16 May '24
10 min read




It was still dawn when I stepped out of the cab and walked towards the entry gate of the Delhi airport.

The early morning February air was pleasantly cold. I was travelling to Bengaluru to attend a college friend's wedding. It had been four years since we graduated from the same college. This wedding was also going to be a reunion of our batch mates. But what I didn't know was that the reunion would begin much ahead of time, right in the queue in front of the airline check in counter.


I was almost sure it was she. Same height! Same long hair! Same complexion! Curiously, I had my eyes glued to her. And then about sixty odd seconds later, when she turned, she proved me right. My ex- girlfriend stood two places ahead me in that queue. We had never met after the college farewell.


Rina... that quiet girl, joined us in the second year of our post graduation. Our first year went away in fun and frolic. Little bit of studies, more of projects, assignments and internships. Who could ever forget the night parties at the girls’ hostel! It was more exciting as admission there was forbidden. 

Rina had migrated from abroad to continue her studies in Mumbai. It was the annual fest time, and we came closer as we were burdened with the duty of guest entertainment. 

The fest days used to start at seven in the morning and end by twelve at night. We were busy looking after the comfort of the guests… the stalwarts from different fields. Rina and I never got time to sleep. Sometimes, we dozed off on the chairs or the floor of the auditorium only to wake up to the shrill sound of our cell phone alarm.

'I have something to say…' 

I looked up at the tired, pretty face.

'Yes, yes… go on. You need the notes or you want me to complete your assignments..!'

'No… let it be.'

'No problem, go ahead…'

Her cell phone rang.

'Excuse me…' She moved away. 

'Yes mamma, how are you now? I am good… yes, I am in college. I don't know if I will be able to make it this time… there's a lot of pending work… I will call you later.' 

She left the room, even without looking at me.

'What did she want to convey, does she have the same thought which is clouding my mind these days? Oh gosh, I didn't even allow her to speak her mind out…'

I was thinking about Rina a lot but couldn't gather the courage to tell her.

'Did she read it in my eyes? Yes I have developed a special feeling for her, without even knowing her properly.'


'What about dinner tonight at Gangotri? It's a veg restaurant.' 

I stopped her at the stairs. She nodded her head in approval and smiled. I longed to take that delicate body into my arms. There is something different in her eyes… is it sorrow... despair?


'How do you know, I am a vegetarian?'

We were at Gangotri, dining over kashmiri pulao and paneer butter masala. She didn't allow me to order anything more. I was relieved. The monthly expense was yet to get transferred to the bank.

'Is everything alright? You look worried…' I touched her hand.

'I am fine…'

She was so quiet and I was the talkative one. I had a feeling she wanted to hide her tears.

'You eat so little, you’ll feel hungry at night.'

I wanted to serve her some more pulao. 

She resisted. 

'I will not be able to… please.' 

She held my hand. A sudden shiver ran down my backbone.

'Go and rest Rina, you look very tired.'

'So do you Ray, but I must say... the fest was fun. You might have experienced it last year too!'

'Yes, we were just freshers then. The fest arranged by our college is very famous but the students are so overburdened with duties that they hardly get a chance to enjoy… you wanted to say something, the other day… what was it?'

'Forget about it,' she smiled, waved and boarded a rickshaw.


Rina was not there for the first lecture. My eyes searched for her in every nook and corner of the college, after the class. What might have happened, I was worried. My friends had started making fun of me. They sensed some kind of a special relationship between us though we had never even spoken to each other about it. I didn't share my thoughts with her, nor did I allow her to do so.

'Hey, Himeli! Have you seen Rina?' Himeli was her roommate.

'She left for Bengaluru by the early morning bus, Ray. Her mom is not well. Why? Didn’t she inform you last night? You were there at Gangotri…' 

She winked at me.

I took out my cell phone to call her but hesitated.

-Let her call, why couldn't she inform me before leaving Mumbai…. I was annoyed and worried at the same time. Why is she so quiet? I don't know anything about her nor does she. She wanted to convey something… I wanted to kick my ass. I was so stupid.


Nearly fifteen days had passed. I had lost all interest in college. I dragged myself to the class and to my surprise found Rina sitting with Aditya, jotting down something hurriedly. Rina and Aditya looked up at me.

'She has so much to cover, I don't know how she will manage it… the examination is knocking at the door...' Aditya sounded worried.

Rina smiled faintly.

'Where were you, Rina? You never informed me. I tried calling you a number of times but your phone was either switched off or out of reach. Are you alright? You don't look good.'

'Aunty... her mom has left her Ray…' 

Aditya spoke on her behalf. Both of them were from the same city, they knew each other well.

'Ohh, I am so sorry.' 

I took a seat beside her.


I grabbed her at the lunch break and dragged to the canteen. I ordered dosa, coffee and settled down at a corner table. I held her hand. She kept on staring at me. Tears started rolling down her cheeks. I went closer and wiped off the precious pearl beads.

'Would you mind coming to my place today, I am all alone for the time being.'

'I will, I have so much to share…' She pressed my hands hard.


My eager waiting ended when Rina stepped into my room in the evening. I didn't let her say anything, I didn't utter a word… just held her tight and kissed her lips. She started trembling in my arms.

'I love you Rina. I wanted to tell you this for so long.'

'Say it again… Ray.' 

Rina had tears in her eyes but her lips were smiling.

'I will wipe away all your grief… just be mine.'

'I am yours.'

I was in seventh heaven. I was the luckiest person alive. We started spending all our time together… studying, shopping and dining.


At last the D-day arrived… It was our college farewell. I was looking for Rina. We were to depart the very next day as our final examination and campus interviews were all over. We had to wait for the results while applying for jobs. She was nowhere to be found.

Reluctantly, I came to the auditorium. Programs were on and my eyes searched the hall for the tall, fair, freckled- spectacled girl with long silky hair.

An odissi dancer stepped in, the audience hooted and whistled to greet the guest appearance. I was astounded. It was Rina! Was she my very own Rina? Yes she was. I was mesmerized. I knew so little about my love.

I went backstage to congratulate on her marvelous performance and found Aditya there with a floral bouquet. They were quite close. I was heartbroken.


I tried to call Rina, the network was out of reach. I made up my mind and reached Rina's rented apartment to bid her goodbye. I would go back to Delhi and Rina, to her native place, Bengaluru. I found the main door unlocked, which surprised me. I peeped in. It was dark inside. An eerie silence surrounded the whole place. I walked towards Rina's bedroom and pushed open the unbolted door. After a while, when my eyes got acquainted in the darkness, I saw two figures locked in each other’s arms, ignorant of the outside world. Suddenly, the room got lit up with the passing light of a car. I stumbled on something like a bag and banged myself on the door as I tried to enter the room. The couple turned. Darkness engulfed the room once again. I dragged myself towards the main door.

'Stop, Ray… wait…'

I heard footsteps behind me. I hurried down to the road.

'How could they do this to me... how, how could Rina be so unfaithful? Why did she come close when she already had a relationship with Adi?

I felt warm liquid trickling down my cheeks… disgusting! I wiped it harshly, with hatred.


After we were done with the boarding formalities, I got closer to have a better look at her.

'Rina! The word gushed out of my mouth unknowingly.

She turned back. Her eyes twinkled.

'Oh my God, it's you Ray! Where have you vanished? I tried my best to find you… but all in vain.'

The flight got delayed due to the evil foggy weather of Delhi.

We stepped inside a café. She ordered coffee for both of us.

'I am hungry, would you like to have something, Ray?'

I didn’t want anything to eat.

She had a sandwich and kept staring at me while munching it.

'Going to attend Adi's marriage?' Rina smiled.

'Yes, you?' 

I was dying to know about Adi's bride… was it Rina!  But my inner instinct, my so-called male chauvinism had stopped me.

'Yes, I will be there at the reception but it's my hometown too. We’ll have a nice time meeting old friends after such a long time. I had asked Adi about you… so naughty of him not givimg me a hint. Now I understand. I have to admit, it's quite a pleasant surprise for me.'

I was surprised too, to find a very different Rina. That extremely quiet one had turned into a cockatoo. How could I tell her that I could never forget that innocent, freckled face? I will never forget her… she was my first love.


I found myself surrounded by my college buddies at the reception hall. We talked and laughed like young children. The newly wedded couple, approaching hand in hand caught my attention. The groom wore a beaming smile while walking with the most beautiful bride by his side. 


She was looking fabulous in her bridal dress. Good Lord! At least, they were faithful to each other. I was happy. But she didn't reveal it to me at the airport that she was going to get married to Adi.

A sudden pat on the back forced me to turn around.

A smiling, pretty face greeted me.


I turned to look in front, Rina with Adi was smiling at me. I was puzzled.

Rina started laughing her heart out.

'Look at this one, he is still bewildered. Ray! Adi has married my twin sister Rini. I heard everything from Adi. You should have trusted your love and met me at least once before you left the city with lots of misunderstanding. 

The odissi dancer was Rini too. It was our friends' plan to surprise you… it was sad that they became the victim of their own prank.'

'Should we arrange for another reception here, just now?'

'No, no… we want it in Delhi. We want another occasion to enjoy.' 

The mob vetoed Himeli's proposal. 

Rina's eager body clung to mine. I was thrilled.



Written by Indrani Tuli (Bhattacharya)