The next day, mum did seem a little surprised by our behavior. She eyed us carefully as we went about our merry ways, laughing. I suspect that she thought we were trying to trick her into letting us move back into separate rooms. Honestly, I won’t deny that the idea hadn’t occurred to us, but for once, Sona and I were content to be civil, even friendly with each other.
For mum and dad, it must have seemed like the lull before the storm. They watched astounded, as I gleefully picked out Sona’s new t-shirt and cut off the price tag.
Sona wasn’t particularly delighted, but hey, I was going to let her cut my DRESS. I was just cutting the price tag.
To tell you the truth, I was slightly worried about what Sona had been talking to mum about. Had she really told mum that she was going on a date? Was my mom really that cool? Or was all that lecture-baazi only reserved for me. I contemplated asking Sona or even mum about it. But then I thought I’ll save that argument till I actually had a boy around.
Neeta and I had settled into our little routine by now. And she wasn’t half bad actually. Once I got past the whole, ooh she’s so pretty phase, I found her to be ridiculously funny, genuinely nice and abnormally normal.
I wouldn’t say we were best of friends yet, but we were certainly getting there.
College was abuzz with activity when we reached. You could tell that whatever music the seniors had to face for the fresher’s party had passed. They were all over the campus, high-fiving each other and laughing loudly.
I spotted Sona in midst of the crowd, her face scrunched up in concentration as she flipped through the book she held in her lap. I had to smile, she looked blissfully unaware of all the mayhem around her. But then, Sona was like that. Give her a book, and she could lose herself in a crowd. After a while, I saw Sona crinkle her nose and glance sideways. I followed her gaze. What I saw made me smile. Samrat.
This whole little act that my sister had put up was for Samrat. I know nobody else could tell, but that distinctive nose-crinkling act had been a dead giveaway. I had seen Sona do it a million times before whenever she was craving attention. Samrat on his part, was gazing at my sister subtly. Anyone not observing him would have missed him turning ever so lightly to smile at her. My sister, responded with a cheeky smile and then hid her face behind the book.
I nudged Neeta, was I the only one who witnessed that? I Sona get up slowly and walk towards Samrat slowly. She was surrounded by her friends and she tried hard to keep her eyes aimed at her feet as she crossed him. But she did brush a hand through her hair, pushing it back, a indecipherable smile on her face. If I was taken in by her, you can only imagine poor Samrat, who seemed mesmerized.
I saw him shake his head and grin widely.
It suddenly struck me that most probably; I was responsible for this display of affection. Had I not tried to save my skin back then, Sona and Samrat would still be at loggerheads. So you see, my selfish act turned out to be not too selfish after all.
Feeling quite pleased with myself I nodded at Samrat who had spotted me in the crowd. Oddly enough, the smile disappeared from his face as he made his way towards me. I shrank away from him and tried to mix with the crowd milling around the stairs, trying to get to class.
I would have assumed that Samrat would be pleased with what had happened, even if I had tried to play a trick on him. The end result was all that matter didn’t it?
“Going somewhere?” Samrat was standing right in front of me.
I glanced around, hoping that he was addressing someone else. No such luck. I looked up at him reluctantly, “Class. I have class.”
“You still have five minutes.” He stood imposingly between me and the stairs. “You can go though.” He told Neeta who glanced at me fleetingly before she made her escape. She was most definitely going off my best friends forever list!!
Samrat waited till the crowd had thinned before he led me by the elbow to a corner.
“So you thought it was pretty funny huh?” He asked, keeping both eyes fixed on me.
“What? No! I don’t know what you’re saying! Sona lied!” I sensed that the words pouring out of my mouth weren’t making much sense, but I was in no position to use my grey cells.
Relief flooded through me as Samrat started laughing at my senseless banter. “Relax, I’m not mad at you.”
“Oh!” I shut up instantly, “Then what’s with the ‘let’s scare the little girl’ act?” I asked indignantly.
“Did I scare you? I’m sorry. I just wanted to ask you something.” He said leaning casually against the wall. I saw some people stare at us as they walked by. I could almost imagine what they were thinking. Either I was being ragged or being hit on.
“Like what?” I eyed him suspiciously. I was wondering why my sister had hated Samrat for so long. He seemed perfectly nice to me. What had he done to piss her off so much?
Samrat lowered his voice and leaned in a little closer as though he was about t o tell me a secret.“I was just wondering if there was any particular cuisine Sona likes. We’re just going out for dinner this weekend and I was just.. you know..” he stopped abruptly as I burst out laughing and placed a hand on his shoulder.
“Just make it a little up market and you’ll be fine.” I said, remembering what Sona was planning to wear.
I walked passed him when I remembered another critical point, “And don’t be late!” I advised as I turned around the corner.
“I won’t.” He flashed me a smile and I responded in kind feeling very pleased with my cupid act.
Sadly for me, all my good intentions went down the drain as rumors started doing rounds that I was dating Samrat!!!