New to my Blog??

New to my Blog??

Click on the below links to read my previous stories..

Bus#126W       My Family and I       Games we play       All Roads Lead Home       As Good As It Gets       Whodunit?      

The Reunion       A Dog's World      My Sister's Daughter

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Games We Play - Part 2

She thought of abandoning Samrat again, but changed her mind. It was too childish. She would tell him that she was getting married and her fiancé had called.
Samrat smiled at her as she walked towards him.
“I’ve to show you something.” He said excitedly, as she settled down.
“What?” His boyish enthusiasm made her smile. Her news could wait.
He opened the last page of her book and pointed at it. “There!”
“What am I looking at?” She peered at the last page, seeing nothing but advertisements of other books and there is was. His book, “An insight into the human mind” by Samrat Kattar.
“Wow!” She exclaimed. “This is so cool!”
“Isn’t it? I know! Its been great.” He looked pleased as a punch.
“You should have put your face on the cover instead of this ugly brain photo.” Nandita said laughing.
“I know, my sentiments exactly, but the publishers didn’t go for it. They thought the brain would sell more copies.”
Nandita’s checklist resurfaced.
Successful check!

Their conversation carried on, smooth as silk. And not once did Nandita feel the need to tell Samrat about her wedding. But with each passing minute, Nandita became aware of something, she had long discarded as a teenage phenomenon. Butterflies.
With every smile, every laugh, she found herself hoping the plane would never take off. They spoke about all sorts of things, their families, their careers everything but their personal life.
He could be married for all you know,  A little voice inside her head warned.
No way, why would he hide something like that?
The same reason you are hiding the fact the you are engaged to get married tomorrow.
That’s completely different. It never came up.

The hours they had together were diminishing into minutes. Nandita contemplated what to do next. Should she risk telling Samrat the truth? Or should she wait to see if he felt the same? She was pretty sure, whatever she was feeling, it was the same for Samrat too.

As the plane started landing, both of them became silent, aware of the impending goodbye. Was it to be a goodbye? A goodbye forever?
Nandita could scarcely breathe. Silently,  they stood together waiting for their baggage.
“Listen,” Samrat said finally.
“Yes?” Nandita recognized the presence of hope in her voice.
“I had a great time.” Samrat said, taking her hand.
“Me too.” She made no attempt to remove his hand. It felt right somehow. “I think we should keep in touch.”
“Yeah, I think you are right.” He said, pulling out her bag from the baggage claim area. “Lets go?” he smiled at her. The smile that she had come to love.
“Yes, Samrat, there’s something I should tell you..” She took a deep breath, it was time to tell him.
“Hold that thought, I’ve a confession too but,” He touched her face lightly, “I left my other bag inside. Meet you outside?”
She nodded softly.
“You won’t run away again, will you?” He asked, smiling.
“No.” She was surprised with herself. She really meant it. She didn’t intend to let him go.

Nandita walked out of the airport, feeling the glorious sun on her skin. Just as the grey skies had all but disappeared from the sky, they seemed to have disappeared from her life too.
“Nandita! Here!”  
Nandita turned around, shocked.
“What are you doing here?!” Nandita stopped dead in her tracks, staring at the man, who was her fiancé.
“I came to pick you up, is that so wrong?” Rajat looked amused to the conflicting emotions on her face. She was trying to smile at him but she kept glancing around nervously. “Is everything okay?” He asked.
“Yes. Yes, everything’s fine.” A smile appeared on her face. She knew what she had to do now. Soon, it would all be over. She could afford to smile now. She stepped into his embrace and hugged him tight. Whatever was going to happen between them, wouldn’t be pretty, but she knew he was a good man and she had become very fond of him. She was going to miss him.
As she withdrew for him, she saw a puzzled look on Rajat’s face. “Where’s your ring?” He asked, holding her hand.
“I took it off,” She thought quickly, “I didn’t want it to fall down and get lost.”
She knew it sounded fake, but he believed her.
“Lets put it on then.” He took the ring from her and started to slip it on her hand and just then, she saw him Samrat staring at her. His expression indecipherable.
“Lets go?” Rajat picked up her bags and started walking towards the car.
Nandita hesitated. Samrat just stood there, staring at her. Nandita looked down at her hand and knew she what she had to do.
She raised her hand to her face, the back of her hand facing Samrat and pointed at the ring on her finger. She waited with baited breath to see how Samrat would react.

She saw Samrat visibly flinch at her gesture and then with a mocking salute, he turned around and slowly walked away.
“Are you coming or what?” Rajat turned around and beckoned to her.
She took one last glance at Samrat, who had all but blurred into the distance, “I’m coming,” she said.
If Rajat noticed that she was unusually quiet, he was smart enough not to say anything about it.

She was wondering if she would ever see Samrat again and more importantly, was he worth it?

They were pulling up to Rajat’s house. She could see her family and his family waiting outside, eager to see her, happiness dripping from their faces. It was her wedding. She should have been that happy. But she wasn’t. As the car stopped, Rajat leaned across and whispered kindly, “Whatever it is that’s upsetting you, we can talk about it later. Put on a smile for them now.”
He opened the door. The family stepped in closer. Suddenly, Nandita felt like she couldn’t breathe. She felt suffocated.
“No Rajat, we can’t talk about it later.” She pulled the door shut. “Please, can we just drive away for a while?” She turned towards him, her eyes pleading.
“Now?” He looked at his parents through the windshield. They looked confused and bewildered as to why the bride and the groom were not stepping out of the car.
“Yes, please Rajat.” Maybe he saw the desperation in her eyes, but he did exactly that. He shrugged and drove away.
Nandita breathed in large gulps of air, relaxing slowly.
“Thank you..” She said finally.
“What was all that about?” Rajat asked calmly. She wondered how he could be like that.
“I just couldn’t breathe..” She knew how lame it sounded, but it was true.
Rajat glanced at her, at the sweat on her forehead. He stopped the car, “Out with it, what’s wrong? Are you not feeling well?”
She covered her face with her hands. What she was going to do next, she would probably regret for the rest of her life. But she also knew, that if she didn’t do it, she would spend the rest of her life wondering if she had taken the right decision.
“You’re a very nice guy Rajat.” She began.
“Nandita, are you breaking up with me, one day before our wedding?” Rajat asked her in disbelief.
“I’m not breaking up with you, I’m just saying, I don’t want to get married.” She bit her lip. She knew what he was going to say. She knew she should have taken this decision a lot earlier.
“Come on Nandita, whatever it is, we can work it out. What did I do, that you want to call it off?” Rajat didn’t look at her, he was gripping the steering wheel hard.
“Why, Rajat, why do you want to be with me? You deserve someone who loves you, someone who can reciprocate what you feel, why do you want to settle for me? You know, I’m not the one for you.” She clutched his hand, forcing him to look at her.
He didn’t say anything for the longest time. Then he spoke, “Because, despite all that, I think I love you. And despite the fact, that you don’t feel the same for me, I believe, that we can lead a happy life together. I’m not settling for you Nandita, I really want you.” He looked straight at her. It was her turn to look away.
“I’m sorry Rajat, but I don’t want to settle.” She felt like a bitch saying it, after he had so plainly stated his feelings for her.
“So you are saying the wedding’s off?” Rajat asked her quietly.
“Yes, its for the best really. I wouldn’t be happy and I would blame you for everything and I don’t want that. I want to be happy and I want you to be happy and I know you will not find happiness with me.”

The wedding was off. Shocked relatives were being sent back. Gossip mills were working overtime with all strange rumors flying around. Her parents were completely miffed with her. Rajat was heartbroken, she didn’t have a house to live in or a job to go back to. But she was calm.
She felt like she had done the right thing. For everyone. Nobody was looking at it form her point of view. She was sick of trying to explain to her parents that even if she got into this marriage, she would soon seek a divorce. She was sure of it.
But right now, she was the bad person. Everybody thought she was being a fool. But they would see eventually that she had been right all along.
And Samrat? How would she explain all this to him? She had to try. It was up to him to accept her. She would respect his decision. She pulled out her laptop. First, she would have to get some information to contact him.
Feeling confident, she typed out his name “Samrat Kattar” on Google.
Her heart beat a little faster as she clicked on the first link.
Wrong Samrat, this guy was old with white hair and all.
She tried again, “Samrat Kattar An insight into the human mind

The same page.

And then it dawned on her, Samrat hadn’t been his real name at all.  Just as she had lied to him, he had lied to her. On a larger scale.
After a long time in ages, as she realized, how everything had gone so horribly wrong, she broke down and cried.

The Games We Play - Part 1

To make up for the abandoned story, here is another one, shorter than all my other ones, but a complete one.
I call it "The Games We Play."

How did I get pushed into this, she thought to herself. The ring on her finger didn’t really stand out, but to her it seemed to overshadow everything. She tucked her hands in her pockets, wondering whether everyone noticed how uncomfortable that thing around her finger was making her feel. 
Never in a million years had she imagined that she would be one of them.. One of those girls who was going to have an arranged marriage. Urrggh.. Even now, the word made her cringe, but as she had grown older, her belief in love had all but disappeared.
 As her mom put it, if not love, marry for companionship. And she had agreed. She hated to admit it, but she was tired of all the dating and disappointments. Marriage wasn’t important for her, but it had gotten to a point where she had started thinking, why not? She wasn’t too hopeful about finding the one and Rajat seemed like a nice guy. On paper, he looked really good, perfect for her. And they got along really well. Maybe with time, she’d even come to love him.
After dilly dallying for a year, she had been forced to admit, that even though she didn’t feel any sparks, he was a pleasant person and she hadn’t found anything in him that she could absolutely not tolerate. And they had gotten engaged. Still hopeful, she had tried to push the wedding as far as possible, but nothing had changed and one year later, she had agreed to get married reluctantly.

A loud announcement announcing the final call for her flight made her realize she had been so involved in her thoughts, she had almost missed her flight.
Great, she thought,  I was going to miss my own wedding.
She picked up her bags and hurried towards the gate.  The seat next to her was empty, she was grateful for that. She hated it when people with cranky kids sat next to her. There was a cranky kid right at back, crying his lungs out. She rolled her eyes and muttered a silent prayer of thanks that she wasn’t the unfortunate soul sitting next to the family.
As the plane began to taxi on the runway, she bid goodbye to the city which had come to be her home for the past twenty eight years. Once upon a time, she would have been aghast had anyone suggested her to move out. All her life, she had been there, her friends, her job, her life was this city. Not anymore. Her friends had either moved out or gotten way too busy, she met them once in a couple of months now. Her job was stagnating and her love affair with the city had had an ugly end. She was ready for a change and had agreed to move to her fiancé’s city.
Her family and his family had taken  it as a sign of her relenting a little and been ecstatic with her decision. But Rajat, who had known her real reasons for agreeing to move, had advised her to let them be. “A little white lie is not going to kill you, and its making them happy. Let it be.” He had said.
Maybe he was the one for her. Maybe, in her search, she had overlooked the most obvious person. He was everything she wasn’t. Patient, thoughtful, calm, composed. Sometimes, she wondered why he had settled for her. She had asked him a million times about it and he had smiled indulgently and said, “I just feel  we will be great together.” Feel, he had said “feel”.
She didn’t tell him, she didn’t feel anything.
“Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!” She told herself. Now was not the time to be having second thoughts. She was on a plane to get married for God’s sake! She had taken a decision and now it was the time to grit her teeth and sticky stick by it.
She pulled out a book from her bag and started reading. She focused on the words, reading them aloud in her head, trying to keep her mind from drifting. She stopped after a while, the sentences were not making sense. She shut the book and closed her eyes.
After a while, she became aware of someone standing around her. She looked up and saw a man standing, smiling awkwardly at her.
“Hi,” He said, “I was wondering if I could sit here.” He was pointing at the seat next to her.
“Ummm.. Sure..” She straightened up and picked up her things from the seat.
“Thanks,” He said, settling down, “ I was sitting right at the back and the baby..”
“Was driving you crazy?” She smiled, finishing his sentence.
“Yes!” He looked relieved that she understood. “I’m Samrat.” He introduced himself.
“Nandita..” She said hesitantly praying that she wouldn’t be badgered into carrying out an awkward conversation with a stranger. She turned her attention to her book.
“Do you think we will take off today?” Samrat leaned across and pushed the window shades up.
Take off today?????? Whatever did he mean??
“What do you mean? We’re already mid-air right?” She glanced out of the window uncertainly. He was right, they were still on the tarmac and it was puring pouring cats and dogs.
Samrat laughed at the shock that had registered on her face. “Either that book is very interesting, or you are utterly and completely lost.” He joked.
“But the plane was taking off!! They had all those fasten seatbelts and the taxing and the…” She paused.
“Yeah, well, we never took off. The pilot announced they’re waiting for the weather to clear a little before they do.” He smiled at her confusion.
“I can’t be late!!” She said out aloud.
“Important meeting tomorrow?” He asked.
“Something like that..” She didn’t know why she didn’t tell him, it just didn’t seem important. “Oh great!” She exclaimed.
He laughed, “Relax, you’ll make it in time. I for one, absolutely do not want to reach on time.”
“Why not?”
“I have a not so important meeting, which will most probably be extremely boring and very long, but I have to attend it anyway.”
She nodded. And turned towards her book, indicating the end of their conversation.
“Besides,” He continued, “Its not often that you find interesting company on a plane.”
Oh my god! He is flirting with me! One day before my wedding!
But, he doesn’t know you’re getting married. And he is kind of cute.
Hmmm, kind of. But I’m getting married tomorrow!
So what, not like you’re doing anything. Plus, its just a conversation. Could be the last time, you feel free to do this.
Isn’t it wrong?
Its just a conversation!
 Within a fraction of a second a quick battle of words occurred in her mind. And she decided, what the heck, I’ll play along.
“But we’ve hardly had a conversation.” She said innocently.
Before he could answer, the speakers came to life and the stewardess’s voice reached them “Ladies and gentlemen, we are very sorry to inform you that due to bad weather, our flight has been delayed by three hours. We will be disembarking all the passengers for the time being and start the boarding again after three hours. We apologize for any inconvenience caused.”
Samrat smiled, with one brow raised wickedly, “Looks like we’ll have plenty of time to correct that now.”
As she unbuckled her seat belt, Nandita wondered what she had gotten herself into. What was supposed to have lasted only a couple of hours, now looked like it was going to last at least for seven hours. I have to come clean, Nandita thought to herself. Maybe once we get off the plane.
“Do you want me to carry that for you?” Samrat pointed at the bag Nandita was carrying.
“No, That’s fine.” Mentally, Nandita sought her checklist.
Chivalrous check!
Cute Check!
Funny Check!
Stop it! Stop it! Stop it!
Its just seven hours. How does seven hours matter, when compared to the rest of your life!
Seven hours is too much. I should probably get lost in the crowd once we leave the plane.
Fine, you do that, and then keep wondering for the rest of your life, if you missed a chance.
Are you alright? You look looked kind of dazed there for a minute.Samrat’s voice interrupted her thoughts.
She looked up at him for a moment, and as his face creased into a smile, she felt the blood rush to her face. In that moment, she made a quick decision and quietly slipped the ring off her finger.
“Helllooo?” Samrat waved his hands in front of her, “Lets go?” He asked.
“Yeah.” She smiled back. For the first time in two years, she felt free. She hadn’t realized that the ring had weighed so heavily on her mind. She was relieved, but as she looked down at her naked finger, she felt her conscience pricking.
As they reached the terminal again, Nandita excused herself and rushed towards the direction of the restrooms, promising to meet him at the nearby coffee shop. When she was safely out of his sight, she stopped and took a deep breath. In this huge terminal, he would never be able to find her until it was time to get on the plane and by that time, it wouldn’t matter.
She went to the furthermost coffee shop, selected a place right in the corner from where she couldn’t be seen easily and called Rajat.
“Hey, its me. My flight’s been delayed by three hours. I don’t know if its going to take off after three hours too.”
“This is exactly why I asked you to be here, one week before the wedding! Why don’t you ever listen to me.” Rajat was clearly not a happy man.
“I told you, I had some last things to be done at work.” It was lie, she had stayed at home the entire week, preparing herself for the drastic change her life was going through.
“More important that your own wedding?” The sarcasm was evident in his voice, before she could react, he continued, “I’m sorry about that, I’ve just been stressed out. Lots of things to be done. Keep me informed okay?”
Nandita hated him for this. If she was in his place, and he had had the audacity to tell her that he could be late for the wedding, she would have blown her top, but here he was, understanding as always. She wondered what was wrong with her, that instead of appreciating who he was, she hated him for it.
“Yeah, I will. Bye.”
“Bye, love you.” Rajat had said the goodbyes, but he didn’t hang up. He was waiting for some kind of reciprocation.
Nandita struggled to get the words, that didn’t come naturally to her, right.
“Yeah, bye.” With that, she quickly hung up.

She opened her book once again, still not reading. After what seemed like an eternity, she dared to look at her watch.
At least an hour must have gone by.  She thought to herself as she glanced at her watch.
Barely ten minutes had passed.
This was going to be one loooooooooooooong day. She resigned herself to boredom and settled for observing the people rushing around.
She looked around and noticed the mother who was trying to get her son to stop snatching other people’s newspapers. The guy who had a laptop open in front of him but who was checking out the girl in front of him. And the girl who, completely aware of the guy, was laughing just a little but bit too hard for it to be real. Samrat who was walking towards her, the old man who was.......
She turned back towards Samrat, praying he hadn’t seen her. But of course, he had.
“There you are! I thought you meant the other coffee shop.” He smiled broadly and settled down in front of her. “You’re right, this one is much better. Quieter here.”
“Yeah..” Nandita said awkwardly, “That’s why I selected this one.”
“Look, I should tell you something.” Nandita started, the guilt almost killing her.
“Wait,” He interrupted her. “the only reason I’m here, is because, I’m bored and you certainly look bored and we have three hours to kill. Why not just keep each other company?” He had a really easy going smile.
“Would it help if I said please?” He was teasing her now.
“It might.” She smiled back at him. He was right, what was she fretting about? They were just travel companions. And if he asked, she would tell him, that she was getting married. Obviously, if he asked her, “Are you going to get married tomorrow?”, She would say yes. She wouldn’t lie about it.
She laughed, the awkwardness suddenly forgotten.
“Phew! So we cool?” He said, putting on a teenage style.
“What are you? Sixteen?” She laughed.
“I wish, I’m afraid those days are long gone.”
“How long gone?” She asked trying to guess his age. She pinned him to be around thirty-thirty four.
He grinned, “Very long gone.. So what do you do?” He asked, clearly indicating a change of topic.
“Ummm, well, I was working in an MNC, but I just quit my job. I don’t know what’s next. What about you?”
“Don’t laugh, I’m a professor.”
“Oh. That’s unusual.” What she was thinking was, how did someone so cute, so smart end up being a professor. She remembered her professors. Apart for a handful, the others had taken on the teaching profession for the lack of a better job.
“Is it? Yeah, not many people take it up. But it’s a good line to be in. I love my job. I travel a lot, meet a lot of bright minds and I get paid to talk. What could be better?”
“Travel?” Professors and travelling did not go hand in hand in her head.
“Oh yes, you’ll be surprised, I travel once every three months, giving guest lectures.”
“Oh.. Are you some hot shot person I should be aware of? I mean, regular professors don’t go around giving guest lectures. Do they?”
He laughed, “Well, I did write a book, which, at the risk of sounding conceited, was very well received.”
“Oh, congratulations!” She was at an utter loss of words.
“Thank you..”
“So what do you teach professor?” She asked cheekily.
“Psychology.” He looked at her intently.
“So, are you analyzing my behavior?” She asked slyly. God! She was flirting with him, at least she thought she was, she had never been any good at it.
 He smiled softly, “Of course I am, ever since I met you.”
“And?” She asked before she could stop herself.
“And what?” He was messing with her now, she could tell by that smile on his face.
“What’s the conclusion?” She asked impatiently.
He looked at her thoughtfully, making her utterly conscious. “I think..” he started when her cell phone rang. It was Rajat.
“Just one moment.” She got up, and walked away. She answered the call, but her mind was still on what Samrat was going to say. What was he going to say?
“Are you there?” Rajat’s voice brought her back to reality.
“Ya.” Nandita said, suddenly feeling terribly guilty. Her casual conversation with Samrat was no longer so casual.
“Are you alright? You sound a little off.” There he was, concerned as always.
“I’m fine Rajat.” She said quietly.
“Well, the reason I called was, well.. I thought you must be getting bored. I mean, if you want me to keep you company?”
“No, no, I’m fine. I have company here. I have a book. I’m fine. Don’t worry about me. I’ll call you when I’m back on the flight okay? Bye.” Nandita said hurriedly. She didn’t know why she didn’t just tell him casually, that she was with somebody she had met on the plane.
“Well, if you are so sure, bye. Take care.” She sensed the disappointment in his voice and wondered for the millionth time why he put up with her.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Abandoning the story

Sorry, this story is boring me to death.. So i'm abandoning it. Damn it, so many things i could've done with it.. too late now.. 
Hopefully, I'll be able to do better for the new story from October 1st. 
Please DO leave some ideas, I'm facing a writer's block (ALREADY!!)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Reunion - 12 - The Movie & Then Some..

11th October 2000
Whatever happened that night, will remain between the four of us, Anjali, Aakruti, Aryan and me. Aakruti’s mom sneaked over at night and the three of them disappeared into the night. I went to stay over at Anjali’s because dad didn’t think it was safe for me to stay alone with that crazy man around.
I don’t know if  Aakruti will be coming to this school. From what I could tell, they just wanted to vanish, not too hard to understand why.  
You know, its weird, but I think I’m going to miss her A LOT. I hardly knew her and all but I was just getting used to having her around. I hope she keeps in touch. Do you think Aryan will keep in touch? I guess not, that phone number was obviously for Aakruti. How could I be so silly!
Nothing else to write. Puppy’s been messing up Anjali’s house good. I can see her mum is at wits end, chasing him around. I better go help before she throws him out.

12th October 2000
As I thought, Aakruti’s not a student in my school anymore. I happened to glance at the attendance register and her name’s been scratched out. If I thought I was unhappy about Aakruti leaving, you should see Vishaka. She’s been moping around like a lost puppy. I tried to be nice to her, asked her to come sit next to me. After all, anyone who was a friend of Aakruti’s was a friend of mine, but surprise surprise, she wanted to sit next to people who enjoy making fun of her and humiliating her. Why you ask me? I don’t know, maybe she seeks acceptance from them. At least I tried.
Anjali and I have become quite close after last night. I mean, not that we hang out together all the time and all, but there’s just that something, which tells me that we’ll probably be friends for a long long time to come.
Even though I’m very distracted with all that’s happening around me, I have to start studying. For some reason, Anjali, Sagarika and I had decided to get together after school and study. I knew how that’s going to turn out. Anyway, it was worth a shot.
We ended up doing nothing! We had a great time, puppy had a great time chewing on our shoe laces, clawing our notebooks. When it was time for Sagarika to leave, she panicked, suddenly realizing that we hadn’t done anything. Anjali almost fell down laughing looking at Sagarika’s face but I didn’t laugh. There was something in her eyes, which made me realize that maybe this was no joking matter to her.
Of course, as soon as she left, I joined Anjali in the mayhem. But that look, it just totally creeped me out. I guess she’ll be okay once the exams are over.
On another note, I didn’t see Nikita today, neither did I see my project partner. Hmmm.. you think I should call him? I mean, after all, he is my partner. If he falls sick, my scores can also get affected. Ok, what the hell, I’ll call him. Brb.

So, I just spoke to him. And he told me a secret, which I am not supposed to tell anyone, but I have already told Anjali, so I might as well tell you. He and Nikita bunked school and went for a movie! I know o was supposed to set them up and stuff, but can’t they do all these things after our project is done? I don’ like it  when he takes the day off and I’m sitting in lab and doing all the work. Wait.. Let me rephrase that.
I don’t like it! Period!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Reunion - 11 - The Party

9th October 2000
Mum and dad have entrusted me with the house for three whole days. BIG MISTAKE! I’m having a party tomorrow. So many things to do! I haven’t decided whether to keep it intimate and call only close friends or to throw a big bash and call everybody. What if I throw a big bash and no one turns up! Gosh, cannot have that happening. So close friends it is. Ummm, when I say close friends, do I include my project partner? I mean, it’ll be weird if I don’t call him right? Plus, Nikita will be super happy if I call him..  Maybe I’ll just casually mention it.
Aakruti’s dad scowls at me every time he sees me nowadays. To tell you the truth, he frightens me a little. But, ever since dad spoke to him, Aakruti has been a little more chirpy than usual. My dad, the hero.
Exams are closer, just two more weeks and as usual, I haven’t started studying. There’s so much to do!
Nothing special happened in school today. We were down at the lab the whole day, for a change both Priyank and I were contributing to the project. Felt like a team, really. Nikita kept popping over asking some doubts. I hate to admit it, but Nikita disturbing Priyank when we are working on our project kind of irks me a little. I mean, she can talk to him afterwards right? Anyway, not going to say anything about it.
Sagarika seems to be struggling a little with her project. Her partner is some guy from the other section who is depending on Sagarika’s intelligence to get him good grades. Poor girl is totally freaking out. Plus with the exams and all, she looks like she’s going to have a nervous breakdown any minute.
Did I mention, puppy stays with me in my room now? Mum and dad did not want a repeat telecast of what happened that night I guess. Good for me! Of course, there’s a LOT of cleaning to do, which is definitely not cool.
Got to go, have to decide what to order for dinner.

10th October 2000
What a night!
Its really late right now and my party is over. It was no resounding success. I mean, everyone came and all but then everything went wrong. For starters, everyone was in a hurry to leave because of the exams coming up. I mean, you should have seen Sagarika. As soon as she stepped inside, she was ready to leave. And because of that, all the others who were not even thinking about exams, suddenly tensed up and wanted to leave as soon as possible. If that was not enough, the food that I had ordered, never arrived. So I tried to cook something. I do not wish to go into the morbid details, but I can assure you that that was the last time I was going anywhere near a kitchen.
And then Priyank came. I don’t know what came over him. He looked at the crowd and just glared at me and walked out. Nikita ran out after him and I don’t know what happened next. But once people saw that others had started leaving, they all left too.
And then Aakruti’s dad showed up. Aakruti, Anjali and I were clearing up the mess when we heard him bellowing outside my door. Aakruti dropped all the glasses she was carrying and rushed to the door. I will not deny it, I have never been more scared in my whole life. Not scared for myself. Scared for what he would do to Aakruti. I had no idea why he was angry. Maybe he had been drinking? Who knows! Or maybe he was just crazy. But one thing was clear, if I let Aakruti open that door, she was going to be black and blue tomorrow.
Still shivering, Aakruti decided, it was better for all of us, if she went to face her father. And being the coward that I was, I didn’t try to stop her.
Anjali, who had never seen Aakruti’s dad was terrified. We should do something, she kept saying. I was paralyzed.
I thought of calling dad or even the cops, but my fingers found Aryan’s number. I didn’t know where he was or how long he would take to reach us, but if there was anytime he could help Aakruti, it was now.
Aryan begged me to keep his sister safe till he came, how could I promise that? She had already left my house. I could see her father literally drag her to their house. I don’t know what took over Anjali  but she stepped out and shouted at a man four times her size.
I don’t know why I didn’t think of the other neighbours. But all the ruckus that Anjali and I created, paid off. A couple of neighbors stepped out and glanced suspiciously at the man holding a helpless girl. And let me add, not one of them tried to interfere. People are so indifferent nowadays.
He let her go and she scampered back to us. I just pushed her inside and locked all the doors and windows. Till Aryan came. 

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Reunion - 10 - Adventures in School

7th October 2000
Well, everything seems to have settled down. Aakruti has gone home. Not like we’ve become best of friends or anything but I don’t hate her anymore. Anjali was a little skeptical about my new found friendship with Aakruti, but she understands something has changed. I mean in school I hang out with Anjali, Sagarika and Nikita and Aakruti hangs out with Vishaka, but it’s all cool. I mean underneath all that over achieving and all, she’s a pretty normal person.

And since we are talking about normal people, let me tell you about one annoying ABNORMAL person. Yes, you guessed right! My project partner! He has already started preparing for it, again without bothering to inform or consult me. So, today, incredibly pissed off, I told the teacher, that I cannot work with this guy and maybe Nikita would be interested in exchanging project partners with me. Somehow, my ploy didn’t work and the teacher called Priyank and admonished him, right there in front of me, for not involving me in any decisions. God! I must have looked like such a tattle-tale!
He turned this unusual shade of red and apologized again. As soon as we were out of the teacher’s sight, I apologized to him for ratting out on him. I didn’t expect the teacher to call him! So basically, we both were apologizing to each other when we realized what was going on and started laughing. For the first time since this whole project thing has started, I felt that maybe, maybe we could work together. And then disaster struck.

A basketball came flying from nowhere and SMACK! It hit me straight on the face! It left me totally dazed. I was more embarrassed than hurt! Priyank could barely control his laughter. And to make matters worse, my eye became three times its original size! And turned red! I must have looked like an alien.

The school called my parents and sent me home early. So, I’m sitting at home with a big fat ice pack on my face! I hope the swelling subsides by tomorrow.

8th October 2000
Yay! My eye is almost back to normal! I say almost, because a slight swelling is still there. Unfortunately, it’s not big enough to earn me a day off. But it was a good day all in all. I was pampered by everyone! Priyank finished the first write-up of our project all by himself. For me too! I just have to write my name on it and submit it. Maybe having him for a project partner isn’t such a bad idea. He sat with me the whole day in the lab. He can be really funny when he wants to. Ooooh, I almost forgot, I introduced Priyank to Nikita today. We had meticulously planned it out so that he thinks it’s just a coincidence that Nikita walked into the lab just as we were finishing our report.

I think I did a pretty good job, don’t think he suspected a thing. I mean before leaving he didn’t even look at her. That means he likes her right? Why else would he not acknowledge her presence?

In the evening, Nikita and I spent hours analyzing Priyank’s behavior. Finally, when I had had enough, I told her my mum was calling me and hung up. Immediately after I hung up, Priyank called. We started talking about our project but soon drifted off the topic. Maybe he wanted to ask me for Nikita’s phone number? I don’t know. After two hours of having an utterly pointless conversation, I hung up. I don’t know, it felt nice for some reason.

I almost forgot, mum and dad are going out of town for a couple of days. Yay! Paaaaaaaaaaaarrrrddddy!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Reunion - 9 - The Missing Puppy

5th October 2000
What a day! The whole class was rushing to the library, for the very first time, to get science books. We all wanted to do a great project. My partner was nowhere to be found. I spend half the day trying to find a good project topic and when I did finalize on something, Priyank made his grand entry and poo-paahed all my ideas! Urrrrghhh!! Hate that guy! Then he disappeared for a whole hour and came back with a project topic that he had already finalized with the teacher! Who does he think he is?” I hope you don’t mind,” he said, as he triumphantly presented the topic he had selected after conferring with the teacher. Hellooooo? I AM YOUR PARTNER!! Of course, I didn’t say anything. I just picked up my bags and left. I was so angry, I didn’t trust myself. I could’ve hit him! And guess what, he followed me, apologizing profusely. That took me by surprise. I mean, I didn’t expect him to apologize at all, leave alone apologizing profusely.
Anyway, I just kind of shrugged and walked off. And get this! He got my phone number from somewhere and called to apologize too! Of course, I forgave him after that. Besides, his topic, as much as I hate to admit it, was better than the ones that I had shortlisted.
Oops, its almost bedtime, and I forgot to give puppy his dinner! I’ll be right back..

6th October 2000
Okay, a LOT happened last night. I don’t know where to begin! Okay, let me start where I had left off. So, after mum and dad slept off, I sneaked out of the house with a bowl full of milk and dog food that I had hidden in my closet. I opened the garage, only to see that puppy was missing. I panicked. I called out softly, but there was no answer. I sneaked back inside and picked up a torch. I had to find him. A little puppy, lost in the middle of the night, anything could have happened. I was about to venture out of the colony alone, when I felt a little scared. I mean, it was pitch dark after all. I turned to look at my house, hoping my parents hadn’t gotten up when I saw the light on in Aakruti’s room. I didn’t think. I just thought, I would feel better if she came along. After all, I hadn’t told anyone in school about her brother or her constant crying. The way I looked at it, she owed me one. I picked up little stones and tossed them at her window. She seemed shocked to see me there. “No, you must not be seen here at this time. Go away!” She had tried to send me away but by that time I was so sick with worry about puppy I didn’t listen. “Please Aakruti, I need your help. My puppy is missing, I need to look for him. Will you help me?” I had asked. She had sighed, pulled on one jacket and slipped out of the back door to join me. Together we searched and searched and searched, all in vain. Finally, we decided to head back. I was almost on the verge of tears when we found him. There he was, walking around, without a care in the world. And as we bent down to pick him up, believe it or not, cops caught us!!!
Apparently, some neighbor had seen us prowling, seen our flashlights and assumed we were some kind of thieves and called the cops. The cops didn’t believe our story about puppy. They thought we were running away from home! And they took us to the police station and made us call our parents. I was nervous about dad’s reaction, but nothing compared to Aakruti. She was positively petrified. She refused to call her parents. In fact, she refused to say anything. Finally, I asked dad to get her father and come too.
Boy, did I get a mouthful that night and I have been grounded forever. But that’s not the point. My dad was angry, but he was more relieved that I was safe. Not Aakruti’s dada. He was livid! Aakruti cowered in one corner as she saw her father enter. And then, as my dad put out his arms to hug me, I saw Aakruti’s dad clutch her arm roughly. When he left her, she rubbed the skin on her hand, silent tears rolling down her eyes. She tugged at her jacket sleeves, rolling them down, so that they would cover the bruise her father had made on her skin. I could hardly breathe. Suddenly it was clear to me, why Aakruti was so reserved when no one was watching her, why she came over to my house, locked herself in my room and cried, why she wore a pullover on an incredibly hot day. She caught my eye and realized I had guessed the truth. She shook her head softly, begging me silently, not to say anything. It was a tough decision. But who was I to say anything. So I did just that. I kept my mouth shut.
And then, as we were coming back, her father kept glaring at me, as though I was the one responsible. I mean, I was, but I didn’t intend to cause any trouble. Aakruti sat there quietly, next to me, biting her lip. I wanted to scream out to my dad to help her, but I didn’t say anything.
But then a funny thing happened as we got off the car. As Aakruti started to make her way to her home, my dad stopped her. “Why don’t you stay with us tonight Aakurti.” He said. Then his eyes narrowed and he got this look on his face that I hope I never had to be at the receiving end of.  He turned towards her dad and started talking softly, but sternly.
Now at this point, I should tell you, my father is not a very physically intimidating man and Aakruti’s dad, had things gotten out of hand, would have clearly knocked the daylights out of dad but just the sight of dad talking down to him made me swell with pride. A few heated words were exchanged, but dad won the battle. He ushered us inside the house and carefully rolled up Aarkuti’s jacket sleeve.
He had noticed the little drama at the police station. His face darkened and he peered at Aakruti’s face. “Does this happen often Aakruti?” He asked looking at the angry bruise on her arm.
“No” Aakruti had replied, her voice barely a whisper. I knew she was lying, but still, I didn’t say anything. I don’t know why I didn’t say anything. I just didn’t.
My dad didn’t press her, he nodded and left us in alone again in my room. And then once we had locked the doors, Aakruti slowly slipped off her jacket and rolled up her pants and showed me the wounds she had been trying so hard to hide from everyone.
She made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone.
Her father has been hitting her.

Friday, September 17, 2010

The Reunion - 8 - The Science Project

3rd October 2000
Okay, so it turns out, that Aryan has run away from home!! Aakruti was so upset, I had to ask her what was wrong. His family isn’t looking for him either, isn’t that weird?
For a moment, I was tempted to tell them that Aryan had given me a phone number before he left. After all, he hadn’t said anything about not telling anyone. But I decided not to. Why had he given me that number? I’m sure it wasn’t because he wanted to catch up with me. I mean, would he run away if he wanted to?
Anyway, Aakruti was almost on the verge of tears throughout the day and kept to herself. Nobody seemed much bothered with Aakruti today though. I mean, after the few questions, “What happened? Why are you upset?” everyone switched to the other HOT story of the day. Nikita’s call to Priyank!
Everyone except Vishaka. She sat close to Aakruti, without saying a word. I don’t know whether Vishaka was being nice or she was just glad that someone was okay to sit next to her.
Turns out, she didn’t even talk to him, just harassed him with prank calls. Finally, his father had come on line and screamed at the unknown caller. Here’s hoping they do not have caller id, for Nikita’s sake. For the rest of us, it’ll be pure entertainment if they do.
Should I tell my parents about Aryan and the phone number? They’ll know what to do right? On second thoughts, maybe they’ll think we’re dating or something. After all, why would he give ME the number? He hardly knew me! Forget it, he’ll come back once he runs out of money.
My puppy is so darn adorable! She already recognizes me and is at the garage door when I come home, whining very loudly. I’m sure mum knows about puppy but as long as she doesn’t bring it up, I’ll keep my mouth shut. Okay, got to go, someone’s at the door.

It was Aakruti! For some reason, her mum got her over. And she’s staying over. She’s sitting on the far side of the bed, with her head in her lap. Now that no one’s around, she’s crying silently. I tried to talk to her, but she didn’t react. So I have left her alone. When I went over and tried to move her hands off her face, she winced at my touch. That was demeaning!
What’s more, I offered her my shorts and t-shirt. For some reason, she was wearing this bulky night suit, she must be dying in it in this heat. But she refused. If she can’t stand me or my things, why the heck is she staying over?
I called Anjali, I didn’t tell her about Aakruti’s brother and her crying, but I did tell her about the wincing and the funny night suit. Anjali too couldn’t understand why Aakruti would agree to stay over if she hated me so much. Probably her mum forced her to?

4th October 2000
Today, Aakruti was wearing a pullover to school!!! It’s so hot!! She told the teacher she had fever, but I knew she didn’t have fever. I gave her a suspicious look, but she just kept her eyes on her books. Slowly, everyone’s fascination with Aakruti is ending. I mean, she’s no longer fun. Besides, she is not even a nice person. Vishaka is her constant companion. They look so odd together, Aakruti, gorgeous, smart, funny when she wanted to be and Vishaka, the person no one wanted to be seen with. For some reason, Aakruti has taken to Vishaka. She even defends her when someone makes fun of her. Maybe she’s not all bad. After all, I wouldn’t go all out for someone like Vishaka.
On another note, we have to do some science projects for our assignments and the teachers want the sections to mix and do a project in pairs of twos. Guess who my partner is? Priyank!!! Thank god the teacher’s are picking out partners for everyone. Otherwise Nikita would have killed me! Nikita seems to look at it as an opportunity though.. Her master plan is to get me to introduce them.
Lets see, I need a good partner for this project. If he’s not smart enough, I’m going to ask for a change. Tomorrow, whole day, we have to sit in the laboratory and figure out what kind of project we want to do. So, should I go talk to him? Or wait for him to talk to me? 

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Reunion - 7 - The Secret

Okay, that was the worst thing that could ever happen to me. Sagarika and Anjali were busy hanging out with Nikita and I was left with Aarkruti. And guess what! I did feel like a side kick. People who didn’t even know her were talking to her and I was just sitting there, trying to carry on a conversation with the least popular girl in class, Vishaka. She looked at me hopefully through her chunky glasses and I was thinking, god, I hope no one sees us talking!
Anyway, Aryan didn’t drop us, we had to take a bus!! And while coming back, my dad’s picking us up. I don’t know what prompted the change of plans. We are waiting for him now. Aakruti is sitting silently next to me. I bet she thinks I’m boring and why she got stuck with me..
There’s the car now. Thank god the day is over! 

1st October 2000
I’m writing only because I’m so terribly bored! Sagarika and Anjali have both, very conveniently fallen sick, so for today, I’m sitting with (no prizes for guessing) Aakruti and Nikita.
And, Aakruti is back to her being her chatty self. Nikita is bursting with some news. I know she wants to tell someone, but will she tell me?

So, I am now one of the ten people who know Nikita’s secret!!! She has a super big crush on this guy called Priyank. I wonder who is. He is from the other section, have never seen him. He was at the birthday party apparently. How could I have missed that!
I saw him!! He’s okay, nothing great. He has a great smile though. And Nikita can’t stop talking about him. He’s apparently a teacher’s pet, the sports captain of the school and the best dancer in the school! Tomorrow, Nikita is going to call him for the very first time.
Vishaka keeps coming up to me for no reason. I hope she doesn’t think we’re friends or anything. People avoid her like plague! Sometimes, I feel bad for her, but I have my own problems to worry about.

2nd October 2000
Holiiiiiiiiday!! La la la! You won’t believe what a marvelous day I had today! Well for starters, I didn’t have to hang out with Aakruti! She went out with her family somewhere, so I had the whole day to be all by myself. I went exploring around the colony today. Its pretty neat! Its huge and has all these parks and courts. Annndd! I found a puppy! Abandoned, the poor thing was. I picked it up and got it home but mum didn’t let me keep it. She said a flat “NO” , and then when I went to ask dad, he said “Ask your mum!”.
Sometimes, I wish dad would stand up and take my side for a change.
Anyway, so, I took the puppy out of the house and made a comfortable little shelter for it near our garage. Its at the far end of our garage, hopefully mum and dad will not realize it. So, then, I went to buy some dog biscuits. I didn’t take my cycle, I didn’t want mum to wonder where I was going. And I walked all the way to a departmental shop where they didn’t know my mother. And then, on my way back, I heard someone call out for me.
“Hey, Kid.. Get in the car..” for a moment I was petrified, and then I realized it was Aryan! I almost fainted with delight..
And once I got inside the car, he seemed very uncomfortable. “You are Aakruti’s friend right?” He had asked. As if he didn’t remember me!
I was so mesmerized by him, I didn’t utter a single word! I must have seemed so foolish clutching the dog food. As I was stepping out of the car, he handed me a slip of paper, “Aakruti doesn’t have access to a phone and I’m going away for a couple of months. If you think she ever needs me, call me on this number?”
He was going away, that made me sad, but! HE GAVE ME HIS PHONE NUMBER!
And then, as I took the number from him, he had smiled at me and said “Thanks Ramya.”

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

The Reunion - 6 - The New Neighbours

28th September 2000
So, the new girl, her name is Aakruti. Okay, now this girl is really really really pretty. Pretty and smart, everyone was like wow! Of course, now everyone wants to get to know her and I’ve been sidelined. I do have Sagarika and Anjali who sit with me now, but all the attention is now focused on Aakruti.
Like today, during lunch, everyone was sitting around Aakruti and asking her all sorts of questions. Nobody did that for me. In fact, nobody had even bothered that I was there when I had joined. And you are not going to believe this! Even the guys are falling over themselves to get themselves introduced to her!
Whatever happened to “We don’t talk to girls” rule?
Anyway, not like I care…..
Besides, now that the attention is shifted off me means I have been accepted as one of them, which is a good thing right?
Oooh.. I almost forgot, Nikita gave out her birthday invitations today and guess what, I am invited, but so is Aakruti. She’s been in the class for just one day!

29th September 2000
Guess what! Aakruti is practically my neighbor! Mum made me go to the new neighbor’s house inviting them home for coffee and guess who opened the door! I was so stunned that I didn’t say anything for a whole minute. She was ecstatic to see me! Maybe she thinks she’s got some kind of side kick to bask in her glory. Oh, when I went to her room to help her unpack, she had these beautiful paintings lined up made by… guess? HER! And there were all this trophies in athletics carelessly tossed around in a cardboard box, all hers!  
Is there anything this girl is bad at!? I almost didn’t introduce her to my mum. I just know what is going to follow, the constant comparison!! Urrrgh!
Her family seemed nice. All but her dad, he kind of frightens me. He didn’t smile at me at all!! Her mum was very timid. She looked so nervous.. All that packing and unpacking must have exhausted her.
My mom on the other hand, is thrilled that Aakruti is going to be our neighbor. I could practically see her plan. Ramya and Aakruti become best friends, Ramya and Aakruti hang out together and then Ramya becomes good at everything Aakruti did. Oh man, I have some unpleasant times in front of me.
On another note, Aakruti does have a very very cute brother. Aryan. Shhhh, this stays between us! He is a little older though. Okay, a lot older. He’s in final year of college. When I was walking into Aakruti’s room, I caught a glimpse of him playing some alien tune on his very cool guitar. I have to admit though, he wasn’t very good at it.
He smiled as I walked past, don’t think he saw me though, he was too involved in his “music”
I think, being friends with Aakruti isn’t going to be as bad as I thought.

30th September 2000
Aakruti and I go to school together now. She was so weird in the morning. She practically ran out of her house today and kept glancing back. As we got closer to school, she transformed into the person I had been introduced to in school. Once we reached school, Aakruti was swarmed by the other people and she quickly forgot about me. What was I expecting? She has to pretend that she’s friends with me at home. In school, she has cooler people to talk to.
Nikita’s party is the only thing anyone could talk about. And guess what! Aryan is going to drop us AND pick us up!
Okay, so I’m going to go get dressed. Give you the dirt when I get back. Wish me luck!

Monday, September 13, 2010

The Reunion - 5 - Settling In

24th September 2000
Strange, no one’s treating me like the new girl anymore. I don’t know whether that’s a good thing or a bad thing. I’m still sitting alone though. All the girls already have a pretty strong group formed and I don’t fit anywhere. Every time its our class teacher’s class, Anjali slips back to sit with me and as soon as the class is over, she goes right back.
Anjali introduced me to some of her friends. There was Sagarika, Anjali and Sagarika were inseperable. For the one class that Anjali moved back to sit with me, she always had Sagarika in tow. I don’t mind. I quite like her, she’s soft spoken, calm, the exact opposite of Anjali, who is quite like the hurricane actually. Nikita is another girl who seems to be a little like me. I mean, I have spoken to her only once. But we really clicked.
The worst part about being the new girl is remembering all the names. I mean, its easy for all of them to remember my name, they just have to remember one name. I have to remember FORTY!
From what I can gather, its Nikita’s birthday soon and she’s throwing a big party. I hope I’m invited, but why would she call the new girl? She hardly knows me.
Anyway, the teacher’s here. Later.

25th September 2000
Still no invitation. But that’s fine. Even if she doesn’t invite me, its okay, because if I was in her place, I wouldn’t have invited someone I didn’t know. Today Sagarika shifted her place to sit next to me. We’ve been having a blast the past couple of days. The other day, during Math class, we played Bingo. We kept our heads down and kept mumbling random numbers, everyone assumed that we were studying. It was so funny! Even the teacher fell for our little trick. Each time he would pass by, we would pretend to pour over our books and then get back to the game.
We had a hard time convincing everyone that we were, in reality, playing a game.
I just realized something funny about this class. The girls and the guys, they just don’t interact! Its sort of taboo. I asked Sagarika about it, and she too had no convincing answer. Just some phase the guys are going from, she had told me.  It apparently started when they moved to this grade. How weird is that? My old school was hundred times better.
Nikita and Anjali are the few girls who talk to the guys and there too, their conversation is limited to a couple of sentences at the maximum.
On another note, mum’s here finally. So things are settling in around the house too. Of course, she’ll keep shuttling between the two cities for some time, but we have more or less moved. Makes me kind of sad. I had hoped, that mum or dad would realize that they didn’t want to stay in the new city, but nothing of that sorts happened. Mum actually loves it here, so does dad.
I like it here, but I preferred it back there. Where everybody knew my name.

26th September 2000
O-h-k-a-y!!!!! There is another new girl in class!!!!

Friday, September 10, 2010

The Reunion - 4 - New Girl In The New School

 I skipped the next few days, I knew what followed.
The painful process of emotionally shifting. Physically, all I had to do was board the plane. Emotionally I had been a mess.
The goodbyes had been the worst. I had run around the entire school, promising everyone, I’d write. I had ended up writing, not to everyone, but a select few. Of course, many of those select few chose not to write back. I had written to them for days, assuming that my letters were getting lost in the mail.

After a couple of days of trying to “settle down” dad had announced that I would be going to school from the next day. I still remember the crushing disappointment I had felt as we had pulled  up next to the “best school” in the city.
“I’m not going to study there!” I had exclaimed.
“You have to sweety, no other school is accepting admissions in the middle of the academic year.” My dad  had looked down at my aghast face and laughed, “Oh, come on! It can’t be that bad. Besides, its closer to home, so if you think its that bad, run off and come home.” He had joked.

Little had I known, that the school and the people I was going to meet there, would change, who I was, forever.

I had reached the part of my first day in my new school. I resumed my reading, a smile fixed on my face.

23th September 2000
So, here I am. In this crumbling building they call school. I’m scared the roof might collapse any moment. The class is pretty silly too! Everybody’s staring at me. I don’t quite know how to react, so I’m writing, because I have NO FRIENDS here, that I can talk to.
I don’t know, I feel the students here might be a tad bit slow. I have already finished my assignment for this class, while the others are still struggling to get past question number one. Of course, I’m not going to tell them that we’ve already covered this lesson in my previous school.
The teacher’s asked this girl called Anjali to help me settle in. She was quite nice and all, but as soon as that teacher left, Anjali changed her place to sit next to some friend, making me promise not to tell the teacher.
As if I would! I don’t need her. I’ll just sit here, alone and happy. Yeah, what’s the point trying to befriend people here. I would eventually realize they aren’t smart enough and probably get bored. I think I’ll save everyone the trouble.
But that Anjali, she seems to be quite popular in the class. And she seemed nice. Besides I need someone to talk to during the lunch break. 

Well, lunch was certainly weird. All twenty girls in the class sit outside and eat together. Anjali had quite forgotten about me. but she came right over when she saw me. She stood beside me and announced loudly, “Listen up everyone! This is Ramya! She’s new!”
God! I was so mortified. Now, people across the playground were staring at me! But it was nice in a way. Everyone introduced themselves to me and were being very nice.
Maybe this place won’t be all bad after all.

 Before Anjali’s little stunt, nobody had quite noticed me. I had been the painfully shy kinds. But with Anjali by my side, I couldn’t have stayed shy for so long. She knew way too many people. And I was like some brand new toy she had, she had taken me under wing, and suddenly, all her friends were mine. Of course, her friendships were a little too scattered and random for my liking, but I had done pretty well as the new girl. 

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

The Reunion - 3 - The Presents

Bristling with excitement, I collapsed on the couch with my feet hanging down. I flipped through the warnings I had scrawled in my terrible terrible  handwriting.
“Private Property of Ramya, Do NOT read, if I haven’t handed this diary over to you. Trespassers will be prosecuted. ”
I laughed as I remembered the many many people I had passed my diary to quite voluntarily.
I touched the page gently as I reached the first entry.

8th September 2000
Dear Diary,
Is this what I’m expected to write? Mum and dad got me this lousy diary for my 15th Birthday. And very clever of them, they haven’t picked out, one with a lock. As if I’m ever going to write anything personal in this. The only reason I’m writing right now is because they both are standing in front of me with this expectant look in front of me. There, now I’ve scribbled something. Now all I have to do, is pretend that I looooove this gift and get ready for the fabulous birthday party I’m throwing.
Won’t be seeing you again. (Hopefully)
Okay.. So, I’m back. This has been the worst birthday ever! Mum and dad just told me that we are shifting to another city. Seems like dad got a much better job and he needs to move immediately. And I have to move with him IMMEDIATELY! We are leaving in a week. What about me? Why am I expected to move and leave all my friends? I love my life here! That’s it, I have decided, I’m not going to move. Oh shucks! I’m late for my own birthday party.  
And remember, this is my last entry.

 9th September 2000
I’m writing, because mom asked why I’m not writing in my new diary. Don’t get any ideas, this is not going to be a regular affair.
So, my birthday party was a blast. I told my friends I might be leaving and surprise surprise, they were all so excited to hear about it! I’m starting to think maybe moving is a good idea. Well, for starters, we are moving to bigger city, a metropolitan city really. Wow, I never thought of it that way. All the new stores, new places to eat. Awesome!!
I’m going to miss all of them so much. I wonder how the new kids will be. City kids, must be brash, rude, obnoxious, manner-less. Mum and Dad are putting me in one of the best schools there. They are already making enquiries. I really don’t want to leave my school. I have been here forever. Maybe I can convince mum to stay here with me till I finish school, its worth a shot right?
Ohhh, almost forgot, Dad got a lock for this diary. Did they read my previous entry? Either way, doesn’t make a difference.

11th September 2000
Last day in school. Very very upset. I’m going to miss every little brick of that place.
Got my shirt signed by all my friends. I’m going to get it framed and save it forever. And I’ll never ever ever forget these friends. They mean the world to me. today I realized, that new stores, new places to eat, bigger city doesn’t mean a thing if I don’t have them around.
Mum was trying to console me, she said I’ll find more friends in my new school. I might, but they’ll never be like these ones. Doesn’t she know how difficult it is to be a teenager? God! I’ll be the new girl all over again! All the unknown faces, all the strange glances. They’ll probably laugh at my accent too. How will I survive there!!!
I’ve to start packing up now, most probably I’ll leave this diary here.
I am not the kinds who can regularly maintain a dairy. What’s the point of lugging it around.

As I read, I felt bad for me, the fifteen year old me. It had been tough for me to move out and be accepted elsewhere. Moving out had meant letting go of everything that was known, familiar and comfortable.
I flipped to the next page. There was only one word on it.

12th September 2000