Love Story on BIA12

May 25, 2014

With a half awake mind, I started to walk in January's chilly breeze. Thank god it doesn't snow in Bangalore, I thought. Cursing myself, I waited in the BTM bus stop for the BIA12, my ride to the airport. Gratitude to BMTC for the Volvo service to the airport.

I pulled the hoody over my head and thought may be a coffee could help. Rubbing my hand, I looked across the road. When I couldn't spot any cycle chai vendor, I stood there shivering in the cold. With my laptop bag hung on my back and one hand holding the stuffed travel bag, I closed my eyes for what you may call a quick power nap.

It must have been 15 minutes when the green bus with blinking 'BIA12' stopped in front of me with the conductor yelling “Airport...Airport”. When I saw his energy in this chilly weather, I thought may be he had his peg in the morning instead of evening. Whatever, I pushed my hoody back, picked my bag and got into the bus. When I felt warmer in the bus, I thanked my stars. I kept my bag in the luggage space and occupied one of the four face-to face seats. I never liked those seats because two monkeys would be sitting opposite to us with their legs colliding with the other two monkeys who would be facing them. And when suddenly the driver applies the brakes, two monkeys facing the front yell and fall over to the monkeys facing backwards literally hugging them. I had seen this plenty of times. I had valid reasons to sit there. As I am 6'3'', sitting at the back would have been a problem so to catch up on some of my lost sleep, I felt the monkeys seat would help me. After paying for the ticket I pulled the hoody over my head, put on the headphones on and closed my eyes.

When I got a good response to my “6 ft tall, fair complexion, IT by profession, 32-year-old, well settled in Bangalore, owns a flat, looking for educated, broad minded girl” matrimony ad I had asked myself “They like me or my assets”? Due to my mother's pressure I had published that ad in some matrimonial sites. As I wanted my own space, I had moved out of my parents' house three years ago. My parents were staying with my elder bother and his wife. It's since last year that my mother started reminding me of my marital status. To make her happy I had published that ad. 

To be honest, I never believed in arranged marriage where the girl's expectations overpower the boy's expectations - they reject a boy because he doesn’t have a car or a flat. I know practically these things are needed but I wanted to fall in love with somebody and marry without talking about my status or bank balance. I never tried explaining my philosophy to my mother because she will never understand. My dad on the other hand said only one thing - “Enjoy life as long as you are single and ready to mingle with beer, my dear”. I always loved my dad's attitude towards life. Live life on your own terms.


The rising sun was a witness of the heavy traffic on the road. I was dozing when the bus started filling up. Most of the people use the airport bus if it comes their way. I guess they feel paying INR 20 extra is far better then getting rubbed by the conductor. When I felt it was impossible to sleep I took my iPad and started to read the morning news. It's a habit - as soon I reach office, before checking my email I read the news because it relaxes your tensed muscles before you open up your flooded inbox. As I was lost in the world of news I didn’t realise an old man with a neck collar coming and sitting in front of me. As soon as his ass hit the seat he said “Can you keep your leg a bit to your side?” How I wanted to pull his neck collar and say “Can I keep it on your head?” Casting my fake smile which I use often in front of my boss I said “Sure”. When I could no longer take the man scanning me I closed my eyes. You see, when a girl stares at you it's a good sign but when a guy stares at you it's bad. Cursing the man and adjusting my legs, I increased the volume on my iPad as the loud radio playing in the bus was starting to get into my nerves. I tried to calm down and closed my eyes. When I opened my eyes in the next stop it was over crowded with office people. As the legs of the man sitting across me were touching mine, I felt I was being molested without my knowledge. I shut my eyes and dared not open again.

I was almost snoring soundly when my phone rang. When I saw it was my friend calling, I smiled. It was his wedding in Chennai that I was going to attend. I picked the call and started talking to him. It's then that my eyes fell on this lady sitting across me. When did the old man disappear and she come? Since when has she been sitting there? And like a jackass, I was sleeping!!! With my eyes on her I could hear my heart singing some romantic Hindi songs. May be it was playing a violin like in 'Main Hoon Na', I don't know. With my head leaning on the glass window, I looked at those closed eyes which were flaunting the neatly applied eyeliner - I thought she must be an expert to do that without spreading it. I had seen my sister-in-law fighting with the brush and rubbing it with tissue. With her free flowing unstraightened hair, she looked like a goddess to me. Her thick glasses were the proof of her nerdyness or excessive television watching; a question to ask for later, I thought. Rose color looked tempting on her lips. With the extra glow on them all I wanted was to taste them...I shook my head and tried to get hold of my mind. I didn’t like the direction in which it was going. The stole wrapped around her neck was hiding the rest of the view. Her hand bag was resting on her lap, right across my lap. I could smell her mild perfume in the air which tempted me to bend a bit and breathe it in. Her legs were slightly brushing against mine. I didn’t care, in fact I liked it and it felt so right. How I wanted her head to rest against my chest, my fingers itched to play with her hair. I don’t know how long I sat there drinking in her beauty. There was something about the way she was sitting that captivated my heart. It's then I realised that my friend was shouting on the phone. Telling him that I'll call him later (not at least for the next 3 hours) I disconnected the call.

She must have sensed me staring at her because the next thing I know, her eyes were open. I was caught off guard. Her eyes were jet black like her hair. She just looked at me and when she felt I was harmless went back to sleep. I must have moved my legs because she was staring at me again. I looked at her, gave her one of my cute little smiles and said “Sorry”. She just looked at me with her “Don’t you dare to do it again” look. As her eyes were open I couldn’t see her directly. But I didn’t stop watching her from under my lashes. With blue jeans and printed top she looked casual but professional. When I saw the size of her handbag, I just wondered whether she was carrying any cosmetics like other fashionable women I know from office. I looked at her closed eyes again and wondered what would be her name. It must be a melodious one like 'Summer' or the name of some Goddess? 

My phone started ringing in its usually Linkin Park song again. When I looked, it was my same friend calling me again. I smiled and said hello and he started blabbering something, which didn’t make any sense to me but I didn’t care. I sat there with the phone in my hand listening to my friend and watching the sleeping beauty in front of me. I searched her left hand for a wedding band. When I found none I knew this was 'my girl'. I don’t know how long I sat there drinking in her beauty, taking in all the minute things. Like her star shaped earring, neatly shaped long eyebrows, spectacle supported on a cute little nose and her rose colored lips. Lips which were tempting me. I shook my head and shook it hard this time. I never felt this way for any woman in my entire life. May be it was what they say “love at first sight”. Love, infatuation, I don’t know what the hell it was but all I knew was that with every passing minute, I was drowning deeper into this girl whose name I did not know. I wanted to listen to her talk, wanted to see her walk, wanted to see her smile. I brushed my hair with my fingers, wondering whether I was losing my mind. 

I cut my friend in between and said “I think I am falling in love”. My friend laughed his lungs out but when he sensed my seriousness he said “I believe you found your lady love today because till yesterday you were in good health and not infected by this love disease." I smiled and said “Yeah, right in front of me, taking a nap”. He said “most of the women look pretty and breathtaking only until their mouth is zipped and become bossy once they open their mouth." I didn’t say anything because I knew that nothing was going to change. I felt it in my bones. My friend continued, “If you still want to try just give a try buddy, wish you good luck. Call me once you reach Chennai Airport.” I disconnected the call and kept it in my bag. Suddenly, without my notice, her eyelids flapped open and she gave me a hard look. Something which I couldn’t decode, so I just looked out of the glass window. With my heart pounding heavy in my chest, butterflies flying high in my stomach, goose bumps swallowing up my skin, I felt my sixth sense warning me of the imminent storm. Slowly, I tried to look at her but when my sight collided with hers, I looked away like a kid who stole a candy. Pricky hot sun rays forced me to put my shades on.

The same conductor now stood next to my seat and scanned me for a while with his old specs and then looked at the lady sitting in front of me. May be he wanted to act as a warrior or impress the lady. He asked the lady “Madam, is he disturbing you” in his broken English. How I wanted to punch the guy on his big nose. The lady smiled with one of the sweetest smiles and said “No, nothing that I can't handle. Thank you anyways.” A mischievous smile appeared on my lips and she must have sensed it. As my eyes were masked with the shades she couldn’t see my eyes' delight. She said, “When they see a girl, men forget the world and start hitting on her, they forget their manners, their surroundings…”. I cut her in between and said “To be honest, ma'am, when they see a pretty lady sitting in front of them they can't resist themselves. They just admire the beauty. What's the use of beauty if it is not admired”. I was sure that she would fall for the compliment and laugh her heart out like other girls. Any tough girl would fall for the compliments that my brother had taught me. She didn’t smile. She sat there looking at me. 

Finally she said “You think I'll fall for that? You guys are born with these pickup lines.” There was a twinkle in my eyes and she missed the view, thanks to my shades. I laughed capturing other passengers' and the conductor's attention, the conductor who was now obviously jealous of me. I said “May be God thought such lines would come in handy for boys to live in this big world.” I was sure by now I had made her uncomfortable and at any moment she would change her seat. But at the moment even the seats were in my favour. No other seats were empty. I took it as a sign and continued looking at her. She said correcting, “to flirt in this world. You guys are never happy with one; always want another.” I removed my shades and bent a little so that only she could hear and said “I still don’t have one. I am looking at her and she is looking back me; lets see whether I'll have one by the end of the journey.” She must have sensed that I was not jesting and became serious. The blush on her cheeks was a proof. I said, “I don't mean any harm; you can relax” saying that I replaced my shades. 

I dont know how my legs collided with hers. It looked intentional but it was not. Before I could apologise, she smiled and I wondered what made her smile. She said “But I am harmful”. Saying that, she sprayed something that smelled like pepper into my eyes.” I screamed and cursed the guy who invented the spray and cursing the girl who I thought I almost married. Nobody came to my help as they thought it was right for me to suffer for tormenting the girl. I requested the driver to stop the bus for a while. Thank god my shades were on so the effect was not that much. I sprinkled water on my eyes and tried to ease the irritation. When the driver said he couldn't wait and either I had to get down from the bus or I get in, so I got into the bus thinking if I get down with my temporarily damaged eyes I would be mobbed. 

I started walking like a blind man inside the bus. People murmured “Good thing the girl taught him a lesson”, “Couldn’t he mind his own business…” I said “F***, I was minding my own business until she opened her mouth”. As my friend said “when the women open their mouth you want to run away from them”. I sat there in some seat which people directed me to. The girl must have enjoyed my suffering, I thought. I searched the girl from where I was seated. It didn’t take much long to spot her with those specs of hers. She looked at me. Covering one of my eyes with a hand, I saw her looking down apologetically. Girls are someone a minute ago and someone else the next. They do or say something and next minute you find them saying “Sorry”. Even though she sprayed that damn pepper spray on my eyes, I didn’t hate her. I loved her guts. With every passing minute I was more clear that she was the one I was going to marry. As my eyes were burning, I closed them and tried to ease the pain. With my eyes closed, I could sense her watching me with concern.

I must have dozed off for while because the next time I opened my eyes, the bus had stopped at Bangalore international airport. My eyes were burning badly. I thought the girl had damaged my eyes permanently. I looked at the seat where she was sitting. She was gone. I hurried and got up from my seat so that I could catch up with her before she got into her plane. It was then that I saw this Post-it slip saying “I am sorry” stuck on my bag. I smiled looking at her hand writing; very cute I thought. I picked my bag and got down from the bus. With my eyes burning with pain, heart pounding continuously, I was dying to find her. And there she was walking towards her terminal. With the handbag hung on her shoulder and other hand pulling her trolley I thought she didn’t even give a damn. But then suddenly she stopped. Slowly she turned back and stood there watching me. Like how they show in the typical Hindi movies. I thought even this can happen in reality. I was stoned to where I was standing thinking something bad would happen if I moved. I felt happy because I felt I found the girl I was going to marry, the girl who won my heart on this journey. With my ears filled with the sound of my uncontrollable heartbeats, I smiled at her and waved. She smiled at me and waved back. I felt like I was the first person who visited moon at that moment. Before I could walk towards her and talk to her. She turned back and walked into the crowded terminal. I stood there trying to understand what was really happening. I hurried towards the terminal where she was standing and tried to find her. I searched every corner but couldn’t spot her. Not even two minutes had passed and I already started missing her.When I inhaled her familiar faded perfume I got a little bit of comfort in that crowded terminal. I stood there where she was standing two minutes back and closed my eyes One minute I felt I found her and second minute she was gone. Gone for good or bad, I don’t know.

The same conductor who was staring at me in the bus walked towards me and said “Sorry sir; I didn't know you were serious or else could have helped you sir. Your love story ended before it could begin. Don’t worry sir you will find someone”. I chuckled and nodded my head pretending to agree with him. How could I explain to him that I didn’t want anybody but her? How could I explain how her image was imprinted in my mind and heart that I can't stop thinking about her? How could I explain to him that she was the girl who captivated my heart without any conditions or requirements. I waved at the conductor and started walking away with a heavy heart wondering whether some love stories are meant to end even before they begin. Passenger “Let her go” was loudly playing in my iPad and I thought, what a timing.

By Sylvia Navina Lobo
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Comment on this article

  • Vasanth poojary, Salethoor/Qatar

    Sat, May 02 2015

    good one Sylvia.. remeberd my bangalore days every day journey from koramangala to ITPL :-) :-)

  • Prakruthi, Bangalore

    Mon, Jun 02 2014

    I was traveling in the same bus to my office everyday. I could sense all the feel in this story. Very well narrated.

  • belinda, udupi

    Sun, Jun 01 2014

    loved the story... nicely written !!

  • Ronald, Mangalore

    Fri, May 30 2014

    She smiled and said I'm harmful and did pepper spray on him that too just for a small reason?.

  • Blenson Paul, Belthangady /Germany

    Thu, May 29 2014

    Wow.. very nice story, well represented. . It happens with me all the time -"some love stories are meant to end even before they begin". But I found that this is the best feeling one could have. Climbing the mountain is more memorable than reaching the top.

    ..Good Luck .. keep it up..

  • Uttam, Bangalore

    Tue, May 27 2014

    Really a good one :)
    Author is very good.. All the stories are pretty good.

  • R.Bhandarkar, M'lore

    Mon, May 26 2014

    Dear Slyvi...
    Honestly was confused at the start itself. If a conductor has a 'peg'
    in the morning too it does not galvanize,as is the common belief. You have fallen in the 'trap' of spirits it looks like.You know otherwise? Your conductor should have been shouting 'Port Air', 'Port Air' instead which would have sounded more realistic.Stories should have a realistic tinge to it ,so what if he we have progressed so rapidly.
    Anyways form 'boy meets girl' you have taken a big leap. You write, write and then discover..'Yourself' that is.
    God bless and happy journey!

  • Roilet Lobo, Muscat

    Mon, May 26 2014

    Lovely one Sylvia! Keep it on.

  • geoffrey, hat hill

    Sun, May 25 2014

    Writer has given a good account of unpleasant consequences of infatuation, needs to pay more attention to subtleties/finer details of the art of writing though.
    It seems just to avoid total damage to the eyes and hence abrupt ending of the story the writer had made Hero to wear shades and the ‘hot sun rays’ contradicts with the very first sentence “January’s chilly breeze’ followed by ‘I stood there shivering in cold’ in the second paragraph and moreover the entire episode takes place in an air-conditioned Volvo. The advantage of wearing shades is onlookers can’t make out whom the wearer is looking at. But the wearer can’t make out the color of eyes (also behind thick glasses) of the other person when she/he opens them, ‘jet black’ as mentioned in this story.
    Agreed, it was necessary for the hero to sleep in order for the lady to exit unnoticed. But can any one doze off with eyes burning badly?
    Instead of ‘I said, f***’, just ‘I swore’ would’ve been more appropriate in this context. Usage of swear words doesn’t enhance the quality of the writing.
    Lastly, while using English phrasal verbs one needs to exercise extreme caution. Slight misplacement of words might lead to ludicrous results. In this case it should be ‘I cut in my friend’ instead of ‘I cut my friend in between’.

  • NM Gurpur, Mangalore

    Sun, May 25 2014

    The beginning was fantastic, with humor at every juncture. The explanation of a guy sitting in front of you confused me, as the author was female. Well written, in a different manner...from a man's perspective.

  • Afnan, DMM/KARKALA

    Sun, May 25 2014

    GOOD ONE :-)

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