Rakshit saw her as she entered examination hall. She was accompanied by her father. As she reached her seat, her father embraced her affectionately and wished a good luck for exams. She smiled back and thanked. She was sitting on the bench parallel to his and a row separated their rows. Rakshit was already sitting on his seat nervously, trying to read the state of mind of everyone who entered the hall. It was a national examination, and seating arrangements were made in such a way that nobody knew anyone in the examination hall. This was the type of exam which had power to change the fate of every student who opted. All the material he brought for revision was in the bag outside the hall. He could not focus on anything out of anxiety.
For a moment, he forgot about the exam and stared them. The girl and her father were interacting cheerfully. He wasn’t concerned about the exam at that moment, but engrossed in their conversation. Her father was cheering her up and giving confidence, he sensed. He could see her father’s eyes filled with love more than anything else and she responded with same emotions. Her father left, but he was still staring her. It wasn’t about the fact that she was beautiful. It was about the bonding she had with her father. For a moment he thought, what would have happened if his father was there with him. Although his father dropped him at the examination center, he knew the truth that he never had this kind of connection with his father. She looked around and their gazes met. Rakshit looked around instantly. As he sensed she wasn’t looking at him, he again started staring her.
The supervisor entered and he got back to reality. He glanced her and smiled for a second. When the supervisor was handing over question papers and answer sheet, he made up his mind to focus on the purpose for which he was there. His mind shifted to solving questions on the sheet as the bell rang. Till the last bell, his focus was on solving question paper.
As he handed over answer sheet, he felt relieved. After putting months of hard work in that two hours, he made his mind to enjoy next two months. But, he wasn’t ready for what came to his mind the very next moment as he saw examiner collecting her answer sheet. Those scenes reappeared. That affectionate hug. That adorable smile. Those eyes filled with love. And that conversation which only reflected love. She found him staring her again. He looked around again. He didn’t stop staring . As she looked at him, he pretended that he caught her gaze coincidently. She rushed out immediately as supervisor collected everyone’s answer sheet.
Rakshit came out of college happily, imagining what he will do in next two months. His father dropped him for the exam, but he had to return home in a bus. As he came out, he saw her waiting for someone. He knew that she was waiting for her father. He took a position from where he could see her but she couldn’t see him. For next five minutes, no one appeared. He saw no signs of hurry or worry on her face. So, he thought she knew her father will be coming late. It was surprising for him to see her waiting for her father after seeing such care and affection before the exam began. He thought of approaching her, but he considered that thought as crazy. Then, another thought popped in his mind. Why was she waiting there? So, he finally approached her to ask her about her relationship with father.
‘Hello,’ Rakshit said.
‘Hi,’ she replied, coyly.
‘You are so lucky,’ he said, firmly.
She looked puzzled at him.
‘And strong too.’
She was perplexed.
‘Ohh, I’m sorry. We were in same exam hall. I observed you and your father before the exam. I saw how he treated you. It was like you were his angel. The affection with which he hugged you. The confidence with which he motivated you before the exam. The love that was flowing through his eyes. The adoration you had for him. Everything was perfect.’
‘Alright. But why were you observing us?’
‘The moment I saw you entering with your father and the connection you had, it showed how lucky you are to have a father like him. He made you a strong girl, undoubtedly. I wish I had that kind of connection with my father.’
There was a moment of silence. Rakshit’s confrontation made her feel uncomfortable. She was quietly staring him. He thought why he was admitting this to a stranger. He became quiet after realizing that his emotions ruled him. In the end, she broke that awkward silence.
‘Aren’t you strong?’ she asked.
‘No, I am not.’
‘Why? Admitting this to a stranger is a sign of a strong person.’
‘Ohh, I’m so sorry. I got carried away by my emotions. From the childhood, my father tried to make me a perfect person. He wanted to make me what he wanted me to be. A smart, intelligent, practical guy who is so mentally strong. And his reprimanding, his demeanor when I make a mistake, and his strict approach has made me weaker. I have no self-respect, no confidence, and I always second-guess myself. See, right now. I’m an emotional fool who got carried away by seeing an interaction between a father and a daughter. And admitting this to a stranger. I apologize I took your time. Extremely sorry.’
He started walking away in agitation.
‘It wasn’t my father, but the divorce made me a strong girl,’ she shouted.
He stopped instantly.
‘Yes, it was their divorce.’
He looked back and walked toward her with heavy steps.
‘I was in third standard when my parents divorced. My father took my custody and my mother took custody of my younger brother.’
‘I’m so sorry I reminded you this.’
‘No, not a problem. I’m used to it. Is your parents together?’
‘You are a lucky guy.’
Both of them became quiet for a moment. Rakshit was lost in his thoughts.
‘Hello, dad! What’s up?’ She said to her father who arrived to break that awkward silence.
‘Sorry, my dear. I’m late,’ said her father.
‘No problem, dad. Let’s go. Exams over, let’s have fun.’
She waved him goodbye and engaged in witty bantering with her father. He waved back with a glowing smile.
The crazy fact is, every person is fortunate in its own way. The difference lies in knowing what makes us fortunate.
(Image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici at FreeDigitalPhotos.net)