This is the fifth part of ‘The Captive of True Love’. So, if you are new here. Please first read the previous chapters here.
We haven’t had any vacation from the tuition yet. Not even once. But see the misfortune, that first vacation was on the very next day. A day before the first day of school.
I spent that Sunday remembering my conversation with Priya, Cherishing memories of her beautiful smile when I had told her how much I tried to search her on Facebook, to contact her. In return, she had given me her phone number. Her strict dad had finally given her, her own personal phone. While a comparatively poor boy like me, had bought a touchscreen phone (by spending all his savings), Her rich dad had bought her a bar phone with no internet facility.
I also got to know more about her father in our brief chat in the ice cream parlor. Her family had moved to their old apartment as her dad had lost a hell of a lot of money in gambling.
Even though it was going to be the first day of the last year of school life and my mind was wandering far away, it was busy pondering to find a good excuse to call Priya. But in the end, I settled for the goodnight text. In reply I received “Hi, Still awake?” and then we kept chatting for an hour. That was the first night chat of my life. I had no idea that this is going to be a daily routine for me.
The first day of the school
“Mahesh, Can you help me?”
It took a minute for me to finally spot Vaidehi after hearing her voice. She was on the floor with a stack of books lying next to her. Setting the dusted book on the shelf, I turned to look at her and smile idiotically.
“Anything for the new hottie in the school” I winked. “You’re looking pretty in that new haircut, short hair suits you!”
She laughed as a speck of dust landed on her cheek.
“Shut up. Just see that shelf and tell me if it had any book from the non-fiction category” She said pointing towards one shelf.
I blinked for a minute, walking towards the shelf beside me, and began to dust.
“Nope,” I Said, “Looks like the topper got punished on the very first day! So you have to clean and rearrange some shelves?”
I had come to the library to see if there are any new books available in the ‘Space’ section. But here I was, cleaning this section of the library, almost relieving Vaidehi of her punishment.
She nodded and laughed but didn’t say anything. For some time, we proceeded to work in silence.
And then it hit me that I hadn’t even asked what she had been punished for.
“So,” I attempted to start the conversation again, “What did you do to end up cleaning an entire section of the library alone?”
I mean she was the last person I thought who could contravene any rule.
“I…” she seemed jittery, “well, I whistled during Mr. Ranade’s lecture.’
“Ohh… so that was you!? I thought it was Pooja, she loves doing stuff like that. But Sir hadn’t recognized who did it so how he discovered that it was you?” I bit my lip and inhaled deeply to stop myself from bombarding questions.
“I confessed. Just 10 minutes before” She answered.
“So, he made you clean an entire section of the library?” when she seemed a bit more uneasy, I added, “It’s okay. At least you have got a fun-type punishment”
She laughed a little, “Yeah, yeah, I got a usual visit to the library”
It didn’t take a long time for us to complete the task as both of us were regular visitors of the library, we were cognizant of the books, shelves, and the pattern in which they were arranged.
The library was the place where Prapti and I used to spend every lunch recess, discussing the lives of great scientists, sometimes just gazing into each other’s eyes while pretending to study. Prapti left the school but my visits to the library didn’t stop, In fact, those were now increased. In the last few months, A loquacious me, who used to hang out with every clique was now had become the reticent boy who prefers to stay alone in the library re-reading his favorite books.
“Why you did that? Why you got yourself in trouble on the very first day?” I asked her as we left the library and began walking toward our classroom.
“This might sound stupid but I’m trying to have fun as others do. I don’t want to remain a boring geek. Hence the new look and new way of life” She said as her soft hand brushed mine while walking.
I pulled my hands closer to the body. And continued to walk beside her, processing what she had just said. I had gone through a similar phase. There was a time when I was called a nerd. Because there was nothing other than studies and chess I was good at. I started trying everything and anything I could. And just in a few years, I had become a jack of all.
But I also knew that change isn’t always a good thing. I mean I had gone through a lot of changes last year. I was formerly known as a shy boy who stays away from girls, had been in a relationship with a couple of girls in a year. But in between managing these flings, trying to get over Prapti, My academic record had fallen to the new bottom; someone like me who had never scored less than 90 had scored just 72% in 9th std.
“Hello?” she spoke and continued, “I was about to tell you my secret list of things-I-want-to-do, But looks like you are busy with some more important thoughts”
We had reached our classroom by then. She walked quickly to her regular bench in the third row.
After that, I didn’t get any chance to ask her about the list she was talking about it.