Sandeep and I met during my first year in college. He was a senior, while I was still a freshman. During one of the introduction sessions with the seniors, he pointed his index finger at me from far, and asked me to come in front. I walked up towards him trying to remain calm. "Yes, Miss Snow White, do you know my name," he asked, with a grin on his face. "No, Sir," I replied, even though I knew his name. My heart was beating so fast at the time. "Well then, find out and let me know tomorrow," he said as he walked away with his group of friends. The very next day was the beginning of our freshers’ week. Being a student of one of the premiere fashion institutes of India, all the juniors were given a creative task, which they had to perform in front of the seniors. From a bowl full of chits, I picked up no.14, which had Sandeep's name written on it. Fearing what would happen next, I walked up to him trying to maintain my composure. He smiled at me and there was a twinkle in his eyes. "Dress up like Maa Kali, and do something like a taandav dance," he said. Reluctantly, I took up the challenge, and did whatever best I could. The seniors gave me the title of "Miss Glam Face 2014" soon after.
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Our hectic schedules did not allow us to see each other quite often, but he would smile and wave at me, whenever we caught a glimpse of each other on campus.
Gradually, Facebook and Whatsapp messages to each other brought us closer. This turned into late night chats, calls, and regular catching up over coffee. I discovered a soft side of him. A side, which was only for me to see. One day, before we headed to our respective classrooms, we had hugged each other for the first time. The tingling sensation that followed, lasted quite long. Soon, it was time for our freshers party, where he asked me to dance with him and twirled me around. My feelings for him grew stronger, day by day, as he would wait for me outside my hostel and the bond only grew. Three years passed and our relationship turned into something that was beyond our imagination. Our families, friends and the whole college knew, and we also started to think about a future together. Our fights never lasted too long - however bad the situation would be, we would go running back to each other.
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A month before his birthday, I had to attend Fashion Week 2016 with some classmates of mine. Before leaving, I had hugged him tight, and he kissed me on my forehead. I don’t know why I had this terrifying feeling that something was about to go wrong - as though this was our final goodbye. "Baby, this is the last time that I am going somewhere without you. I will cancel all my solo trips, henceforth," I said to him. "Promise," he asked with a smile. "Promise," I replied, not wanting to let go of him. That was the last time I ever saw him. Soon after this, he passed away. It all just happened to soon for me to even fathom. One moment he was there, and the other moment he was gone.
His clothes, room, and belongings still smell and feel the same whenever I go there. I believe he's always with me... in my heart and memories.
*Names changed to protect privacy
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Published on Oct 20, 2016