Being Women

Love I Could Never Redeem

Everyone seeks love during their lifetime. In any form. But sometimes when love knocks on our doors, we don’t let it in. We make your boundaries, keep it away, until one day, when we realise, it has already slipped out of our hands.

I was awakened by a pat on the shoulder. It took me a moment to regain myself and adjust to the surroundings. The bus had pulled up. I looked up to see the conductor smiling at me.

“Sir, we are halting for a small tea break. You can refresh yourselves as it would take another three hours before we reach the destination!” He spoke to me as he kept his bag over the driver’s seat. I nodded in reply and slowly stood up, combing my hair while doing so. My watch read 8.55 AM. So, it was nearly 3 hours since I started from Srivilliputhur. I gently alighted from the bus.

I was doing my doctoral programme at CMS College, Kottayam in English Literature. It was not my first time in the state but was my first-time prolonged stay in this wonderful place. I had been staying with another colleague at the college, in a rented house while pursuing my studies.

And it was here that I met Maria.

“Sir, tea!” the voice of the chechi broke me from my trance. I smiled at her as I took from her outstretched hands, my tea and omelette. I hastily devoured the dish partly because I was hungry and partly because most of the people were beginning to ascend the bus. The Sun was shining brightly as I washed my hands quietly by the tap. I returned to my seat and we were back on track.

I took out the earphones from my bag and plugged them into my phone, checking the battery level as I did so and satisfying myself. The road from Punalur to Kottayam was quite sinuous and I closed my eyes to avoid motion sickness.

My thoughts drifted back to Maria and our days at the campus.

We met for the first time in the first week of my joining the college. She was also there for the doctoral programme in Commerce. Hailing from Kottayam itself, she used to be a day scholar. So, it was fate that brought us together as one day she had to depend on the college canteen for her lunch. I was already halfway into my meals when a melodious voice asked me if she could settle into the chair across from me. I lifted my head and peered into the face of one of the most beautiful girls I had seen in my life. And naturally, I said yes.

“Thank you!” she smiled at me as she kept her plate down on which was a masala dosai. We sat in silence. I felt awkward and self-conscious and I felt that she noticed that too. “Hi, I’m Maria. Are you Tamil?” she initiated the conversation after some time.

“Hello, I’m Aakash; I come from Srivilliputhur and I am doing my PhD in literature here,” I answered at a stretch. “Oh, you answered all my probable questions at once! Saving me the trouble huh?” Maria was laughing and I somehow felt more comfortable at that. “I’m sorry; it’s just that I am a bit nervous in front of strangers” I answered. “It’s ok. I was just amused!” she said.

“Is the masala dosa enough to quench your hunger?” I asked her once I felt the tension break between us. “Oh yes, I’m generally a light eater and I don’t like meals that often as we have it every day. Perhaps the same way you have your dosas as well!” Maria retorted. “Well, I don’t get tired of dosas; it’s just that I like Kerala meals as much as I like our dosas!” I smiled as I said this.

And thus began our friendship. Maria was my best friend from the campus and we would often go around the city after college time in her car to places and eateries. Believe me, she was perhaps one of the finest drivers I knew. I used to ride a bike but was a bit of a novice when it came to driving a car. Maria even offered to give me driving classes-such was her expertise in the field.

The best thing about Kottayam was the weather which was in stark contrast to what we had back in Tamil Nadu. It is heard however that the climate is quite haphazard these days. But back in those days, even going for a short trip through the town was so refreshing especially towards the evenings. Time passed quickly. It was almost nearing the end of our courses. Maria and I became very close friends. There was not even a single day when we didn’t speak to each other. She was my best friend. But apparently, it was more than mere friendship for her.

And it was my last day in Kerala.

To be continued: Feb 15 Edition

By Dr. Joel Danie Mathew

Dr. Joel Danie Mathew is a Surgeon by profession, based in Kerala. Writing has been his passion besides being a voracious reader himself. He particularly focuses on short fictions and Book reviews as well as critical appraisals. He is currently working as Assistant Professor in General Surgery at Believers Church Medical College Hospital, Thiruvalla. He can be reached at

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