‘I want butter milk” I told Abhi. We were in canteen.
“Sandwich for me” said Neetu.
“When is the results of painting competition? All of us know Miss Perfect will hit the first place.”
“Stop calling me by that word”
“As you wish my lady…” she winked at me playfully. I know where it came from. Abhi… Abhi was there when vishu called me his lady…
“…….” I just stared without replying.
“Why do you pretend Paavnaa..?” she asked with concern in her eyes. I wished I could tell her about my situation. But by then she was in relationship with Abhi, a close friend of Vishnu. And I had to hide it.
I don’t know if people have seen me and Vishnu together in the previous day’s programme. Most of the students knew about mine and Vishnu’s not –sure-relation. They even know I was the one running away from him. I would be embarrassed if anyone saw us yesterday. The most pride girl of the school in tears, pleading a guy to leave her… I surely needed to get away from him. It’s becoming complicated every day. I needed to do something about it.
Abhi came back with the trays in his hands. We ate in silence. Neetu and Abhi were looking into each other’s eyes. I felt happy for them. I dint feel like disturbing them.
I got hiccups and that brought my Neetu and Abhi back to world. I remembered my granny saying: we get hiccups in the most unexpected time if someone close to our heart are thinking about us. I smiled at my granny’s unscientific knowledge. But then I saw him across the hall on the corner table. Staring at me. Staring at me as if I am the only thing he can see. He wasn’t even bothered by the moving people. That stare…. A lovely stare, a sweet one… I want him to grant. I want him to stare at me for hours like this… but…
Neetu started laughing. So did Abhi. I understood they noticed us. Abhi called Vishu to join us in the table. I dint want to give a chance to my bad or good luck of being near him. As soon as he came and took a seat next to my chair, I got up, picked my bag and left the canteen.
“Feeling great to see him run behind you?”
Neetu had come home. She hadn’t been to my home since 8 months. That’s since when she got so busy in her relationship. She sat on the swing under the tree behind my room. She always loved to come to my home. Everyone in my home likes it to be natural. Papa tried his best to keep the Prabhu’s Mansion a natural master piece. We have a big area surrounding the home covered in green. There is a swing tied to the mango tree. Neetu always loved to sit on it.
There were many memories I had with that swing, that’s where I and Neetu had found a metal piece while digging the ground when we were small and it’s still there in my drawer. It’s a common place of our meetings till a year back. We always had fights with my brother and his friends to sit over that swing. The mango tree and the swing saw us grow together. They became became a part of our childhood. Those days of springs where I, Neetu, my brother and his friends had completions of plucking the highest number of mangoes, how she used to fight with them for cheating us…
The tree stood there cherishing all the good memories of children playing under it, may be waiting for the same old times.
“I am asking you Paavana”
I didn’t want to argue with anyone. I wanted to live the left days in peace but it’s becoming impossibly complicated from all direction.
“Yeah. Partha is faster than others.”
“You know I am not speaking about your stupid dogs.”
“Don’t call them stupid.”
“Ok then. I am stupid. Its waste to speak to you.”
“You realize it now?”
“You are hurting him Paavnaa. Why don’t you understand?” she was absolutely serious.
“What’s so bad in him that you don’t like him? What? Can’t you see he cares? Cares enough to get insulted by you every single time. No matter how much you have done, he still wants you. Just you. It’s not like he won’t get anyone else. It is he is in love with you, you guys are perfect with each other. I will tell you one thing, if I were Vishnu, I wouldn’t have kept coming back to you. Even as a friend, no one stands such a painful thing”
“You were so rude today. Do you know what happened after you stormed out of the canteen? Do you have at least an idea what you are actually doing to him? Isn’t there anything called courtesy when it comes to him? Vishnu almost got suspended today”
I wanted to ask her what happened to him but I didn’t. That was the right thing to do-ignore everything about him. I know Neetu. She has the habit of speaking her mind without knowing the actual thing. She had never spoken to me like that before. I was hurt.
I was lucky, she was facing my back. The pain was knotted in the throat. Tears filled. All my pets, Arjun, Parta, and Drona started barking at her. I wanted to overcome the sadness. I didn’t want her to see me going through this.
“So… after so long time, surprisingly showing at my door, what’s the matter?” I asked still my back to her.
“Disgusting! I know what you are thinking. No one sent me. I came on my own. Because I thought we are still best friends. But seeing your reaction, I doubt that. Just tell me why have you changed so much? What is that you think of yourself? Ms perfect? What’s the use of your perfections if you don’t understand a friend?” her voice broke. There was silence for some time. She continued “fine, I don’t come again.” With that she went.
The sound of her footsteps faded away. I started sobbing looking at the mango tree…
I was in library. It was a library hour. I was not in my mind to read anything. I began to look around to find Neetu. She was with a book sitting in a corner. We always sat together. Today was different. I remembered the conversation of previous day in my house. If only she could know…
I had got up late this morning after a late night crying hangover. I literally ran to class in my car instead of riding my usual bicycle. The look I received once I was inside the school were similar to the ones in class 4th. I knew something went wrong after I went from the canteen. I felt I should have asked Neetu about it the previous day. The whole night I prayed, Vishnu would be okay.
Once I am inside the campus I came to know that yesterday’s fight between Vishnu and love letter boy who once made a big issue of giving me a public love letter on the walls, had become the hottest topic of gossip and discussion. I heard that the other boy told something about me which made Vishnu punch his nose. no one heard what exactly he told and to me it dint matter who told what. what mattered was how much Vishnu was concerned about me which wasn’t good for both of us.
I enjoyed the quite attention and admiration that I receive from others. But being the center of everyone’s big mouth was unusual and unwanted. I was spoiling his life. I, Pavana Bhakta, the one with full of solutions is now searching for the right questions. where am I going wrong? Am I running away in a circle? The more I tried to ignore the more complex it became.
I saw Sharan or the love letter boy. He was giving me an antagonist look. He now leads the group that opposes my each and every move and suggestion in class level. This life was such a player. The lover boy once, had now become my adversary…it’s like he hates to see me. I was thinking of how the loveliest turns out to be the hatest when the attender came to me and told someone was there to see me.
I found Vishnu near the garden. Even at times like this I never forget to notice his dark circles, a band aid on the his left hand thumb, worry lines on face, blood cot at the side of his lips, yet a charming smile that light up on seeing me!
“What Mr Perfe…Vishnu?”
“Nothing. Just felt like seeing you”
“Ok you saw me. I am going” I was trying to ignore him again.
“What happened to your eyes? You cried?”
I became conscious.
“Over slept” I replied.
“Listen, I wanted you to know something… you can share anything with me. I can understand. I will be there for you always” he became emotional.
“Why are you telling me this?”
“In case if you feel that I might leave you”
I know you don’t… my heart said…
“You know I will not.” he smiled.
“You have boards very soon. Concentrate on that. Other things can wait”
“What does that mean?” he was slowly glowing with joy. I know I was giving him false opinion.
“It means you will get a better girl someday. Now just work for your exams. I heard there are lot many entrances to write.”
“I will. But say yes”
“For what…? You are unbelievable Vishnu. I really can’t believe you are doing this. You and me. How can I make you understand it’s not possible? Why are you acting so silly? What is that you see in me? Please leave me Vishnu. It hurts to say that every time” maybe I spoke little too much. I wish I could take back the last sentence.
” why will it hurt if it dint concern you?”
there was no reply I could give to that question. I feel like having a plane brain these days that just do some nonsense numerical calculations and remain silent in these kinds of situation. Its like Vishnu has the key for my brain and he switches it off when he comes near. The truth is that I am concerned about everything that relates to him and us. and I am sure enough he can sense that. Then why the hell is he torturing me to say that openly?
I was slowly giving up on the battle. Mamma is right. May be I should do what I love to do…. But how? Should I say I will even die to be with him or should I say because I will die, I cant be with him….
” Give yourself a chance Paavana. I cant keep bunking classes to meet you like this. Say something soon. You know the answer.”
“Who told you yo bunk the classes? Is it because you are confident you can do anything? And when you know the answer why bother me?” I was back to myself. I was angry on him in way a mother is angry on her kid.
“That was almost an answer”
He gave me my favorite smile.The blood clotted side of his lips went up hurting him but that didn’t seem to stop him from smiling…
to be continued….