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A mantra to escape any situation!

I happened to spend a few days with a 19 year young bubbly smart girl. I learnt a lot about her, I would dig into her sometimes wanting to know what their generation thought about a few things. I would then come home and think how I used to think back then at that age. She thus took me back to my early days on certain occasions. I am jotting down one such back travel here.

Having confirmed my Engineering seat after CET counseling, I was left with plenty of days for the college to begin. I had never traveled out of the city all by myself anywhere until then. I insisted my parents to let me make my trip to Udupi. They were more than happy to oblige. That was it - a young girl, with her bag on the back, thoughts on the mind, zeal in the body set out to explore herself with a trip planned all by herself. I was on cloud nine; for I was free. Not that I was not free otherwise; but there is this special sense of freedom when you are 18+ and you are travelling all by yourself. It's a different feeling all together.

Early morning, I dropped in my paternal cousin's house at Nitte, after an overnight travel.  Both my uncle and aunt were well planned for their day. My cousin was getting ready for the college. Hold on! she wasn't a student. She had just finished her Engineering and joined as lecturer in Nitte Institute of Technology. I was in mood to stay back home all alone. My cousin said, "You come with me, I will take you around the college." I was excited. I immediately obliged.

We landed at college after a 2 stop bus travel. I followed her like a puppy into the staff room, the class room, the practicals lab, the library, the canteen. Where-ever she went the puppy followed. The puppy could manage all other places, but for the class room. Madam made me sit on her chair in front of the class like an exhibit and continued with her lecture. While she was lecturing the students were all wondering who this new face was and would try to look at me escaping their lecturer's vision. I was literally embarrassed, and was too shy to walk out of the room. Luckily I took a book with me, so managed to bury myself into that. After that class, I became an expert in copying the same for the rest of the classes. In the staff room and other places, she repeated herself like a tape recorder to introduce me to her colleagues and known friends; and I gave a friendly smile like a joker on every such introduction. She took me round the campus explaining the in and outs of the places, and different departments. This continued, we had some fun time, girl talks, night chats in those 2 days.

The 3rd day I wanted to visit my maternal cousin. I told my cousin that I would catch a bus at 10 a.m after a couple of hours at college with her. I bid a bye to my cousin, and her staff with whom I had an acquaintance. Back then I did not have a phone. I was happy that I would be throwing a surprise to my lately married cousin. I got into Manipal bus, unaware of what was awaited.

The bus was almost empty,  I sat on the 5th seat. From nowhere came a tall, dark, handsome hunk and sat next to me. The whole bus was almost empty and he chose to sit next to me.  I was uncomfortable. Ignoring, I watched through the window. The bus was at a high speed, which is very normal in South Canara. After some time the guy said "I want to be your friend." Now my heart started thumping. I gathered courage to reply "I dont  even know you." He said "I have been seeing you for 2 days now. I want you to be my soul mate." My heart now was ready to pop out and fall into my hands. I got up, "Excuse me." He made way for me. I moved out of the window seat and sat next to an elderly lady on the 2nd seat which was reserved for ladies.

He was not ready to let go. He got up and sat behind on the 3rd seat. To wade off my fear, I started conversing with the lady next. He just sat there watching me from behind. He did no attempt to talk, he was conscious of the lady beside me. I was relieved. After a few stops, the lady next to be got ready to get down. My heart almost stopped ticking. As the lady moved out, I pushed myself to the window seat, placed the back-pack on my lap onto the seat next to me, there by eliminating the possibility of that guy sitting next to me. However the guy tried to talk to me from the back seat. "Please try and understand." he said. I refrained from responding; I literally did not know how to deal with this.

It was Manipal stop. I hurried. That broke the crown of my black analog watch which my father bought during my 10th class. My attention was deviated. I got down from the bus. I inquired for a watch shop and walked straight into it. I knew it was a small fix, and took out the watch and allowed the shop-guy to fix. I turn around to take a look at the shop and there I found this guy, outside the shop looking at me. Scared then, I paid for the repair of the watch and accelerated my legs to the bus stand. Without wasting time, I got into the bus, whose conductor was shouting 'Udupi' at his high pitch. As I expected, the guy got into the bus behind me. I was confused. I did not know my next move. The heat, the fast-walk and the fear had resulted in sweat all over my face. Sensing my fear, the guy said "Don't be scared. I love you. I just what you to be my friend." I bend to get a view through the window, we were close to Udupi. The bus stopped. I gathered my courage. Pointing at a person outside the bus, I said "Love all, hate none is a good thing to be followed. Right now I need to get down, my brother-in-law is waiting for me." I just jumped out of the bus, without turning back I walked straight into my brother-in-law's medical store.

I sat there and panted for breath. I relaxed. I felt safe. After sometime, my b-i-l rode me home. At home I narrated the entire incident and we all laughed out loud. My b-i-l took the opportunity to tease my cousin about her days in college and they got engaged in their talks. Giving them their space, I walked into the open space in front of the house for some fresh air. I could not stop laughing every-time I remembered the incident. "Love all, hate none" would be my escape statement if I encounter any such situations in the college life I thought. I never came across such a situation though. :( But then over years I had learnt that "Love All, Hate None" is not just an escape for such situation but an escape for any situation. ;)

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