...Between Fantasy And Reality - II

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...Between Fantasy And Reality



   In all my haste, I’d forgotten to mention a few things in the first of a series of dedications to you: First, the fact that you wore braces then – and it didn’t matter to me if it diminished your overall beauty; it wasn’t something I was concerned with in the first place. And then, the fact that you were wearing a blue kurti (did it have dots? or was it decorated with stars?) the day we first spoke to each other; and I had no idea it would come to haunt me again the first time I saw you dressed in it – but I’ll get to that in a while. There was another thing that I’d noticed – during maths class you always took the seats at the back, whereas in the science class (which took place once maths was over) you always took the front seats, usually somewhere from the first three rows; but I can’t be so sure - it was only a handful of times that I’d seen you during science class. But come grade ten, and it would all change.
   When tenth grade began, I honestly hoped you’d opt for some other batch, because I was opting for the same one I did last year; it was the tenth grade after all – I had to make something of it, right? Much to my dismay – and somewhat to my liking – you didn’t, and it was with inane happiness that I’d realized I could get to be in the same room with you for 3 hours, because this time, I opted for science too.
   I don’t remember much of science classes, except the fact that I was usually very sleepy and that you still occupied one the first few rows, but without the friend you usually sat with, and you sat on the other side, now; I took a seat on on of the rows to the right, while you took one on the left. And you didn’t change your seat for maths class, which was now held after science.
   This one time after the summer vacations, I clearly remember, I saw you in science class and I almost died. This was the first class I was attending after a month-and-a-half away from science, so naturally whatever was being taught made no sense to me. I sat on the left this time; I’d arrived later than usual and hence couldn’t occupy the seat that I usually did on the right, and from where I sat I could see you very clearly, seated about 3 or 4 rows ahead of me. You'd worn something ethnic, and it was green in color. Dark-ish green it was, with stripes on it, and it had some sort of a luster which made it shine under light. Was it really green, though? I'm not so sure. It definitely looked like it was from a distance, and up till then, I hadn't once had the opportunity to get close enough to assess carefully the color of your clothes, let alone talk to you.
   The subject being taught then was Physics, and due to my absence in the preceding classes, whatever our teacher taught went flying over my head. She gave the class a numerical to solve, and gave the students some time to work on it. I tried to work on it as much as I could, but in my bewilderment I ended up looking around the class, not only to see if others were as dumbstruck as me, but for other reasons too. From where I sat, I could see only see you turn sideways to discuss the question with the person who sat next to you. I also saw you run your hand through backwards through the entire length of your hair, in confusion (so I assumed). That went on to give me the idea to write another something, and even though I know you're not known to wear rings, the only elusive detail I added didn't go unnoticed by you.  That science class made realize two things, other than the fact that I really needed to start studying science - first, that you looked prettier when you wore ethnic clothes; and second, the fact that I wasn't over you in a long shot.
   And that was before we'd first introduced ourselves to each other.
   When I first spoke with you we were getting our first-term test papers. During the science exam, I remember, I'd come in before the paper was about to start, and so the invigilator made me occupy one of the very first rows. As I complained to her somewhat nonchalantly about where she'd seated me, I noticed you came and sat down behind me, in the row immediately behind the row I was sitting in. And then, even as I continued whining about my seat and the invigilator continued to ignore me, I somehow knew then that I didn't want to be reseated. I ignored my furiously beating heart (and the magnanimously loud sounds it made, then) and attempted the paper as focused as I could be. And somewhat to my surprise, I'd done rather well - as I came to know on the day I first spoke with you.
   You sat right behind one of my friends, and because of the absence of a fairly high number of students, I went and sat with her. And again, you were directly behind me.  I was tensed the whole time our science teacher called out the names of various students and handed their papers to them, not only because I was about to get mine, but because I had to be conscious of how I acted in front of you. I didn't know you then, and neither did you know me - so to hope for a good first impression wasn't so irrational, was it? You exchanged a few words with my friend, and I might've put in a few myself, but I never looked at you as I did so; I didn't have the guts. My left leg shook nervously as more names got called out, along with their marks; and almost froze when my name was said aloud: I'd scored 59 on 65.
   Mostly because I never knew I could score that well - and also because I knew this was the very first impression you'd ever get of me - I was happy beyond I could express. When your name was called out, the science teacher pronounced your name incorrectly and, as the class laughed, I tried to put in a little bit of a smile myself. How much had you scored? 51? I remember you stood in line to get your marks increased, but I don't know what had happened after that.
   The first time we spoke, we were standing in the space between where the stairs ended and the an entrance led to the second floor reception. I'd walked outside class with my friends, and you happened to be walking with them, too. They ditched us there, on some silly pretext (that is how I remember it) and one of the better ones left after making some comment on how much I loved guitars. You followed it up with a comment too, but I don't remember what it was; although I remember it being very ironic - talking about how much I loved guitars with you. But the change in topic happened quick, and I know I was the one who initiated it (and to this day I don't believe I had enough courage to go ahead with such a daredevil task). If I am to recall correctly, which might not be the case here at all, I asked you something about the first term exams of your school, and you said something regarding it. And that something I don't remember at all. But what I do remember is that when I'd asked you when your exams finished (or began), your eyebrows curled and your eyes warped into a scrutinizing expression, and you bent your head towards your right and gazed upwards. That was a weird expression - it still is, in my books - and considering it was one of the very first ones I saw, I felt partly weird, but mostly I was overwhelmed with happiness. I'd never dreamt I'd speak to you ever, and alone, at that. This friend of mine you were talking to, she told me I'd owe her a treat if you and I ever had a proper conversation.
   I still owe her a treat.
   And I owe you one too, because I guess I'll treasure the memory of our first conversation, no matter how short it might've been, for as long as I'm able to. I'm not one to make false promises, and I'm pretty sure I won't remember you forever; because someday, like everything I once remembered, I'll forget you, too.
But if it's any consolation, I'll probably remember something about you that I'd noticed that very day, from a distance so close I'd have to blind to not be encompassed in its enigma. Something beautiful. Something awfully gripping; magnetic. Something I won't possibly ever forget.
   Something haunting.
   Your eyes.


   Disclaimer: Fiction
   Read the first chapter here.

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