To read first part, click here.
To read second part, click here.
To read third part, click here.
To read fourth part, click here.
To read fifth part, click here.
Simmi couldn’t sleep, couldn’t eat. In fact, she didn’t want to do anything. She just wanted to be left alone. She wanted to hide; hide from everyone, even from herself. She had spent last few days in bed. Everyone in her family had asked her if she was fine. Even Kajal had called her to inquire about her health. She clearly understood that everybody meant to ask about her physical health, not emotional. Alas, what was the point of saying anything when she herself couldn’t understand those knotty feelings, feelings of restlessness, feelings of disquiet that seemed to plague her every now and then. So she had just said that yes, she was fine, and that she was tired and wanted to rest for few days. And everybody believed it. They thought she had burnt the midnight oil last few days studying and working hard for her chosen action. They didn’t know that she couldn’t sleep at nights because she was haunted by nightmares; because she was terrorized by her weakness; because she abhorred herself. How could she take pride in herself when she had allowed the other person to walk all over her? How could she look herself in the mirror when she couldn’t fight for her own rights? And how could she blame Arpit for kissing her when she had practically allowed him to do so? Didn’t she just stand there like a statue when he was kissing her? Why hadn’t she pushed him off? Why hadn’t she kicked him? Why hadn’t she screamed at him like a banshee? Why? Why? Because she was absolutely spineless.
She loved to think about how she was going to complete her studies with good grades and get a fabulous job. She loved to dream about how she was going to be independent and take her own decisions. But then those were dreams, weren’t they? If she can’t handle a single guy on her own, how was she going to fare in the big bad world where everybody was out to get the weaker one?
All these questions were haunting her since the day Arpit had kissed her. She didn’t know what to do, and she didn’t know whom to talk. She just didn’t know. Period. And so she did one thing she knew well. She buried herself in her bed with blankets over her head. She knew she was behaving insanely but she wasn’t ready to tackle her problems right now. She wanted to spend few days at home and find her courage and balance. And she hoped to find it soon. She wasn’t ready to give up and move to the all-girls’ college just to get rid of “Arpit problem.” She had enough of that sheltered life. She didn’t want to throw in the towel as soon as a problem arose. She wanted to soar like a bird. She wanted to get rid of the shackles of protectiveness.
She was jolted from her musings when her mother called for her. Expecting to be offered food again, she stomped into the living room and stopped dead. She couldn’t believe what she saw next. Arpit was sitting with her mother in the living room and was helping himself to tea and snacks.
“See beta, who has come to meet you? Your friend says that he was worried about you as you are not going to college since last few days. Isn’t that sweet of him?”
“Y-yes. It’s really nice of him.” Simmi didn’t know what to say. She never expected him to come to her home like this. What if he started behaving gruffly? What will her parents think of her choice of friends? Of course Arpit wasn’t her friend but her parents thought otherwise. She couldn’t afford to let her parents think that she wasn’t capable of making good friends. She had to prove her good judgment if she wanted her family to stop being over-protective of her.
“Beta, sit and talk with your friend. I will get hot samosas for him.”
“No, no aunty. I already had 2 samosas. I am full now,” Arpit started protesting but as usual, Simmi’s mother, Kamini, was in her full hostess mode.
“How can you be full by eating just 2 samosas? Of course you need more. I am getting hot samosas for you. No need to be so shy,” saying this Kamini hurried into the kitchen. She was hoping that Arpit will pull Simmi out of her weird mood. She had never seen Simmi in such a peculiar mood before and so she was naturally worried about her.
“What are you doing here?” Simmi just wanted to get rid of Arpit as soon as possible. She didn’t want Arpit to meet her father and her father would be arriving in an hour.
“Well, you were not coming to college and so I thought something must be wrong with you. I thought I should visit you like a good friend.”
“Friend? Who said you are my friend? In fact, you are the reason why I am not coming to the college.” Simmi had enough of Arpit’s bullying tactics. It was time to put her resolution into action. She was going to stand up for herself. She was going to solve this “Arpit problem” once and for all; she was not going to run away.
Arpit didn’t like getting blamed for anything, and he definitely didn’t like Simmi’s tone. “What do you mean by that statement? What did I do?”
Simmi couldn’t believe what she was hearing. “Are you really asking me this question? Don’t you remember how you behaved the last time we met?”
“Well, if you are talking about that kiss..”
“Shh… I don’t want to talk about it here. If my mother hears about it, I will be in hot water. I am not like you who can do anything and everything.” On one hand Simmi wanted to blast Arpit for his abominable behavior but on the other hand, she wanted to get rid of him fast. Rationally she understood that it wasn’t the right time to talk about all that.
Arpit could see he was making Simmi nervous just by being in her home, and he really didn’t want to do so. He wasn’t joking when he said that he was worried about her and wanted to visit her to make sure that everything was fine. He knew he had behaved too boldly where Simmi was concerned. Alas, Simmi was quite innocent and naïve, and he definitely wanted her to stay like that.
“Okay. We won’t talk about it. What do you want to talk about?”
“I don’t want to talk about anything with you. You just go away before my father comes.”
“But why? Why can’t I be here like your good friend? Even your mother is making hot samosas for me.” Arpit tried to wail about it but he wasn’t sure if he was entirely successful. Although he wanted much more than friendship from Simmi, he first wanted to be friends with her. He wanted Simmi to be free with him and the best way to do that was to make her feel comfortable and relaxed with him.
Simmi couldn’t believe it when she saw Arpit moaning about samosas. How can he behave so stupidly over samosas? “Okay. I will get samosas for you tomorrow but you just go away right now.”
“What about the ones that are being cooked right now?”
“I will tell mom that you had to leave urgently on some matter. And I will get some for you tomorrow.”
Arpit knew when to push and when to stop; and he didn’t want to push Simmi much. He was in damage-control mode and he knew quite well that that mode required lot of patience and charm. And he definitely could be charming when the situation called for it.
“Okay. I am going but when will you get samosas for me?”
“I am coming to the college tomorrow. I will get it for you.”
“Okay. Then wait for me in the campus garden after the last lecture. I will meet you there.”
“No. I don’t want to meet you after the college. I...”
“It’s either that or those hot samosas right now. The choice is yours.”
“No. Those two are the only options you have.” Arpit was not going to bend so much that he wouldn’t feel his own spine when he bent down.
“Okay. I will meet you at 5.00 pm in the campus garden.” Simmi agreed sullenly when she couldn’t find any other option.
“Good. See you tomorrow.” Even though Arpit felt like grinning, he resisted. He didn’t want to get Simmi’s back up again. Anyway he was going to have hard time convincing her without creating unnecessary hurdles.But as soon as he was out of Simmi’s home, he started grinning and whistling his favorite tune. Now it was time to celebrate with beer. Cheers!