On a hectic work day I was having a whatsapp conversation with a friend of mine abroad who was imploring me to arrange a meet up with our college friends . The fact of the matter is that after 17 years of passing out of college literally everyone was living in their own world. Being based in your hometown meant that you had to juggle between 2 generations which is understandably quite taxing.Someone who is abroad living only with their family of procreation might not appreciate such finer things of our lives. .So even if we propose a batch meet up hardly anyone would turn up. I was trying to be polite with him as I did not want to break his heart and gave him a patient ear.

At the end of the day I was randomly checking my whatsapp messages when I made a startling discovery . The person who I was chatting with in the morning was really not whom I thought to be. Occasionally my friend when pangs of nostalgia hits him would engage in such banter with me and seeing a non +91 extension I had presumed it was him.

She has lost weight since college, her hair was straightened and looks very stylish. I quickly checked her Linkedin profile and realized that she is a top shot corporate honcho which explains the grooming. In panic I scrolled through our conversation in the morning. Thankfully I had not used any cuss words.

How could I not have noticed this earlier.

I was taken back in time to the first day of my college. I was thrilled to be in the company of girls because I had studied in an all boys school my entire life. God had heard my prayers and I landed up in class where the ratio of boys to girls was 1:1 i.e. 1 girl for 1 boy, I thanked my lucky stars . That was when I saw her for the very first time. She was the fairest of the girls that I had ever seen. She was a stout girl with curly hair perspiring profusely . She might have been running all along because of being late . With a twinkle in my eye I moved on to check out the other girls in the class. But somewhere in the back of my heart that girl was tugging at my heartstrings.

Right at the onset itself I had realized that we were misfits. She was one of the toppers of the class when it came to the entrance rank. I was a topper too but from the opposite direction. Our initial conversations were about our schools she too had studied like me in a girls only school. Since both of us were equally depraved when it came to the interactions with the opposite sex, gradually we hit it off together.Soon we were among the first designated couples of the batch. Also the object of a lot of jokes because we were poles apart. She was on the heavier side while I was skinny. She was fair while I was dark skinned. She was a front bencher while I was a back bencher the list was endless.

By the end of the first year we had gotten really close. I vividly remember how I was blushing when my younger brother announced with sarcasm that a girl was on the phone asking for me. She was the very first girl to have called my landline. Somewhere during our time together the inevitable had to happen. We broke up and I was devastated . It took quite a while to come out of it thanks to the great bunch of friends I had. Rest of college we never acknowledged each other or hardly spoke to each other.

Now almost 20 years later here I am staring at her whatsapp pic in the dead of the night. I had never seen her in all these years . From the next day on we used to chat a lot trying to fix up a meet up. Starting a new whatsapp group planning for a venue finalizing the members logistics everything took a lot of dilly dallying on the phone. On my part I was going through the motions and really wanted this to happen for her . Moreover, I didn’t tell her that I had failed to recognize her in the beginning.

Finally after a lot of planning the D-day arrived I was a bit apprehensive at that time, maybe even a bit jittery. My son was accompanying me . I was excited that he would get to meet the daughter of a close friend of mine she was the same age as my son. Even though we were close we had not met in many years.

Slowly the other folks came in and we had a decent turn out so much for her belligerence.

Most of us were meeting after college for the very first time so it was quite difficult to open up . I stuck with one of my close friends who I had mentioned earlier. Our kids took some time to get to know each other and thereafter enjoyed each other’s company without giving us too much trouble. The rest of us were akin to fish out of water because we were like strangers who had shared maybe a space in some other birth.

She had changed a lot. I mean not only physically but there was an air of confidence in her demeanor which scared me. Quite understandable after all she was a corporate honcho in a foreign land.

She was trying hard to engage in a conversation with me and break the ice but to no avail. I guess I was wary of her attention. Furthermore, I was stonewalling myself the entire time . We parted ways without speaking much.

I was pensive on the drive back home .

What had happened to us ?

For starters we were no longer college going naive young adults. We were battle hardened adults. Thanks to not being in touch for more than a decade and a half there was not even a minutest feeling of familiarity between us. It was like meeting someone for the very first time. It would take at least a couple of meetings to get acquainted with each other.

Years back in college I was walking with her through the picturesque campus. Being offered a job in an MNC and that too one among the first of our class made her really happy. You could tell her that she was on cloud nine and was wearing a huge smile . She was excited to be finally leaving her hometown and was thrilled at the prospect of moving to Bangalore. I was happy for her and proud of her achievement. She totally deserved it . Unlike others I was privy to the fact that she used to burn the midnight oil when it came to even the most insignificant exams during our time in college.

Our conversation drifted towards me and I did not like the direction in which it was going . My crappy CGPA meant that I could not even appear for the campus recruitment. She made a snide remark about me horsing around with my friends rather than focusing on my studies all these years. Something snapped that was the beginning of our end.

Love might be fleeting but heartbreaks are permanent. .