At First Sight


The noon sun bore down with full force, the tarred ground glistening like steel in its wake. Warm beads of sweat slithered down her back, and she grimaced. What made it worse was sitting inside the cloistering environment of the school bus, especially one that had been parked in full view of the sun for hours perhaps. She almost felt giddy, thinking of the one hour impending journey.

The bus was parked at the side of the school ground. Sitting near the driver’s seat, she watched as the kids from kindergarten piled inside. There was much jostling and animated conversation amongst them. A couple of them came and sat next to her, looking at her with a mixture of suspicion and awe. She attempted a half-smile. Their expressions did not change much except that the suspicion probably increased.

She turned to look outside, at the ground. Her eyes fell on the huge white structure in the middle of the ground, the imposing structure’s brightness blinding her. Looking at it brought memories, of days past, and for a few moments she was lost in them, tiny frowns appearing on her perspiring forehead.

It was as if a cloud had cleared suddenly, because out of nowhere, her vision was caught by a movement. And a boy appeared as her eyes focused on the emerging form. He was tall, and … if her mind had been able to articulate just one word that would describe him that instant, it would have been: majestic.

His hair spotted tints of orange from the sunlight filtering through it, and little wisps of them moved as the wind went past them, flicking the edges gently. His walk had a lilt; athletic and supple, it was like his body was made for movement, even as all he was doing was walking across the ground. He wore the school uniform: white shirt and blue pants. Even from where she was sitting, she could make out that he was tall, for his age. He wasn’t wearing the customary tie; later she would reflect on it and think that it indicated perhaps, a streak of rebellion? His collar was open, and though his shirt was tucked, for her, he didn’t look like a school boy.  No, not yet a man, but not a child either.

As she watched him, a child of 7 or 8 ran into his tracks. He stopped for a brief moment, to avoid a potential clash. The child was inches away from him. His hand went to the younger one’s head, and with a brush of affection, the edges of his lips curved upwards and broke out into a grin. Within a second, his frame moved out of the child’s way, and he resumed his walk even as he turned for a brief instant to watch the child who was on his way.

She watched as if in a trance, unable to pull her eyes away as the tabloid unfolded in front of her. And even as she watched, the frame of another bus moved into her line of vision, and he was out of sight.

Her eyes continued staring at the spot she’d seen him last. A few seconds later, she pulled her eyes away and her consciousness returned to her environment – the heat, the babble of the kids nearby and the background cacophony of the school ground. The heat was so thick that it was almost like the air had stopped moving, and one could cut chunks out of the humidity, but she didn’t notice it anymore. Her thoughts went back to the boy.

It was weird, she reflected. That was probably the first time someone had captured her thought process so completely. Like the earth had stopped, the breath had been flushed out of her lungs and every pore on her body stood still, focused entirely on that one person.

Years later she would read about happenings like that, but for those moments, her chaste mind fumbled, unable to comprehend. She wondered how it was possible that despite the sweltering heat, one person could appear so unaffected by it. Hadn’t she seen the air move around him? Wind in his hair, and dust swirling around his feet? She smiled to herself …  ridiculous!

The sound of the bus starting jerked her out of her reverie. She felt a slow warm sensation around her cheeks. Sighing, she shook her head. Trying to get herself out of the thoughts that had occupied her mind for the last…5 minutes? Had it been only that much?

As the driver of the bus put the machine into first gear, she wondered to herself. Would she get to see him again?

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11 thoughts on “At First Sight

  1. Such a picturesque description that was. I could almost visualize the scenes happening in front of my eyes..or even happening with me 🙂
    Many a times, during those long gone school days, one has encountered similar situations n frame of mind! Great attention to detail.
    A beautiful little story. Just one question.. Is the protagonist you? 😉

    • @Shruti: What a better reward than to know that someone could relate personally to what you’ve tried to express through words. Thank you…very much!! 🙂

      School days and the freshness, purity that feelings like these had those days… *sigh*… growing up is sometimes no fun.

      and… *sneaky-grin* For your last question, I won’t answer it directly, but I’ll tell you that experience is the best inspiration…esp. for story telling ;-). And I know you can guess the answer now!

      • @Sonali: Yes, truly the best days ever :)… the way memories imprint themselves on your consciousness during those days, has to be experienced, to be understood.

  2. Amazing! Good to see you back to active blogging. Excelling piece of writing!

    Soliloquy:
    If only I had such good language, I’d have poured my feelings for a hundred girls in words. But, alas!

    • @Ajay: Active blogging – yup :). This time, I’ve rolled up my sleeves and made up my mind to do some justice to the “blogger” title, so you’ll definitely see more of me!

      And oh, that “poured my feelings for a hundred girls” …says quite a lot, I must say :D…good exercise for your heart eh? 😉 Hehe, hopefully you’ve succeeded in letting a few of those girls know of your *deep* feelings of yours!

      • No. I was a timid guy at college. That was an opportunity lost for sure, since those times won’t return. Finding solace reminding myself of tales of how unrequited love wrecked many 🙂

  3. I wish I could describe similar moments from my life with such articulation.

    My first accident was a result of such a moment. There was this beautiful *and this is an understatement* girl from an all-girls school that I used to totally admire.

    So one fine day I was driving my then-alive moped with the Aamir khan like elan.. and this girl’s school bus arrives. As usual, like pavlov’s dog, I look up to find her, like a morning ritual.

    And this gentleman, who decided to drive on the wrong side on that fateful morning, crashed into me. Or like he said, “I crashed into him”.

    All was lost. As if driving a moped to school wasn’t bad enough, I crashed on a moped.

    My stories never end on a happy note.. 🙂

    Anyway, this was a wonderful post.. How I landed here is a story too.. but we’ll spare the comment box..

    You should tweet blog posts methinks.. but I am just saying that because am too lousy when it comes to using feeds and blogrolls…

    Had a good time reading this..

    Cheers!

    Shantanu(@tantanoo)

    P.S.: Pleasantly surprised to see myself in the twitter pals list 🙂

    • @Shantanu: *Big Grin*… no matter how you landed here, I’m glad. I mean, what a wonderful way to start a morning – reading your inspirational pavlovs-dog-meets-moped-knocking-monster story, with the backdrop of love :D.

      Jokes apart, thank you for sharing that. Even if it didn’t have a happy ending, I enjoyed reading it :).

      As for tweeting the blogpost, yeah, you’re right. I shall do that the next time. #ShamelessSelfPromotionIsAlwaysAGoodThing.

      P.S: Always happy to get you “pleasantly surprised” :).

    • @Sorcy: Thanks very much! (*ego massaged considerably* ;-))

      P.S. … and before I forget to mention: Awesome blog you’ve got there! I’m already rolling on the floor laughing at some of those entries :D.

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