Book Excerpt: Escape for Love

Posted on January 15, 2023


Author Bio :

Rohit Ramachandran is a Company Secretary (CS) by profession and a storyteller by passion. When he was in fifth grade, William Wordsworth’s poem “My heart leaps up” inspired him to be a storyteller. Over the next two decades, he exploredvarious forms of storytelling such as writingshort stories and screenplays, drawing comics, and acting in theatre productions and short films. Along with those pursuits, he obtained his post-graduation in Marketing and HR, became a member of the Institute of Company Secretaries of India (ICSI), and forged a career in corporate compliance.An avid movie buff and a loyal coffee lover, Rohit currently lives in Kochi, Kerala. Rohit’s first novel was published recently and it is getting positive reviews. The book is called ‘Escape for love’ and it is available in India and overseas on Amazon and Flipkart.

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When Nidhi insisted that it was safer to travel by bus, Wilson was so blinded by the prospect of spending quality time with her that he had agreed to it right away. He regretted not thinking things through because bumping against men in the back of a bus was not exactly the kind of intimacy he was looking for.

The concept of personal space had gone out of the window long before he noticed his numbness to the odour of fellow passengers. Soon enough, the bus taught him another life lesson—just because the bar is set low doesn’t mean you can’t go lower. The driver braked hard to make the contraption halt at a bus stop. Due to the hard braking, the passenger standing behind Wilson slammed into him, which in turn caused Wilson to be slammed against the guy standing in front of him thus making him the meat in an unsavoury human sandwich.

“The things we do for love,” Wilson thought as he wiggled out of the human sandwich only to be jostled by the exiting passengers. He winced in pain when he got elbowed on the ribs by an exiting passenger.

“And the hits just keep on coming,” he thought as he rubbed his chest. At this disheartening juncture in the trip came an unexpected ray of sunshine. Some passengers had cleared off in the ladies’ section and he saw Nidhi standing there. When their eyes met, Wilson no longer felt any pain. He smiled at her, but she did not reciprocate. Instead, she turned her face away from him. The bus lurched forward and Wilson was glad to see that the crowd had thinned out.

“At least some good came out of that halt,” Wilson thought as he took out his phone from his pocket. It was only then that he saw the angry texts she had sent him earlier in the morning. Once his eyes were done making saccadic movements going through those texts, they zeroed in on Nidhi, who became the point of his visual fixation even though she had her back turned to him. Wilson was not the lecherous type, so he was not checking her out from behind. He was busy playing a little guessing game in his mind. Judging by her posture, he tried to guess what would be the look on her face. Wilson figured that since Nidhi was a seasoned bus commuter, she wouldn’t be feeling like a fish out of water. Still, he felt bad that she had to travel in a crowded and crummy bus because she waited for him. He felt bad that she was standing and not sitting. Their journey would have been much smoother if he had shown up on time.

“You’re such a jerk for testing her patience on the day she’s having an exam!” Wilson chided himself,“You’re supposed to be her support system, not drag her down! You really ought to break this habit of letting people down. The day isn’t over yet so you better make it up to her while you still have the chance. She should look back on this day with fond memories.”

The bus screeched to a halt at another stop, and he was yanked out of his thoughts when his body flung forward. As he stumbled, he caught a glimpse of the signboard that displayed the location of the bus stop. He regained his feet and as he expected the crowd of standing passengers dwindled. He turned his gaze to Nidhi and noticed three things. Firstly, he saw that she had got a seat by the window on the left-hand side of the bus. The seats on the left-hand side of the bus were designed to accommodate two passengers while the seats on the right-hand side could accommodate three passengers. Secondly, he saw an opportunity—the seat Nidhi had taken was not only on the left-hand side of the bus but also happened to be in the last row of the ladies’ section. The seat beside her was not vacant, but even if it was he couldn’t sit beside her as it was strictly meant for ladies. However, not even the moral police could stop him from sitting on the seat right behind her if it happened to be vacant. And at that particular moment, there was room for one passenger in the seat behind her. Thirdly, he saw an imminent threat to the golden opportunity that had presented itself before him—an elderly passenger sitting in the aisle seat behind Nidhi was closing in on the territory that Wilson had visually marked for himself.

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