Updated: Sep 16
On my way back home, I was lost in my thoughts. I kept asking myself, “Why does he seem so attractive? Is it because he possesses everything I ever hoped for? Or is it because no one I have ever seen is at least half charming as he is?”
Even after reaching home, nothing seemed to bother me. Neither the neighbour’s barking Pomeranian nor the whistle of the pressure cooker. Putting my bag aside, I took a shower.
As soon as I exited the washroom, Meera snapped her fingers before asking me, “Naina, what is wrong with you?”
Surprised by her question, I replied, “Nothing! Why do you ask?”
Settling down in her study chair, Meera pointed out, “Are you hypnotized?”
For some reason, I didn’t like her intervention in my dreams, at least not yet. Absentmindedly, I asked, “What’s the matter Meera?”
Staring at me, she mentioned, “I never knew all these years that you took a shower with your clothes on.”
As much as it sounded crazy, that is exactly what just happened. I was so immersed in my daydreaming that I didn’t even care to observe my clothes were still on me. Looking at me, Meera laughed.
Changing my clothes, I lay on my bed. Getting back to my questions, I asked myself again, “What is this feeling called? Is it love? Is it infatuation? Is it an attraction?”
A few hours later, Meera called me for dinner. When I returned after dinner to our room, I took out my diary and headed to the balcony, sitting in Meera’s rocking chair and cherishing the cold night lit by moonlight. I took a deep breath before opening my diary. In the first page of it, I had written a year ago.
“While the two souls cherish the graces of the eternal moon. While their thoughts are cleansed by the waves and the cold air thickens their affection. They shall become forever one.”
I adored poetry and whenever I had time, I wrote a few poems and stories in my diary. It was a way to express my intense feelings. In a way, I believed that these poems defined who I was. Opening a new page, I wrote with my black ink pen as always:
“Love has never been as dominant on me as it has been today and my thoughts have never been so confusing. I know I am dumb and I know no one could not be more foolish. Honestly, I don’t even know the difference between infatuation and attraction, nor do I know if they are both the same. But I know one thing, from this moment, he is mine. No matter what, he is mine and nothing would please me more than me being his.”
I stopped for a moment and wondered if he would accept me. The very thought of proposing to him made me fearful. I couldn’t imagine being heartbroken and becoming a person who embraces the darkness. I prayed to the Gods that such a day shouldn’t arrive.
Within the next few moments, I fell asleep in the rocking chair as the clock ticked away for the next 6 hours. When I woke up, I could feel the gentle red rays with mild heat touching me.
Looking at the sun waking up, I picked up my phone and called Neel. As soon as he answered the call, he drowsily asked me, “Hello… What’s the matter Naina?”
Looking at the red ball in the sky, I exclaimed, “The Sun looks radiant Neel. I think he is waiting for you to take a snap. Maybe you should wake up and capture him before he goes wild.”
Fed up, Neel shouted, “Rithika just called me to say good morning. Honestly will my day change because of her wishes? And now you are instructing me to take pictures of the Sun? Will you girls let me sleep!”
Finishing his sentence, he cut the call. Putting my phone back in my pocket, I thought, “Apparently Rithika keeps him busy.”
When the time was 7:30 a.m., I woke Meera up. I dressed up in a white kurta with a peacock blue-edged border complimenting it with a peacock blue dupatta. I added my own touch of beauty to my face with kajal to my black eyes, wearing bangles and nice gold jhumkas.
We started our third day at the Shells Department. On reporting, we were asked to meet Mr Pratap. As we reached Pratap’s chamber, I was awestruck by seeing him.
Looking at my Prince Charming speaking to Mr Pratap, I wondered, “Could the day start any better?”
As I looked at him, my eyes moved all around but came back to the same point again and again. Finishing his discussion, my Prince Charming left soon enough and looking at us, Mr Pratap smiled before saying, “Hello students. Let me welcome you to Ragan Industries. I’m Pratap Malhotra and today, let’s tour around the Shells Department.”
All of us were so relieved when we heard Mr Pratap. For the first time since our arrival, it felt like our internship had begun. Exiting the chamber, we headed to the shell workshop.
As we entered, all of us were amazed looking at the huge dome. The workshop was so huge that Alokya exclaimed, “Everyone in my village can be accommodated here.”
Most of the employees wore orange shirts with fluorescent stripes while some of them wore formal with either white or blue caps. I presumed the colour of their caps represented their ranking.
While looking around, we were given caps after we submitted our bags near the entrance. Waiting for us until we took our caps, Pratap stated, “This is the complete Production Department and in my opinion, it is the heart of the industry. Maybe because the end products are manufactured here.”
As we walked, we could hear alarms signalling the timings in order to inform the workers about their shifts. We could see so many workers draining their energy continuously to manufacture a product. Stopping by at every step, Pratap explained the work. His explanation was so fabulous that time passed off without us noticing. Later, I honestly felt that every mechanical engineer must visit one such workshop. Maybe it isn’t often that students get to see their theoretical knowledge being practically implemented.
As soon as the clock ticked 12:30 p.m., Pratap sent us to eat our lunch. He was even kind enough to ask us to return by 2 p.m.
Feeling glad about the change of supervisor, Neel and I headed to the canteen to eat lunch while Alokya and Meera stayed back eating snacks.
As we ate our lunch, I could see the weird-looking guy who was thin, and fair with a shaved head staring at me while he stood near the counter. Eating his food, Neel could see me feeling uncomfortable. Hoping to help, he asked, “Is everything alright?”
I hesitantly replied, “Yes.”
Though my answer didn’t convince him, he just stayed silent. He even saw me looking at the guy near the counter.
After lunch, we spent the next few hours touring the workshop. By the time it was 6 p.m., Meera and I reached home.
Honestly, I loved Meera’s family. Every activity throughout the day was well planned and executed, unlike in my home. As soon as we finished eating dinner, Meera and her mother visited their family friends while I stayed back hoping to spend some time all by myself. Resting in my rocking chair, I skimmed through the WhatsApp chats and Facebook news feed. Before I started writing my diary, I fell asleep.
Day 4: Dear Diary, Everywhere I go, the first thing I do is search for him. But my Prince Charming was nowhere to be found. However, we still had fun!
Day 14: Dear Diary, Interacted with Mr Pankaj in the Press Shop and our tour of his department was amazing. However, Mr Pankaj’s communication skills were terrible. There wasn’t even a moment when we could stop ourselves from laughing. On a side note, I still couldn’t find him.
Day 18: Dear Diary, Our tour in the Production Department has almost come to an end. However, my search for Prince Charming isn’t successful. Trust me, I am starting to wonder if he is an employee of this company. Maybe he is not because he is nowhere to be found.
Day 20: Dear Diary, I have never been stalked in my life. This weird guy (weirdo) is making me feel uncomfortable during lunch every day. No one has ever bothered me except him to date. I wish my internship comes to an end as neither my heart nor my thoughts remain peaceful. On a side note, I will be meeting Mr Pratap to enquire about our plan for the next ten days since our tour in Production House is complete.
The next day at 10:15 a.m., Meera and I visited Mr Pratap. Knocking on his chamber door, I asked, “Sir, can we come in?”
Looking at us, Pratap instructed, “Come in girls!”
As we entered, Pratap asked, “So tell me. How is your tour in the Production House going?”
Looking at his chubby cheeks, I replied, “We’ve almost finished visiting all the departments’ sir. We want further instructions.”
Recalling the names of various departments, Pratap curiously asked, “Did your team visit the Heat Exchangers Department?”
Thinking about it for a moment, Meera replied, “No sir. Not yet.”
Clapping his hand in excitement, Pratap said, “It’s settled then. You’ll be visiting the Heat Exchangers Department next.”
While both of us nodded in agreement, Pratap mentioned, “Thank you, girls, for visiting me on the weekend. Especially for such a short meeting.”
While I just smiled, Meera replied, “Not at all a problem sir. We wish you a happy journey.”
Coming back home on Meera’s scooter, we ate lunch in our room while watching Frozen. On Monday, all four of us visited the Heat Exchangers Department.
As soon as we entered, kaboom there he is, my Prince Charming. Looking at him, I cursed myself for not getting dressed up. However, I never expected to meet him during my internship anyway.
He wore a light blue shirt and black pants. His attire matched with his body’s shape and he had neatly trimmed his facial hair along his strong jawline. He wore a fat metal wristwatch and his face held a charming smile.
After introducing himself to us and getting to know our names, he explained to us everything about the department and honestly, not a word went into my head.
I kept watching him and time just faded like never before. His silky hair and sweet voice held my heart and I was honestly his captive, bound by love. Within no time, he instructed us to take a lunch break and as usual, Neel and I went to the canteen while Meera and Alokya had their lunch boxes.
Taking our food at the counter, we settled down. I was so happy that I met him finally and would get to spend the next ten days with him. As I ate my food, I could see the Weirdo staring at me. This time, as soon as I started eating, the weirdo walked to me and sat in the chair facing me.
The first sentence that the thin pale guy said was, “Naina, you look absolutely beautiful.”
While Neel and I were shocked, the weirdo continued saying, “Would you like to join me for a cup of coffee?”
I wondered, “What does he think of himself? How dare he ask me to join him for coffee after intimidating me for weeks?”
Meanwhile, Neel replied, “If I were you, I would leave right now.”
Looking at Neel as he sat beside me, the weirdo replied, “Back off. I’m waiting for the charismatic girl’s response.”
Following the weirdo’s sentence, I shouted, “No!”
To which he right away asked, “But why?”
Though I had many reasons to tell him, I preferred to teach him a lesson. I held Neel’s hand before exclaiming, “Because he is my boyfriend and you are going to be punished for the inconvenience you have caused me the last two weeks.”
As soon as I finished, Neel played along and hit the weirdo so hard on his face that he crashed on the table. While everyone in the canteen was staring at us, I warned the weirdo by saying, “Never trouble a girl ever again!”
This novella is available in paperback & ebook.