Beauty and the Beast

“Here” she thrust the folded piece of paper hastily torn from a notebook into my hands. Her perfectly manicured nails, though the school didn’t allow us to wear polish, scratched my wrist and drew blood.

“Give it to him”. I watched her run away. Her lithe figure and grace made even the grey tunic of the school uniform look elegant. I remembered holding the skirt straight while she cut the extra inches of cloth away till it was high enough to ride dangerously above her thigh when she sat. Silver earrings dangled from her ears, hair tied in a messy ponytail and just a hint of eyeliner that was too subtle to break the ‘no make-up’ rule of our campus.

Plump, graceless and clumsy I was the antithesis of my best friend. Our friendship was the biggest mystery of our school. All I knew was that Parul had been my friend ever since I could remember. We had entered kindergarten holding hands and grown up together, sharing everything from toys to homework.

We lived next door, played together every evening, swore a blood oath to be best friends forever at eight, lost our first tooth on the same day, bled together for the first time and even received the same marks in all exams. Yet puberty decided to bestow on her a gift while all I got were pimples.

Suddenly she was the most popular girl in class and I was the fat nerd. ‘Beauty and the Beast’ our classmates called us. Parul would drag me along to birthday parties I hadn’t been invited to; shopping at stores where nothing ever fitted me and to lunches with the other girls….till I complained and refused to go along. Yet every night she comes over to my house, and over homework tell me stories of her life, as far from mine as possible.

Boys fell all over her but she would politely kept her distance from all of them…till Abhimanyu arrived. His family shifted from Dehradun and he was wonderful! Tall, smart and a wonderful sense of humour. Sparks flew from the moment Parul and Abhimanyu met. Abhimanyu wrote a poem for her and put it in a Nicholas Sparks novel that he lent to Parul.

I never expected to see my friend act like a lovestruck heroine from the movies, but she did. She would suddenly drift off into day dreams that would make her smile and blush, and behind her notebook she doodled hearts with ‘A+P ‘ written in them.

She penned down a reply to his poem but her courage wore off when it actually came to giving it to him.

He was sitting with a gang of friends in the garden. I walked over. The other boys sniggered at my audacity to approach them, but Abhimanyu smiled and shifted to make room for me to sit. He was always kind to me, and sometimes when Parul had other plans we would walk to the bus stop together. When we were alone like this he would tell me stories about his childhood in Dehradun, and cracked jokes that had me doubling over with laughter. I loved those afternoons.

“I have a message for you from Parul”.

He looked at me expectantly. The note fluttered in my pocket.

The words came out in a rush, “She doesn’t like what you wrote. She asked me to ask you to stay away from her”.

I ran as far from his disappointed face as I could. And once I was out of sight, I took out the folded note, tore it into as many pieces as I could and threw it in the nearest dustbin.

If this was a divine test of my loyalty I failed.

Cupid in Hell smirked.

 

22nd February 2014 – An Indian Weekend

# Statutory Warning: All incidents mentioned her are strictly true…more or less. 

So, today while sitting in class and aimlessly doodling in my notebook while my professor droned on about ‘The Effects of Media on Adolescence’ I had a sudden brainwave of keeping an online diary. Heck why not? I thought. I am hopelessly single, a term employee at Jobless Incorporated and have a negligible social life – so I definitely have the time, and I have been itching to try something new for quite sometime now. Though knowing my innate and astonishing ability to procrastinate, it might soon reach an inevitable end anyways….well that’s enough depressing talk for one day, and before you start wondering how in the world you ended up here, I better start what I intended to start when I start(ed).

Most Indian Colleges have still to catch up on the true meaning of the concept of ‘weekend’. As far as they are concerned it means getting students to wake up at half-past five and come to college looking like zombies, so that you can further doom them with tedious lectures, and finally pile up enough homework and assignments to make sure that they don’t even have time to breathe on Sunday. Indian College Professors would excel at world domination. Anyways that’s how my day started. The only perk being that the hot guy I kinda-sorta like sat next to me in class today – I wish it was because he wanted my company, but I have a nasty feeling it was only because that was the only seat left available in the classroom when he arrived – and every now and then during the two hour long lecture, his hand would brush against mine. Once he actually started tapping my fingers with his, probably a game, or a desperate attempt to keep himself awake – whatever the case it generated enough adrenaline (and some other hormones) in me to keep my eyes open in class.

On my way back, in the notoriously slow Western Locals of Mumbai, I met up with a friend. She told me of another disastrous weekend she had with a couple of her friends. All of them had bought drinks and gone to one of the boys’ house for a booze party. This was the first time that they had purchased vodka, and thus did not have much of a clue as to when to restrain themselves, and also ignorant of the fact that the effect of vodka takes a while to sink in. So they kept drinking till they felt ‘high’ and the result was they passed the borderline of sobriety and sanity. After an extremely wild party they went out to a family restaurant to display their inebriated state to the entire world. One of the girls, my friend told me in between bursts of embarrassed laughter, dipped her paper napkin into the gravy boat and ate it. Yet, she continued, the worst part of the evening was yet to come. “You see, we were so drunk that we had forgotten to clean up the place; and when my friend went home he found all the bottles we were supposed to throw out on the table, the place stinking of alcohol and his parents standing in front of him, arms crossed”.

“So what happened?” I asked.

“Oh nothing much. He made up a story. He told his parents that did they honestly think he was stupid enough to drink, if he did drink, in his own house, and not clean up”.

“And they bought it?” I asked incredulously.

“Oh yes! You see his parents thought that no one could be that stupid. But we were. That stupid!”

“So, you were saved because his parents underestimated your stupidity!!” 

And that’s enough for today. I write again soon….maybe. Please feel free to leave a comment on what you think.