All my Valentine’s Days till date have been forgettable. On most days I don’t believe in love, unless it is directed towards the sun or ramen noodles. Last year was a little out of the ordinary. I didn’t have class that day so came out of my dorm room in the afternoon to participate in a Narrative Comprehension study (great way to earn cash when living a student life). Usually the kids in the college were an uncommunicative, anti-social lot but this time I sort of got talking to the guy conducting the study. He told me about an open secret of the Uni; a wooden bench located over an air vent in the quad. And how he could spend days on that bench, even in the snow. Minutes later I was sitting on the warm bench, enjoying the oasis of warmth in the midst of a desert of cold, and that fleeting connection between two human beings. I didn’t sit on that bench again. In the following months, I didn’t see him sitting on that bench either.
Many weeks ago, I came across a Twitter challenge asking the Uni alums/students to write an ultra-short story about the Uni. Up till then, I was blissfully unaware of Hemingway’s six word story- “For sale: baby shoes, never worn.” I wrote one about that afternoon– Rosenwald’s warm bench brought them closer. I hope you have had far more rewarding February 14ths.