Chapter 1 – After Vacation Break
Siddharth and Avinash are 2nd year students of B.E (Electronics) course in Rourkela Institute of Engineering. They live in the college hostel and are roommates.
Siddharth has a broad chest, dark complexion and an average height. He is very serious in life. Siddharth belongs to an upper middle class family. His parents are in banking jobs. He has a younger brother studying in class 11. His family is settled in Ranchi.
Avinash on the other hand, tall, fair and slim is a happy go-lucky guy. He flirts a lot. Avinash‘s mother is a homemaker and his father works in an oil company (MNC). He has an elder sister who is married to an IAS officer and settled in Delhi. His family is settled in Dhahi, Bihar.
Siddharth – Avinash, get up. We are getting late to college. Today is first day of 2nd year.
Avinash – Let me sleep yaar for 10 more minutes.
Siddharth – Shut up!
Siddharth kicks Avinash and warns him ‘If you don’t get up in another 5 minutes, I will pour water on you’.
Avinash, finally relenting to Sid (Siddharth’s nickname) says – ‘Ok, I got up. No, need to do any further tactics’.
Sid – Haha! Fast, we need to leave.
Avinash – Today is first day of our juniors. We can do seniorgiri now and who knows, we might find someone special.
Sid – Yes Avi (Avinash’s nickname), you will get some more girls to flirt with. Wear a new shirt, put a nice perfume and put some more hair gel so that your hairs are set from morning to evening. Just dress like a perfect gentleman. You and your bullshit!!!
Avi – You always make fun of me…….
Sid and Avi leave for their college which is two blocks away from their hostel.
Sid – Today college seems pretty crowded! I think it’s all these 1st year students rambling from one block to another.
Avi – Hmm…right! Look at those confused faces, reminds me of my first day! You just don’t know where to go. Don’t understand why they don’t put up a board at the gate for instructions on where to go for all branches. That will make life easier for 1st year students.
Sid and Avi look backward feeling that someone was calling them. They see a beautiful and curvaceous girl with an average height approaching them. Her looks will make anyone just go crazy about her. She introduces herself as Sunaina Mehrotra.
Sunaina – Hi, Can you please help me! I am a 1st year student from B.E (Electrical). Can you tell me where my class is?
Avi – Hi, I am Avinash Malik, 2nd year student. This is Siddharth Singh, my friend. We are your seniors. Introduce yourself.
Sunaina – I am Sunaina Mehrotra from Delhi. I did my schooling from Delhi Public School (DPS) and now have got admission in B.E (Electrical) in this college. My parents run a steel business. My hobbies are travelling, shopping and listening to music.
Avi- Ammm…this is a very brief introduction! You can share more details.
Sid gives a side – glance to Avi gesturing him to stop and says ‘No, its fine for today. Take the stairs across the hallway and then left on the first floor. Just adjacent to the Electrical lab, you will find your class. Now we should leave, we are getting late.’
Sunaina says ‘Thank you’ and follows the directions given by Sid.
Classes start for all years in full gear. All students are fresh from a vacation break so everyone including the teachers is full of energy and enthusiasm.
It’s lunch break. Sunaina and Neha (her roommate) are sitting in the canteen at a corner table, munching their food silently. Sunaina had ordered a South Indian thali and Neha, a masala aloo sandwich.
Avi – Hey Sunaina! What’s up? How has your first day gone till now?
Sunaina – Nice!
Sid – Can we join you guys? The place is pretty crowded and we are unable to find a table for ourselves.
Sunaina – Sure, no problem.
Sid – Thanks.
Avi, noticing the other girl sitting beside Sunaina – Hey, she is your friend!
Sunaina – She is Neha Dhigre, my roommate and batch mate both.
Avi looking towards Neha, ‘Tell us about yourself?’
Sid – No, have your food first. Once you are finished, you can do it.
Neha – Hmm, nodding her head in agreement.
Neha has a petite frame and looks weak. She might have been pretty at some point in her life but right now it is as if she has cried a lot or she is straight from the hospital. Despite that, her eyes are very beautiful and innocent which creates a charm of their own.
After finishing food, Neha gives an introduction about herself –
‘I am Neha Dhigre. I have joined B.E (Electrical) course in this college. I am from Delhi and done schooling in DPS. My mother is a homemaker and dad is branch manager in SBI bank. My hobbies are reading and listening to music.’
Sunaina in the meantime (while Neha was introducing herself) is thinking something and having a doubtful expression on her face.
Avi- Oh, you both are from Delhi.
Looking at Sunaina, Avi with a smirk on his face says – Wow yaar, same city and same school! Don’t you guys know each other from before!
Sunaina and Neha both get shocked at Avi’s question. Neha is silent, not knowing what to say when Sunaina suddenly comes up with an answer – ‘Oh! We both were in different branches so haven’t seen each other before. I was in Jankipuram branch and she was in Lajpat Nagar.’
Avi – Hmm…
Sid – Let’s leave. We have a basketball practice session now. Bye girls.
Avi waves his hand back at the girls. They see the boys leaving through the canteen backdoor towards the ground.
Neha is thinking ‘Have I seen Sid before? Do I know him?’ She tries to recollect but can’t recall anything. Her train of thoughts is interrupted by Sunaina who is asking her something in an angry tone.
Sunaina – I am talking to you. Are you listening? What’s wrong with you? Where are you lost all the time? I have been hearing your intro since morning. The details change every now and then. Why are you lying? Who are you?
Neha – Ammm…
She is silent, not sure what to say.
Sunaina – Are you saying something? I will not leave you until I get an answer.
Neha – Ok, I will tell you the truth but you have to promise you are not telling anyone.
Sunaina – Hmm, I will not tell. No worries!
Neha – I had a car accident a year ago. I lost my family in the accident. Also, I don’t remember anything about my past – my identity, where I belong, etc.
Sunaina – How do you know your family is dead when you don’t remember anything?
Neha – On the day of that fatal accident, a passer-by stopped by, saw that my parents were dead by the time he reached and I was the only one who was breathing then so he admitted me to a nearby hospital. I was there in the hospital for a month. Post that, the passer-by took me to an orphanage of which he was the sponsor. He is also on the board of this college so with his patronage, I got admission here.
Sunaina, shocked by hearing her story says ‘I am sorry’
Neha – It’s ok but please don’t tell anyone. I don’t want sympathy and all; don’t want to be the fodder for college gossip mill.
Sunaina, patting her back assures her saying ‘Don’t worry. I will keep my promise’.
Sunaina and Neha leave for their next class. They are both lost in their own world, Sunaina on what Neha has just told and Neha trying to remember who is Sid and how does she know him.