Rohit’s train will depart from Howrah at 2.30 p.m. He bought a newspaper and some light food and then entered the Waiting Room to be used only by the passengers who have reserved tickets. He kept the luggage beside him and unfolded the newspaper. It was evident that he found it hard to concentrate on the contents of the newspaper in detail. He was looking at his watch continually and biting his nails nervously. His expectant eyes surveyed everything surrounding him and was trying to sieve from the crowd of strangers the person after his heart.
He said to himself, “How can she be so indifferent to me? I have told her to come early, and yet the least trace of her is not visible all around. His biggest concern is why she is not receiving his call?
The question that was uppermost in his mind was “Do I have no place in her heart?”
He has called her at least thirty times but no response. If she failed to take her mobile phone, then someone at home might have received it. If unavoidable circumstance has prevented her from joining, then she might have informed him in advance.
Innumerable questions started whirling inside his brain. He can do nothing except waiting anxiously at the Waiting Room.
Rohit and Sunita were close acquaintances since the college days. Now both Sunita and Rohit are doing their PhD under the same Research Supervisor in the University. They were to attend a seminar to be held in Cuttack the next day. Rohit was eagerly awaiting this event because it would provide him with the opportunity of pouring out his heart to Sunita. Spending enough time with her will enable him to understand her mind and understand her feelings much better. The event, he hopes, will ensure him whether she also loves him or not.
The other day, after consulting the Supervisor, as they came out of the university, Sunita told Rohit, “Have you eaten anything?”
“No, let us eat something”, replied Rohit.
Sunita nodded her head in agreement. As they were relishing the delicious chowmin in the most popular restaurant in the town, Rohit inwardly thought, “Sunita is always very careful about my necessities. Is it possible to be so careful of one’s necessities, without loving that person?”
Rohit told her, “You are so much careful about me, Sunita”
Sunita only smiled, and said “You are my friend, isn’t it?”
Then she changed the topic of their conversation immediately and left him in such a haste that it created hope in Rohit’s heart, and then there emerged the prospects of romantic intimacy that the seminar would confer.
For the last two or three days Rohit was visualisizing the journey with her on the train. Their seats are reserved side by side. Rohit cannot just imagine that they’ll be so close to each other for such a long span of time. The seminar is on Sunday. Today is Saturday. They will return on Monday. Rohit hoped to express his love for Sunita and Sunita, he hopes, will return his love. Joy permeated Rohit’s whole being. His unbounded joy was evident in his movement, body language, and behavior with others. It was decided that they would meet in the Waiting Room at Howrah station.
Yesterday, Rohit called him and Sunita received his call, saying “Rohit, I’ll catch the 9.30 train and would reach Howrah by 11.30. Reaching Howrah, I’ll ring you. So, don’t worry and have a sound sleep”.
Rohit could not sleep till late at night. An inexplicable excitement gripped his heart. He was obsessed with the thought of Sunita.
He thought, “Let the night be over and there’s heavenly bliss awaiting him. Being next to Sunita is being in Heaven. Time flits unawares in such an environment.
In the midst of these pleasant reveries, momentary thoughts of doubts and fears crept in, as if telling Rohit, “Rohit, why are you so confident that your hopes will not be dashed into pieces?”
Again, Rohit became confident, and thought, “If she’s not in love with me, then why she confides everything to me.”
Rohit is swinging from optimism to pessimism, though the former is predominant. Rohit was in a jubilant mood when he left home at 8.30 a.m. in the morning today. The much-awaited moment when he would meet Sunita in the Railway Waiting Room was very near. He only wished, “Let the coming three hours be squeezed into one temporary moment and be vanished in the twinkling of an eye.”
He could not suppress his excitement. He took the mobile phone in his hand and dialed her number. He knew that Sunita would be busy now, taking preparations to catch the 10.30 train at Chandannagar station, their nearest Railway station. Both of them would reach Howrah around 11.30 and they would take their lunch there and would have quite some time in their hands to sit in the Waiting Room before boarding their train scheduled to depart at 2.30. It only means that waiting there would act as a kind of preamble to their romantic journey.
But things started happening in the reverse way for Rohit. The act of waiting in the Waiting room proved to be the most cumbersome. Things might have been different, had Sunita accompanied him there. His eager eyes surveyed everything surrounding him in search of Sunita and his expectant ears longed for hearing her voice.
His anxiety turned into anger as she failed to keep her words. The broken vow is terrible to bear.
It was almost 2 p.m. and the train entered the platform no. 19. He felt that he would become crazy. He could not decide whether he would return home or board the train to attend the seminar tomorrow. After all, this time at least the seminar was secondary. To enter into a romantic relationship with Sunita with certainty was his primary aim. When despondency had done its worst and it was gnawing his heart, he heard a voice, “Rohit, hurry up. The train has arrived at the platform.”
A mixed feeling of unbounded joy and utter surprise was on Rohit’s face.
He asked Sunita, “What’s the matter with you, Sunita? What do all these things mean?”
Sunita replied, I have tried my best to hide myself, though I was very near you. I tried to read your feelings, feelings that my absence creates in you.”
Then exceeding all limits of Rohit’s expectations, Sunita declared, “I love you, Rohit”