Disclaimer: There is nothing special in this story. The plot, the characters and the events are very ordinary. Then again, should you go ahead and read, you might be amazed by the impact this ordinary chronicle will make through its sheer simplicity.
It’s an ordinary day for Shomi as she is getting ready to catch the bus for office. She mules over if she should wear that new pink kurta she has kept since last month to put on a special occasion. But it’s just been a minute and she dismisses the thought. Who cares!
Just as she is locking the door, she recalls that the classic she was reading last night, was left near her bedside table. She rushes back in to get it. The thought of travelling for an hour in the bus without a book gives her the chills. Yes, its stupid but such silly things scare her very easily. Any change in her routine and its like her whole world crashed and she has to build a new one right from scratch.
She is sitting in the bus, deeply immersed in her copy of ‘Shantaram’. She doesn’t even look outside the bus window to get a glimpse of the stop that just crossed. This is her usual route and her biological plus psychological clocks are well synched.
The guy is sitting in the rear part of the Volvo, facing Shomi. He has his iPod tucked at his jeans and volume ringing his ears at full bass. He is looking outside and inside the bus frequently because the place is new to him. He looks at the people around him, their stances, their activities, some humming the song playing on radio or their favorite playlist, some waiting to pounce on the seat going to be vacated, some sleeping, while some looking into infinity as if they are solving their complex trigonometry theorems all in mind.
He glances at Shomi and keeps coming back at her without any reason. ‘The girl is very ordinary’, he thinks. ‘But why is he not able to take his eyes away!’ he wonders. He likes the way she is tucking that pretty lock of her hair behind the ears. They seem to be disturbing her in some way. He likes the way she keeps pushing her glasses above as they start to hang over her nose every 2 minutes. He likes the way she hasn’t put any effort to look attractive. All in all, he concludes, he likes the way she is so ordinary.
As the end of an hour is approaching, so is Shomi’s bus stop. She reluctantly puts a bookmark to the current page, closes the novel and puts it in her bag. She is thinking if she can read a few pages in the tea break the team will have by the time she reaches office. Of course, she has fallen in love with this novel.
The guy notices that she is getting ready to get down. ‘Oh, so her stop has come. What do I do? It would be rude to approach her directly. But I should at least acknowledge her’. He takes a crumpled paper from his bag-pack and writes down a note to her.
‘Hey! I was sitting in the bus right across you and couldn’t help noticing you. But I thought it would not be very appropriate to approach you and I am not even sure I wanted to do that. So I just thought of letting you know that you are beautiful. I liked the way you have dressed up without dressing up. I liked the way you were smiling to yourself reading some funny (or may be romantic, I do not know) part in the book, and frowning at some not-so-sweet events rolling out. I liked the way you ignored every other person in the bus. I liked the way you were yourself and yet so different.’
Just as she is ready to get down the bus, the conductor taps Shomi over her shoulder. Oh, she forgot to take the change. The good-guy-conductor hands over the left change to Shomi along with a note. But she doesn’t have time to ask about the paper or return it back.
She reaches office and as expected, the team is going for a tea break. She excuses herself with some silly reason she had been making up all the way to the cabin and heads directly to her seat. She takes out her book and with that, the note falls on her lap. She starts to read it and her face gives a thousand expressions in those 2 minutes she takes to finish it.
Nothing has changed. But now, Shomi looks at herself in the mirror before leaving for office. She has a new bounce in every step. She gives a broader smile to a colleague or a friend passing by. Her arguments sound more confident and logical to her managers. In a way, she has become smarter and happier.
Nothing has changed. But this is the impact of an appreciation, albeit from a stranger. Do this for any girl you like, if you really like her in any sense, instead of terrorizing her with an indecent proposal for love or friendship and then cribbing about the absolute craziness with which she would react.