The next morning, I was sore all over. The vigorous training schedule was taking a toll on me and my under-utilized muscles were aching in protest. I had half a mind to skip the session in the morning when I remembered Dhruv stressing the importance of co-curricular activities.
I willed myself to get ready exhaustion seeping from all my pores. I even dozed off on the bus and managed to miss my stop. The good thing was, all the other trainees were in pretty much the same condition. Our initial enthusiasm had worn out and we were aware of the effects each training session had on us. It wasn’t making us any stronger, it was just zapping all energy out of us leaving us too weak to face the rest of the day.
“Hey,” A dispirited Pooja flopped down next to me after the training. “This is inhuman, I’m thinking of quitting. I didn’t sign up for this.” She said in disgust.
I nodded in agreement. “Seriously man, my calves are killing me. I can barely walk.” I complained.
She smiled halfheartedly, “We both know we’ll be here tomorrow.”
I sighed while tying my shoe laces, “Unfortunately.”
“So how was yesterday? Did you go?” She asked, making small talk.
“Yeah, but I didn’t spend much time with Sneha and gang. I met another..” I paused, “friend.” I smiled softly. I liked the way the word had rolled off my tongue.
“Hmmm, just as well. They’re not like us. Look at them now.” She said gazing over my shoulder.
I turned around, she was right. They were like a class apart. While most of us wore our uniforms awkwardly with skirts too long, ties too tight, socks too high; they managed to somehow transform our uniform into something cool.
And there in the middle of the group was Arpit. He waved at me, calling me over. I shook my head and nodded at Pooja. I would be infinite times more comfortable with her.
Just a minute. He indicated.
“I’ll be right back.” I told Pooja and walked over casually towards them. As though I belonged.
“What?” I had shoved my hands deep in my pockets and kept my head low. I didn’t want to mingle with this crowd. Somehow they made me feel inadequate.
“Yesterday! What happened?” He said, grabbing my arm and pulling me aside.
A smile touched my face. “We spoke.”
“About!??” Impatience was dripping from his face.
“St. Peter’s. ” I said calmly. I knew that would get his heart palpitating.
“Oh.” Here it goes, I thought to myself. “Nice.” He said.
I took a step back. Nice?