Book Excerpt

Chapter 3

A New Life

Silviya’s new college was in Bangalore (Silicon Valley of India); India’s third
most populous city and fifth most populous urban agglomeration, a large and
growing metropolis, a demographically diverse city.
“Good Bye! Veer. Take care of yourself.” Silviya gave Veer a firm handshake
standing outside Jaipur- Airport. Her lip was quivering in the way that meant the
words would soon be turning into tears. Yet she bravely fought her tears until she
left Veer but Veer couldn’t. She saw his big black eyes filling with tears
Wiping his tears Veer forced his eyes open, tensing his muscles and clenching
his teeth he complained “Couldn’t you choose any college in Jaipur or nearby.”
Fighting bravely her tears she whispered “C’mon dear. You should have been
aware that Bangalore is home to the most well-recognised colleges and research
institutions in India. That’s really a cool city, with cool beaches, numerous public
sector heavy industries, software companies, aerospace, telecommunications,
and defence organisations located in the city.” She faked a pleased expression.
He frowned, nodded noncommittally, keeping his eyes on her.
Not having the courage to meet his gaze she turned to enter into the airport.
“I’ll call, as soon as I reach there”. She uttered her last words before entering into
the airport.
After two hours Silviya landed at Bangalore on its newly built Bengaluru
International Airport. The first thing she noticed is that Bangalore enjoyed a
salubrious climate, because it was a month of summer; although freak heat waves
were absent making the summer much more comfortable than Rajasthan. “It might
be due to Bangalore’s high elevation and nearness to sea.” She considered in her
After getting out from the airport she hired a taxi. Her thoughts that Bangalore
must be a very modern city vanished for a few minutes as she gazed around the
nearby areas. Nothing seemed so modern about the city until the taxi reached out
away from the remote area where the airport was situated.
Silviya entered in her new college with new hopes and her newly gained
freedom. The gate-keeper stopped her on the entrance and then after showing
him some documents, she was asked to wait for some time in the waiting room
nearby the main gate. Like her many new students were entering but most of them
with their parents. The sight of others coming with their parents filled her heart with
pain but anyhow she managed to control her tears rather the sight of a new entrant
guy sitting in the same waiting room watching the girls very seriously as if he had
come there for ‘Swayamvar’ but not to study, made her laugh. In the evening she
discovered that it was her classmate Tushar. She found another guy with decent
looks but dirty thoughts continuously staring at her. Later she discovered his name
was Vikas. After making her entry in the entry register, she was asked to budge
into the hostel first. The cab, specially worked for the hostel students, took her to
the hostel. Most of the new entrants were with their parents with their own vehicles.
Inside the hostel the warden and seniors were busy in accommodating new
entrants. She was allotted room number 206. It was a two seated room, situated
on the second floor. On the left cupboard she found her name and enrollment
number written over it. The room was containing two windows. She opened the
window with some difficulty and then peeped out. There was greenery all around.
She could see through the open windows another hostel which was visible. The
sight of boys adjusting their rooms and luggage made it clear that it was a boys’
A sugary voice suddenly caught her attention, “Good, I was going to call a
carpenter to adjust this window as it was struck and rusted and not opening.” It was
her warden Ms. Sneha Pathak, a thirty-five years old lady yet unmarried, wearing a
sweet smile on her sweet yet a little bit matured face. She was having a paper and
a pen in her hand and was confirming along with some senior girls, the names and
enrolment numbers written over cupboards tallying with those written on that page.
“Good afternoon Mam.” Silviya greeted her.
“If you face any kind of difficulty contact me or ask your seniors. We are all
here to help you.” Her voice was soft and friendly. Her words consoled Silviya to a
great extent, but before she could say her ‘thank you’, she moved out of her room
along with the senior girls.
A few seconds later another girl entered in the room with three or four more girls
from BBA batch carrying her luggage and started placing it. It was her roommate
Shankri – an average looking girl from Malaysia, who had just completed her BBA
from this same college and was now just changing her hostel from junior girls to
“Hii ..I am Silviya from Ajmer,” she brought her hand forward to shake with
Her roommate replied emotionlessly, “Hii.. This is Shankri from Malaysia……
hurry up girls!…hurry up!” and she left the room without showing further concern
for Silviya.
Those girls who were still placing her luggage were her BBA juniors; they told
Silviya that how juniors feared most from Shankri Boss.
The whole day Silviya spent in ordering and placing her luggage. She
remembered how her grandma and servants always did this work for her.
In the evening Silviya felt her belly scorching, and then she realised that she
hadn’t eaten anything since morning. She peeped outside the room. She found
new hostlers had made their new roommates their friends, were going and moving
here and there in pairs. It was only Silviya whose roommate even didn’t care to talk
to her for a complete minute even.
Silviya even didn’t know the way to mess. In prospectus she had read about
the timings of the mess and now it was the time for dining. She locked her cupboard
and moved for dinner. She followed the crowd of the other girls who were probably
going for dinner. It was a centralised mess for both boys and girls. Silviya stood in
a row with an empty plate hurling it in her hand and when her turn came she was
told that the stalls for MBA faculty were on either side of mess. But they served her
food for that day considering her a new-comer and asked her to sit according to
the seating arrangements for the MBAs.
“Do MBA students sit here?” she asked a pretty girl. “Yes, I suppose. So you
are also a new comer to MBA?” the round-faced girl asked.
“Yeah, I am.” Silviya nodded.
“Hi, I am Charu from Mumbai. Your new batch mate.” She held out her hand
to shake it.
“That’s really nice. This is Silviya from Rajasthan.” She too stretched her hand.
“Oh! That’s cool…by the way where in Rajasthan?” Charu asked stuffing rice
in her mouth.
“Ajmer,” Silviya said hesitatingly; feeling somewhat inferior due to the fact that
she didn’t belong to any Metro city to boast of. Clarifying further she spoke, “Ajmer
is actually a very famous district of Rajasthan, in fact a place of great historical
significance.” Silviya looked down at Charu’s short black hair, cropped close
around her head in the contemporary style.
“That’s cool! I knew that, because many of my relatives are staying in different
parts of Rajasthan. That’s why I asked about your exact location.” Charu mumbled,
who found Silviya just as interesting as Silviya found her.
Silviya felt a little bit delighted by knowing that.
“Are you also a MBA fresher?” a manly voice interrupted in their conversations.
Silviya turned back to see him. He was the same guy who was staring at the girls
in the entrance hall. In his spiky cut, front hairs coloured in copper hue and a loose
T-shirt he looked quite funky.
“Yes, are you also?”
“Hmm…… I am Tushar from Kolkata, you can call me Tushki.” He stretched
his right hand for a handshake while putting his food-plate on the table.
“Hi, this is Silviya, you can call me Silvi and she is Charu.” Silviya too
introduced herself and Charu.
Only ten minutes talk with him revealed the utter bankruptcy of his mind but
of his good sense of humour and friends making skill.
After finishing dinner along with Charu, Silviya returned to her room and was
happy. At least she found someone to talk to. She found Shankri already present
in the room. Silviya asked her in a friendly tone, “Have you taken your dinner?”
But she showed no sign and was busy in singing aloud with earphones placed in
her ears.
Hostel life was not a new thing for Shankri as she had already experienced it
and she had also done her BBA from this same college. For her it was almost like
readjusting and growing up once again pronto to this system.
Silviya set her bed and started comparing her last college with the new one.
Earlier she was in Rajasthan Mayo College, Ajmer, also called the ‘Eton of the
East’ which was originally built for the schooling of Rajasthani princes, was a
vast place quite old with more than one hundred thirty years behind it. Whereas
her new college was not so old yet it was at the heart of Bangalore, the capital
of Karnataka. However, both were nice institutes in their own way, at the same
time so different. She found that Kannada and English were the major languages
spoken in and around Bangalore and some other major languages were Tamil,
Telugu and Hindi.
Shankri still singing with the song she was listening to, for herself considering
herself not less than Shakira; indicated Silviya by her finger to switch-off lights.
Silviya felt bad by her dry behaviour and slept. Next day they had their Induction
Next morning all MBA first year students gathered in the college Seminar
Hall. Silviya glanced through floor-to-ceiling, windows, as she passed; admiring her
new college campus. Silviya had dressed herself very carefully and well, as it was
her first day in her new college. She wore her business suit which she specially
purchased for the purpose.
She had a batch of sixty students in her class. All around she found new
faces, some were smiling while some were tensed, some were very excited;
whereas some were showing homesickness like she, herself.
Inside the seminar hall an austere man in a well-pressed suit, sitting along
with other faculty members on the uplifted platform gazed down at the students in
front of him. It reminded Silviya of a trained shepherd who must be thinking how to
manage his new horde of ships. He was the Dean of MBA faculty.
Silviya sat next to Charu, who had preserved a seat for her. Anyhow Tushar
also managed to get a seat next to her.
At first a lecture was delivered by the dean of MBA Faculty. He gave an
overview of the college and its faculty, MBA programme and placements. He also
spoke on stress management, time management, Parkinson’s Law. His words
made Silviya feel like facing a science experiment. She wanted to shout “Enough!”
But a sense of a civilised human culture kept her mouth shut and she kept her
upper lip stiff.
Her gaze wandered on her new classmates, they might presumably be feeling
the same as she felt, she guessed. No, everybody can’t be so weird, she grinned
at her next thought.
Their college had been offering both single and dual kinds of specialisation.
The Dean spoke vehemently in favour of dual specialization. He said, “dual major
will bring in a greater return when you try for a job. Taking on a double major also
means taking on double the work and spending double the money, but what if in
the end, you could have brought in over fifty percent more returns than a person
with a single major? Of course having a double major enhances your academic
experience, but it also gives you an advantage when job searching after post
graduation.” After that he sat up straight and slid his lecture notes back into his
leather day-bag.
 ‘Off course double specialisation will double your income’ Silviya took the
moral of his long lecture.
Next to that the faculty-student introductory rounds began. Most of Silviya’s
classmates had misunderstood her as a foreigner, because of her appearance
and fine English accent. Suddenly she found all gazing at two other students –
Manav and Emily, who were hugging each other cheerfully. Actually they both were
childhood friends, earlier both lived in Mumbai, then Emily’s father got transferred
and she settled with her family in Bangalore.
Now it was the time for the Ice Breaking Session. All students were asked to
introduce each other personally. Silviya still adhered to Charu and Tushar, found
many guys of her batch eying her. For such a beautiful girl like her, that was not
a new experience.
“Hii.. this is Vikas from Delhi,” a guy introduced himself to her. She remembered
he was the same guy who was badly staring at her in the waiting hall.
“Hi… this is Silviya from Ajmer,” she replied hesitatingly, not much accustomed
to talk to such guys.
Manav and Emily still cling to each other, discussing their past, lost in the
thoughts of the wonderful time they spent together in the past.
Silviya gazed at them; Manav looked sober in his formal attire of neat,
stripped, white shirt and grey’ coloured trousers combined with nice black shoes.
Manav noticed her gazing him, gave her a smile. She too smiled back.
The few subsequent days were designed for the foundation course. Silviya who
was already a commerce student found it easy to grasp; her knowledge of subjects
quite impressed her classmates and faculty.
Vikas including two of his classmates and his three seniors had already
unsuccessfully proposed her.
One fine morning while she was entering the classroom Manav stopped her way.
He gave the appearance of a decent boy and with his bright black eyes
looking at her, through frameless specs; he said, “My name is Manav.” He held out
his hand toward her. She grasped it in a firm handshake and before she could reply
Manav replied for her. “And your name is Silviya,…. ‘Silviya– the forest dweller’.”
She looked in his eyes incredibly, like if she wanted to ask him, how dared he
to make fun of her town.
“I mean, meaning of your name is –from forest,” he clarified further without
wasting a single second. His quick sense of understanding her thoughts reminded
her of Veer.
“How you know that, even I didn’t have this knowledge,” Silviya muttered
under her breath, muttered under his breath.
“Actually, I searched for its meaning, as I thought special people must have a
special name also,” Manav said in her ear.
“What do you mean by this?” Silviya stared at him for a moment, and she
couldn’t read the expression in his dark black eyes.
 “Nothing, as such,” he left for his childhood friend Emily, who was approaching
nearer to them.
His one sentence shook her feelings, hidden till this day. The formal greeting
made her heart pound. She was more nervous as well as excited too, than she
wanted to admit.
Manav, who was a science student, still performed well in foundation course
exams, he got second rank next to her.
Silviya by the time had become somewhat open to Tushar and Charu. But she
noticed sometimes Manav gazing at her, while he always used to be with Emily.
In the classroom she used to sit with Tushar and Charu, whereas Manav with
Emily and his roommate Mehul.
Silviya started noticing Manav used to stare at her stealthily, but amazingly
she herself didn’t understand that as to why she was not feeling bad at this.
“What is happening to me,” she asked to herself, heaving a deep sigh.
“Surely it must be infatuation, and will wither away within few days,” she
pleaded to herself.
After the completion of class she went to the library for issuing some books.
There she found Manav sitting near the corner table trying to put his whole mind
into the book he was holding in his hand. It reminded her of her old days in Ajmer
where because of her grandma’s fear she used to read like that. She looked at
Manav for some seconds, but he was too busy with his darling book to look at her.
Once she thought of sitting in the library and reading for sometime but her slight
headache pushed her to go to her room and sleep.
It was around 7.30 pm, when her sleep was disturbed; this time not by a bad
dream rather it was a phone call.
“Hello,” she said sluggishly.
“Hi, It’s me Tushki. How are you Silvi?”
“Hi! I am fine. What about you?”
“Actually I am not fine,” He said taking a deep sigh.
“Why, what happened?” she changed her sleeping posture to sitting on the bed.
“I can’t tell here on the phone, for that you have to meet me.”
“Ok! Where are you?” she asked in a serious tone.
“Hey Silvi! You do one thing, just come to my room. Even my roommate is not
here today.” Trapping her in his words Tushar mumbled.
“It’s okay with me, but would it not look odd, if I come to the boys’ hostel?”
She asked hesitatingly.
“Who cares about that, just take the example of our senior Karan, his girlfriend
Shreya spends most of her time in his room rather than staying in her own girls’
“Oh! It’s okay, I am coming. Till then you please take care of yourself.” She
hung up the conversations with worried look on her face.
Within fifteen minutes she was inside the boy’s hostel corridor as Tom boys
generally don’t take long hours of make-up, before meeting to someone. It was her
first entrance into the boys’ hostel, most of the guys noticed her there, especially
those who already rejected by her were anxiously waiting to know as to in whose
room she was going to step in.
Suddenly her classmate Mehul happened to meet her. “Which one is Tushar’s
room?” she asked eagerly, already fed up of guys watching her like hungry lions.
As if she had made a mistake by entering into the forest full of hungry beasts.
“This one” Mehul pointed towards a room which used to be filled with cigarette
smoke but an incense was lighted today.
“As soon as she entered his room, Tushar closed the room from inside just
to blind the vision of hungry lions staring at them from outside; forgetting that now
their ears were even working better than those blind beggars who could recognise
their donors from a good distance. They could easily hear the soft music playing
inside the room.
His room consisted of two shelves and one wardrobe which was full of
branded clothes. One shelf was with full of DVD’s, music player, and things of his
daily use. The other shelf was full of books. They were the only things in the room
that looked as though they’d never been touched
“Now tell, what’s the matter?” Silviya asked him hurriedly.
He took a few deep breaths and then forced his face into a smile, which
looked quite painful.
“Water,” he uttered.
“No thanks, I don’t want,” she replied.
“I mean, I want to have some water, please pass the water bottle lying behind
you,” he said stupidly.
After having some water he gazed at her for a moment, her deep blue eyes
were still probing to know the matter.
He cleared his throat nervously. Then he said in an emotional tone, “I don’t
have too much to say. I just only want to utter those three golden words which I
wanted to say you the very first day when I saw you.”
Instantly Silviya’s vision filled with the images of guys she had punched in her
past. “Oh! No, not again.” She mentally whispered.
Meeting her gaze for a long time Tushar took a bracelet from his pocket on
which her name was engraved. With a lump in his throat he whispered, “I love you
Silvi, today tomorrow and forever”.
‘Veer where you are?’ Yet she didn’t utter those words but said in his mind;
she wasn’t accustomed to bear such kind of crisis situations alone.
For a moment, she strongly felt like punching him; then took a long breath for
calming herself and said, “I am so sorry but I don’t love you and I can’t take this.”
For a moment Tushar looked into her eyes and then laughed like a silly boy.
“Look at this, it’s just a friendship band and of course I love you but just as a friend.”
“So was that a joke?” Silviya asked him in confusion, his recent lie which
any other girl would have understood very early but was hard to understand for a
Herculean heart.
 “Not, exactly. I was just trying my luck. But we will be good friends forever.”
“Yaa, sure. I’ll be your friend forever.” Silviya had been biting down on her own
lips, doubting her own words.
She left his room, the bracelet on his hand, saying ‘better luck next time with
someone else.’
Her smile and cheerful mood confirmed that she must tell him ‘Yes’ those who
were covering Tushar’s room with ears glued to the key hole of the door saw his
white face in agony.
That was an eventful evening in the boys’ hostel. The rumour had spread all over
like a forest fire that the hottest girl of the college was now reserved for someone.
The news increased the liquor shop earning that day nearest to their hostel.
It was around midnight when Manav entered his room coming from the library.
“Hey! You know today’s hottest news of the hottest girl of our college.”
“Sorry! Mehul, I am too tired today for such gossip,” Manav replied while
sinking into his mattress.
“Ok! Then I’ll tell you tomorrow that how our classmate Silviya and Tushar
were making love today, even not fearing our seniors while even our ragging period
is not yet over.” Mehul wrapped all the spicy news in one sentence.
“You said Silviya,” Manav asked standing with a current.
“Yes,” Mehul replied calculating his facial expressions not believing that a
studious boy like Manav could discuss anything else than books that too a girl.
“Tell me the whole story,” Manav asked with raised heartbeats.
“Today exactly at 7.45 pm, she entered into our hostel eagerly dying to meet
his lover. Then she suddenly stopped and her face became pale and white when
I caught her entering Tushar’s room. Then without my asking anything else she
started giving me explanations.” Mehul said defeating the gossip, girls who talk
about star affairs on television.
“What kind of explanations and then what happened,” Manav asked restlessly.
The more interest he was taking in the story the more interesting Mehul was
trying to make it.
“She said, I am looking for HR notes, so came to meet Tushar.”
Mehul took a breath and got his voice back.
“Now you tell, if she really required notes then she should have come to you
or anyone else who is sincere, why she went to a fool like Tushar,” Mehul asked
Manav in a convincing voice.
Manav said while thinking something, “It might be because she is more open
to him, as she rarely talks with the other guys in the class.”
“That’s what I meant to say, she is more open to Tushar, she had already
rejected about half a dozen guys of our campus just because of his love. She
was with him in his bolted room for two hours at least. Just think does it take two
hours for collecting HR notes.” Mehul alleged while making their love story more
intense. “Reports say that today for the first time Tushar’s roommate has gone to
his home, so he utilised the opportunity. The boys who scanned her from top to
bottom, before and after entering his room were telling that she was also wearing
a bracelet on her left hand after meeting him and just because of them today our
seniors have called for convening a meeting on the terrace.”
“Whatever, but I don’t believe that after rejecting so many boys, she can fall
in love with such a cartoon.” Manav again defended her.
“Here you got less marks my budding Einstein. Now-a-days girls have
changed, they don’t like the guys like you, who just waste their whole time and
energy in mind-numbing books.” Mehul hedged.
Manav looked towards him having a sense like he had made his biggest crime
by spending his youth in library rather than being in the arms of any beautiful girl.
Mehul now made him fully aware of his crime by saying, “C’mon friend, it’s
obvious girls like to make their boyfriends with those guys who can give them a lot of
time and gifts. The Einstein like you just remain in their ‘good friend’ category whom
they like to talk only in exam times or when in need of any help regarding studies.”
While they were busy trying to do the impossible task of understanding girls’
nature Vikas peeped into their room. The foul smell of whisky was coming out of
his mouth. “Karan boss is calling all of us on the terrace.” He said in a dry tone
which was obvious because he was the first to be rejected by the hottest girl who
was caught making love with someone else today.
The fresher, were standing behind four or five senior boys sitting on the roof.
All were waiting for Tushar’s admonishment, especially the rejected ones.
Karan boss stood up and came near to Tushar. Others were happy to imagine
what he was going to do with him.
Karan whispered in his ears, “Great going Tushar, I really admire you.”
Others prayed God to increase the hearing frequency of their ears; due to
presence of their seniors they couldn’t put their ears.
“Thank you Sir, but why?” Tushar mused for a minute.
Karan kept some distance from him and shouted, “you all fools, just learn
something from him, hey you Tushar just teach them how to attract the girls so
“I wish if anyone could tell me this secret,” he mumbled.
“Means?” Karan asked confusingly.
With his neck down Tushar muttered, “She said ‘No’. She just wants to remain
a good friend and all you know that for girls ‘good friend’ means end of love.”
His words soothed the already rejected ones and especially Manav even
faster than ‘Himani Fast Relief’.
“Ok! Guys fine now here are some instructions for you.” Vipin another senior
with extraordinary fatty body said, while standing up and trying to pull inside his
bulging belly.
“Earlier we had asked you guys to take bath before dawn sets in and not to
enter into the bathrooms after that, but I can see many of you guys are not strictly
following my instructions and you Tushar I want you to wake me up everyday in
the early morning by a different song of losers.” Manav and Mehul silently grinned.
All freshers headed towards downstairs to move back to their rooms, suddenly
stopped by Karan’s voice. “One more thing, no fresher is allowed to bring his
girlfriend or ‘Good Friend’ to his room till fresher’s party.” Now all were staring at
Tushar who was already bearing the burden of just being the ‘Good friend’ of the
most beautiful girl, of their campus.
“So, now what you say about their relationship,” Manav asked Mehul winking
at him with his raised eye-brows.
“Ok! I accept that I interpreted wrong, but now my mind is again interpreting
some new love story.” Then he looked into Manav’s eyes continuously for a couple
of seconds as if he was searching the name of his beloved in his eyes.
“No, no… I don’t love her….I just.. I just like her.” Manav said breathlessly
then realised his folly. Manav felt his cheeks go red.
“When I said that you love her? That means my interpretation skills are
improving faster. That’s good, managers need a good insight.” Mehul winked.
For the next few days Manav observed Mehul mixing with Tushar, Silviya and
Charu’s group. He found it somewhat strange, so asked him, “Hey dude, so what
your insight says about my roomier, why is he mingling so much with a new group.”
Manav’s tone was sharp.
Mehul closed his eyes and pretended like calculating something and then
spoke, “ See your roommate is a good friend of yours and you want to be a good
friend of Silviya and Tushar and Charu are good friends of Silviya and for making
you Silviya’s good friend your good friend is required to be their good friend.” He
made a lot of gestures from his fingers as he mumbled. Manav stopped him before
he could finish.
Putting his hands on his ears like a child; Manav interrupted, “Can you please
stop this good friend referral program and I just don’t want to be a good friend of
her, like Tushar.”
“Ohk! I can remember Tushki’s words ‘For girls good friend means end of
love.” Mehul glared at Manav, sure he was teased now.
Love. Manav was awash in a dazzling sea of it, and each wave gnawed at his
every muscle and nerve connected to his heart.
Gradually with the passage of days all the students of the class began to
recognise each other and formed their groups. Later apart from Charu, the girl
Silviya found most friendly with her was Emily; who was a Christian girl from
Bangalore itself.
Due to Silviya’s wonderful looks, intelligence, elegant ways many guys felt
inclined towards her. But she did, what she had done in her past; didn’t show
positive response to anyone. She even avoided Manav in the matter of affair-thing,
ignoring the fact she too had developed some liking for him, yet he had become
her friend by now; due to Mehul’s endeavour of good friend referral programme.
She was friendly with all the boys and girls but it’s natural in the colleges that
students form groups with like-minded. So did Silviya. God gave us relatives, but
thank God, one can choose his friends. She also chose her friends.
In her group Tushar, Emily, Manav, Charu, Mehul were included. Her
roommate was not so much friendly to her or others from the very beginning. So
initially Silviya kept on at an arm’s distance from her but later decided to teach her
a lesson.
Silviya was experiencing a new kind of life, more independence and a place
for growth where friends meet, bonds formed and relationships tied. From the very
first day, they were welcomed as freshers. People from different cultures joined
together as one big family. As the days passed by they shared joys of one another
blending with laughter, fears and sadness.
She was happy for her newly gained freedom; only felt bad for her roommate,
whose behaviour was never cohesive. Especially, on Sundays and holidays
freshers used to skip from hostel just to avoid ragging. On holidays they used to
take lunch outside their mess. Silviya found ample time to explore Bangalore on
Sundays. She found that in Bangalore roadside vendors, tea stalls, and South
Indian, North Indian, Chinese and Western fast food were all very popular in the
city. Silviya and most of her friends particularly liked Kamath and Udupi restaurants
which were very popular and served predominantly vegetarian, regional cuisine.
The classroom was full of roar as there were still five minutes left in first lecture.
Manav sitting in the middle row along with his roommate Mehul said ‘Hi!’ to Silviya
as she happened to pass by him.
Manav’s black eyes started shining with double frequency at the sight of his
crush. Mehul who spent most of his time with him, was able to read through his
“You know, I get the best feeling in the world when she says ‘hi’, smiling
at me because I know, even if it’s just for a second, that I’ve crossed her mind,”
Manav said to him, who was still trying to read his eyes even after Manav’s open
confession of his liking for Silviya.
“Why don’t you tell her clearly that you like her?” Mehul asked, who had now
completely sensed his feelings.
“One day I’ll surely propose her,” he stopped by considering Emily coming
towards them.
“May I have the pleasure of knowing, who is going to propose whom?”
probably she had heard his last words. Manav felt her eyes on his face but he
couldn’t look at her yet, afraid she might read the secret of his eyes.
“Nothing dear, but for today I am going to propose you to have lunch with me.
May I have the pleasure?” Manav tried to speak in a normal voice without looking
at her.
She was quiet a moment and then she spoke “Sure dear.” Emily flashed a
dark look at him.

They chose the restaurant nearest to their college campus. Manav was
surprised as well as depressed by noticing that Silviya was also sitting with one
stranger in the same restaurant.
His whole concentration was on spying them, rather than on lunch. Manav’s
breath went out in a rush that felt like a pair of bellows; still with that little wrinkle of
surprise about that stranger, and Silviya’s possible relationship with him. The sight
of his dream girl, sitting and enjoying with some other guy, had killed his hunger.
Now he was hungry only to bite and cut that demon stranger.
“Why are you looking here and there, is everything fine?” Emily enquired.
Manav’s eyes were watering and Emily’s mouth was screwed.
Emily didn’t notice Silviya and Silviya too didn’t notice them.
The more the guy and Silviya were laughing together, feeding each other, the
more heartbeat Manav was gaining.
Before he would have heart attack, he thought of reaching on their table. He
watched carefully, not even blinked; in case he missed them.
Then he looked at Emily, who had now turned her face to check, what he was
seeing there again and again. Before she could find the reason, Silviya had left the
table along with that guy.
“Ice-cream,” Manav asked, trying to keep things friendly with her. Now the
brown eyes which belonged to Emily were implacable and hard and fixed on Manav.
Still Manav again looked here and there, but by the time had lost their sight.
He wanted to chase them but couldn’t do so by the fact, Emily was with him.
It was a Saturday night Manav called Silviya.
“Hello! It’s me Manav. I hope I don’t disturb you, while you were lost in my
thoughts,” he said in a flirting manner of which he was not actually accustomed.
“Oo Helloo! Who told you that I miss you that much; by the way right now I was
really lost in thoughts but not in yours,” she retorted in her well-known firm but soft
“May I know the name of that lucky person, who gets yours that much
attention?” The mental image of that stranger’s face made his tone sharper than
“He is Veer…. Ahh Veerendra Singh Rathore, my childhood friend.” She took
a deep breath. Breathing deep in the air always made her feel lighter, somehow.
Manav suddenly became conscious. “Friend or boyfriend or just a Good friend?”
“First you tell me what is the difference between a boyfriend and a friend and
especially Good friend, ahh… according to me a boy who is your friend is your
Manav laughed on her folly “Ohho Tubelight! I mean whether he is just a
friend of yours or yours someone special?” Manav felt his fingers clench.
“Ohkk! Now I understand, you wanna know the depth of my friendship with
Veer. He is really very special to me. In yours words he is someone very special to
me.” Silviya felt her cheeks heat up.
Manav who was just saved from the second heart attack of the day, (first one
seeing her in restaurant with Veer) asked her restoring himself, “You mean you
love Veerendra. Is he the same guy, taking lunch with you today?”
“Oh! So you have my all news. ” Silviya sat on her heels in excitement.
“What else I can do Mam’, one should have the full knowledge of his someone
“What?” Silviya felt her cheeks heat up.
“Nothing.” The list of rejected one’s suddenly scared Manav sternly.
Silviya, who was till now enjoying teasing him, uttered the truth, “Veer is my
best friend only. We are not love birds actually.”
Manav who was just only saved by his doctor from the third and last heart
attack came directly on the point “Would you like to go for lunch with me tomorrow?”
“Ok, I’ll be in Udapi at sharp 1 pm.”
“Not Udapi, many of our batch mates would be there. Tomorrow we will meet
at any Kamath or Royal Afghan or Bistro Restaurant.”
“Ok fine, Bistro. I’ll be there. Bye for now.”
They hung up and she collapsed in her bed, this time thinking about Manav.
Next afternoon Manav who had already reached there saw a heavenly
creäture coming towards him; suddenly his vision was impaired by seeing two
monsters with that heavenly creäture . Manav blinked hard. Actually Emily and
Charu were escorting Silviya. He felt his mouth twist around the edges. Manav
wanted to look away, but Emily’s strange gaze held him for long; as if she was
complaining something through eyes only.
Breaking of their silence Silviya mumbled “Actually today we planned for
shopping. I hope you won’t mind.”
With a fake smile and boiling anger inside, he whispered to hide his frustration
“I am really glad to see three of you together.” He paused to find suitable words to
support his lie. “It’s like I desired for one fairy and god gifted me with three fairies
at the same time.” Manav was in no mood of joining them for shopping, so he left
just after lunch.
Emily, who was a resident of Bangalore and was well acquainted with its market,
proved helpful to her friends in their shopping.
“Hey Silvi! Try this one; I am sure you would look great in this dress.” Charu
spoke to her while holding an off-white colour party wear gown in her hand.
“It’s really pretty, but actually I don’t wear such kind of dresses. I just want
to buy one jeans only.” Silviya said reluctantly, yet imagining herself in that
“Charu is right this dress will look wonderful on you,” Emily along with Charu
tried to persuade her and finally they persuaded her. Silviya bought not only one
but three dresses of that kind.

After five hours of hard labour of shopping which generally girls realise after
the end of shopping or money in their purse, they stood near a vendor to have
some snacks.
Suddenly a pick pocket came and snatched Emily’s purse and disappeared
before she could realise. His sudden action had startled her, she made herself take
a breath to quiet the drumming of her own heart in her ears.
“You just stay here, I’ll see that rascal.” Silviya consoled her.
Emily flashed a dark look at her. “No, let him go. Such people are dangerous,
even he may be carrying some weapons” before Emily could complete her
sentence Silviya too had disappeared from the scene.
After five minutes wait Emily called his father and then Manav telling the
whole incidence.
“Did you call her,” Manav asked frightfully.
“No, her cell is with Charu.”
“You just stay here, I am coming.” Manav’s expression grew dark in tension.
Within fifteen minutes Manav was present there along with Mehul and Tushar.
Since then Emily’s father too had arrived with a constable, who had started his
enquiries as soon as he arrived.
“Here she is.” Mehul shouted in excitement as well as disbelief.
She along with two men in her grip was coming breathlessly. All looked at her
amazingly not believing a tender girl could do such a feat.
“Don’t look like this I am a black-belt holder,” she said trying to make all
believe in what they had witnessed a few seconds before.
Next morning even before arrival of ‘Bangalore Times’ this incidence was on
everybody’s tongue in her campus.

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