When Ayesha got married …


When Ayesha got married …

Pune was reeling under the weight of the hottest day in almost 50 years. It was 45 degrees centigrade. The air was dry and stung, like, it was full off thousand fucking wasps, breathing fire. I was fatigued, and exhausted. I hate weddings, especially when they are in May,and in non air-conditioned halls. I sat there waiting for it to be over, sweating, feeling my blood evaporate through my veins, and occasionally stealing a glance at the bride. There she was, my bud, my best friend, the hottie of Sukharanjan Apartments, the heartbreaker of PVG’s Coet finally getting married, settling down.

Ayesha and the guy, whoever he was, made a wonderful couple. Alright I can’t lie. They made a ridiculous couple. Her groom looked like — the Adnan Sami of yore ,the one who juggled his man boobs in Lift Kara De. He stood there besides her smiling a weird soft grin. All the ample layers beneath his fluffy chin, and his abundant love-handles, made me want to go poke him, and see if the fat would stay poked. Aayesha on the other hand, even in this miserable heat, looked like a daffodil, calm and poised fluttering in gentle wind. Her curly hair was tied up, and her makeup was minimum, but very effective. Ayesha is, and a dozen of my friends will testify this on their deathbeds, the hottest girl who ever walked the campus of our downtrodden engineering college or the hottest girl who lived in Sukharanjan apartments. I can still remember her, in the tight blue punjabi dress, she wore on our Graphics exam. I flunked that exam. 19 / 100. You need 40 to pass. Even today the memory of her hips moving against her dress, as she adjusted the drafter, or the gentle curve of her waist, as she bent over to pick up a dropped pencil, makes me go gooey inside.

The most destructive weapon that Ayesha had in her arsenal, wasn't her beauty though, it was her wit. She never used it for anything useful or creative, mostly it was used to keep a boy on a leash. Ignore them enough, so that they follow you, and just sprinkle enough sugar, so that hope never goes out of the equation. It was a pretty simple and effective strategy, and she abused it with no pity or mercy. Like moths to a light bulb, the boys flew towards her, eventually burning their own hearts. And look at her now, she was marrying, someone who to put it kindly was a face affixed to a pile of bagged potatoes.

“This icecream is so good” Khanda said keeping a hand on my shoulder, taking a bite of what looked like a rather questionable choco-bar, but in this miraculous weather, I would have buried my face in shit, if it was frozen.

“I bet it is” I replied.

“She looks beautiful doesn’t she ?” , Khanda gestured towards Ayesha with his free hand.

Khanda’s was one of the many hearts secretly burning today.

“Khandelwal, did you steal that choco-bar from some kid ? I went to get one, and the wretched caterer told me they were over.”

“I get what I want” Khanda replied taking a bite of the choco-bar.

“wow out of all the days, you chose today to sprinkle that “I get what I want” attitude” I said smirking.

“Fuck you !” Khanda sat down “and Fuck this heat !”. He gave me a punch and took another bite of the choco-bar.

“Maharashtrian weddings are such a boring affair. There are no good girls, All I see are 40 year old aunties, wearing sleeveless blouses, with sweat running down their fat arms. My sperm count must have gone down after a walk through the lawn”

“Well good, never have kids, the world cannot bear another Khandelwal”

Khanda chose to ignore me.

“The only good Maharashtrian girl in this entire fucking world is getting married”, he continued, pointing the half eaten choco-bar at the bride.

Second year Second Sem Result Day.

Khanda’s eyes had fear. Real terror. The sort, a man facing a starved tiger, in an enclosed cage, would have. He had attempted a total of 8 subjects and 4 practicals and one of those 8 subjects was a “critical paper”. That meant that Kenya had a better chance of winning the World Cup, than he making it to Third Year.

“Check out those ENTC nerds” Khanda said gesturing towards a group of people.

“Look at their faces. Look at those cheeks red and flustered, one look at the mark list and they will orgasm “ oooooooooooooh distinction”

I laughed. “And look at us” Khanda continued. “Our faces look like convicts waiting to find out if the guy, sharing our cell is going to stick it in our.. .”

“Do you think, you will pass?” I cut him short.

“I dont know. I have done my best. Resisted a lot of temptations”

“What temptations ?”

Khanda became serious “I have a huge collection of celebrity porn videos, including some nasty clips of Jennifer Lopez. I have been holding out. If everything goes well today, I am going to go back to that miserable hostel-room, shut the drapes, switch on the fan, and worship her, then, and only then, will I touch food. Might order a pizza”

“Respect” I said nodding and we bumped fists.

“Do you think Ayesha will pass ?” he asked “ Apparently she too has one critical”

“I don’t know, may be you should go ask her, ask her, if she too has been resisting a lot of temptations” I said with a smirk.

“You are her neighbor, shouldn’t you know more ?”

“I do, and as I have said before, you should stay the fuck away from her”

“I think Ayesha and I have a bond” Khanda said his eyes staring at the sky, momentarily forgetting the sweet tension of being held back.

“So does Rahul. He too is my neighbor, he has been thinking that from the 8th grade. He failed in geography out of all subjects in his ssc. His mom had him enrolled into geography tutions for the October exam”.

“You know what Joshi, be all negative and stuff, but let me tell you, Ayesha and I, we talk every day, and text every night, and some of the texts are getting, well lets just say explicit. We talk about each other’s lives, our problems, troubles,all serious shit. Let me show you”, and he started fishing out his cellphone

“Spare me the horror”

“No no just take a look, I mean..” but right then Dhok arrived on his royal stead, a small diesel rickshaw, carrying our mark-lists, under his left foot and even though he looked like the angel of death, bringing my obituary, I was glad, I didn’t have to read, whatever Ayesha and Khanda talked every night. Dhok was … I don’t remember what he was or what he did in our college. Twice every year, he played the Satan though, bringing our report cards, from the university. For ENTC kids, he might have actually been the next best thing to Santa Claus. Anyways, Dhok arrived, in his rickshaw, with an ominous smile on his chubby face and one of the measly entc kids looked at me and smirked.

“What the deal with that guy?” Khanda asked.

“ I bitch-slapped him once, and peed in his water bottle”

“What !” Khanda exclaimed.

“Long Story” I said sighing.

“You have a mean streak. If I wasn’t super tensed, I would have heard it, but right now, it feels as if someone has tied 20kgs of weight to each of my balls”.

I got up and stretched “ best of luck my friend”, I said turning to Khanda, “Fight the good fight !”

We bumped fists again, and like soldiers on the front line of a Hollywood war movie, who know they are fucked, we marched towards our doom.

I took my report card and the only thing I quickly scanned for was the Pass/ Fail status. Everything was a P. That is it. Total Victory. Who gave a shit about class and percentage ! I looked at Khanda. He was staring down at the report card looking super frightened. He then started to move his index finger through the card, muttering something to himself. Then slowly his face lit up. Kenya seemed to have done the impossible. I sighed with relief. Till Next year.

TE First Sem First Day.

“Alright you, the pretty lady in black, “chica guapa de negro” with the cellphone”

“Yes sir” She suddenly looked up. The phone was still lit. Her hazel eyes did a quick scan of the classroom. All 15 faces were now peering at her. She gulped and raised one penciled eyebrow.

“How do you say “excuse me” to a lady?” The professor asked, smiling.

“Excuse me m’aam” She replied.

There was a subdued roar of laughter in the class.

“Estamos aprendiendo español. We are learning Spanish. how do you say excuse me to a lady in Spanish?” the professor’s smile turned a little vicious. .

“Oh”, she said, but her hazel eyes suddenly looked relieved, and I detected a sly smile in them, the kind of smile, a cat gives, if it gets away with stealing milk.

“Perdon’e Senora” she said.

“ Is she right, Mr Joshi”, the professor said suddenly turning to me.

I looked at her. I am not a poet, but I wish, I was someone like Gulzar, and I could have written something incredible, to do justice to the vision I was staring at, alas you have to put up with my shabby writing.

I need to digress, every Saturday I wake up at 4 and go trekking on Sinhagad. Right below the top of the fort, there is a ledge, where I often make a quick pit stop. It is a small rocky balcony, overlooking the valley, and the Khadakwasla reservoir. At precisely 5.15 the sun comes up and drenches everything below, in soft golden light. Its pure magic and it lasts only for a few seconds, when the sun is still young and the night just about to leave. I had always thought that there is nothing more beautiful than those few short lived time capsules, but here I was looking at her, brutally corrected.

“Joshi, is she right, or are did you fall and rupture your brain?” The professor’s voice brought me back to reality.

tiene razón, señorita” I said pausing at every word, taking my time, drinking her beauty.

There was slight ‘ooooh” in the class and many people looked at me with puzzled stares, Her eyes now looked surprised, with a “What the fuck did you just say” expression in them. God she was delicious !

“Where did you learn that Joshi ?” our professor said looking at me

“Just read it somewhere”

He then turned towards the class and announced. “For those who didn’t understand what Joshi just blurted, it literally meant “you are right, girl and nothing more”

“Hey Joshi, wait up” she yelled running behind me. It was after class. I hadn’t reached my TVS scooty yet, so I was super glad, she hadn’t seen me drive the epic travesty that, I had inherited from my elder sister. I stopped. We were in the parking lot of SIFIL — Symbiosis Institute of foreign and Indian languages. It was about 6 in the evening, there was a drizzle, and a few unruly clouds, blocking out the evening sun. She was taller than what she had seemed in that small 15 by 15 classroom. It was a sight, to see her run, her dupatta swayed a little, with every step, and her black kurta clung to her waist, wet from the drizzle. When she finally caught up with me, I saw tiny droplets on her forehead, running down her left cheek. She smelled incredible, like faint jasmine. For a second I imagined running my nose across her fair body, all along her thigh, up her navel, inhaling every ounce, and then kissing her cheek, just like that fucking rain-drop.

“Are you okay ?” she asked waving a hand in front of me.

“Oh yea yea” I said shaken out of my daydream.

“You seem really good at Spanish”

“Ah I do okay”.

“Do you have a first name Joshi”

“Jagdish, you can call me Jaggu or JJ”

“JJ probably is the least horrible” she said smiling “So what do you do JJ” the smile broadened. .

“I am an engineering student”

“Oh so am I, which college”

“PVG”

“Cool I am in Cummins, what year”

“Just started third year”

“Cool me too. Which branch ?”

“Comp Sci”

“Me too, What was your result?” why would any sane girl ask that

I paused “All clear” I said. clearing my throat

“yeah but how much did you score ?” Seriously, what was wrong with her !

I cleared my throat again, “uhhh 43 percent”

“No kidding I got 42”

I felt a sudden wave of compatriot-ness. there were more people like me and Khanda.

I smiled deep and wide. I realized that meeting this hazel eyed girl, whose name I didn't know yet, who was a third year Comp Sci student, like me, who learned Spanish just like me, and had actually scored a whole percentage point less than me, was the shit that Yash Chopra talks about in all his crappy movies. what was that song — Jaise Dil Hain Dhadkan Hain Ek Duje Ke Waste. There she was in a black kurta, there was some barely visible cleavage under that dupatta, it was even raining.I was Shah Rukh Khan, wooing my very own Madhuri. God Damn Yash Chopra is a genius !

“Wow 42 percent, your parents must have been mad, my mom went berserk” I said.

“Uhh I was actually just kidding I got 71. Just 5 marks behind the UT, actually”

“What !. Who does that ! That is just so evil”

She laughed it was a very goofy guffaw, reminded me of kroor singh in chandrakanta

“You are right I am sorry’ she said still laughing..

“Anyways I am Manasi” she extended her hand. I shook it rather tentatively..

“I was you know breaking the ice” she said with a slight wink

“No you were showing off, in a very weird evil way”

“No, really no”. She sounded sincere. “Anyways you know you are really really good in Spanish. You know just so many nuances of the language none of the others know, I was hoping may be you could help me study”

“Manasi…’ there was a loud yell.

“That is my brother, he comes to pick me up”

I saw a guy waiting on a pulsar outside the parking. He removed his helmet. The same hazel eyes. I was relieved, he did seem like her brother.

“So Spanish ?” She continued

“Oh sure”

“Where do you live?”

“Karvenagar ”.

“Awesome me too. May be we could meet at the CCD in City Pride Kothrud. She took out a pen from her pocket and extended her hand and the pen. Write your number and i will give you a call. I scribbled my number on her fair hand.

She drew her hand close to her chest. “Have to be careful the rain doesn’t wash it away”, she said, smiling.

“Don’t you have a cell? You were playing on one when the professor caught you.”

“Oh that was Harpreet’s cell”

“Who is Harpreet ?”

“The punjabi girl who sits besides me”

“Oh yea the one with the big..” I was going to say big rack, but I caught my tongue in time.

“One with the big what ?”

“One with the big cell”

“Huh?”

“I think she is the only one who has that big cell in the class”

“Oh Okay, she also has a big rack, no?” she laughed and winked.

“Mansi” her brother yelled again.

“I gotta go. I will call you. saynoara chico” she said winking. And started jogging towards the door. “That is “bye boy” in Spanish right ?” She said turning back as she reached the gate.

“Yes except Sayonara is Japanese.”

“Oh see i need those lessons” and then she sat behind her brother and poof they were gone.