It was surreal. Sitting so close to her. Watching the suppleness of her skin when she would make faces, gossip, contract her eyes, throw looks around, laugh, smile, and become gloomy sometimes. Her earlobes without any rings looked so cute. The daylight sparkled a few rashes of hairs around her cheek, giving them a golden touch. There was a mole on the left side of her face, between her lips and chin. It moved when she moved her face along and Sameer’s gaze followed it synchronously. The lines on her lips were clearly visible under her translucent lip-balm. The way she played with her hairs was adorable, moving her fingers around gracefully. She would endearingly nudge back a lock falling on her face behind her ears, with such subtlety.
It was delicious. Sameer could sit there all day long gazing her. He was into a meditative state. She would at times, open up her hairs and let go of them. Her long, thick black-brownish wavy-hairs swayed backwards, and she would shake her head off for them to settle down. She would keep the band ready across her fingers on the right hand and used the left one to pull the bunch of hairs elegantly from the inside of the band, tightening the tail with the right hand. She would repeat this for another knot, in a similar manner. Eventually, she would sense with her fingers that the hairs are in place. The whole process seemed so appealing and engrossing.
Only when someone would poke him, or looked at him teasingly, would Sameer come back to senses. blushing away and diverting the situation.
It was the beginning of a new month and as customary, Ma’am would elect new set of Monitors, one girl and one boy. So, she asked who all were interested and a few hands went up in the air. Already been the ex-monitor, Saloni again raised her hand, and Ma’am gave her an amusing look, which brought smiles around.
Saloni was a good Monitor. Everyone in the class liked her a lot. She connected well with everyone, taking care of their needs, and listening to their problems. She had a great sense of humor, and most importantly she was very generous to everyone, especially those who didn’t talked much. She respected their introvert-ness, and kept everyone involved.
But, twilight dawns upon everything eventually and a fabulous first month ended for Saloni. Ma’am congratulated her on being a fantastic Monitor and the class gave a huge round of applause. Then she asked for the people who want to be the next monitors. A few hands went up in the boys, but oddly, none amongst the girls. Expecting this situation, she humorously announced that in that case, she would randomly choose someone. Saloni, mischievously let out Varsha’s name and everyone turned their faces towards her. Except Sameer, as he was already glued into her. She became nervous and blushed a little. Sensing the unanimity, she chose Varsha as the Girl Monitor for the coming month. She called upon Saloni and Varsha to the podium, and the former did the honors for the latter, attaching the badge to her tie. They returned back to their desk after a modest round of applause.
Then came the turn for the boys. Varsha, instinctively rolled her eyes back, without turning her face, maybe to figure out whether Sameer was interested or not. She soon realized that Saloni was smiling teasingly at her. She tried to look nonchalant and calmed down. After a casual voting, Varun was elected as the Boy’s Monitor and Nakul adorned his tie with the esteemed badge. Saloni thought Varsha wanted Sameer as her co-monitor, but he was too shy to make the effort amidst the crowd. Varsha didn’t looked happy with Varun as her co-Monitor. He was okay to hang around and chat with, but otherwise, he seemed very insecure. He was just not being himself. He masked his identity to impress people around him. He was smart, muscular and cool but it was all just superficial. After a few days, once you get to know him, he would become so clingy and bugging. She felt her getting dejected and purposely changed the topic.
In the subsequent classes, Varsha tried her level best to show how mad she was. The reason wasn’t clear. She stopped conversing and replied curtly and half-heartedly whenever anyone spoke to her. She even ignored Sameer, when he asked for an eraser. But she passed along without looking back. In recess, she was having lunch with the girls in the prayer-cum-play ground and Sameer was sitting on the corridor-wall, looking in her direction.
He said to Kartik, “Yaar, she looks upset.”
Kartik: “I guess she didn’t wanted to be the Monitor.”
Sameer: “Nah! Everyone likes to be one, it’s an honor, but few have the courage to take the responsibility.”
Kartik: “You don’t say!!” he said tauntingly.
Sameer: “Hey! At least, I’m being true. No bullshit. I may not have the courage right now, but at least I accept myself the way I am. It’s totally fine.”
Kartik: “Areyy chill yar…I was just kidding.” He replied, realizing that has affected Sameer.
Sameer: “And why haven’t you raised your hand? I’ve never seen speaking up or asking doubts in the class. What’s holding you back?” Sameer replied irritatingly.
Kartik: “Heyy…I’m really sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. Ab jaane bhi de naa.” He tried to console him. Achha, let’s go have a Thums Up…my treat ☺” He dragged him along, sliding his right hand around his shoulders, trying to cheer him up.
Kartik took out two Thums Up from the Canteen fridge and opened the crowns in style. He handed one to Sameer, and pushed his bottle forward for their customary clinking. Sameer, smiled and clicked the bottled from the neck in accordance, rejuvenating their friendship back. He gulped down the first sip and uttered, “This is really strong, man!”
Kartik replied, “Oh yeaa, that’s why I love it” and he let out a loud burp.
Sameer looked at him embarrassingly and said, “Not again dude, I know your talent in burping, but please save it for the right place.” And he smiled naughtily.
Sensing his cool mood, Kartik asked him, “So any progress with Varsha, huh?”
Sameer: Not really. She’s really busy with her hobbies and all. I hardly get any time to talk. I called her up couple of times, but she was not home.
Kartik: “So dude, why don’t you join her in the evening with something?”
Sameer: “Look, she likes dancing, which I don’t. She likes to be a RJ, which I don’t. She likes basketball, which I don’t. She likes to study, which I don’t. There’s hardly anything common between us.” He said sadly.
Kartik: “See, you don’t have to have the same interests to like each other. Girls crave for respect. You just have to be understanding and appreciative.”
The bell rang again, which marked the end of recess time. People started walking back to their respective classrooms. The following period was English, and the teacher was late. So the new monitors were minding the class, writing down the names of the students who were talking on the board.
Kartik was busy giving ‘gyan’ to Sameer. Varsha was watching from the podium. She turned abruptly towards the board, and scribbled Kartik’s name. Kartik waited for her to write down Sameer’s name as well, but she didn’t. He was surprised and screamed at top of his voice, “That’s not fair. He was also talking. Write his name too.”
Sameer felt his heart thumping fast. He smiled and mumbled to Kartik, ”Looks like she’s not gonna write my name.” He felt a sudden rush of joy. He wanted to verify this, so he purposefully turned back and talked to a guy whom he had literally never talked before, just to confirm whether Varsha was doing that purposefully. And yes, she still ignored his name, and maintained her composure.
The last three periods were perplexing for him. There were a thousand permutations running in his mind about Varsha’s behavior. He was thinking too far, trying to discern what did she actually meant by that.
The final bell struck at 2pm. And they were off. Varsha left without asking for her eraser back. Sameer took this as an opportunity to start a conversation with her.
He cycled the same way, and saw her waiting for her auto. Stopping by her side, he said, “Hey Varsha, you forgot your eraser.” and opening his hand forward.
She took it and pushed it inside her pocket with the right hand, replying a meek “Thanks.” And she looked away, avoiding eye contact.
Sameer, sensing her bad mood, tried to break the ice.
“Hey, why don’t you come cycling to school? It’s so cool.”
Varsha: “I don’t like Cycling.” She replied sternly, looking sideways.
Sameer: “How can anyone not like Cycling?” he said, feeling a bit offended.
She felt annoyed, and replied back, looking straight to his eyes, “Just because you like it does not mean everyone has to. Okay?”
Sameer: “I’m just saying it’s a good idea to cycle to school.”
Varsha: “And you know what. I’ll tell you what another good idea is. To speak up and stop staring like a pig. To show some courage and stop sitting around like a dumbo.” She let her emotions flow out, without thinking whether it would hurt Sameer’s feelings.
Sameer was stupefied at her sudden outburst but he was also amused by the way she was expressing herself. So simple and straight-forward.
It did hurt him, but it was a good kind of hurt. Where the pain was bitterly sweet.
He tried to look unaffected and with a broad smile on his face, he asked in the cutest tone, “So, why were you not writing my name on the board?” ☺
[ This was the 5th part of the series “Dumbstruck in Louveee…”]
Do check out the other ones at -> http://aadimonk.blogspot.in/