"Meet me in the parking area at 5 pm.
I quickly glanced at the watch. 4:30 pm. I realized for a moment that it took almost 2 and a half hour to complete those assignments. Wait ! It was 4:30 and I had just half an hour left to meet her, if I decided to.
I was baffled as I did not talk much to a girl. And Shanaya was a bold type of girl, so I was unsure of what she would say or do.
I thought of some excuse to get rid of my friends, as I didn't want them to get involved in these matters and also because it was the matter of a gorgeous girl and me... I did not want any kind of rumor to be spread in the college about us.
"Eh--- George ...and Hunny ! What are your plans next?"
George replied, "Seenu, The next class is a free period as Professor Lark is absent..."
Hunny interrupted George, "So we are going to the sports club near George's house to play Pool, Seenu would you join us?"
I glanced at my watched again. 4:45. I replied, " No actually I have many things to do before going home, I have to go to the bank and also there is some other work. Ah--- you may both go and enjoy !"
They nodded and left. I went to the washroom first. I looked at my reflection in the mirror, washed my face, wiped the water off with a handkerchief and looked back in the mirror. I ran the wet hands through my hair and set them over my forehead.
I rushed through the corridors, down the staircase and finally reached the parking area. I glanced around. There were 4-5 students there but Shanaya was nowhere to be seen. I glanced at the watch, one more time. It was 4:55. I heaved out a deep sigh.
I was anxious and for the first time I felt my heart racing. It was a strange feeling. But I kept calm though I was flooded with infinite questions and thoughts.
At the stroke of 5 there was nobody to be seen around. And I saw Shanaya walking towards me. I was going to stretch my hand to her for a handshake, but before I could make any move she straightaway leaned in my arms and gave me a hug.
I was not understanding what was going on, but as my heart commanded, I wrapped my arms around her back.
"Hi, Seenu !"
Oh my God ! She knows my name ! How the heck did she know my name...
"I knew you would come here"
I smiled, not understanding what to say.
"Why did you call me here, by the way?" I asked finally.
"I wanted to make friends with you..."
"Umm... Okay... But why me?"
"Because you are handsome and ..."
"Oh come on ! There are many handsome boys there in the college. Why me out of the so many?"
"Because you are interesting"
"Yes. Not every handsome boy plays soccer. Not every handsome boy is as studious as you. And not every handsome boy is as sweet as you. Not every handsome boy has six packs like you".
My six packs--- to hell with her precise observation !
I blushed and she must have definitely noticed it.
"Will you be my friend?"
"Ah-- Of..of course"
"Fine, I will meet you tomorrow again !"
"Hey, but tomorrow is a Sunday."
"It is not necessary we meet only in the college hours."
"I didn't understand---"
"We can meet in dreams", she said wisely and gave a light laugh with a witty look.
I laughed too.
Next day in the morning I could not concentrate in my studies. So I went for a walk. I thought it would refresh my mind. But instead, it lead to another meeting with Shanaya.
I saw her coming from the opposite side. I was feeling a bit awkward and shy. But I was a bit more confident than yesterday.
We exchanged good morning wishes and the conversation about knowing each other started. It was then I came to know that Shanaya was in software engineering and programing. I asked her what was it all about and I told her about my branch of Mechanical engineering.
"Why did you choose mechanical by the way?"
"I always wanted to know how these machines work ...And also about missile tech & firearms"
"Oh...by the I wanted to become a hacker that's why I chose software engineering...I want to become an expert hacker."
She raised her hands in the air in order to make me understand everything and continued, "I want to be able to hack the car GPS and the whole car controlling systems, you know these days those automatic cars have a software system attached inside... apart from that, I want to hack bank lockers..." She went on.
I took in a deep breath and my breathing stopped for a moment. I was shocked about her wish to become a hacker.
I became a little tensed, thinking I was sitting with such a dangerous woman... My legs shivered. I was staring at her, like a wide eyed owl.
"Seenu, I was joking !"
"Uff" I sighed softly... And I laughed trying to hide the fact that I seriously believed in what she said.
After a bit more of a chit chat, we went to our respective homes. I came to know she resided with her parents in the colony situated just next to mine. I told her more about myself and also about my caring and loving mom and dad who lived in a small town. After spending my childhood in the village and completing my high school there, I got scholarship and was selected for this college here in this big city.
Later that evening, upon introspection, I felt that things were not getting balanced. I decided to keep studies at the first priority. I did not only decide, but also resolved to do that.
I finished all the set targets regarding studies of the day and while I was busy doing it, I completely forgot about Shanaya. The syllabus was vast. But because of all the planned studies, it was easier for me to keep a track of everything and finish it all on time.
At bed time, however, I could not help but think of Shanaya. She was the most gorgeous girl in the college. So many boys were mad in her love. And she chose me as her friend.
The day of the freshers party, I thought Shanaya was most interested in fashion, looks, hairstyles, skin care, nail care and least interested in studies. But now I felt I was wrong.
Days passed by, my friendship with Shanaya was increasing day by day. But I least realised that Shanaya was keeping me away from my brothers.
That was about a week after that incident, when I told about her to George and Hunny. They became mad at me.
"Seenu, Are you mad!?", screamed George.
"Are you stupid, Seenu!?", Hunny yelled at me.
"What is wrong in this friendship, George... Hunny?" I tried to defend myself.
"She is trying to distract you, so that she could increase her chances of winning the trophy! Hunny, try to explain him...", George said in a high pitch.
Hunny opened his mouth to say something in favour of George, but I interrupted,
"Stop it !"
"Fine if you are jealous of us. But don't speak anything about Shanaya.", I continued speaking in anger. But my anger was getting beyond my control and I left, stamping my feet on the ground.
I called Shanaya and asked her to meet me in the college canteen. I told her what my friends said. She hugged me and said,
"If your friends don't like you talking with me, we will terminate our friendship, Seenu. George and Hunny are like your brothers. And me? I am a friend of yours since just a few days."
"But those few days made us special friends, Shanaya... And you are speaking of breaking of this strong bond of friendship?", I looked in her eyes as I was saying.
Shanaya remained silent and was gazing in my eyes too.
The bell rang and our eye contact got broken. We blinked our eyes rapidly, and realised it was time to go and attend the next 3 lectures.
That day I did not attend the last 2 lectures, and went straight into the parking area. I unlocked my DC car and drove away. I nust wanted to leave and get home. I bought the car from all the money that I won in olympiads, soccer matches and scholarships since childhood. My car was my greatest achievement in life. I loved it and I treated it like a gorgeous lady.
At home, I thought about the whole incident that happened at college. The angry screams of George and Hunny... The care in Shanaya's eyes... The difference in the way I reacted to George and Hunny and the way I reacted to Shanaya.
"George and Hunny are simply jealous of me and Shanaya being together." I thought to myself. This was all that my heart and mind said to my inner soul. I believed that Shanaya was my close friend.
Weeks passed by after that incident. And George and Hunny rarely talked to me. Now Shanaya was my only friend. We talked with each other, laughed together, shared our doubts related to studies and helped each other to solve them. I realised that Shanaya was no less intelligent in studies.