uly 8th, 2007. 5:15 pm, Near Canteen
Kirti and Vasu are standing along the road that eventually curves and leads to the college canteen. A car is standing right next to them; Shubham is putting in the last of his luggage. Vasu is holding the tiny fingers of Kirti’s left hand in his right one while using his left hand to hold one of her numerous bags, many of which are now in the car. Kirti is using her right hand to wipe out a tear, one of the many flowing down her cheeks in an endless stream. She hates goodbyes.
July 8th, 2007. 5:35 pm, Main Gate
The red car that Shubham’s Dad lent him just for this day is now standing at the front gate of the college, with Shubham at the wheels. He’s honking aimlessly at the car right in front of him, knowing that it’ll make no difference at all to the situation: it’s the last day of college, and every car going out today will have to get a clearance. Indifferent to all the commotion, Kirti, sitting on the front seat, is staring at the keychain in her hands. It’s a wooden artifact, and has just one letter written on it in great calligraphic flourish: V.
In a few days she’ll be flying to California for her master’s program in management, and this little key chain is going to be her only memory of Vasu. She couldn’t bring anything else, since it would raise questions in her extremely conservative family. So this little keychain is going to be her only souvenir of the year long affair with him. Of all the evenings spent walking around the campus for hours. Of their first kiss in the empty library at 2:15 pm when, in a stroke of chance, they found themselves completely alone in the chemistry section on the third floor. Of endless nights on phone talking about nothing at all: this little key chain, with V printed on one side.
July 8th, 2007. 5:35 pm, Boy’s Hostel
Vasu is putting a copy of “To Kill a Mockingbird”, in his backpack. This is his third copy of the same book; somehow guys in boy’s hostels are wont to borrow a book and then conveniently forget to return it, till of course asked for. This doesn’t work for Vasu at all, since he can almost never remember who borrowed which of his books, and is too ashamed to ask more than 5 people about it. He just prefers instead, to buy a new copy for himself when he can’t find one of his favorites.
The only other book in the backpack is a second hand copy — for a fresh copy could not be found — of “Life: A user’s Manual” by Georges Perec. On the first page just below the printed:
Look, with all your eyes look
there’s written, in beautiful handwriting:
For old times' sake
The book is in the backpack because he’ll will be reading it during his 16 hour long journey to his hometown, where he’ll stay for another three weeks with his family, before flying to Bangalore for his first job with one of the best software firms in the country.