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 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 30, Para 1


It occurred to me then, as they ran off half giggling and half jiggling, that they had given me some moments of solitude with Akshay. He crept over to my side of the tent.

Akshay: We need to talk.

Kalsh: Yes, I knew you were going to say something. You are quiet predictable.

Akshay: But what I am going to say is not predictable. In fact it’s unthinkable. I actually want your consent for a major decision of my life.

Kalsh: Of course. You are my best friend. I will help you.

Akshay:  Let’s take a walk. Please not here.

Kalsh: Now, what is wrong? Please get over with it already.

And I turned my face towards him. I heard footsteps approaching the tent. Keshav and Sahib were unusually quiet. Akshay got up and fastened his shoes. He peeked out of the tent. There was only Keshav. Sahib had actually gone to attend the call of nature. So Akshay got out of the tent stretched a little and…then dropped the bombshell, “MAY I DATE YOUR SISTER” and he ran off with the agility of a puma.

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 21, PARA 2


Her touch was velvety but I felt such a profound ingress that it not only touched my neck, my lips but also a part whose utility was hitherto unheard off. There was a tumbling in my tummy. It was quiet similar to the weightlessness experienced during take-off, although it might be more appropriate to compare it with the exhilaration felt on a roller-coaster’s drop. For the first time in my life I could feel something below my belly. Even after the most vivid memories of that night have come to fade, I still recall the nose that pierced my shoulder. And I have been searching thenceforth. Most people will not tell you that a person’s prejudice towards beauty, nature or comportment has its roots firmly grounded in a surreal experience. But I will describe the seed-sowing ceremony of my fascination with noses in great detail.

BOOK1: PAGE 16


Kalsh:       I have never been happier in my whole life,

                  Now there are two ladies that I can call mine,

                  Helen my soul mate bound to be my wife,

                  And Angela born from that love which is rife,

                 Angela, oh Angela my daughter Angela!

practicce on stage
practicce on stage

 

So this was the big moment. I was a dad; actually Edward my character fathered a baby girl. Beautiful like Helen, charming like Edward but at the end of the day inanimate like the toy wrapped in purple rags borne by Akanksha. While pretending that doll to be our child I encountered for the first time a curiosity to know how Helen and Edward became parents. Akanksha knew the answer but she was not too keen on disclosing it. The following week we were scheduled to practice the climax scene and Akanksha showed great faith in me just like Helen had in Edward. Her confidence gave me the strength to walk up to Lady Penguin and request a second hearing.

Kalsh: Excuse me Madam. I had a request.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: What is it? You want another holiday for your upcoming matches. Granted now go.

Kalsh: Madam I have been exercising my vocal chords and practicing on my lines.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: I told you. We have someone else reciting them for you. You just concentrate on your dance. You are doing a marvellous job my dear.

Kalsh: I know, but please just listen to me one more time. I want to portray Edward, but not with someone else speaking my lines. It feels very unnatural. I can do it, just one more chance.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: See my child somethings are best left to… (She looked into my eyes and restrained her words) I think I will have to give you another chance. Today I can see in your eyes that you are no more a forced labourer but a vigorous performer. Don’t disappoint me.

(She agreed and handed me the dialogues for next week. the climax scene.)

BOOK1: PAGE 16


Kalsh:       I have never been happier in my whole life,

                  Now there are two ladies that I can call mine,

                  Helen my soul mate bound to be my wife,

                  And Angela born from that love which is rife,

                 Angela, oh Angela my daughter Angela!

practicce on stage
practicce on stage

 

So this was the big moment. I was a dad; actually Edward my character fathered a baby girl. Beautiful like Helen, charming like Edward but at the end of the day inanimate like the toy wrapped in purple rags borne by Akanksha. While pretending that doll to be our child I encountered for the first time a curiosity to know how Helen and Edward became parents. Akanksha knew the answer but she was not too keen on disclosing it. The following week we were scheduled to practice the climax scene and Akanksha showed great faith in me just like Helen had in Edward. Her confidence gave me the strength to walk up to Lady Penguin and request a second hearing.

Kalsh: Excuse me Madam. I had a request.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: What is it? You want another holiday for your upcoming matches. Granted now go.

Kalsh: Madam I have been exercising my vocal chords and practicing on my lines.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: I told you. We have someone else reciting them for you. You just concentrate on your dance. You are doing a marvellous job my dear.

Kalsh: I know, but please just listen to me one more time. I want to portray Edward, but not with someone else speaking my lines. It feels very unnatural. I can do it, just one more chance.

Lady Penguin Patch-up: See my child somethings are best left to… (She looked into my eyes and restrained her words) I think I will have to give you another chance. Today I can see in your eyes that you are no more a forced labourer but a vigorous performer. Don’t disappoint me.

(She agreed and handed me the dialogues for next week. the climax scene.)

Book 1: Page 3


Now back to the kick. This was not Italy and definitely not an Italian goalkeeper facing me. So I missed. The ball touched the top right corner and then it occurred to me- A’ Del Piero was left footed!! And I wasn’t.

The ball bounced, everyone pounced and the tallest man on the field, Keshav, made contact with the ball. Not his feet, neither the head, it wasn’t a hand or an elbow, no footballer thighs but a part so intimate that I can hardly mention, but yet he could hardly ignore. He squeaked like a pig whose tail had been squashed!save

But this was not the worse part. Incidentally the ball was now moving towards me and everyone towards him. I had the choice to help the boy get up and forget the kick. I had to make my first unregimented decision and I decided to go with my heart and forget the last eighty eight seconds of fame.

I extruded a shot so fierce that not even a wall would have stopped it. I scored the goal that got us the title of ‘Champions of Dehradoon’.  The goalkeeper was with his defender (Keshav) and the ball inside the net.

I was not on the field anymore. As the referee whistled my teammates made a gesture I can never forget. They lifted me six feet in the air and Anurag, the captain standing in front of me gifted me my dream. Like an elder brother hands down the prodigy of a family. I received a piece of rubber cut like a ring. I might be the only prince to be crowned with a ring and not a crown.  I was now wearing on my right arm Anurag’s band, the captain’s band, it was now my band.

That day I was unofficially declared the captain of the school football team. This chapter is full of terms like ‘Me’, ‘I’, ‘Mine’ and the likes. At this point of time in my life I was at the apogee of my epilogue. Peak in academics, peak in sports, peak in relationships and I feel a compulsion to start this book from the peak. This is the beginning of a long journey. It is the pinnacle of ego where the most interesting revelations occur and here I stooped down below.

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