May I?




“May I?”
Shamli looked up as she heard a masculine voice. A young man stood before her extending his hand.
She felt relieved as she saw someone. She was feeling lost in the wilderness as everyone else of the hiking party had gone ahead .
Exhausted after the arduous trek, she was sitting on a rock. a bit scared that she had been left out .She had been following the sound of a Punjabi folk song that seemed to stop suddenly.
Sensing that she had lagged behind team leader had sent someone to trace her.
Hiking and Trekking was a part of the programme of Summer Training Camp for College Teachers that she had come to attend at Naldehra.
“Now who is this man?” Only thing Shamli knew about him was that he was a member of the team, doubtful whether she should go with him or not.
“I am Noor Singh from Pathankot.” He introduced himself, his hand still extended to help.
Shamli hesitated, reluctant to hold a stranger’s hand.
“Hurry up ma’am, others have gone far ahead.“ his voice had a touch of exasperation.Shamli took his hand and stood up.
“Is there any way to get out of this wilderness without walking? I don’t think I can move another step.”
Noor smiled,” Keep moving slowly. If one sits down it becomes difficult to walk again.”
Here she was, scared of being left alone a few minutes ago and now scared that this man would hear her palpitating heart. His touch had a mesmerising effect.
Noor could sense her feelings. He tried to start a conversation to ease her nervousness, ”Where are you from?”
“Rupnagar,“ she answered then asked,” Who was singing in such soulful voice? I was trying to follow his voice but then the voice disappeared.”
“Oh! It was me,” he said with a glint in his eyes. ”Thanks.” He started singing again in his mellifluous velvety voice making her all the more nervous.
Shamli found herself attracted towards him . Her lovely face was turning crimson. Her heart fluttered.
“Are you silly?“ she tried to check herself. ”You don’t even know who he is.”
After what seemed like centuries to Shamli they reached the summit where the group was waiting for them.
They shouted and waved at them. She quickly snatched away her hand.
It was two months after the camp.Shamli wasn’t able to forget Noor. She hadn’t dared to mention him because of her traditional upbringing.
Moreover, Noor had never talked about love, how could she be sure of his feelings. Her intuition might turn out to be wrong.
As she returned from her college that day, he was there waiting for her along with his parents.
 They had already talked to her parents who seemed elated.
 “How did you know that I will agree?“ she asked.
“Your eyes talk too much!“
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