CHAPTER 2 Part 1

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              I took a long pause before losing myself in the past.
            “It all started with a simple question.”


               “Arnav, which number do we have to provide?’’ Those were her first words to me.

             “The one on which the teacher can contact you when needed.” And those were my first words to her. It was our IT lecture back then and we were asked to fill in a form, I don’t remember the purpose of.

            “Ma’am, she was the most beautiful girl, with the most beautiful smile I had ever seen. I mean, her beauty is the most enticing in the history of time.” 

          The excitement of narrating my love story to someone geared me with childish impulse. I couldn’t, at any cost, culminate the wide gracious grin flowing through my face. The thought of narrating my girlfriend’s beauty easily vanquished the thorns of our miserable reality. By then, I was comfortable enough to let the cat out of the bag to my principal as an ally. I believed that she would help me once she knows everything. Though I was swinging on the cusp between being a frank student or a scared one, I wanted to tell her everything.

            “That’s sweet!” She exclaimed with an every-boy-thinks-that-his-girl-is-the-most-beautiful look on her face. “Don’t stop, don’t stop. Tell the entire story in a flow.”

            “Ma’am, the seed was sown on 5th August ’11.” I gave my memory some work to do. “I remember it precisely. It was Friday. We all were in 11th class back then.”    

            “Hey Arnav, will you please teach us M-II?” Sourav and Pratham requested me after college. Our first unit test was commencing on Monday. Math was always considered terrifying.

            “Yes, sure.” Though we weren’t the closest of friends, I agreed to assist them as I had a command over math.

            “Tomorrow evening?” Sourav asked in a pleading voice.

            “Done. Place?”

           “Our new building is under construction. We can study in the office there in the evening after 5.” Sourav came up with an idea.

            “Won’t there be any construction work going on?”

            “Don’t worry, work stops after 5 every day and it’s a minute walk from our college.” He assured me.

            “Okay then. Pick me up when you guys come tomorrow.”

            Our plan was set. Saturday at 5,  the building office.

            I was one of those who, owing to his rude behavior, had very few people acquainting him. My introvert nature was often misinterpreted as rudeness. I never felt any need to have a gang of friends to laugh and have fun with. In my defense, I wasn’t anti-social but anti-bullshit. My blinkered mind could not understand what good sitting and laughing with friends might bring to me. That had made me fallacious. I was more than happy scrutinizing my studies and sports. I represented my college in athletics and cricket. I desired to be the best in everything I did. I wanted to be the best student and the best athlete. I wanted to be the best in the 1500 m event. I never indulged myself to enjoy life. I strive to push myself beyond the limits. Eat-Sleep-Train-repeat, was how I lead my life. Boring as it may sound, but a must to succeed in any field. That attitude had earned me a respectable place in all my teacher’s hearts though it isolated me from my classmates. My life mainly evolved around books and ground. It bagged me numerous rewards in academics and sports but I could never be a social animal. I could never get along with anyone very well. I was renowned as an arrogant, rude bastard.

            But it was all going to change! Destiny had prepared for me to realize the true meaning of the quote from “Dead Poet’s Society” – Medicine, law, business, and engineering. These are noble pursuits, and necessary to sustain life. But poetry, beauty, romance, love, these are what we stay alive for!

                                                                         ^^^^^

            “Someone is calling for you.”  It was around 4:55 when mom yelled from the balcony. Sourav, in plain white kurta and blue jeans, which were his usual wear, was waiting for me. The only things he found worth talking about were – ‘The Great Shivaji Maharaj’ and ‘Indian Politics’. I always believed he would make a good politician given that he had the ability to talk someone into or out of any topic. His protruding belly complimented his chubby frame. The round chubby face and delusive smile only added to his diplomatic nature. His amazing sense of humor and the ability to entertain any crowd made him quite popular amongst our college folks.

            “Just a moment.” I asked Sourav to wait. Mom looked puzzled. I had forgotten to tell her about our plans. “I’ll be back till 8. Got to teach some math.” I said as I jumped into my black soiled jeans.

            “Won’t you have dinner with them?” Mom said in a low yet sarcastic voice. She never liked the people who always approached to me only during exams.

            “Ma, it’s okay.”

            “Don’t be too late.” She said.

            We left.

                       

            “SHIVAJI MAHARAJ KI JAI!”  Read the sticker on the office door. Sourav was the greatest admirer of Shree Chatrapati Shivaji Maharaj I had ever come across. I learnt a great deal about the daredevil Maratha warrior from him than the school texts. And no wonder I saw a big portrait of Shivaji Maharaj as soon as I entered the office.

            Pratham, Akhil, Sneha and Priya were waiting for us outside the office. Beneath their smiling faces, hid the nervousness about Monday’s test.

            “I hope you don’t mind them coming along with us.” Sourav prompted as soon as I saw Sneha and Priya. “They also needed help with math. So…..” His voice dipped hoping for my positive response.

            “Yeah, no problem at all.” I gave him a serene look before I pulverized my discomfort. “Com’on let’s get started.” I wasn’t pleased with the fact that the girls, whom I didn’t even know, were also called without informing me. I had to mask my feelings with a false grin. I wasn’t the kind of guy who would get along with girls easily. Dealing with the most confusing creature in this universe - GIRLS - was a nightmare for me and my obstinate, rude, arrogant behavior, extravagant only for girls, made sure it was a nightmare for them as well.

            “First, teach us Limits and Continuity.” The trepidation of the topic prompted Priya to say that as we all descended down in a circle on a red, handcrafted carpet over the snow-white marble floor.

            The study commenced.

            Explaining math to a group of dead, nervous faces can be hectic! Moving forward to another topic would make them forget the previous one. Numbers confused them. Akhil and Pratham made some peace with the numbers, rest three made their battle even worse. Of all things, Sneha chose to swirl her fingers through her curly hair. Sourav was lost in his own world. The unsuccessful attempts of understanding how numbers worked in the problems led him into his own imaginary world.

             After explaining for about an hour, I asked them to solve a few more problems. Everyone was busy solving. And I got stuck in observing something, actually someone.    

             She was wearing dark blue denim jeans and a white full-sleeved T-shirt, tight enough to reveal her perfect curves. Her hair, left loose, made her adorable. She was drowned in solving the sums, and I, in her irresistible beauty. A few naughty hairs would cover her cheeks, restraining the most beautiful face from my sight. But she, tucking those loose strands of hair behind her right ear, made me skip a heartbeat. Her eyes, shining like a crystal, were licensed to kill people out of pleasure parallel to none. Her lips, evidence of God’s masterstrokes, had the power to bestow life in rocks. Looking at her and probing her magnifying beauty felt the sole purpose of my birth.

            “Damn!! I don’t know how to solve this!” Sourav’s struggle with the numbers hindered my soul from seeking more pleasure.

            “Com’on! It’s simple.” I was irked by his impotence of understanding the simplest of problems. “See, first we…..” and as I was explaining the problem to him, the fact that I was drowned in Priya’s beauty hit me fair and square.

             {What was that all about? What the hell was that?}

            I felt anxious and embarrassed as well. I couldn’t believe that I could ever stare at a girl like I just did. I decided not to do that again. I was confused for why I did what I did. I found myself twiddling in the labyrinth of emotions.

             I couldn’t resist her beauty. Her skin, seemingly bathed in milk and glowing like a full moon, compelled my eyes to betray the decision I made. I had never experienced so much pleasure in merely looking at someone. God! She is just so beautiful! I kept thinking to myself.


. . . . to be continued . . . . 

CH 2 Part 2 :  5 Jan '18


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