Shikha rushed to the elevator, calling out to the person inside to hold the lift for her.
As the doors closed, she took a deep breath and turned to her fellow elevator-rider.
And she stared!
But Diwali is still far-off!
He only visited his parents in Diwali. They lived in the apartment round the corner in our floor. Their families were close. Her elder brother and Vishal were in same class, and they had always protected her.
And even though Shikha had never gathered courage to talk to Vishal directly, she had nurtured a huge crush on him ever since they were small. In fact, she used to consciously avoid talking to him or about him, because she could not get herself to address him as ‘Bhaiya’.
Vishal had shifted to the US soon after finishing his school. He had done his graduation and his MS from the US itself. And since her brother had also shifted to another city, she had no means of getting Vishal’s updates. The only times she met him was during his Diwali break. Both their families would sit together till late at nights, play board games, cook meals together.
Now, he was working in one of the top IT companies. But what was he back here in June?
She smiled shyly, “Hi”.
Vishal had already been staring at her since she had entered the elevator.
“Hi, Shikha. I am back!”, he said.
“Oh yes, I can see that”, Shikha teased.
“No, no, I am back for good. I just could not stay away from home anymore. I missed my parents, I missed my home, I missed playing carrom with you!”, he blurted nervously, as if unsure of her reaction to his confession.
They both stared at each other as they reached the ground floor. The elevator tinged and they both stepped out.
A hint of a smile playing on their lips.
A promise of a bright future shining in their eyes.