Going to a co ed college had been a big step in Padma’s student life. But considering that it was the best college in the country, it was also a rare honor for her. No one in her family had ever been there.
Coming as she did from a traditional family, Padma stayed in the shadows of the college campus trying her best not to draw attention to herself in her cotton salwar kameeze. She came in and left the classroom and the campus quietly. Nobody noticed her and she was glad that it was that way. She couldn’t imagine what she would have done if a smart boy or girl on campus had tried to speak to her.
It was two weeks into college, one cloudy afternoon, as she was sitting unobtrusively by a window inside the library that her entire life changed!
She heard the most divine melody wafting upwards from the quadrangle below.
Someone was playing Raag Malhar on the flute! There was no mistaking it !
She tried to drag her attention back to the seventh edition of “Advanced level physics by Nelkon and Parker” lying open in front of her. But try as much as she could, her mind refused to focus. It was as though someone or something was trying to take it over.
She bent over from the window trying to see who it was. But the musician remained out of sight.
Her mind was in a turmoil. She felt someone was calling out to her desperately. She wanted to know who was playing something so divine.
She shut the book and put it back into the shelf and started running downstairs.
The quadrangle was empty. Under normal circumstances she would have avoided cutting across it and drawing attention to herself. . But this wasn’t normal. There was something supernatural that was calling out to her.
The dark cloud in the meanwhile, unfolded into shards of lightening. But the rolling thunder did nothing to drown the divine sound. She watched him mesmerized as the first drops of rain began to fall.
His eyes were closed as his lips and fingers worked magic on air columns. His shoulder length hair was flying in the wind!
Even after fifteen years, that was the image that came to her mind every time she thought about him.
She did not know how long she had stood around like that. It was only when he had stopped playing that she realized where she was.
“You are completely drenched ” he had said opening his eyes and looking at her for the first time.
She shivered. Not so much from the cold dampness of her clothes but from the heat of his gaze.
“Come here. It is dry “ he had said indicating a spot next to him.
She had gone there as though drawn by an invisible string.
“Hi I am Madhav. Are you a fresher?” He had asked.
“Yes” she had nodded.
And thus had begun the most unusual relationship !.
Padma Srinivasan- B.Sc First year Physics, nerd of the first order, with the confidence of an ant and Madhav Menon, B.A Final year English , mysterious , loner with the conversation ability of a rock became what could only be called the “Odd couple” on campus.
He waited for her outside the lab or the library while she stood in the corner watching him complete his practice session with the college band.
Sometimes he played for her under the Frangipani tree in the corner of the campus. He often walked her to her bus stop and once they had walked all the way together to the end of her street in complete silence.
People didn’t know what to make of the relationship.
“Be careful. He is a crazy fellow. He probably does weed” said one of the girls in her class.
But Padma did not care. She lived for those moments that they spent together
( The Aroh has just begun)