Shamita kicked the lone pebble lying as aimlessly as her on that broad vacant charcoal road that led from her Army Lady officers hostel accommodation to the dining hall of the Training Institute.
“Ouch” The little stone turned out to be a nasty one. It ricocheted and hit her toenail mercilessly. ‘ All things are nasty. All my lady friends have gone out with young eligible bachelor male officers to Beraghat for an outing and I am here all alone in this huge palatial institute on this early November Saturday evening’. Shamita pushed both her fists deeper into her trousers pocket. The nip in the air was felt more here due to the open vastness of the Army officers training institute that was located on a hill. She looked up at the bright moon, then the empty road ahead. Her heart told her to cry out to God as to why doesn’t she have this opportunity to go out with some bachelor male officer. Was she not beautiful? She sighed and carried a hurried deep inspection on her physical assets. She was ripe at twenty-four, with brown deep sea eyes full of mirth and laughter. Her nose was perfect small, cheeks high, pretty full lips that wear soft to touch. She raised her right hand, brought it close to her lips and planted a kiss on the back of her palm. They were soft indeed!
Madhu though plum and not so good got the opportunity because she has a kinetic Honda Scooter. If I had a scooter, I too wouldn’t have been left alone today. She thought aloud.
“ Hi, where are you strolling all alone? Where’s your roommate Madhu ?” Shamita stopped in her tracks trying to figure out where did that heavy male voice emerged from. There was no one in the front. She looked behind her but she didn’t see anyone standing on the road. She took out her hands from her pocket and kept them on her pelvic joints.
“ Hey I am here” Shamita ran her eyes in the direction of the voice and found Nakul her coursemate sitting on his hunches and trying to repair his old Bajaj Super Scooter.
Nakul was the most dreaded of all the male coursemates of her course. She had never ever spoken to him in the last six months. She thought him to be a rowdy, short-tempered, flamboyant officer who always had airs about his looks and his capabilities of getting the best girl as his girlfriend. She immediately reminded herself that Nakul was the one who bragged he would date Chavi Mehta; the most gorgeous of all the lady officers.
“You did not go for the outing today?” He again popped while his eyes remained focused on the screwdriver he was using on one of the bolts.
Shamita literally started shivering. She used to be really scared of this gentleman. She had heard he used to consume daily quota of liquor too and in heavy quantities. Shamita kept quite. It was against military etiquette to ignore him and walk past the spot. She cleared her throat twice and softly uttered, “ oh I don’t have a scooter naa hence I could not go” ( those days only the officers with a rich parental heritage could afford to own a two wheeler)
“Yes, the scooter is responsible for my date being screwed too. Last minute my scooter gave away and Chavi got very upset. I told her to wait as I knew I could fix up my scooter in a while but just then Anant came in with his bike and he offered Chavi a pillion ride on his bike. She told me to join the gang once I finish repairing my scooter. I am with my scooter for the last hour. I am finally almost done and now I don’t have time to even wash my face and hands too. I will be running to the Dams.
Nakul kept talking to his scooter without even looking at her.
Shamita chose to keep quiet. Yes, She did not know should she stay back or should she excuse herself and walk back to her room. The room was still a kilometer and a half away in the sprawling campus and she was tired both physically and emotionally. She waited for his permission.
Nakul got up, straightening his legs and arms jumped on his scooter seat and kicked it start. As he changed the gears, he suddenly turned his face towards Shamita and softly said, “ Come I can drop you to your room”
Shamita didn’t respond verbally. She just sat on the pillion seat. Nakul drove at good speed; the cool breeze making her feel the chill in her bones. She also feared she may fall off. There was nothing to hold on to other than Nakul himself .“You may hold me, I won’t bite you” Nakul said as if sensing her dilemma.
Shamita slowly snaked her right arm around Nakul’s waist and touched him gently. The scooter took on to the next higher speed. The breeze turned into the wind and she gasped. “ My room is that side”, she managed to utter by bringing her mouth close to his ears. “ I know that but now we are going to the Beraghat Dams. The scooter has made its choice now. And hold me very tight. I am not used to grips that get loose with the situation”
Shamita gulped the cold wind in her mouth, brought her chin to rest on Nakul’s shoulder and tightened her grip around his waist.