. He held her by her waist and looked directly into her eyes. They both gazed at each other in silence and then, “So…” Rahul started. “I am scared!” Anjali blurted. “Why?” “Because you’re so perfect… You…” Rahul listened patiently to what Anjali had to say. “You are what I always wished for… You know how to treat a girl… You respect women… You are so kind and humble, so generous that I am scared… I like you, but…” “Shhh… What did you say?” Rahul asked firmly. Anjali waited for a minute or two to respond, and that almost killed Rahul. “I LIKE YOU!” That brought a sweet and satisfying smile on Rahul’s face and he hugged her and kissed her. “But… You have to promise me something… We will not start searching for the future of this relationship from the start; instead, live in our present, and take the relationship to next level, one moment at a time. Because, I don’t want this to mess up like it happened in my past.” “I promise!” Rahul said and kissed her more passionately this time.

“Tina, I got my Anjali!” Rahul called Tina up. “I always knew you would!” Tina said. And, that’s how Rahul and Anjali’s love story started.

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