Monsoon and movies tend to bring out the nostalgia freak in me. I was watching bits of Jo Jeeta Wohi Sikander yesterday and they transported me to an old blog I had written in June 2007 to share this sweet memory from school.
‘It was a time when every dream appears attainable and stars shine extra bright.
It almost begins like a cliche. I used to be a typical introvert, someone who barely spoke or mingled. He was vivacious, mischief personified. I was serious about studies. He was serious about cricket. I loved fairy tales, he adored video games. We had only one thing in common — Ninth grade.
He was the cutest guy in my class (read universe) and totally oblivious to it. We had known each other all our lives, kindergarten onwards. We studied in the same school, attended the same classes, part of the same friends circle. Although sometime around secondary school, we sort of drifted apart. I was now part of a different group and dedicated to my syllabus.
Thing is, my geometry sucked. After a teacher humiliated me about it in front of the entire classroom, the sole objective of my existence became to redeem myself with respectable marks. My self-esteem was already low since, around 8th grade, I began wearing specs and was painfully conscious of it. (This couldn’t-care-less attitude takes a while to blossom.)
For the 2nd term exams that semester, I studied like a possessed maniac. Geometry wouldn’t have me. So I decided to have Geometry. I memorized every single statement and reason, problem, number, solution in my textbook and guides. I had to succeed by hook, crook or mugging. I picked ratta maar. (No wonder that song resonates with me so much.)
Results were announced. Milestone moment — I scored, gasp, 73 out of 75. My universe was in a state-of-shock. The certified geeks mourned. The pretend geeks mourned too. But, to a lesser degree. It was a moment straight out of Ripley’s Believe It Or Not. Guess hard work pays. 😉
That afternoon, I showed the result sheets to the same teacher who had insulted me in front of all the other kids. Admonishment made way for applause. I had accomplished the impossible. I had done Pythagoras proud. And Holy Cupid, *he* was there too, applauding my miraculous achievement.
Later that evening, after classes wrapped up, I scurried homewards. It was pouring heavily. Drenched and dripping, we both were walking on the parallel side of the same lane, no umbrella on either. I remember vividly. He wore a graphic black t-shirt and light blue jeans. I was wearing a lilac-hue dress with lace sewn around its sleeves.
My vision was hazy what with all the raindrops spattering my glasses. So I didn’t notice when he crossed the street. All of a sudden, he walked towards me and smiled. I returned his smile with a blushing ‘hello’. And then, he opened his palm containing toffees (Coffee Bite) and offered them to me. I picked one and thanked him. It was as though he meant ‘Congrats.’
Then he went his way. I went mine. I preserved that toffee wrapper in my drawer as a keepsake for a really, really long time.
That night, Pehla nasha played in a loop on my cassette player.’ 😉