“The clouds are forming yet again. Though it doesn’t seem like it will rain either”, she notes with her heart brimming with unrestrained glee.
“Hey. We are still going for the Food Fest, right?”
“I am sorry. I am going to take a rain check on this one. I will see you tomorrow, then?”
“Alright. Let’s not miss out on tomorrow”, she gives off a fair warning to him, carefully measuring up her tender smile in his presence, as she heads back to Deadly Dadi’s cabin.
“I wish I could stay longer. It’s too early for me”, she sighs, as the smile she had put up for so many hours, fades. Bit by bit. She descends down.
And then he sees it. The time it took to bring that smile back up, as soon as she sees him. He noticed that fraction of labor it took to flex her facial muscles. She wasn’t going to fool him, he exclaims mentally.
‘You are from our class, aren’t you?”, she gazes strongly at him, her eyes widened.
He nods in response, and scurries off to the next coach, while excusing himself. “Those long Catechism classes have muted your brain, brother. Unlearn…unlearn all of it,” he pleads to himself, his face visibly flushed. A slight giggle trails off behind him.
The following days had kept her presence cloaked in a mysterious fashion. Neither one of them tried to initiate a conversation with the other. The only aspect of her that kept recurring in his view was the ponytails and the braided top-knot on the rarest of occasions. He squinted hard long enough at the back of her head, attempting to bypass the instinctual civility of hers. He kept musing to himself, if he could grasp at the range of emotions underneath her. He averted his gaze as soon as it met hers. The happy-go-lucky self is just not enough, he deemed.
“Am I blindsided to the conflict she ought to have? Or am I just clutching at short straws?”
True enough, there were her frustrated banters that he caught sight of. He never brought it up ever again. He ensured the distance was just enough, so that he didn’t need to communicate with her. She was of a different world, he had ordained.
He scrounged over carefully to gaze at the week-old scribbling on his desk.
“Wow. That does not make sense. Not at all.”
“I really don’t get her”, he remarks to himself, amused.
By then, she had become the talk of the class. The dainty diva of Room 108. Hushed silences fell over from the dampened spirits of the admirers stationed at the creaky distance of the room. His friend had asked her out. She declined politely, as he had expected. What he didn’t expect was that the man would turn to him for help.
“Hey. You are on good terms with all the girls from our class, right?”
“Yeah. I never got wind of that. But thanks for the compliment”, he guffawed deep inside.
“Can you do me a favor? Can you forward my messages to her? She won’t listen to me. But if it comes from you…”
“You have a severe case of misplaced faith, brother. I always stand out as the antisocial element of our class. But if it helps, I will send it to her.”
He peeked at the ways he had revealed his heart out. It was honest and forthright, but nothing emerged beyond that. This was not going to stir anything up, he had presumed. He was wrong.
She had guessed correctly right before the messenger had announced it out loud.
“How did you know it was him again?”
“I have turned him down, numerous times at that. I honestly don’t know how to deal with it anymore.”
Ah. Finally something to talk about, other than the usual hi-hey’s. He was not going to miss out on this chance.
“Say, you are attending the farewell function, right?”
“Yes. But I am not overly enthusiastic about it either. I wish I could wear a suit like you people.”
“We have a spare. Try it on any time you want”.
“You are cute. And now, I am going to run away”, she remarked, apparently embarrassed.
He thanked her for that, as he beamed in a manner of slight confusion.
You know what. I have a memento for you. Let me get back to you soon”, he replies back with an all-too familiar grin.
Out from the devil’s furnace came a poor photo-shopped version of “BINNY-THE-POOH”. She screams out loud as implied in between her LOLs and OMGs while she went around hoping to contain the damage.
A few hours took its toll while she hatched her revenge plan, but by then, she was supposed to report back to her Dadi.
It has never come up till date, but he wonders if during this time, she was expected to abide by the role of the virtuous daughter. She, in fact, might not have let them down. By this time, she may even have sprouted the divine hands of the Shakti incarnate.
But he really wonders if anyone did truly notice when she savored the gloomy outcast of the reluctant skies, as she stood tall at the pavement, free from the ethereal familial presences.
“Is it really going to rain this time around?”, she gapes up above at the ensuing darkness. This may not have brought forth a varied range of weather-found emotion; the depth leading to a tumult of innate chaos to which he could relate to. A mandated sign of a routine life etched into the turbulent skies with the clouds on hold. She hasn’t verbally wished it to rain. To wash away the recurring events in her everyday life. She hasn’t mouthed it yet. She knows she is nearing the path of the world-weary. That it is proving too much of a strain to keep up with the established conduct within the family. That she is too tired to follow the path paved by her own people. She wishes it out loud within the time lapses of the thundering rumbles, inaudible to the others, and unnoticed by him. The first rain of the spring falls on a silent note.
“It’s warm”, she remarks with a misstep on her toes, as she falters back with a weak smile, something that was newly found in her possession.
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