Book 1: Page 53, Para 1


After a month of soft practice we hit the field for our first game, junior team against the senior team. The match had a fairly good attendance. Some girls from Welham Girl’s School were also cheering for us. My sister was leading the pack. The game was a cakewalk and we dominated the juniors completely in the first half. I personally believed that the fifteen minute break in-between two halves of a match could be put to better use than just lying down and listening to a winning coach. So Akshay and I visited the sweet smelling group of girls sitting gracefully besides the touchline. I could see that Akshay and my sister wanted to be alone but that was not going to happen anytime soon, at least not on my vigil. There was a girl in the group taking more than usual interest in the game. Of course that got her my attention.

Book 1: Page 52, Para 1


Kalsh you are the one who was standing all the time. We couldn’t even see the show and you ask us who the dancers were? Ha-ha…” and he laughed it off, “Look there goes her boyfriend!” he pointed behind me.

I did not look. I wasn’t afraid of the fact that he might have been better looking or better dressed than me. That boy possessed the company of the one girl whom I very passionately desired and this made his sight agonizing. So I walked away like a man. I believed it to be a crush and forgot it. I will tell you her name. She was christened Aastha. This is a Sanskrit word meaning ‘Faith’ and quite frankly I lost all of my faith that evening. Yes this happens with all teenagers. Infatuation followed by courtship then sporadic despair and finally a matrimonial communion, but it was different with me.

Book 1: Page 51, Para 2


She was leading the pack, standing right in the centre. I couldn’t see her face because the stage was far from where I stood. All the guys around me were cheering for her school. The fat boy on my left was even dancing to one of her songs. I jumped and stood on my toes. I was not willing to miss that spectacle. The girls who were dancing in the background had partnered with boys from another school. I turned around to spot a friend of mine from the partnering school. With bespectacled eyes he sat in a corner jesting at every pelvic thrust on the stage. I wasted no time in finding my way next to him. We had met at last year’s inter school mathematics quiz. He had been kind enough to leak a few of his answers last time. I needed some answers again. Although I did not expect him to be of much help but in those circumstances even the name of the girl would have been a monumental charity.

Book 1: Page 51, Para 1


At all times I felt a connection with her. In fact I was in search for someone who would have a connection with me. The lyrics that follow this chapter have been misplaced. They deserve to be in the beginning of this book. These lyrics were the first thing I wanted to write in the book. Unfortunately I never jotted them down. Nearly all my teenage I have been humming this one tune till it finally took the form of a tangible lyric on 25th of December. The Christmas parties, I tell you! They were a jolly big affair in convents. Almost all the students from various schools in Dehradoon used to come to the annual bash. There used to be a special presentation by one of the schools as well.

Book 1: Page 50


At all times I felt a connection with her. In fact I was in search for someone who would have a connection with me. The lyrics that follow this chapter have been misplaced. They deserve to be in the beginning of this book. These lyrics were the first thing I wanted to write in the book. Unfortunately I never jotted them down. Nearly all my teenage I have been humming this one tune till it finally took the form of a tangible lyric on 25th of December. The Christmas parties, I tell you! They were a jolly big affair in convents. Almost all the students from various schools in Dehradoon used to come to the annual bash. There used to be a special presentation by one of the schools as well.

She was leading the pack, standing right in the centre. I couldn’t see her face because the stage was far from where I stood. All the guys around me were cheering for her school. The fat boy on my left was even dancing to one of her songs. I jumped and stood on my toes. I was not willing to miss that spectacle. The girls who were dancing in the background had partnered with boys from another school. I turned around to spot a friend of mine from the partnering school. With bespectacled eyes he sat in a corner jesting at every pelvic thrust on the stage. I wasted no time in finding my way next to him. We had met at last year’s inter school mathematics quiz. He had been kind enough to leak a few of his answers last time. I needed some answers again. Although I did not expect him to be of much help but in those circumstances even the name of the girl would have been a monumental charity.

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.

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 46


Our journey mutated in to a misadventure and nurtured our friendship in to a lifelong bond. I understood whom I could trust and whom I should have not cared for.

I was all patched up but something was just not right. I could feel a lot of pain in my abdomen, a little to the right, the exact place where that bear had punctured. It was necessary to visit a doctor, a sense of discomfort lingered in my walk. Being a small town my uncle knew almost all the good doctors. A visit would have proved terminal for our covenant. So I decided to bear the pain and apply the ointment instead.

Book 1: Page 34, Para 2


We had not got a chance to unwind and most of our time had been spent on erecting the tent, therefore our luggage was still packed. Keshav and I quickly picked all four bags and tossed them onto the back of the jeep. It is amusing to look back at our actions, how even in the jaws of death I wouldn’t part with my clothes. The jerseys, the gloves, the jackets, the mufflers (the most beautiful part of any ensemble), counting all these exclusive clothes which I had collected over the years it never occurred to me that my shoes were still in the tent. A heartache ripped me apart at the bereavement.

You never liked them in the first place.”

More importantly my shoe size would have definitely increased one day and risking my life for the pair of shoes would have been dumb.

Book 1: Page 31


He was running. I was chasing him. He was jumping. I was leaping behind him. The words that came out of his mouth needed some explanation. Was this his idea of a joke? So all that time he had been rehearsing to ask me about my sister, pretending that that tree was me?

Chase
Chase

MAY I DATE YOUR SISTER”, was that all he could come up with? Was it the lameness of the line that bothered me or its sudden appearance out of nowhere? I couldn’t pinpoint the cause of my agitation. All I could comprehend was that everyone (except me) knew that my best friend liked my sister.

Kalsh: Stop Akshay! We need to talk.

Akshay: You will have to catch me first.

Kalsh: Both of us know I am the second fastest guy here. If I chase you down, you are gone. So it’s better to stop right here right now.

Akshay: Well is your answer “yes”.

Kalsh: Yes to what?

Akshay: To my question.

Kalsh: This is it you are going down.

And I pounced on him like a tiger and he merely evaded my hand by shifting his weight to the left like a black buck.

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