“How I hate these classes!!!Again waiting for that psycho tutor by the lamp-post ,leaving my match!! “I couldn’t help muttering these words aloud .Totally in a rage ,I took my bag and stomped out of the house in disgust ,my mom following me to close the gates when I leave .”Take care…don’t get so heated up.Ask him to leave you before the match begins ,anger only spoils things and clouds the mind.”
“Whatever” ,I said ,rolling my eyes .I mean ,how could he do it???Today’s India vs Pakistan ,and I’d made such a full-proof plan to bluff about tomorrow’s test to Mom and watch the match uninterrupted .She’d never know it ,unless that poking-his-nose-into-everything tutor of mine hadn’t called her up to tell her that .”Mom ,I’m already prepared for the test .I’ve been studying everyday…you just can’t send me and make me miss this match .I mean ,I had been waiting for a month to watch this “.My pleadings had no effect on her .Instead ,she literally shoved me out of the gate and signaled to leave .
Rejected ,I’d no option but to go .I took a left and started walking towards my ‘so-called’tutor’s place .The roads were in an absolute mess .It had just rained and practically ,very little of the road was visible .The rest was just sewage laced water .After about 10 minutes of walking ,I could see the famous Bidhan Engineering College or B.E. College for short ,of which my tutor was a student himself .One of India’s most historic and sterling institutes ,B.E. College had produced the best professionals this country’s ever had .Well ,this is what I’ve heard Mom ranting day in and day out…and it’s her dream to see me as it’s student someday .Not only my house ,in fact ,the whole city wants that ,to see their children studying here .In fact ,our city’s name ,Maheshpur , has become analogous to B.E College .
Whatever Mom thinks ,I know I can never make it through B.E..not because I can’t do it ,but because I’m least interested in engineering .But ,who cares…
Actually ,someone does .My tutor ,Avik Sengupta ,or Shan da ,as we call him .Though he spoiled my day today ,he’s the one who actually listens to these little important matters of mine .And ,kind of supports it too .I know ,I know…since god knows when ,I’ve been saying a hell lot of nonsense about him ,you must be wondering why I suddenly praise him now .This is because he’s actually praiseworthy .A gem of a person .Let me give you some intro about him .An exceptionally intelligent piece ,lean ,tall ,with his specs on(hey ,that rhymes) ,he’s a mix of Einstein and Charlie Chaplin .I mean ,sometimes ,he’s so insanely comical and stupid ,that B.E. college thing just wipes out clear from my mind .But the moment he starts teaching ,that Einstein in him awakens .All his seriousness as if centered at the tip of his nose ,he adjusts his specs ,as if about to shoot laser beams through his eyes at the book .If you give him a sum to solve ,he’d stay totally engrossed in it for about a minute ,least bothered about his surroundings ,which is when we get a little break to have a bit of fun while he’s busy ,and when it’s done ,he’d hand over the note book with his typical ,how-easy-was-this look ,with a casual smirk to top the effect .
Presently ,I was standing at my everyday place ,near the lamp-post ,a little away from the college .This is where he’s supposed to meet me ,as in just come up till here and then ,we together head for the one-room rented place where he teaches me along with four others .Since those guys are in a different school with all exams over ,they’d got a one week holiday .So ,I was about to be the only one bearing the heavy yoke of studies alone for a week .How miserable….:-(
Shan da ,was as usual ,late .And I hated waiting .So ,to distract myself ,I started gazing at the lamp-post ,my only partner right now .Fully turned towards it ,with my back facing the traffic laden road ,I started observing it minutely .A tall ,pristine white ,three-tiered structure ,overlooking the main road and the market beyond ,was at present ,strangely appealing to me .It looked ,kind of beautiful ,especially when you compared the placid looking thing with the honking taxis and mini buses around ,it’s cleanliness ,and the highly dirty road .You know ,there are some things ,which out of nowhere ,suddenly begin to appear beautiful .Nothing’s right ,neither the time ,nor the place .But ,when you see it ,it sort of charms you and makes you forget all the other imperfections of the moment .
Quite deep….isn’t it?But ,no….my feelings for the lamp-post are just it .Tired of the lamp-post ,my eyes now went searching for Shan da ,and what a timing ,he just shot out of gate no 2 ,I could see him from where I was .But he didn’t see me .Wearing a red jersey ,earphones plugged in ,he is walking briskly towards the lamp-post .The colour of his jersey ,just then reminds me that I was angry with him .And having spoiled my day ,he deserves some sort of punishment .I decided I won’t speak to him today .
“Mrinu!!” ,just then his voice sounded from a distance .I didn’t listen .He called again ,but this time ,with a tone of urgency .”Maybe ,I should just check once why he’s calling me ” ,I thought .But before I could turn my thoughts to actions ,I felt a hand pull me through .With a jerk ,I nearly fell on the person and then down ,like they show in most Hindi movies…the heroine in the arms of the hero .Till today ,I had never even given a thought to falling like this on someone…I mean ,who does that?Moreover ,I used to think that falling like this was logically not possible .So ,whatever the movies showed ,was just to kindle romantic imagination ,which was never expected to happen actually .But ,providence arranged it so today ,that I had a practical insight into this falling-in-your-arms-thing .
Out of sheer shock at the turn of events ,I had closed my eyes .So ,it was still a mystery as to whose arms I had actually fallen into .Slowly I open my eyes…to find another pair of deep hazel laser shooting eyes .Ohh shit!!!Shan da…..he had saved me??Why does he always have to crash in at the wrong time??Right time actually ,otherwise that stupid mini bus would have crushed me like coconut paste .For a second , it seemed like time froze .The lamp-post behind his head glowed…almost placed like a halo ,he looked every bit my savior angel…in fact ,way more than that .I had never seen him this close .He ,I must admit , did look a bit handsome….actually ,very handsome..no ,take the previous one…I am confused .His pale skin ,set off by shiny and spiky hair ,his laser shooting eyes bearing genuine concern for me…Today ,for the few seconds I was in his arms ,I saw him in a new light ,confusing..but also amusing .
“There are some things ,which out of nowhere ,suddenly begin to appear beautiful .Nothing’s right ,neither the time ,nor the place .But ,when you see it ,it sort of charms you and makes you forget all the other imperfections of the moment ” ,something seemed to repeat these lines in my head .What I’d thought for the lamp-post ,came true for this savior of mine.
“Mrinu ,you okay?”His voice seemed to wake me up from my stupid dream .
“Ya…Thanks a lot .You saved me from becoming like coconut chutney ” ,I said with a grin .He grinned back .
“My pleasure ,ma’am…Just be a bit careful from the next time…You see ,I can’t come running like a superman to save you every time..I’m too busy for stuffs like that .”And he raised up both his hands .With a giggle ,I punched him on his side .”Careful ma’am…things are delicate down there “.Red-faced ,I didn’t joke any further and looked in the opposite direction .I could sense him looking at me for a minute .When I turned ,he again gave me a look ,and gave a short ,snorty ,laugh .I didn’t understand this one…but laughed all the same .
Soon ,we reached the room .The moment he was inside the room ,the Einstein in him took the front seat ,and pushed the Charlie Chaplin behind .For two hours continuously ,he taught me ,or should I say ,grilled me..to the core ,with his never-ending question answering rounds .My eyes were fixed on my watch .If he leaves me now ,I could at least see the final over .Something’s always better than nothing .But ,how do I tell that to him?When he’s serious ,no one dares mess with him ,let alone requesting him something as trifle as this .And moreover ,I was without my battalion .Had they been here ,they surely would have done it .
“Mrinu ,can you please concentrate??We’re in the middle of something very important and I need your 100% attention .”I looked at him despondently .I couldn’t control anymore .”Don’t you have a life!!Wake up da…It’s the Indo-Pak match!!They must be playing the last over by now..If you permit ,can’t I at least see the last over?”
I’d said all this in a very brash tone…as his face suddenly appeared really stony and cold .I hoped I had not crossed the line .But ,I think I had .Shan da silently got up from his seat ,took my hand and headed me upstairs .The owners of the one room house ,had their rooms on the upper floors .I’d never noticed these as their vision used to be obscured by the tall sal trees .They were a family of two little girls ,father and mother ,all super cricket fans .Their attires loudly proclaimed the fact .Complete with Team India T-shirts ,caps ,the tiranga tattoos and a bundle of crackers on the side table…they were well stocked up with everything .One cricket crazy family .
I was right….the last over was being played .In fact the last ball .India needs just six runs to win .All eyes on the ball and the batsmen .The bowler goes back..runs with the ball in his hand and with a twist of his wrist ,he shoots it .The ball ,a really fast one ,whizzes past the track .Batsmen ready ,fully focused for the great moment .In just a split second ,the batsman strikes the ball and out it goes…crosses the boundary and yesssssssss!!!!!!!!!!!!!
India’s won the match!!In Di Ya..In Di Ya..In Di Ya..the whole stadium was in a mood of celebration .The cricket crazy family is getting all the more crazier .Everyone’s hugging each other .Their hugging was infectious as even I picked up the practice ,and went and hugged Shan da…Biggest mistake..India’s victory totally made me forgot the spat we had just 5 minutes ago .He remained stiff and cold to my hug .It hurt .Really .I wasn’t expecting it this bad…whatever I’d done ,did owe an apology ,but what he did…that was not right ,at all .Felt so insulted ,sick ,ashamed ,angry…all mixed feelings at the same moment .
I checked the time .I had to go home .I silently went downstairs and out .Shan da too came behind me .Despite his sullen mood ,he understood his responsibility .It had got dark .And usually when it gets dark ,he comes along .But ,I was in no mood to understand all this .I was insanely angry again..and walking faster .He was close to my heels .My anger ,seemed to have blinded me .So blind ,that i was almost going to run into a rushing car .Again ,a strong hand with a harder grip saved me this time too .Just this time ,I controlled the jerking moment ,and did not exactly fall into his arms…but I stood really close to him .So close ,that I feared…
I took my hand back and nervously stared at the ground .He too backed off and turned to leave .I had an apology to make .I reminded myself .This time ,I went forward ,held his hand and made him turn towards me .Took a deep breath and started my apology speech ,”Da ,I’m sorry for being so brash and rude that time .I didn’t mean it ,really .I…just got crazy..like that cricket crazy family .I hope I haven’t crossed the line…coz if I have..I’m really really sorry” .
Phewww!!!I did it .Da ,absolutely stunned ,stared at me for half a minute ,and suddenly broke into a hearty laugh .
This guy’s totally nuts .I just said sorry ,that too after such a hush hush type situation..I almost deserve a bravery award>And this guy’s laughing so hard… ,I don’t know what was so funny in that .”What’s so funny??” ,I demanded an answer .After suppressing his uncontrollable laugh ,he offered an explanation ,”Dude ,your sorry speech was great .But only if you had paused in between .You just went off like Rajdhani express and said everything in one breath!!Hats off to your talent Mrinu…!!Really..”
“What did that bloke just say??Did I actually do that??No wonder he’s laughing .What else do I do..fretting is useless .I’m actually tired of getting angry with him .Laughing remains the only thing..” ,I thought resignedly and gave a little laugh .
He left me a little ahead ,almost near my home .
“So ,we’re there .Your home’s come at last” .
“Ya..it’s there” .
For a moment ,I felt the urge to go and hug him tight but resisted it timely .He too ,turned back and started leaving .But he kept looking back…he then turned…and came back .What was he doing??
“Mrinu ,could you just please drop in by 7 tomorrow morning?Before going to school?Just stand by the lamp post…will you??
I didn’t expect this so suddenly .
“Ya…why not .I’d be there .You be on time .Otherwise I’ll miss my bus…and my test too ” ,I said with a grin .
“I won’t give you a chance to do that miss..be on time.Bye .See you tomorrow .”
Too much had happened in a day .I didn’t even get the time to retrospect at least once .After dinner ,I went to my room ,closed the door from behind ,and just had a re-run of today’s events in my mind .I took a deep breath .This is way too complex for me to handle .Someone ,whom I call Da..meaning elder brother ,suddenly I begin to develop some kind of weird longing for him ,twice I fell on him ,and each time ,I admit ,my heart skipped a beat .When he had held me ,with the lamp-post halo effect ,I don’t know what happened…I was just ,kind of lost..in his thoughts…How could so much change in a day???And what was that??Why has he called me by the lamp post so early??Does he have the same thoughts??No way….that’s impossible .He’d once told us ,not directly ,but he hinted on having a girlfriend .What is happening to me??I shouldn’t be feeling all this…coz at the end ,I’d be the one who’d be hurt the most .My first love attack…and I tell you ,I was miserable at this .Physics seemed much easier than handling all these .
I couldn’t sleep that night .Tried everything ,books ,music ,counting fluffy sheep jumping over the hedge…nothing worked .I counted up to 500 sheep ,and hopelessly left after that .Thoughts about Shan da kept haunting me .All this while ,when we were together ,why didn’t I feel this thing before??Everyday ,we’d meet by the lamp-post and walked together to the room .After school ,he used to treat me with ice-lollies sometimes .We ate the same flavor ,orange!!And the lamp-post ,till this day ,which was almost nothing ,now seemed some kind of a shrine .I’m not being a moron…I don’t know how this thing happened .But ,now I guess ,it didn’t happen suddenly .Everything was gradual .Maybe the seed was already sown .And today’s events just triggered it to blossom like a rose .I remember ,the jealousy ,I harbored when Shan da had indirectly spoken about his girlfriend .But ,I didn’t accept it that time .Sleep ,which till now alluded me ,now hung heavily on my eyes…Before I knew ,I was already in deep slumber .
“The lamp-post glowed beautifully .Shan da ,dressed in a black suit ,on his knees before me .The happiest day of my life…My gown ,sparkling and glittering like a diamond in the light of the lamp-post ,made me look all the more prettier .He got up ,offered me his hand for a dance .I obliged .The dirty sewage strewn road was transformed into some sort of fairy land .We whirled ,and danced ,like the prince and princess in stories…what laughter and mirth we shared!!Tired ,we halted at our favorite place ,by the lamp-post .Him ,standing against it ,me in his embrace .His laser shooting eyes boring into mine ,he knelt down lightly ,and I slowly raised myself ,standing on my toes…And then….his lips touched mine..my arms twined around his neck ,and we kissed like it would never end…Light pink rose petals showered on us ,the lamp-post glowed like it too was overjoyed..My head played that song from the movie ……I had never felt this happy in my entire life” .
“Mrinu!!!Wake up…Remember you got a test today??”
Shit!!I’ve been dreaming such weird Bollywood style dreams..flowers ,music..and lamp-post??
Even this lamp-post’s become such an integral part in my love story ,that along with Shan da ,I saw it too .The moment I realized all that was a dream ,I couldn’t help laughing on myself .Bravo Mrinu!!First ,I fall head-over-heels in love with my tutor ,and then I dream this movie style kiss and flowers…I let out a sigh and fall back on the bed .Though now comical ,the dream still lingers on…
I don’t know what will be the outcome of all this..I don’t know what he feels about it..I don’t a thousand more things..I just know ,that I’ve badly ,miserably fallen in love with my laser shooting-eyed tutor and he’s called to meet me up by the lamp-post .
Shit!!how could I forget this?? Need to get dressed up quickly…..God knows ,what awaits me today..
As time passed ,my heart beats increased in arithmetical progression .Even Mom could sense something was wrong .Why was I acting so stupid??God ,help me….
10 minutes to seven ,and I was almost there .Soon ,I ,along with my lamp post friend ,stood patiently ,waiting for my verdict .I had the exact feelings of a prisoner who’s going to get hanged .
5 minutes past seven ,and he was there .Still late ,I thought .Everything about him had seemed to change overnight…he now walked in a grave manner…all his easy-going attitude just vanished somewhere..but regaining his strength ,(it seemed from his face) ,he handed me a small note and said..”I’m leaving today .Read this after your test’s done .I’m sorry that I couldn’t be there longer with you..I did wish too…Do take care..and always do well in life..
I don’t know when we’ll meet next ,but let’s just hope it happens soon..”
He was done .I stood there ,eyes on the ground ,totally stunned hearing his words .With someone I fell in love one day ,he leaves the next??What kind of justice was this???I couldn’t make myself utter a word ,for fear that I’d end up crying .With much difficulty ,using all the mental strength that I could muster up at present ,I said ,” I’m happy for you .You must be going to a very good place after this ..Don’t worry about me ,I’ll be fine .You take care…Bye!!
I’ll have to leave now..My bus will be there any minute…”
I turned to leave .”Mrinu ,something was left yesterday .You came up with your apology ,but mine still stands undone .You know ,I’m a very busy man..can’t take the load of incomplete things..specially left to someone like you .”
He came forward ,and gave her a tight ,warm hug…that moment felt like eternity .Had it not been for the bus…they’d never have left .
After the test ,Mrinu opened the note..more or less ,it was the same thing that he spoke to her in the morning…except one..”If you do miss me ,by chance ,which I really doubt(she could imagine his smirk at this) ,come by the lamp-post .Who knows ,I may come back to meet my Mrinu…like we did everyday..Take Care..Bye!!”
She clasped the note firmly to her heart…the lamp-post…for sure..I’d wait:-)