“It is 8:40 already…oh my God! I am late for Real Analysis class”
Everything comes at a price in this big bad world. The price of having a bath and breakfast in the morning was getting late for morning class. While I usually skipped breakfast and made it to class just in time, that day the aroma of freshly-cooked-soaked-in-oil cutlets was so empowering that my resolve faltered and I allowed myself to be led into temptation. Before I knew it, it was already showtime and I had no option but to make a run for it.
Now running on morning Delhi roads with a huge jhola full of books is not the most feasible act in the world. Add the fact that my BMI is an aggressively increasing function of time and anyone can guess that it was a feat in itself. So I did the more intelligible thing and sneaked into “chor gali”. I can launch into a full-fledged historical account of “chor gali” for the non dilli-university waalas and waalis, since being a very narrow and relatively deserted lane in a university teeming with people, it was frequently used and had quite a few legends around it. It will suffice to say here though that it was a shortcut to my college and there was a minuscule probability of anyone seeing my athletic maneuvers at 8:40 in the morning.
However, I had failed to take into account one factor. It was a winter morning, and not even “chor gali” but the entire area around it seemed without a soul. It was almost eerie, the only sound emanating was that of my labored breathing. Without much effort, my mind started recollecting all the incidents involving university girls and the Delhi gentry. Never in my life I had cursed my memory so much!. I was not sure what I wanted: a companion on that deserted road (potential sample of the Delhi gentry ?) or the lonely road. One thing was certain: it would take me 2 more minutes to cross that stretch and for someone with an acute case of hyper ventilation, that was a really long time. There was no mirror around, but I knew that if my face had not become red due to the physical exertion, it would have been dead white.
I was resigned to this state of affairs when I heard faint footsteps from the other end of the path. All the anecdotes of feminine bravery flashed in front of my eyes and I was mentally prepared to add my name to the list. I turned and lo! what did I see?
I saw a mirror. Only much skinnier, much darker and much taller. Her face was distorted into various emotions, pretty much like mine. The emotions had the pain of the path crossed, and the apprehension of the path to come. Only in both of our eyes, the paths were mirrors of each other.
When the mirrors of our eyes clashed, a faint smile lingered on both of our lips for just one tiny infinitesimal second. And it was in that second when both the mirrors became one.
I am sure that both the paths to come were no longer filled with apprehension, but were laced with the ghost of that tiny smile.