The next college semester was due to begin in a few days and the students hoped it would be different this time. They have discussed among themselves and decided not to repeat that thing which has caused annoyance and unpleasantness in the last semester. They have decided to plan and organise activities for the next six months- to spend more time participating in competitions, sightseeing or travelling. It is a mixed blessing being a student. At times, it feels cool but then there are times when it feels quite awful.
College gives knowledge, experience and confidence to the students during their stay in the campus. They pass out as better persons than when they came in. The students have planned activities for the next semester with ‘Creative Engagement’ as the theme.
What most rather every student find irksome is the early morning classes. Some admit that they simply abhor them. Some find them particularly disagreeable if the subject happens to be the ones they dislike. Most students simply do not relish coming to the early morning class. They come to mark their attendance and once their presence is confirmed in the attendance register, they are set free.
The class of this morning was no different. Aditi was not finding the lecture interesting. She looked disinterested and tired. A yawn would break out every now and then and she was struggling to keep it down lest the professor notices it. Nevertheless, she sat through the lecture. She was one among the many in the class who took a deep sigh when the professor announced that the lecture will be extended by thirty minutes.
‘I hate Algebra,’ Aditi whispered to her friend sitting next to her, ‘and why do they have to keep it as the first period of the day? It ruins the whole day. It really does, you know.’ The lecture bored Aditi and she was airing her frustration and exasperation to her friend.
‘I don’t know, Aditi. I too do not find it interesting. I am beginning to have a headache,’ Ruchi said in a low voice so that the professor, writing on the black board with her back towards the students, would not hear.
‘Yeah, you are right. Nothing can be more disgusting than this Algebra,’ Aditi continued to vent her irritation.
‘I thought you wanted to ask me something,’ Ruchi said, changing the topic away from Algebra.
‘Yes. I don’t believe what you told me while entering the class. Has Kanav really dumped you?’ asked Aditi.
‘Yes, he has. That is the truth. I am certain he loves someone else,’ Ruchi replied, her voice tinged with sadness.
‘Don’t take it to heart, Ruchi. No one wants a relationship to turn sour, but such things happen. If it cannot be mended, then it is better to accept it. There is really no need to fret over it and feel miserable,’ Aditi said philosophically, trying to rationalise the situation for her friend. She felt sorry for Ruchi. She was her best friend and it was awful that she was going through an agonising period.
‘Ruchi, I feel you too should take a decision and not be so sentimental. Delete him out of your mind and thoughts. Just flush him out of your life. He does not deserve a person like you,’ Aditi continued to counsel her friend. She was very annoyed with Kanav and it was profound in her voice.
‘Yup, Aditi is right.’ The agreement came fromVineet, who was sitting behind them. He was obviously overhearing and following the conversation.
‘Vineet! Why are you poking your nose in our conversation?’ Aditi felt infuriated. She then turned to Ruchi and said, ‘Ruchi, you need to come out of it. I think you should go home this weekend. Just relax and calm your nerves. Tell your parents about it. They would understand. All parents do. They will help you in dealing with this bad situation. You need their support.’ She held Ruchi’s hand to comfort her.
‘May I say something if you permit me?’ Vineet asked, raising his right hand slightly.
‘No. Just shut up Vineet and stay out of it. I can’t bear it anymore,’ said Ruchi, raising her voice.
Anger was rising in her. For a moment, she forgot that she was sitting in the classroom, listening to the professor of mathematics, who was explaining the solution of the cubic polynomials. What Ruchi had said was heard by the entire class. Everyone began to giggle and laugh. The professor did not appreciate the disturbance and cast a hard glance in their direction.
‘What’s going on? You three! Get out of the class right now,’ said the professor in a firm voice, pointing at them. The professor sounded irritated and visibly annoyed with them. There was little they could do. They got up, gathered their things and walked out of the class without saying a word.
They felt deeply embarrassed. They exited from the class and headed towards the college corridor. As they walked, Aditi could not control herself any more. She turned to Vineet and lashed out at him, ‘Are you insane, Vineet? Why did you have to do all that? You humiliated us in front of the professor and the entire class.’
‘Ok, I am sorry. We can discuss this issue later. For now, please think about Ruchi,’ Vineet said softly with a voice full of regret for the classroom incident. Aditi was expecting Vineet to react strongly to her rebuke. She was surprised at his response. There was no rancour in his voice.
Both Vineet and Aditi knew that Ruchi was in a steady relationship with Kanav. Recently some misunderstanding had developed between the two. It affected their friendship and Kanav had started to drift away from Ruchi. Their relationship had cooled and turned frosty. Kanav had even started to avoid her. The parents and families of both knew of their steady relationship and approved of it. It was accepted that their friendship will be formalised by marriage soon. Only a formal verbal exchange remained to be held between the two families to plan the event. And now their relationship was at crossroads and on the rocks. Ruchi was feeling the agony and pain of rejection. She felt miserable. She was shell shocked with the relationship turning sour. It had taken a turn for the worst.
Aditi noticed that Ruchi had not spoken a word since the three of them had come out of the classroom. ‘Are you alright, Ruchi?’ Aditi asked in a low voice.
‘No, I am not. Please help me, Aditi. I am feeling awful. I do not know what to do? How am I going to face my parents? My mother will be heart-broken,’ Ruchi replied in a choking voice.
Aditi looked at her friend. She was visibly in distress. Her eyes were red, and tears had started to well up in them. Aditi felt Ruchi would break into sobs any moment. Vineet, who was quiet all along, interjected and said, ‘Ruchi, you need a change of place. You are stressed. You will feel better with a change in environment.’
‘Yup, Vineet is right. A change would help,’ Aditi added agreeing with the suggestion Vineet gave.
‘However, tomorrow is my birthday. You both are invited. Ruchi, I bet you’ll enjoy it,’ Vineet said, changing the subject of their conversation and extending invitation to the girls. He was trying to add humour to his words and wanted to cheer Ruchi in every way possible. Aditi was excited to hear about Vineet’s birthday celebration but Ruchi wasn’t.
‘Wow, it looks exciting. We’ll have a DJ party.It will be fun. Don’t you think,Ruchi?’ Aditi added, giving a vow to her bestie.
‘Yaa, I’ll organise that. So Ruchi, are you coming?’ Vineet asked.
‘I will see,Vineet,’ Ruchi gave an uncertain expression.
‘Oh,come on yaar! It will be fun, remember fun…..,’ as Aditi was saying this, they both giggled and Vineet was happy to see Ruchi laugh.
‘So, you both are coming?’ Vineet asked to confirm their attendance.
‘Yup,’ they both echoed together and laughed again.
‘Invite Yohan also…,’ Aditi expressed
‘Of course! Why wouldn’t I invite my best friend?’
‘Yaa… by the way, where is he?’
You have two sides to the game- one out of the field and one inside. When you are inside, you need to play like a gentleman; the winning spirit should never die. The power is in your hand. You need to overcome every situation and drive the world of success. We have lost five wickets in quick succession, but I was determined that we will still lead the game.
Last two overs were left. Our team required twenty runs with two wickets in hand.
I tried to push the ball in gap on the first ball for a four, but I couldn’t make through. Run out. It was my mistake that I made a call for a run. Unfortunately, it went against my team as I didn’t run after I saw the fielder capture the ball and swinging it on the non-striker end.
‘Fuck… damn it,’ I shouted and cursed myself.
Now everything was turning against me or with me, I donot know. One more wicket and we could lose, and twenty runs could make your team a champion. I was juggling in my own thoughts. Somehow, I regained some momentum and scored few runs that relieved pressure, which was hovering around me.
First ball of last over. Tail ender pushed the ball for single and I was on strike again. Now thirteen runs were required from five balls. Everyone’s eyes were fixed on me now. The audience were chanting my name.
I missed the second ball. It was an unplayable bouncer ticking off my shoulder. I nearly lost my confidence to strike but I was back again and scored a four on the leg side on the third ball. Nine runs required from three balls now. I swiftly took a double on the next ball. It was a nerve-ricking situation. The pressure was binding up with a thrilling climax when I had to count on to score five runs on the last ball.
Like a monster looming over the horizon, the face of the bowler paralyzed me with his expression just like a danger sign board.
The crowd was going insane; it was chanting my name louder than ever. I was determined that I could score a six but lacked confidence. Then, I saw Aditi sitting in the stands along with Ruchi and Vineet. It was her eyes I noticed first, the ones she hated calling lazy. As I moved, my mind went into distress and my eyes were fixed on her.
She was setting her hair, probably trying to remove the band stuck on the back side of her hair. I was flattened. The lost hope was back in me. I was ready to play again;with no promises to leave yet, but the one to torment the opposition as hard I could. The bowler pitched the ball on my leg, and I lofted it on for a six. Out of the park.
My teammates came in running to the ground; the celebration was on for everyone. They lifted me on the top, swinging my body to left and then to right. I was lost in my thoughts. My eyes were on Aditi. I saw her celebrating, laughing and jumping for me. I was feeling on top of the world.
Someone hugged me from behind. I already knew who it was. Aditi, I could feel from her accent.
‘Hey… Aditi,’ I said and turned around to face her.
‘Congratulations! Great innings! I am so happy for you,’ she roared with excitement.
‘Thanks,’ I smiled. Ruchi and Vineet also joined in.
‘Great innings, bro,’ Vineet congratulated, tapping on my back.
‘Thanks, brother,’ I made him sit on the bench. I couldn’t find any topic to talk about, but Aditi and Ruchi kept on praising my winning knock, as usual every girl’s habit. My teammates were calling for celebration with them. Honestly, I was not at all interested to go with them. I wanted to be here with my friends, with Aditi.
‘I think you must go with your teammates,’ Aditi supposed by observing the situation.
‘It feels good to be with you three. I thought I’ll be here with you,’ I replied with little confusion in my mind.
‘Yohan…. You must go; we will talk tomorrow as its Vineet’s birthday too. We’ll get in touch.’
‘Yaa, I know but…’
‘Come on, now go and have fun. Do come tomorrow. I’ll be waiting for you there,’ Aditi said with a big smile on her face. Vineet also showed a green signal that we could spend some time together the next day. It didn’t set well for me as I wanted to spend some more time with Aditi, right now. Turning my head in regret, I joined my cricket teammates.
After attending the evening classes, Aditi went home. She was delighted to tell her parents about me.
I have been living up in hostel. Vineet was my roommate and my best friend too. We both were familiar with each other’s secrets. We all need a person, who can understand our situation and with whom we can share our feeling. In short, Vineet and I were camaraderie of togetherness.
Aditi reached home. As soon as her mother opened the door, she exclaimed excitedly and said, ‘Guess mom, what happened today?’
Her mother was totally frightened by her daughter’s joyful foray but soon she regained her normal demeanor and said, ‘You already scared me, mad girl.’
‘Forget about it, mom. Where is dad? I am eager to meet him,’ Aditi said, still jumping with joy.
‘Keep calm.He is in the living room. Go and meet him,’ her mother replied, and Aditi quickly marched towards the living room.
‘Here is my super dad. When did you come from office?’ Aditi used to call her dad ‘super dad’ because she considers him her superhero.
‘Half an hour has passed. Actually, I was having headache. It’s being persistent since morning.’
‘Ohh, did you take any medicine?’
‘No worries, all is well. You tell me. You are looking very excited.’
‘I forgot, you never know what happened today,’ Aditi said.
‘My daughter is so excited. Anything special happened?’
‘Our college team won the Inter- College Cricket Championship and all because of Yohan.’
‘Really, that’s great. Congratulations!’ he wished.
‘Thanks. Yohan played a wonderful innings.’
‘Wow, that’s quite impressive.’
She narrated the highlights of the match. They both enjoyed their time gossiping and sharing their own endeavours.
‘Bro, do you really love her?’ Vineet asked me.
‘I don’t only love her, I admire her. She is my soulmate. Life seems beautiful with her. She creates my destiny and you are asking do I love her. Bro, love has no sight. It can only be felt. It’s in the air.Yaar, I love her a lot. She ismy everything,’ I expressed my feelings.
‘You are crazy, bro.’
‘I am not, but my love is.’
‘Why didn’t you say her till now?’ Vineet probed.
‘Bro, she never noticed my feelings. I am looking forward to a perfect day when I could express my love for her. No need to take tension. When the right moment comes, I’ll confess it to her.’
‘That’s the spirit, my friend. I am with you,’ Vineet promised.
‘Thanks, Vineet,’ I replied.
I must tell Aditi what I feel about her. I have been in love with her since the time when I couldn’t even spell the word love. She was my first love and continues to be so. The old memories of Aditi came rushing to me.
I was waiting for the day when she would say ‘yes’. My heart was bursting with anticipation and excitement. I want to see the smile on her face; the smile she gives when she is happy. I love you, Aditi. I really do.
About The Author: Chetan Batra
Chetan Batra is a law graduate, writer, poet and blogger born and raised in Ludhiana. 22-year-old Chetan has a keen interest in crime fiction. Apart from writing he is a big fan of Bollywood and holds an extravagant dream to try his luck in film-making.
Chetan is a true believer of destiny and always inspire people to opine the positive side of life.