Do I Dare Tell a Love Story – A Love Story From IIFT Delhi
How do you know when you are in love? Some say that all the songs start making sense or it just feels right or you can’t eat, you can’t sleep. Unfortunately, none of those things happened to me.
I joined IIFT in July 2015. I was allotted a room in the new hostel. My roommate hadn’t arrived yet and I was planning to explore the campus after the registration on my own a bit. What I hadn’t realized was our seniors had planned something else. After the welcome address which lasted for a few hours, the main official student body and the placement committee introduced themselves and then the orientation popularly known as PDP began and all thoughts of exploring the campus went out the window. Between classes and PDP, I barely got enough sleep for a few days. It was in this state of stupor that I saw her for the first time. She was standing in the first floor corridor in front of our class by herself. I thought I’ll say hi to her and introduce myself. On my way through the stairs, I thought in my mind what I would say. But somehow, when I reached there, I went directly into the classroom without even looking at her. Lectures started and I would peek at her from time to time. She was struggling to keep her eyes open like everybody else. The professor took attendance and I found out her name – Anna. Every night in PDP, the whole batch would be divided into random groups for the assignments and I would wish that she were in mine. Luck, it seems, was not on my side.
IIFT is perfectly located 500m from the Katwaria market, next to Sitaram Bharti hospital. The location cannot exactly be called secluded but there is still something about it which makes the students feel like they are living in a whole other world. The Sanjay Van in front of the main gate adds to the mystical aura of the place. The parties on the campus bring both opportunities and scandals. It was in one of these parties that I gathered the courage to talk to her for the first time. It was after a long time that we had time to relax since the preparation for summer internship was taking up a huge chunk of our time. Everyone was in a relaxing mood. She was laughing, dancing and drinking with her friends. Throughout the night, my eyes kept following her wherever she went. Only once did I get to talk to her. She was standing by herself in the corner catching her breath. I went up to her and asked her if she was fine. She said “I am always fine.” and gave me a smile that didn’t go with her lie. Then she went to get another drink from a stranger she had never talked to before.
The party provided a perfect excuse for people to start a conversation with each other for the first time. I decided to go with the flow too. She couldn’t remember what happened yesterday and I made it sound like it was just another inconsequential encounter that happens at the start of great friendships. This was how it started for her. We used to talk about anything and everything, laugh, play, tease. The hours in a day didn’t seem enough. Everyday brought something new and something beautiful. Every day she would get ready, put love in her eyes and smile on her lips and come to class. We would stand at the top of the world and sometimes a secret smile would touch her lips when she looked at the stars in the night or sometimes when it rained and little raindrops touched her face. It was a secret she shared with no one. She was made by the sounds and lights of the city and each day looked forward to the peace and serenity the night brought. She never went out looking for love but love always found her, at very inconvenient times, in very inconvenient ways.
But every day the same questions kept going round and round in my head ‘Where is the Anna I saw on that party?’, ‘When will I see her again?’, ‘What is it that she is not telling me?’. Then opened a small window and I got to see that vulnerability again. It was a cold night and we were walking down the small road connecting Sanjay Van and old hostel. We were talking about some books we had both read and finally started discussing a book which coincidently turned out to be one of her favorites. The tone of the discussion became more and more intense as we went further into it. In the end, the brightest thing that night was her eyes and all I wanted was to hear her talk so passionately about her dreams and desires. Eventually she read the look in my eyes and realized that the book was no longer on my mind. I pulled her close and hugged her, loose enough to make sure she knew she can turn around and run away if she liked but tight enough to let her know that I wanted her to stay. She stayed frozen for a second then look into my eyes. She was scared, not of me, not of the small campus where nothing remained secret for long; she was scared of the ghosts that stood surrounding us. She told me her story – how she had been hurt before, how she lost her ability to trust and how sometimes she felt that she was dead inside. She had crawled into a deep shell and I knew how hard it would be to bring her out. But I had made up my mind that no matter how hard it took to make her trust me, I would keep trying.
Thus began a long journey after a long wait. It has been 4 months since that night. I no longer have to wait to see all the colors of her emotions. I know about everything that brings a smile to her face and everything that makes her cry. I am the anchored buoy that keeps her from drowning whenever she feels overwhelmed by her ghosts. But some things haven’t changed. Even now every day brings something new and something beautiful. Even now each day, she gets ready, puts love in her eyes and a smile on her lips and comes to class. But I don’t ask myself those questions anymore. There is a whole lifetime to tell old stories and make new ones, for we all know that the best love stories are those which don’t have an ending.
This article has been authored by Deepti Singh Chauhan, MBA-IB (2015-17) student from IIFT Delhi!