Book 1: Page 47


Sahib dropped Akshay and me at my uncle’s place. Upon ringing the door bell we were greeted by my sister. She sprang her arms around me. Pecked me on the cheeks and shrieked, “I knew this would work out.” All my attention was sidetracked from the pain and the accident. She was the most benign member of my extended family. My sweet little sister (we are of the same age, but it’s always the brother who feels bigger and conscientious.) Her dark brown hair waved with a gush of air that freed my tensed nerves. The freckles on her face were not a result of age, but a sign of fret and relief on holding her dearest brother tightly after such a long time. Her eyes, a shade darker than mine, were shut. She only opened those almond contoured eyes to look at Akshay. We had never had any sibling rivalry. We owed this to the fact that my uncle treated me as the son he always wanted and my cousin was overwhelmed by the distinction of being the only girl in the whole of Dehradoon who could address me as “Brother”, without offending me.

Book 1: Page 41, Para 1


I pushed an iron rod into the bear’s mouth. The beast couldn’t withstand my power and backtracked. The jeep jolted to a start and these two were probably going to run away (he gave Keshav and Sahib a disenchanted glance) without you. It could have been unintentional also. Perhaps, Keshav pressed the gas incidentally with his trembling foot. I was going to pounce at him from the trunk itself but somehow you managed to hold on to the hind bar of the boot and he (Akshay pointed at Keshav) dragged you along for some distance. In fact he dragged you till you actually became unconscious and let go off the jeep. He stopped only when I screamed at him from the last bunk.

Book 1: Page 40


I closed my eyes and went back to sleep. It was probably several hours later that I woke up. We were going back to Dehradoon. The misadventure had killed our enthusiasm. Sahib was driving. Keshav was sitting next to him and Akshay had fallen asleep by my side.

I tried in vain to get up from my quiescent position on the back seat. My effort ended up interrupting Akshay’s dream.

Akshay: Is it still paining?

Kalsh: Nah… in fact I am enjoying it now.

Akshay: Very funny. Now see, this is important. Take this ointment and apply it on the wounds. (He gave me a tube.)

Kalsh: Great (I snatched it from his hand). Now tell me everything that happened since I fainted.

Akshay: Rest for now. It’s not time yet. You have been through a lot.

Keshav: Tell him about the covenant. (He jumped out of his seat.)

Kalsh: About the what? I didn’t know we had a covenant in place, especially when Sahib stepped on me. (I got up.)

Akshay: Hey calm down you two. It’s not that simple.

Kalsh: Then tell me how complicated it is? I am all ears.

Akshay: Should we? (He asked Sahib and Keshav)

Sahib: We have to tell him eventually. Better sooner than later.

Keshav: Everything suits me as long as I am not the one narrating.

Akshay: Alright then, gentlemen brace yourselves.

Book 1: Page 38


The protracted journey of the jeep had come to an end. I knew my best friend Akshay had fought a bear to rescue me. Surviving the night with all the bleeding and unattended wounds on the contours of my rib cage was a subject of petite discussion. More confident than ever on my decision I opened my eyes. Akshay, who was sitting next to me, looked back at me. He was tired by the night’s misadventures. He pressed my hand against his and winked his eyes reassuringly.

Kalsh: Akshay I must tell you. Probably you are the only man I can trust my sister with. (These were my last words before they asked me to go back to sleep.)

He must have been very happy. That day in the forest we laid together the foundation of a very special bond. The bear was as much responsible for my decision as Akshay’s courage. However, not to my surprise though, Akshay never used my indebted life as an excuse to date my sister. His was a much purer form of love. He is still dating my sister. The couple is happy and soon they will tie the holy knot.

Book 1: Page 37, Para 1


Ah…hmmm… Err…” the pain was in my arms. I don’t know what part of its body pierced mine. Each drop of blood that leaked from my wounds anguished my entire circulatory system. “Ahh… God…!” my face had become wet by then. It smelt like the bear, tasted like tears and dripped like sweat. It was an awful time to realize the origin of the term ‘Bear hug’. An expression of love and affection had turned into slow poison. The affliction should have shunned my senses by then but it lasted a minute too long and a view of the beast from the inside was on offer. Before my last breaths were to leave my body I thought I might as well see what God had to offer in the name of death? So I paid attention to what was in front of my eyes. The bear was not enormous. He was just mad. And there was something in his mouth.

Book 1: Page 29, Para 1


Besides all this thinking, my attention was also drawn towards Akshay’s uneasiness. He wasn’t enjoying the surroundings. His mood was no doubt jolly, but still I felt he was scared. Normally I would have concluded that he was cowering off the wilderness. However it seemed more complicated than that. He walked out of the tent. Now Sahib, Keshav and I were in the tent. They were trying to suppress their giggles. I was intimidated by the idea of another surprise? What was to follow? Why was only I unaware? Had they planned a trip just to target me? Had they brought guns to poach? All my worst fears spiralled round the tent and the rail of bizarre guesses came to a halt only when Keshav stood up.

Book 1: Page 27, Para 2


My heart wanted to write about the immense beauty of the greens, but my hands were trembling with anxiety at the sight of the equally daunting woods. The jeep was covered from the top, but open in the back. We were comfortable with our luggage under the seat. A smile was noticeable on Sahib’s face. He was signalling something to Keshav, with the his squinting eyes. I had never seen him give such a smile since the fifth grade. I was clueless as to what would be coming my way. I turned towards Akshay who appeared very restless. It appeared as if he was framing sentences, probably to disclose something to me. Presumably he would soon make the announcement.

Into the Jungle
Into the Jungle

Book 1: Page 25, Para 2


Akshay arrived at my uncle’s house with his luggage safely dumped in the hostel. Soon we were joined by Sahib and Keshav. I would love to describe them for you, but that would require a whole new book. So instead let me elaborate upon the bond that enjoined us. Coming from effluent families; residing in different parts of the country; having varied interests; speaking no less than 7 languages- we were an ambush to reckon with. Each one of us had a special talent and the entire school fraternity of Dehradoon had acknowledged the same by bestowing us with numerous accolades in the past. I actually believed that within our wolf pack we might have been four individuals but for everyone else we were one. As if we were knotted by an unspoken unseen thread of emotions, a thread that emboldened me to entrust even my life in their hands. Their wretched slippery hands.

Book 1: Page 24


Kalsh: Don’t remind me of ‘The Performance’ I want to forget all of it.

On the edge of ocean
On the edge of ocean



Lady Penguin Patch-up: Forget it? You sound like a quitter. Is the captain of this school team a quitter? Every moment of your life is memorable. Every emotion is eternally engraved upon your soul. Don’t try to forget it son, embrace it. Use it to explore the music inside you. Such incidents will repeat endlessly in your life. Like a cycle of cause and effect, action-reaction. But you are one of those rare men who have the ability to break the cycle. Your classmates mock you because they have nothing better to do. But you, you have an ocean in front of you, waiting for you to set sail. This stage is your ship, you are meant to be there and not in this obnoxious sport. (She got up) there will be no play without you, Edward. (And she left). If you don’t show up tomorrow I will cancel the event.

She left me alone in the visitors lounge. My school uniform was perfectly tugged in and it did not leave any space for discomfort. But I knew that the lady who just walked out had actually walked in on me. There are holes in all of us, some big holes and some small ones. And we are miserable at finding these holes. Our ego is too bloated to let us see clearly. Therefore God makes sure that every man has a woman who takes up the responsibility of mending him. They, ‘Patch Us Up’. And that day, Lady Penguin Patch-up made an Edward out of a Kalsh and in the process she transformed a ‘Player’ into a ‘Performer’. She made me fall in love with myself all over again. I went to practice that day and the day after that and the day…

BOOK1: Page 10


And she asked me to excuse her. I was taken aback. It appears this Lady Penguin actually believes that there are boys who want to do this ballet. I would have definitely given her a piece of my mind, if it had not been for all those beautiful eyes staring at the only boy in the hall. Now that felt indeed special. Running from between the crowds came Aakrisht’s little sister. Along with her was the lead ballerina. It was evident from her gait, it brushed off from the curls in her hair and it was voiced in her lips. She was the thorn pricking the prying eyes of all the girls staring at the three of us. My first tour of the best girls’ school in Doon had officially begun.

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