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The safe zone guy tag was killing me.
Anushka and I had started studying together. Twice a week, I would go over to her place (about 20 min walk from mine), to study from 3:30 PM to 5 PM. Her parents worked, and would come back around 5:30 PM. The maid, her little sister – Arpita, and us would have the house to us in the afternoon.
Even though I pretended to be fine with the Safe Zone Guy – Just Friends thing, it really was killing me. Every time I closed my eyes, I saw her face. Every time I saw her face, I wanted to hug her, kiss her. She was so beautiful – so innocent, so pure, so
In school, we kept a distance from each other. We didn’t speak much, apart from the necessary interactions. But somehow, every time I saw a guy speak with her or laugh with her on a joke, something burned within me. Sometimes, during our study sessions, Anushka would speak about some guy in class who she thought was so cute (or nice or good looking), and I felt like a knife cutting me into pieces. I didn’t quite know if this was love or possessiveness or whatever… but somehow – Anushka occupied 95% of my mind space at all times.
Correction – 99% of mind space. But, we were JUST FRIENDS!
Then came the Wednesday…
I had gone over to her place for the study session. I rang her doorbell. Anushka opened the door. She looked stunning in the blue salwaar kameez.
We sat down to study…
Anushka: So, today – we will study Quadrilaterals Shy Guy..… properties of a parallelogram.
Anushka called me Shy Guy… I didn’t quite like it, but didn’t protest. I was finding it very difficult to concentrate. Her hair was falling over her face, her eyebrows furrowed trying to concentrate, her lips reading out something.. I didn’t hear what… those lovely luscious lips… I couldn’t stop myself from staring at her..
A Cliff Richard song mysteriously started playing in my mind –
Fall in love, fall in love, fall in love with you,
Falling in love with you, falling in love with you
Why couldn’t I, why shouldn’t I fall in love with you….
Hey wait!! I was the Safe Zone guy!!!
Anushka’s question shook me out of my daydream…
Anushka: (continues..) so, the opposite sides of a parallelogram are equal – right?
ME: Huh.. Yeah.. I mean.. Yeah, yeah
Anushka: You are thinking of something else… huh.. Ari.. Tell me, what are you thinking of – right now. (her voice pitch rising)
ME: Well, nothing really…. I think you look stunning in blue… (I have no idea why I said this)
Anushka: Oh boy!! My dear shy guy.. So, u attracted to me wearing this.. Huh?
ME: (How do I tell you, what do I tell you) No.. No… I think you look good.. (looking away..)
Anushka: Ooooh… really.. Huh! (she made a face)
ME: Ok, can we study now?
Anushka smiled. Her face glowed when she smiled. I wanted to hold her tight and kiss her.. Somehow, I controlled myself.
We continued to study… The grandfather clock in the living room ticked over to 5 PM. Time for me to go…
I stood up to leave.. I did not want to go, I wanted to stay, stay on, stay with her forever. My mind was all screwed up.. I had to tell her that I loved her.. All I did was think about her… I had to…. I had to tell her….
ME: Anushka… I can’t study with you any longer. (I have no idea why I said, what I did)
ME: (How can I tell you that I can’t deal with the Just friends thing any more) No, I mean.. I think.. U know…
Anushka: Stop blabbering Ari… I thought we were studying well together.. You were really helping me out. The last Maths test – I scored more than 80% for the first time in my life. Did I do anything wrong?
ME: No, no, no…. Nothing wrong. Its not you Anushka, its me! And, by the way, I think your weak area was algebra – we have covered that.. Rest I think you will be able to do.
Anushka: Oh shut up!! You jackass!! (she said looking away, not convinced and very upset.)
I turned and moved towards the door. I opened the door, and stepped out – feeling empty inside. I started going down the stairs…
Anushka: Ari… (Anushka was standing at the top of the stairs)
ME: (turning to face her) Yes…
Anushka: Be a man! Do the right thing!!
She turned, and went inside.
Girls have no idea how they can screw up a man’s brain by statements like these. Be a man! What does that mean.. Did she want me to propose to her? Maybe she wanted me to kiss her when I was there with her…”So, you attracted to me wearing this?” – she had said. Maybe I should have said “YES”. Did I miss the hint? But no, she had said she wanted to be just friends… OH god! My brain is fried.. What does she want… I cant take this anymore.
Wait.. Get a grip on yourself, you jackass! Look at the wreck that you have become.. You dream about her all day & night, cannot concentrate in class, your grades are not as good as they used to be… Control.. Control!
I stopped.. Do the right thing – she had said! What was the right thing to do?