Part II

“Do you really have to go?” she asked as they walked back towards the hostels. Exams were on and she had just finished the one in the afternoon shift. As she’d walked out of the examination hall, she’d found him waiting there. “You know I wouldn’t go if it weren’t necessary. I’ll be back as soon as I can, I promise.” “Yeah I know, it’s just that you’ll be finishing college soon and I feel like I’m being robbed off the little time that I have left with you”, she said, the sadness clear in her voice. “I understand, and I’m sorry for making you feel that way. Alright, how about I go home now and get everything done and be back by tomorrow evening?” “Tomorrow evening? Are you sure?” she asked sceptically. “I can’t promise, but I’ll try my best. So cheer up now, you’re not gonna send me off with that gloomy face, are you?” She gave a half smile. They had reached the main auditorium building by now and he said he better leave or else he’ll miss the bus, so they said goodbye and she started walking towards her hostel.

‘So you’re not coming back today, right?’ She texted him at around five in the evening the next day. She knew he’d said that he’ll be back in a day only to cheer her up, but she hoped for some miracle.

‘Really sorry. Everything’s in a mess here. Been running around since the moment I came.’ His reply came.

It’s okay. I understand. You do your work, and be back when you can. I miss you. Take care.’ She replied with a sigh, getting up from her bed and walked to Sara’s room.

Oye, let’s go to the cafeteria today. It’s been so long since the six of us went together”, she said walking into Sara’s room. Sara was bent over her phone as usual. “Okay, but only if you’re paying!” “Yeah fine. Anyway, I’m supposed to treat you guys.” “Yes!” Sara said excitedly. “Get ready, I’ll call the others”, she said walking out of her room. On her way back to her room, she stopped by Shalvi’s and asked her to get ready too and then called Amit, explaining to him the plan for the evening. “Get Alok and Anish as well and be there in fifteen minutes”, she said as she kept down the phone.

The six of them were sitting in the cafeteria and their order had just arrived, when her phone rang. It was Armaan. “Hey, what’s up?” “Hey, are you in the hostel?” he asked. “No, I’m in the cafeteria with my friends. Why? What happened?” “Actually, I’ve sent something for you with a guy who lives close by. He’ll be reaching the campus anytime now. I’ve told him to meet you in front of the main auditorium, so you just go there when I call you.” “Wait, which guy? And why did you have to send something? I wanted ‘you’ to come back, not some ‘thing’!” she said. “Arrey yaar, just do me a favour and go there when I tell you to, please?” “Okaaaay, I’ll go”, she said in a sing song voice.

Ten minutes later, her phone rang again. “Yeah, is he here?” she asked picking up. “Yes he is. Call me back when you see him”, Armaan said. She told her friends she’ll be back in a minute and walked out of the cafeteria. It was dark outside the auditorium building and she couldn’t see properly from that distance. She quickened her pace. On reaching the front of the building, she still couldn’t see anybody around so she called him. “Yeah I’m outside the auditorium, but no one’s here.” “What? Are you sure? Did you look around properly?” he asked. “Yes I did. Seems like I’m the only one here right now”, she said looking around. “Well then, why don’t you turn around?” “Turn around? But why…” she stopped mid-sentence as she turned and saw him walking towards her from the side of the building, grinning from ear to ear. “Surprise!” he said as he finally reached her. “What the… How did you…? I mean…” she was still dumbfounded. “God, you are so easy to fool!” he was really enjoying, as clearly his plan had worked. The two of them broke in to laughter as she realized who the ‘delivery guy’ really was.

***

“Arzu, Arzu! Wake up!” her mother said shaking her lightly. “Your phone’s ringing”, she said handing her the phone. She rejected the call without even glancing at the screen. She was in no mood to talk to anybody right now. ‘I wish you’d come back for another surprise!’