For Raghav and me, it was love at first sight. I was a first year student - starry-eyed and fresh into college. He was the captain of the college football team - tall, handsome, pretty much the sexiest guy in college. I mean not just me but every single girl in our college had huge crush on him. Plus, he was in his third year, so falling for a senior made it even more exciting. Cupid played trick on us and we started dating just one month after I joined college. Who knew my first boyfriend was going to be such a heartthrob and all the girls in college were going to be envious of me as we romantically strolled around the campus together!
Life was amazing. The first three months of our relationship were great fun. We used to go on ice-cream dates, drives, lunches and spend endless hours chatting on the college grounds. I even went to each of his football matches to watch him play and to cheer him up. To be honest, he looked particularly sexy in his football jersey, making me wonder how I ever ended up with him. He could get a bit authoritative at times but I was willing to make peace with that trait of his.
I was slowly falling for him. Mind you, for a girl like me, it was a big thing. I had always been this shy, innocent girl next door, with a niche circle of friends and no boyfriend ever before Raghav. He was my first boyfriend and I was completely taken in.
On our three month anniversary, Raghav planned a trip to Goa (from Mumbai, where we lived and studied) with his friends. He wanted this to be our special getaway celebration. At first, I refused outright, knowing that “trips with friends” were against the rules of my house. After a lot of convincing by Raghav, I finally decided to try and persuade my parents to allow me to go for just this one “all girls trip” for a “dramatics competition” in Goa. Yes, I decided to cook up this fake story to get permission. After two whole days of convincing and arguing, with everything from “you can’t dictate my life” to “now I’m a grown up girl, dad! I can take care of myself, trust me!”, I finally convinced them to allow me to go to Goa. Of course, this was conditional upon me being in touch with my parents every couple of hours. This was a very small price to pay, given that I would get to spend a few nights alone with Raghav.
The day finally arrived and I was on cloud nine, literally dancing in my head. Super excitedly, I reached the bus stand where Raghav and his friends were already waiting and embarked on my first getaway with friends ever. The fact that I had had so many firsts with Raghav made me even more emotionally attached to him. First boyfriend, first getaway, first kiss and maybe (or so I thought) first love!
We reached Goa and after having settled in at a friend’s villa we decided to hit the beaches. We spent the entire day drinking and dancing and, well, kissing at the beach. It was totally worth it and I was giddy with happiness. When the sun went down, we decided to head back to the villa. While I was feeling tipsy after having a couple of drinks, Raghav wanted to drink more. Once we got back, all the guys and their girlfriends, including Raghav, started smoking up.
I was absolutely taken aback as I had never seen anyone doing drugs. I told myself that it must be a “senior thing.” I was starting to feel a little uncomfortable and, to save myself from getting bored, I began chatting with Aryan, one of Raghav’s friends. He was the only one who wasn’t smoking up, just like me. Suddenly, Raghav came between us and started kissing me forcefully and pulled my clothes. I was not prepared for this. Feeling extremely uncomfortable and shocked by his assault, I started resisting. Seeing my discomfort, Aryan stepped in to distance Raghav from me and in the process, Raghav turned around and hit him hard on his face, telling him to back off.
As I uttered a yelp, he turned back to me in rage and slapped me so hard across my face that I fell to the ground. At that point, the realization that Raghav had this violent side to him (that I had previously been absolutely oblivious to) and that he could actually harm me, was ringing more strongly in my head than the pain from his attack. Following that was the realization that my parents were right, people these days cannot be trusted. I wished I’d listened to them and stayed back. That is how my getaway with my first boyfriend turned into a complete nightmare.
After that day, I never spoke to Raghav again. On deeper introspection, I realized that it was just infatuation that had drawn me to him and that I wasn’t attracted to his personality. In fact, I didn’t actually know much about the kind of person he actually was. I had trusted him too easily and taken things too far too fast, flattered as I was with his attention.
The naïve, innocent girl in me learned several lessons on that trip. I learned, first and foremost, not to trust anyone easily. I also learned the difference between infatuation and love. But most importantly, that day I realized that our parents mean well and that, at the end of the day, our safety lies in our own hands. Looking back, I now feel that the whole episode was a lesson, a rather hard and painful one, but one that I had to learn.
That day, the baby girl in me actually became a big girl.