The Captive of True Love :2

This is the second part of ‘The Captive of True Love’. So, if you are new here. Please first read the previous chapter here.

Chapter 2: Prapti

Prapti was the most attractive girl in the school. Her beauty was like a dream, the kind that would appear and disappear before you could grasp it. She was the ethereal goddess of our school, who drew the admiration of all who beheld her. It was no wonder that she had many suitors, yet among them all, I held a special place in her heart. We were close friends, but I, being a shy boy, was never able to confess my feelings to her.
Two years ago, our school had organized the annual cultural program on 14th Feb, Valentine’s Day. I couldn’t help but wonder why they had chosen that day of all days to hold such an event, allowing students to be free and dress as they pleased.

But as an Indian teenager, I knew that even the mere thought of a girl asking me to be her valentine was absurd. Nevertheless, I was excited about the event and eager to see what the future held. And, truth be told, I was more thrilled about my first-ever stage appearance, which was scheduled for the same day.

I knew I wasn’t going to propose to anyone on Valentine’s. I knew I would never dare to propose to anyone on such a day. Every Indian teenager would agree that it was impossible notion that any girl would ask me to be her Valentine.

But who knew what the future might hold? And so, like everyone else, I was excited for that day, though more thrilled for my first stage appearance, where I would finally confront my lifelong stage fright.
As the anchor of the cultural program, I was in the backstage area, scribbling on my play’s script. Anchoring and acting in a drama were both my worst nightmares, and yet now, I was about to do both in a single day.
My reverie was interrupted by a pat on my shoulder, spoiling the contour of the car I had been trying to draw. It was Pooja, my “bro,” the school’s gossip girl, whom I had known since kindergarten. We had been bench-mates until the fourth standard, after which the school separated the girls and boys, assigning them different rows, but that never affected our friendship. In fact, with every passing year, our bond grew stronger.
We were so close that some people even started to spread rumors that we were having an affair. Of course, that was ridiculous. But like several other rumors about me, I never bothered about it. One thing was clear; she was one of my closest friends.

Thus I knew her so much that I was pretty sure that she would never disturb me for some silly reason, at least not on a day like this. So, after seeing her nervous face, I also become a bit nervous because if she’s anxious about something, it ought to be something serious.

Before I could speak anything, she asked me, “Do you have any idea what Sangram is up to?”, her eyes wide with concern.

Sangram was the captain of the school’s cricket team and a geography genius. I dislike both Cricket and Geography, however, somehow I was friends with that bastard. He was also my co-actor in the play I was part of; we had spent a lot of time together lately, for drama rehearsals. But I had no idea what Pooja was talking about. He hadn’t told me anything. I was supposed to be on the stage in a few minutes, I was already so freaked out that I had no time for being patient.

Will you please just tell me what the hell is going on?” I almost shouted at her.

Already lost your shit? Jesus. What will then you do after listening to what I’m about to tell you?” she said, noticing my agitation.

I showed her my watch and urged, “Will you please JUST tell whatever hell you want to tell? Btw, why you’re not in your costume for the drama?

I know you’re in hurry. And you should hasten for one more thing; to propose your goddamn crush… I heard Sangram saying that he’s going to propose Prapti after her solo dance performance“, Pooja said.

I had no idea what to say. I had such a huge crush on her since she got transferred to our school. She was so beautiful that I just couldn’t take my eyes off her. My friends knew more than ever, I was drooling over her. Even Sangram knew that. Why the hell he was going to do that? Now that I was so pissed off about him, how I was going to share the stage with him? Well, I had no time to think about that.

I knew that Prapti likes me too. But, due to my fear that she might stop talking with me if I ever try to mold our friendship into a relationship, I hadn’t really tried to know what she thinks about me.
Now, as the fear of losing her to someone else loomed large, my earlier fears of rejection seemed trivial in comparison.

Determined to take matters into my own hands, I decided to confess my love to her before Sangram had a chance to do so. Prapti was set to perform a solo dance and a group dance, and I planned to propose to her after the group dance, so I would be the first to do so.
It was crucial, nay, vital to be the first one to propose. For you see, Pooja had a theory that the one who makes the first move stands a greater chance of receiving a positive response. And I had no desire to prove her wrong on this one too.

Prapti is such an amazing dancer. She’s ablaze with vitality and a spark that renders it impossible to look away from her performances.

That’s exactly what used to happen to me, at every dance practice session. But, Sadly, I was backstage when her group was performing. A bunch of juniors who were going to perform next were probably laughing at me when I was practicing different lines with different tones. Watching a senior student saying “I love you” to mirror must have been a real treat for them.
Just as I was attempting to concoct the perfect words, the music petered out, and the girls began to make their way backstage.

I took a deep breath and walked straight in front of Prapti.

You’re looking….” I started something.
“Beautiful? Cute?” the other girls suggested, to which Prapti merely rolled her eyes.

Nah, magical. Always spellbound me” I replied.

Thankssss!” She blushed

This smooth comeback boosted my confidence. But I still hadn’t said those three magical words. How am I going to do this? I wondered.
Then, in a moment of madness, I gazed into her enchanting face and found myself dropping to my knees to propose.

Will you be my girlfriend?” I asked. I felt a little disappointed with the words I’d chosen but more disappointing was her silence.

anxiety dissipated, replaced by a profound sense of relief and joy. It was a sensation like no other, a rush of adrenaline that coursed through my veins, leaving me feeling like I could conquer the world.

And so it began: exchanging scraps of paper with messages during class, calling her on the Nokia 1600 that her parents owned, long walks where we spoke nary a word, content to bask in each other’s company and gaze into each other’s eyes. It was a magical time, one that I would cherish always.

Looking back, I realize that what I had thought was love was nothing more than an attraction that we all experience in our youth. I was only fourteen at the time, and foolish, so I was convinced that we would be together forever and that our high school romance would be the stuff of legend, a story that we would tell our grandchildren with pride.
Our relationship was going well until her parents decided to move her to a different school. Gradually, we grew apart, and we struggled to keep our love alive for a few months. We both knew that it was time to end it, so we made the decision to let go.
After our breakup, I spent months wondering if I had made a mistake, if I had let true love slip through my fingers. I couldn’t help but think that if I had just tried harder, we could have made it work. So, I made up my mind to tell her how I felt, to let her know that I still believed we were meant to be together. But it was too late. By then, she had moved on and was seeing someone else.

I felt bad, really bad, cannot even describe how that feels.

I dated three other girls after that, for some brief period, I even dated two girls at a time. Everything just to get over her, forget her. But, always had feelings for her. I didn’t feel ‘that’ connection with those other girls. Every single person I dated during that time would have been dumped in a second if I had a chance to be with Prapti.
Then one day, just before our final exams in 9th grade, Pooja told me that Prapti had broken up with her boyfriend. I couldn’t understand why she had been with him in the first place, but I knew that this might be my chance to get back into her life. So, I decided to enroll in the same tuition as her, hoping to reconnect without seeming like a desperate stalker.

But, fate had different plans. Tuition began during the summer break of school and on the very first day, I saw several familiar faces but there was no sign of her. Later I got to know that she had canceled her admission.

And just like that, I started thinking about canceling my admission too. But, then, on the very next second, my brain began fighting with my heart and started arguing about why I should get over her.

So, yeah, I wasn’t talking about Prapti when I said I used to sit on the bench near the window to catch her glimpse.

To be continued…

Wait for the next part to know more about the girl in the window and what her role is in this story.


Published by Mahesh Mali

Author of 'Reflections of My Youth' | Student @ SPPU | Former Fellow @BeingVolunteer | Freelancer @PlayoApp | Tennis Player

11 thoughts on “The Captive of True Love :2

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