I instantly lit up. “I have a plan. Let’s see how long your horse can run.”
“Plan?” She looked in dubious.
After that I told her my plan, she punched numbers on her mobile.
“Hey. Where are you?” She spoke on the receiver.
After a pause she told. “Okay. Will be there in a minute. It seems you are having your luck.” She hung up, grabbed my hand and scooted out pushing away some guys on the way.
We went straight to the library. He was there looking over stacks of book.
“Hey. Everything fine?” He asked as we went over to him.
She looked over me with that wicked, amused and sly glance. “Of course. Just that we were thinking..” She paused giving the air a blow of suspense.
I could see how befuddled and anxious Madhav looked. But he spoke nothing.
Preeti again resumed. “Just that we are going to movie next Sunday. So we were thinking that if you would like to go. I mean only if you are free.”
“Yeah. I mean..”
“Hey. No forcing. Okay. Only if you are free that evening, then only come. Or else no problem.”
“No problem at all. I’m free on the Sunday. By the way I’m free on the whole weekend. Even if you want to go now, I can arrange.”
I wanted to laugh loud and raise a high five to Preeti. But then again, I had to get the first step of my plan properly executed. I remained silent behind Preeti.
“Then see you. Bye.” Preeti turned with big grin on her face and got me moved to the door. When we were just to cross the exit, I turned back a little and gave an I-am-feeling-lucky kind of look over shoulder to him. Damn! It worked. He was still staring at us and when our eyes met I could see how happiness jumped right into his eyes. He was surely feeling like some Grammy award winner or at least that’s what his face said.
When we reached to half of the way, we couldn’t control ourselves and stayed back there a little to cheer over our proper execution of plan.
My plan was test to him phase by phase, with every aspect of a gentleman. I wanted to see how mature he was to endure and sustain in this. A game of courtesy and there was lot to lose for him, though the loss will be temporary except me. And after that I will get my point to keep him away forever.
Sunday afternoon arrived as usual like cushy breeze for me but for Preeti the loads of curiosity kept piling up with every hour. She was running with impatience by the Sunday morning itself. In the early morning only she had asked me when, how, where to arrive and the proper lay out of our plan as Madhav was not allowed to make any contact with me till he proves his feelings.
It was 6-8 evening show. Mom’s permission was the most unachievable part in here. After learning about hundreds of rape cases and molestation accusation she has left believing anyone when it comes to her daughter’s security. She always panics when I ask her to go out after dawn as if with disappearance of sun all the evil rise from their grave. I never understand what to do with day or night. Even girls are ravished, blackmailed on the name of their loved ones in broad day light. They are sold around like goods or you can say rituals of our society like child-marriage, dowry etc. etc. Even numerous female are still unaware that they are the victims as they think girls are just meant to endure all these from man and it’s just their fate that comes along with the gender. At least for me they are no way less than any rapist.
Not single rape outrage can ever change it. Change need to be nourished from the early stage on children. Only when a boy will be taught to respect the other gender instead of bragging and lauding, some changes can be expected when he turns into a man. Until then nothing can change it. No Government, No God. If my Mom had a son, I’m sure my brother would be a kind, loving and fun-making one. I always felt a lack whenever I saw three us in the family photos. I have many times imagined a tall figurine resembling mine gracing the fourth table in the dinner next to me. Sometimes I despondently needed him next to me. Though with Preeti I got a sister, but the place of brother was always unfilled.
Oops! I am again dreaming of what is shear impossible. I concentrated on how to pursue Mom for permission. Finally she agreed after that I refused to leave her pallu and stop following her everywhere I she went. I tied a corner of her pallu on my small finger and followed her everywhere for whole one hour till she exasperatedly agreed but stipulation was straight to home after movie and to call her in the interval.
“Yes Mom! It’s no Kargil. Just movie hall.”
“You never know how dangerous these places can be.” She replied grumpily.
The bell rang discontinuing our conversation. I knew who it was. I huffed a thin bang off forehead and ushered Preeti. She was all set to go. There was still two long hours left to go. We would take hardly thirty minutes to get there from home and that also Madhav was coming to pick up. Subtracting that I roughly had more than one hour to get ready. Aaah! Long enough to pack bags for a month long journey.
Preeti sat in my room and I went for a quick shower. When I returned, Preeti had already delved into my dresses and separated two tops, two jeans, one skirt and a legging. I stared at them till I forgot why I was staring at them. Yeah! It happens when you keep trying to cudgel your brain more and more when you understand nothing of it.
“I just need something fun and funky, not bland and boring.” I finally left it to Preeti.
She again turned back and laid the dresses on the bed. I went out to make my hair. She came behind me with a red top with plunging neck and a pair of skimpy jeans and hang them on my shoulder.
I looked leaner in that pair and bright red was killing. I was sure I was going to be a hey-look-at-her thing out there. I hope it was enough to gain Madhav’s attention.
“Just for today, don’t ruin you hair.” Then she carefully detangled my hair and left loose. She put some leave-on conditioner and spread carefully portion by portion till end .
“It’s never me. They do it themselves.” I hate my frizzy hair; no matter how much conditioner you put they are never gonna look better than buffalo’s tail. Yuck!
We went out of home in time. We were fifteen minutes early. I had told Preeti where to ask Madhav to wait and Preeti supposedly told time and place Madhav in the morning only. We walked leisurely to there gossiping randomly. My steps halted when I found a black Volkswagen waiting right there. As I had instructed to Preeti, he was exactly at that place.
Madhav was leaning on his back over this sleek luxury while talking on phone. He looked both confident and chivalrous as if stealing heart was his favourite business. An unnerving anticipation started to stir in as I saw him. It felt like all the strength I had accumulated started to melt down. I felt wane and vulnerable. Though I had planned that the place would be secure with very less people crossing us, but now I was sure that many female eyes must have located him here. He was definitely that sizzling and eye-catching.
“Oye! Oye! Someone seems totally floored.” Preeti commented beside me. All of sudden I found myself unashamedly gazing at him like dog staring at piece of meat. It was loud enough to turn him and hang down the phone.
“Hey Maddy.” Preeti shouted waving her hand.
“Hey Preeti.” His eyes shifted to mine and frosted for a while longer than needed. “Hello Ava.”
I brushed off a smile. “Hi.” I made it as small as possible, just a whisper.
“Girls ready to rock the world.”
“Of course. Looking forward to the evening.” Preeti said with a big grin.
“Same here.” He looked more enthusiastic with those words.
“So shall we go?”
“Yeah.” He stepped hastily and held the car door open to the back seat. Preeti moved in at first and he looked at me questioningly till I slipped along with her.
He settled himself behind the wheels and started moving. We reached the movie hall in less time thanks to his skilled driving. The way he swept through the clogging city traffic that was no less commendable.
It was Sunday, a day to chill out for all. Everyone was out. Expectedly the movie hall was also no spare. There was outpouring heavy crown swarming in the waiting zone. We stepped out and he went for ticket. There was long line for ticket which seemed totally never ending. I doubted we would get a ticket. He stood in the end of the line, looking straight but I could feel his eyes from the corners stealthily at us like a careful watch over.
It took reasonable time for him to finally come to us. He came and flicked three tickets at us held between fingers.
“Thank God! We got the ticket. I was thinking we might have to return home.” Preeti whined and took the tickets, all of them.
“That’s never gonna happen with such charming beauties.” He sparkled a smile.
“But you got three tickets?” I tautly asked him.
He waited a while before answering. “Anybody else is also joining. I didn’t know.”
“No. I mean only Preeti and me are going movie. I hope Preeti told you this.”
Color blenched from his face. The impalpable look on him assured that my plan is working. A straight hit on his male-ego. Impossible to miss the hit.
“So see you later Maddy.” I checked the time outwardly. “Oh! We are getting late for the movie. Preeti, let’s go in.” I grabbed Preeti’s hand and dragged her with me. I turned back abruptly. “And oh Maddy! Thanks a lot for the ride. We enjoyed it. See you later.”
After that we crossed the straight length and turned left of the entrance, we both sighed.
“It’s was not fair Ava. I feel bad.” She bitterly told me.
I was searching for our place. “Me too sweetheart. But to keep yourself safe, you have to be bit rigid or else the world will crush you down.”
“Hmm..still. He looked totally lost like someone pickpocketed him. Seriously Ava, day by day you are turning evil.” She squeezed my cheek.
“Ouch! Preeti. Just pray that he will be enough angry not to look at me again.”
“I’m not sure. He will surely find out that you are playing with him.”
“We will see.” We settled ourselves in the seats. People streamed in and the lights were dimmed as the movie started.
With every kick of hero or every pelvic move of heroine, the hall would shudder in whistles and catcalling. Those were only things I noticed as I was deep in thought about Madhav. I crossed my fingers and prayed that he would leave and reach home safely. I didn’t want him to go mad. I just wanted him be furious with me.
As soon as the interval came, I hopped out of my chair and pushed through the crowd. I made my way slightly enough to the hall from where I could see at the parking lot but no one could see me from there. The black Volkwagon was still parked there. Preeti joined me from behind.
“What’s up? Is he still there?” Preeti asked worriedly.
I nodded. Now I was less scowled of my failure and more worried about him. He was waiting there the whole time, alone.
“See I told you. He loves you. At least now accept it.”
“No. Straight no. He is just dogged to get me. Nothing else. But I’m also no less stubborn.” I stomped hard, turned back and retuned to the hall.
Preeti’s phone rang suddenly. It was Madhav. She received the call, handed me the phone awkwardly and left.
“Hello.” I answered in a rigid tone.
“How is the movie? Are you enjoying?”
I made an artificial sweet voice. “Yeah. It’s a very nice movie. Sorry. You missed it. I hope you reached home safely.” There was a swift smile from his side. I ground my teeth in irritation. His persistence was pestering me.
“So..you need anything..I mean I can get it.”
“Oh! No thanks. We are fully loaded. Hope you are having nice time. Bye. Talk you later. Film is going to resume.” I cut the call. . Preeti came then with a big bag of chips and two bottles of colddrinks.
“Maddy?” Preeti boisterously asked.
“Yeah. Asking whether are we having good time or not. How can my plan fail? Doesn’t he have the so called male-ego. Even the lions have it.”
“Hmm..may be he shredded it off for you.”
“Unbelievable.” I started to bit my nail when Preeti pulled them down.
“Stop biting nails. You dumb girl!”
I was clueless. I didn’t know what to do next. I was so assured and over-confident that I didn’t plan the next move. Right then something crossed my mind.
“Preeti, I hope it’s not like you told him our plan.” My eyes narrowed on her.
She was going to eat a thin wisp which left in middle only as she stoned. “Of course not. How can you even think of it?”
“why not? These days you have started advocating him in everything. I think he has spelled something on you.”
“Come on. Don’t be silly.”
“I’m not silly right now. I’m paranoid. I can’t trust you in this matter.”
She pulled up a face, acted grouchy and turned to other side sipping the cola.
I started to work my brain quickly, more faster digging for some other plan. A while later, I pushed Preeti on feet and drove her out. Instead of the main exit door, I took the second exit door that led to the backyard of the hall. We were out before the lights went off again.
“What now?” Preeti was horrified.
“A simple twist.”
“Twist? Are you out of your mind?”
“Nope. I just got it in the right place.”
“Seriously. What’s the next move?”