But for procrastination, I went to the college only yesterday for some thing for which I should have visited it twenty days back. It was a wonderful afternoon; the atmosphere was evocative of a refreshing hill-station holiday resort. It was the kind of atmosphere that made you want to gossip rather than be a mute spectator, but being alone I wasn't exactly spoilt for choice.
A particular lad again had my unswerving attention. And risking my reputation, I'd go on to say that he always has had it. No, he isn't the typical centre-of-everyone's-attraction or the bollywood-ish party-ki-jaan; in fact my guess is that not many people are aware of his existence, other than those bound to. I wouldn't be either, if it were not for his room being opposite mine. A confirmed loner, he has always had a permanent stern expression plastered on his face. His walk from his room to the mess and back to the room is devoid of any friendly interactions or TV interruptions. He goes about his work in such a rigid no-nonsense manner it makes you wonder whether there is actually some problem with the rest of all of us. If there was one word I would associate with him, it'll be 'serious'. It is none of my prerogative to be judgemental about it; maybe he has due reasons for it which I, in all likelihood, will never know.
Again, he didn't catch my attention after all these days for his secluded, almost misanthropic disposition. I think I have now got used to it. What was once notice-worthy is by now most-expected, at best a reaffirmation. But he was, as I saw yesterday, the very definition of affability. Moving from one triumvirate to another until each ran out of the time they could afford idling, he was all laughs and giggles, looking decided that idling was to be his occupation for the day. I thought he'd be feeling a little awkward being so social so suddenly, but if at all there was any clumsiness it was adeptly suppressed. There was no doubting his chivalrous charm but when the company was all-boys he also explored his artillery of Hindi expletives, of course not in the war-monger way, but in that pleasant way that keeps you at an arm's length in conversations, fosters brotherhood among us inherently rustic strangers, and projects you as the proverbial yaaron-ka-yaar.
He still is serious, essentially. Perhaps this time, about, a new-year resolution.