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.

Book1: Page 6


Some background information:
This is Welhams Girls School. I was standing in the auditorium of one of the most prestigious institutions that impart education to our female counterparts. More importantly inside those walls used to dwell our probable better halves. Yes it’s true our seniors in the past dated them, our juniors in the coming years would date them and we the present lot were already dating them. Such had been the tradition. Boys from Doon High School went out with girls from Welhams. Now I wasn’t there looking for a date. My purpose was much more genuine and obligatory. It had been decided that if I miss the penalty then I would have to assist Robot’s sister, who studies in Welhams, for their founder’s day celebrations.

Sister: Hello bhaiya (brother). Thank you for coming here to help us.
I: Oh it’s no big deal. I would like to meet the in-charge here and sort some minor issues.
Sister: Oh bhaiya that’s for later. First come give me the bag I want to see your dress.

ballet

All right you read that right. My ‘dress’, it was just not my day. I had to take part as a male character in one of the theater productions that would be presented on the annual founder’s day celebration. But this was no ordinary play, it was a ballet. Yes girls and sissy boys in skin tight stretch suits dancing to weird tunes which have no bass, no metallic instruments, no wacky hairstyles; just asinine story telling. And to top it all the whole school would be seated in the audience. My image that I had cultivated by tactfully manipulating the limelight and sweating it out on the field would be at an all time high risk. This was more daring then bursting crackers in the principal’s office. But there was no going back. I had lost a bet and I had to honor my part of the bargain.

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