One hot summer evening in Dubai, Agastha was in a hurry as she was late for her tuition class. On reaching the place, she stormed into the room and settled down at her usual place without the slightest idea that maybe someone new might be there, noticing her pace. After breathing a sigh of relief for not missing much that was taught, she realised someone opposite her had his eyes wandering around her area. As shabbily dressed as was, his eyes fluttered when she looked at him. He had a brownish complexion, wore spectacles, tousled hair, and wicked smile yet a charming persona. Dressed in maroon shirt that kissed his body and jeans that she didn’t really notice, Agastha rushed her thoughts from admiration to the books as their 10th grade boards were nearing. This routine carried on for about a week until the time they turned out to be friends; best friends. Agastha didn’t remember how they began speaking but all she knew was that this seemed to be a very good thing. They’d spend time talking to each other after tuitions’ and he would wait with her till her dad came to pick her up.
There were times when he would discuss his girlfriend Megha (a very simple and sweet girl but maybe she was too full of him and that’s what probably got on his nerves. They’d be full of family planning. One thing Agastha clearly remembers him telling her was about the names Megha had decided to name their children! One would be Badal, and then Suraj and Chandni- whoa! It was crazy but maybe she thought it to be something like they complete the family since his name was Abhinav and hers Megha-pertaining to nature) and all Agastha would do is laugh, so much so that her stomach would hurt. Sometimes when he’s puzzled, she’d help with a suggestion (if he found it appropriate) or otherwise, the usual funda… it’s a phase and it will pass.
There was a time Agastha told Abhinav about how crazy she behaved when she saw Elvis around. (Elvis- the stud cum lover boy of the class). She was crushing on him big time! Abhinav happened to tell her that Elvis is one stud she needed to stay away from him rather than falling for him and being hurt in return. And the very next day Agastha hears that Elvis knows about her crush on him! (Dammit! she was so pissed off that moment she could strangle Abhinav- “chill… she only felt like! She wouldn’t do it”)
So much for being 15 year olds then…
As time passed by, they saw good days of friendship and she forgot to even keep a track of when she fell in love with him; with Abhinav…
Finally boards were over and vacations had begun. On returning back to school after break, Results were declared and when everyone filled in forms for choice of subject, she happened to know that Abhinav turned out to be in the same class (just for a while though because he wanted math-so technically he would shift to the next class once he gets his seat). There was twinkle in her eyes but again it had to be kept away because the voice in her head shouted all the time, “c’mon! He has a girlfriend. Just push it away!!”
During this course of time, one of their classmates, Vaibhav had randomly asked Agastha, “Hey Agas, why was Abhinav so happy the other day when he spoke to you?”
(Not really able to recollect the moment) she asked, “Which day?”
“Ah c’mon that day when we filled in forms for the subjects, the two of you spoke for a split second and as you turned away, I happened to see him walk with delight” he said (sort of that ‘chaal mein uchaal’ types).
Agastha’s eyes brightened as this piece of information really took her by surprise; “I don’t know Vaibhav” she said and then walked away. (But this definitely played like a tune in her head…) She was anxious to know why Abhinav was delighted.
Classes begin and it was a routine to see him daily and also to see him with his girlfriend was more like a reminder to get him out of her head. ‘But it was alright to like him right…’ not like it was harmful in anyway, she thought.
Agastha told Shazi (her best friend) about the way she felt when Abhinav was around, after all its tough to hide things from your bestie. Shazi and Agastha met in grade 9. Their friendship got stronger and finer with time. They mocked each other and shared every little bit of nonsense. She was one person who went through a lot mentally but somewhere seeked honesty and loyalty in everything she received, right from friendship to love. Coming back to confiding in Shazi about her feelings for Abhinav, Shazi was shocked because she never expected it but she did want to hear more. Agastha gave her every detail of what happened in the morning when they got to school (7.00 am) till when they left from school (1.45pm).
“His every smile conveyed a message unknown to me, his every look said something I couldn’t hear, his every touch made me feel something I never felt before, and his every word meant something I never knew before. There was some magic in his eyes” Agastha described her feelings in awe as she spoke a lot about him to Shazi, “but somewhere all these jiggles in my spine had to be shut because it’s totally inappropriate to even think this way especially after knowing he is committed!” is what Agastha always concluded with.
Shazi was dazed and had nothing to say; instead she hummed a song, “who pehli baar, jab hum mile, haatho mein haath jab hum chale…ho Gaya yeh dil deewana, hota hai pyaar kya, kisne Jana” (It’s an old song, a favourite of many 15 year olds then) Agastha was all smiles-smiles-smiles and blush! (This song apparently turned out to be one of her personal favourites and she occasionally hummed it when she remembered Abhinav – sssshh… top secret!)
Every time Shazi saw Abhinav and Agastha speak, she’d just say the first line of the song, loud enough for her to hear (sarcastically) and Agastha would just look away and continue talking to him, drawing his attention back to the topic they were discussing.
Apart from liking him, there was one more person head over heels in love with him; their classmate Nida. She was crazy after him and all she wanted was Abhinav! So she decided to build her friendship with Agastha first to get to him. Agastha didn’t have the slightest idea why Nida began communicating to a great extent randomly till one day when Nida breaks it out. “Agas please help me ya! I know it’s only you who can break his relation and get him to me after all you are close to him na…please Agas, please please please!”
Agastha was totally taken aback. She blinked numerous times to digest what she just heard.
“Are you nuts?! What on earth makes you think I will do such a thing dammit! I am sorry but I will not be able to help you in this matter at all.” (I mean how I could possibly even do this. I liked him too but such an evil thought never crossed my mind and she like totally expects me to help her in this plan. NO WAY!) Agastha scream out loud and the latter part in her mind of course!
Agastha refuted every conversation on this topic and thus landed herself in a soup soon after. Her rejection to Nida’s plan turned Nida against her and all she did to take revenge was spreads rumours in school. Nida’s rumours claimed that Agastha acted like this Bitch who didn’t want to help her out only because she herself liked him and hence ended up being selfish in her approach. (Well, when this reached Agastha’s ears, as infuriated as she was, she agreed to like him in her head but the statement Nida made, was simply unbelievable). She told Abhinav about it and his approach to this was very casual, like as if there was simply nothing in it (Maybe there really was nothing in it and Agastha was over reacting, but he still was casual!) She expected a reaction from, something that would tell her he felt the same way as Agastha did but in vain.
She wanted him to talk to Nida and get this entire matter finished but he simply refused, so she stuck on her stubbornness and didn’t talk to him unless he agreed to do as she say. One day goes by, then two days, then three days and four and five and it’s almost nearing a week. On the sixth day when leaving school premises Abhinav happened to walk besides Shazi and Agastha in his usual effort of gearing up a conversation stating,
“Shazi I miss her ya. She not talking to me and I don’t like it at all. Do something. Make her understand. Please!”
Agastha immediately responds before Shazi could even open her moth saying, “It’s simple, you talk to Nida and I talk to you”. Shazi gives Abhinav a helpless look and they just walk away.
The next day at school Agastha learnt Abhinav had spoken to Nida and the matter was solved. There was a relief in her walk and finally she spoke to Abhinav again! ‘Gosh, I really missed talking to him! I have to admit!’ she told herself.
Every day they spoke in instalments as his time was more of his girlfriend’s but those little moments of a random smile, a wink, a tap on the shoulder made Agastha’s heartbeat race.
Agastha invited him for a summer dance in church on the weekend. Abhinav comes along but the sad part was Agastha didn’t manage permission to go! She begged and pleaded but her parents strictly stood by the NO they imposed. That morning before the dance everyone at school was super excited. Agastha was glad that he could make it. Just then a thought crossed her mind. She felt the need to let him know how she felt about him. She didn’t want to hold back her feelings anymore. So after reaching home, Agastha decided to give him a call.
“Hello” he said.
“Tell me what’s up?”
“Nothing really Abhinav. Just wanted to tell you something.”
“Yeah go on” he said
Agastha mumbled to herself. After few seconds of silence she said,
“I feel the way Nida felt for you, just a lot better than her” and kept silent.
Wondering if he already hung up, Abhinav broke the ice saying, “yes I know. Anyways I gotta go. Will talk to you later.” And that’s when he actually hung up.
This gave Agastha mixed emotions. She didn’t really understand what she did was right or wrong. Her mind took over totally and all she thought of was whether he will make it to the dance or he won’t or would he even talk to her or not!
Just to clear the voice in her head, she sent him a text apologizing and seeking if he will make it to the dance; but despite many texts, she got replies to none! Restlessness took over her. Agastha was all hyped about the situation she created and just when she was about to text him again, her phone flashed – text message received. Abhinav replied, “Sorry was at tuitions. Chill am totally cool with your feelings for me and yes I will make it to the dance. Shall call you when I reach. Cya”. Agastha sank in her chair like as if she ran a marathon. Smiling to herself, she didn’t know what the evening brought. She tried to convince her parents to the end but they never budged an inch.
At 7pm she received a text from Abhinav stating he reached with the boys and was wondering where she was. She rushed to where he waited; numbness took over her senses with a lot of butterflies jiggling in her tummy, when she got a glimpse of him. There was a different aura in the air around her and more weirdly the feeling of awkwardness took over both. As she spoke to the boys, Abhinav drew closer to her and whispered in her ears,
“You look pretty and you can talk to me as well.”
Dazzled and smiling, all she could say was, “I have to leave. I didn’t get permission to wait.” (This definitely was the worst reply he could ever get in response to a compliment. He surely must have been thinking “what on earth is she saying to me?”) “So you’re leaving right now?” he asked. “Yes I have to. I’m sorry. I will text you” with tears collecting in her eyes, Agastha walked to the car.
Abhinav felt distorted because he expected Agastha to be there and she was upset because she knew how he felt. They texted each other through the night; till he got home and one of his texts made her fall in love with him a little more,
“Agas I really feel lost without you. I just wish you were here now. I came for this dance only for you and you’re at home! I just sat in one place looking at the others”. This ran a shiver through Agastha’s spine. She might have read it maybe 10 times just to make sure, it really is what she is reading that he had sent?!
There have been times in school where she found his behaviour simply confusing. For instance, there was this one scene where Abhinav and all his friends were sitting in class discussing about a movie – Mission Impossible (maybe 1 or 2, she didn’t quite remember that, but that’s not important- what’s important is what actually happened, so yeah…) they were planning to watch and he told her,
“Agas you’re also coming.” Perplexed, Agas was like, “NO WAY! There’s not a slight chance I will get permitted to go for a movie with friends” (after all her family was one strict army camp all through the years and her dad was maybe the worst brigadier when it came to passing away time).
To this he says, (in whispers-coming so close to her that her heart actually misses a beat and she could feel the moment every day of her life), “I will not go, if you don’t come.” And Agastha was…..Speechless!
That was a strong sentence to say.