“I am just so lucky,” Sheetal thought to herself as she sipped her coffee, cuddled up on a sofa one rainy June afternoon. A faint smile played on her tiny lips as dimples dug deep in her cheeks.
Life really had been too good to Sheetal. The only child of doting parents and the only girl child in the family in a century, Sheetal had been spoilt rotten by parents, grandparents, relatives …sometimes even friends! This was compounded by the impeccable academic record she’d maintained throughout school. Everyone was just proud of her.
It’s her stellar performance in 12th that won her a ticket to her dream college, one of the best in the country and certainly the best in her city. Today was the tenth day of Sheetal’s first year and her teenage heart was still excited and exhilarated by the amazing new world called “college”- where you could not only wear what you liked but also bunk classes sometimes, and get ragged (she secretly admitted she liked all that attention the senior guys were paying her)!
And then there was “chilling out”-something Sheetal dearly missed in school. Neha, Sheetal’s best friend since the age of three, had joined the same college in the same department (“God! How could I be so lucky?”). Sheetal, Neha and Rahul had already formed a gang and were inseparable from one another. Sheetal was amazed herself by the way the three of them had bonded so quickly and so deeply.
There was something else too. There was Rahul. Sheetal had secretly fallen in love with him the moment she laid her eyes on him. Fantasizing about that moment had become one of her favourite pastimes of late. There he was-in his most ordinary striped t-shirt, sea-blue jeans and rimless glasses. And Sheetal just totally lost herself. All she could manage was a faint smile and a tentative “hi!”… And they had become instant friends. Neha had naturally joined almost immediately.
Sheetal was reliving her first day in college for the thousandth time when she was forced back to reality by the sound of “Raat Kali Ek Khwaab Mein Aayi”. Neha was calling. Sheetal’s smile broadened as she picked up the phone.
“Hi! What’s up?”
“Nothing. Just checking up on my sweet little best friend.”
“Excellent idea…if it were true! But knowing you-it isn’t.”, Sheetal was laughing as she pulled Neha’s leg, “There’s surely something that you’re itching to tell me.”
“Cummon! Don’t be so mean! Can’t I call you just like that?”
“Chalo cut the bakhwaas and come to the point.” Growing up together does that to you-you can’t but know what’s there on the other person’s mind.
“Umm…well…in a way you’re right. There is something. Nothing important though. It’s a little secret of mine, and like always, I can’t keep secrets from you. You’re right-I was actually itching to tell someone, and that’s because I’m happy, and when you’re happy you want to share your happiness with others…” Neha was speaking too fast. Her obvious embarrassment dug another dimple in Sheetal’s cheek.
“It’s about Rahul,” Neha continued. “He is just amazing isn’t he? …You know what?” Neha seemed to be blushing, “I think I’m starting to like him.”
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