There was a pause to the evil smile but the chirruping continued. She did make me feel that she was friendly enough and that did not put a full stop to the discussion in the room which was about Neetha and her boyfriend, who we assumed was one since they both seemed very close during their entry to the Induction Session. As night sprang upon us and the next early mornings assemble, we retired for the day.
As everyone was getting ready hit their first morning jog, I just then woke up with a lazy smile since it was too cold. Oh Yes, Darjeeling! Tightly packed with a 3 layered dressing including a monkey cap and a pair of gloves I exited towards the road when I couldn’t get a sight of Neetha as she kick started the regime even before me. We did get a chance to meet during our jogging and the warm up sessions which is when the beauty of the mighty hills caught our sight from the rays of the emerging sun. We also saw the Japanese Peace Pagoda, St. Paul’s Secondary School (post Main Hoon Na fame) and headed for a long walk in the streets of Darjeeling. When we were back to the base camp we sent off with a cheer to a group that was headed for a 6-day trek to Sandakphu. We were back in our rooms post breakfast for some rest and then to pack our luggage just for the fact to restrict the burden to essential items and carry on. We were leaving to trek to the same place the very next day!
It was dinner time when Neetha and I met, and relished Thepla with desi mango pickle shared by a friend from Gujarat, Shristi. Neetha was very interested in posing questions to Shristi especially about her marriage to a Kannada guy when we knew of the fact that Neetha was married off when she was 23 and that the assumed boyfriend happened to be her husband 😀
Though I remained a silent spectator to that conversation, it was a shocking surprise on Neetha being married. We all retired to bed as the next day was alarming with the trek in schedule. When we woke up the next day, we witnessed Ruthwik (Neetha’s husband) heading towards our room with a sigh of hot water being available in his room which is when Neetha decided to take a head shower when we went into a serious argument since our instructors had advised us not to.
Everyone busily buried with their routine chores and the packing, I was thinking of Neetha and her character (nothing to judge) but still something to ponder upon. I started looking at her differently from the time she ignored my comments on the shower and when she did what was best to her without much worrying about what people felt or spoke and circumstances threw on her. Yes, she looked and seemed to possess a unique character – simple, yet to her own self with a way of getting things done the way she has planned or wanted them to be. Nothing seemed to bother her happiness. One another feature that kept me starring at her was that of an early marriage that too by a tech-savvy Bangalorian girl!
Gazing at my friend in a way that’s as neat as possible, I learnt that one can stay happy if they would want to, irrespective of the surroundings and people that paint them through. Stay with me as I answer the questions that struck me hard of my friends…