Book 1: Page 48

Akshay: ahem…ahem… Do you mind if we enter miss? (He interrupted the emotional moment.)

Sis noticed that I was bothered but she also noticed that I did not object. I was getting accustomed to Akshay’s company in my sister’s presence. In the mean time footsteps stomping the staircase with the bulk of my uncle’s heavy built made an announcement.

Uncle: So how was your trip boy?

The Terminator: Tremendously refreshing. I think we can take on any curriculum now.

He shot the first words to steal the attention. I knew it wouldn’t be possible for me to hide my pain and resentment from my uncle. Though I never wanted to dishonour the S.B.X.P. but it was always a possibility under the towering presence of my uncle. So to minimize our father son interaction Akshay and I left for the hostel the very next day. We took our room-keys. We raced to get the top birth and guess what? I won, though reaching my room on the first floor was rather painful this time. I began panting. This had never happened before. The luggage was the same, the distance was the same, and even the racers were the same. However something felt different this time. I felt a serious jolt somewhere in my right abdomen, as if a very sharp flint shifted in my gut with every breath of mine. I presumed them to be aftershocks of the rollercoaster ride that I had been through. Soon we were joined by other batch-mates and the whole hostel was vivacious. The dinner was served and it was a delight to eat with all my associates after such a long time. The usual fighting, growling and teasing followed the welcome lecture by the principle. No dinner can be complete without the fight for one’s partner’s sweet dish. Everything was the same. Only I ate less than usual. Only I spoke less than usual. Only I fought less than usual. Only I was in pain.

Spanish Lessons

Hola amigo”, She said over the phone.
“Muy bien”, I replied stuttering halfway trying to recognize the voice.

She definitely knew the fact that I am learning (well actually), was learning Spanish once. She enquired about something else and I was dumbstruck by her accent which was essentially native Mexican.Finally I gave up and asked her name. I even apologized for not saving her number.

Lady: So you never went to the class after that week.
Me: I actually got busy with my work.
Lady: I see, but you looked so determined back then.


I was about to think of another excuse and had even come up with an interesting list of priorities but instead I figured it was more important for me to know who she was and how she knew all about me.

Me: Aap kaun hai? (Who are you?)
Lady: Mein Aria hun, Cervantes se. (in almost perfect Hindi)
Me: Oh my God! Aria, how long has it been?
Lady: Four years.

In 2009, I attended an elementary Spanish language course at the Institute de Cervantes, New Delhi. Aria worked there. She was a substitute teacher, who taught us for a week. I guess she must have been in her early 50s back then and had recently moved to India. Within the first week itself we had developed a very good student-teacher bond. I shared with her my dream to backpack across Latin America with an arsenal of certified Spanish lexicon. She wanted to learn Hindi and at least one other Indian language. Her travel plans included the whole of India and some South Asian countries. We had promised to check on each other’s progress over the years.DSC_0007 copy

Aria: I have been good! I travelled to all those areas which were not marked as “Unsafe” by the embassy.
Me: Wonderful, you might have noticed I did not pursue Spanish after a few weeks. I guess once student life comes to halt, it is very difficult to resume learning. Maybe I am a bit too old to pursue my dreams.
Aria: Well my dad had his first driving lesson yesterday. He is 80.
Me: I see.
Aria: There is an elementary course in Spanish starting from the 18th and I do not get any incentives from Cervantes to sell their course.

I registered for the course and have been going there regularly.


– Written by Mahaveer Bisht
Pictures by Arpan Ganguli
Edited by ‘bhilash

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