“Quite a bit. I made 10 slides, and need you guys to see them now” I replied while taking the pen drive out of my bag. We were at Ayush’s place this time, and his room looked like it belonged to an eccentric person. I wasn’t surprised, because Ayush’s personality agreed with the vibe his room gave off. He had painted all his walls with what he called ‘abstract art’, and had empty bottles of paint everywhere. His computer table was the only thing that seemed to be well kept in the entire room. If this wasn’t enough, he had the quote ‘Crazy people who are productive are geniuses. Crazy people who are rich are eccentric. But crazy people who are neither productive nor rich are just crazy’ plastered on his door.
“And I came up with a concept for the chart summary” Ayush said with a quick glance at Nandita, “I spoke with Nandita the other day and she agreed with me. Just a sec”, he got up to retrieve a rolled chart paper from his art store. I guess it must be the place where he kept all his works.
He unrolled the chart and displayed it to us. I couldn’t help but stare at it, not believing that I had not agreed with this idea initially. He had painted the entire background black, and there were two fire torches in the bottom right corner, depicting ‘enlightenment’, in Ayush’s words. Two patterns that looked very much like climbers grew out from behind the torches, white in color.
“It’s..amazing”, I said softly, whilst looking at the painting. Ayush stared at me for a second, which also broke my trance.
“I thought you didn’t like this idea”
“Yeah, well, I didn’t quite picture it this way when you told me”
He grinned, “Good. Now you know when to not contradict me”, he said with an attitude that sounded bogus. I gave him a dirty look, which only made him grin more.
Before I could say anything to him, Nandita spoke up, “Naina, can we see the slideshow now?”
I curtly nodded and pursed my lips. Getting up from my chair, I made my way towards Ayush’s computer and inserted the pen drive into the input. Ayush, Nandita and Vivek gathered behind me as I double clicked on the icon.
I don’t believe in making jazzy presentations and putting in too many effects, it makes the entire presentation look very congested and rather lousy. I like to keep it simple and elegant, which is exactly what I had done with this project too. Somehow, it always worked for me.
We finished watching the presentation and discussed the minute changes. Everyone pretty much liked the way it was coming along, so we sat down and talked about our further course of action. The discussion lasted for about 10 minutes, and then we all got bored. Our conversation easily drifted towards a different topic, and the next thing we knew, we were talking about UFO’s and aliens.
I smiled but didn’t admit that I loved this song too. That would totally screw our chalk and cheese image.
His parents, his grandparents, his chacha-chachi, all lived under one roof. There were moments of joy and togetherness, and then there were moments of extreme frustration and suffocation. Vivek hoped every single moment of the day to reach the age of 18 quickly, so that he could move out and live on his own.
“We told you to come early. Your mama-mami will be here anytime now. We’ve been calling you since –”
“I’m sorry, ok? I lost track of time but I came as soon as you called me up” Vivek said, getting irritated. He ignored his parents and walked towards his closet to take out some ‘acceptable’ clothing for the evening. Why the hell were they coming anyway? And even if they are, why is it so important for every goddamn person to kiss their feet?
“Behave yourself Vivek. You have no right to get fired up. It’s us who’ve been waiting, while you were having the time of your life with your friends” said his mother in a loud voice. Vivek decided not to argue, he knew it was no point saying anything.
“I’m sorry, won’t happen again”, he said with his head hung low.
“It better not”, and with that, both of them got up, murmured something like “Get ready fast” and walked out of his room.
He sighed and got back to getting ready. He had lived in a joint family all his life, but he warmed up to the institution. Freedom and space were non-existent concepts, and each and every action was scrutinized with a fine microscope. He wondered what it would take to set himself free of this bond, and once again thought of his 18th birthday.