Leon turned off the ignition of his bike, took out the envelope from the bag, and kicked the side stand into place. Slowly, he walked towards the beaten up, dented red and black post-box, hanging miserably from a hook attached to a concrete electricity pole. His jaws clenched, his right hand balled tightly into a fist, almost tearing the envelope it was holding in its grip. The kick he’d applied to put his side-stand into place had been much sharper than necessary. Leon stood facing the mouth of the ugly post box staring at him. He looked at it, and for a moment almost thought it was laughing away at him. He knew he was tense. Taking a deep breath, he pushed with his hand, the letter it was holding into the post box. His hand was now inside the post box, the iron plate of the box biting into the back of his palm. Suddenly, a bolt of electricity ran through his head. Violently, he pushed his hand out of the letter-box, took the envelope in both his hands and tore it to tiny, tiny pieces. ‘God damn! God damn…God damn this…this male superiority’ he spat out under his breathe as he walked to his bike, kicked the engine to life, and roared away. A sudden realisation had dawned upon him, that he was a big, big loser.
Leon and Lesa had been the hottest couple of their college since day one. As he had entered the college gates, uncomfortable in the formals, a group of seniors had snapped at him to come to them, and ordered him to propose to the hottest chic of his batch. And Leon, a class performer that he’d always been, had proposed to Lesa, Dil Chahta Hai style, after having sung ‘Mere sapnon ki Rani’ around her on a guitar with the whole college watching, having been collected around them in ever growing concentric circles. And Lesa knew that she ought to have either run away, or slapped this fellow’s head off. But she stood, looking at this package of boyish good looks, beautiful voice, deep black imploring eyes, and slim, but strong fingers confidently moving across the guitar fretboard with fascination, her face beaming with a slightly embarressed smile. And as soon as Leon had cried kneeling at her feet ,’Will you marry me?’, she’d replied in a low but gleeful voice, eagerly nodding her head up and down, a huge, silly smile on her lips ‘Yes, yes… of course’ and had run away, splitting the crowd into two as she did…
After that, the five years of their graduation and post graduation had been like a dream to them. Slow bike rides early in the cold of Delhi mornings, with her arms cozily wrapped around him, the exchange of giggles and smiles in the classes, the long walks in the beautiful parks of Lutyen’s Delhi on moist grass and behind thick bushes, sharing books, burgers, gifts, going pubbing, dancing, doing gigs together onstage and winning prizes, her rushing on to the ground and locking lips just after he’d scored a brilliant goal in inter university football, his scooping her up in his arms and dancing circles on the stage when she won the inter college dance competition…Lesa hopelessly in love, Leon the perfect showman. Their college life was stuff that every kid dreams of. And on their farewell party, they were unanimously voted as the ‘Best Couple’ of their college.
Like any kid with stars in his eyes, they walked out of the campus. To step into the world.
(To be continued…)
PS: This is the first part of a slightly longish story. Do tell me you find it.