Chapter-15 : Cupid Summer
This following summer vacation was one of those vacations that are difficult to describe in one word. I experienced a lot in this one, maybe because this was the last summer vacation of school I was to enjoy and also maybe because a lot had changed over the past few summer vacations.
In the vacations of 2010 I was still in love with 54 and we talked occasionally. I walked past her house quite a few times as she used to live in my colony.
In the vacations of 2011 I suffered from a heart break and tried to get over 54 just by stuffing myself with all the food I could discover.
In the vacations of 2012 I was completely over 54 in fact I hadn’t been thinking about any girl at all. All I did was watch movies.
This year , all those 8640 seconds every day I thought about ‘her’. Adoring her features, the amazing smile and those amusing eyes.
This was my cupid summer, every child has one.
A cupid summer is the summer when during summer vacations all a child can think about is love and possibly the person he thinks about thinks about him as well, only according to him. So all that I did was think about her and to stop myself from flooding her messages I had deleted her number from my phone.
The times I didn’t think of her I used to watch movies, either with my family or Sri, or Kunal . I was to leave to my new home from the place I currently stayed at, to the new place which was far better , bigger and cut off from rest of the capital.
So to give my colony friends a final goodbye before I went I organised a night stay at my new place. Kunal, Arjun and Aditya were called , among which Aditya cancelled at the last moment but Sri was called to fill him in. So us 4 watched movies, swam and talked about Ria for the 10 hours ,from 10 at night to 8 in the morning .
As my mom and dad were out I made all of them memorable sandwiches, though not fondly memorable. Everyone went to their houses with a fun story to share and an upset tummy to empty. I and Sri however went for the streak.
Streak means watching an innovative combination of movies, that is watching movies in an innovative series. There are 4 levels of streaks.
Level 1 is when we do a night out where we watch 1 to 2 movies and then in the morning go for another one on the big screen, without sleeping.
Level 2 is in which we watch two movies back to back, on the big screen.
Level 3 is the combination of one and two, we watch one at the night stay and then go to the theatre for two movies.
This is the dream streak, shining in golden glitter in the mind of every glass wearing movie lover. This is the streak no one would have realised and not celebrated of.
It was the diamond of all the rocks, Bolts of all the runners, the apple for every newton and the uttermost happening joy a movie freak could achieve. The only problem was, it was expensive in all time, price and energy, yet was humanly possible.
This streak is also called the ‘Numb Struck’ streak because of it’s mind numbing nature. All this streak involved was watching 3 movies in the theatres, back to back, in one day.
Yes , it might have seemed easy to read, but a human being is able to handle only 8 hours of viewing on big screen and taking 7 out of these hours leaves the human brain dis-functional for a while.
Like every other movie lover this was our dream, mine and Sri’s. We had been to level 1and level 2 streak but reaching here was never possible. And your guess is right but today wasn’t the day for it either.
That day we went for level 1, once again. The whole summer we took on to level 2 streaks just to take my mind off from thinking about Ria and of course, trying to reach the dream body. Because I knew if I bothered her , my case might end up like the chapter of ’54’.
One fine day I decided to finally message her, it couldn’t do much harm.
“Hi” I had sent on facebook. S
he returned my message within the next ten minutes.
Then we talked about school, summer projects, her group for the project (Yashika, Sarvagya, Anuj and Wahi) and then we talked more about that until she had to go for dinner.
“Take care and keep smiling ” I had sent.
“Take care bye ” she sent and went to have dinner.
I felt great about that chat and was dancing and jumping all around.
As the holidays neared their end Soham and Brenden invited me for a movie. The timing was 11:30 at night and I had a serious conversation with my parents to be allowed to go. Brenden picked me up in his car as Soham sat on the front seat with him.
Soon we had started talking.
“Dude you’ve lost so much !” Soham said.
“I know, look at him. He was triple this a few months ago.” Brenden supported.
“Thanks.” “I mean if I was Ria, I would be dating you right now.” Brenden said.
“Totally.” Soham said analysing that it was his turn to support. “So have you heard from her lately ?” He asked.
“Yes, it was weeks ago.” I said.
“Okay.” Brenden said. I took my turn to ask a question that had been bothering me since a few days.
“Hey Brenden, are Anuj and Ria dating?” I asked.
“I don’t know. Why do you ask ?”
“Nothing. It’s just that they both are together almost every time.” I said.
“Dude, give me your phone.” Soham said, “let me see the songs you have.” I handed him the phone, “there are only seven or eight.” I told him.
Soon we reached the mall and had dinner, after that we watched the movie and soon we were free by 3 in the morning.
Brenden dropped me at my house and then saying thank you I let them both go.
I jumped on the bed before the night would come to an end with the cupid summer in a few days.
Chapter 16: Bang and Clink
The summer vacations were over and school was back on track. Classes were open and uniform wearing students were visible flooding in the Red building of our Amayiti.
I was dead excited about going to school, it would be after 50 days that I was going to see Ria and I had talked on the phone with her just three days ago.
That day I was calling on Sri like crazy. He wasn’t picking up and I wasn’t giving up. Fortunately enough he was still in the tuition and so when the phone was answered, it was Ria.
“Hi !” She beautifully said.
“Oh shi..” I exclaimed as the phone almost slipped from my hand.
“Hi.” I said getting myself together.
“Okay. Bye !” She giggled and hung up.
Later on cross investigating I got to know from Sri that she had snatched his phone from him and had answered my call. Most importantly, she knew it was my call and she blushed as she spoke to me. I believed Sri as was the only choice available with me.
So here I was, sitting on my assigned chair waiting for Ria to show up and of course then my friends. My face had a wide smile , impossible to suppress. Soon enough Sri filled the empty chair by my side with Piyush and Mohsin to fill the ones in front of me.
They three talked about their vacations while I heard their words and searched, searched for Ria. And thus entered she, smiling like summer’s blossomed butterfly and walking like a beautiful cloud in the sky.
She looked at me and her lips read a ‘hi’. I nodded my head with my weird smile. Soon this became routine as regularly she smiled and I bobbed my head with the best smile I possibly could give.
As my parents had bought a new house at a different location yet the same city, all my old bus routes were changed to new ones. The friends whom I had been with since last 6 years had parted different ways.
Now I was put into a bus where I alone was the senior, all other kids were at lease 4 years younger than me belonging to classes 4th, 5th 6th and 8th. They were nothing less than any party animal, Yashika might’ve given up her ‘Intercontinental Party Animal ‘ belt in front of these kids.
While I sat quietly minding the only business I cared of, was that of thinking about Ria. Remembering the smallest of moments that meant a lot to me.
Like her smile, her coming to me the time I brought her chocolates, our chat and,
“Crap-Head !” Shouted the little girl out of the window to a by passer. Fortunate for all , that the bus was moving and the driver supported every action these children performed, whether they shouted at a by passer, or strike a by passer with a raw mango that they had found under the mango tree of our school, or whether they sang loud and vulgar songs and the driver did nothing when they made fun of the new kid, who was their senior .
“Hey why are you so quiet ?” Asked the kid who I had later come to know as Vasu.
“Yes . Why don’t you say anything ?” Muskan the 11 year old girl asked me.
“You’re just like a girl.” Said Chinmay and the whole van burst into laughing, there were just other 8 kids than me.
“Hi .” I said trying my best to remove the ‘girl’ stamp off my forehead. Day by day, the words that didn’t escape my lips brought me closer to my nightmare. It took me exactly 4 days and eight van rides to get here,
“Are you gay?” Asked the one in class eighth.
And the whole van went “Hawww !” , on me. Explaining these kids that I was an introvert guy and kept no interest in conversations , could get complicated.
“I’m not gay !” I shouted, “I have a girlfriend !”
I lied (not the first sentence, the second one) And it was their turn to go “ohhhh !” On me and so they did.
“What’s her name ? ” , Muskan asked. You know in situations demanding quick answers you say just the first thing that strikes you.
“Uhh, Ria.” I said .
“Wow !” Exclaimed some kid in 4th standard , “My little sister’s name is also Ria.” He said.
“Yeah, it’s not her.” I laughed. And then every day they wanted to hear a story about her, so I made up a lot of stories that I was not proud of yet I had to , just to keep my repo intact with my personality in front of these kids.
Every day they got to know Ria better and I became better of a story teller. It was a win-win situation, why would I compromise it due to some truth.
Some days later on a mildly cold rainy day , the fogs of moisture covered our van windows, and any mind wouldn’t dare not to write something on these windows with their fingers against the foggy windows. So I looked up from my phone’s screen to the kids in front of me.
The van still moving towards the school and the music still rolling through my earphones. The three on their respective seats wrote on the windows that accompanied them, ‘Shivam loves Ria’ and soon they had done it to all the windows near me. It was a riot for them and I simply smiled along as I pulled out my ear phones just to listen the child-like beautiful voices singing a song for me and Ria.
“And they will marry And they will love And they will smile And they will sing..” They sung in chorus and laughed, though the song made not much sense but through their actions I was taken aback to the fond memories I had of Ria, they were few yet beautiful.
That day expecting rest of the day to continue as beautifully it had started I entered my class room. The day started same as it used to. I sat with Piyush that day, Sri was absent. The two seats ahead of us were occupied by Brenden and Viren and the two seats in the row at our left at front benches were occupied by Anuj and Ria.
Viren and Brenden talked to us quite frankly and informally , And I still don’t recall how we got to this.
“I think you are better than Anuj. ” Viren said.
“Thanks. I guess.” I smiled.
“We know you were ‘Amayiti lover boy.'” He said.
I looked at Piyush and then at Viren. I had nothing to say.
Brenden turned to me and in the best consoling smile said, “Sorry dude. They’re dating. I came to know just today.”
I looked outside of the class window , the cold rain had stopped. The sun had come out , hurting eyes that stared and hearts that loved.
I looked back at Viren and Brenden.
“Great ! I’m happy for them.” I said.
“Come on dude. Remove him outta your way.” Viren said and Brenden laughed.
“Right.” Piyush commented.
“I’m happy if she’s happy, no matter with whom.” I said and looked at the two who sat together smiling and cherishing a conversation.
Suddenly the accounts teacher banged his fist on the table to grab attention of all those busy in talking. Over that bang of his fist, I had heard a clear and loud ‘clink’ as if something had broken down to pieces . No one heard it because it came from inside me, somewhere near the chest.
Chapter 17: The bitter side of one sided Love
It had been 9 months since when I had fallen for Ria , it had been 4 months since she knew about that and it had been 2 months since she and Anuj got together.
In the last two of those two months I had given a statement saying that ‘I’m happy if she’s happy, no matter with whom’ however I hadn’t realised that the heart and brain never maintained an understanding .
The brain made a statement saying that only ‘her happiness mattered’ but the heart being a selfish being, wanted self happiness as well as her happiness.
This ‘self happiness’ wasn’t the one ‘I’m happy if she’s happy’ happiness, it was ‘I and her happy together’ happiness.
I being always on the side of the heart since the start of time was facing issues keeping up to the statements of my brain. All the time I was conscious I thought about nothing but her.
I wanted her to come to me and ask me to take her by my side, just like Lily came back to Marshall to apologise and get back together with him.
I didn’t want Anuj to be left either, he was a nice guy after all and they both looked amazing together. But I had changed myself for her and according to the selfish being(heart) I would keep her happier, but as per my brain, she was better off with Anuj.
In the end it was her life and her decision, my heart had said just to divert the forfeit from itself. The mind then having won the argument had said , it would really prefer the heart to move on because the brain is also somewhere in favour of Ria .
Because at the end of the day, no matter how much the brain and heart fought, they had to stay together and with the heart walking around Ria and the brain trying to move on they couldn’t go much further. For the while they stayed here with Ria.
This one day I and Sri sat together in the economics period breaking the seating pattern.
“Who’s talking ?” Our teacher said out loud not able to catch where the noise was coming from.
“Ma’am it’s Shivam and Sri !” , complained a voice trying to sound funny in some way.
“Shut up !” I had said loudly in return.
Anuj who sat on the first seat of the row in which we occupied the last two seats turned towards us,
“You stay in your limits.” He shouted from where he sat.
I hadn’t realised it was him I had shouted at until after he had stood up.
“Sorry I didn’t know.” I apologised for the sake of Ria.
“Just stay in your damn limits.” He repeated and got back to his work. Ria and Yashika, who happened to sit together seemed shocked at my action.
They must’ve thought I was taking my frustration of Ria not being with me out on Anuj but I didn’t even know who had complained of us before Anuj turned back and stood up.
“What does he think of himself ?” Sri said, “stay off limits? To hell with him.” He said imitating Anuj and sympathising with me.
“You didn’t have to apologise.” He told me.
“It doesn’t matter.” I said sulking back to my deep thoughts of Ria, and to the fight between my heart and my brain.
Some days later I sat with Mohsin and we had talked sense to each other. We just talked about love and affection that we held towards girls, I particularly towards Ria. I had discovered that Mohsin had started smoking when he had flunked in economics .
He had loved quite a few times in his life and had been disappointed those few times.
“Still stuck on Ria?” He asked. I nodded
“You know what ? Move on.” He told me, “You’re far better now, I bet you can date real soon.”
I shook my head blushing, “I love her , not so easy to let her out of my life. After all she’s the reason I changed.” Piyush and Sri who earlier sat together in their own businesses had now turned towards me and Mohsin.
“She sucks at choosing, she chose a loser over you !” Sri said, “Leave her.” “Seriously.” Piyush added.
“Don’t you remember how he shouted at you for nothing ?” Sri reminded.
” When did this happen ?” Mohsin jumped in. And then Swagat told Mohsin about the economics period incident.
“That son of a..” Mohsin roared, “we’ll beat him up the next time he does anything like that.”
I put up my hand, “It’s okay. No harm was done.”I said.
“See, that’s his problem, too afraid to stand up for himself.” Piyush said.
“It’s not that.” I said. ” I didn’t want Ria to be affected with anything I do, and Anuj concerns Ria so everything that concerns him, concerns her.”
“Wow !” Mohsin said. I got back to pretend to read the newspaper as did Sri and Piyush.
“Anyway, what if you and Anuj got into a brutal fight. Who would win ?” He asked. Sri and Piyush turned back with eagerness shining on their faces.
” Depends.” I said.
“Depends on what ?” Mohsin asked again.
“I looked up from the newspaper at Ria , who sat with Anuj just four desks in front of me. She couldn’t see me while I could.
I said, “Depends on whom Ria would want to win. If she wants me to win, I’d fight even if it’s the last fight of my life and if Anuj is the one she wants to win then I’ll loose bleeding for her.”
This statement of mine won me respected glances from the three around me.
“Wow !” Mohsin repeated. “You really love her .”
He looked surprised, it was like he had witnessed something that he hadn’t before, it was, “True Love.” He said “Hell! ” He cursed something banging his fist on the desk drawing a few eyes at him.
“What is it ?” I asked. “You love her . Go and say it to her right now.” He insisted.
“But she already knows.” I said getting back to my pretending to getting back to the newspaper.
He looked at her , and then at me. He raised his hand and saluted me.
Doing this he stood up and singing a love song, walked and passed by Ria intentionally. Anuj and Ria still beautifully looked at each other sharing beautiful glances. And I got back to the newspaper. ‘Scientists have found a way to calculate love’ , said the headline and I let out a small sorrowful laugh as I read it out to myself.