(Written on May 30th, 2013. Previously appeared on Facebook.)
April 15th, 2006. Moon Light Dinner. Shantanu Mishra was apparently given a ‘dare’ to go up to Oshin Vipra Sagar and give her a ‘Child Rights and You’ wristband. He asks a friend to call her and when she is right in front of him, he extends his hand within a fraction of a second, holds hers, shakes and utters what seemed like an automated message “Hi! I am Shantanu Mishra, class tenth”. Well, then he slides the wrist band against her hand, and, there she was, smitten by the loving touch of his skin against hers. First such experience as a teen, the anxious girl could not offer compliance. Just goes away, without having seen his face clearly. But the touch embedded in her unconscious, every bit of it.
The following morning he sends a friend of his to call her. The friend barges into the girl’s hostel, announcing Shantanu wants to talk to Oshin. Well, next was the obvious. It was a middle school girl’s hostel! Giggles, and giggles, and more giggles.
The girl, shy, blushing like a tomato, (and a little embarrassed too), walks out with his friend and one of hers, to ‘inquire’ what he wants to talk about.
Her heart was racing. She was shy, and everything was happening too fast.She sees him for the first time in day light. He sat there in the front porch of the school’s junior library on a Sunday morning. Serenity personified in each part of him. The two year younger girl could not be communicative. She wanted to escape because she could not believe all this was happening to her. What if it was a dream? She should have pinched herself maybe. Laconically fills up his Slam Book. He tells her that he is leaving for home the very day. Even then, she was not not-bothered, instead she was relieved! ‘Oh! Maybe, my friends will tease me less!’
He offers her a big bar of Chocolate. She declines. He insists. She declines for the second time. He then demonstrates his (first ever?) way with girls! “Chocolates are a weakness for girls, just take it.” Well, you can’t generalize that, but, it sure was for her. And she lied, “No, not for me”. He replies, “Don’t lie. I know you love chocolates. And well, I won’t leave or let you go, which you sure want to, unless you take it.” And instead of procrastinating the end to the conversation, the dumb girl takes the chocolate and walks away. That’s about it. … until a year passed and it was time for him to leave school, for once and all.
He had just a week left in the school. She starts thinking about him. She quite didn’t like the fact that she might never see him again. She felt as if she was losing on something very essential in life. As if something important to her was going away from her. She could not let him go, without knowing who he was. Something was pulling her to him. His enigma, is what she called was pulling her to him. It was very late, but maybe it is never too late to do something good in life. Now, he had three more days to live in that campus. She decides to talk to him.
He didn’t seem the same person to her anymore. The way he talked had taken a hairpin bend. The very moment she felt sorry for she did not realize the whole year how had she talked to him on the two previous occasions. It sure was cold and stern. It was a role reversal after a passage of a virgin year. The only difference was, she did not give up to the sternness, unlike him. (Although, he reasons it well and says that he did not want to embarrass her by approaching her again after the first two occasions and cause troubles for her! Rightly, she did not think it makes sense, but actually, it just helped her feelings for him, it pushed them to the brim, from where it nevertheless, had to overflow.)
Sterner he was, more she fell in love with him. She gave in. She decided, she wanted him and would pursue him; and this time she would not make a mistake. She won’t give up. She loved him and she was sure of it.
The inevitable had to happen; the day had come for him to leave. But no matter how stern he behaved, he however, could not part with his chivalry. It is inseparable to him. He called her, and yet again extended his hand. This time, he did not shake her hand himself. Although her hand was wet, she could not let the moment lapse. Her hand flurried to grab his. A little embarrassed she was of her wet hand though! He bid her adieu, “goodbye!’. She stood there watching him leave, as if a part of her went away with him, into some oblivion, never to be seen again. She felt like a déjà vu happened. Only the roles were reversed. A year ago, he watched her leave. Now, she was watching him leave. She realized her mistake. She was remorseful of her past coldness. She felt as if the best part of her life ended before it could begin. But, it was all over.
To her surprise, when she got home, there was a forwarded mail from him. She replied as soon as she saw it. She wanted to know where he was, where he would be going. And with that began a journey, her pursuit of love, despite ever increasing hurdles of his sternness. She won over him with her love. He gave in too, finally. And as chivalrous as he is now, he was then; and he asked her to be his girl, after all the incessant series of hints she kept dropping at him! And finally, that’s about it. Together they embarked on a journey of life, aboard love, physically separated by miles.
Ah, that summer!