That had been just the beginning. The girl had spoken with an unimaginable confidence, to the point that even her opponent had to look through his speech jotted down on paper, to find when had he said that. She countered each and every point raised, backing it efficiently with facts and her crystal-clear understanding of the given topic. What was more commendable that the room was in a in pin drop silence. Everybody just listened to her, mesmerized both by her beauty and her sheer intelligence.
Anirudh, himself found her extremely captivating. Her body language was reserved yet bold. She played this debate as comfortably as it were her turf. Just like his Bondita. Except the fact, Bondita just had her questions but this lady on stage had found her answers to them already. Ah, how he wished Bondita would have been by his side then he would have asked her to learn the art of speaking from such an amazing debater. In that moment, Anirudh realized that even now he thought about her, his Bondita. He suddenly felt himself, yet again drowning in a familiar uneasy feeling. He gently got up from his place and walked outside with an excuse to take a breath of fresh air.
“What is this feeling?” Anirudh asked himself for the umpteenth time as he leaned against a pillar outside the hall. This weird inexplainable feeling had become quite frequent over the years instead of fading away. This sensation would creep into his heart everytime he thought of her, everytime someone mentioned her, or sometimes even randomly while taking a walk through her favourite places. This emotion had been the strongest when he had a nightmare of seeing her happily getting married to someone else. ‘She is mine’ were the first words he had said while waking up from the nightmare. Why was he so possessive of her when she never was his in the first place? They had no bond, no relation bounded by either rituals or blood. But she definitely played a far more important part in his life than just a responsibility. Then what was this feeling….
Anirudh looked up and saw the sun slightly lowering itself into the horizon. The church bells gonged loudly, the noise from cars and the chatter of people had grown a lot with people returning homes from a long day at work and the shops opening for evening business. In that chaos, he slowly closed his eyes shut. The sounds around him gradually reduced until all he could hear was just the rustle of the wind and his own heavy breathing. A sudden whiff of lavender hit his nose, followed by a gentle tug on his sleeve. “Patibabu” An innocent voice called. Anirudh opened his eyes and saw her almond shaped eyes looking straight at him. “Can I ask you a question?” She spoke. “Of course, Bondita” he replied with a smile reaching his eyes as he bent to talk to her. “What am I to you?” She had questioned. Before he could answer, Anirudh felt the world spinning and the figure in front of him disappeared in a puff of smoke. “Bondita!!” Anirudh yelled forcing his eyes open. Why did she disappear when he finally got the answer? He grumbled like a kid “But still even today, I needed you to be my guiding light, Bondita.” The uneasy feeling finally went to rest, his heart became normal and the chaos around him returned. The answer had always been there. But he had been too obstinate to realize it, too blind. Everything fell in place like a jigsaw puzzle. He was neither obsessed, nor was possessive and definitely wasn’t possessed, he was just falling in love with her little by little. He had fallen in head over heels for her. The heartless Anirudh Roy Chowdhary was in love. He blushed crimson at the thought. A thunderous applause from behind knocked the sense into his head. “Oh… The debate…” he recollected while running back to the hall, though unsure if he would be able to focus back on it.
Much to his relief and joy, the debate had ended and Professor George’s prophecy proved to be true. Their college had won with a remarkable difference in points and there was his professor, going all giddy on stage. This day couldn’t have been much better, he thought. But he was in for surprise, as his teacher took the mic and the silence regained in the hall. “The championship cup returned to the London Law school after 9 years. I am truly ecstatic but as it always said that the crown looks the best on the rightful heir. Please welcome our GS, our topper and golden student, Ms Bondita Das”
Anirudh froze, “bo..bondita…” Were his ears playing tricks or his imaginations was running wild. Then the door opened and in walked the same petite girl from earlier. Except that now the grave uniform she had worn earlier was replaced with a bubble pink colour saree with light pair of jhumkka dangling from her ears. The sound of her bangles and the tinkle of her anklets in that dead silent room made Anirudh eyes, go wide with wonder. He was flabbergasted, yet again. She looked like a goddess. With poise, she had walked up to the stage, said a few words of appreciation, taken the trophy and had walked out.
“Did you talk to her then?” Sampoorna’s excited voice brought Anirudh back to reality. “I was too spellbound by her beauty to realize the presence of my voice to call out such a goddess in public then.” Anirudh replied dreamily with a smile on his face, completely unaware of the upcoming storm brewing in his life.