Dumb Charades In The Air
Dumb Charades In The Air7 mins 311 7 mins 311
After three hectic months of my first year of grad. school I finally got a chance to head home. It had been the first time for me being so far from home and already having missed Diwali I was extremely home sick so with the sudden final year placement week class suspensions I had got my chance. I boarded the train along with two of my friends, Pooh and Neha. I sat by the window wishing the train to start, it was already past its scheduled departure of 06:30 pm when Pooh told that two of her friends from a different branch would be joining us and just then two guys dashed in, Sumeet and Shashank.
Sumeet sat in front of me beside Pooh and Shashank sat on my side of the seat beside Neha. As the train started we decided to play dumb charades. As I delightedly started explaining the rules, Shashank said that he wasn't interested and was about to plug in his earphones when Pooh snatched them and urged him to play. He reluctantly agreed and I gave a grunt, I mean who doesn't like "dumb charades"? So, we made two teams and sadly Shashank was in mine.
So the game began and I was the first one to act from our team, as I started explaining the movie, I saw that Shashank wasn’t even trying, God! I felt like punching his arrogant face. After missing out on three consecutive movie names both Neha and I were frustrated. Pooh’s team wasn’t doing great either but at least Sumeet was giving a decent try and anyway they were ahead of us. I turned to Shashank and said “Hey! I know you didn’t want to play but since you are now, can you at least try? I don’t want to lose in a game that I really like” and to my surprise, he didn’t laugh and said “Oh! I am sorry I have never played this game so I don’t know if I will be of any help, still you are right I should try.”
So as Pooh and Sumeet gave us our fourth movie and I started hopelessly enacting it, Shashank guessed every single one of my actions perfectly, I was totally surprised it was like he read my mind and within a minute or less we had scored our first point. Wow! My speech really worked, even Shashank couldn’t believe what just happened. The game proceeded and Shashank was on fire! So by the 10th movie our opponent team was more focused on discussing difficult movie names for us than they were on scoring points on theirs. I looked at Shashank and smiled and he did a hand gesture pretending to accept my thank you. Neha had comfortably excused herself from the game by then, so it was Sumeet and Pooh vs Shashank and I.
As I was enacting the 16 and last movie I saw Shashank’s eyes linger a bit too long on mine and we both broke eye contact shyly with him guessing the right movie once again. We won with a lead of 8 points. Wooohooo!! I high-fived with Shashank and we accepted the bows from Pooh and Sumeet. It was already 11 and we took out our neatly parcelled fruits and snacks, we shared and had a good laugh about the unnecessary subjects that we were being taught and the professors teaching them. Sumeet and Shashank even mimicked one of their professors who always made students stand up on their chairs if found talking! We also started singing a few Bollywood numbers and I noticed Shashank loved singing.
A couple of ladies next to us also looked amused by our singing potential and one of them even joined us. It was the most fun that I had ever had on a train ride. After all the eating and singing Neha and I excused ourselves to the washroom. On our way back I asked Neha if she would like to exchange seats with me as the weather was really cold and I didn’t want to catch a cold given my immense tendency to do so. Although this wasn’t the only reason yet that’s what I wanted her to know. She wasn’t that thrilled to move but I guess she understood the hidden reason and finally agreed with a wink and a very sly smile.
So we went back to our seats and now I was right next to Shashank. For the first couple of minutes we just smiled and sat but then as we started talking we discovered that we had a lot of things in common, like we were in the same tutorial during 12th although different batches, we both loved Hollywood songs and apparently “A Thousand Years” was on the top of both of our playlists. As the night progressed we had just more and more things to talk. Since we hadn’t got tickets in the reservation compartments we were in the general one and had to sit through the long journey and around 2 am all had dozed off in their seats except us.
He told me about his passion for photography and how he was planning on getting the new Nikon Dslr during the vacation. I told him that I love to write and he said that he knew, apparently, it reflects in my demeanor, ha-ha what a joke! I pointed out that I haven’t actually published any of my writings and that I was too unsure of their quality and content, he said: “You can’t know that if you haven’t tried.” I understood what he meant and told him that I will try to publish one soon. We went from telling each other our weird nicknames and promising not to leak those to discussing what we wanted to become in life.
He quoted to me a few lines of Roosevelt and I couldn’t agree more. Finally, Shashank took out his earphones and offered me a side, I smiled and put it on and to my utmost joy he played “A Thousand Years…” As the soothing tune of the song spread I felt a weird pit in my stomach, I looked out the window and then back at Shashank and found him staring at me. We both smiled and sat there without saying a word, the song said it all. It was so peaceful that I drifted off to sleep dreaming of clouds and palaces.
I woke only to the loud calls of the chai wallas. As I stretched my hands and turned towards Shashank I found him taking pictures of the beautiful sunrise. He saw me and smiled and all this time I hadn’t noticed Pooh observing us both, so just as I smiled back I heard a distinct “Ahem Ahem” from her. As I turned she winked and signalled towards Shashank questioningly I smiled and ignored her with a wave. We ordered chai and Pooh suggested we take a groupie. We did but all the way her motive was to bring Shashank and me in one frame and keep teasing me with that picture for the rest of my life!
She successfully did get that picture and made both of us uncomfortable with her constant teases. Just as Pooh was getting done with her incessant blabbering we saw the TT approach! Why worry? Well, we were in an all ladies compartment, since the guys were late they hadn’t got seats in any other general compartment so they had boarded it too! So when the TT saw them he shouted and instructed them to leave immediately. To my utter dismay, unlike any Bollywood/Hollywood romantic movies, Shashank didn’t turn back, well obviously he was a bit pre-occupied with the stubborn TT, still?
I had a million questions on my mind, what if he didn’t feel the way I did? What if he forgets me by the time we got back to school I mean we are not even of the same branch? Will he ask Pooh my number? What if he is already with someone? God! Well, I had felt a connection and I had a strong feeling that he had too and the only way in those days to check that, was to wait and see if I get a friend request from him soon.
Five years have passed since that day and as I am going through my diary I feel nostalgia hitting me hard. Those pages took me back to that night and I ended up smiling thinking how childish I had been. College life had been one of a kind and I would do anything to have it back even though there were many ups and downs, friendships and heartbreaks. There is a distinct WhatsApp notification alert and I am brought back to the present, I close my diary to pick up the phone, amongst the numerous WhatsApp texts from office and relatives I find one from my boyfriend “Love you for a thousand years…” it said. I smiled and typed “Love you for a thousand more Shashank”.