Book 2 Chapter 1
“Shaina, please be careful with those Ceramic vessels for Christ’s sake!” my Mum almost cried.
“Sejal, don’t you know that she has registered the ‘patent’ for being the clumsiest?” Appa then joined in mocking me. Dust was dissimilated all over our new Chennai apartment and Appa did help in between his mocking and supervisioning us to arrange things.
“Premam hasn’t left my mind yet papa” said Appa.
“Appa I haven’t forgotten about that movie too, hasn’t Nivin rocked that Character?”
“I think yes,” he said and added; “Here let me give you a hand with it,” and we together pushed the TV table towards the wall.
“Amma where should I put this pot?” I had to sort the immediate doubt of mine, because that plant bore beautiful Table Rose and I could not resist them.
“I want them in my Office room” Appa barged in!
“I want them in the hall or in the portico,” Amma had to make her point of argument.
“No, I actua;ly want them in the Balcony; Pa, it would be perfect for our Saturday evenings, what do you think?” I made my point and Appa could not agree less.
“This Father-Daughter bond has become your biggest flex Shaina!” my Mum had to utter her thoughts. We could only laugh and it was also a flex to be a single daughter. You see, I literally got the best of both the worlds, Mum’s pamperings and Dad’s privileges.
“Well, having Ram brother here has become my biggest flex,” said Appa for Sara and her father, my occasional guardian, ‘Ram Uncle’ helped us with all the “Shifting” and “Arranging” things.
“It’s almost 9 pm, better eat up now, else you both will be late for college tomorrow.” said Amma.
“Yes, we should.” Appa agreed.
“And I can’t wait to drive a Vespa to College tomorrow dad, I’m extremely excited I actually love you. Thank You pa.” I said tucking in the blanket, pulling it up, till my nose.
“Love you more papa, and now sleep. You have college tomorrow, I have Office tomorrow,” Appa said, his yawn making it obvious that he was so tired.
After three months of College and Arjun and Sara and Akshay and Ruby; my dog brother, I was exhausted already. My inner-self kept on teasing me for growing mad whenever I saw Riya with Arjun, “Do you still love him?” was the constant question that my absurd mind kept asking me,
“I’m not” has been my constant answer. I had to convince myself with such an answer. That phase of life was cruel, I had been feeling as though I was being haunted.
Haunted, by the fear of the future? What was I going to become, which profession was I going to choose?
How in the hell was I going to forget Mr Arjun Venugopal? And to top all that, how would I keep pretending like I had so much hate for him when I actually didn’t, when he was right around the corner, showing so much love, or that’s how I felt. At that phase of life, it was so challenging. I had to find myself wherein I was constantly pushed in the ocean of messes. It was strange.
It was November. Of all the seasons that the Almighty has bestowed us upon it was the month that I hate, winter. You wake up to your alarm and you cannot dare to indulge in a morning bath to start your day. The cold reins you. The fog invites you to dance with it by its beautifully delicate feathers and alluring body like a dead-drop beautiful hot guy. But you only realise that it’s freezing cold when you take his hands. Instead of savouring your soft striking palm, the cold brings terrible agony! And so did him. Every time I saw him talking with Riya, I was pissed. I was so pissed that I could’ve killed him.
It was a Thursday. Sara had gone to Coimbatore that morning early around 8 AM as she had a family function. So I had to hit the college alone. I tried as hard as I could to reach the college before 9.30 am but couldn’t. Waking up at 8.45 am certainly didn’t help much. And eventually, I got stuck in the traffic. I was wearing a Mustard-yellow and green top and ankle length denim, Yes, I had an awesome ‘Fashion sense’.
Whenever I had time, I never forgot to stop and cherish Appa’s gift. He had bought me a lavender Vespa. And like any girl would, I loved it and cherished it as long as I could. I remember teaching Sara two-wheeler driving. The neighbourhood had a number of stomach aching laughter as we ended up falling on the road once in every two days. I had also once taken Ruby to the Vet on it. Nobody could take their eyes off Ruby; he was an adorable Golden Retriever, who Appa, Amma and I loved dearly. And it’s significant to mention that he saved us from being robbed a couple of times as the burglars were scared of Ruby’s majestic appearance and his tissue-harming, deaf-making loud bark. Neighbouring Cheche stopped offering Puttu as her sleep pattern got interrupted because of Ruby’s incessant barks. It’s quite a funny story, Ruby’s. He makes a single bark and the dog at the street end barks twice, then he barks thrice and the Dalmatian in the next street joins the “I will not let you sleep” pack. And this story continues with me, shouting at Ruby every day. Half of my pocket money vanished buying him Drools. I should have raised him more humble and grounded. Even that day, he was having his breakfast when we left the house. We were discussing Ruby’s weird behaviour whenever he met Geetha Aunt’s Mini. His eyes grew wide whenever he saw her, they probably Zinged and I shouldn’t have let him watch that movie with me.
It had almost become past 15 minutes in the traffic, in exhaustion, I was exasperated. To elevate my ‘happy mood’, Thalli Pogathey” my ‘then’ least favourite song was playing at the adjacent Tea shop’s radio. I felt like an inflated balloon. Every part of my body felt so inflated and I wanted the world to stop messing with me. All that popped up in my mind at that time was that, of all the songs that the Cinema had produced, they had to play this song??!!!!
Hearing that song, memories flooded right back into the head. Standing there at the signal, carving for the signal to go green, I had a difficult time thinking about the past.
The clouds surprisingly reminded me of him. In the past, he was my Sun, without him, I wouldn’t bloom. Soon, he left me. And thus, I thought he came as the Clouds, disguised.
I remember that instant, the clouds were too heavy and they were growing dark. The weather became too cold and gloomy, while we were all stuck in the traffic! Everyone was concerned about reaching schools, colleges and offices on time but, still we had to wait for the bloody signal. With the cold setting in, the breeze gliding through the trucks, buses, cars and the School girl’s cycles; it reached me, it was a strong breeze. I felt that intensity; it touched me with the subtle but bewitching fragrance of the rain. I felt like Mother Nature was aiding me with the breeze, so that I won’t fall back to the past again. The leaves of the whatsoever trees left on the sidewalk danced to the breeze’s rhythm. Birds were seen all over the sky. They must have been in a hurry to find a good, warm place. They must definitely try Trivago though. Dogs were rushing in search of a safer shelter as it had almost started thundering. I was starting to get scared because I hated and I still am afraid of thunder and lightning. The cold breeze became chillier and the song was still on. And as the rain started pouring, I could sense every drop that poured, it washed away all the moisturizer that I had on. I promised myself to henceforth watch the weather broadcast before proceeding with the skin care routine.
The pleasing sound of the rain drops crashing the leaves and the school children laughing and screaming inside the school bus were the only consolation. Their laughter replaced the anxiety of the existing reality of the world.The Tea Shop Anna tuned up the volume. Me, drenching in the rain, forgot about college and the Python class. All that I was thinking about was him, and how I once used to crave for this song. We used to listen to this song as though it was written, sung and composed for us. Unknowingly, I started to sing along whilst admiring the sky and its cry. Suddenly, I felt tears falling down the cheeks. The song meant so much to me. In utter despair, I cried. I felt the physical pain in my heart. The stress got hold of my throat that it started to feel as though someone had put on a clamp in my throat. In addition to the mist and raindrops almost hiding the vision, the eyes filled with tears resembled the “hot tears” of Toru Dutt. With the dreadful agony and frustration, slithering deeper and deeper into heart, the eyes caught him. He was also there at the signal, only 10 feet apart. With all the hurt and anger and pain I looked at him, throwing r
esentful words in that look. His eyes seemed mushy too. Maybe he regretted what had happened in the past, or so I
read from his silent words. His eyes meant to say,
But, I was not sure if I could forget all that had happened.
And Suddenly, “Shaina” shouted a voice from behind, and when I looked through the incessantly falling rain drops, nerve wrecking cold and the mist; it was Akshay!
To be continued next weekend…
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