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The meeting: Chapter one
He kept looking steadily in her direction. She found him irksome, this man. He had such an indifferent, cold stare and his stance was so rigid and why should he look at her like that. After a while, she started fidgeting because he just would not remove his stare, look how she may. She’d tried a slight tilt of her head and had given him a dubious look but he had seemed least bothered, glancing away very occasionally and that too, not when she was looking. So she resolved to stare back in turn at him. He was almost around 40, this man. How very startlingly fair, she suddenly thought, but looking closer, she observed he was an Anglo Indian. Now he was beginning to interest her. Then a funny thought overcame her, “Hey, doesn’t he look a bit like Rex Harrison in My fair Lady” she thought and sniggered to herself. Then it struck her that he was not actually looking at her, but he was looking at the paved pathway that ran alongside the college close to her. She suddenly blushed and turned away, determined not to embarrass herself by catching his attention and appearing strange and annoying.
The queue was growing tiresome; she’d always hated queues and at least, would have had some comfort if any of her friends had been with her. She was a very dependent person, given to a fond and affectionate nature and leaving her whole life behind, though it was just in another city quite close by was very devastating to a person like her. But yet, this morning she’d woken up in a high spirited mood. A sudden breeze blew chilly with promises of rain which elated her. And like a child, she glanced up at the skies with a watery smile, moved dramatically. Leaves began to rustle gently, now terrifically, and started to fall off and whirl around them in golden shades and huge dew drops fell from the sky landing cold and moist on her skin. She smiled joyously as the others with their files in hand, took to their heels to seek the pleasure of some shield or shelter against the approaching rain till only she and some frantic two who had lost their papers were left. Having found it, they too ran away as the heavy drizzle turned to a full downpour. Lost in a romantic moment, she stood silent, gazing up breathless and happy.
“Madam” sounded a far off voice.
“Madam” it sounded more loudly this time and now a tap on her shoulders.
And without another word, the fellow she’s been observing earlier took her elbow masterfully and dragged her along to the roofed canteen building.
She was shocked and petulant at having been thus treated and with a pout, turned away royally to stand as far away from him as possible. He did not seem to mind and gave a sort of half smile leaning grandly against the wall to glance outside at the rain.