Sunday, September 17, 2006

The Incomplete Love Stories

The summers seemed too hot this time round but at 2 in the June afternoon you can’t expect a cold breeze. It was not the scorching sun that was the problem for Vivek; it was that she hasn’t returned, while her tuition class time was over 1 hour ago.
But she didn’t have a clue that someone is waiting for her in the scorching sun and that just of glimpse of her would make him happy.
Aakansha was beautiful without doubt and the best part was she was as much innocent as she was pretty. She was one of the classmates with whom I hadn’t talked much but whenever I did had a short chat with her, like others I too was mesmerized with her voice. She spoke so softly that at times you really had to put your complete attention to what she was saying. She had a charm that anyone would fall for it.
And Vivek wasn’t an exception, he liked Aakansha very much as several others in the school but she was such a different type of girl that nobody dared to talk to her about any stupid thing.
Lovers in the school never mattered, not even anyone in the class, any tensions which were there were just because of lovers in the same section. You always have the school house rivalry, class rivalry and then you have section rivalry.
Any girl who belongs to commerce section no other guy from other section can talk to her (forget about flirting) and also forget about guys from junior classes (they just can't dare) or anyone else looking at the girl in that section (it always use to end up in someone getting hurt badly).
So that was the case with Vivek also, he never bothered if anyone else liked Aakansha or not, he was just bothered it shouldn’t be someone from the commerce section (and certainly not any of his friend). But he was pretty much doubtful about a few (he never knew about the ones who never talked explicitly about their love for her).
When the schools started after the summer vacations, every one in the section was new, no one knew the others in the class.
“Welcome students you are going to form the class 11th of 95-96, so let us begin the introduction”, this was our class teacher, madam Savarkar.
The introductions started, some had been in the same school for past few years and continued, most of us had come from other schools and joined fresh.
Guys were happy because there were many beautiful girls in this batch, anyways commerce section always boasted of beautiful and average (academically) girls, the arts section also used to have beautiful girls (many a times much more in number and much more beautiful) but then it was a common conception that they are the dumbest girls around and one may date any of those girls but would soon get fed up (and these findings were based on the experiences of our seniors and were not completely baseless).
And nobody talked about science section, barring a few exceptions science section guys were always like a person lost in the desert trying to pursue a mirage, and those sections were termed as dry areas among the boys circle and often those guys tried to hit on the girls of other section but they all knew their limit. Nobody in science section wanted to get into a fight or any ‘lafda’ because of the syllabus that they had to cover in 2 years.

While madam Savarkar stressed how important this year is for us but everyone sitting in that class knew very well that this can be the year of their lives, they can enjoy as much as possible this year because as soon as you land up in the 12th, you are not spared for a single minute. It becomes so very much difficult to enjoy life.

The first semester started and for the first two months it was difficult to communicate to the opposite sex. Guys and girls both hit off with their groups and only talks that went on that time was about knowing the particular girl or guy well. But this time round the class was much more vibrant and much more active (as was the talk in school).
As soon as the first tests were announced the entire class came in together to help out each other; guys exchanging notes from the girls and girls getting the possible question list from the guys.
By the time first inter house competition was announced (which was a debate competition) the awkwardness between the classmates was over and yes we were all friends.
When you are a student then also you have different facets to your personality and different responsibilites to cater to. You have a class unity, then a section unity, then you have a house unity and then you have a school unity (when inter school competitions are held). Nobody knows how we are able to cater to so different needs within the same place but the relationships are never soured because of maintaining so many commitments and so many divisions. The house rivalry ends when we leave the debating arena or the play field and then once we are in class we have the class unity. Its complex to explain but easy to maintain.
And between the regular classes and so many school activities there is that love thing going on within several hearts. And when you are in the high school that is the first time you start getting mature and start to understand the real meaning of the term relationship. Before that may be all the relationships are just attractions but from here onward everyone starts to think of their life ahead, though nobody talks explicitly but within the heart every one is so scared because of the board exams and without even mentioning they know the importance of those exams in their future life and subsequently everyone starts to know the importance of relationships.
So the love stories started to bloom and the first real one that we heard of was in our seniors section (the current 12th class batch) but you can’t dare to discuss a senior’s love story within the school. So everyone wanted some or the other story to start in their own class, even those who secretly admired someone but never wanted anyone to know about it they also wanted something to talk about.
Shamita was a short height girl and very much out of the league of normal girls, trying everything out from drinking to smoking. She had a group of her own and though everyone knew all about her but she had never been caught by the school authority.
Her dark complexion suited her and her complexion coupled with her attitude made her deserving to a few.
Sameer hit on her and to our amazement succeeded in the first attempt itself. Sameer was all about fun, he was the type of student who least care about the studies, he was well built and was the captain of his house’s soccer team. He wasn’t too handsome or a hunk and he never cared, he liked to get involved into all the wrong things that went around the school and no one ever thought this relationship can materialize.
Nobody knew how both of them hit off, may be there carefree attitude towards life got them together, may be their same disliking got them together but yes everybody could see it that Shamita was madly in love with him. The girl who didn’t even used to talk straight face started liking Sammy madly. And there were days when Sammy used to show us that she can do anything for him and that was for real.
And was he really in love with her? The people who knew him well never believed that and the betting was as to how long will that relationship will last, 3 months being the max quoted. And yes Shamita knew about such rumors but suddenly she didn’t seem to mind anything people said, she even stopped listening to the girls of her group.
They had an unusual relation and used to share things which other couples would never think of, they used to go to watch games together (and not movies) they used to share the smoke (not the food), both couldn’t continue talking without using foul words. She loved to watch him practice soccer, and the first time the class saw her taking down notes, not for herself but for him. What others say never bothered either of them.

Vivek’s first semester grades were an indication to the teachers that again this year the commerce section of their school is going to top the district.
Somehow in the final exams he moved to second spot, first spot going to a nerd in the class. But still his grades were the best for past 3 years of school history in commerce section.
When he started liking Aakansha, nobody knew for sure but rumors were that when they both started the accountancy tuitions at the same place in the 12th class.
He never needed tuition but the teacher insisted on coming just to make sure that he gets the top rank for the school, obviously he wasn’t charged the fees. He used to help out other students in the tuition classes and in the mean time honing his skills. May be there he started helping out Aakansha also and slowly and gradually started liking her.

Nobody knew about Aakansha much not even her friends but only word was that she was raised by a single parent, her father had passed a few years back and so she was too sincere and serious in studies.
11th grade got over and yes the entire class had a very good time. Nobody had complaints, games, studies, love affairs (there were many other in every section), heartbreaks, school fights, picnics, excursion tours, expulsions, the class saw it all and the good thing was that after all the mazaa, masti everybody made it to the 12th, some with good grades some just passing but nobody seemed to mind the grades much. The real game was to start next year.

Defeating all the previous bets Shamita and Sameer continued their relationship and took it to the next year. People stopped talking about them, sooner or later people loose interest in a stable relationship.
After the first three months into the final year the news was in the air about Vivek loving Aakansha, news was among the boys circle only and to my amazement I was the last person in the class to know about it. Once the news was out everyone was following Vivek. He was the first one to enter the school now and the last to leave after Aakansha has left. He used to meet her in the accountancy tuition class and followed her to the economics tuition, he would wait for her outside the tuition center. If he even would get a glimpse of her he would be so happy. The way she talks, what she eats, the things she would participate in, he knew all about her. He used to look at her through the window, across the table in the school canteen, at times would follow her to her home without her knowing.
He could have done anything for her but hurt her, may be this was the reason he couldn’t ever talk to her about anything else than the studies. His friends and others in class made snide comments about him.
He wanted her to remain in front of him always, and that he can spend as much time with her as possible. He was desperate to talk to her, to let her know his feelings but couldn’t do it.
Initially everyone treated this new fever of Vivek as an entertainment piece, everybody would make comments on him, for sometime he was the main discussion point as to where was he seen waiting for her, what stupid thing he did to grab her attention.
But the real shock came in when the first test results of class 12th came out. Vivek got the worst ever grades, he was placed 20th in a class of 36. And in economics he barely passed.
The fellow students and friends noticed it then, that how serious this affair has gone for him. Advices started pouring in for him. Madam Savarkar was also baffled by this performance of Vivek and tried to talk to him about his problem, if he had any. It was not only Vivek but she was always very helpful when it used to come to her students, we had seen her saving 2 of our classmates from expulsion, helping us in every possible manner and taking our concerns to the school management, so we all had our share of fun about the way she talked but everybody respected her. But he told her that he was facing some problems at home and couldn’t concentrate and will pay attention in future.
Three months in the new class and Sammy was again in the news, the bets went wrong last year but the basis of the bet was turning out to be correct. Sammy was dating another girl now, Nina, a junior from the 11th grade to be precise and this time the entire boys group knew it as soon as it all started. Girls weren’t having any clue about it because he was keeping this affair secret and wasn’t seen with her new girlfriend in the usual places.
Nina didn’t had an idea about Shamita and to Sammy’s relief for the first six months Shamita didn’t had any idea about the other girl either.
And the boys group was again having a good time and now the bet was how soon will Shamita know about Sammy’s infidelity.
Winters started and with the winters the tension of pre-board exams also started, they were scheduled for the first week of January soon after the winter vacations were over.
Vivek showed no signs of improvement despite everyone around him suggesting to concentrate on the studies.
When you are friends or batchmates then you might make fun of others you might enjoy others precarious condition at times but there is a genuine concern for that person in every one’s heart. Every one wants every other classmate or friend to succeed, so with this concern everyone in the boys group tried to talk to Vivek but it all seemed useless.

It was a Tuesday morning, it was chilling and we all had just come out of the room after the English paper and were discussing it and comparing the answers. As soon as Sammy came out of the room he ran towards the terrace between the comments of few, “which one you are rushing for?”
The answer came in within 10 minutes, while our group of 7 guys was standing and discussing what will come in tomorrow’s economics paper Shamita suddenly appeared, “Have you seen Sameer?” I can’t find him. I don’t know how his paper went.
He just went towards the terrace replied Manish instantly (who was very good friend of Sameer), as she left for terrace we just couldn’t help it but laugh out aloud on this act of Manish. ‘aaj marega sala’, Manish said laughing out loud.
We all wanted to be a witness of that scene that would happen upstairs but none of us wanted to take the blame so we decided not to go upstairs.
We all were curious as to what happened there, and the next morning as we were entering the exam room, many people asked Sammy the same question. “What happened yesterday?” we saw Shamita running to the terrace yesterday and then out of school and she was very upset (the later part was very much cooked up), he didn’t replied then but after the paper was over he joined us and started with friendly abuses, who sent her upstairs? You people are mean, you won’t get girls so you would not let other’s relation flourish. Tell me who sent her? And after long arguments as to who sent her or why nobody stopped her from going Sammy told what happened, in which everyone was interested.
As soon as Shamita saw both of them together she started shouting as to what was going on. He kept his calm until she stopped screaming and something went into his head (he says he didn’t know why he said that) he blurted out Shamita meet Nina my new girlfriend and Nina this is my ex girlfriend Shamita.
And after that the furor kept on going for another hour until they saw a teacher coming upstairs.
As he ended his story there was a huge uproar in the hall where we all were gathered listening to his story, the passersby stared us but none of us could stop laughing after listening to what Sammy had done.
“But then which one remains with you?”, Manish asked. “Hell none, he replied indifferently, I don’t know what is the problem with these girls I told Nina that she is my current girlfriend but she also broke up and went away. This innocent question and the way he was telling these things made us all laugh more, it seemed it was least of his concern that his relationship has ended only problem was that he will have to start afresh. We all knew he was a different make, not the ones to stick around. This story made several rounds of school and till the time we passed out it was fresh in every one’s mind.
On the contrary Vivek was having the worst time of his life when the results for pre board were announced he failed in not one but 2 subjects, economics and commerce along with 2 other students of the class.
The school had a rule not to let any student sit in boards if they didn’t cleared pre boards, madam Savarkar intervened again and all 3 failed sat for a reexamination and somehow cleared.
We all were now very worried looking about Vivek and many in the group suggested that he should talk to Aakansha, or they do it on his behalf. Vivek didn’t agree to any of that, he just said that he would improve and pass the boards and that we shouldn’t worry. At that time he knew something about Aakansha which none of us knew and came to know only at our farewell party.

The 11th grade organized a farewell party for us as was the tradition in school. Farewell parties are always so good and still no one wants any farewell. If the life allows then every student of 96-97 batch wanted to relive the entire year because everyone knew that this might be the last time they are all together.
The party started on a good note and was going very well, the party was organized very well (but not as well as we did last year every one in our batch would say). We all were sitting together today irrespective of the sections, all the sections science, commerce, arts all of us were seated side by side and sharing jokes, experiences and future plans.
Suddenly a guy on stage who was conducting the whole event announced couple dance for the outgoing batch, anyone can ask any one to be the partner.
And then we all understood that something which till then only Vivek knew.
Initially everyone was a bit reluctant to go on stage, asking others to go first. Then suddenly somehow everyone came onto me, I stood up and asked my very dear friend Monica for the dance, she complied and we were the first on stage and slowly people started joining. Suddenly Manish who was dancing behind pinched me, “look there”, me and Monica we both looked towards that direction he indicated.
Ameen, a science section student was standing in front of Aakansha’s chair and was asking her to accompany her to the dance floor and to our amazement she happily joined him on stage.
A few of us just froze there (may be one of the reason was how did we miss that), we searched for Vivek, there he was standing in a corner looking exactly where she was dancing and his eyes were just sending us the message, “I knew that already”.
We took off from stage to join him but for once as I forgot about Vivek and looked at Ameen and Aakansha, they looked beautiful together, the best couple I had ever seen in the school. The way they were dancing, the way he was talking to her, the way she was smiling back, they just looked perfect.
After a while we all joined the stage again for a free form dance and dragged Vivek in forcibly, he danced with us for a while and then he left the stage with tears in his eyes.

For the next two months the batch of 96-97 didn’t had anything else in their minds but the exams, helping out each other in subjects, finding teachers wherever possible to get the answers to the questions (which nobody listened in the class), the teachers were as much supportive. Madam Savarkar helped us in every way possible, she had never seen us so sincere (but then she told us later that this happens with every batch).
School showed a 98% result and commerce section an excellent 100%, the batchmates whom we always thought might not even pass, they got excellent grades and the ones whom we expected got lesser than expected but more or less it was a satisfactory result.
Vivek passed but with bad marks (we were just happy for him that he passed at least), Sameer passed with second class (which was the best he could expect from himself). Shamita passed with good grades but never talked to Sameer again, but you could see her looking at Sameer whenever he passed in front of her (she couldn’t stop loving him).
Aakansha passed, but after 2 months when the results were out, we got news that Ameen left for Delhi to join engineering coaching. What happened between them no one knew, but for sure she never married him.
A few others tried to keep their love going after the school, tried to remain in contact but none of them from that batch could keep their relationship alive.
There were many other love stories like that of Shamita, Vivek, Aakansha in that batch, too sweet and some too good and for most of them it was the first time they experienced love but unfortunately none of those love stories could find the finishing the people expected when they started.
But those incomplete love stories must still be in many hearts…..