December of 2005 was one of the most eventful Decembers I have ever had in my life, starting with, Aishwarya getting angry, who called me a “capitalist ass”, my phases of being a philosopher/ scientist and a perpetual class nuisance. I used to feel that everyone enjoyed my antics, but in reality there were matured souls back then as well, who had the seriousness to study deligently, Darshan and I were starting to get on everyone’s nerves, we did have a considerable number of haters, all members of the nerd brigade.
Sometime before Christmas of 2005, our school hosted a interschool music competition, Shravya, Vaidehi and Sashwath were the members of our school team, they were hand-picked by our music teacher/most annoying lady in our school, who would torment us to the core, we were made to sing Carnatic classical music, we deliberately wouldn’t carry the music notebook to the class so that we would be sent out, this was the practice, out of 96 students in total and 78 boys, 50 – 60 boys would miss out on carrying the notebooks and would end up being sent out, just what we all wanted. The music competition was held after lunch, eating up the entire forenoon session, we knew this would be boring, so we stocked out pockets with chewing gum, masala peanuts and Parle rola-cola candy.
We were all made to sit on the ground of our prayerhall, girls sat on the corridor skirting the prayerhall. I entered the prayerhall with my pockets stuffed with candies, snacks and gum, while I was entering, I heard someone call out my name, when I turned towards the direction of the sound, it was Spandana. I was stunned, stood there speechless, I pulled my voice and trying to act as normal as possible, asked “are you singing?” , With her trademark reaction of laughing combined with tears rolling from her eyes, she said “no , have come to dance to Shravya’s song” with influences of coastal Kannada influence, I noticed that Shravya was also present there, she was previously chatting with Spandana, I said to Shravya “ah fuck! Had I know that you would be singing, I would have ran away”, she replied “get lost you loafer”, Spandana added “that’s mean”. Sashwath was standing in corner humming a song that he would sing, just to prove that I was cool to Spandana, I shouted at him “you son of a bitch, you are also singing is it?, Our school’s reputation is fucked for sure”, Sashwath didn’t react, I felt offended because he dared to insult me infront of my crush, I went and grabbed his hair and raised my hand and was about to punch him, our Sanskrit teach saw me do that, so I made it look like it I was wishing him through tough love, and whispered in Sashwath’s ears “come outside, you bastard!”.
After this I ran towards Darshan and excitedly announced to him that Spandana had come, he announced it to our entire group in such a way that my actual crush had come, I myself had not declared it to myself. Everyone looked at her and were mesmerized by her bright eyes, Darshan came and secretly showed me a cigarette which he somehow had managed to smuggle with him, he said “let’s not stay for this crappy competition, let’s go to Madhavan park” and pulled me to boys toilet and he showed me a huge hole which was dug to build an additional toilet, for some unknown reason it was left unbuilt, he asked me to enter it, I trusted him and entered it only to exit to the road behind. From there we walked toward Madhavan park and found Mahesh, Indrajith and Raghunath. Darshan lit the cigarette and took a deep drag and coughed hard, he passed it to me, which I declined, Mahesh took it from him and took two drags and finally handing it to Raghunath followed by Indrajith. I put my bag on ground angrily as I wanted to listen to Spandana sing.