The Curious Request of the Two Girls

It has been seven years since I passed out from SRM University. That was my first time staying away from my family for over three days. But I was not the homesick person and still am not. I enjoyed my time away from my family, learning to live on my own, although it was in the college hostel that I stayed.

One incident that comes to my mind when I think about my hostel days is that one time when two girls asked me to move from my place so that they could sit where I sat. It was a weird incident. I will narrate it to you and you interpret it the way you want.

Unlike my professional life, my student life saw Saturdays too as Sundays i.e. weekend, week off, holiday, etc. So, one Saturday I walked into an almost empty mess to have my lunch. Since the SRM University I studied in was in Tamil Nadu, and that weekend was a Tamil festival, 75% of the hostelers had gone home. Also, I was kinda early. Festive feast was ready in the mess for those who had stayed back instead of going home. I filled my plate and sat in a row where nobody was there next to me, two rows behind me, and two rows in front of me. I opened the eBook reader on my phone and drowned myself in the story as well as in the food. I got so immersed in the story that I didn’t notice anyone come in or leave the mess. I didn’t take my eyes off my phone, but my hand was voluntarily stuffing my mouth with the food on my plate.

I don’t know for how long I sat there eating and reading, but I looked up from my phone when two other plates thumped opposite to me. There were two girls, of course. I didn’t bother much about them and went back to reading when one girl said, ‘Excuse me?’
I looked up again. She asked, ‘Could you please go sit somewhere else?’
Then I observed them properly. They were juniors. I had seen them on the Freshers Day, but of a different branch.
I asked, ‘Why?’
‘We want to sit here.’
I just wanted to be left alone with my eBook. So, without a yes or no, without asking for any more reasons, I gave a thought to move as per their request. But when I looked around to decide where to sit next, I saw there were hardly ten girls in a minimum three-hundred-seater mess, excluding food service and housekeeping staff. Then why were the girls asking me to move? They could go sit anywhere they wanted. Was it bullying? Nah. I was their senior. They wouldn’t even think of doing it. Then what was it? I didn’t want to spoil my reading mood because of them. I just sat back where I was.
‘I am not moving. You go somewhere else,’ I said and looked back into my phone again.
From the corner of my eyes, I saw their plates disappearing from my table.

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