10th June, 2011
I was sat at the back bench with Himanshu as I used to with him when in 7th standard. There were a couple of classmates present who studied with me back then.
I wasn’t sure if he would talk to me at all but he did. Quite unbelievably I looked at his face trying to place the features as how I remembered of him from my school time. He looked identifiable as how I had seen him last in 2005- in person. Only this time he looked more relaxed. I tried to break the silence.
“You know I could never adjust with my new school (LIS). Although now I am friends with most of them; it was tough for me to adapt even academically. All the teachers would ever do is flip through the chapter pages asking us to study, making us do the comprehensions the next day. I found it difficult to learn that way. At the least, they could have read through the chapters explaining what it meant in the class once, how they used to in GFPS!”
“The last time we met I had hurt you no end. I know you must be still sour and maybe that’s why you are not talking about us!”
“I know this is only a sweet dream that would end soon enough leaving me bitter and wanting me to cry till I get tired. This can’t be true. I am dreaming indeed!”
He only smiled. My heart skipped a beat or maybe two. ‘Was I still alive to be living through a beautiful moment as this is?’ Something inside my chest started throbbing. My right hand was placed on the desk. I had kept my gestures as normal as talking to a stranger with no signs of familiarity. Any “old time sake” that I had let linger on was from my school time. I was not letting any trace of my feelings for him or our affair (if at all that was one) to show up on my face. As I had decided to; I was maintaining it to be as indifferent as possible.
Only till then..
His left palm touched the back of my right palm gently. However hard I was trying to; I wasn’t able to keep my focus straight. My gaze shifted from his face to my hand. His long fingers felt amazingly light on my pale hand. It wasn’t accidental; he had deliberately placed his hand on mine. It was difficult to control the over grown monarchs fluttering in my stomach. My one mind wanted this moment to freeze, yet another one wanted me to hold him and make him mine; I did nothing. After losing him over just so many times, I have become highly confused what part of me drives him away when the rest of it draws him back to me over and over again. I just wanted him to stay.
He picked my hand into his and started writing on its inside. A few of those monarchs threatened to take over my senses. Hushing them quiet inwardly, I broke into an innocent smile.
“Okay, I won’t look. See, I have closed my eyes. Let me know when to open them.”
He made a few strokes how we used to in our teens. We never realized how comfortable we used to be with each other back then. If only he had been a little courageous; I would have not changed my school at all. The last ugly affair won’t have taken place to begin with. Perhaps we would have been together since ever. My life would have been sorted out by now. My mind was clouded with thoughts when he shook me up and wanted me to read my hand. In his hand writing (that I still recognize) I read “I Love..”
I questioningly look at him when he covered my eyes with his left hand. I pulled it away with my left hand to read a big “you” on it. That’s it. I could no longer take control.
He looked up. “Did you not know how I have felt for you ever since we had known each other? Did you ever not feel that I maybe missing you or thinking of you? Did you never get any sign telling you that I still think of you how I used to?”
I had wanted to ask more. ‘Will you stay back with me this time? Are you again weaving a fairy tale to leave me in the hands of demons and walk away? Would you…ummm.. marry me this time or just stay with me? Would I get to meet your family with a new identity? Will they accept me.. the way I am? But most importantly, do you still want me?’ I didn’t; any.
The next instant he asked me, “Do you want it to be a quick and a rough one or a long time spent lazily over..?”
At that instant the teacher entered the class, wanting Himanshu to place his dripping umbrella aside. I had stood up offering to do that myself; placing it at one side where one of my class- mates had gestured. Walking back to the desk I had whispered, “Let’s save it for after the class.”
His seductive smile had almost scratched upon my stability.
I had worn a green sweater which I wanted to take out. It was becoming warm. Even the lady teacher had removed hers. The teacher stayed in the same compound in the next room. The class was an informal gathering. A few students had walked into one another room wanting to sleep! While accompanying them through the corridor; I happened to see the teacher’s room too. I wanted to go back and tell HIM how I might also end up staying singly in some office apartment in my older years. The class had dispersed by the time I had gone back. Himanshu had cracked some joke; the most part of which I hadn’t heard. It seemed to me that when the laughter ends; HIM and I would be together. I felt light- headed. I too broke into laughter.
My dream ended!
It indeed has rain- stormed this morning. When I woke up at 8am; I was jolted out of my sleep as if a nightmare had haunted me. The pangs of reality had bitten me sharp. Holding my bed- sheet, covering my face, I had tried to recall of what I had dreamt of. My eyes had become wet; a few tears had followed soon. I wasn’t sobbing, I thought; but even before I could realize, I was crying incessantly.