Sanjay was overjoyed.
After spending months away from his village, he was finally going home now.
The first semester of College had already taken the youthful enthusiasm out of him.
Mathematics had never seemed so mechanical in his whole life.
But this was College.
Uninspiring lectures. Unimaginative courseware.
Professors with dead-pan expressions.
To his great relief, he was going home now.
Albeit, for just a few days.
The bitter memories of his first semester flashed through his mind, like images, one after the other, as he stood waiting for the bus home.
It was going to be a ten hour long bus ride; and his supplies were adequate.
Food, liquids, and yes, books! Lots of them.
Books – the blessed tools that helped him see through the first morbid six months at College.
He remembered how he buried himself in books even as his roomies partied. Sanjay really detested the city guys.
He hated how they were always ready to make him look bad in front of the girls. He hated how they made fun of his speech impediment.
“Sa…..sa…..sa…sanjay!”, they would cry out in chorus, as he entered the classroom.
Results were instant. The girls reciprocated with giggles and meaningful glances.
He felt like dying; more self-conscious than ever before.
City girls – those nymph like creatures, doused in expensive perfumes, dressed like little princesses with their tantrums.
For the first few days, he could not think of anything else. He had never seen such girls, let alone from such proximity.
But his eyes did not have a leer. No sir!
He was what you’d call a decent guy. But he sure was overwhelmed.
Presently, he was shaken out of his thought-chain by the sudden arrival of a girl at the bus stop.
Sanjay threw a sideways glance at the girl, who was wearing jeans and a tee.
She had long waist-length hair that she wore in a single plait.
He wanted to strike up a conversation; break the ice, as they say. But he didn’t trust his speech. Not anymore.
Unpleasant memories of a previous encounter came to mind. He shooed them away.
The girl took a bottle out of her bag and sipped some liquid. Sanjay saw her face.
She was attractive, and pleasant looking.
He further measured his chances of striking up a successful conversation.
“What if she doesn’t reciprocate, or my stutter repels her?”, Sanjay thought.
“Who cares? No one has to know about this. It’s just the girl and you in this lonely bus stop in the middle of nowhere!”, his braver self reasoned.
Yes! Sanjay realized that he was away from prying eyes here. He could easily strike up a conversation with this girl. No performance anxiety. No nervousness.
What if the girl was also going to the same place?
What if they got seats together on the bus?
Ten hours of togetherness!
He would kill for that!
Chances were high that in those ten hours, he could get the girl to like him.
Maybe she would also give him her number – what an achievement that would be!
For the first time in his life, he could have someone remotely close to a ‘girlfriend’.
Maybe, if he tried.
He summoned up all his courage; tucked his stomach in, and inflated his chest.
Sanjay didn’t know what to do with his skinny hands. They always got in the way.
Anyway, he walked up to the girl and even as sweat beads were forming at his forehead, he asked, “Excuse me, are you also going to Rwanal?”.
One full sentence without stammering a bit! This was indeed an achievement.
“No, I am afraid. I’m going to Lyansing. Why do you ask?”, she replied with a smile.
All his rising hopes were dashed with that reply. Lyansing and Rwanal. No connection at all. They would not be even on the same bus.
Just then, a bus appeared on the horizon; behind it, a halo of reddish dust.
Soon, the bus made a stop.
“Rwanal” – read the hand-written pamphlet glued to the windscreen.
He nodded at the girl and boarded the bus.
It rolled away sluggishly.
Sanjay looked at the girl at the stop. She was looking the other way. She was waiting. For her ride home.
Even he was waiting – to strike up a meaningful conversation with a girl.
Something he hadn’t done in a long time. Something that would give him a world of confidence.
The journey continued.
So did ‘the wait’.
We all are waiting for something. Something good.