The next morning I got up with
less worry and more energy. I was so perked that even morning-alarm woke up
after me. It’s like I slept with one eye open. I was more confident and
optimistic about the day laid before me.
I was enjoying my exotic
scented bath when cell phone rang loudly in room. I was sighed in irritation
and came out in bath-towel wrapped around me. It’s Preeti on phone.
“Hey.Ummm. Did you get ready?”
Her voice sounded beaten.
“Just taking bath.”
“Oh. Actually I had to...”
“Are you fine Preeti?”
“Yeah...this sari thing is not
gonna work with me. So I’m not going.” She curt up with a sad tone.
“Listen Preeti, just stop worrying.
You come to my home. We will get ready together.”
“Are you sure? I mean you don’t
have any problem with it.”
“I’ll have problem only if you
don’t come. We have only one hour left. Now hurry up.”
“ Okay. Bye.” She cut the line.
I went over to the mirror.
Through out my adult years many makeup accessories were presented to me in
different occasions. But they were lying unopened in shelves. Today was the
time for them to show their magic. I picked one little makeup box that was
gifted to me by an aunt. She lived in United States. When she gave this to me,
I secretly wished them to be some chocolates or electronic gadgets instead. But
that moment holding it I realised the need and thanked her gratefully.
I checked out the expiry date
and ingredients in it. I didn’t want to go to the party with red rashes all
over face. There was still a year for it to expire and it said dermatological
tested. It also claimed to be long lasting. Its micro particles made it
unperceivable, waterproof and long-wearing.
“Great for me.” I whispered to
myself. I had to stay in college for an unknown time period.
I flicked the tiny box open. It
had four blushers, six lip colors, a compact, two brushes, one with very tiny
head and another with a thicker head, a round sponge and a tiny mirror attached
at the inside bottom of base. These all were compacted into a round plastic
pink container. I was amazed to see how so many things were aligned together in
such a small place and dubious of my ability to put them back together.
The door rang that time. I
heard the door open and Preeti greeting my mom.
I was still in bath towel when
Preeti entered into the room. Her face was clouded with trouble.
“Did you sleep last night,
She hung her head down in
“Oh come on sweety. Don’t
worry. Just remember everything will be fine. Okay.” I cupped her face. Her
eyes had lost the charm and face was dimmed. She was probably had jitters
hunting her sleep.
“Have you bathed? If not, then
just run into bathroom. You have only ten minutes for that.”
“No. I am finished with that.”
“ No. Just not in mood for
“ But we can’t skip breakfast.
It’s not good. Somewhere I read that skipping your breakfast makes you fat.”
“Really?” She looked at me in
“Of course yes. Lets get our
breakfast and after that mom will help us in wearing sari.”
I took her with me.
“Hey. Dumb me! I can’t walk out
like this in towel. Give me a minute.”
I left Preeti in room and ran
into bathroom with a pair of pyjama.
We finished our breakfast. Mom
had made delicious dosas. I ate three dosas at one go. Dosas had always been my
favourite food. It didn’t matter whether I get layers of flab, still I could
never live without dosa. Though Preeti didn’t eat much but I forced a few bites
Then the most difficult work in
world was waiting to be done, Saris. Mom helped both of us. At first Preeti
wore it. She had brought a lemon yellow sari with matching kundan stones sewed into a thin border. That brought a bit of color to her pale arid face. Mine was a soft-violet
one with embroideries and little round plastic shining chips sewn to floral
designs. Mom had done all the needed fittings and stitching as per my
measurements. It took around forty minutes and the end result was really
lovely. We both looked really nice. Mom put black kajal dots on both of us to prevent evil-eye.
By then we had only fifteen
minutes to get to the bus-stop. I quickly pressed a bit of compact powder under
eyes and light coating of lip-color from the box and left box sprawled on the
bed. Preeti had brought mascara cum eyeliner pack with her. I applied a coat of
mascara over lashes and a thick line of eyeliner elongated to the corners.
Preeti also did a bit of makeup trying to conceal her hazy face. She wore a
bracelet and I preferred a thick bangle.
I felt pity for her. I wished I
had had told her the idea Arnav gave to me and she would have been little
better. But there was no benefit of rambling about what has already gone in past.
Dad dropped us at bus-stop in
our car. We were there at bus-stop before time. There were three boys except us
in the bus-stop and awfully none of them was Arnav. I was waiting for Arnav
anxiously to thank him for his ideas. Still I knew as soon as he will come
before me, I would be left dumb bewitched with his looks only.
“Here comes your dream-man.”
Preeti drawled next to me.
“ Shut up, Preeti.” Obviously
Preeti was aware of everything though I was tight lipped about all the
hurricane of emotions inside me. But she said it was my eyes who revealed
everything inside me to her.
But he wasn’t walking to stop
that day. Instead he came on his bike. He was wearing a biker’s jacket over the
orange shirt. He stopped near the other boys standing at the bus stop. They
talked for a while. Actually there were more laughing uncouth and patting each
others back. May be there were laughing on themselves only. Arnav gave a
crooked smile to them and turned back to us. His eyes rested at us for a long
I could feel his eyes on me,
his glance blooming a pleasant uneasiness inside me. He turned back to the boys.
I bit my lip hard. Till that moment I wasn’t aware of holding my breath. I left
out a puff in exhilaration.
“You are blushing dear.” Preeti
remarked loudly which made me blush more.
“Stop it, Preeti.”
“Have you told him about it?”
“The reason of your blushing.”
“He knows it.”
“Seriously..damn... you didn’t
“What didn’t I? Everyone in the
world with a brain knows the reason.”
“Yep. The reason of blush is
the rapid blood rush to your cheek because of any emotional imbalance in your
body. And sometimes it also happens when one slaps or drags at your face.” I
pulled her cheeks on both sides. “See. You are also blushing now.”
Arnav started the engine. A boy
climbed astride on the pillion seat and they wheeled around.
“ So let me reform my question.
Does he know the reason of this particular emotional imbalance of yours?”
Preeti said again.
“ Leave it. Tell me, is my makeup at place?”
“ Answer my question, Ava.”
“ Look! Bus has arrived.”
We all took the college-bus.
For the next whole hour inside bus she kept interrogating me from different
angles. I told her about the rehearsal idea that Arnav had imparted to me.
“Ohohoho...now dream-man has
started free advisory too. Not bad.” She declared.
“Come on, Preeti. Stop
frolicking like a ten year old girl. He just wanted to help me. I was really
worried at that moment.”
“You can’t hide anything from
me. Got that! I’m your bestfriend. Don’t forget it.” She claimed.
I hugged her tightly. “Okay my
darling friend. You are the best I have or will ever have.” We laughed over it.
We reached at college. Every
junior class boy was in orange dress and most of them looked like scraped pumpkins
and girls were walking precariously with fear of falling except that Manishaa.
She was walking with an oomph and confidence. She looked graceful and fortified
like some goddess, of course some Greek goddess. The black golden bordered sari
was draped around her no-flab waist into neat aligned pleats tucked in front.
Her bellybutton stone was twinkling from the translucent layers of sari. It
looked so perfect as if someone had glued the sari with her body. Unmistakably she looked more gorgeous than what a teenage boy can ever manage. Every male
eye present there was fixed over her and she also enjoyed every bit of cajolery
given to her.
Apart from that I vaguely
remember other in details. There was competition also for the title of “Mr. And
Miss Fresher”; evidently for perfect students unlike me. There was a stupid
check for smartness, round to calibrate intelligence and finally a reality check
of courtesy. Three students from boys and three students from girl reached at
the final level and at that round, they had to walk on a ramp like stage.
Obviously among three girls Manishaa was on top and on boys side, it was Arnav.
The whole audience rose in
whooping at them when the names were announced. Three students from Senior year
were the judges and with their appraisal Arnav was awarded as Mr.Fresher
whereas Manishaa as Miss.Fresher. No wonder in that.
They were requested for a dance
together and they happily did it; Arnav with his hand around Manishaa and
Manishaa almost lying on Arnav’s shoulder. I was happy for Arnav and at the
same time it was unbearable to watch Manishaa.
It was dusk by the time the
whole function finished. Seniors had organised a DJ night too. But I preferred
to sit rather than jumping around in sari tangling the knees.
Everyone was sweating by then,
makeup sticking to their faces, hair undone and unruly. I was thirsty and
needed some water badly. I and Preeti went for water.
“Will you come to washroom?
It’s feeling bit uncomfortable in sari. Hope it will stay in place till I reach
We went inside the washroom.
There was no one inside.
“Thank God.” Preeti heaved a
sigh of relax.
I was doing her pleats while there was loud
sound of tyres screeching on gravel.
“Damn. Is it the bus?” I asked
Preeti. She looked puzzled at me. Her sari was half done and we were left alone
inside washroom. I left the rest to her and fished out my mobile from bag.
“What happened now?”
“No signal inside washroom.” I
tried again but failed. My leg felt wobbly on the cold floor of washroom.
We ran outside as fast as
possible. The moment we reached out at gate the bus was gone. I was adamant and
ran after it for a distance clutching the sari in one hand till I toppled over
stones. Preeti came running behind me and steadied me on my feet.
“What will we do now?”
As lively our college was at
day, that much atrociously solitary it would become in night. There would be no
two legged creature expected to roam around except those college night
watchers. Anything could happen in this remote area without leaving any cue to
We both were scared to each
strand. I looked around but could only see darkness from void crawling to us
from all direction. Some distant faint howls of wolves were the only to disturb
the dreaded night.
There wasn’t any transport from there at such nightly hours too. What next? How to get over from here?It was cold; still we were
sweating in fear. Without my knowledge I was crying in silent.