That morning ,even the sky was beautiful. 13th of june,2006.I woke up to a light drizzle that was drenching my window panes ,and the world outside looked misty through them. It was the kind of day perfect for a dream to come true. The rain brought back memories about childhood days when june rains were symbolic of school re-openings ..the rain and the childish chatter with friends…hmm.. time to get off the bed.
The whole day lay ahead of me with nothing much to be done. My exams had just got over and it was the beginning of a week long vacation ,before college would beckon me back with another semester of engineering studies. There were no plans for that week ,not even one outing was ‘scheduled’ ..utter freedom to indulge my lassitude . The morning cup of tea with the morn’s newspaper gave me idea to go treasure hunting -–again !ha! ha! treasure hunt trips-that’s what I call my lonesome visits to the library. Sometimes ,when I have enough and more time on hand ,I just find a book and a chair and lose myself completely ,for a long while.. my treasure hunt usually entails me searching the entire lengths and breadths of the library’s stack room simply browsing ,trying to find those titles or authors which/who I find enticing at the moment . I was reading up everything written by J.M.Coetzee those days . I had finished 3 or 4 of his works and was searching for ‘disgrace’ . with two live library memberships on hand ,and one of those libraries already disappointing me ,all my hopes were pinned on the second one ,and I decided to hunt it down that day.
The inter mitten drizzle couldn’t stop me as I set off on my hunt during one of the rain’s interludes .There was a huge tree in the courtyard of the even more huge library grounds ,and at this time of the year its branches thrusted forth in profusion of lovely rose hued blooms ,as though encrusted with crystals of rose. The shade beneath the tree was carpeted with those blooms that the breeze had stolen . I breathed in the moist sweet scented air as I walked through the mud path leading up to the portico . There was a small crowd waiting to get in and I decided to wait. It was then that my eyes ,aimlessly wandering around ,met with those eyes looking at me. His gaze held me ,for some reason beyond me .The crowd suddenly started moving and I moved too ,losing those eyes again in the crowd.
I made straight to the long hall that was the stack room ,and started following the books arranged in the alphabetic order of their authors in the fiction section. My heart beat faster as I found ‘Coetzee’ .Slowly reading the titles one by one with a prayer in my heart ,I skipped a beat when my eyes fell on it -’disgrace’-my hunt had come to an end! I was taking the book out lovingly ,when a hand snatched it from the other side of the book rack .’Oh! sorry’ –I heard the voice first. As I peeped through the gap, I met with those eyes again ,and I must have involuntarily lit up with a smile ,for he smiled too.
‘I took the book first’ ,said I .’Yea ,but I need it too’-he replied. My temper rose. ’excuse me ,I came just looking for this one here.’ He said –‘can’t you get another book ,there are others from the same author. I am sure you haven’t read all of them ’ ,to which I replied ,’why don’t you do that’.It was a losing battle and he could see that. With a resigned sigh ,he handed the book back. I felt bad for him.’ Maybe ,you can reserve this one. ’he grumbled something under his breath and just walked away without replying. ’snob!’
By the time I got out of the library ,it was raining again. I stood in the portico watching the rain with my prized possession in hand, for I had forgotten to take an umbrella in the excitement of the treasure hunt. About 5 minutes later ,the rain thinned down to a drizzle, and I decided to brave it and walk to the bus stop right in front of the library .Chance was in the mood for a game ,and I saw him again, this time at the bus stop. He was secure underneath an umbrella, and eyed my book grudgingly. Seeing me getting drenched, he held out his umbrella for me. I hesitated, ’the book, its getting wet’-he said with a smile. I stepped closer with gratitude in my mind and callousness on my face.
A few of the branches of the tree hung over that spot. A gentle breeze, a slight rustle among the leaves overhead and a solemn flower tumbled down onto the umbrella. As it was falling to the ground, he caught it in mid air, and did something I considered uncharacteristic of a male. He looked at it with a smile ,and then, put it inside his bag. He looked to see if I had noticed and I promptly looked away. Slowly he turned away and looked upwards.’ This idiot is doing what I do all the time’--ogle at those flowers! So, everyone was in love with those rosy blooms! I too turned my eyes heavenwards and admired them for a long time. Then the two separate and independent gazes lowered ,slowly together and met ..and froze ..
I knew then why the gaze had fixed me in the first place that morning,they opened into a rosy heart ..’So you too like Coetzee ?’,he began .’love him’, I replied. With a hearty laughter ,he said ’no wonder you were fighting like that in there.’ blood rising to my cheeks ,I apologized profusely. ’the flowers are beautiful ,aren’t they..?’..
Oh yes, they were !and so were his light brown tinged eyes ,which twinkled merrily when he talked. The rain, the shade of the umbrella, the rosy canopy of flowers overhead ,and …those eyes ,soft brown ,like the hot chocolate melting within me..
That’s how it all started..
Ps: For your eyes only
I thank my destiny every day ,for that blessed day..