You hid the love you have for me,
behind a carefully constructed facade.
The reason for which, only you and God know...
Love is a drug with unpredictable effects.
When you await the arrival of your girlfriend, (well, not exactly) , when you await the arrival of the girl who you love, your world shrinks down to a wrist watch, the arms of which seem to be too sluggish to move.The next period was Second language class and that meant that I was going to see her. Nothing else mattered, definitely not Mathematics. In front of me stood my Math teacher - Mr."Narasimma" Govardhan, a dark man with a hoarse voice, writing a formula on the shiny blackboard, which for someone in my situation looked like Greek and Latin.
My mind was intoxicated by the love drug . I kept shifting my gaze between the entrance of my classroom and the white dial of my wrist watch. With every passing minute a heartbeat was mimicking it’s self into a crescendo, the thumping of which becoming more intense and making my steady hands shiver.
We had an arrangement for our Second language classes, all the Hindi students of the 5 sections were supposed to assemble in our classroom, “B” section and the students who opted for Tamil as their second language were supposed to assemble in “D” section, as that classroom was comparatively bigger.
The bell finally went off.
I rushed to Vivek’s table as soon as Mr. Govardhan left our class. “Hey can u leave your box?” I asked Vivek. He pushed the box towards me with a blank expression, as he got up. This was an arrangement between us. I sat on his chair, the place where I usually sit during Hindi class. My stomach felt funny and a strange burning sensation had begun to spread along the length of my spine. This was nothing new to me. I usually had a combination of weird feelings during times like these, times when I waited to see her. Maaya . She always made me feel that way. Maaya was a girl from “C” section. I liked her from the moment I saw her, which was in my 6th grade. She’s an absolute beauty and I always had a difficult time trying to take my eyes off her.
After a few minutes, which to me seemed like an eternity, she finally entered the class with her hands filled to the brim with a couple of books, a notebook and her purse all stacked one on top of the other, between her crossed hands. She was very fair, somewhat chubby and had black frizzy hair, except for the side-swept bangs that had been straightened artificially. Her mouth were petite like those of a doll. Her right eyebrow was split by a thin scar. She had taken a fall few years ago, which resulted in a severe cut. The doctor had to give her stitches to hold the skin in tact, which had left a permanent mark. She threw a glimpse at me and I couldn’t stop smiling, so in an attempt to hide it, I tilted my head down. She sat at the table which was on the other side of the passageway near my table. This was her usual place!
“Trying to be subtle aren’t we?” Tarun asked, indicating the pencil box. Without saying anything I made room for him to pass. Well! It wasn’t like any other pencil box. It had a specialty, a small mirror was placed on the inside. No one found any logic in a pencil box having a mirror, but it proved to be very useful, often when we needed to adjust our unruly hair after our P.T. period or at times when we wanted to see someone without actually staring at them!
“You are a genius” he said.
Glancing towards him I asked. “Why do you say that?”
“Have you forgotten? You came up with this mirror idea Machan”, he said. Yes it was my idea. Necessity is the mother of invention.
“Objects in the mirror are closer than they appear” Tarun said.
“Make any more stupid quips...” I said threatening him by pointing at my shoes. Both of us knew she was aware that I was looking at her through the mirror. She didn’t seem to mind it. She appeared to be casually talking with Vinoth who was sitting in front of her.
Vinoth was her classmate, a thick friend of mine in the past. He was lean and tall, often flattered himself by comparing himself to Bruce Lee. He was a flirt and had no regard for girls. He said something to her and was giggling. He was already getting on my nerves with his whole friendliness thing with Maaya and when he grasped her hand, my rage hit the boiling point.
“Oops!” Tarun muttered.
I sprung from my chair and kicked Vinoth’s chair. It rocked and made him lose his balance for a moment. With a frown he got up, I took a step closer to him and threw a wide overhand punch with my right. He fell on his chair. By then everyone stood up, our Hindi teacher Mrs. Latha stepped inside the class. “I ll be seeing you”, Vinoth said as he got up. I was lucky, the students stood in unison exactly the moment I hit him. None of the ongoing drama entered into her field of vision. Gritting my teeth, I sat back on my chair. I glanced at Maaya; she was trying to get rid of the smile that was lingering at the corners of her lips. Why was she smiling? What was so funny? I just hit her supposed friend and this was her reaction?!
Mrs. Latha gave the synonyms for a lesson that she had completed last class. She gave the meaning for the word “नफ़रत ” which meant hatred.
“Hate! what a wonderful word ma’am” I said.
Mrs. Latha looked at me through her glasses curiously.
“True ma’am, it’s a beautiful word” Maaya said quirkily.
Her response set me off. “Is there any other word that describes hatred towards a particular person?” I asked.
Seemingly getting a grip of what was happening in front of her eyes Mrs. Latha said “We will learn more new words in the coming lessons” and turned towards the board.
I glanced at Maaya. She was upset, her face looked pale. She continued copying from the blackboard. I looked at the mirror; still mad at her, observing her while I made an attempt to pretend like I was writing. She was beautiful even when she was upset. A strand of hair fell on her face, as she kept writing. Her lips were rose pink just like a new born baby’s palm. The wrinkles on her lips were perfectly lined one against the other. The pimples on her left cheek only beautified her appearance more. The sudden hatred that had cropped up in me melted away without a trace and I realised that I could never be mad at her for more than 10 seconds. Guilt caught me by my throat.
I moved my chair towards her and bent on my side. I waved at her. She didn’t turn. “Maaya” I called in a hushed voice. She looked at me, with an expression that seemed to mean ‘what do you want now?’ For a moment I got lost in her beauty, I was enchanted! Her eyes were as dark as the night sky and they were looking back at me. Time and space suddenly seemed to have frozen. Words refused to come out.
“Uhh.... hmm... I want to talk to you in private” I finally managed. For a moment her eyes widened. Her face brightened. “Listen I know that you are not interested, I know you don’t like me and that’s why you said that you couldn’t talk to me on that day, but can you spend like two minutes, just two minutes” I said.
“Yes you are right” She retorted “I don’t like you and that’s why I said that I couldn’t talk to you”
The sudden light that had spread initially was now completely gone as she frowned and continued writing as though I didn’t exist. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t know if I should say anything.
“Shiva” Mrs. Latha called. “I asked for a scale ma’am”, I said as I turned towards my desk and resumed writing.
Why was she upset? What did I say to annoy her? Did she have some other reasons for not wanting to talk to me the other day?
The bell went off, once again.