Business seemed to be usual at the Railway Station.
Hawkers were busy selling food, magazines, and travel items to the people on different platforms.
Viren reached earlier than the usual. He wanted to spend a few minutes alone reading a book. After he reached the Railway Station, he came to know that his train got delayed by four hours. He walked to the book store and checked for the books.
He always avoided books that dealt with romance, even remotely. He enjoyed science fiction and thrillers. But, today, most of the sci-fi books were already read by him. Some of them were from authors he decided not to read again. So, he had no choice, but to select a book that dealt primarily with a romantic love story. He decided to experiment reading it for the next couple of hours. Else, he would give it to his friend after reaching home.
It started fine. It talked about the budding relationship between a badly hurt nomad and the hostess who offered him some shelter. After reading a few pages, Viren laughed to himself. He wondered how someone could fall in love with a stranger. He thought that this is one of the weirdest forms of fiction where fantasy rides high in the minds of the readers. He thought that teenagers might like this better and decided to give up the idea of reading this book.
But, he did not know how else to while away his time. The platform was getting crowded and there was way too much noise around him. He plugged in his ear phones and continued reading the book. The initial amusement turned to indifference. Later, the indifference turned to irritation after reading the further twists in the story. Every other chapter ended with an attempt to unite the guy and the girl. But, as fate would have it, they would not get united until the end of the book. Finally, Viren got irritated and thought it would be better to throw the book away and walk along the platform. He always kept his books with himself, regardless of how bad the books were. But, today, there was something within him that prompted him to get rid of this book because it was way too irritating for him. Because he loved books so much, he could not relate to the idea of trashing the book.
Viren walked to the other end of the platform. He saw that there were fewer people there. He walked towards a bench and sat there for a few minutes. Suddenly, he kept the book on the bench, woke up, and left towards the other end of the platform. After reaching the other end of the platform, he felt glad that he got rid of the boring book.
After a few minutes, he started enjoying his music all to himself. Suddenly, he heard someone calling him.
“Viren, Viren…” said the unfamiliar voice of a woman.
Viren turned around to see Shreya. For a moment, he was overwhelmed by her beauty. He wondered if she was angel in disguise. He could not utter a single word or bat an eye lid. He wanted to keep looking at her.
It took him a few minutes to regain consciousness.
Shreya said, “Hi. I’m Shreya. I saw that you left the book there on the other end of the platform. Here it is.”
Though Viren hated the book, he took it from her without saying anything.
Viren asked her,” How do you know my name? Have we met earlier?”
Shreya smiled and said, “I’m a psychic. I can look at a person and guess his name. Just kidding. The card payment receipt is in the book and your name is there. And, it is an awesome book. I read it almost ten times already in the last four years. So, I thought that you should not lose an opportunity to read a masterpiece like that.”
Viren suddenly felt as though all his hopes have been crushed. He realized that this relationship is not going to go further.
Viren decided that he need not be polite to her as their compatibility is way too less and their friendship, if it happened, would never blossom into love as his desperate heart already dreamed of.
So, Viren said, “You must be really kidding. It is a piece of crap, this book. I hated it so much. I just read a few pages and barely managed from killing myself. How did you even read it one time? I’m not sure if you are a psychic. You must be a psychopath for having read that book so many times. I’m sorry, but I could not stop myself from being frank about that book. I left it there to get rid of it. And, you being the Samaritan of all abandoned romantic novels, got it back to me.”
Shreya got cheesed off at his response. She got furious and said, “How can you even talk like that to a stranger. I tried to help you and you end up lambasting me and my choices. What’s wrong with you judgmental people? As far as the book is concerned, you need to have taste to read a book like that. You lack taste. I’m pretty sure you enjoy those science fiction books that talk about the end of the world or about aliens attacking other aliens. It is not the book that is full of crap. You people only like crap and cannot enjoy literature…more so, romantic literature. Why am I even wasting my time trying to reason a jerk like you?”
She left that place.
For a moment, Viren felt glad that she left. He decided to get rid of the book after reaching home. After a few minutes, he started longing for Shreya once again. He wanted to talk with her again. He liked the way she fought. He could only think of those beautiful eyes and that wonderfully, soothing voice. Even though she was arguing and fighting with him, he felt as though she was singing some melody. He was way too desperate to talk to her.
Finally, Viren decided to walk over to the girl and apologize to her just to befriend her.
Meanwhile, Shreya felt bad for what happened. When she saw a man reading her favorite novel, her hopes rekindled. She was always on the look out for a man who would appreciate romantic literature as much as she did.
Viren found her after walking a bit. He went to her and said, “I’m sorry, Shreya. I did not have the right to be so curt with you. I know it is all about difference in tastes. I should have remained silent and not commented on your taste. May be, I do not have the maturity to enjoy it. But, I did not have the right to shout at a beautiful girl.”
Shreya said, “It’s all right. You were frank with me. You did nothing to impress me, unlike most of the men I met everyday. At any given chance, men try to do anything to impress me. I hate it. You have been better. So, your apology is accepted.”
Viren said, “As you have been so considerate and understanding, I’ll try to give this book another chance. I respect your admiration towards romantic fiction. I cannot assure that I will like it, but, I will try to read it fully.”
Fortunately, Viren and Shreya were in the same train. They did not talk with each other as they both were busy reading books. Shreya slept early that night. She woke up to some sound. She noticed that Viren was crying and he is reading the last page. She recollected the first time she read that book. She cried similarly and felt sad that the book was over. She thanked God for showing her a man who is sensitive enough for romance.
Shreya walked to Viren and said, “Hey. It’s all right. I too cried when I first finished this book. The climax is so good, you cannot stop yourself from crying.”
Viren looked at her with disbelief. Trying to gather some courage, he said, “I’m sorry I’ll be frank once again. I’ve been crying for the last few minutes for another reason. I hated the book. I hated the climax. I hated the writing style. How can the story be so cliched and yet people end up liking it? I cried because I felt the need to kill myself strongly once again and I cried because I wasted one full night for a book as bad as this. Please leave me alone. I don’t want to be judgmental and start commenting on you again.”
Shreya felt badly hurt. She said, “If you commented on me, I would have taken it easy. But, you commented on the climax. You are such a prick. You are a douche bag. You are fit for nothing. You are the worst man I have ever met. How can you hate such a heart-wrenching climax? What’s wrong with you? How can you be so insensitive? Why did I even try talking to you about the book. You deserve only crap. I will consider I have never met you.”
Shreya walked away after that and did not talk to him during the entire journey. Though he felt bad he could not befriend her, he felt glad he would not be subjected to such boring books again.
After one year, Viren’s parents told him that they found a girl for him. He and his parents went to a girl’s house to meet her and consider an alliance.
To his surprise, Shreya was the girl. Instead of hating him, she smiled at him.
Viren and Shreya got married after six months. They made sure they never suggest each other books or try to read books for the sake of love.