When I was at the college, All I wanted was to have a break. I didn’t want to wake up early in the morning, attend the morning clinic, go for afternoon lectures and go back to the hospital and see the new admissions in the evening. I just wanted some free time to read and dream.
Now that I have holidays, I wondered what was that I was so much looking forward to? There is only certain hours one can sleep and only so much one can read. What else was there to do? Amma was in her own world, Liza was busy with sports practise and I was bored beyond explanation. I felt like a prisoner in my own home. I just wanted to enjoy my holiday and it was simply impossible.
It felt so good when I heard the sound of a bike stopping in front of our house. I knew who that would be. I ran and opened the door. Arjun was just parking his bike. he must have heard the door opening. He looked up and smiled. I noticed he was wearing a check shirt.
“Hai” He spoke
“Hai” I replied
I watched him climbing two steps at a time and he stood in front of me.
“How are ya?” He asked
He peeped inside the house and whispered
“I missed you”
“chal, let us go”
“New ‘carry on’ movie has come out.”
“Carry on loving. It will be fun”
“What time is the movie?”
I leaned back to check the wall clock “It is already 2!”
“I would have come early, but I only woke half an hour ago. I had to shower, eat breakfast and lunch, then only I could leave home nah?” He looked at me innocently.
I smiled thinking of him eating breakfast and lunch.
“Go, get ready quickly, otherwise we will have to sit on the floor in front of the screen and watch the movie. Believe me, your neck will be dead after looking up at the screen for 2 hours”
“How do you know that?”
“Because I used to watch the movies sitting on the floor, so I know”
“Back home, in our village, we used to have this mobile theatres. If you are sitting on the floor, then you pay less. You know what I remember the most? In one of the movie the Nargis was crying and my dadhi ma reached across and touched the screen and said
“roh nah math meri jaan, sab tik ho jayengi! Roh nah math”
Arjun was laughing and I too started to laugh.
We stopped when we heard footsteps behind me.
Amma was standing in the middle of the living room
“Hello Aunty” Arjun spoke
“hello” Amma greeted Arjun with great difficulty.
“Go, get ready” Arjun whispered
I was certain, I shouldn’t go out with Arjun. Amma wouldn’t like it. But it was my holidays. Going out for a movie wasn’t a crime. Besides what was I going to do the rest of the day?
“Amma I am going for a movie” I spoke and quickly went to Liza’s room to change. I changed my clothes quickly and wore my favourite blue t shirt and jeans and came out.
Arjun was still standing near the door.
Amma could have asked him to have a seat. I thought. He had done so much for us.
‘Hey, stop blaming your mother all the time. You too could have asked Arjun to have a seat’ Sensible one spoke
I was beginning to hate sensible one. She seemed to be coming out with winning arguments lately.
“Bye Amma” I spoke. She was staring at me
I felt her eyes were saying
“nee pezha adi”
and I hoped she read my eyes, for they said
‘So be it’
“Bye Aunty” Arjun spoke and we both left the house quickly. I contemplated if I should close the door after me. But I didn’t want to stay there a second longer, perhaps afraid that Amma would tell me not to go. So I left the door open.
“Your mom is strange” Arjun spoke as he started the bike.
I didn’t reply.
“Nice shirt” I changed the topic
“Wore it for you! I know you like check shirts” Arjun turned to look at me. He was smiling”
“How did you know that?”
“it is a secret”
Arjun placed the helmet on his head and started to ride the bike.
I wanted to know how he knew that I like check shirts. I never told him that. I was sure of that. I leaned across his shoulder and asked him
“How did you know?”
That is when I smelled his Aftershave. He smelled heavenly.
“You smell nice” I spoke and immediately realized, I shouldn’t have. There were some lines one could cross between friends and discussions of perfumes and deodorants of a friend especially a boy wasn’t one of the lines. I knew I went too far.
Immediately I sat straight, making sure that our bodies didn’t touch. I regretted talking without thinking. I wondered how he was going to take what I said just now.
Arjun didn’t say anything and I thought perhaps he didn’t hear me.
I should have just stayed home. It was too late for that and when we saw the crowd in front of the theater, it was obvious that we were too late for the movie as well.
“Damn!” Arjun swore, looking at the crowd.
“Do you really want to watch the movie today?” He asked
“Why? Why do you ask like that?”
“because if you really want to, then I can buy the ticket from the scalpers. Otherwise we can come tomorrow and watch”
“Nah, don’t bother. we will watch it some other time”
“Now what?” Arjun looked at me
He was staring at me as though I would be able to come up with something fun to do.
“I don’t know, I honestly don’t know Arjun”
“chal Get on the bike”
“Where are you going?”
“Get on the bike, Nina”
“Where are you going?”
“Trust me, will you?”
“ok” I mumbled.
Again I sat behind him,making sure our bodies didn’t touch.