It was a calm night in New Delhi. Earlier in the day, hundreds of workers of the city's public transit company had gone on a pre-declared strike complaining about some of their long pending demands, forcing thousands of commuters to look for alternative means. Surya, a final year engineering student at IIT Delhi posted his views about the strike on Facebook. Nisha, an Aerospace Engineering student from the same institute ranted about the troubles she had to face due to the strike in comments to Surya's post. Half way across the world, sitting in his lab on a sunny morning, Aryan was glancing through his Facebook feed when he chanced upon this conversation. An IIT Delhi alumni, now pursuing his PhD in Computer Science at Harvard, he got slightly annoyed with Nisha's comments. Although coming from the same college, he had hardly ever interacted with Surya, and never known Nisha, yet he decided to jump into the discussion with his two cents. Not the one to give up, Nisha replied with more arguments, and Aryan countered them with more of his. Eventually the discussion died down but impressed with Nisha's in-depth analysis, he sent her a Facebook Friend Request, which Nisha promptly accepted.
As it happens with all online friendships, the next step was exchanging email addresses and adding each other on GTalk. A casual conversation at first, they soon realised they share more passions in common than just analysis of Delhi's current affairs. As time passed, Aryan and Nisha started chatting online frequently, about random things under the sun. A month later, Aryan came to Delhi in his summer vacations, and that's when they finally saw each other in person and heard each other's voice. By then, they had already hit off well online, so phone numbers were exchanged and for the time Aryan was in Delhi, they interacted a lot over text messages, rarely talked on the phone, and never met again in person during the remainder of Aryan's stay in Delhi. Once back to Harvard, medium of interaction between Aryan and Nisha went back to GTalk chats. A few months later, it was that time of the year when thousands of engineering students across India apply to colleges in USA for higher education, and look for students already in US to get free career counselling.
Enter Myra, Nisha's best friend and one of those counselling candidates. Nisha introduced her to Aryan and they hit it off right from Day 1. A little counselling, a little timepass, sometimes with Myra, sometimes with Nisha, and often with both, Aryan had now found two new buddies from his alma mater whom he never knew earlier. Between counselling Myra and pursuing his own PhD, with every passing day Aryan started spending more and more time with Nisha, chatting at odd hours about anything and everything from sports to politics to movies to happenings in their personal lives. Come December and Aryan went back to Delhi, and met Nisha at one of IIT Delhi's favorite hangouts, and this time it was Myra whom he met for the first time in person, after extensively interacting via GTalk. The three of them met a couple of times more before Aryan had to return to Harvard. By now the friendship between them had grown strong.
Was it just friendship? Between Aryan and Myra, yes. Between Aryan and Nisha, nobody could tell, including themselves. Engrossed in his love for robotics, drawing and football, Aryan had never dated a girl all his life, never knew what first signs of love feel, and had no idea how to ask a girl out if ever that moment came. Nisha was no different, intellectual and enthusiastic about dancing and painting, but single all through college, with some of her friends even ridiculing her that she was not programmed to be normal and think about guys from a romantic point of view. Meanwhile, the bond between the two had grown so strong that Aryan would wake up to a Good Morning ping from Nisha, and she would sleep only after a Good Night chat from Aryan. All this time, without letting Aryan know, Myra, herself in a steady relationship since three years, was trying to gather hints and nudge Nisha to listen to her instincts. On the other hand, Aryan was confused. He had had momentary crushes on several girls during his college days and none of those girls had shown any interest in response to his hints, and although he was feeling the same about Nisha, he had no idea if this was just one of those one-sided feelings or something more.
One fine day next Spring, Aryan was working in his computer lab, simultaneously chatting with Nisha, as was the usual routine now. Between some random conversations, Nisha asked Aryan casually if he considered her as a girlfriend. Not knowing how to react, Aryan instinctively typed out his inner feelings. Turned out, this is exactly what Nisha was waiting to hear, just not willing to take the first step herself. And so it was done. No candle-light dinner, no romantic proposal, no well-planned dates. All it took was some courage. And GTalk.