Love is so blind that it just happens unexpectedly.
You may fall for anyone!
Would you let go of your policy if you fell for someone you shouldn't? What would you choose-your policy or your beloved?
The fresh red hibiscus flowers showered and the leaves on the silver oak trees danced to the rhythm of the powerful morning breeze. I had completed three rounds of jogging yet there was hardly a drop of sweat to drench my hands; neither did my face soak as always. I bent and caught my legs. I breathed harder as I closed my eyes only to recollect how Rishabh Sir had firmly denied my admission to Janki University. I looked up at the sky to note that the big and bright yellow sphere was too shy to bless an idiot.
"Trust me, Naomi. All I need is some more time. I ensure your seat here, don't worry", Akshat Sir's words echoed within my heart. I smiled to myself as I rubbed my palms and thanked him. "But, I knew that you spoke so only to motivate me. I am damn sure now since you haven't contacted me for the past two days. Words that seem sweet may not necessarily sweeten your life", thought I, folding my hands.
As I walked a few more feet, I found a white hoodie having patterns of brown-colored little bear dolls. It was deserted on a green bench. My eyes rolled hither and thither to find none around. I took the hoodie in my hands, lifted it high, and asked, "Aww! You are such a cute dolly-dolly hoodie. Which Mr.Rude has abandoned you?" I hugged and kissed it for I loved dolls not only during my childhood but also to date and will love them forever. The hoodie was soft like a baby's tender skin. I didn't know why but I could feel life in it! I rubbed my cheeks gently upon it, as I wondered why I sensed an emotional attachment with a damn non-living cloth!
No sooner had I worn it and resumed jogging than I heard someone clap from behind. I didn't dare to turn back for I suspected that it could be the hoodie's owner. "Excuse me! My hoodie!", called out a familiar, meek, and hesitant gentlemanly voice. I was reluctant to put in the effort to recognize him.
"No, I need it. It's a little cold today", refused I, beginning to run. "But, it's my favorite too. Stop right there!", argued he. I then heard his footsteps chasing me. I wondered why he had to be reckless about it at first and then chase it when someone better just planned to own it. His act seemed like the biological parents running after their child's foster parents. Urgh!
I tripped on the branch lying across the path and fell down. "This is what happens when you try to steal someone else's belongings", he teased me, as he stood a foot behind. I finally turned back. His smile narrowed while I enlarged my eyes at him. My heart began racing and my pulse reached its peak, leaving me breathless for a moment.
"Naomi!", exclaimed he, while, "Akshat sir!", startled I. "I am very sorry. I didn't know it was yours", apologized I, removing my hoodie and handing it over to him. I was back again in my light blue tracksuit and white shoes. He shook his head and the smile reappeared, this time, accompanied by the chime of his eyes. He stood blank and speechless while I felt guilty again. Urgh! Why does my relationship with Akshat always involve fucking guilt?
I waved at him and turned away to leave. He caught my hand and stopped me. "It's fine. You can take it. I didn't know it was you. If so, I wouldn't even have stopped you in the first place", said he. "Take it. Aren't you feeling cold?", asked he. I turned away from him, refusing, "No sir, I was wrong..."
"Aye!", interrupted he, tying his hoodie along my hip with a knot on the front. While he blushed, I turned pinker with his cozy arms wrapping my waist. For once, I believed that I won't be wrong trusting this man who was ready to resign for me and who, now, sacrificed his favorite hoodie for me!
"Don't you want to know the status of your seat?", asked he, at which I nodded. "But, I don't think there has been any significant progress otherwise you would have already informed me", answered I. He nodded, explaining, "I have spoken to the registrar again, highlighting that the Chairman can't interfere in a student's admission according to the norms of the University. Rishabh is simply dominating for personal vengeance..."
"Let's hope", said I, with my fingers, crossed at him. He corrected, "No hopes anymore. You can be sure about it now." He declared, "I too can exhibit my power if Rishabh can."
Aww! I couldn't believe that a man was fighting to this extent, just for me. I had never been this close to a guy ever before. I checked out his black tracksuit; he looks very handsome all in black. I inquired, "Sir, do you come jogging every day to this public park?" He chuckled, replying, "I started a new routine today, and look whom I met!" We blushed and laughed at each other. "I'm sorry if I intervened you", apologized I, at which he shrank his eyes, smiled, and waved his palm. "I doubt if I disturbed your regular jogging", added he, at which I blushed and shook my head.
"Let's continue!", we said, in chorus and smiled, as we jogged together. It was the first time my legs weren't moving, in solitaire, in all these years. I jogged a few feet ahead and turned back to see him catching his legs and smiling. As he found a hard time being in sync with me, I slowed myself. He eventually began to jog along. The screechy chirps of the local birds, the whistle of the leaves, and Akshat humming a song were the only sounds piercing through my ears and triggering another smile to pinken my face.
I glanced at my baby-like jogging partner who was focused in the front. He turned and caught my stare. Urgh! How could I again forget that he was stare-conscious? How awkward! I turned away from him and closed my eyes as I blushed, jogging. I opened my eyes and noted him blushing, from a corner of my eyes. Clouds of timidness began floating across my heart. I was caught red-handed like a naughty child closing her face with both hands after being caught stealing the candies.
Whatever, I liked the coincidences with Akshat sir; something weird that never happened anytime in my life.
I stood in my Puja room, in front of the five racks having small idols of Lord Ganesh, the holy calf, and photos of various Hindu gods and goddesses, as the radio behind me recited a few bhajans of Lordess Lakshmi with a melodious tone. It was tiny room lit with a bright yellow light that evening. The photo of Lordess Lakshmi was perfect just in the center of the showcase. Her simple and reassuring smile added colors to her photo wearing a garland of roses, forming a V-shape upon her.
I lit the two small lamps on either side as well as the holy gold-plated thali having a small black metal pendant with a butterfly-shaped locket and a handy cup of red sindoor placed on it. It was the holy Laxmi Puja my family used to perform on the first Tuesday of August every year. My surgeon parents had always been busy that I had to continue the ritual after my granny shifted to California to live with my Taiji (dad’s elder brother).
I wore a dark green-colored lehenga and blouse with yellow glittering dots on it. Its dark green shawl hung down from my shoulders. White ghajra wrapped my tight hair worn in a bun, like an arc, long green drops with embroidery-like white designs on them ruled my ears, a white necklace comprising of pearls clung to my neck, and two thick golden-colored bangles on both hands.
I opened the sweet box having around ten small pieces of kaju katli, took them out one by one, and arranged them on a steel plate lip singing the bhajans playing in my background. It was the lady of my life-my granny who had educated me about our culture.
It had already been the third evening since I met Akshat sir at the park. “Give me three days. That’s all I need to prove my point to you and save you.”-Akshat sir’s words of last hope had opened gates to my career in my mind yet all in vain. I didn’t hear any updates from him or Vyomi after the tragic judgment from Mr. Rishabh.
I had already accepted that the year then was an utter waste and a zero year of my education. I had cried my heart out that lonely night. My parents too screwed me instead of pacifying me. The morning after, I held up and convinced myself to rest for a few days and then revise for the next year’s Maharashtra state-level entrance exam to get into universities.
While I sighed and swallowed my pile of tears at one wrong decision, I heard the door of the terrace squealing. I rose my eyebrows, stopped the radio, and stepped outside the room which too was on the first floor that had the door to enter as well as exit from the terrace of my three-storeyed individual house.
My heart lost its rhythm at the two men rushing inside as the second chased the first who was in formals. I stood in the corridor opposite to theirs.” Eyy!” shouted I, which they neglected and continued their Tom and Jerry race. I was, as usual, all alone in my house that day.
I grabbed the small steel vessel lying on the floor of my Puja room and threw it away on the second guy’s head as I yelled,” Tu konahes? (Who are you?)" He fainted far opposite me.
I frowned at the other guy and yelled,” Go away, you too!” while he called me, “Aloo Naomi!”, revealing, “I am Akshat! Don’t hit me-a poor guy I am!”, running towards me. As soon as he neared me, I noticed him in a navy-blue formal shirt, black formal pants, and black coat. The golden chime on his smiling face over smarted the yellow chandelier that spread its beam throughout the floor. His meek and hesitant eyes were throughout me right from my face to my toe.
” Akshat Sir!”, exclaimed I while his eyes were on my plain waxed hands exposed due to my sleeveless blouse. I called him again while his eyes targeted my nails painted in dark green. I patted his shoulder a little after which he looked back at me. He blushed, complimenting,” Naomi, you look very different…Sexy!”
“What!”, shrugged I.
He corrected, “No don’t misunderstand me again…I meant that you look beautiful today.”
I blushed in response and thanked him. After an awkward moment of eye contact, I diverted, “How come you are here? By the way, you should have informed me if at all you were planning to visit…”
He chuckled, explaining, “Sexy! That’s a long story, Kiku.”
I turned away from him and looked behind. He patted my shoulder and shrugged at me. I justified, “I wanted to check if someone was standing behind me as you addressed someone as Kiku! But none I am surprised! Whom were you talking to, Akshat sir?”
He blushed, tickling me a bit and I squealed. “No!”, screamed I.
He chuckled, enquiring, “Sexy! Do you feel ticklish? I did not know. Sorry!”
I nodded and blushed, catching hold of his hands as tight as the belt wrapped around a passenger during paragliding.
” Chill I won’t repeat it…”, he assured.
I interrupted him, “Akshat sir, I had asked you something.”
He chuckled, finally killing the suspense,” Kiku…”
I intervened again, “Akshat sir, why are you calling me Kiku?”
What does Akshat have in store for Naomi?
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