Holding on to my horse !

Phrase 3I think back on events from my childhood, and they seem to be wavy and shrouded in fog. A lot of my memories are in black and white, and the sound is garbled, as though I’m listening to them through the wrong end of a gramophone. I remember my father was very insistent that I learn English from a very early age. I cannot quite remember why, but there must have been a good reason. He would want me to speak in English with him, and not in our colloquial language (Bengali or Hindi). Most of the instructions that my parents would give in English would be unambiguous – like “Come here Ari!” and “Please be quiet!”. Such clear interaction allowed me to understand what was expected of me, and perform the task obediently.

Sometimes, my parents would use a phrase, that made no logical sense. Not that logic and reasoning were my strengths ever, but even to my under-developed brain, it seemed to make NO sense. I continued to work hard and try to find my way out of this “Phrase Maze”. 

Phrase 2I don’t know this for sure, but I suspect my parents had learned that these phrases and comments were guaranteed to stop me dead in my tracks from asking any more of my usually irritating questions. My mom had a classic – “Did you get up on the wrong side of the bed?” – that question almost paralyzed me. My parents had never explained which was the wrong side. Adding to that was the confusion that the bed was set against the wall. So, there was only one side I could have gotten up. There seemed to be add up to the “Never ending” list of things that I just DID not get. I think I spent years wondering which step of my morning routine was causing the problem. Or, was it something I did before I went to sleep. The confusion lingered on.. I never REALLY found a convincing answer.

Even today, I hear my wife telling this to me sometimes.. And I feel compelled to answer, and not with complete certainty – “NO, I don’t think so”

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AA 8 : Black Listed!!

[All chapters of Awesome Anushka (AA) series – click here]

“What is it Shy Guy?” – Anushka asked.

I had decided that the discussion with Anushka cannot wait till end of school. My grey cells were anyway not working – and I needed to pick her brain. The Maths class was over, and the Geography class was about to start. Geography was a subject I never liked and Bansal sir-our Geo teacher spoke in such a montone that he made the boring subject sound even more boring. It seemed like the right time.

I decided to bunk the Geography class.

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AA 7 : No More!!

[All previous chapters of Awesome Anushka (AA) series – click here]

“Stop saying it so many times Ari..” – Anushka said.

The same hands that I was holding and kissing about 16 hours 20 minutes and 10 seconds ago were holding the ice cream that I had bought for us during tiffin break the next day. I had already thanked her five times (or maybe more, I don’t remember) for coming to my home yesterday. I had not told her about the trouble at home – not yet! I had tried hard last night to think of a master plan – but the grey cells in my head refused to provide any help, as is so often the case! I am sure that if I do an IQ test on me, I would be the bottom percentile. But hey! Somehow, I had Anushka. And somehow, the rest of the things – grades, IQ, KK sir, Vikram, Sam.. No-one seemed to matter anymore. All I cared about was her – being with her!

Is this love? Is this infatuation? Is this lust? Is this craziness? Am I being stupid? I didn’t know. I didn’t care.

Her sweet voice interrupted my thoughts, again!

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AA6 : The BAD boy

[All previous posts of Awesome Anushka (AA series) – click here]

I opened the door, to find Her Highness – my mother standing there. She had returned early from work that day. Mom had come in and was in a state of shock to find her son with a (girl) friend. We came from a conservative family – so it was obvious that bringing (girl) friends at home was NOT encouraged. Especially, with no prior information to Her Highness!

There was an uncomfortable few minutes of conversation before mom went inside. I gestured to Anushka to leave quickly. She got the hint, and left.

Everything in my system told me something miserable was going to happen. I was right!

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AA 5 : The Right Thing

[All previous chapters of Awesome Anushka – click here]

“I love you, I really… I mean.. Really do” – I looked into Anushka’s dreamy eyes, and blurted out.

We had gone out to a  restaurant. We were seated in front of each other in the 10th floor restaurant, looking down at the beautiful view.

“What? Are you nuts Ari… You are my BEST FRIEND… but I don’t see you that way. You know, I don’t want to get into love and all these things now.. I told you na… that we would be JUST FRIENDS.. Then, what is wrong with you?”

I felt like a knife had cut through me, shred me into pieces as I stood there listening to her. I did not want to live without her, anyway. What can I tell her now? Will we even stop being friends… I should not have done this, I should have kept my emotions in check.. Controlled myself.. Oh God! What now?

“I hate you, I don’t want to talk to you ever again…” Anushka said and walked away…

No.. No, don’t go away.. I will never do this again. I will be JUST FRIENDS… throughout my life. Don’t leave me…. Please…please Anushka!

I woke up, and sat in the bed… OH God.. Thankfully, it was a dream!! Correction – A nightmare!!

My head felt heavy, my heart ached – the thought of Anushka walking away… No.. No.. I cannot let that happen. Ever.

Sitting on the bed, that night, I had decided to do “The Right Thing”

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Awesome Anushka : Be a man, do the right thing!

[All chapters of Awesome Anushkaclick here]

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 likeable.lovable.

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…

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Awesome Anushka : The Safe Zone Guy

“Are you OK?” – I asked Anushka.

The tiffin episode with Anushka had evoked much anger (jealousy or whatever) among my “smart ass” friends. After all, I was the “clumsy, shy, lousy” fellow in class – and guess what – I had the privilege of having tiffin with Miss. Best Girl!

A new joke started doing the rounds – as the tiffin bell would ring – one or other of my smart ass friends would go – “Ari – will you have tiffin with me today? I have got EXTRA PARATHAS!” – they would say mocking Anushka’s statement the other day. Needless to say, this got really embarassing, and I decided NOT to add any fuel to the fire.

I withdrew in my shell – typical of a Cancerian !

I hadn’t spoken much with Anushka after our tiffin that Friday. But, I had to talk to her that day…

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