I am standing in the long, narrow, crowded corridor of junior science wing, K.V.R College. And before my eyes, I’m forced to witness what I never dreamt even in my worst nights. How could I ever dream it when in every dream of mine, He is the hero dancing with me under spotlight.
Arnav is the most handsome, dashing, cool, intelligent, charming, sharp and enticing guy of junior years. It’s not me but the girls’ eyes hunting him say so. Some envious girls say that he looks bit odd from his left and is bit bony. But I know they just can’t bear his perfectness. Even girls from senior years are swiped with his wizard look and crooked smile. From first day itself, college air carried his rumours. Girls hungrily started following him in Twitter and befriending in Facebook. Many girls tried to trap him but he cunningly avoided them all. They foolishly cried fake tears and exacted their love for him to be true. But I know that nobody can ever love him more intensely and purely more than me. I loved him with all the innocence and madness of the whole phenomena. He was the only one I loved without any reason and breaking all the rules.
The only thing that retained even my unconsciousness was he. But he was unknown from all these exuberance on my side. As they say, loving him matters more than having him. And may be that’s why he is nonchalantly proceeding in my direction with that fake-queen Manishaa in his arms and I’m watching them laughing together on some funny secret joke. May be it’s me they are laughing at for being such a stupid.
“She is a bitch!” Preeti angrily commented.
“Still she has him.”
Preeti nudged me from sides.
“Remember to behave, Ava. At least try to look normal, not like you are the recent victim of some harassment.”
I looked at her piteously. Preeti is my childhood friend and my best buddy. We do everything shared and together except the hours we spend at bed. Back in school we were named as twin-friends. The best thing is that she understands my unspoken words. I never have to explain anything to her. We have such a harmonious bonding.
“I was better in home, Preeti. Why did you drag me here?” I was almost on tears.
“No ! You have to face the situation. You can’t always run away like this. Whatever it is, it is the reality and you have to accept it.” She stomped her foot hard on ground. She was angry with the situation and blamed Arnav for all my miseries.
Emotionally she has always been the stronger one and that’s her forte. I love this trait in her the best.
She marched into the classroom and I plodded behind her. We chose the last bench instead the first one. Everyday I sat either parallel to the seat of Arnav or one bench after his so that nobody will ever catch me stealing glances at him. But I was not in mood for any love affair. In fact I hate the word L-O-V-E.
It was not same always. Six months back the scenario was something drastically different. Six months back when we joined the college, I knew Preeti only. The beginning was filled with excitement and enthusiasm. I was feeling butterflies fluttering in stomach when I first stepped into the college building.
After all suffering the same school for long suffocated fourteen years, it was the first time we independently did something on our own. It was frenzied at the same time felt edgy too.
Lots of unknown faces all around, lots of curious eyes questioning trickily, different people swept off from different background and stacked together. I was thrilled to face them all. And among them was Arnav. He was standing at a corner in a gang, but distantly playing with his mobile. A narrow shaft of light was bent swiftly at his face drawing a shadow on floor. He was glowing in the morning blaze of sun; innocent like some fallen angel. It was the charm or something else that bewitched me, I still doubt on it.
I was always covert and introvert one. Expectantly I couldn’t make more than a few short and unimpressive chats with some girls, let alone friends. Preeti is bit bolder and dynamic than me. She made some friends and even some boys also conversed with her.
That night I opened my facebook site to update the newly added info and turnover going on in my life. My account was just four months old and I had only thirty-two friends. I updated the college name and changed the profile picture too.
Instant update: 1 friend request received.
I clicked on the link and what I saw was beyond I could believe. I called Preeti immediately.
“ See this..” I foolishly spoke to her and bit my tongue over my stupidity. How could she see my laptop over phone?
“Wait. ” I accepted the friend request and a small picture in cute square box with 'Arnav' written below queued up in the Friend’s list on left side of my screen.
“ Who is he?” Preeti asked. She was online that time.
“ You know him.”
“No. But I saw him in college today.”
“Oh. It seems I missed him.”
“By the way he sent the friends request to me. I didn’t.”
A chat box popped up from the foot of screen.
Arnav: thnk u for accepting d requst
Me: You are welcome.
Arnav: so are you from K.V.R college?
Arnav: me too J
Me: I know.
I knocked at my head hard for being silly. What will he think about me? Stupid, idiot, moron.
Arnav: Oh..you knw me dn bt I dnt knw u
I didn’t know what to say next to it. I wasn’t still out of the guilt of silliness.
Arnav: so gng clg tmrw?
Arnav: c ya dn. Bye. Gudnyt
Arnav has logged off.
My mobile rang again and displayed ‘Preeti’ on screen.
“oops...I’m dead.” I told to myself.
“Yes Preeti” I silently spoke on the speaker.
“Where did you fly away? I was waiting for you but you didn't come. What is this?”
“Nothing Preeti. Just mom called over some urgency. So had to run...sorry.” I lied to her and waited to see how much convincing it was.
“It’s okay. Listen don’t forget to bring chart paper tomorrow unless you want to be hung by that Ms. Chandra”
“Ohh..I almost forgot it. Thank you darling. I’ll keep it in bag right now only. Don’t want to be offended before everyone.” At least before Arnav it would be really mortifying and inglorious. What would be his impression on me?
“By the way have you talked with that guy?”
“No. Just chatted a bit on facebook.”
“Oohhoo..wow...chatting with some random boy...you are advancing a lot sweetie.”
“Absolutely wrong. First, he is not random, he is from our college. And second, I didn't advance, he sent the request, he pinged for chat at first and we chatted only for eight minutes worth twelve lines long.”
“Yeah. I can see that smile across your face. There is something cooking. I can smell it.”
“Stop it, you silly girl..see you tomorrow at the college. Go and sleep now. Goodnight. ”
“Okay. Goodnight. Sweet dreams..of a” I cut the call in middle.
It was first time ever I was coupled with a boy. I knew hormones ranging at this age, but this way I never thought it to be. I precisely lied to Preeti but didn't know how to lie to myself. I just wanted to know whether all that I felt right then was love or just infatuation.
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TWO STARS AND A MOON-2 :