‘ SHE ‘
The monsoons have begun and the streams are flowing. The flowing water has traveled a long way and has carried along with it a lot of stories. Happiness is what is it has brought and happiness it has given her. The sun had gone to play hide and seek and I took her down the stream to her favorite spot. Like a little doll she walked along the high banks, holding on to my hand with her fingers tightly clasped around mine. We sat in the bank thrashing our legs together in the flowing stream. The water was cold and left us to shiver.
She smiled and the sun came out from its veil and smiled along with her. I took that little gift all wrapped and gave it to her. She opened the wrap.
“Ooh, chocolate. I love them so much.” The smile has become a laugh. She giggled and laughed exposing her missing tooth.
“Where is your tooth?, That central one?”
“I gave it to the tooth fairy.
She started relishing the chocolate and the chocolate was all over face, cheek and was dripping down from her mouth.
“You are a kid. You don’t know to eat a chocolate yet.”
“I am not a kid.”
Actually she behaves nowhere like a grown up. We both moved into high school this year, we are in our grade but still she behaves like a kid from primaries.
She planted ‘A sudden kiss’- ‘My first kiss’, leaving all the chocolate trace in my cheeks.
“Thank you, ‘Pranav’.”
She is a doll, she is the one that I adore and I will let no one take her away from me.
Last midyear, during my half-yearly holidays as usual I was playing around in my house. The tainted blue roof of my neighborhood house always amused me. I was watching the stones roll down and fall from the roof as I threw them there. The rattling noise made by the rolling stones was disturbed suddenly by some human voices. I climbed a broken flower pot and watched as a lorry parked by. The lorry was carrying households; the house was long being unoccupied, and only recently my dad told that someone is coming there soon. Oh that someone has come.
I felt a little bit uncertain and sad. I felt my territory is lost and my freedom is chained. Soon a tall man in his ‘Khaki’ and polished boots entered. He was followed by two other men in ‘Khaki’.
And then she entered, in her long white gown she walked holding on to her mom’s hand. It looked as if she is guiding her mom. “Oh she is pretty”. I was lost somewhere in seeing her.
“Pranav, what are u doing?” “Come here and finish your home work”, shouted my mom.
‘Padak…. tap’, the pot broke into pieces and I broke my leg.
From then on my ambition was to become her friend. I will throw my playing ball inside her house while she is at the garden and will ring her bell to ask for it. But instead of her I will be greeted by her huge black ‘Doberman’ –‘Tojo’. A week passed and school was about to reopen and all that I have learnt is her dog’s name. The next few days before school I made sure my job is to befriend her dog.
‘Tojo’, had a special hatred to me. I fed him biscuits, he barked at me. I fed him dog food, he barked at me. One day I was peeping through the compound and as usual he was barking at me. As I watched him bark, my chocolate that was half eaten fell from the pocket and there I learnt a heavenly way to befriend her dog. ‘Tojo loves chocolates’and chocolates are what I fed him ‘ night and day’.
The day before school, my family was welcomed to their house for their house warming function. I learnt there her dad is some ‘high profile police officer. I searched for her.
“Where is your daughter?”, my mom asked.
I thanked god for giving me a mom for the first time. My mom finally spoke for me.
“ ‘Seethama’, come here. Meet uncle and aunt here.” ‘Uncle, Pranav also, I thought to myself.’
Like a doll, wearing her ‘Pattu Pavadi’ with anklets and bangles making tunes too her smile she came. “Hi I am seetha.”, the first sentence she spoke with me. She took me around the house and showed everything. She showed me ‘Tojo’ and told be careful with him. She did not know that me and ‘Tojo’ carried a secret together. I went near ‘Tojo’ gave him the hidden chocolates and patted him in head.
“Good boy, ‘Tojo’, sit now.” She was awestruck – ‘Me, first impressing a girl.’
Call it fate; call it destiny she joined in my school. And since she joined late there her parents made sure she was in my class and right next to me. We became friends, the best friends.
We used to drive cycles together or I used to drive her to school and back. Naughtiness she started learning from me. Studies I did try gaining from her. ‘Pranav and seetha’ became the best friends together.Chocolates, biscuits, food or anything one for seetha and one for me how it became.
“Pranav, not more than two ‘ ladoos’ today”.
But one for me, one for seetha and one for Tojo. I need least three.
Fifth grade was over, summer leave started and it became a routine for us to hang out with each other. We played cricket, we played skipping, we played wrestling, we played hide and seek. Sometimes she became a boy for me and many times I became a girl for her.
Summer went and we became ‘Adults’. Yeah, we moved into high school.Frocks, pants changed and benches did change. Now I am not sitting next to her. No more boys and girls were allowed to sit together. Yeah, we are ‘adults’ and I hate, I became one. We still cycled together and we shared lunch together. Our fun never reduced. Studying became difficult for subjects and home works added. But my bail, ‘She’ was always there.
That year the rains were heavy and our half yearly holidays came earlier and that’s when I got my first kiss.
‘She started relishing the chocolate and the chocolate was all over face, cheek and was dripping down from her mouth.
“You are a kid. You don’t know to eat a chocolate yet.”
“I am not a kid.”
She planted ‘A sudden kiss’- ‘My first kiss’, leaving all the chocolate trace in my cheeks.’
Days did pass and years did fly, we entered eight grade together. If not for her I would have ran from school long back. Things did change because our schedules changed. She had ‘Violin’ class in morning and I had beatings to get from that ‘fat and bald’ ‘Mathematics’ tuition teacher. Evenings were busy too, she went for dance and I went for street cricket. Lunch was our only time together and I never missed eating from her ‘Tiffin box’.
For few days she was nowhere seen, outside house or in school. I was worried that she is sick. That day she was dropped at school by her dad and the next day from then on by some ‘Khakied’ man. She somehow avoided me and I didn’t understand why.
“Hey seetha, what happened to you? Are you ok?”
“Is it your health?”
“Did I do something wrong?”
“’My granny’ told not to talk and play with you like before.”
‘Granny’, what she has to do here? Is her granny permission was prior needed for her to talk with me. I pulled her hand and she loosened my grip. I thought she has become bad. My friendship she had destroyed.
‘ I asked my mom and my mom said, “She has became a big girl now beta, from now on it is like that.” “But she became a big kid ‘3 years’ back right”, I wondered. Later I heard it from my other friends that their friends, cousins and even sisters started behaving weird after 8/9th grade too. They convinced me that something evil goes into girls at that age.
After that we never played together. It was only talks from balcony and signs from below.
She looked different, her hair has grown and no more her teeth were missing. She always had an attitude and started walking as if it will hurt the ground. I wondered what devil has gotten into her.
Summer it was, and this time it was really hot. I slept till ten until I was woke up by,
“Pranav, beta see here who has come to see you.” I wondered which fat aunt from distance has come with his son to boost about her son’s grades now. “Whoever it is, ask them to go away mom", I murmured.
“Hi Pranav”, and there she was in my bedroom.
“Still sleeping?” “You are lazy ‘Pranav’.”
“I was working on this science project and slept late”, I lied; all I did was to watch cartoons whole night. Off course, ‘Swat cats’ was my favorite; and I had to give those CDS back in two days.
“Chocolates?”, she bit them into half and gave me one half.
“ I felt like shouting,” instead I kept quiet and said, “ I didn't brush yet.”
“Hey come on where is the naughty ‘Pranav’?
“What is your problem now?”” All of a sudden you behave weird. You suddenly behave as if you are not my friend.
“Pranav, certain things you won’t understand.” “You are my friend and you are always my best friend.” “I love you, Pranav.”
She left wiping her tears. “Love”, now what is that I wondered?
I came down only for lunch and found out why 'Seetha' actually came to meet me. Her father got transferred and she is shifting tomorrow that means 'Seetha' is leaving me. She is ditching me and my friendship. I felt bad and lonely and locked myself in room. Next morning, I peeped and found them loading. She was there looking at my house with tears in her eyes. She was searching for me. I had no guts to go meet her. I kept peeping.
“ 'Seetha', get inside the car. It’s time to go.” She turned back and I cannot hold back more. I grabbed that gift I bought for her and took a piece of paper and scribbled, “Seetha your are my best 'frind' and I love you too.” It was my first proposal and I never knew what I meant.
I ran; and gave it to her before she could leave. She read what I wrote, smiled and said “You and your spellings”. She planted a kiss on my cheeks, my second one and said “Bye.” –My first break up.
I started crying; I cried as she left and for the next two days. Mom, dad and everybody started consoling me. Mom said “Beta you are grown up now, grown up boys don’t cry.” I had grown up before 3 years back and what does growing up has to do with crying?”
Days has past, years have rolled. Graduate and post graduate I had become. As a kid, parents, neighbors and everyone else will pressurize us – studies, grades and future. Once we are really grown up physically we start to pressurize ourselves - work, money and future. One thing we were never taught about is ‘The Present’. And this time i was pressurizing myself for survival.
It was a Sunday and I was sitting and preparing my proposal – I couldn't keep count of the number probably it was some thousandth. This proposal holds my life in it. I have to impress that ‘mid-age lady, how much hard I try she is not flattered. My ‘deodorant’ or ‘shirt’ won’t work with her, only words matter. She is tough, not that I am an expert in breaking any lady with my ‘Proposal’. I haven’t convinced any lady or for the fact even 'a man' till now. And before you think otherwise I would like to clarify that I am talking here about my ‘Project proposal’ and not anything else.
As I was doing that boring job even on a precious Sunday there was this noise in my neighborhood. I opened the door and found some guys shifting some heavy households inside the neighborhood ‘flat’. I live in an apartment and my neighborhood flat was long been unoccupied. I partied at night sat out in lobby and shouted and no one was there to complain. I sensed my territory is lost and my freedom is chained.
I opened the balcony and was peeping down the window. I saw a young woman down and she looked familiar. “It was her; yes it was her.” I put on my trousers and ran. I opened my door and she was there waiting for at my door step.
She smiled, “I Saw a ‘Pranav’ in the board and wanted to check if it is you.” I smiled and said “I saw a ‘Seetha’ down and wondered if it was you. We laughed and giggled and she planted a kiss (number I don’t want to say as she might be jealous here). “I missed you Pranav.”
Call it a fate, call it a destiny she moved in my neighborhood and moved into my office. We shared table and we shared lunch. “Pranav- seetha days are back.” And from then on all my proposals were accepted for my bail ‘She’ was there always with me.
Image taken from internet.
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