Saturday, February 27, 2010

Part 9

Nandita and Vivek are still laughing. The urge to shout 'STFU' is stronger than ever. Something gave me the impression that Ayush had the same feeling, because he suddenly said, "Err, guys, do you both value your ass?"

Nandita and Vivek struggled to stop laughing as Vivek said between short laughs, "What do you mean?"

Ayush gave them a smirk and said, "Because if you both don't stop laughing now, I am going to kick your ass"

He said with such sarcastic calmness that I couldn't help but grin. But instead of calming down, they doubled over in laughter and rolled on the floor with their hands on their stomach.


We're now sitting in Nandita's sitting room, sipping our coke. We finally decided to include International mathematicians because Vivek seemed to agree with Ayush after a while, and I lost majority. So it was no point arguing.

But I must admit that the project is progressing at a terrific speed. We managed to decide what we're going to include in the presentation in one week, isn't that unbelievably fast? And despite that, we're sitting here and sipping our coke like it's our last ever day on Earth.

I quickly glanced at my watch, "Shit", I said without realizing, "I should go..need to reach home before six to turn the pump on"

I quickly got up, quickly sipped what remained of my coke and started putting on my floaters. Vivek and Ayush were looking at me with baffled expressions. "What pump?", asked Vivek.

"Paani ka pump. Water comes at exactly 6 in the morning and in the evening. Can't miss turning the damn pump on, will have to survive without water for 12 hours otherwise. Plus the water management people in Saket suck big time", I said

"You live in Saket too?” said Ayush

I looked up at Ayush, clearly surprised to know that he lived in Saket, "Yup. H Block, what about you?"

He grinned and said, "No way, I live in J block. That's like a 5 minute walk from H block"
"Well, the world's a small place", I said while smiling. What I didn't know was that Nandita was observing the scene with a hawk's eye. And then she dropped her bomb.

"Hey Ayush, how're you going back home?” she asked suddenly.

He shrugged, "Dunno. Probably an auto"

"Naina can drop you. She drives", she said brightly, emphasizing on 'She drives' as though it made all the difference in the world.

He raised his eyebrows, "You drive?”

I looked at Nandita and then at him, "Err, Yes"

"Without a license?"

"A jaali license", I replied. A grin played on his lips as he said, "Now that's what I call exciting"

I gave Nandita a deathly stare while she continued to show her teeth, "Okay let's go. I need to get home in time", I said as I withdrew my gaze from Nandita's face. We said our goodbyes to Vivek and Nandita, who decided to research a bit more now that we had decided what to include, and started walking towards my second-hand Alto that was parked just next to her house.

I inserted the key into the ignition as Ayush put the seat belt on. Pressing down on the accelerator, I brought the car into motion and we hit the road.

We rode pretty much in silence, with me concentrating on the road ahead and Ayush playing around with the radio channels. His fingers were constantly on the buttons of my stereo, and I feared that he might screw the already fragile gadget. After what seemed like an eternity, he finally stopped changing channels and I let out an involuntary sigh of relief. My stereo had been saved.

Red FM 93.50 was playing one of the songs that I loathed. But to no one's surprise, Ayush seemed to be in love with that song. 'Twist' Remix. Frikkin' annoying.

Let's start some Ronauk Shounak
Let's have some party now
Let's have some Raala Rappaa

Let's have some dhol dhamaka
Let's call the dholi now
Let's have some matti tappa

We spoke up simultaneously, "I love this song", "I hate this song"

But instead of arguing, we both burst into laughter. It seemed almost surreal that we didn't agree on anything. I couldn't help but wonder as to why Nandita could even think that I could hook up with Ayush. We were as different as chalk and cheese.

He seemed to read my thoughts because he spoke up, "Why are we even in the same group? All we ever do is bicker"

"You have a point. Must blame Nandita for that. She asked you to join our group", I said while shaking my head.

"Yeah, but you know, any group is better than Surbhi's group. Damn. The only thing that the girl does is fawn over Twilight", he said.

"Hmm, I can imagine why you'd want to be away from her", I replied

He gave me a dubious stare before saying in a tentative voice, "Do you like Twilight too?"

"What? No way! I hate Twilight. It sucks", I replied quickly. He sighed with relief and said, "Thank God. I really didn't want to run into another Twitard"

"Looks like you've had a bad experience with them", I said.

"You have no idea. My sister is the biggest Twilight fan. She literally worships that Edward guy", he exclaimed in a frustrated voice.

"Uh-oh. Sorry about the tragedy, I hope she gets well soon", I said with a subtle grin plastered on my face. He gave me a 'Very-funny' expression and I laughed out loud, unable to withhold myself any longer.

"Twilight is just garbage. I can't believe people actually think that it has any literary value, or worse, that it can replace Harry Potter", I said in a 'matter-of-fact' tone. He sighed and said, "Yeah, courtesy Twitards, the future of literature is doomed. Harry Potter is epic. Twilight is just Meyer's wet dream"

And we continued to bad-mouth Twilight and praise Harry Potter throughout the rest of the ride. I can never get enough of bitching about Twilight, and it seemed to me that Ayush had alot of pent up frustration towards Twilight and Twitards, because he vented with a hatred that perhaps ran deeper than mine. We came up with various names for Edward like, "Fairy", "Disco ball", "Mosquito" and "Gay vampire". The last one was a bit of an insult to the homosexual community, but we didn't pay much attention to it since it just went with the flow.

I dropped him off at his house, reversed the car and drove towards home.

We were having a class teacher's period, again. Ms. Grumpy was yet to come into the class room, and I was busy completing my chemistry homework. After a few minutes, Ms. Grumpy walked in and Ayush had to nudge my elbow to make me get up. We all wished her 'good morning' and sat down again.

Ms. Grumpy picked up a pamphlet from her table and said, "I have an announcement to make. There is a, um, workshop on 'Alcoholism amongst teenagers' being conducted in school this Saturday. It is mandatory for class 11th and 12th to attend it"

I froze when I heard 'Alcoholism'. My body became momentarily still and I was vaguely aware of Ms. Grumpy saying something like, "Varun will now distribute pamphlets about the workshop...”

I stared at the trees across the classroom. I didn't notice when Varun slipped the pamphlet into my hands. Without even having to think, I knew that I didn't want to attend this workshop. But it was compulsory.

Someone was calling out my name. I could hear hear the voice coming to my ears in thick waves, but my gaze continued to linger on the swaying trees. Suddenly, Ayush snapped his fingers in front of my eyes. I jerked back to reality and blinked multiple times.

"Earth to Naina ? Where are you lost?", asked Ayush. I stared at him for a while, and then said hastily, "I'm fine. Fine"

"You sure ?"

"Yeah. I'm fine", I repeated, knowing that I wasn't 'fine'. I looked at the pamphlet, which had the words "Alcohol is slow poison" printed in bold. How am I ever going to get through this?

Monday, February 22, 2010

Part 8

"And so I said no to them. Theek hai yaar, tumhe kaam nahi karwana toh humaare paas bhi faaltu time nahi hai. It's supposed to be a goddamned business deal, and they're behaving like we're trying to buy aloo-pyaaz here. First they asked us to cut down the price of the project by almost 40 %, and now they don't want to give us any advance payment. Tell you what, they can go to hell", Mom fumed as she paced the room.

"Did the right thing. The last thing we want them to know is that we're desperate. If you let a shark smell blood, then you're doomed", I replied.

She was talking about a client who had approached us last week. They wanted comprehensive GIS software made which would be used in the mining Industry, to locate the prospective ores etc. Mom told me that even though we could do it, it was a pretty complicated project. After calculating the approximate price of the contract, we sent them a financial and technical proposal, clearly stating that we would require some amount of advance to get the project started. Although they liked the technical part, they felt that the quoted price was too high. We re-evaluated and cut down the price by 40 %, and sent it back to them. After taking their sweet time to 'consider' the proposal, they replied after 2 weeks stating that they wouldn't be able to give us any advance.

Tension was already running high with the already low funds, expenses were being incurred, outstanding salaries continued to pile up, and the receivable payments were nowhere in sight. And yet, we could not show that we were desperate for money. Because this very mistake had cost us a lot of money (that could have been saved) in the past. Vulnerability. Desperation. Need. Want. These emotions (if expressed) can only cause you damage in the corporate world. Infact, any emotion can cause you damage in the corporate world. Because boss, there is no room for emotions in business. Only money.

Mom stopped pacing and sat down on the bed. When was the last time I had seen her smiling? Maybe last month. This month has been a ride through hell for her. I hugged her and she hugged me back. We sat like that for a while before she said, "How's school?”

I let go of her and said, "That's not important. What's important is that you need to be fed, bathed and tucked into bed. School can be discussed later"

She gave me a 'I'm-your-mom-you're-not-my-mom' look. But I had seen it too many times to react. Infact, it only strengthened my 'Shut-up-and-listen-to-your-daughter' attitude at times. I dragged her to the dining table and made her sit down. The least I can do is make sure she eats well. Trying to be cool, I wore the big chef's hat and tied the apron around my waist.

"Presenting...The craptastic chef - Nainaaaaaaa Sharma Aggrawal!", I exclaimed in an exaggerated voice. To make things even more filmy, I turned on the radio and tuned into the channel that usually played old songs at this time. I turned up the volume and an old hindi song burst through the speakers.

Hey Jai Jai Shiv Shankar Kaanta Lage Na Kankar
Ke Pyala Tere Naam Ka Piya

Ho O O Gir Jaoongi Main Mar Jaoongi
Jo Tune Mujhe Thaam Na Liya
O Sau Rabadi

I started dancing around the kitchen like a maniac. While the food was being warmed up in the microwave, I was trying out various silly antics infront of mom to lighten her mood. As the song came to an end, her face was adorned with a smile. And I knew that everything was going to be okay.


"So where do we start from?” I asked. We, Nandita, Vivek, Ayush and me, were at Nandita's place. We had decided to meet outside school to get the project started because all of us knew that school was the last place to get anything 'done'.

"Hmm I did a little research and came up with this. Wikipedia was, obviously, a great help. But there is information from other sources aswell", Vivek said while handing the file to me. He continued, "As of now, we need to decide as to how many mathematicians we're going to include. I say we include only Indian mathematicians. It sort of gives the impression that we're trying to highlight India's greatness. What say?"

And then Ayush and I said something at the same time. I said, "I agree", and he said, "I disagree"

I looked at him in a 'what-the-hell' kind of way and said, "Why not ? He has a point. Besides, the world owes alot to India for it's contribution to mathematics. I think we should focus on India"

He sighed and said, "Yeah okay, India's great, but millions of presentations solely based on Indian scientists, mathematicians, astrologers etc etc have already been made in the past. I think we should increase our scope by including mathematicians from all over the world. I mean, when was the last time someone included an african mathematician?"

Nandita chipped in and said, "He's right. It's the age of globalization anyway", and before she could even complete her sentence, she realized what she had just said had no connection to the discussion, whatsoever.

"Yeah, right. What has globalization got to do with any of this ?", replied Vivek. I looked at him and said, "Yup. I don't see the connection"

Ayush spoke up, again, "As a matter of fact, I do. Everything in today's world, right from the food we eat to the airplanes we travel in, have some or the other international shade. The number of multi-cuisine restaurants in Delhi is equivalent to the number of Punjabi dhabas. Our clothes are being mixed and matched every season to cover every country's apparel. Hindi Cinema is opening up to hollywood and vice versa. Multinational companies are trading with India. Our cars are german, clothers are french, gadgets are chinese etc"

"Yeah Ayush, we know what globalization is", I interrupted as Vivek and I chuckled.

He didn't seem to pay attention to the interruption as he continued, "So my point is - what's wrong in acknowledging International mathematicians ?"

"Well the point is that amidst the blitz to cope up with 'globalization', I think we've forgotten India's indivisual development along the way. I think blending our culture with other cultures is a wonderful thing, but what's going wrong is that in the process, we've started demeaning our own culture. Given our background as slaves, it is in our genes to always uphold the western culture higher than our own. Right from cricket to english, both our given more importance than hockey and hindi", I said, now completely in my 'nerd' persona.

And in no time, the project was completely forgotten. Ayush and I were now absorbed in a heated argument about 'US sucks or not', with me taking the 'It sucks' stand, and him taking the 'It doesn't' stand. How we went from Globalization to this topic is unknown, but it seemed to happen spontaneously without either of us realizing it. Nandita and Vivek were reduced to being the audience witness to this verbal war. In the middle, they kept saying "I agree", and that's about it. Vivek was with me and Nandita was with Ayush. It seemed like one of those episodes of "Seedhi Baat" that aired on Aaj Tak.

Our debate was brought to a halt when Nandita's mom knocked on the door and said, "You guys need to keep it low. I can't even hear what my friend is saying over the phone"

Vivek and Nandita burst into laughter and Ayush and I stared at eachother sheepishly. Finally, we both seemed to agree on one thing - If Vivek and Nandita didn't stop laughing now, we would pounce on them and sew their lips permanently.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Part 7

Ayush nodded and walked towards us. I had a hint as to why Nandita had done this on purpose. She was trying to bring Ayush and me closer. Damn, what's her problem ? I love her, I really do, but sometimes she can get way too intrusive.

"Okay, so now we have all the groups ?", our maths teacher said. The class nodded in consent and the teacher wrote down everyone's name. I was still looking daggers at Nandita for doing this. Great, now we're stuck as a group for a month and a half. Brilliant. I can already imagine myself strangling Nandita to death.

My thought process was broken by our teacher's voice, "Okay, so I want you all to discuss and tell me the topic of your project. You can choose any topic from either your maths book, or any other theme related to the field of mathematics. You all have to prepare a powerpoint presentation and a chart depicting the summary of your project. The powerpoint should have a minimum of 30 slides"

The entire class groaned. 30 slides is really no joke, and considering the number of ppt's we've made this year, none of us wanted another one to be added to the list. Our group sat down together and started discussing. We all agreed on one thing - The topic should be simple and easy. No complication.

"I think we should take up 'Historical mathematicians', that's the easiest of the lot", I said as soon as we sat down.

"Yeah and boring as hell", said Ayush, "We'll want to dump this theme halfway through. There's no fun there"

"Fun is not on our priority list Ayush. We need to get this stupid thing done as soon as possible. And I'm not interested in killing my head for 1 and a half months over this useless project", I replied in a slightly annoyed tone.

"Yeah ? Then why are you even doing it?", he was beginning to get irritated too.

"What's the alternative ?", I replied, now completely irked at his 'I-wanna-be-a-good-student' attitude.

"Calm down guys. Relax", chipped in Vivek, "Jeez. We've not even started doing anything, and you guys are fighting already"

I sighed and mumbled, "Whatever". Ayush kept quiet too. Nandita's gaze flickered over both of us for a while before she said, "Okay. Let's do this. Let's write down our choices on small chits and jumble them up. We'll pick out a chit and whatever topic comes out, we'll take it. Okay ?"

We all nodded in consent as Nandita fished out her notebook from her bag. She tore a paper and then tore it again in smaller pieces. We all wrote down our choices, and since I was miffed already, I chose to be adamant and wrote down 'Historical Mathematicians' in bold with my permanent marker. Nandita gave me a 'Stop-being-kiddish' look, but I didn't pay much heed to her.

All the chits were then jumbled up properly. Nandita extended her hand and picked out one. She paused before saying it aloud, "Um, Historical Mathematicians"

"Ha!", I exclaimed before I could stop myself. A grin played on my lips as I gave Ayush a victorious look. I was being extremely childish, and I didn't know why, but it felt good to know that my topic had been chosen. Ayush's shoulders slumped. I wasn't done, I really wanted to rub this in his face, "Fair enough Ayush. It's not like my suggestion was given extra preference, right ?"

He glared at me and said, "Fine. Let's do it"

I arched an eyebrow and nodded, "Finally"

We informed the teacher about our topic and decided to start working on it from the next week onwards. Since I was the well known powerpoint maestro, it was decided that I would be the one handling the presentation. Ayush was good at calligraphy and art, so he decided to take up the chart work. Nandita and Vivek offered to do all the research work.

As the last class got over, Nandita and I decided to go for a little chuski treat (A small stall was right next to our school) before heading home. I needed to talk to her about certain things. We sat down on the small wooden stools next to the stall. Few minutes passed before I said, "Mom's a little worried. There's, uh, a little financial problem going on"

She looked at me and said, "Hmm, I guessed. You seem a little off since the last few days"

"Yeah, everything's just not falling into place. I don't know what to do", I replied in a softer voice. Nandita simply leaned forward and took hold of my hand. She nodded empathetically at me. It wasn't the first time I was sharing the fact that our financial condition was rocky with her. And somehow, she always understood. It was something I was extremely grateful about.

I took a deep breath and said, "Dad called. He just discovered his new passion - Online poker", and our faces broke into a smile at that. My dad was not just my dad, he was also my buddy. We were really more like friends. He wasn't the 'I-wanna-protect-my-daughter' type father, he was the 'Find-your-own-way' kind of dad. Infact, once when I was a kid, I fell down while skating and hurt myself pretty badly. He just stood outside the ring, giving me a sheepish grin. I had to ultimately stand up on my own. After the practice, he had said to me, "See, that's why you're different. You don't need your dad to stand up on your feet. You can do it on your own"

"Uncle's always been quite the fun guy", said Nandita. I nodded, "Yup. Can I say something really nasty ?"

She shrugged. I smiled and said, "Divorced parents are the best parents in the world"

"Uh, Tell me about it. My parents keep bickering all the time. For no reason. You're right, you know", she replied while making a face. I laughed at her expression and shook my head.

"What ?", she asked with a blank expression. "Nothing", I said and got up, "Let's go. It's getting late"

She nodded and got up. We were about to leave when I suddenly stopped and turned around. She jumped slightly and staggered, "Shit. Naina. Are you nuts ?"

"And what the hell was the whole morning drama about ?", I slipped into my angry demeanor and barked at her. She still had the blank expression on her face, "What drama ?"

"Don't act innocent. Why did you ask only Ayush to join our group ?"

Then it seemed to hit her. Her face relaxed in realization for a moment, "Oh that", and the next moment she had a nonchalant expression on her face, "Nothing. I want you to be his girlfriend that's all", and with that, she walked past me, leaving me with my mouth agape.

I quickly regained my self-control and started walking. I'm going to kill her.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Part 6

As soon as the first period got over, everyone shuffled back to their original seats. Nandita came and sat beside me. I was in the process of finishing a few notes when she said, "You're quite enjoying yourself with Ayush"

Something odd about her tone struck me, but I waved it off and said, "What do you mean ?"

She suddenly became excited (No, not in the typical girly way), and snapped her fingers infront me, "Hey, hey look at me", I sighed and reluctantly looked towards her. She continued, "Look, you're a bloody loner.." I started to protest but she cut me off, "Shut up. You're a loner, you have no friend except of me. Which, sweetheart, is not healthy. I have friends too. They're not as close as you are, but there are a few. Oh and not to mention, I had an almost-boyfriend last year too" I rolled my eyes at that as she continued, "But YOU are something else man. No friends, no boyfriends. You're an alien."

She waited for my response, but getting none, she mellowed down and bit and said, "Maybe you can be friends with this Ayush yaar", before she could say anything else, I raised my palms up and said, "No no no. I know where you're going with this. It's not gonna work. Drop it. Forget it. Screw it, okay ?"

She sighed and shook her head, I knew that she was probably annoyed at my 'anti-social' behaviour, but I she needs to understand how difficult it is for me to let someone in my boundaries. I let her in, because over the time I realized that she's someone I can identify with, but not anyone. Yes, I laughed a bit with Ayush but that doesn't imply that we're on the verge of becoming friends. And knowing Nandita, I'm pretty sure she would have already linked us in her mind. This is something that I really don't like about her. It makes her seem like one of those typical teens.

Rest of the classes dragged. With Nandita annoyed at me, there was hardly any talking. At one point of time I was on the verge of apologizing, but my ego came in the middle and I dropped the idea. The last class got over and the bell rang. Nandita picked up her bag and walked out of the class without saying 'Bye' to me. I will have to sort this out with her, later. I slowly picked my bag up and walked out of the class.

"No mom, I had lunch, seriously", I spoke into the phone. Mom can be such a mom at times. She calls me up everyday at exactly 2:40 pm to know whether I had lunch or not. She's made me so independent, and yet she gets worked up even if I don't have lunch on time. I finally hear silence which means that she has believed me. "Okay", she said, and hung up.

I leaned back in my chair and looked up at the computer desktop. There really was nothing much to do today, except homework ofcourse. But I'm going to procrastinate. For now, I want to do something creative. Instantly, I grabbed hold of my mouse and hovered over the 'Sony Vegas' icon. Video Editing is something that I learnt last year during the holidays before board exams. I love editing, It really brings out the creative side of me.

I hardly watch TV, but I really enjoy watching 'Bones' and 'Hustle', that air on Star World and BBC Entertainment respectively. I had downloaded a few clips last month, and without further ado, I imported 'Hustle' clips into the project and began working my mind.

The bell rang at 9:30 pm. I walked upto the main door and opened it. Mom was home. As usual, I hugged her and fetched her a glass of water. She kept her things (Neatly - she's a cleanliness freak) in their respective places and went inside the washroom. We're going to rant and whine till 10:30 pm, I'm sure about that. We always sit down at the end of the day and whine.

As predicted, we did talk till 10:30. My mom's an entrepreneur, she has her own software company. But 'enterpreneurship' and 'women' do not go in the same sentence in India. It's been a tough ride for her, it still is. I'm trying my best to support her in every which way possible. Infact, I'm so involved with the activities in the firm that she takes my advice alot of times before venturing into something new.

We dissected every aspect of the day's activities before having dinner. There's a little financial crisis going on. Payments are delayed, and we don't have enough projects in hand to keep the cycle running smoothly. But we are the kind of people who have learnt how to live on hope. Each day begins with hope and ends with hope.

"I've mailed a few venture capitalists, let's see if they respond soon", I told her as I put the dishes in the wash basin. She nodded and said, "That's good. Forward me the mail if they reply. I'll follow it up"

"Okay, I'll do that"

At exactly 11:00 pm, My mom's eyelids start getting droopy. Her entire system has programmed itself in such a way that her body reacts to a certain function at the right time. I know I'm making her sound like a robot, but she's not. She's just a disciplined person who is dead tired by the end of the day.

Nandita is still miffed with me. I sighed and sat down next to her.

"Listen, will you just let that go ?", I asked, with a hint of impatience in my voice. She didn't reply. God, this girl can be such a pain. I shook my head and started speaking, "Nandu, you know it's not easy for me to just make friends. I'm a little anti-social and you know it, so why push me ? Ayush is nice but we're not even close to becoming -", I couldn't complete the rest of the sentence as the teacher entered.

I decided to save the talking for some other time. If we're caught by our maths teacher, then we're screwed. We opened our books and waited for her to start teaching. Our maths teacher is another item. When she speaks, it seems as though someone has attached a mike to her kurta. Her voice literally booms. Students avoid sitting on the front bench in her class. They might get deaf.

She wears those huge, old, 60's kinda glasses. You know, the type that look bigger than your face. And she's huge. Gorilla type huge.

"You all have to submit a group project to me by the end of next month. It carries 10 marks", she said as she stood infront of the class, "You can make your own groups, with 4 students in each group. We have a double period so you can decide and let me know now"

Everyone started chattering about who was going to be in whose group. It was obvious that Nandita and me would be together, but we needed 2 more people. She called one of her guy-friends named Vivek to join the group. Everyone else seemed to have formed their groups so we decided that we'll have to make do with 3 people.

"Okay, now I want each person from one group to say the names of all members of your group. I need to note it down", said our teacher.

"Ma'am, we just have 3 people in our group. Is that okay ?", enquired Nandita.

"Hmm", our teacher looked around the room and spotted a group that had 5 members, "Surbhi, you have 5 members in your group. Maybe one of you can join Nandita's", she said.

Nandita's next line took me by surprise. No, 'shock' would be the better word as she did it deliberately. "Ayush, why don't you join us ?". My head jerked towards her, "What ?", I whispered. She simply gave me a smirk and winked at me.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Part 5

"Are bhaiyya, tez chalao na! ye koi bailgaadi hai kya ?", I holler at the autowala. I am on my way to the market to buy some stuff for the house. And as always, I am running on a pretty tight schedule. This goddamned autowala is moving at a snail's pace. The traffic isn't as thick as it generally is at this time, and yet he's taking his sweet time to hit that blasted accelerator.

"Madam ji, tez hi to chala rahe hain, aur kitna tez chalaoon ?", he replied in a nonchalant way in a tone that implied I-don't-give-a-shit.

I frown and say, "Haan tum toh humein uda kar le jaa rahe ho na ? Ab tez chalao, mujhe late ho raha hai"

He mumbles something to himself and doesn't reply. I cross my arms and look outside. Should have taken the car, but then remembered that there was no petrol in it. And considering how we're counting every penny these days, I didn't have 300 bucks for petrol at this moment. Sighing, I shake my head and continue to look outside.

When we finally reach the market, I quickly hop out and pay the autowala. Running inside the market, I fish out the 'To-do list' from my jhola and quickly read through it. Time to get into action..


My mom is really a fun person to be with provided that she's in a good mood. She's watching some old english film on TV and I'm sitting with her, hoping that she'd change the channel soon. It's sunday, so she doesn't have to work. I'm not demanding because today is the only day she gets time to relax. During the weekdays, she's just too tired to turn the television on and watch some saas-bahu saga. Plus, she's not the one to watch that crap. (Something that I'm immensely proud of. We tried watching Balika Vadhu once, but ended up in splits)

"Mom, what's this film about ? We've been sitting here since the past 1 hour but nothing's really gone into my head", I remark.

"It's classic! How can you not like it ? To hell and back is one of the finest films made on World War II", she replies in an excited voice.

I roll my eyes and sigh. Generation gap. Jeez.

"School's not been treating me well. Got stuck with Ms. Grumpy for not completing physics assignment", I say, casually.

She nods, "I'm proud of you"

I can't help but smile at her 'Let-school-go-to-hell' attitude. I can't express in words how relieving it is to know that atleast my mom doesn't pressurize me.

"Yeah, but I'm screwed"

"You're getting there, sweetheart"

I grin and shake my head. Mustering up my will power, I turn my head towards the TV screen again.


"What the...??", before I can help myself, these words come out of my mouth. We're having a class teacher's period today, which means we will have to put up with our new partners for another 1 hour. Although I don't mind Ayush, I'm kind of missing having Nandita by my side.

I scowl a little and flop down into my seat. And yet again, we exchange 'Hi's' and 'Hellos'. He goes back to his math homework, which reminds me, I need to get that done too. I take out my register and take a quick glance at what Ayush is copying from.

"Do you mind if I share, Varun's register ?", I ask. He shrugs in approval and continues doing his work. Varun is the geek of our class, and since the release of 3 Idiots, he's been labelled as 'Silencer'. I feel that's an insult to Chatur's character, or perhaps I'm being biased because I loved that guy.

I silently get to work. There are about 10 sums that need to be done. I haven't even done one. I hate this. I don't see the point in doing homework. If you can't 'educate' us enough in 6 hours, then I don't see how another hour at home will make things any better.

When 15 minutes were left for the bell to ring, I let out a breath and close the register. Glancing sideways, I see that Ayush is still writing. Wow I like his speed, I think to myself. But it doesn't take long for him to close his own register.

"What's the first class ?", he asked.


"Darn. I hate that woman. She makes physics so hard to understand", he replies. And the floodgates open. In no time, we're dissing Ms. Grumpy in whichever way possible. Right from cheap jokes to hindi gaalis, we're indulging in hardcore bitching. It seriously feels good, because I love bitching about that woman. Any time. Any day.

The bell rings and we reluctantly stop laughing like maniacs. Trying my level best to wipe the grin off my face, I purse my lips together and stand up as she walked into the class.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Part 4

The day was going by fine until our class teacher, who is also our Physics teacher, came inside. I love physics, really, I do, but this woman makes it hard to sustain that love. In the simplest words, she sucks.

She walked inside carrying the same demeanor of anger, like always. Why she was perennially pissed is still a mystery for all of us, but for now, we have to put up with her. I sweetly call her 'Angry old woman'. She is a short woman, with plump cheeks and a medium built. She has short legs, so when she walks it looks as though a rabbit is hopping from one place to the other.

She sits down and lightly dumps her hand bag and register on the table. Putting on her glasses, she quickly opens the attendance register and starts calling out names. But ofcourse, as always, no one's really interested in listening. This infuriates the already miffed teacher and she starts yelling at the top of her voice, "Enough is enough class! Stop talking now or else I'll go call the principal!"

Her outburst calms the beasts down a bit. Everyone qiuets down, fearing that she might rip her hair apart or god forbid, the students'. She takes a deep breath and starts calling out names again.

When the attendance got over, I started taking out my physics book and register, but before I could keep them on my desk, our teacher said, "I'm going to be changing your seats today..", and this statement invokes a unananimous reaction of discontent from the entire class.



"Kya yaar...not again!"

As if she had plugged cotton balls into her ears, she paid no heed to the complaints and started shuffling all of us. Nandita made a face when she was made to get up and sit next to a guy named Abhishek. I gave her a 'thumbs up' sign and a smirk as she walked away, frowning at me.

Thankfully, I wasn't made to get up. Instead, someone named Ayush was asked to sit beside me. I don't understand this school. They discourage relationships between girls and boys, and yet thrust the whole idea of 'boys-and-girls-should-mingle-since-we're-a-coed-school" down our throats. It's like saying that you want a baby but you don't want to have sex because apparently it's 'not right'.

Anyway, I say 'Hi' and he says 'Hi' and that's the end of it. Our classes continue, and there really is no interaction between us. However, I do know that all this drama is only meant for today. Tomorrow, everyone will simply go back to their preferred seats. They'll simply change seats during physics class, and that's pretty much about it.

Our last class, i.e economics, turned out to be a substitution class with none other than our class teacher, Ms. Grumpy. So we had no choice but to stay put with our new partners. Thank god she didn't start teaching physics. By the end of the day, my brain cell are really dead.

We read our newspapers instead. Suddenly I hear a chuckle from beside me. I look at Ayush and he grins at me while pointing towards an article that apparently made him laugh. I look at the article, it's basically about how a bunch of rabid fangirls chased a guy when he said that he didn't like Zac Efron, the guy from High School Musical.

"You know, no offense, but I have to say that girls can be extremely dumb at times", he said in an amused voice. I shrug and nod, "They're always dumb"

He stares at me with his eyes wide and an eyebrow arched, "What ?" A little pause. "You agree that girls are dumb ?"

"Yup. They are"

He grins again, "And does that apply to you aswell ?"


"And why is that ?"

"Because I've got a brain", I said, pointing towards my head, "And I use it"

He nods, that stupid grin still plastered on his face. I don't understand why it is so difficult for men to accept that not all girls are alike. Bloody losers. He continues, "You have to be the first one to accept the fact that girls are dumb"

"Teenage girls, to be precise. Actually, what I like about men is that they never let their heart overpower their brain. Whether it is a relationship or a financial matter, they always use the thing called brain. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for girls", I finish with a straight face.

I'm guessing he's over the shock by now, as the grin has been wiped off his face and has been replaced by a smile, "Yeah, and when we say the same thing to other girls, they say we're being chauvinistic"

And before we know it, we're both laughing at that statement. It's rather wierd actually, because I've never really thought that I could laugh with a guy from my class. When we're done laughing, I glance at my watch to check the time. The bell rings even before I can look up. Suddenly, the class springs to life. Everyone starts hustling around and there's alot of commotion. I get up, stuff my things into my bag, swing it on my back, say bye to Ayush and start walking towards Nandita.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Part 3

There is something extremely wrong with the whole concept of 'love'. There are some major loopholes in the whole theory that has been constructed by the society (Which includes expression of love in the written form, movies, Television et al) over the period of time.

Version 1.1: Romeo and Juliet were two idiots who fell in love (apparently) and then died in the end for each other. Bravo! Here's love for you.

Version 1.10: Edward and Bella are two idiots who fell in love (apparently) and constantly keep looking for oppurtunities to die for each other. Bravo, yet again!

But then, beyond literature, 'love', as we know it, doesn't really exist. There really is no blue-eyed prince charming out there who will come and sweep you off your feet. There really is no hero who will always save you from the bad guys. There is no one who has looks of the ultimate greek god, a heart of gold and a chivalrous nature.

But you know, I can't really say the same for the girls. You know why ? Because girls are plain and simple dumb. They would be ready to sacrifice everything they have in the wink of an eye, the moment someone comes and says, "Sweetheart, I love you" (And I wanna have sex with you. But ofcourse, no one really says that) Most of the girls in my age-group live in the fantasy of a blue-eyed prince. Just when you thought that womenhood has finally begun to make some progress, these girls prove you wrong in no time.

So finally, the whole deal is that love is nothing but Bull.

Anyway, more on that later. Right now, I'm on my way to the place I dread the most - my school. Funnily though, the bus ride to school always has me thinking about some or the other stupid thing. I'm sitting on the window seat, silently looking out of the window. My favourite weather is the post-rain time. I love the soft breeze and the calm environment. The whole ambience is just so serene and peaceful. I can see the leaves of a tree swaying lightly due to the breeze. Somehow I find that sight to be really beautiful, and I have this sudden and inexplicable urge to dash out of the bus and feel the wind too.

My thoughts are brought to a sudden halt as the bus stops. We're finally inside hell. For 6 hours. I sigh and get up, swinging my bag on my back, I make my way towards the exit door.

When I reach my class, I see my one and only friend, Nandita, and give her a smile. And when I say one and only, I literally mean it. Either she's the only one who can tolerate me or I'm the one who feels that she's remotely close to understanding me than the others. Remotely.

"Hey, what's up ?", she enquired in her usual deep voice.

"Fine. I just didn't want to come today..", she rolls her eyes as I say this, apparently indicating that she hears the same thing everyday. Ignoring her, I continue, "I mean, the love the weather today. We should be outside, not trapped here in this death camp"

"Hey..will you give the whole 'I-hate-school' thing a break ?", she says jokingly.

"But I do hate school", I say with a shrug. It's actually my daily mantra. I say it atleast 100 times each day. She sighs and holds up her palms in defeat, "Fine. There's no arguing with you". I give a stupid grin and we settle down in our chairs. Our class teacher enters and Nandita has to literally shake me to make me get up. I'm really not interested in looking at our class teacher's doomed face. I keep looking outside. Eerily, the one emotion that I do associate with this weather is 'freedom'. And seeing as we're in school, this emotion almost overwhelms me.

The guys in my class are first-rate nincompoops. No, I'm not one of the girls who doesn't like boys in general because they're 'yucky' boys. I hate them because it irks me to see them proud of their fake attitutde and inflated ego. It irks me to see that they think they know everything there is to know about this world. It irks me to know that they think they're god's gifts to Earth. If there is an emotion stronger than 'disgust', then that is what I feel for them. Actually no, 'pity' would be the right one. Because once out of school, I'm pretty sure they're gonna have a hard time trying to figure out who hit them in the balls. I guess barring one or two, almost every one is a loser. Trust me, I'm not looking for a boyfriend here, but had they been a little more decent, then friendship would not have been such a bad idea.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Part 2

I often wonder whether it's my school that's so nasty that I can't help but hate it, or it's me whose simply being a normal teenager. I don't know, but I believe the former most of the times to pacify my inner self.

Plus, it's not just the school, I have a problem with the entire system. You want an education ? India's not the place for you. Go to some country where practicality and intelligence are real concepts, and not just theoretical concepts like other theoretical concepts. Theory, theories about that theory, and more theories about both these theories, that's what our system is about. Oh and I almost forgot - Marks. And grades.

I'm trying really hard here to focus on my maths homework. Maths in class 11th is a major pain in the ass. It's probably tougher than Newton, Einstien, Aryabhatta and all the other geeky scientists, put together would have imagined it to be two/three centuries later.

It's 5:40 pm in the evening and there are so many things that I'd rather be doing. No, I don't mean logging in to facebook and uploading pics of myself shitting in the loo. I have yet to go to the market and buy some stuff, I have to go find a plumber because the kitchen tap is leaking, I have to call the hardware guy to fix up my CD-Rom, I also have to send a few important mails. And yet, I'm sitting here trying to understand 'Limits & Derivatives', which might not even help me 20 years hence.

People often cite that I'm not their 'regular' teenager, I really don't know what that means, or whether it's a positive implication or a negative one. All I know is that I'm different. My life, habits, ambitions are different.

I hate my phone. It rings too much. It's ringing now. I don't feel like picking it up, but I finally let out a sigh and pick it up, "Hello ?"

"Naina, dude, how's the homework coming along ?". It's my classmate, the one I sit with, and my friend too.

"Horribly. I haven't done anything", I reply, while making a face at my book. I can hear her sighing on the other end, "Yeah, it's the same with me. Looks like we're in for some nice shit tomorrow in maths class"

"Most probably. I'll bring my shiny armour", I reply with a slight grin. I can hear her grin too, I hang up without saying bye. That's kind of silly.


The character's name is 'Naina'.