Ashish held Shraddha’s hand and ran towards the forest behind the Montessori school. Shraddha was panting.
“Arey! Where will you stop?” Shraddha said.
They had got into the forest. Suddenly from the left hand side, a rock hit Ashish on his temples. Blood came out of it. The attacker was a guy who had his face covered with a black-colored face mask. He began to run as soon as his job was done.
Harshit saw all this and began to run behind the attacker. He tried to catch him but he managed to escape. He went back. Ashish was sitting on the dead leaves of the forest.
Harshit lifted him up.
“What was it because of which you brought us here?”
Ashish replied,” I hid the gift pack here.” He held his head and replied,” I think that girl got to know about it.”
Shraddha and Harshit stared at each other,” Our culprit is a girl?” Harshit said.
“What the hell, yeah!” Shraddha remarked.
“Let’s talk about it later. First it’s important to provide aid to Ashish. As of now Shraddha, you go back home. I’ll take Ashish to a doctor. I’ll try and find out about the gift.”
Harshit’s phone rang. It was Yogita. Harshit made a grumpy face.
“Atleast you can tell Yogita about the situation.” Shraddha said as she looked at Harshit’s phone. “Let me have a look at the place. Maybe the gift would still be there.”
“No don’t take any risk. I don’t want you to go through this. I’ll buy a new gift and give it to them. But this is something worth suspicion about which we will discuss later.”
Shraddha nodded and went. Harshit told Yogita about the whole situation and instructed her not to tell about Ashish. Like sons, like parents. They both are at loggerheads with each other.Ashish’s and Harshit’s mothers have been classmates in school.
Ashish’s mother is haughty in disposition as she always stood first in class and always went on flaunting about it and Harshit’s mother always got angry at her boastful nature. This was and is, the major topic of tensions between them and in turn, a cause of tensions between the families. Now in this generation, both the sons have tensions.
Shraddha reached home. Her mother came to her and asked,” What took you so long?”
Shraddha replied, “Actually me and Harshit encountered Ashish. And you know na, how much enmity is present between the two. Because of this tussle, it took a long time to resolve the differences.”
“Oh God! These mothers have passed their genes to their sons!” Her mother remarked.
Shraddha went to her room. She was so full of hatred for Ashish. It was a love converted to hatred and it was grieving for her to see him in that condition.
Shraddha met Ashish through Harshit. Ashish was a “single-ready-to-mingle” kind of guy. Harshit knew this well and advised Shraddha to stay away from him. Shraddha found her love in him but Ashish did not feel the same for Shraddha. Shraddha decided to break her links with Ashish when she was pointed out for this by her parents as well. And also because, she was feeling suffocated in this friend-zoned-ship. Now he has got a girlfriend in Sakshi, a junior in Harshit’s school. Experiences teach us a lot.
Shraddha opened her WhatsApp and saw message on her class group. Preeti had posted a picture of a flowy gown which was dark blue in colour under which she wrote,” How’s it????” Then she wrote,” So sorry!! I was sending this to someone else?”
Then a girl Ashima replied,” It’s okay ?” Then she commented on the gown,” Nice choice?
Will look good on you ???”
Then there was a brief conversation about her cousin brother’s 1st wedding anniversary and the extravagant party etc. Preeti had discussed all of it with Shraddha.
Second to this chat was a message by Harshit.
“Brought a gift for my Mausi. Got a lot of scoldings but everything is good, somehow.”
” I feel there’s a deep conspiracy behind all this. Why was Ashish attacked then? What say?”
Shraddha thought for a while.
“Maybe you’re right.”
“I’m worried for Ashish.”
“You, worried for Ashish ??”
“Yaar Shraddha, it’s not a joke?”
“What is it that is worrying you about your arch-enemy?”
“What if Ashish is attacked again? And why only Ashish for this task?”
“You can be right but can’t it be just a coincidence?”
“Your notion of coincidence is what I thought about earlier. But because of this I deny the idea.”
Harshit sent two voice messages. One was where Ashish was called by a guy to steal Harshit’s parcel. Other was a threat call for him after he was attacked. Then he sent a screenshot on which the voice messages were there and below it was written,” Get ready for more ?”
“And God forbid! What if anything happens with Ashish because of us, his parents will question me about it. And our ongoing tussle will increase.”
Catch up with you later.”
Shraddha kept her phone. She decided to study for the test. Chaucer was the writer she despised. And second thing was Harshit’s suspicion.
She banged the book on the table,” This is shit!!”
Her gaze fixed at a locket. She sighed, recollecting how happy she was when she got it from Ashish.
Shraddha decided to stroll outside for bringing her disturbed mind to positive state. She went towards the verandah of her house. Breeze was blowing and the old uncle and aunt, her neighbours were sitting outside and listening to ,“Neele neele ambar par ..” on uncle’s new smartphone. They saw Shraddha.
“Hello Ms. Austen, how are you?” Uncle called Shraddha.
Shraddha’s chain of thoughts broke as she saw Uncle looking towards her.
” Why do you call me that? I only study her writings.” Shraddha said with a smile.
“One boy was coming towards your house. He thought for a while and later he went away.” Aunt said.
“But why are you telling me this?”
“He was someone around your age. So I think he came to meet you.” Uncle added. “We even went on to ask him his purpose of coming here but he shook his head, stood for a while and went away. It seemed that the boy was in some trouble.”
Shraddha thought for a while.
“Did he tell anything about himself?”
“No he didn’t. He was hesitant to come here at the first place. When we talked to him, he went away.”
“That’s weird. Who can do this?” She said then it dawned upon her,” Was he Ashish, she thought. Again in some trouble?