Announcement aftershocks!

Darshan by announcing my feeling in front of the entire class, had opened the Pandora’s box of troubles, or so, I thought. Back then it was huge,  you may be made to bring your parents to the school, even her parents to my school, which was a possibility, I knew my headmaster would call her headmaster and make her parents and her to our school, obviously I tend to overthink, worst repercussion which i thought was that she may end her friendship with me and I would never get to talk to her. 

I went to tuitions the next morning, sat silently in the last avoiding anyone who were close to me, my class teacher noticed me sit in the back and made me sit in the front, he wanted to avoid any kind of “danger” that may spring up by allowing me to stay away from the reach of his scale, of course he never punished me severely with his ruler, he would lightly hold my hair and spin my head in a light-hearted way, he loved us dearly.

I could not hold my gaze away from Spandana, my eyes moved in the direction where she sat, over eyes met, she giggled and tears came out of her eyes as usual. I did not know how to react, I just smiled. At the end of the class Darshan came towards me, I punched him hard, made sure Spandana noticed it, I wanted her to think I was angry with Darshan’s action.  He started to laughing hard, afterall we were brothers, we can each take a beating from each other, it was tough love.  

Now, she behaved like she usually behaves, I thought she would be upset and wouldn’t talk, gave me mixed ideas. It was cool, so I moved towards my home, feeling unusually happy, but it turned to horror when a tall guy with athletic built was waiting on his purple Honda Activa, it was Kiran, the same guy who had tormented Suresh few weeks earlier. He followed me closely and asked me to stop and said “are you Bhaskar?”, “Yes” I responded. “Asshole are you behind Spandana?” He added, I felt scandalized but replied “no”. To which he added, ” look you asshole, if I hear any such nonsense you will have it nicely from me, go away now”. I left without saying anything, but having one question , who was Kiran’s  arse licker in our group.

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Announcement!

Darshan asked me how did my attempt to ask Spandana on a date go, I explained him everything and he started laughing.  ‘bloody loser’ he exclaimed. I just gave an expression of a fallen hero. He said he would go and express my feelings to her if I did not act soon, I forbade him in doing any such nonsense, “listen you asshole, I will give you time till next Sunday, if you do not tell it to her , you will face the consequences”, he warned me, I knew he would do something dangerous if I did not act soon and also he wouldn’t listen to anyone. 

Everyday after tutorials, I would chat with Spandana , usually pulling her leg and she mock me back.  She picked up few Kannada swear words from me and that sounded adorable in her coastal Kannada accent, I did try to pick up her accent but sounded fake. We would discuss about tests, I was kind of physics geek in those days, I would help her clear her doubts in physics and she would help me with me with Sanskrit grammar. That proceeded for entire week with no further action from me. On the consequent Sunday evening Darshan came to my place and asked me for an update, when I said j didn’t ask, “you are fucked, for sure wait till tomorrow” he responded. I pleaded him not to anything, “nothing doing” he replied and went out.

Next day during tutorials, I was anxious that he would do something nonsense in front of her in the class, luckily he did not do or say anything. After tutorials we were in our school, first four periods proceeded normally, immediately after teacher left the class before lunch break, Darshan ran towards the dias and announced ” hold on boys and girls, our Holla, the famous Bhaskar Holla is in love and her name is Spandana Kamat from Digvijaya High school”, “Bastard !!” I swore at him and ran to shut him down. I was involuntarily blushing and pretending to be angry. I pulled him outside the class. 

The news reached Shravya in adjoining class, after school that day she pedalled near Digvijaya High school and informed Spandana everything. As usual I was waiting near a Iyengar bakery, on the route which Spandana took to reach her home, I saw Spandana and Shravya coming together, I got nervous, not wanting to face her I took a different route and reached home. That evening we had Sanskrit class, I left home with the pretext of attending the class but went to BDA complex near my home. I did not take bicycle to avoid the risk of it being spotted by my brother  at the parking lot.

Later that night Darshan called my landline and used the codeword to speak privately, I picked up the cordless, muttering few equation went into my room and asked him to blurt out, “Spandana asked me why you were absent, looks like she knows” he answered, I asked further “did she sound angry?”. On the other I heard him laugh and disconnected tone.

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Decision.

I had decided that I wanted to ask Spandana out, but how? Was the big question. I expressed this to Darshan, after the mokery, he gave one brilliant idea just go and ask boldly. I decided that I will go and ask boldly, at the most what would happen I asked myself and knew  she would decline at the most.  Getting slapped for asking out would happen only in movies and people were mature enough to say no in a dignified manner. On a Saturday evening, prior to commencement of the class, I called out Spandana and said “hey, I need to ask you something, can you please be available after the class?”, She smiled and said ” sure, why can’t you ask now?”,  I replied “kinda personal and it’s gonna be long” to which she added “alright see you then” and gave a toothy grin, she had a twinkle in her eyes. I felt like, I was floating in air with joy. 

That day during class I was over excited and caused more nuisance than I normally used to. Every now and then her’s and my eyes met and we both blushed, perhaps she had a hint that I was having a huge crush on her. Everyone were looking at me weirdly, I continued my buffoonery   totally oblivious of the surroundings. Class was about to end and she made a silent gesture where to meet, I pointed my thumb towards the street behind, she gave a thumbs up and we all exited the door of our class teacher’s residence.

I informed Darshan about my intent and asked him wait at our usual place. Spandana sent Shravya and other friends away and came to that street. I was casually waiting on my cycle was having a packet of areca nuts, I don’t chew paan or gutka, but I had just to appear cool. She came near and asked “tell me now”, she appeared cool , I gazed at her eyes, couldn’t muster courage to ask what I actually wanted to ask, but asked “are you having a crush on someone?”, She laughed hard and said “no dude “tears rolled out as usual and she continued “you wanted to ask this only is it ?”, My voice got lowered involuntarily and said “no, but ,” I stopped midway , she made confidant eye contact and asked “but, what?” , I mumbled ” can I have your algebra notes from your school?”, “That’s all huh? Sure come with me, I will give you now only” she replied and we both walked till her home two blocks away, I tried hard to muster courage to come directly to the point but failed. We went near her residence and she asked me to come in and I insisted that I wait outside as it was getting late, she went in came back within few minutes and handed me the book, I glanced at few pages and said “lovely handwriting!” “Thanks and I want it back before Monday” she said. “Sure, I ll return it during tomorrow’s class” I replied and rode away. To be frank, I never glanced a single page or solve a single problem from her notes, I returned it promptly the next day.

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Motorcycle madness

My brother had an old kinetic Honda , which he had bought while he was in 12th standard so that he could attend tuitions for IIT – JEE , AIEEE, CET and of course normal syllabi. I would ride it often even though I was underaged against the Indian law, but would refrain from taking it to main roads to avoid traffic and traffic police.  That kinetic Honda was the only motored two wheeler during those days, as my father was in Chennai and would come only during the weekends and he didn’t need one, however during May of 2006, he was transferred back to Bangalore and he needed one. He was looking for options to buy one motorbike, I suggested him to buy an autogeared moped like Honda Activa or Honda Dio, with the intention of riding it to tuitions early in morning and during weekends, but he was looking for a motorbike as he felt motorbikes were safe when compared to moped owing to larger wheel radius and telescopic suspension, of course there are mopeds these days that have telescopic suspension, he was a professional rallyist during his late 20s and so had a liking for bikes over scooters or mopeds. I also suggested my father to buy Royal Enfield bullet, with the intent of using it to college few years later and somehow convincing him to buy another vehicle, but he declined it stating it was heavy and hard for his age, I finally gave up suggesting him bikes after he shouted at me after losing his patience over my repeated suggestions. One Saturday noon, he was waiting for me outside my school gate, he had learnt his lesson that to not come inside the school and have a word with my teachers owing to an episode of him being in a apologetic position resulting from one of my many escapades, he was carrying a huge envelope, I suspected that he wanted to come to my school and catch me red handed, but he opened my bagpack’s zip kept the envelope and took me to honda showroom situated opposite to my school, I realized that he had bought the newly launched Honda shine, 125 cc 4s, with disc brakes and self start, it was one lovely vehicle, I have million memories with that bike, never really wanted to discard that bike when I bought another bike 10 years later, but had to sell it of due to space constraints. I was super excited about the purchase, I knew my father would always go for a honda owing to brand loyalty, since then I have remained a honda loyalist as well. 

My father was very particular that I shouldn’t ride until I turned 18, but he would let me park the bike outside our gate, I was happy that I learned how to park the bike in center stand, I would wash it every Sunday mornings to keep it shining. My father had theoretically taught me how to change gears, which gear to ride in which speed, how to hold and release the clutch, inquisitive as ever, one Saturday afternoon my father was taking an afternoon nap, he fell asleep on the sofa while watching TV, I noticed that the bike key had dropped from his pocket, I stealthily picked and went out without making any noise. I slowly unlocked the bike, cautious enough not to start the engine which would wake my father, despite the bike having the least engine sound, I pushed it towards the end of the street, got on it and started the engine, it took me few times to release the clutch, when I got it successfully, I felt the adrenaline rush my veins and changed gears in succesion , felt adventurous enough to take it to main road, was riding at a slightly higher speed, but was not reckless, this trait I inherited from my father, respecting the machine and the road. I went to BDA complex hoping to see my friends and impress them with my newly picked up skill, in those days riding anything higher than a bicycle was considered cool, but none were hanging out. Still ecstatic about learning the bike entered a street without realizing traffic police would be in that street, I wasn’t skilled enough to escape them, so stopped, looking at my face they knew I wasn’t 18, one constable took the keys, I pleaded them to let me go and hurled fake promised that I wouldn’t do that folly again, the inspector didn’t budge, I didn’t even have money to pay them and go, He asked my father’s contact number, my father didn’t have a mobile phone back then so gave my landline number, when he dialed that number, unfortunately my grandmother answered it, when she heard that it was a police officer she panicked and was in tears due to shock, she passed the phone to my father, he spoke and agreed to come in few minutes. He wanted to teach me a lesson and did not turn up for another hour and a half, officer was pestering me by asking about my father, I sat on the footpath railing tensed, but father was happily sipping coffee and watching a show,  he finally showed up spoke to the inspector and received the keys, to my surprise inspector did not take any money as a fine, he just warned me and let us off. My father did not shout at me or was silently mad at me, he was laughing in his sleeves, he got on the bike and I was about to get on it, he said “go home, I am going out for sometime” and drove away. I was furious that he didn’t even drop me home which was just two blocks away and did not even give me money to eat something, also I was scared to go home after realizing the reactions of my mother and my grandmother.

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Entry of the villain.

One of my friend named Suresh was being paired and teased with Spandana, this pairing resulted in her  being teased among her schoolmates as well, but she was a good sport and would give a hearty laugh and let go of it. However it reached the ears of one guy named Kiran, who was in 12th or (2nd PU as per Karnataka education board), who was smitten by her when she had entered Digvijaya highschool for her 8th grade while he was in 10th grade in the same school. Now he was in Digvijaya PU college, he had some younger friends in Spandana’s and people teasing reached him through them. He by nature was not a bully but wouldn’t take shit, he was amongst top scorers in his batch, also he had quite a few bad habits like chewing gutka, smoking and drinking, they were big scandals back in that age also cool factor.

One day after our tutorials during the holidays, Suresh and I were walking towards our home. One guy was waiting in the street corner on his bicycle, he was athletic and tall owing to regular basketball​ practice and sported a spiked hairstyle with bronze coloured spikes, that was Kiran. He enquired who was Suresh near the gate of our class teacher and someone pointed him towards us, he came and asked us the same question and Suresh answered he was, “whom are in love with?” Kiran asked authoritatively, Suresh replied coolly “no one”, “don’t you lie you asshole” replied Kiran, “why will I ?”, questioned Suresh, “aren’t you in love with Spandana ?” He asked , “no” responded Suresh. 

Kiran pulled him towards a major drainage wall to warn him privately, I could see him make warning gestures while saying something and let him go after few minutes. Suresh came towards me as cool and calm as he normally is and said “some childish moron, he warned me saying not to talk to talk to Spandana And also convey the same to other boys, he also said no boy should talk to her without his permission”, “oh!” I responded, trying to cover my fear and act as normal as possible, I didn’t want anyone that I could be easily scared, I further added to prove I was not scared ,”what will he do, does he have the guts to attack us?” Saying this we bought a snack from a roadside vendor and left for the day.

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Acceptance!

After all misadventures, 9th grade finally came to an end. 10th was actually a milestone in a student’s life, firstly 10th marks card is the only educational proof which also has date of birth, so what you score there  will be noticed from time to time, although involuntarily and no one gives a flying fuck about your scores, as they are only concerned about what you earn and if your choices are acceptable by the undefined standards that the society has set, secondly, for its one of the filtering mechanism used during final year college placements, if you score less than 60percent, it’s confirm that you will spend a year or two as an unemployed graduate(with exceptions). As 10th grade is  largely overrated, our tuitions commenced during vacation itself, there were a bunch of morons who had started preparing for IIT-JEE exams which were  3 years away, but finally ended up doing engineering in some random engineering college and a random IT job in  some random IT company . Darshan, Indrajith and I were regular trouble makers, to spice it further Sashwat also joined our tutorials much to the delight of Darshan. 

All that mattered to me was Spandana continued our tutorials, that was something I was happy and few students from the school where I studied my primary had also joined, whom I hated as they belonged to that school, nothing personal, it was something I despised. 

It was April 2006, we used to have 4 hours of intense tutorial classes in morning and 2 hrs in evening. Physics was my strength, Chemistry and Mathematics were do-able, but I sucked big time in Biology, not that the subject was hard, I had made-up my mind that I would take engineering and Biology was not required for engineering entrance called CET, but developed an interest in microbiology few years later, so paid less attention to it. Amidst the lessons and our madness, my eyes would always end up scanning for Spandana’s eyes, she always sat resting her back to the wall and beside Shravya, I was always made to sit in the front near the board and would make myself comfortable by resting my back on the wall which was perpendicular to the wall on which Spandana used to rest, thereby ensuring clear eye contact. She would joke often, while her Kannada had traces of coastal Kannada influences which was kind of attractive, I would try mimicking coastal Kannada accent while I spoke to prove a point that even I had coastal Karnataka roots so as to impress her, but in reality I never could speak in that accent.

Our class used to have a friendly environment , our class teacher would joke often and make learning more fun. Sashwat was the butt of all jokes, I was a bit more harsh on him in my involuntary attempts to grasp Spandana’s attention. After classes we all would hang around for a while in the street corner, making fun of each other. This would some unknown reasons would bother an old lady who lived in the house on that street corner, she complained it to our class teacher about the cacophony and when we ignored his warning and continued our merry making, she complained it to cops, one day a SI and a constable came in a bullet and shooed us all away. While escaping on our cycles, I signaled Darshan to meet me in the parallel street, he did as I had told, “what?”, He asked, I looked at the ground and replied “I think am in love”, he started laughing hard and asked ” Baldwin’s chick?” I blushed and responded “no, it’s Spandana”. He laughed harder and said “Asshole, accepted it finally”.

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The after effects of music competition.

I was feeling miserable for missing the music competition in which my first ever crush would be singing, secondly I was curious regarding the ‘hole’ that helped us escape from the school and happy looking at the empty Madhavan park. We wanted to play something to kill time, but we didn’t  even have a tennis ball to play catches. So we started discussing about our respective crushes, Darshan was crazy about Bhavya, he insisted that everyone should have to accept they feel for someone to elbowed me to explain my feel on Spandana, I replied I didn’t have any  and probed regarding Aishwarya, he always addressed her as Baldwin’s girl, I ignored his rants as usual and stayed put and looked at the clear blues December skies of Bangalore. Then thankfully he changed the topic to movies, he was a bigtime film buff. I looked at my watch and realised that it was almost 4:45 and we had to attend tuitions at 5:30 and we didn’t have cycles that day, so Darshan and I decided to walk from Madhavan park, all the way till interiors of NR colony , it is one straight road, but roughly 4 kilometres. We walked so carelessly and spoke so loudly, passers-by would stop to glance at us, uncivilized and in uniform. We abused each other in a jovial way and hurled abuses on every family member of people we mutually hated. Tie had been lowered, shirt untucked and first two buttons opened.

As soon as we entered our class teacher’s hall, he scolded us for being so unkempt and also he had heard us swear, we hadn’t noticed him ride past us on his hero Honda Splendor. He said you both will never learn anything and allowed us to sit, we sat silently. After few minutes Spandana came in, everyone started clapping and then I realised that she had won the competition and I had missed her song, I gave an angry look to Darshan. Shravya came and sat next in the next row, I asked her “you lost right the competition right?” and smiled mockingly, “bugger off, loafer!” She replied angrily, I could sense she was upset and jealous at the same time, Spandana who sat next to her whispered to me “how was my song?” To which I replied, “I was in Madhavan park as I had bunked” , Shravya exclaimed in a shock, Spandana responded” you are really an idiot” , I could notice she was upset I had missed her song. I hated Darshan to the core that day, he resumed his regular monkey antics, Spandana and I looked at each other multiple times that day, I had a strange feeling of unexplainable joy and longing simultaneously.

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