“Anyway, I have made the right decision. Don’t worry, Naomi. You were right from your side. What for Akshat? He will find someone else…he will forget you soon…he must have perhaps been infatuated”, concluded I, cackling out a burst of a fake chuckle.
Tick, Tick, Tick…, sang my pencil, as my right thumb kept hitting the tip of my tip-pencil, over and over. My eyeballs rolled like a giant wheel ride at the speeding ceiling fan. I shifted my eyes to look at my textbook, illuminated by the bright white tube light from behind my bed and lying open on my left lap while my long unruled notes were on the right lap.
“Interpretation of Statues”, announced the new chapter in bold black. I sighed. I released my pencil. I rested my back on the wall behind me.
“I love you, Naomi…I love you very much…”
Akshat sir’s words of the proposal hadn’t stopped echoing within my heart till night. I closed my eyes. I swallowed my tears at Akshat’s haute French kiss. I breathed hard and opened my eyes only to notice my finger on my lips.
“Stop thinking about it. What are you doing?”, thought I, removing my finger at once.
“Sir, I’m sorry if I hurt you. But, we shouldn’t do this. It's bad”, I grumbled to myself.
No sooner did I complete reading a point in the text that my eyes rolled hither and thither at the curtains covering the windows entirely.
“Someone else? …But, I can’t see him with another girl…Nope”, said I, shaking my head.
Very soon, I shrugged, declaring, “What bothers me? Let him go with whomever he wants. It's his call. Why should I care?”
I hissed aloud. I slammed my forehead.
“Why am I getting distracted by considering all of this?”
“Naomi, focus. You are going to start a new chapter in the Jurisprudence subject. Come on”, I advised myself. I began skimming through my text. The sharp led tip of my pencil grew engrossed in underlining and circling a few words here and there. I grabbed my blue gel pen.
“Rule of Literal Construction”, I read, in my mind, as I jotted a few points down. “....The second rule is that the phrases and sentences are constructed according to Akshat…”
“What?”, I exclaimed, holding my heartbeat at ‘Akshat’ written in the midst of my notes.
“Oho! Kiku, this isn’t fair. What have you done to me? Urgh!”, grumbled I, plugging my notebook inside the exposed page of the textbook and pressing them together upon my pillow.
As I closed my eyes again, Akshat’s blushing face, his confession of traveling all the way to Bangalore and striving for my transfer, our first meet when he caught my luggage at the right time on the bus, our intimacy on the rainy night on my terrace and my kiss of gratefulness, his kiss to wish me to get well soon-all of them flashed one after the other in my mind. I felt as if I watched a movie without a screen!
I felt someone pat my left shoulder. I slowly opened my eyes. I threw my mouth open at Akshat waving and blushing at me.
“Sir!”, exclaimed I, jumping out of my bed, at once.
“Alooooo Kiku, yes or yes?”, he asked, as he caught my palms and shook them.
“What’s wrong with you? Sorry to say this but why have you come here to a ladies' hostel?”, screamed I, releasing my hands from his. I displayed my right palm gesturing for him to stop.
“Sir, please try to understand from my point of view. I can’t love you like a lover…Stop looking at me with your eyes of manly love. I know I sound rude to you who have been my only well-wisher ever since we met but this is not happening…Kiku, we must not do this…”
“Dude, stop it! Why are you acting lame? What are you talking about in the first place? I’m blank….”, rushed Vyomi, with her usual hurried tone.
“Vyomi, you?”, asked I, sharing a puzzled face with her. I looked around to see Akshat nowhere there, of course! I closed my fists wondering what was wrong with me. As tears began rolling down my cheeks, turning rosier; I witnessed in the opposite dressing mirror.
“Wait, what happened? Why are you crying, dude?”, enquired Vyomi with the fastest pace faster than the cheetah hunting for its prey. I hugged her firmly. I soaked the tops of her gray jeans with my tears. She patted my head anxiously as she continued to question the reason.
“Dude, Akshat sir proposed to me this evening. I don’t know if I hurt him…he has supported me even when my family didn’t…I feel rude turning him down but his love is wrong..why did he do this to me? Like just why? Why?....”, sobbed I.
“Oh, coolio! Dude, I feel happy to hear about this”, replied Vyomi, as I slowly released her. I knelt in front of her and wept my heart out.
“But, what makes you reject him? I mean he is genuine and you guys were very close then what’s missing?”, she blushed, continuing, “We used to tease you not only for fun but also for the fact that we observed a lovely spark between you…your chemistry is great but what stops you, dude? We, as your friends, anticipated this and it's the best moment. Why are you crying? Why do you hesitate?...”
“No second thoughts, dude. We shouldn’t be involved in a love affair. That's all and I told him the same…I will apologize to him just in case my words had sounded stubborn…”
“Oh please stop your thoughts, dude”, Vyomi interrupted, bulging her eyes at me. “Now, tell me why do you feel that one shouldn’t love one’s lecturer? I thought that you would change but you are still the same…”
“Listen to me. The thing is…”, began I. She cut me again.
“Dude, let me finish. Don’t you remember what Akshat sir shared the other day when you were discussing the very same controversial matter? Loving one’s professor doesn’t imply that the student isn’t respecting the professor. Love and respect take their own places in the heart. See, you are overthinking. Don’t ruin your life by making foolish decisions. Tomorrow your policy will fill your life with regrets. Just think about it. I’m sorry if I’m intervening too much in your personal space but I can’t see my best friend losing her love later….”
“Why don’t you understand me either? In fact, why doesn’t anybody hear what I feel?”, squealed I, sitting back on the bed.
“You aren’t hurting Akshat sir. In the process, you are hurting yourself. I can hear your heartbeat for him. But, I wonder why don’t you? Discard your policy into the bin…”, Vyomi continued to advise me.
“No, dude. It's not about my policy. It's about leading a disciplined life. I don’t want to do anything wrong and this kind of love is illegal. What a tough spot!”, cried I. Vyomi sat beside me on the bed.
“Fine, but one last piece of advice I would like to offer is that you dedicate some time to give it a thought. Don’t think about Akshat; neither about me or anyone else. Just listen to what your heart says. Follow its words and take wise action accordingly. It's your call”, Vyomi reassured me. “Remember that I’m always here for you. If you need any help, you can talk to me.”
While I nodded, she dragged me for dinner. I shook my head.
“Hey, come, give your brain some rest. It will then hear your heart. Let's dine!”, she insisted.
“Dude, I don’t have the mood. I am restless at the moment. You carry on”, denied I, freeing my hand from hers.
“It's your favorite chapati with dal makhani. How dare you miss it? The yummy squares of butter will create a colorful world in your heart to feel better…come!”, she continued. I shrank my eyes and shook my head vigorously. She shrugged. She sighed, leaving our room with a heavy heart as I waved.
A while later, our room had all its lights turned off. Vyomi had already begun snoring a bit; she doesn’t snore loudly though. I kept turning towards the wall after which I turned to face Vyomi. My sleeping position changed once every single second. I just couldn’t shut my eyes. Akshat’s blushing face was the only scene my retina visualized.
“Dude, don't disturb me. I need to sleep at least seven hours…”, grumbled Vyomi. Her eyes continued to remain shut as firmly as the bank’s locker housing expensive jewels.
“Fine!”, I acknowledged. One last time, I changed my posture to focus on the ceiling.
“Neither am I able to sleep nor study. Akshat sir has pushed me to a dilemma…”
My furious roommate woke up to sit with her legs crossed. She turned on the bed lamp.
“Hey, sorry…Don’t be angry…”, said I, in an attempt to convince her.
“What did you just utter, dude? Why dilemma? You just declared that you have never and will never love Akshat sir. Above all, what’s disturbing your sleep if you don’t have feelings for him? Why should you get worked up? Didn’t you tell me that you have already shared everything that you wanted to tell him? Why are you still thinking about it, in that case?”, she attacked me with arrows of questions.
She turned off the lamp and laid back on her bed.
“Keep thinking but let me sleep!”
“No, you are right. Thank you, dude. I too will sleep peacefully now!”, I exclaimed, letting a deep sigh out. No sooner did I attempt to shut my eyes that my mobile began ringing.
“Dudeeeeee!”, Vyomi squealed. “I find it hard to get sleep. I’m trying very hard to concentrate and…”
“Dude, sorry, Akshat sir is calling me”, I informed her. “It's ten thirty. Why is he calling me at odd hours?”
“Ooooo! How am I supposed to know?”, teased Vyomi, blushing and covering herself with her blanket as I threw my pillow. I cut the call. While I laid back to fall asleep, I heard another call. I cut it again, this time, in the very first ring. Vyomi coughed.
“Ohoooo Ohooo!”, she cheered, as my phone rang again. I cut it once again. When it rang the fourth time, Vyomi lost her cool. She walked me out of the room.
“You crazy lovers, I won’t let you disturb my sleep”, said she, shutting the door in my face.
When the caller screen displayed Akshat’s name once again, I picked it up. The corridor was dim with a few yellow bed lamps here and there. The other rooms in the line too were locked.
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?
“Akshat sir, why can’t you stop calling me? Don’t you get that I don’t want to answer the call?...”, I scolded him, at a low volume.
“Sexy! Come down to the reception, my love”, conveyed he.
“What! Are you serious? Sir, it's ladies PG….”
“Aye, Kiku! That's why I’m here at the reception and didn’t dare to visit your room by any means. Hmmm!”, he justified, following a long sigh screeching through my ears. I rushed downstairs.
My eyes flooded with tears as soon as they went over him waving at me from the desk. I remember I was in a dark pink top on light pink loose cotton pants, that night.
“Has he really come to meet me? Why is it you who loves me so much, Kiku? Why did the forbidden happen?... I never expected this…”, thought I. As I swallowed my tears, I headed foot by foot toward him. I didn’t know how to deal with him. What shall I do?
“You are sweet, Kiku”, he complimented, as he wrapped his cozy hands around my waist.
“How am I? I refused you…”, questioned I. He placed his finger on my lip. He blushed, shaking his head along.
“Nah! My dear girlfriend is confused right now. She needs some more time to understand the so-called forbidden love”, he explained.
“No matter how long you wait, I think I won’t…”, argued I. But, I didn’t want to release myself from him. I wanted to stay with him but shouldn’t love him. He released me from his arms.
“It's okay. Take your sweet time. I’m sure you will realize…”
“No, Kiku. There is a misunderstanding. I don’t love you…”
“Because of your policy. Sexy!”
He placed his finger once again on my lips. He shook his head slowly. I noticed the weariness with which his meek and hesitant eyes looked at me.
“Naomi, never say so. I can’t imagine my life without you. I can’t see another woman in the place where you reside in my heart. Even if Miss Universe, Pooja Moopan, my celebrity crush, comes to live with me, I won’t go ahead (Hello readers, ignore current affairs here. She is the Miss Universe of my fictional world! I hope you don’t mind!!!). I believe in the passage of time. I’m sure it will nullify the distance between the both of us. Love seems to get fine only with time.”
He gave me a tight hug-tighter than ever before. I sobbed.
“None can love you more than me. But, I can’t see you as my man…”, thought I. He grabbed a Tupperware box from the sofa.
“Have your dinner”, said he, offering it to me.
“But how do you know that I haven’t eaten?”
“Sexy! Based on your response to my love proposal, don’t you think I am smart enough to guess that you would be disturbed?”
I blushed at his light brown eyes blushing in return.
“Hmmm someone is blushing”, said he, pointing at my pink cheeks.
“It looks like I blush even whenever I smile. What's my fault?”, shrugged I.
He neared me. I stepped back. I could feel my heart in my legs. I stopped as my back hit the wall. He leaned forward. He closed his eyes.
“I love you”, he repeated, accompanied by a gentle kiss on my forehead. My heartbeat paused for a moment. He rested my cheeks in his hands.
“I don’t want to put any sort of pressure on you. Take your own sweet time. Semester exams are fast approaching. I don’t want you to starve because of me. Take care!”, he clarified.
He forced his tongue into my mouth. My cheeks turned rosier as I pressed his shoulders hard. Our eyes were on each other for the entire next minute.
“What's happening to me? Why am I unable to stop him from kissing me? What’s going on in my mind?...”, I was lost in my own world of thoughts.
“Bye!", said he, as he waved and walked away towards the entrance. I stood like a statue.
He turned back. He whistled at me. I shrugged and gestured for him to stay quiet.
“Sexy!”, whispered he, nodding and blushing at me.
“I brought home-cooked dinner for you. My mom’s special hand-made aloo paratha”, added he.
“No thanks. I can manage…”, denied I.
“Sexy! Your wish but it’s very tasty. Don’t miss it, Kiku”, he concluded.
He honked his car twice. I folded my hands and pretended not to notice. He waved and sped away in his car. I ran up to the entrance only to note that his car had left the corner of our street. I had never been this close to a guy ever before.
“Aww! This is so damn cute and sweet of Akshat. If he is sure about my love, don’t you think there is something that I am unable to notice but he does?”, I asked myself. A moment later, I opened the lunch box and smiled wide at its fragrance.
“Yummy!”, exclaimed I, at the two stuffed and fresh parathas. I sat down on the couch. I paired every little bite of the paratha with traces of curd in another little box that he had brought. I chewed, generating a slight noise, and hogged to kill the rats running in my tummy for the past three hours.
“Kiku is lucky enough to have such a caring mother. She cooks amazing!”
I sobbed as I ate. I remembered my duty-conscious parents who hardly cared about their daughter. I only speak a word or two every morning over a voice call with my family. I wonder why they aren’t as attached as Akshat with me.
“Such a beautiful feast!”, murmured I, leaning back on the spongy couch.
“Water?”, asked a gentle, meek, and hesitant voice.
“Sure!”, agreed I, tracing the voice only to follow that it was Akshat sir!
“Kiku, you…but I thought you had left…”
My hands developed goosebumps as if I had seen a ghost.
“Sexy! Why did you have to perform a drama for dinner? I knew you were hungry. That's why I brought the food and entered your PG after buttering your warden and the guard. After I left, you hogged as if you hadn’t eaten for years!”, commented he, blushing along, while I raised my eyebrows.
“Likewise, I promise I will bring out what's here…”, said he, pointing at my chest followed by my lip and concluding, “over here. You will say it. I can guarantee it after having been hanging out with you all these months. I can read your mind. I know what's there in it!”
He forced the tiny water bottle into my right hand.
“Now, don’t refuse water”
I remained speechless.
“Good night!”, wished he, patting my cheeks.
“Naomi, I take an oath to make you accept and propose to me as well. Watch out!”, he completed, walking backward with his eyes only on me while I stood, feeling my black pupils dilating as my cheeks turned pinker. He blushed, signaling that I was blushing.
No sooner did I look away than I heard his car leave. I hurried to the entrance. I pressed the furniture marking the entry door. I rested my head on the open curve designs engraved on the surface. I chuckled to myself.
“ I feel unexplainable happiness when we spend time together, especially when you look after every little thing about me. Akshat, is this love?”, thought I, blushing alone.
I shrugged to myself.
“Fine, you have promised that you will help me realize. Please help me, Kiku”, thought I, blushing and running upstairs.
“How many times should I explain the same topic to you? Did you forget to pack your brains while moving from Surat?”, yelled Ruhi, throwing notes at the entrance of our classroom as if she were playing the shotput.
What's Ruhi up to?
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