Shivin! Before I knew it, I was nuzzled into a warm hug. I am squeezed so tight that I heard Apoorva gasp for air instead of me. Well, I too would have, only if I could. My hands are pinned down. Almost crushed under his embrace, I tried to pinch him but nope, no reaction. Barely able to speak, I whispered, “Don’t kill me already, or you’ll probably be the first one to go to jail for choking someone to death while hugging them “

He laughed and immediately released me, putting some distance between us. He is staring at me up and down as if he cannot believe his eyes. I can’t either. The boy, no, let me change that. The man standing in front of me, is about 6’3, has broad shoulders, his hair is the darkest shade of black, and is falling onto his caramel-colored grinning face. He is wearing a light blue casual button-down with khaki trousers. And did I mention that he is also grinning like an idiot? I am pretty sure my face is mirroring his very same expressions.

It’s like, his smile made this sunny Saturday afternoon a shade brighter. He has always been like that. He is, well was, one of my favorite people back in college. We were classmates and shared the same circle of friends too. I would be lying if I said it was just that. He was also one of my closest friends. He was this genuine goofball of a person. You know someone you can easily talk to, someone thoughtful enough even at 17-18 years, someone you can count on. He used to make everyone laugh and was probably the most mischievous one in the class; always pulling pranks around. I cannot believe it has been over 12 years since I last saw him. We kept in touch for the first few years or so after college but eventually lost touch. Thanks to Social media, I am aware that he works as a photographer now. I was shocked when I saw him tagged in as one of the main photographers for a magazine picture he had shared on his feed. I would have never begged him for a photographer in college, let alone a professional one at that. Not that he was very studious or something but mainly because I had never seen him with a camera in all 4 years of our college together. I don’t think he ever picked up my camera either. Yeah, I for one always had one on me; courtesy of my then hobby of photography. After our graduation, he went on to do a master’s and as far as I know, he even worked for a multinational for over a year or so before finally establishing his own photography team.

While I have been in my mind, thinking that he hasn’t changed a bit yet everything feels so different about him, he introduced himself to Apoorva as my college friend. He extended his hand towards her and before I can know it, he is sitting in my chair. I hit him over his head not so lightly as soon as I am back to my senses and he did not even flinch. Apoorva laughed assuming rightly that it is something I used to do often and has no effect on him whatsoever. One would think that a gentleman would not let a lady stand while he is sitting but No! That is not what happened, Shivin made me stand all those 8-10 minutes he made small talks with Apoorva. Thankfully we were on a side table otherwise I would have surely felt weird standing over two people talking like good old pals. Yeah, Apoorva was no help at all and if I read her correctly, she was really charmed by my stupid friend here. They talked about our college days briefly and how I was bossy and then went on to talk about random stuff. Shivin was simply killing time as he was expecting a couple for a meeting. Thankfully, that couple arrived before my legs gave up in those heels I was wearing. He left soon after he received a call from them; but not before taking Apoorva’s phone number. Nope, I was only given that hug for show. I was not paid any attention after that and no; he did not bother to ask me about anything let alone my number. He just showed me the basic courtesy of a goodbye pat. I am definitely irritated and that exactly was his intention. He managed to pull my leg so easily and I have been so out of touch with him that I did not even realize it, up until now. He went inside to meet the couple and by some miracle, they easily managed to get a table in this crowd. Now that I think about it, it is kind of a weird place to meet someone for a meeting but well, what do I know about photography and stuff?

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