sharp sunlight woke him. He looked outside the bus window and realized Delhi was here. He took an auto-rickshaw to college, overpaid the driver, found his room, freshened up and went to college on the dirt road that he would take almost everyday for the next four years. Years in which he struggled, discovered friendship, got insulted, experienced accomplishment, fell in love and, on one occasion, almost jumped from a roof three stories above the ground. Then, it was time to go.
It drizzled mildly as he waited for the car his dad had arranged to take his stuff home. He was with two of his friends: almost the last two people remaining on campus. People had been leaving all week, the usually exuberant young crowd in the canteen got thinner everyday. They spent some time in the canteen making small-talk over tea, last of an endless number of similar trips: it’s funny how trivial obsessions bring people together. The driver still wasn’t here. They decided to get out and take a walk—the weather seemed encouraging.
There wasn’t much to talk now, it’s one of those strange times: the last few moments that mark the end of a phase. Those fugitive moments that hang in a state of suspended animation, being neither in the past, present or the future. Like droplets hanging at tree branches after a heavy rain, in a last attempt to retain their identity before dropping and becoming an indistinguishable part of the giant monolith: the past. It seems useless to start one of your usual conversation, because in all probability, it will be interrupted much before reaching its natural conclusion, and saying goodbye is something everyone wants to delay because you never really know how to say it. Thus, they walked idly, with a small comment here and there, but mostly in silence. The phone rang, it was the driver.
The car arrived. It was a pretty nice car, he hadn’t expected that. He allowed mild excitement to occupy a small portion of his mind, the rest filled by immense nostalgia. He said goodbye to his friends and exchanged the usual “Keep in touch!” and “I’ll miss you so much”, followed by hugs. Hugging her, he felt something strange and then recognized it as the realization that despite being close friends for over 3 years, this was the first time they had actually hugged. It wasn’t important, just strange. He took the front seat and waved at them as the car started, with a faint hope in some part of his mind that something would happen—may be the car engine will break down—that will delay the departure by a few precious moments. But nothing happened. 8 hours later, he was back home. 44 days later, he left for Bangalore.