Aryan had met that perfect stranger at an inter-collegiate badminton championship during the final year of his MBBS. She and her gang of friends had belonged to a prestigious Engineering college, which was known as the hub of nerds.
Aryan was playing against Rohan from their college for the individual championship trophy and he was winning. That was when the cunning sports chief of their team sent the girls to take position behind Aryan and boo him while continuously cheering for Rohan. It was emotionally tiring to Aryan as he had none to support except the two members of their men’s team who had taken off on a tea break. As expected, he began to lose.
His eyes met with a pair of mischievous and shining eyes, when he turned to pick the shuttlecock, which he had dropped. It was as if a current had run through him. As though he had recognized those pair of eyes, her, from a time that belonged to a forgotten past.
After that Aryan lost steadily, he was busy trying to analyze the effect the beautiful pair of eyes had created in him.
Throughout the day, he watched her. Vaishnavi- that was her name. When she won the women’s individual match, he grabbed the opportunity and joined others to congratulate her.
“Congratulations Vaishnavi. That was a superb game,” he told while shaking her hands. She smiled at him and he continued to hold her hands, stunned by the fact that her smile was equally devastating to his feeble heart as those mesmerizing eyes. He was lost. Like a lost puppy who had found its owner, he followed her around causing much headache to his team members who knew him as a person who put his brain before his heart always.
By the end of the day, he managed to get hold of her address and email id, which was written, in the logbook of participants. At night, he waited for the dawn. He would meet her again, as it was university team selection next day.
She wasn’t there though all of her other team members had arrived. He asked about her casually to her friends and they informed him she was down with flu.
A few months passed and Aryan continued to roam around with the old card on which he had her address scribbled and wondered why the strange girl with whom he hardly knew was occupying his thoughts constantly. Then came his final exams and he immersed himself in his studies and put his thoughts about her on a back burner.
Years passed by. After his MD, he went to Australia to finish his fellowship and while on a coffee break from the hospital, he stepped into a nearby Café and the same pair of eyes met his.
“Vaishnavi… aren’t you Vaishnavi?”
She appeared taken aback but smiled.
“How do you know me? Yes, I am Vaishnavi?”
“We had met a long time ago during an inter-collegiate shuttle match. Do you remember me?”
His words jogged her memory and she opened her eyes wide when she finally recognized him.
“Don’t tell me you are that spooky guy Aryan who followed me around making my friends tease me like hell,” said Vaishnavi, shaking her head in disbelief.
“Unfortunately, I am,” said Aryan and sat on the chair opposite her, ”What are you doing here?”
“I am on an on-site project here. And you?”
After they exchanged news over a cup of coffee, Vaishnavi asked him why he had followed her around that day.
“I had fallen in love with you that day. Don’t question my sanity. I was perfectly sane but somehow you made me insane. I was never able to forget you. You were that one stranger that I longed to forget, but was never capable of, the one whose memories were the most colourful in my entire life.”
“Aryan, I indeed now doubt your sanity. How can you love a person whom you hardly know? I might have been in love with somebody else, I might even be married now,” said Vaishnavi.
“No…you can’t be. If God made us meet unexpectedly, that too again, he has planned something for us Vaishnavi. Please, do give us a chance. Or have you fallen in love with that pen friend of yours?” asked Aryan.
“How do you know about my pen friend?” asked Vaishnavi and then Aryan’s silence told her the answer she needed to know. He was her anonymous friend, the one who wrote numerous emails to her every month and had become her closest friend throughout her engineering days until now.
“When I scribbled down your address, I had no definite agenda. But then, I wanted you to fall in love with me. So I started to email you. Initially you didn’t reply. Then you replied, and we have remained friends from then. Why do you think I opted to do my fellowship here? I knew you were here. I knew you lived in this place and frequently came for tea in this café. I was always just a step away. I have waited for long Vaishu, I can’t anymore,” said Aryan.
Vaishnavi stood staring at him and then slowly walked into his arms, one she had come to love through the many letters that she exchanged with him. Aryan hugged her with all the love he felt and raised his eyes to thank the creator.
His perfect stranger was his now, forever.
This post has been written for Indispire