The wound on my heel healed in a week, I was spending time reading books at a library in a BDA complex nearby. I would cycle everyday and sit there for hours together reading numerous books, of all the subjects, spirituality allured me the most. I started with ‘The Ramayana’ and ‘The Mahabharata’, but back then I did not have the maturity to grasp the depth of spiritual content from those epics, I perceived them as a heroic tale of good vs bad, then read about Adi Shankara and his philosophy of non-duality, the idea of world being an illusion fascinated me the most, though he was gone more than a millennium before I was born, I found his philosophy relevant even now, in fact relevant forever.
When I wouldn’t be reading I would spend my time cycling the streets of Basavangudi and revel in its old world charm, loaded with lots of greenery and century old buildings. Those were the days when pocket money was something I was not versed with. But would carry about 5 rupees in my pocket for emergencies such as filling air to my bicycle tyres, that was about 1 rupee per tyre, 3 rupees for fixing a punctured tyre, it was irresistible for a foodie, that I am to resist the inviting aroma of bajjis being fried, perfect for chilly October evenings in Bangalore, they costed about 1rupee for 2 pieces.
I would beg my mother to give me 10 rupee for swimming sessions and 1 rupee for parking my cycle in front of the pool. She was still mad because of my injury, hysterical that it may repeat and most of all she didn’t like me going with Darshan who was known for his daring and rough nature that he may push me into deep waters in order to teach me how to swim, at that point of time she did not realise he was but a tender soul with a rough exterior.
After our swimming sessions, which were at least thrice a week, I noticed that Darshan would take a longer route to reach his home and noticed he would deliberately get down from his cycle, start pushing it in one street, despite being a leveled road, would ring his cycle bell in front of a house. He noticed that I had noticed this behaviour of his and asked me if I knew whose house it was quizzingly, I replied I didn’t know. His face started to turn red, he lowered his eyes and with a shy smile he mentioned it was our classmate Bhavya’s home. “Holy fuck!!” I responded, shocked beyond measure, of all people this guy falling in love and of all girls with Bhavya, who was a bit annoying. I wondered what exactly was wrong with Darshan in falling for her, I directly advised him against it.
I admire him even today because of his nature, he did not get mad at me for discouraging him, convincing me that he loved her dearly and not abandoning the friends when in love, in contrast to my behavior a year and a half later.
Finally 3 weeks of midterm vacation concluded and our lives resumed to normalcy. Everyone were anxious with their performance in the examination, as the time to reap the results of our action arrived.