Waiting at the ISBT, Guwahati, saw many buses leaving and coming into it. It was a big network of buses. I was complaining god for I was not able to get the love of my life. I continued with myself conversation and the bus that I booked arrived at the 29 terminus of the Bus stand just in front of me.
It was almost a genial night to travel. I was travelling from Guwahati to Sivasagar. It was almost half past 9 and the bus started in its trail. I took the window seat on the front row of the bus. The road side views are always delusional and exciting to me. As the bus honked, a girl entered almost fidgeting to her legs;shouting all-round. The conductor asked the bus driver to stop the bus and she entered. She haphazardly came near me and asked her booked seat which was just beside mine. And, so she happened to be the co-passenger for the night. As soon as, she settled, she winked at me. I felt awkward and weird for a stranger girl winking at some whom she never met or got introduced. I hesitantly smiled and helped her getting her space.
“You, kind of simple and gentle guy. I am sorry if I offended you, Mr…?”, she sighed and said simply.
“It is Riyan here. It is completely fine, Miss…?” I too got stuck as I didn’t know her name too.
“Hello, it is Chanchalaa here.” She uttered simply with a sweet tone.
“Chanchalaa??Did I hear correctly?” I asked her if I was wrong listening to her.
“Is that a bad name? What do you think?” She laughed and uttered crumbling her laughter.
“No, no.Very good but uncommon, I must say.” I replied her back.
“Am I not uncommon?” She said and winked at me again.
“Hmm… You are good, yes, yes…” I was left with no words to acknowledge her question.
The night was colder as usual. A stroke of wind crossed by face leaving me chilled. The wind blew her flocks of hair stranded with a pin. The flocks covered my face while swinging with the force of air. I was feeling un-comfortable as she was looking at my weird expression during the stroke.
“You don’t have girl friend, right?” She asked as I stared her.
“How do you know that?” I asked her back.
“Look at yourself. Almost dead as if you are not living at all. Live life as if you can feel everything.”She explained me with a smile at corner of her lips.
“I… I see…”I stammered as she was describing me.
“Do you understand something?” She inquired me if was actually listening to her.
“Yes, yes, I did listen to you. So you have boy-friend huh!” I answered with a gentle question.
“That’s like a good boy.” She said and pushed a wave of smile into her lips.
“Don’t you have some sleep?”A co-passenger shouted at me behind my back.
I looked back and apologized him. He said all right and went to sleep.
“You didn’t do anything wrong. You are not shouting. You are very meek, dear. Be bold. Otherwise, this world will leave you nowhere.
Though silently, we chatted about our lives, where she lives, where I live and what I do and she does and many-more.
“Do you know one thing, Chanchalaa? I tried to be very handsome and showy to get the dream girl of my love. I tried almost four years. Finally she flew with someone else.I was down and hurt. I was helpless. And, so I don’t have anyone special like you have.” I said looking outside the window.
“Remember, Riyan, be yourself whatever you are. Do not change for anyone. If someone has to love you, she will love you not your possession and looks. If she doesn’t do that, it is not love, it is a deal. And, so far as I know, love is not a deal, it’s caring someone, having someone who understands you and with whom you can live the whole life” She said and lifted my face with her soft index finger.
“You are experienced it seems, huh! I will remember your words.” I said and closed my eyes.
It was morning when I woke up and saw I already entered the Sivasagar Bus Stand. Chanchalaa already might have got down somewhere. It was clear sunny morning. I stood up and went down the bus.
“What, sir, what happened to you last night?” the bus conductor shouted.
“ What! What happened to me? I am all fine. Ok!” I replied.
“At the mid of the journey, when we stopped at Jokholabondha( a famous bus stop in between Sivasagar and Guwahati as you travel. Bus and trucks stop by to have rest awhile and to have dinner.), you didn’t come down with us. You are sleeping and dreaming. You are repeatedly saying a name… Something Chanchal..Chanch…liked that. Are you OK?” He told me with a confused tone.
“What? Yes, I was talking all the way with Miss Chanchalaa who was my co-passenger. What,you don’t see that?”I asked him simply.
“Sir, I think I didn’t see that passenger. I am having the passengers’ list with me. No such passenger boared to our bus last night, sir. I think you need rest. Catch you again, sir. Bye.” He said and went away.
I took out my handkerchief to swap sweat on my forehead. A paper fell down my pocket. I picked it up and saw something was written in it.
Dear, Riyan. I am Chanchalaa. You met me yesterday night. Don’t worry what the conductor said to you. He cannot see me, it was only you, dear, remember what I said last night. Try to be you, never change for anyone. You might be wondering who you were talking and advising you last night. Remember, before got into the bus, you are complaining to someone. I am possibly that figure. I am always with you. Don’t worry, be happy.
Yours dear Chanchalaa.
I sat down the concrete bench near the electronic store in the bus stand. I was feeling so fresh and clear. God exists and so does the love. I looked to the sky and said that I would remember your words, dear Chanchalaa.
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