Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.
Read #1 book on Hinduism and enhance your understanding of ancient Indian history.

Rima Parkar

Romance


5.0  

Rima Parkar

Romance


It's Valentines Day

It's Valentines Day

12 mins 511 12 mins 511

Ritika woke up hastily and switched off her mobile phone alarm. The date on the screen forced her to think of going back to sleep. It was the 14th of February 2009, famously known as Valentines Day, a day she hadn’t been looking forward to. If only she had a lover who would love her to the moons and back, the scenario would have been somewhat different. College life had become a hell for her since the last week. All people did was talk about the upcoming Valentines Day Celebration being organized by the Student Council. Not to forget the endless number of days being celebrated every day starting from Rose Day, Propose Day, Chocolate Day, Teddy Day, Promise Day, Hug Day and Kiss Day. Thank God she had friends who meant the world to her and who never allowed her to feel lonely. It was she who pitied herself for being single while the others were busy dating.

Even though she wasn’t in a mood to get up, she did eventually for her friends. They had been looking forward to it. As Ritika glanced through her cupboard to decide what to wear, she remembered that the dress code was to wear red, white or pink. Who cared what she wore? No boy in college had neither given her a rose nor a chocolate nor a teddy in the last few days. Neither did she have a crush for whom she needed to dress to impress. She picked up the nearest white t-shirt that she could find, pairing it up with her light blue jeans.

Ritika was thankful that the lectures weren’t cancelled for Valentines Day; even though most of the students chose not to attend. The main event was to be held only after the lectures. Unexpectedly, her mood changed as soon as she reached college. The entire college campus was decorated with red, white and pink flowers, balloons and ribbons starting from the main gate till the building. For a change, her college didn’t even seem like the one she attended every day. It looked like a beautiful marriage hall or film set. A stage was set up with two chairs kept separately for the Valentine King and Queen. Her frown turned into a smile immediately. Indeed, the Student Council had done a good job.

The students who chose to attend the lectures including Ritika and her friends weren’t interested in listening to any of their professors. They just wished for time to fly away and the program to start. Thankfully, most of the teachers were in a good mood that day and the environment was stress free. When the bell for the last lecture rang, the students ran towards the college ground as fast as they could. As if someone was actually planning on distributing RS. 1 crore to each student.

The program started with romantic music and fun filled games for the couples to participate. Ritika’s friends too participated in some of them. Even though she was just an onlooker, she ensured that she captured all the memories through pictures and videos. It was fun to watch all the couples engaging in funny banter, working as a team and revealing secrets about each other. Thank God she chose not to skip college today and miss all the fun. During the ‘Confessions’ game, a set of guys and girls were chosen to confess the silliest things they had done in love. The best confession was to be awarded a special prize. Ritika laughed along with her friends on listening to some of the confessions the participants had to make. That’s when her eyes fell on an unknown face. A tall guy dressed in a red t-shirt sat alone in a corner. There was neither a smile on his face nor a frown. She found it unbelievable that he wasn’t laughing on any of the jokes going on while the others were enjoying themselves. She felt bad for him. He was all alone with no friend to accompany him. Maybe he was feeling just the way she was in the morning before coming to college.

All of a sudden, he had captured Ritika’s attention in the middle of the program she was thoroughly enjoying. He was the most handsome guy she had ever seen. The pimples on his perfectly sculpted face made him look cuter. Why hadn’t she seen him before? Maybe, he’s a senior. She thought to herself. Any girl would die to be his girlfriend. But what was he doing enjoying his own company? She couldn’t take her eyes off him and the world stood still when he looked back at her. Surprisingly, he smiled at her while she continued staring at him. He turned behind as if he was clarifying if she was actually looking at him or not. When he was convinced that her gaze was indeed for him, he waved his right hand in the air as he continued smiling.

His gesture bounced Ritika back from her daydream into the reality. She smiled back sheepishly, her face completely flushed. Immediately, she turned her face away from him and focused on the events happening in front of her. The host was announcing the last competition of the day ‘Bid for your Love.’ It was an open competition where the boys had to bid for a seven feet tall flower bouquet for their girlfriend. The highest bidder would not only win the bouquet but also be crowned the Valentine King and Queen of the Year.

The bidding started from Rs.1000. While many voices kept shouting in the beginning, the boys’ energy soon fizzled out as the bidding became higher and higher. Ritika peeped behind one of her friends to look at the guy in the red t-shirt. While he was attentive towards the event, she couldn’t find a glint of enthusiasm on his face. He kept looking at his watch every now and then, as if he was waiting to run away from the place. She quickly turned her face towards the stage before he could catch her staring at him again. If only she had turned a few seconds earlier, she wouldn’t have been caught red-handed. AGAIN.

On stage, the Valentine King and Queen were being crowned by bidding RS.60,000 for the bouquet. The girl who had won was ecstatic as the crowd cheered for the happy couple. Soft music played along as all the couples including the Valentine King and Queen joined in for a dance. The singles started making a move as the show was as good as over. Ritika had a quick glance at the guy in the red t-shirt. He too was on the verge of leaving any second. Her heartbeat increased per second. On normal days, she would have just ignored a guy she liked. But there was something unlike him. He was drawing her towards him like a magnet. Without informing even a soul, she made her way towards him, having absolutely no clue what she was going to say or do. On seeing her approaching him, he stood up from his seat immediately as if he was taken by surprise. He was much taller than she had expected him to be. Ritika stared at him for a few seconds before she could open her mouth and speak up.

“Hi. It’s Valentines Day today. You shouldn’t be sitting all alone by yourself.” She realized the next instant that she was literally not making any sense. He half smiled as he scanned her face.

“You are alone too. I guess. So that makes the two of us.”

“I am not alone. I am here with my friends.”Ritika pointed her finger towards her group, which were now segregated in different parts here and there while he patiently looked along.

“I can see that you are alone even in the company of your friends. Society usually doesn’t let us singles live in peace. If I didn’t have to write this stupid report for the college magazine, I wouldn’t have stayed here for even a second.” He threw his bag on his shoulder and started walking. She walked along with him, mentally thanking the person who had made him write the report.

“Are you a member of the Student Council too? The decorations and arrangements are awesome. Is there any way I can join? Are you a part of the editorial team of our magazine?” Ritika kept asking him questions, hoping that she would at least find out his name, if nothing else.

“I suppose you are a first year student. You have too many questions and I’m not in the mood for giving an interview.”

“I am sorry for bothering you. You are right, though. I am a first year student.” Ritika turned back, disappointed in herself for sounding too desperate.

“Hey,wait.” He called her out. “I didn’t mean to be rude. I am ready to answer all your questions but there is someplace I need to be right now. You can come along if you want to. It’s a good place for single people like us. You’ll get free coffee, a doughnut and a pastry today. The offer is only for single people on Valentines Day.” She pulled her ears closer towards him to ensure she was hearing it right.

“Which place gives offers to single people on Valentines Day? You must be kidding!” He nodded his head as he smiled at her.

“Don’t believe me. Come and find out for yourself.” Ritika thought for a minute, whether to go or not. She didn’t have anything better to do anyways. But would it be right to go with a guy she just met? For god’s sake, she didn’t even know his name yet.

“One minute. I’ll just let my friends know.” She ran towards her friends to inform them that she was leaving.

“I’ll wait for you at the main gate. Come soon.” He spoke after a minute or so.

“Who’s this guy you were talking to? Where are you going with him?” Vidya looked at her with a hundred doubts on her face. Ritika hugged her tight, patting her back.

“I promise I’ll be safe. I’ll call you as soon as I reach home.” She ran towards the main gate, as if her life depended on it. The guy in the red t-shirt stood there, waiting for her. She was happy that he did not stand her up.

“So, Junior. What’s your name?” He asked as they started walking. Ritika didn’t like him addressing her with the word. As if he was referring her to be a baby.

“My name is Ritika Diwakar.”

“Nice name. I am Uday, a third year student. You were partially right. I am not a member of the Student Council but I am a member of the Editorial team of our college magazine. You and your friends can submit your articles for the magazine if you wish. You have two weeks’ time.”

“Sure.” Ritika nodded her head, even though she had no intentions of writing. “Where are we going? I hope it’s not too far.”

“Tired so soon.” She could gauge sarcasm in Uday’s voice. “Just five more minutes to go.” The rest of the walk was silent. She pondered over her decision of agreeing to come with Uday. Should she have politely declined? Perhaps, it was too late for regrets now. They were standing in front of a small but well decorated café. There was a huge line just to enter it. It must be for the free meal, she thought. Ritika stared at all the people in line as they walked past them. The name on the board was ‘Dushi & Udi’s Café’.

“Aren’t we supposed to wait in line, Uday?”

“Don’t worry. You’re my special guest today. I have reserved a spot for you.”

“Wait a minute. Is this café yours? Did you bring me here with the intention of promoting your business among the first year students?” She spoke loudly without even realizing it.

“Sssshhhhh.” Uday placed a finger on his lips. “Woah! Now that you have already discovered my excellent business development skills, I’d like you to know that this café is not entirely mine. It’s mine and my brother’s. We run it together since the last two years. After my father’s death, we’ve had to struggle a bit to make ends meet.” “Hey, Dushyant.” He literally screamed in her ears.

“I am sorry to hear about your father.” Before she had completed her sentence, Uday had already reached towards the guy who was sitting at the counter. He looked a bit older than Uday, with similar facial features. She guessed the guy at the counter to be Uday’s brother. She meekly approached the two guys who were engaged in a busy conversation.

“My friend Ritika here will have the free meal, Dushyant. She’s single too. I hope you don’t mind.” Dushyant stared at Ritika from the corner of his eye but his face was warm and welcoming. He smiled broadly.

“Why would I mind? It was your crappy idea anyways. I don’t even have time for scratching my head today and you end up two hours late with a girl. You’ve never brought a girl here before. Is she your girlfriend or what?” His question bugged Uday, immediately changing his mood.

“No, she isn’t. You’re scaring the poor girl, Dushyant. Dushyant is my cranky elder brother, Ritika.” Ritika smiled at him as Uday placed two stools behind Dushyant’s counter. “Come, we can talk over here. I hope you don’t mind me not working a few more minutes, big brother. I promise I’ll cover up next time.” He smirked at an annoyed Dushyant who agreed eventually.

Not only was the free meal tasty, Ritika found Uday’s company engaging too. They connected instantly on a lot of common interests. Through Ritika, her friends too discovered Dushi & Udi’s Café and they brought the two brothers more customers. Uday’s business flourished leaps and bounds over the years and so did his friendship with Ritika.

Ten years down the line, on the 14/02/2019, they were bound in holy matrimony with the blessings of their family and friends; on the exact date they met each other for the first time. Till today, Ritika is glad that she didn’t think twice before approaching Uday. If she hadn’t, she wouldn’t have found a dear friend as well as a future spouse in him. Their relationship stood the test of time for ten long years despite the hurdles and challenges life threw at them. Even though Uday had liked Ritika the first time he saw her, he avoided taking the first step by thinking about the consequences. He believes he still owes her tremendously. Now, he cannot actually imagine a life without her. Sometimes, it’s all about listening to your heart and not your brain. It’s all about taking the first step………


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