“Why did you do this ?”, she cried. Under a dark sky, and surrounded by air full of guilt, they stood, sobbing together. It was a farewell party crowded with 30-40 friends celebrating Matriculation.
Two years ago, their school had arranged an inter-school camp. Many had registered, a handful of cash against 4 day power pack entertainment, cultural events, camp fire, Dj, and Catholic Christian preachings. Ansh had registered too. He even had a role to play in a skit to be presented at the camp. Soon they were on the camp. The hosts made groups, named after colours, and appointed group captains. Pretty cool, that Ansh was a YELLOW captain. There he got a partner, an appealing girl, from his own school, but wasn’t from his friends circle. Now here starts the film. Those four days, he and his partner, did every activity together. She was fun to stay with, to talk, dance, sing, play, to do crafts with. Ansh led the group of strangers putting all his energy. Admiration for the kid came when the group bagged ranks in almost half of competitions. A group had then become a team, and special partnership grew into sepcial friendship for Ansh and the girl. A secondary school kid was in love, Ansh felt it all. To give those vibes a drift, soon destiny brought a TOUR. And the tour filled all the void lest an affair started. That couple had their days every possible way.
An year later, Ansh shared about his girl to an elder cousin brother. To a very honest fallen kid, his elder cousin spoon fed doses of maturity. “Not that the affair is wrong, but is a challenge to keep it up forever, and what if your priorities change, which by the way happens for sure”, the cousin explained Ansh. Humbly lending ears and trying to understand the lessons of a grown, Ansh was getting influenced. Extra toppings on the pizza was the fact that Ansh would leave his place for higher studies after his Matriculation. Now the kid feared the fate of his affair, and felt he needed a way out. What else could a kid at that age feel after such lessons ? Quiet agreeable to Ansh’s nature, he had tried being away from his girl. Managing somehow to prevent creating a scene, he started to mould what was between them. However when his girl started complaining, he wasn’t prepared with a reason, and abruptly pledged to avoid her. Not facing and talking to her seemed to be a solution to the young kid, and he hoped, he saved a heartbreak for both. And months passed.
Class X commenced, but without a few who left, and with a few who joined. A girl among the joined was Preet. She introduced herself on the very first day and got a seat with Ansh’s best friend Tiya. Tiya and Preet soon became friends. One day, Ansh was having lunch in the break at school, when suddenly his friends came up with something new. He was told that the new girl kept on checking him now and then, in and after lectures. Ansh ignored them with a laugh and asked them to stop making fun. He did not pay attention until his best friend Tiya met him one day. They shared thoughts on random topics intially and then Tiya all of a sudden started about Preet. Ansh added, “…Yes, I know that girl…” ! She exclaimed, “Ansh you must know something !” with a grace on her face. Ansh was stunned, and feared Tiya would repeat what his friends came up with the other day. And his fear was true, Tiya added, “Ansh, she must be liking you… that girl keeps on asking about you, keeps on exclaiming how good you are at studies, and she sees a gentleman in you”. Ansh couldn’t ignore the news then. Over days, Ansh could see how Preet had been developing feelings for him. Having been inspired not to indulge in affairs, Ansh didn’t react to the stuff ever. Even Preet never managed to yell out her feelings to him, and kept it to her like typical indian girl. Never in that academic year people got to see them together. Nevertheless, many classmates smelled the liking Preet had, and wished to see them together. Some even believed Ansh and Preet made it to a relationship, also treated them so. That was fun and everyone enjoyed.
Finally, after the final exams, entire class arranged an informal farewell party at a friend’s house. The party promised a lot of fun, everyone realised they were together for the last time. In those days, Truth and Dare was a game, in trend at get togethers. It was a golden chance to explore secrets/truths and challenge to perform dare. Ansh knew that if music stopped at his turn, his friends would not leave any chance in bringing up the Preet case. And that exactly did happen.
It was Ansh’s turn. Two of his friends came close to him and whispered in his ears, ” Dekh tujhe itna accha mouka de rahe, Preet ko jama le varna itna maar khayega ki yaad rakhega “, as if they were helping him to set up something with Preet. They did not even offer him a choice of Truth or Dare and loudly called out the question, “Ansh, bata tujhe purey 10th me kaun pasand thi… ?” To explode laughing or to think how he would be dealing with it, was the dilemma. Ansh tried to explain them how bad they are doing to him, and how messed up the question is, but his friends didn’t seem ready for negotiations, moreover extended the threats. It was only upto 5 minutes, that Ansh could try stopping them, and finally sighed, “Preet”.
Preet reacted with nothing but a constant mild smile trying to refrain people from drawing any conclusions. But on the other hand was his girl he had distanced from, bursting out in tears. That was something he was trying to warn about to his friends at the question, and now felt guilty. Soon after a round of the game, Ansh ran to the girl in a corner where she stood sobbing and preparing to leave. He had nothing but to attend her atleast at that moment. She cried, “Why did you do this ?”, caught her breath, and continued, “I love you so much, what made you go away from me !”. Ansh had to now face what he feared an year ago, and all dark sky had fallen upon him at once. Ansh uttered some words, trying to explain what really it had been all about, but couldn’t do it well. In the end, it didn’t even seem to matter, as for her, Ansh left only for Preet. Where others bid goodbye to each other and carried away sweet memories, Ansh carried with him, grief, guilt and unmeasurable reluctance to love vibes.
To such a huge emotion called love, young was the kid, incomplete was his education…
– to be continued…