He is sad. He is upset. His heart broke moments ago. He wants to cry. But he is standing at the University’s youth café and tears in eyes would just look out place.
Kamran comes to the Castro café everyday, except on Sunday or on holidays, for this is where he saw her for the first time. He still remembers what Huma was wearing that day. Black jeans and a peach-red pullover as her beautiful skin glowed in the sunny December afternoon. She was sitting in a circle with her friends. There were three girls. Two of them were really beautiful. But he does not care now. All he is thinking now is about her. He did not though like the two boys sitting next to her. Perhaps, he saw potential rivals in them. Just then he found her turning, and their eyes met in a flash. Immediately both moved their heads. But he could not desist, and wanted to catch another glimpse of her, he caught her turning too. Once. Twice. Thrice. He kept counting. Twenty-nine times in all. “Kamran time for class, lets move”, said his ever serious friend Raman.
From that day onwards, he came routinely there, gathering all his courage and resolving every time, ‘come what may, I am definitely going to talk to her today.’ It’s been months though. He has not yet mustered enough chivalry. Every time he thought of her, he said to himself “she is so beautiful.” All his contacts, and their contacts, and their contacts had confirmed to him that she is very “rich and modern” and had her schooling in Mayo College. And he is from rural Arharia district of Bihar. All he can speak in English is at best pidgin. Today, he is a bit confident though. She smiled when he entered the café. He is certain, even she likes him. Just when he decided to proceed, the old Nokia 2100 mobile in his pocket rang. It was an unknown number. But looking at it, he could guess it was from Arharia. His uncle Aftab Shah had called. Their families are not on talking terms, but he calls sometimes. Everyone in the village is so proud of him. He is doing Engineering, and that too Civil. None in his village has been Engineer so far, except Shahid, son of Chaudhary Shahab. But he is now in UK. Villagers expect Kamran to build a dam to protect them from Bihar’s sorrow- River Kosi.
“Chacha is everything fine” Kamaran asked callously. “No beta. I am calling from a camp. Last night Kosi was over flooded and ruined our village,” the voice replied. Chacha told him that his mother, twelve year old sister, and all his seven cows were engulfed in the river.
His father was already dead. In a moment his world has turned upside down. All cows dead, means no milk. Who will fund his education now? His little sister is also drowned. And his mother, she bore through all the pains of life on her shoulders to see him become an Engineer. But she is no more, and perhaps he will never be able to complete his course either. Two years are still left.
As he is trying to move his heavy feet, he saw Huma sitting with her friends. He does not want to look at her, although she is still glowing as always. He walks slowly towards the gate thinking about the world- his father, his mother, sister, chacha, and career. He did not want to cry, but tears rolled down from his eyes.