“Hey, you Shyam , stand up”. Reshmi teacher was rushing towards me.
“Are you dreaming? What is so fun outside in the rain. Hmm. I don’t see any fun film running outside”. She was on fire.
I took some time to come back to the real world; to my class. The entire reel here was running in slow motion. I saw teacher is performing a slow motion song in mute mode. Suddenly I realized the situation and its gravity. Now I can hear her sound like anything. I just looked at her like a sheep in a butcher shop.
“Show me your book, show me”. She took my maths note and gave me a weird look.
“You haven’t even started solving the problem. Everybody finished and waiting for the next question”. She looked at me for an answer.
“What !!”. I took my book back and turned the page. Only question was written there to solve.
I looked at my dearest friend sitting beside me. This is his handwriting and obviously this book belongs to my friend, not mine.
“Look at Nandu’s note book. He finished it so fast”. Teacher said.
I kept on looking at him. He smiled at me when teacher praised him. He offered me, my own notebook, and my own solution as a helping hand. He did it so well that even teacher felt it as nice as he was trying to help me. Thanks dear friend, But I cannot disclose the truth to my teacher because, In friendship betrayal is sin.
“Let me talk to Indira teacher. You won’t learn otherwise. What do you think; Is this a joke, having fun in 10th std.” she was going on like a radio which is having complaint in switch to turn off.
Indira teacher, my mother is also a teacher in the same school. To have your mother as a teacher in the same school is like walking with an activated bomb in your hand, which can explode any time. The funniest thing is, everyone other than you will be having a remote to explode that. They will take it out always to black mail you as last resort to escape. You should take extra care while doing everything. I felt really sad about my fate.
She was not aware of all these drama going in the class. She was swimming in that bloody maths equation. Is she doing it again and again or might be giving make up to the solved problem.
Gayatri, I was looking at her sometimes before. She was in my beautiful day dream. We were running in the rain, hand in hand. She was looking beautiful. She was wearing a light blue salwar which was already fully wet due to the rain. Rain water was running all over her body. Her wet hair was over her shoulders. Her cheeks were like waterproof apple surface, from which drops of water was rolling down. She lost her duppatta while running, I think. I grabbed her hand again to run towards the end of the world. Then I saw. Reshmi teacher in the dream with a barricade in front of us. That’s the moment she caught me and brought me back from the rain to the class.
I am sure that, she will tell this to my mother with extra masalas and added flavors. I just imagined the same old filmy dialogues which I am going to hear at home today.
“Macha Shyam, sorry da. I would have been in trouble otherwise. Your note saved me. You know that, me and maths is like Shahrukh Khan and Amrish Puri. Leave it dear. Please, for me this time”. He is good while buttering bread.
I looked at him like he owes me a big favor for this great sacrifice.
Nandu looked at me. I heard him sniggering when I turned back.
He was smiling like he caught me red-handed while peeping through somebody’s window.
“What”. I asked.
“Nothing. Hmm”. Nandu smiled again. This time too weird.
“What. Anybody nude here. What the hell you are smiling”. I know he is having something with him about me, which could be fatal for me.
“I saw you. You were looking at her and water was flowing out of your mouth. Teacher was tracing you for a long time. Any way she is beautiful & gorgeous. In this case, I insist you, not to waste time. Gayathri is a good girl.” Nandu said.
“You are genius brother. Mwaahhh”. I wanted to tell him. But I was confused about the emotion to be expressed. Happiness or fake smile.
“So what do you say? Do I have a chance? “. I asked him.
“I think, she doesn’t know even you exists in this class. Hahahha..”. He laughed like a monkey. If not, it was like that for me at least.
Bell rang. End of today’s class. Gayathri closed her book immediately and stood up as she was seeking permission from teacher to go to prayer song. Teacher nodded her head and she went out of the class running. I felt a cool breeze blowing on my face as she passed me. A breeze which made the flame of love inside me, to a fire storm. I need a deep breath to stabilize.
“There is no doubt; she is the best singer in the school”. Nandu said while packing the Michael Jordan face printed bag.
We walked together to the ground.
“You have to make your mark by impressing her”. Nandu said while fixing the stump by hitting with the handle of the bat.
“I don’t know singing. You want me to learn that. No way”. I said.
“Ohhh. I thought you will sing and impress her. Hahah. Don’t even think about it dude. Don’t make me laugh. Ok. You and singing, It’s like fixing A/c in an auto rickshaw”. A slap would have been better than this last sentence. I smiled like a dump fool.
“Are you here to make fun of me, to make a fool out of me? I thought you are my friend and will help me. That’s why I disclosed you the secret. Now please give me a good idea. Something like, she should start thinking of me”. I was excited.
But Nandu’s expression disappointed me. He looked at me like I have asked his ATM pin number.
“Then you tell me. What should I do”. I asked him but it was like begging.
Sometimes you have to surrender to your zero brain friends and to call them Albert Einstein to get the hell out of some situations. I am right now in that shit.
“You should try some kind of filmy things to impress these kinds of artistic and creative people.” Nandu said.
Nandu came with an idea which was not bad. I must say wonderful. I think CBF worked for Nandu. CBF – Cerebral Blood Flow, teacher taught us yesterday.
“This is the plan. She is learning music from a music teacher near to my house. I mean very much near. You can try your luck to impress her. I will provide you all infrastructure you need, like my cycle, balcony, binoculars etc etc. But it’s up to you to the extra effort. Ok.” Nandu completed his plan in one shot.
“Thanks dear. You are simply great.” That was from the bottom of my heart.
I started from Nandu’s gate as I saw Gayathri was coming from the other end. I rode the cycle in style as it was a Yamaha RXZ.
As I approached her, my heart started beating like congo drum and I forget to breath. . I rang the cycle bell, when I reached right in front of her. She raised her head and looked at me. The world around me was expanding. She looked at me surprised. There was a suspicious question mark in her eyes. She was not expecting me here. I rode the cycle straight like in a dream. A girl having average IQ level would understand this stunt. She went inside the music class.
“So first plan was successful. Now she knows, you are here, near to her. Next you should hit her and start talking. Something of her interest, like music, maths. By hit, I mean meet. Don’t misunderstand and become Prem Chopra. Ok.”.
I felt this combination of me and music was like Hitler preparing for a global peace meet.
“But Nandu, me n music. It sounds awkward”. I said.
“Do you know any of her other interests or passion”. Nandu asked me.
“You are correct dear. Go on” I said, before he explores more new dangerous ideas
Actually I was not comfortable, when Nandu was thinking and talking about her. Even if it is for my benefits. She can be only in my dreams.
“You saved a lot of time and effort as she saw you on 1st day itself”. Nandu said.
“I don’t know”. I replied in a low voice.
I continued this drama next day, next day and next day and on and on and on…
I was ready to do anything for that 2 second cross eye exercise by me and Gayathri every day evening in the road. But she was acting so well in the school and didn’t even talk to me in school.
That cycle drama continued for 25 days. Today I won’t go to her. I will watch her from the balcony using binoculars. Let me see from another angle.
I saw her at the opposite end of the road. As she was getting closer to the class she started looking here and there and walked little bit slower than usual, missing something regular. I smiled to myself. I was very eager to tell this progress to my friend.
“Tomorrow you go and meet her at the music class. Her class will start at 5:30 pm but she will reach there at 5.00 pm. Most probably, nobody will be there at that time. Even the teacher reaches there only 5 minutes before the class.” Nandu finished and looked at me.
“Ok done. What I have to do there.” I asked an innocent question.
“You go and tell her that, you want to marry her”. Nandu looked at me with red eyes.
“What !!!”. I didn’t understand.
“What !, what ?. You please go there first and meet her. This is not a scripted drama. This is a bloody live thing. You make some stories, so that you can get more close to her to continue this relation. Don’t use your brain too much please, this time use your heart. It knows what to tell and what to do with her. You go dear. I am with you.”. Nandu stopped.
I felt adrenalin rushing through my nerves. Confidence is an inner urge, which we can get stimulated by people, whom you think are with you always and will be.
————————————— ———— ————————————-
I saw her entering to the music class from the balcony. I walked towards the music class from Nandu’s home. My steps towards the gate was increasing the distance rather than decreasing. My heart beats was going fast and heavy. I looked inside through the window. I couldn’t see anybody. But the door was not locked. I pushed it gently. It opened without any sound. I put my steps inside and looked for her inside. I realized the real sound of heart beat and the tick tick sound of the clock. Suddenly I heard some sound from the room after the corridor. But it was dark inside and the view was not clear. I kept on looking through the door. Somebody lighted the lamp in front of the goddess using a match stick. The yellow light of the lamp spread all over the room. I saw her in that light. Gayathri. Her face was glowing in that light. I felt the light was emitting from her face and making every corner of the room brighter. The window of my soul opened and asked her “let’s dance”. I was going inside a dream with her.
“Ting ting”. The sound of ‘veena’ wake me up from the beautiful day dream. She started playing that ‘veena’ using her soft fingers. I wished I could be that veena, close to her, getting caressed by her. She started her magical singing.
“Alaipayuthe …. Kannaaa….., en manam ….alaipayutheeeeee…”. Her sweet voice and her song was apt for my current situation. Those lines in the song explained my feelings while standing here.
‘My mind is all afluther listening to the music. Transfixed, I stood there like a statue, not aware of passing time.’
“Excellent singing. Rite”.
“Ya, beautiful. Great voice”. I replied.
I turned back suddenly. One man with long beard and long hair was standing there. He looked a character I have seen in historic epic serials in television.
“Who are you boy”. He asked me.
“Shyam, Shyam ”. I replied.
“Myself Sadanand, music teacher”. He replied and walked to the office room and I followed him.
Now I don’t hear the music. I think she has stopped singing.
“So, Shyam, I would like to know the purpose of your visit. You want to learn music?” The old man having a sage look asked me.
I shake my head.
“Good. Do you sing? Have you learnt music before? He asked me.
“No, No, I don’t want to learn music. It’s my friend…”. My voice came out like stammering. Actually I was afraid of being caught, not by the old man, but by Gayathri.
“Oh, your friend is the student. What is his name? Where is he?”. He proved himself as a teacher by asking too many questions within a short period of time. Why these much questions?. Why can’t he be sweet to a person whom is meeting for the first time?.
“No sir, sorry. My friend’s sister, she is the student. I wanted to know about the class, timings, schedule, fees etc. Actually they are not that much rich. There is a point of affordability also. That’s why….” I stopped and tried to put a brave face on.
“No problem. Money is not an issue here. Her passion towards music matters. We can settle all the remaining terms if she has that spark in her. The spark of music, passionate about singing”. His facial expression was just like; his spark has turned to fire and that flame may burn his beard. I controlled my laughter.
“Sir, I have heard about you a lot. People consider you as a genius. Why don’t you make it to films and media entertainment?” I tried my luck on him.
“Leave it boy. These film people; they don’t know what real music is all about. I had chances but I lost interest. Also I cannot compromise on my policies and terms. But the real happiness is, people like you identify me”. He looked at me in a proud manner. His chest expanded at least 6 cms with that statement. I felt very bad about the loss of film industry.
“A girl wants to learn music. He came to talk about that. Please give him a brochure and the timing details, Gayathri”. He looked over my head and said.
I turned suddenly. Gayathri was standing there. She smiled at me. But I couldn’t smile. I don’t know when she came behind me. Sure, she might have heard about that film music thing for sure. I tried a fake smile, but only an ugly expression came all over my face.
“ Hi, Gayathri”. I wished.
“ Hi.”. She replied.
“Oh. You people know each other”. Sir asked.
“She is my classmate”. I replied.
“She is a wonderful singer and one of my best students. Really talented”. Sir praised her.
Praising a girl in front of her is like giving her an additional 4 inch stool along with a 4 inch heels. She will never come down. So please don’t try that sir. I warned him in my mind.
Gayathri went inside and came with a long slim paper which I think is the brochure of the Music School. Yes, it is. She gave me the brochure and looked at me. There was a light smile on her face which is obviously meant to make fun of me for trying this suicide attempt. Our eyes met for a second. My eyes had a reply to her smile. “Yes dear, I am here for u; only for you”.
I walked to the door and and to the gate. I turned back. I am sure. She will be looking at me. I saw her back as she was going inside the room. See you Gayathri anyway. You are always unpredictable. My heart whispered.
It’s a sunny Saturday. Annual school cricket match. 10th v/s 11th. League round.
11th std was a mammoth contenders for us. Seven of their eleven players represents school team. They contribute 75% of players to all the school teams like in football, volleyball, chess etc etc. Only the captains change among them.
We won the toss and choose to bat. Me and Akash padded and walked to the ground. I took the guard and checked the opening pair of bowlers. Its Viswanath and Nidhin, The regular duo who opens bowling attack for our school team as well for class 11. In batting also, the school team opening pair will start the proceedings for class 11. Nirmal and Viswanath. We are just making way for them to finals.
“Shyam ready. Right arm fast, over the wicket”. Umpire PT instructor sir said.
I heard the girls cheering for us. Don’t be surprised. Girls of our class never visit ground and cheering for us; never. It’s the 11th std girls cheering for us. They will definitely come to cheer for the opposite side, playing against their class. It’s because of the wonderful chemistry going in between the girls and boys of 11th class. They are clapping and calling my name as Viswanath delivered me the first ball. Short of length ball towards my head as always, to say – welcome dear.
We were not scoring acyually. Its only singles which came out of snick of the bat. No attempted strokes. It’s awesome pace bowling from one end and in-out swing from the other. I saw Nandu jumping and waving hands outside the boundary. “Just cool bro, let them finish 5 overs and the bowlers will change. We will start hitting, Ok”. I said in mind. But he was trying to say something else. He pointed me to the second floor of the school building and was asking me to check that.
!Oh my god!!!!!! !. I can’t believe my eyes. There was 2 pair of eyes looking at me and smiling. It was my girl, Gayathri. I just looked at her in mixed emotion; love, surprise, tension, unbelievable. Everything was on my face. She waved at me. Her lips whispered me, all the best and she showed her thumps up. I heard an open throat, high pitch ‘Dil se reeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee……. in the back ground . It was for me. Thanks Mozart of Madras, AR Rahman for that lovely one.
“Hey, get ready”. Wicket keeper’s voice reminded me about the business, I am involved.
My heart was totally filled and was feeling heavy. I thought it will explode soon. I am unable to handle the kick. A Jack Daniels Kick.
Viswanath bowled me the next delivery. Now I could see everything bright and clear. The bowl was approaching me faster. Yeeaaahh. .. I hooked the ball. It went over the auditorium and sailed directly to the pine apple fields next to our school. Nobody could believe that. Super sixerrrr. Cheering went extreme. Viswanath looked at me in surprise bcoz it was not at all a bad delivery. I smiled at him.
“Don’t stare baby. Today is my day. Mine only. Even if you are Glen mc Grat or Shoaib Akhtar, I will make you fly over the top again”. I wanted to say that louder. But I suppressed my emotions.
I scored well. My team also. But class 11, they are awesome in their business. They won. But today I am the winner. Nandu came running to me. He wanted to tell something, but was unable to speak because of the excitement.
“She wants to meet you. She is waiting there in front of computer lab, 2nd floor. She wants to speak to you alone. I think you are lucky. You idiot”. He punched me on my abs.
What!!!. Really. Thanx dear. Hope you are not making fun of me”. I hugged him tight and patted his shoulders. Heyyyyyyyy..
“Run, Run , fly my pal”. Nandu was shouting from behind as I climbed, no flew towards the 2nd floor. I saw her. She was standing there, looking down to the garden. She was wearing a white full length skirt with beautiful frills around it. The blue top with white flowers resembled me of the blue sky with white clouds. I stood at the last step of staircase itself. I wanted to watch her all the time. I didn’t want to disturb her. The breeze was playing with her hair. The evening yellow sunlight was falling on her face from the opposite side. The yellow shade of light on her face made her more beautiful. She turned back suddenly. She saw me and she smiled at me. She came to me slowly. Nobody was at the corridor. We were staying back for the match after school time. There was a beautiful smile on her face. The smile that kills. She looked straight in to my eyes. I couldn’t withdraw my eyes from that beautiful face. We stuck for a couple of seconds.
“You love me?”. She asked in a gentle voice.
I couldn’t reply.
“I asked a question. Do you love me?”. She asked me again.
It was like an Ivanisevic ace, first set, first serve. I couldn’t handle that.
I shake my head. Her direct attacked numbed my senses.
“Is it a Yes or No. What I should take it as”. She asked me.
I nodded my head vertically. “yes. I love you more than anything else”.
I felt difficulty in breathing. It was not easy like always.
“How can you love me this much? I didn’t even talked to you properly, didn’t even mingled with you. How”. She asked.
I didn’t understand, what she was saying. But I didn’t speak anything.
““A heart full of love for you, which pumps blood along with love for you, to all the cells of my body, which makes my whole body breath and beat for you, all the time. I wish it beat like that till the end of my life”. Wow. I can’t believe somebody can write like this for me. Superb.” She finished and looked at me.
“I didn’t know, you write. I mean you are a genius shyam. I think nobody in the class know this secret talent. I fell in your magic after reading this. I love you dear. But I don’t want that much love, you have mentioned. I need a little which can fill my small heart.” She said and winked at me.
I didn’t understand anything. I looked at her and smiled. I felt the whole drama like watching a Ukrainian film without subtitles.
“Nandu told me everything yesterday and gave me that essay like letter to me. I finished it in one breath. It was awesome shyam. Really I mean it. I wished that letter would never end.” she said.
I looked at her like a joker.
“I loved that last sentence of the letter. I can love you 1000 times for that line only”. She continued.
“”I wish, when my heart beat for the last time, it is near to your heart. Very near, very near that it can hear that, even my last heartbeat too, was for you. Only for you”. Amazing. She said.
Her love for me was reflecting in her eyes.
“I love you shyam. I want to be yours, forever”. She eased and planted a kiss on my cheeks. Again looked at my surprised, wondered eyes and ran away through the staircase. I felt like Alexander, who conquered the world. I wanted to scream, I wanted to jump, I had an awesome feeling which I can’t explain in words. It was like dream come true for me.
A beautiful dream. But I couldn’t move from my place. I was out of mind and I lost relation with my senses. All I know is, it happened. She is now mine. Shyam’s Gayatri…
Later I came to know that, Nandu told her a beautiful love story from his dream, no from his heart, about me and Gayathri. He wrote that beautiful letter conveying my passionate, unique, never ending love for her. Actually it was Nandu, who made her tell “I love you Shyam”. I call him my pal, my friend . Thanks Nandappa…. for being in my life. Often in friendship, we understand each other that, mere silence can speak a lot, even looks are enough.
Present Day :
“I was thinking that, we will give tuitions for Malu in maths. Hey shyam, are you listening”. Avantika’s voice wake me up.
“What”. I asked.
“She is our daughter, growing up. Please be serious Shayam”. She started again.
“Let her learn music. She sings well. Music is a gift of god. Everybody cannot sing”. I said without raising my head from the newspaper.
“There are no marks for music in the exams, dear. Ok. Huh”. She uttered.
How does she know my love for music and that voice which made me love music? I can still hear that voice clearly. Near to my ears, close to my heart……..