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 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.

Book 1: Page 22, Para 1


I ran to the room where I had left my clothes. I wore the blazer over that despicable costume. The sheer fabric of the costume stuck to my body like a leach. I was full of regret and loathed the day I had chosen to step on the stage. Why had I been nominated for the play by Robot? Why had the girls not locked the green room? Why had i forgotten my long coat? Why had the practice room been so dark? Why had the mirror been strategically placed in the room? Why had that girl chosen the most important day of my acting career to walk into my life? That day that place, that fateful moment when everyone barged into the practice room, only to find me denuded by an illusionary woman? All this appeared to be the devil’s clockwork. I was still lost in my thoughts when Lady Penguin walked in. She took a seat beside me. I knew there were words in her mouth, sentences being framed by her mind, whispers being blown from her lips, but much before they could take the shape of a voice I decided to walk away.

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 21, PARA 1


While staring into that mirror, I also saw a reflection other than mine. I could make out the female form of the image but I could not give it a name or a face. She came towards me as if floating in air. Instead of turning around I continued to admire her reflection in the mirror itself, which soon turned hazy before diminishing into a dark halo. I closed my eyes because whatever was happening wasn’t voluntary. There was nothing to be seen, only felt. Her left hand gripped my shoulder while she ruffled my fluffy hair with the right. I could vaguely make out her nose nestling near my neck. Her scent absolved me of the stage freight. Her lips brushed against my ear as she whispered, “Kalsh, thank god it’s you.”

COUPLE
COUPLE

BOOK1: Page 18


There was nothing wrong with the lights. My eyes had emoted and by the time I could see clearly those saline droplets, full of emotions, had reached my lips. I had actually cried while saying those lines. Akanksha had been recalled by Lady Penguin away from the stage because I wasn’t paying any attention to the corrections she was prompting. For the first time in my life, I was being applauded by Lady herself. The stiff expression on her forehead vanished and she had a very motherly smile. She asked me to come down and announced.

Edward is with us in his full luster, Helen has been with him all through and it is now time for all of us to come together and put forward the greatest theatrical ever by the girls of Welham’s and a suitable boy from Doon High.”

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