We joined our new school the same year. Different classes, for some we have to call our seniors. But the same year. Coincidence. After 9 years of the nuns working hard on me, I was in a co-educational set-up. Happy. He, after years of hopping schools as a ‘transferable case’ was finally in 9th standard to hop no more. I was in 8th. Close behind!
No idea that his class was next to mine. Or that we were welcomed in the same orientation. That we both shared apprehensions and curiosity of the new school together, but apart. We did not even know what the other looked like.
Years went by, like they do in school. He did his thing and I did mine. Best student he would be declared every passing year, whereas my report would read ‘she tried’. He would travel to play, sing and debate for his school all over the country, and I would travel too – to school and back. He shone bright, I instead socialized. Apart, still.
Fast forward! Standard 11th and he in 12th. Still ahead!
And now this is important …
A rumour somewhere, that he has his eyes on me (Even tried finding out from a cousin of his from my previous school, about me). I closed up mine, totally. Did open them, those eyes, sometimes to
see admire him from behind the herculean century old pillars and wonder – Him, Oh I see. But why me? The peahen danced secretly, but gathered all her feathers the moment him she would see. He was told it’s the wrong bird, for she is taken already. Someone’s jealousy! So he wound up his feathers too. And we went about doing our thing. Apart, still, but proud in our own swings.
And then there was no choice one day. No pillars to hide behind.
We both hated PT. Coincidence.
And sports day was fast approaching. Which meant our PTIs would don their caps and running shoes with salwar-kameez, polish their whistles, get all worked up standing under the cool shade of the trees as we tried to jog, crawl, trot, swim and sleep walk around the 500 mts track at 40 degrees. Hundreds in the field. Trying to look sporty, be sporty and win their races. And 2, just 2, looking for excuses to not do anything. Me and him. Apart though, still, not knowing that the other’s anatomy too was making similar excuses to skip the march past. To sit on the sides, in the shade and watch the world slog, left-right-left.
He reached before me, to that certain step where I saw him seconds after he sat. Too late to turn back and no other place around. Fidgeting with my hair, re-buckling my watch strap and doing other mindless things that being conscious is made of, I reached where he sat. Trying to look away to look disinterested. Him and me, both. Failing miserably. The first encounter after the rumour, and there were 2 pairs of jelly legs and a pair of teenage hearts shaking and beating to the tune of – ‘Oh Lord! What next?’
A fortunate coincidence.
“I am sorry for causing you embarrassment. I did not mean to, was never my intention. I just wanted to be friends. And we can never trust these middle men and women” said he. I looked up to him, literally, for he sat a step above, as had always been.
“Cool!” said I, as nonchalantly as I could feign it. Did not expect it. Who admits it, except a gentleman of the highest degree? My voice was not prepared. My heart even less. It skipped loops upon loops. What nice jaw line he has.Thank God for the drum beats of the march past.
“So, I guess it’s all OK then. No discomfort no turning away no need to make the visible invisible, right?” So he had noticed, thought I. Even me behind the pillars, and I turned red.
“Yes” is what I said. This time my heart danced.
Down he came to sit beside me. Two yellow dots on the grey steps. One still towering over the other. 6 feet. No, nearly there. But then, he was always a step above the rest. Wasn't he?
We talked, and soon we were speaking to each other. Drums and whistles and PTIs’ instructions no longer claimed our ears. “I quite like you, you know” and I wondered if he was proposing? “You’re okay too, actually!” and I could see our feathers opening. Not to flaunt or be a prude. No. Just to reveal everything that we wanted to. About ourselves. At this point. From inside.
And that moment etched in my photographic memory. His too, or so he claims.
Thank God for hating PT. Thank God for a kind PTI. And for the fortunate coincidence of lame excuses of anatomy.
Thank God for Serendi-Pt. Serendi-Pt?
Platinum – Pt.
Did you know?
Rare material and hence highly valuable. For sure he is, my man I speak about.
Resistant to wear and tarnish. Of impeccable character, I tell you!
A by-product of mining and processing. Really! It does show, those manners, that polish!
Non-reactive even at high temperatures. The calm in the storm of my tea cup.
Catalyst for many reactions. He made me pick up my pen, again. And so much more.
“Little silver” but lots of love.
It's so him.
And it’s been 13 years since we shared that berth. Married for 6 years, and with a bundle who loves to pull my ears. Especially when I don these you see in the picture above. The first ever gift in a little red box, from a fellow yellow-dot, who I fell in love with when no such plan existed.
On our day of love. Our day of Serendi-Pt.