“I see that you are reading a book”, said Surya rather sheepishly. “Great going, Einstein”, said he to himself.
She smiled while she spoke.
Oh, her smile was like the shine of a thousand moons. It could illuminate the darkest corners and caves of the world. Her eyes twinkled with a bright sparkle when she smiled.
Surya wanted to say something that sounded intelligent and did justice to his near-perfect grades and his intellect. But he could not think properly. His heart was racing and he wanted to run away and keep on running till his feet bled.
“Hi, I am Thushar”, chimed a voice behind him. Surya wheeled around to find Thushar standing by his side. Thushar offered his hand for a gentle handshake with Tanvi. She shook his hands and smiled at him.
“Hi, I am Tanvi”
“I suppose you have joined the college recently because we have not seen you around here before”, said Thushar.
“Yes, I am new here”
Surya could not help noticing that her voice was perfect too.
“Which course are you attending here?” asked Thushar. He knew the answer already, as he was the one who played the patient listener while Surya had been going on and on about Tanvi, over the past one week. She replied and Thushar talked to her further while Surya looked on. He had regained a semblance of his confidence by then and joined in the conversation. Tanvi was talking with an ease and grace that commanded respect. Even Thushar had to admit that Tanvi was very charming.
The three of them, walked out of the canteen and set off towards the academic block. A gentle breeze was blowing. The branches of the Gulmohar trees swayed to the unheard ditties borne by the breeze. The afternoon sun, about to give way to twilight, reached out with its gentle rays as if to caress the earth before bidding goodbye. The walk was relatively deserted and the scene before them was so very serene that Thushar suggested that they sit down for a while.
They sat down underneath a Gulmohar. Nobody spoke for some time. Surya had regained his composure and by then had begun to enjoy the company of Tanvi without any awkwardness. Thushar got up and made an excuse about having to work on an assignment and left.
“He can be a pain in the ass sometimes, but he remains a dependable friend”, thought Surya with a smile.
The silence was broken only by the soft whistle of the wind. Tanvi seemed lost in thought and was looking at the red flowers littered on the grass. Surya watched her and wished that time would cease its journey at that moment. “If time stops now, I will never win her. But I will always be looking at her and be in her presence for ever. What greater joy can I hope for?” he thought.
Surya felt a welling of emotions within him and wanted to express it. So for the first time in his life, he created a poem in his mind. He did not know whether it was a poem or a mere arrangement of words to rhyme, but he felt happy when he recited it over and over again in his mind.
“Love is the rose, that blossom in the heart
And spread the fragrance, that never depart”
Tanvi finally got up and Surya followed suit. They said a few parting words to each other and left. They had not spoken much since they sat down underneath the Gulmohar, but both felt that they had shared a lot. The rustling of the leaves and the whistle of the breeze had done the talking for them.
Surya rode his bike home happier than he had been in a long time. Tanvi, felt intrigued by this person with whom she had spoken next to nothing and yet shared much. The Gulmohar stood in the walk and seemed pleased at having given its shade to the bloom of a new love.
Many years have passed since that day Surya and Tanvi sat underneath that tree. If you visit the college, you will still find the Gulmohar standing in the walk covered with blood-red flowers gently swaying in the breeze. If you listen closely, you will hear numerous ballads of love, crooned into the wind by this Gulmohar tree. Even to this day, young people on the verge of falling in love sit under the tree and feel the symphony created by it. All one needs to feel that heavenly music is to keep an open mind.
Surya and Tanvi had not realized back then that they had embarked upon a journey that intertwined their lives. They met again the next day under the Gulmohar and the day after that and so on until it became a ritual. They would sit under the tree and chat for a while and then quietly listen to the murmur of Nature. Their friendship grew stronger.
Tanvi enjoyed Surya's company and Surya adored her. He was in love but did not profess his love to Tanvi. He took great care not to betray his feelings while he was with her. It was painful for him to hide his feelings thus and Thushar was angry with Surya when even after a year, Surya had not confessed his true feelings to Tanvi.
"You are a chicken.", Thushar would say and with that would do a crude imitation of a chicken flapping around and it always infuriated Surya. He wanted to tell her everything but could not. He was happy to be around her and at the same time miserable.Finally things came to such a pass that Thushar could no longer take any more of it and threatened Surya that he would tell Tanvi the whole story unless he did it himself. Surya and Thushar were in the third year of their college lives and were already making plans for jobs to apply for and the life after college. The Christmas holidays were approaching and Thushar set a deadline for Surya to tell all to Tanvi.