The unexpected meet
Fair turn of events?
After having my friend request unaccepted even after desperately sending it thrice, I had no hope left.
For days, nothing happened. Life was just passing by and it seemed dull.. I was ready to be where ever life wanted to take me but my fate had a little twist hidden…
Here I need to introduce one of my friend without whom this love story would have never even started- Ankit.
He can be described as a class apart. He was extremely intelligent, smart, and famous, a topper and insanely dedicated human.
And it’s really funny as to how fate unfolds itself. He was a bit choosy when it came to making friends, only a few could make to his elite group and given my reputation, I simply wasn’t one of them. I lacked all the traits and to quote my teacher I was ’undisciplined, notorious, over-smart, spoiled, indecent brat”
I was in full agreement with my teacher. I was spoiled, but I couldn’t help it. It came from inside; and it wasn’t just me, all my friends were born like that.
Our madness, craziness and nonsensical stuff were too much fun to avoid.
The word ‘notorious or mischievous’ were insult for us. We should have been given varied titles based on our degenerate acts. We took extreme pride in being who we were.
We would mostly hang at back benches talking on serious issues. Couples, their make-out stories, and filthy rumors of linkups; that was something we never got bored of. As I was still behind in such affairs; I probed into details gathering information about their habits, their taste, learning how they scored girls!
From teasing remarks, to filthy comments, to dirty jokes and even some funny yet disgusting raps(written by me); I don’t think any girl was left from being a part of our fantasy stories.
Some boys of the class who considered themselves superior always gave us condescending glares, just because we couldn’t score as much as them in exams. Ankit was same. Well I too never liked him but a stupid policy applied by our class teacher made me and Ankit sit together. As exams were getting closer teachers made pairs of notorious and studious to sit together so that atleast everyone like me could clear the exam under their guidance.
“Umm, can you tell me one more time, how you did it?” I asked Ankit, finding it difficult to crack a question. I hated mathematics and I believe everyone should.
“I already told you thrice” he responded irritated.
“Well, then one more time sure wouldn’t hurt you” I said, trying to be a little aggressive.
“Okay, just split the middle term, form a quadratic equation then apply shridhar-acharya method, solve it. You will get two values of x, put them in the curve equation of y and you will get the two points on the plane” he explained again. Well I got to appreciate him for this quality unlike most toppers who focus only on themselves he helped whosoever was in need.
“Okay, I got it, thanks”
“Seriously, don’t you even study at home?” he asked annoyed.
“I do” NEVER. “It’s just that this chapter hasn’t even started in my coaching yet” I tried to explain
“Which foolish coaching you go to? This is the most important topic”
“Actually it’s not a coaching; it’s more of a tution class”
“So join some good coaching, with school studies you can only hope to get pass” “Which coaching do you go to?” I asked.
“Knowledge point. Not a big one but the teachers are very good”
“And who else come there?”
“No I meant in girls, is there someone from our school?” he looked at me disdainfully as soon as I asked the question. Finally he began speaking in a tired frustrated tone.
“There is Avni, Muskan, Vaishnavi….” I actually stopped hearing after he took her name. I was happily shocked; a beam of hope lighted my heart. Ankit raised his eyebrow as I got hyperactive.
“Nothing, so really Muskan comes there?” Tushar had never revealed that crucial bit of information to me before.
“Yes she does, she actually joined recently and really you’re getting worked up for her? I thought you’re just joking around on her name like you usually do”
“I am not getting worked up, it’s just that she seems interesting, I just want to know more about her”
“So talk to her” he suggested. Wow!
“But how?” I huffed.
“Start with social networking site” Yet again! Did I really look that stupid to him?
“She isn’t accepting my friend request” I said with a heavy heart.
“WHAT? Really?” he guffawed.
“What’s so funny in it?”
“Ohh, Nothing sorry” he barely suppressed his sheepish grin.
“I wish atleast I knew why she isn’t accepting mine”
“Do you want me to talk to her?” he asked seriously.
“Can you really do that?” I asked, already elated.
“Yes I can, she is a very good friend of mine”
“But don’t you think it will look too desperate?”
“By what I can make out, I think you already are”
“Bullshit, anyway don’t ask her directly. Just bring my name in any topic and then ask her if she has contact with me, from there you can carry on”
“Impressive dude! Your mind really works fast on such issues” I couldn’t decipher whether that was a genuine appreciation or sarcasm ….
For the rest of the period I kept on asking about her, I badgered him till irritation and he kept on studying yet seeing me so interested he did narrate a few incidents and moreover he confirmed what I made out of her from the first (and till then only) time we met. She happened to be exactly what I thought of her in my imaginations; sweet natured, frank, disinterested about happenings in other’s life, all these made me wonder even more than usual that how the hell she happened to be Tushar’s girlfriend?
Tushar was all game for show off. Not that he was mean, but being flamboyant was his natural trait; he could be described as a ‘happening’ dude.
I knew they weren’t a perfect match.
Opposites attract, but similar sustains…
Days passed, and I went through the same anxiety, that same desire of notification whenever I logged into facebook, I was stalking her profile again, old days were back. But the end result was same. I never brought out the topic in front of Ankit again. I figured that what all he said was a false promise, a way to just make fun of me and confronting with him again will just end up in more mocking.
4th March 2014
I found myself sitting next to Ankit and after two lectures when he finally sensed my restlessness he brought out the topic…
“I talked to her” he said.
“Whom?” I pretended to have forgotten about it, I was to tag her as just another crush to save myself from embarrassment.
“Muskan” he exclaimed.
“Ohh! Right…I forgot about that”
He just rolled his eyes and went back to studying. I felt stupid over displaying unnecessary attitude. So out of desperation and hope, I asked again...
“So what did she have to say about me?”
“So now you remember her?” he smirked, in a condescending tone.
I just grinned nervously.
“Just tell me” I protested, my eyes getting bigger with anxiousness.
“Well, do you really want to know? Those were some harsh words she used”
My face dropped.
“What do you mean? Does she even know me?”
“Ohh she knows you better than you think, just not in the right way”
“What does it mean?” I was getting worked up.
“She knows you; she knows that you like her and that you have been following her”
“I don’t like her that much, and I haven’t been following her” I was struck hard with truth, I was out of words; explanations.
“Then why did she call you stalker? Have you been crossing her house daily?”
“Just occasionally” I cringed.
He raised his eyebrows. I tried hard to remember the time she might have caught me. It must have been that day when she was out in the balcony, and I stupidly kept peeping inside her main gate. I noticed her, only when I looked up to check her there. I was shocked for a moment, but then foolishly kept gawking at her. I should have acted surprised but that black gate, the railings on the balcony, the cream color on the wall, and the blossomed flowers in one of the pots, the swing, and the wind chime, all felt so familiar; I had noticed those things for too long by then.
“What else did she say?” I inquired.
“Well, she seemed really pissed off. She is even aware of the jokes you made on her and all those stupid things you say like you two being together; dating secretly…”
“Did Tushar tell her?”
“I don’t think so”
“Why? Who else could tell her anyway?
“Well, she has many friends and anyway Tushar has been the one saying nice things about you, he even told her to accept your request, to get to know you personally” I was shocked, surprised. I knew how good a person he was; I just never knew he was such a best friend. I felt guilty for blaming him all the time.
“Then why isn’t she accepting?” I almost wailed.
“Because she is really upset about the things you’re saying behind her back. She says she don’t even know you, it gives you no right to use her name”
I knew I was wrong, I just couldn’t admit it.
“But all those stuff are meant as a joke” I complained.
“Don’t tell me, tell her”
I never meant to hurt her. I was just weird, I was me…
“Well, you also could have told her that I am not bad by heart”. Now I was expecting and demanding too much.
“I did; but she got even more infuriated thinking that you’re using me as your advocate, singing false praises for you”
“But that’s not true” that time, I wailed. “I am not using you; I just asked for a favor, it is different”
“That’s what I told her, that your intentions are pure and you mean good by heart”
“But she won’t even listen. She said she don’t want to hear anything about you”
Oh my god! Could anything be more forlorn? The girl I liked hated me…
I was lost in my thoughts, trying to figure out where I’d gone wrong…
First thing that came in my mind was to ask Tushar to arrange for a meet, I knew he would be kind enough to do that but I feared she would again think I am using someone; even worst, her boyfriend but I had to explain myself.
“Can you do something, please?” I begged.
“When you go to coaching today, can you put me on call with her, so that I could explain myself?”
“Well, she isn’t coming to coaching nowadays”
“Why? What happened?”
“Well, she is sick”
“What happened?” I asked, truly concerned.
“Well, last evening she was having breathing problem and was coughing badly. Actually she has coughs for quite a long time now”
“So what is it?”
“I don’t know, maybe it is just common cold”
“Is she serious or something?”
“Oh! No, no. I checked on her in night, she seemed better then”
“So what now?” I felt low again.
“Uhmm, I am going to meet her today to see how she’s doing. Maybe I can call from her house”
“Okay” I don’t why but I no longer trusted my fate, wanted to leave nothing to chance. I wanted to take hold of things myself. I feared she might not even talk or allow him to call and he would end up agreeing to her. He won’t put extra efforts, it wasn’t his battle anyway, it was my fight, and now was the time I took the sword in my hand…
“On second thought, can I join you?”
“To her house; why?” he asked, shocked.
“So that I can convince her that I am not as bad as she thinks”
“Won’t it seem a little too desperate, awkward; perhaps”
“Maybe, but can I join you?”
“Well, I don’t mind. I just hope you know what you’re doing”. Actually I didn’t. I knew it was a step taken out of desperation and that it may backfire badly.
“Let’s see, what time are you going?”
“Right after school, you can join me from her e only”
I had no idea what was going to happen, how things were going to turn out, everything I had done till then has turned against me, I had been enough cheated by my fate. Maybe it just wasn’t a good time, but I took a gamble, a risk surely worth of; earning her in my life would be the biggest reward I could think of…but the question was, will it pay off?
After painfully long three lectures, and a long stretched ride of over 22 minutes, I found myself at her doorstep. I was sweating with nervousness.
He tried to calm me down, told me to relax but I just couldn’t. All the negativity popped at once, and I felt frail. My hands quivered, knees wobbled, the whole body shuddered with fear. I knew it wasn’t right. I had to be strong, convincing, persuasive but I couldn’t help but feel scared.
Even before her mother opened the door, and I mechanically followed them upstairs to her room I knew it was a mistake.
We entered, and her mother excused herself for preparing some snacks for us.
Ankit greeted her, and she smiled which vanished as she gazed at me. She kept staring with disgusted eyes. I felt horrible, terrified.
After making me feel like a criminal with her eyes, and making me even more uncomfortable than before, she withdrew her gaze and started talking to him, avoiding me completely.
Ankit did mention me in between, trying to steer the conversation towards me but she always diverted it some other ways. And when she couldn’t, she would just keep quiet and would heave exasperated sigh. She wasn’t even feigning to be generous. She wanted it to be awkward so that I feel bad about it.
I just stood there in the corner, feeling left out. I would smile everytime they would crack a joke, or speak something funny about teachers. Ankit was smart enough to keep discussion revolving around mutual topics but she was too discreet; saying only what was unnecessary.
I had enough beating on my ego, it was time to do what I came for and so I did try to seize the opportunity, coming up with short sentences whenever I would get an opening, but she just avoided me. She won’t respond. I resented my decision.
I was just too aghast to even make sense of the surrounding. All I could remember is that it smelled sweet; of her perhaps. I didn’t notice much but I remember the pink wall, cleanly organized study table, a wardrobe and a cabinet and her bed she was sitting on, along with lots of stuff toys. It just resembled like any others girls’ room. But I wasn’t remotely interested in the room; I was fascinated by the occupant.
Yet everytime she would look at me; I would cringe; mortified. She made me feel like an infiltrator, an intruder in her privacy. I knew I didn’t belong there, and her glance assured that I hold no place in her life. I felt despondent.
I was piqued by her non-responsiveness. Sure! I dropped unannounced without taking her permission, and it was wrong.
So what if I was a stranger, we could have been friends, then and there, if she wanted, if she would just give me a chance. A single meet is all it takes after all, doesn’t it?
But she left me inconspicuous in that room.
Her mother came in, with a tray of glasses. She exclaimed that snacks are minutes away. Like every Indian mom, her interest was in feeding and stuffing kids with food. I offered to help her; I wasn’t being of much use in that room anyways.
She smiled and welcomed the gesture; I followed her to the kitchen. I helped her with the arrangement and picked up the tray for her. Atleast she talked to me, asking me mostly basic stuff. She should’ve taught her daughter how to be friendly and behave with guests even if they are the unexpected ones.
I wondered the conversation above. Maybe Ankit was convincing her to talk to me, maybe she was bursting on him to even dare to bring me there, probably cursing me…whatever it was; I didn’t care. Al I wanted to do was to run away.
Maybe it was the closest I had ever been to her, her smell was enchanting. Her crinkled nose still looked cute, but those eyes; full of hate and disgust was killing me, I felt suffocated there.
Luckily Ankit got a call from home and he had to leave urgently. She cheerfully waved him goodbye, mocking and punching him as if to make a statement of what friends mean to her, and how close she was with him and how far, far away from me.
I got her message loud and clear; I didn’t deserve to be anyway related to someone as special as her. I was just a commoner, being clearly instructed to have my dreams quashed.
But before leaving I steel myself one last time and tried to look in her eyes just to let her know how apologetic I was, for that day and for before, but she just withdrew the gaze.
As I walked out of the door, I knew I was walking out of her life too.
A life; I was never given a chance to be part of so that I could have an opportunity to make mine beautiful…
24th march 2014
I don’t know what was worst to feel; the fact that she hated me or the fact that she still wasn’t in my life.
I was despair about ever being in contact with her, she despised me…she would never let me in.
But time has a miraculously funny way of working. We keep beating our hands up, fluttering our legs in mere desperation to somehow get out of mess but nothing seems to work, and when finally we had given our hopes up and remain still, a wave approaches and throw us to the shore of good times.
So my real story began at an unexpected place with an unexpected meet…
Our exams were finally over. And everyone was in mood to celebrate except me; because you need reasons to celebrate and a possibility of flunking the exams isn’t one of them. Exam days are really stressful, somehow I had to divert mind from rest all the stuff and focus it back to studies, which already eats up a lot of time. And when finally I was able to open the books, it was so hard to curb the imaginations. It is impossible to divert mood by studying. How can anyone distract themselves by doing something that provides even more reasons to occupy mind with useless shit?
I would sit enthusiastically but first few pages were enough for me to understand that studies are something I would never be interested in. And my mind would get lost in her thoughts. I was trying hard not to think, but I would end up checking her profile.
And seriously her pictures, it felt as if she was getting cuter with each passing day. Her smile was getting more enchanting and that hair, maybe someone told her how great they look, so in her newer pics, her face used to be half covered with those curls.
Yet another added feature were her poses; now she won’t look directly into camera but would be busy in some activity like looking downwards at the phone in her hands or looking sideways with her one hand playing with the hair.
It was painfully charming.
You’d think that I might have started getting drifted away, but the human nature is to crave even more for the unreachable. Every day I would wake up with her thoughts and mentally scowl at my heart- she is not that pretty, she is just another girl, don’t make her special, save yourself the trouble, get normal, forget her.
My mind would inhibit every thought pertaining to her, but I just couldn’t tear my eyes away once I would open her pictures.
Now I did try one or two things, like deleting her pics from my gallery and resisting myself to go in her neighborhood, but I had no clue how to get rid of the mess in my head.
It is strange, but sometimes seemingly happy memories are the most painful ones; which top the priority list we wished to be erased from our mind.
I wanted all the memories from my birthday to be washed away. I was tired from falling for her.
I was strangely happy about messing up the exams; I had something else to mourn about! Moreover, I now had a valid reason to keep myself away from her thoughts, she was to be blamed.
So to vent out the irritation and also being successfully coaxed by Prateek, we decided to go for movie. I went out for change, to relax my mind in search of other reasons for happiness.
And life really changed, and I grabbed the biggest reason to be happy about.
So we were at PVR for the morning show, as it is the cheap one.
We were 5 minutes late for our desired timing show so we decide to skip it, and wait for the next one that gave us a window of about half an hour, so we did what boys do at public places; leering at girls.
Morning wasn’t the peak time, the real jackpot crowd could be found later in the evening. Now we never categorized them in ranks or preferential orders, because no matter what, we always found something beautiful and end up liking them.
But we definitely had them assorted according to the location and relationship status.
So there were cute, innocent ones which couldn’t be found easily as they hangout comparatively less and are always found in ‘only girls’ gang; the ones I find most interesting.
Then there were pretty ones, some of which were even visible during the morning show, now their focus is on elegance and are mostly found singles but in a mixed up group, they were quite fascinating.
Then comes the hot sexy ones, which are mostly committed and are found on late night dates in cafes, malls, movies; ones I used to dream about.
And then there were the rich classy, extremely modern ones found in pubs or high-class restaurants; places we had restricted access to, which are sort of every boy’s fantasy.
So with only 5 minutes left for the movie to start, and having finally picked up a girl each for ourselves, we headed inside the theatre. And just as we walked past the security check, my eyes lit up as I saw them; Muskan and Tushar. Before I could turn around and tell Prateek about it, they had already noticed us. I am sure they would not have liked it much. But it was too late and would have ended up extremely awkward if any of us would have left without courteous meeting, we have and were noticed.
I had been hogging with Prateek to various food stalls around her house, to the library at second floor in school, to Ankit’s house outside her coaching in desperation to notice her once more, up personal, close, face-to-face but it never happened.
And then out of blue, when I had been trying to avoid her thoughts and somehow run away, time brought me closer to her. When I least wanted it to be, I unexpectedly bumped into her.
They approached us, Tushar with a genuine surprised smile. Muskan; for her the situation was still awkward. Prateek shook their hands and I followed, I felt an odd exhilarating shiver run through me, I withdrew my hand hastily from her joyless handshake. Her disgusted gaze made me felt like an infiltrator.
No! No, this wasn’t planned. I wasn’t stalking you, infact I came here just to shudder your thoughts. I didn’t mean to jump and be an intruder, it is a co-incidence. Please believe me, I do come out as a pervert, but I am not.
But having ‘imposed’ at her house, unceremoniously before; her skepticism was right…
The three of them kept talking about their subjects, asking each other about the exams. Tushar just stood there amused as always, and I was trying hard to somehow hide my nervousness.
It got even more uncomfortable when Tushar bought all four tickets together. Some other day, his idiocy would have made me feel happy but right then I felt nauseated. Just when I was thinking of running away, I was told that I had to sit for next two hours beside a girl I keep dreaming of, who hates me and calls my action ‘filthy’ and I will have to act normal and feign to enjoy the movie. Wow!!
Muskan followed the trend, and avoided me whole time. I was again left out.
We entered and we had seats from centre corner, so sitting arrangement was pretty clear. Muskan sat in the corner, with Tushar. I made Prateek sit beside him and I sat on the corner, alone.
But I had to survive, I needed to cheer up. Theatres always excited me, they were filled with possibilities. I bumped into Muskan today; who knows maybe today is finally the lucky day when a group of college girls would sit next to me. I had been longing for that ever since it once happened with Sarvesh. I even offered to trade him his whole ticket amount just to sit in his place, but he just won’t agree!
And just as if to rub salt on my wounds, I was joined in by a couple, the ugly frog sat next to me, and the charming princess beside him.
I hated a familiar girl’s presence. I could not howl, I cannot make silly jokes, I could not cheer on heroine’s entry, what was I supposed to do; just sit there and watch the movie. Who does that?
In interval, we were faced with awkward situation again. All of us moved out to grab something to eat, and suddenly Prateek excused himself to go to washroom. It got awkward when Tushar followed him. I couldn’t understand if he trusted me as a friend too much or if he was just plain stupid. How could he leave her girl alone with someone who since like forever has been dying to spend some time alone with her?
I had my opportunity, and I seized it.
“Sorry” I muttered.
She was startled to hear me talk. For a while, I simply stood there, and said nothing. We weren’t even looking at each other. She just stood there fiddling with her cell, and I kept looking either downwards or sideways. But when I had enough of the silence, I finally spoke. It was okay if she didn’t want to be friend, but her hatred was getting too much to suffer. It was intolerable. I had to clear the mess.
“What for?” she shrugged her shoulder.
“For coming unannounced at your home, I am sorry, I was being stupid” I said, penitently.
“And yet you follow me here” she chastened. I finally dared to look at her, her face in disgust.
“I am not following you” I said, aggressively. “Believe it or not, it is a co-incidence”
“Well, I don’t” she huffed.
“Look I know you might have heard a lot of things about me, I have been pretty stupid myself but not all of them are true”
“Are all of them false?”
I had no answer. Not all of them were false.
“Why do you hate me so much?” I winced.
Her eyes got bigger with disgust; she sniffed heavily to gulp down her anger. It was innocent, yet a very stupid question to ask. She fought hard to keep her tone in check. She didn’t want to create a scene in public, if only she knew of the chaos in my heart!
“A girl doesn’t like to be stalked. A girl doesn’t like boys she doesn’t even know to use her name in absurd jokes. And moreover no girl likes an intruder in her house” She barely calmed herself as she saw Tushar and Prateek walking out of washroom.
“I told you I have been very stupid, but I am not a filthy boy”
“And why should I believe you?”
I fell silent again. Telling someone how much they truly mean is a tedious task. And one often finds their actions somehow cheating with their true intent. Words, actions are not solemnly governed by heart; a calculative, manipulative and strongly persuasive mind plays a major part.
If I look back, all those grotesque things she mentioned were not solemnly done out of half witted desperation, they were triggered by fear; which originated in mind.
I feared never having her in my life, and I stood there, and dreaded losing her for lifetime!
Life would be so easy if one could just simply reap their heart out from chest to convey the intensity of their feelings.
I had nothing to reply to her. I just kept waiting for Prateek and Tushar to return from food counter. I just wanted to get over with the movie, and go home.
Maybe my crestfallen face somewhat melted her heart, and she added,
“Look, if there’s anything you ever wanted to tell me, you can” she said softly.
It was hard to choose. I wanted to say ’I know I am an average looking boy, but still would you be mine?’ or ‘if your single smile can make me so happy, how beautiful it would be, if I could get to spend rest of my life with you’ but at that time only one thing popped in my mind, the one thing which marks the beginning to every great story, the thing that matters the most.
“All I want is to be your friend” I said, surprisingly in a confident tone.
“Okay, but it doesn’t mean that I want the same” my heart fell down again. I spent the remaining half despondently kicking myself for doing all those stupid things I had done.
Unintentionally I had hurt her badly, and obviously she had no reason to forgive me, it all seemed like a lost cause.
At evening, I was sitting at Prateek’s house, as dejected as I was in the morning. He was surprised, to see me not hyperventilating. I was his same friend who literally celebrated a stupid birthday wish for days and I had just recently spent three long hours with her! The thing about him is that he never asked much about me, he knew that at time I would eventually come asking for help.
And at that time I wanted it. But to save myself from the embarrassment I had not told him about the incident at her house or our small talk at the theatre.
With others, I could have not even accepted my feelings, let alone getting desperate in it. They would have laughed for sure. Prateek well, he would’ve laughed hard too, but would have handled the situation for me. I could’ve told him about the stampede in my head but it would have been so hard to explain so I let it be!
And also ever since I told him about my crush on her, he won’t miss a single opportunity to make fun of me. He would show me their ‘together’ pictures, and read her caption loudly, again and again. I guess she also exaggerated while displaying her affection for him.
But it felt good that I could trust him even with all the wrong things I had done, he would never judge me atleast. Though extremely difficult to find, but those friends are real gem, who look beyond the visible, who turns deaf to voices and believes in the good in you, and put faith in who you are, and trust what’s really within.
With nothing to do, I logged into facebook. I opened the two notifications I had, and the most recent one made my heart skip a beat. I hyperventilated but finally inhaled the ecstasy. I jumped, I shouted, I laughed…I completely forgot I was at someone else’s house. Prateek looked at me dismayed, but joined in my dance as I showed him the notification.
He hugged. That’s the best part about friends. Even small events get turned into celebration.
I can’t remember how long I danced, I looked like a fool with a smile plastered on my face but I just couldn’t wipe it off! It was the happiest I felt, till then.
I don’t’ know what made her change her mind. It could’ve been my words in the morning or the efforts made by Ankit or maybe Tushar coaxed her watching me ‘normal’ for so long. I still don’t know, because I never really cared. The only thing I cared about is her. I took the screenshot, and it is still saved in my gallery!!
I could finally see her in my life, I could see my dream taking a shape…but mostly I could feel her presence, and that made it special. I waited and waited for her to come online, and when finally she did I dropped a message.
“Not now, but let’s see”