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.