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Here's my entry for the #TellYourStory #WritingContest. #CollabChallenge It only took 5 seconds to realize that the aura I am feeling right now is the same that I felt when Shalini was around. I turned around and saw a girl facing the other side she was wearing a peach pink top paired with light blue jeans a handbag in one hand and a phone in the other, there were some grey hairs scattered here and there, and her perfume had woody and oriental notes. I thought of tapping her shoulder and see if that is the same girl I fell for in tenth class? Or is it that girl for whom I had bought a rose on the rose day in the 12th class? That rose, though, still sits in a book as I never dared to give it to her. The bus is moving at a constant pace and is fully packed so I’d just wait for some time and maybe if her stop comes before me, then I will alight the bus with her and get to know her whereabouts. It has been so long and here I am. I always thought that once I will be successful and made a lot of money then I would approach her. I knew she was going to do well in life as she was very good with her academics. And yet here we are 5 years later on the same bus. I, obviously, did not get successful, still struggling but I guess I will figure it out. But what is she doing here, traveling on the bus? She definitely should have landed some high-paying job after her college. I do not even know what college she went to. It is going to be so embarrassing. It is raining lightly outside. Is it going to be like some Bollywood romantic movie where I will be meeting her in the rain and then she might have left her umbrella at home and will walk with me in my umbrella? Oh, maybe I am thinking too much. It’s been so long, what am I going to talk to her about? She moved forward towards the door, it’s her stop I guess. I followed her. We both alighted the bus and she started walking. I thought of calling her name but I realized that I did not have the courage to do so. I never had that much courage to say her name, it was sacred to me at one point. So much so that I could not even call her by her name. I strode forward and started walking beside her and with all the courage that I had, I said Hi. She turned towards me, smiled awkwardly, and we continued walking. She didn’t say anything. Does she even recognize me? I haven’t changed that much. Maybe she never liked me. I asked, “Remember me?”. This time she looked around and said, “Yeah I do!”. Thank God she remembers me, now I only need to get successful and approach her. “What are you doing here?”, She asked. “Nothing, I just noticed you and thought of asking how are you doing” I replied. She shrugged and said, “Don’t be embarrassed to admit it. If you’ve come here you already have your purpose.” Does she know I liked her? Did someone tell her? I never told anyone. Oh my God, this is going to be so embarrassing. “I don’t know what you're talking about” I replied with innocence. I was about to say something but a guy came in front of us and grabbed Shalini by her hand and started walking. I was just taken aback by what had just happened. What is happening? Is she in trouble? Is he someone she knew? What do I do? Shalini asked her to lose his grip and let her say goodbye, to which he said “I did not pay ₹6000 to see you chit chat with some loser!”. Now I am clueless. I am so confused, nothing was making sense. Am I dreaming? In the meantime, Shalini and that boy got into a black Toyota Corolla and left. I was just trying to collect and compose myself when I felt a hand down there. I turned around and it was a girl. I quickly moved back, to which she asked “First time?”. I looked around and realized I am in Nehruganj and this is a red light area. I didn’t say anything and started running. I didn’t want to stop until I had an answer to what has just happened…

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