The weekend after our first date, I had to control myself from texting Aditya. There were times I would switch off my phone just to avoid the temptation. Be mysterious, be unattainable I told myself. To kill time, I went to my favorite bookstore. They specialized in second hand books and I just loved the mess in that shop. I could lose myself for hours.
As I browsed through the books, I thought I saw a familiar face pass by. I looked over the book I held in my hand and a smile crept on my face.
It was Vikram. Gone was the wannabe spiked hair and the heavy metal t-shirt he wore to college.
He was wearing a sober checked shirt and a pair of thick glasses which made him look so studious.
“Well, well, well.. Look who’s here.” I said from behind him.
Vikram turned around, stunned to see me there.
“What are you doing here?!?”
“What are YOU doing here? That too like this?” I laughed, pointing at his glasses and his un-spiked hair.
He grinned. “This is the uncool me.” He adjusted his glasses. “Its so much better without the lenses. Hassle free.”
“So this is what you do when nobody’s watching. You transform into a geek.” I kidded.
“You caught me.. So how was your date?” He took the basket of books I held in my hand from me and started walking towards a shelf labeled “Classics.”
“Perfect..” I sighed.
god God, that good?” He laughed.
“Better than that.” I smiled dreamily.
“Here.. Try this..” He pulled out a book from the shelf. It was a classic. As a rule, I stayed away from classic. I was more into reading junk trashy fiction which would not have an ever lasting impact on me.
“Really? You read this stuff?? I just find it so…” I struggled to find the right word.
“Boring?” Vikram offered helpfully.
I nodded. He pulled out a book I had put in my basket and made a face. “Shopaholic and Sister”
“Why Anagha, why? Why would you read this?” he held the copy in front of me.
I pulled the book out of his hands and put it back in, “I’m a girl and I’m allowed to read a chick-lit once in a while.” I said defensively.
“Okay, okay.. But, let me buy some real books for you. Trust me, you’ll love them.” Without waiting for my answer. He pulled out three books. Animal Farm, Catcher in the Rye and The old man and the sea. I rolled my eyes.
“Fine, I’ll try reading them.” I knew I wouldn’t. Even the names seemed boring.
“Coffee?” Vikram asked after we billed the books. I nodded, I didn’t have anything to do back home.
I had a great time with Vikram that evening. We laughed and joked around. It was
a great. I was glad to have a friend like him. As I made my way back home in the bus, I pulled out “Animal Farm”. If Vikram had liked it, there had to be something good about it.
The next morning, I dressed for college, excited because I was going to see Aditya again.
I reached quite early and sat alone in class. Couldn’t believe that I was the first one. I pulled out the Animal Farm and continued reading. The book captivated me. I was lost in a world where pigs ruled a farm. After a while, I paused, amazed at the brilliant concept behind the book.
Wow, I mouthed. Suddenly, I became aware of someone watching me. I looked up.
“You never realized when I came in, did you?” He asked.
“Of course I did!” I lied. I didn’t want him to think I was some geeky girl who gets lost while reading.
“Really? When did I come in?” He asked, stepping closer to my bench.
“2 mins back?” I asked doubtfully.
He shook his head while pulling out the book from my hands.
“5 mins back?” I asked, knowing it was a lost cause. I had no idea when he had walked in the class.
He laughed. “15 mins Anagha! I have been here for 15 minutes watching you read and you never realized I was here.”
“Guilty as charged.” I shrugged. “How was your weekend?” I asked, as he settled on a bench behind mine.
“Oh good.” He answered casually.
A couple of guys walked by our class.
“See that guy over there?” He pointed at one of them.
“Yeah, what about him?”
“He has no idea I took his girlfriend out yesterday night. Poor bugger.” He threw his head back and laughed.
How the heck was I supposed to react to THAT? We weren’t dating, so I couldn’t possibly ask him not to take anyone else out. But why had he not asked me? And after that glorious Friday evening, how could he take some one else out! He had pecked me, for god’s sake! Didn’t that mean anything anymore?
Take a deep breath, I told myself. Maybe it was strictly platonic.
I smiled awlkwardly, “Yeah. Did you have a good time?” I didn’t want to portray myself as the jealous kinds. He could go out with whoever he wanted. Yeah. That seemed right. We could be one of those cool couples who hung out with our guys/girls without our better halves feeling jealous about it.
“Oh yeah.. She’s hot.”
Before I could react, some people started walking inside the class.
“See you tonight?” Aditya asked as he started slinking away.
Confused, I nodded, not too sure what I was getting myself into.