Reviewed by Ironmonkey.
Shantanu had a worse time with Sekar than us, as all his teammates were 7 pointers. Nevertheless Shantanu had procured a good name from AP ma’am and Rani ma’am with his shrewd responses during classes, and his efforts in college activities.
AP ma’am who only knew it too well about Shantanu’s stock market aspirations didn’t oppose the idea, yet she gave a clear warning that the project can’t get an S grade as it was more financial than technical. Sekar who couldn’t buck AP’s support to Shantanu let them walk out with their project idea approved grudgingly.
It was a big relief for the time being though an icy feeling suffused through our blood at the thought of the next review. As many as 11 teams were asked to resubmit their proposal with better ideas or with ameliorations in the already presented idea.
“Man I am skeptical even to get this done in a simulator, and she wants me to do it in the kernel” Rajesh moaned with gall.
Though we felt sorry for Sangi as her team’s idea was rejected blatantly stating that the system already exists, yet we really felt our mind allay.
We had two more weeks for our 7th sem exams. Shantanu was doing exceptionally well that semester. Lack of organizational responsibilities and enough free hours have all made him concentrate more on academics. He was also back into trading and made considerable profits.
It was a Sunday morning. I just returned after brushing. Anu was looking bemused by the ringing that woke her up from bed very early as it was only 7.30 then. My mobile was singing loud ‘truly madly deeply…’ with Shantanu’s picture.
I picked up the mobile wiping of my hands in the towel. “I need you to come with me.”
“Should I have to tell you, if I want you to come?” he said sardonically.
“I would very well walk till the end of the world with you, but I just asked you. Ok when do we start?”
“In an hour, come down, and wait near the auditorium I will join you there.”
I got ready with a mix of anxiety and excitement. “May be he has made a good profit in shares that he wanted to gift you something”, Anu suggested still slumberous. I scuttled towards the auditorium.
I was already a little late, and I could never face Shantanu if I was late and also could never bear him blasting of about punctuality, which was one of the qualities I disdained in him. I wished he would say, ‘I will wait forever, for you, my love.’ But he never did.
I reached the auditorium to face the fuming Shantanu. “Sorry Sorry Sorry” I blushed before he could open up. He looked like he was trying hard to contain himself.
We scurried to the bus stop, and luckily had a seat free. We sat next to each other. After that embarrassing incident we started to physically distance ourselves a little.. I wanted to walk holding his hands, and lean on his shoulders, but I could rarely do that.
Though things started to get better we still felt uncomfortable to even sit close to each other in public place. At times Shantanu even resorted to keeping his bag between us making me turn scarlet.
We sat in silence. I wanted to ask him, where we were heading so early in the morning. But I wanted him to tell me, and I sat in taut silence. He didn’t seem to be breaking the silence. I was speculating whether he was still fuming, or he wantonly muted himself.
We got down after a 20 minute journey, and I could readily say that, the place is where he went to Kung-Fu class. I suppressed the urge to ask him ‘Why am I taken to his kung-fu class?’
The place looked festive or may be I assumed so. He introduced me to his Sifu, “Sifu this is Elvia my friend.”
He just replied a smirk. People were demonstrating stunts and stuff. Wasn’t bad, yet I was feeling bored. After a couple of hours we walked out.
“That was great, breaking 7 tiles with flames. How did you do that?” I had definitely had done all that in my karate class, yet I didn’t want to let him down from his high spirits.
Spotting the fake avidity in my voice, “Huh as if you had never done that, dan 2” he said ironically.
“Well I had been practicing the art for more than a decade now. But managing a brown belt in less than 2 yrs is awesome”
He didn’t reply for a while. May be he felt not to be modest at his feat.
“I want to treat you for this.”
“Treat. Ya of course this is something to be celebrated.”
“Well then I will take you to a movie today.”
“If you want to take me to a movie, you definitely don’t need the excuse of a treat.\” I sniggered. He frowned.
We went back to the college. “Good that I am out of responsibilities, or I would have never even achieved the blue belt this year.”
I was unable to make out his countenance. Was he still feeling doleful about the presidency or did he really mean it. It was made clear when he added, “See I may not even have had the time to accompany you to a movie.”
I still didn’t comment fearing of making another barb.
“Come down soon. I will be waiting.”
“Hmm… will 1.30 do?”
“For what do you need that long?”
“Huh then you tell me the time”
“Well ok. I think we will be having lunch in the canteen. So will you be able to make it by one”
He turned back with a look that clearly warned me not to be late again.
We had lunch in the deserted canteen, and it was about to close when we left, as it worked only half a day on a Sunday. We walked in the mild December sun.
Thankfully he didn’t have a bag to place in between us. I risked sitting close to him. I felt an energetic giddy feeling. He didn’t resist.
The theatre was not so crowded. In spite of being a Sunday’s afternoon, people seemed to have settled for their TVs, than coming out for a movie. Here and there were groups of college guys and girls and a few pairs like us.
The movie was going good, but I really felt irksome. With him sitting next to me completely numb about my presence. Boringly I turned the other way. 2 rows ahead of us there was a couple with that guy seemingly searching something in her T-shirt.
I tried not to stare at them, and to concentrate on the movie. Indian movies getting erotic with the hero snogging the heroine quite disquieted me. I absent mindedly placed my hand on his on the arm rest. For a moment he remained numb as if it were not his hand. Then he slowly turned in my direction. A sense of mixed fright and fervor rose in me.