~ Originally posted on Oct 24, 2011.
Silent, I remained for few seconds. She was looking at me for an answer still, looking for a positive reply. Her eyes said that all.
“What?” the voice that woofer-ed in me echoed out this time.
“I mean, could you join with me to take up the course, please?” she gestured. I haven’t heard anyone saying ‘please’ so pleasingly ever since I had heard the word for the first time.
“Actually, I, uh, am not into these things, you see,” I started reluctantly before she cut me off.
“Come on, please,” she interrupted. When I haven’t even fixed the puncture caused by the first pleasing ‘please’, she shot the second, even stronger.
Given the punctures, I should’ve nodded instantly. Man, who would want to disappoint a girl, let alone the cutest ever, but I wasn’t in the greatest of my senses. Ironically, I wanted to think. To shake off the to-be-shot-pleases, I wanted to distract her. I took my mobile and pretended to be busy. I knew it’d be a wussy excuse, but as I mentioned, I was out my senses. I couldn’t think of anything better.
My mobile, it was dead still. It then occurred to me that I switched it off on my way to the temple, and that made the accident scene to flash in my mind once again. On seeing me turning my mobile on, she asked, “Why did you switch it off?”
Before I could say anything, she continued, “I tried to reach you over the phone in the morning.”
She nodded, I guess. Yeah, she nodded, but so slowly that I couldn’t be sure of her nod.
“Oh! (Wow, I thought) I went to a temple in the morning, and I had to switch my mobile off. Rules, you see,” I said with my heart swimming in the laugh ocean.
“Temple?!?” she exclaimed in a tone that clearly stated she wasn’t going to buy in my words.
“Yes, but what’s with it to get such an exclamatory tone?”
“No. Don’t get me wrong, but you don’t seem to be a temple-guy,” she said looking straight into my eyes.
What’s with these girls? Only they come up with such terms. A temple-guy, oh wow! How awesome it is? No, no. Not at all.
“A temple-guy?” I asked controlling my temper.
“Yeah, a guy who goes to temple every weekend, like a girl, you know,” she seemed enthusiastic, “Wait, No offense. I mean, kind of sensitive, kind of…”
‘Enough,’ I wanted to say. “Alright, I got it.” I broke in.
She remained silent, like me. I stared away somewhere, like her. We both were wondering how to change the topic, realizing we both weren’t comfortable at that point of time.
“Hey, so you’re okay with the course, right?” she tried her best. That’s one specialty of the girls, being easy at changing the topics, as and when required.
“I’m not a temple-guy, okay? I just accompanied a friend who, in your terms, maybe a temple-guy,” I said failing to get over the term, ‘a-temple-guy’.
“Okay, okay. That doesn’t matter.” She smiled. Or tried to be, I’d say.
“And with respect to the course,” I stopped to look at her and asked, “could you please give me some time?”
“Sure, but, the course is going to start next weekend.” She pointed to the text in the pamphlet.
“Look, I’m actually not interested in these courses and all,” I hinted my reluctance to her.
“But why?” she shot an easiest-of-all question.
I couldn’t come up with an answer. I never could, not even when my parents shot me with the same ‘but why’ bullet (several times), not even when the librarian shot me with the same (once). Lastly, another gun, a new one – in the form of Neha, was the latest to fire at me.
“No specific reason.”
“There has to be one, else why are you so adamant?”
“I have a good job. Moreover, my life, in the present scenario, is pretty smooth. Why bother about CAT or any other for that matter?” I didn’t mean it. I merely said what struck my mind then. As I mentioned earlier, I really couldn’t come up with an answer for that question.
“Hmmm, ok,” she simply shook her head. It was evident that she was foiled.
That was the last thing I wanted to see that day, her gloomy face. I had to do something, apparently, say something, to make her smile, or at least to wipe that gloom off her face.
“Look, I can’t explain things to you, please understand,” I said.
“Okay. Who am I to compel you? I can only request you to think about it. That’s it,” she replied composing herself to be normal.
“Hmm… sure,” I gesticulated.
“The coaching center is far away from here. I thought I’d go with you, and study with you,” she seemed she wasn’t ready to skip the topic until she got my approval.
“You mean I will have to take you with me in…” I deliberately skipped the last part.
“In your bike, if that’s not a problem for you. Else, we can go by the bus, only we have to walk some distance from the bus stop to the center.” She said while her fingers struggled to align her silky strand of hairs that fell on her forehead. My fingers had this urge to help her in aligning her hairs. Wait for it, I told them.
“Hey, you hardly know me. How come you are, you know, like, um, you trust me this much to ride with me?” I asked her as I wasn’t comfortable with her words even though I was glad deep within. The main reason was that I thought she would ask anyone the same for a bike ride. Instantly, I hated myself at my imbecility to think that way as I knew she wasn’t that sort of a girl. Just because she was easy with you doesn’t mean she is low, I told myself.
“It’s simple. I would not have asked anyone else, no matter what. And moreover, I know you well,” she was at her casual best.
“I warn you, I’m not that good. I might kidnap you and…” I stopped, realizing I was about be bad, for real.
“And, could do anything, like, kill you,” I tried to sound like a villain.
She laughed. “Really, that’s quite a point. I should think about it then,” she tried to sound like being cautious.
“Yeah, you should.”
“Listen, I’ve heard about you, a lot, from ma’am. You don’t try to be a not-so-you just to escape from this,” she pointed the pamphlet and continued, “Seriously, if you aren’t interested, forget it.”
I opened my mouth to say something, but nothing came out. I just turned and looked at the wall behind which the librarian sat. Something had happened in the past two days when Neha met the librarian, I figured.
“Okay, bye.” She stood to leave. My legs too stood reflexively.
“Hey, I’ll think about it. I will seriously give it a thought. By the way, will you come tomorrow?”
“If you want me to,” she killed me again. A killer smile, that was.
“Okay, see you tomorrow then,” I said as we reached the main door.
“Let me see. But you should come with a positive reply, okay?” She said and gave me her mobile number, and asked me to message her the time I’d come to library the next day.
As I was saving her number, “Hey, listen. I like a temple-guy. And I like you, even if you aren’t,” she said and strode away like an express. Yeah, like an express. Fast.
… to be continued (part 7)