PS: This is an episodic romantic story. Every week, a new episode will be published.
To read first part, click here.
To read second part, click here.
Arpit took a deep drag of cigarette and started blowing rings. Although they weren’t as good as LSD, he liked smoking cigarettes. Ah, that sweet feeling of being high on LSD, being in that other alternate universe where flowers bloom with inner beauty and chairs emit elegance of pure texture. The universe where distance and time didn’t matter, only being mattered. Just the thought of smoking LSD was enough to send Arpit in the reveries of ecstasy and frustration. However, due to shortage of cash, he had to settle for cigarettes. And he abhorred that.
As usual, he was sitting in the corner of the college’s campus, enjoying his smoke. Suddenly he saw that lunatic girl in the parking lot, trying to take out her Scooty. That insane friend of hers wasn’t with her. He had never seen such a pair of daft girls before. One was always walking into him like a zombie and another had a runny mouth – saying anything without thinking or knowing. Suddenly Arpit got an urge to go and talk with that lunatic. He wanted to know her name and what she was doing in the college. There were so many courses being offered by the college that you could practically find each and every youth of the city in this college, studying one thing or the other. He could always ask around but he didn’t want to. Why to waste time asking questions everywhere when the source is right in front of you? And what time is better than right now? So he just threw off the cigarette, stubbed it out with his foot and strode toward her.
He approached that lunatic girl from behind and put a hand on her shoulder. Startled, she whirled around. As soon as she saw who it was, she started turning red. On seeing this, Arpit couldn’t decide whether to be annoyed or amused. So he decided to get straight to the point.
“What’s your name?”
“Girl, I haven’t got full day to stand around here, listening to your stammer. Just get it on.”
“M-my na-name i-is Simmi.” She looked quite relieved to tell him her name. How pathetic!
“What are you studying here?” After asking this question, Arpit could have kicked himself. Seeing that girl’s speech, he probably would have to stand there until eternity to get the answer.
“I…I a-am in the f-first year..year of B.com.” Now she looked positively green. Arpit started wondering if Simmi had the genes of chameleon.
Against his better judgment, Arpit found himself asking “are you alright? Do you need some water or do you need to sit down somewhere?” Simmi again started turning red.
Seeing her changing colors at his questions, Arpit started getting more and more confused. What on the earth was wrong with this girl? And what the hell was wrong with him? Why was he suddenly turning into Mother Mary, asking such insane questions to that lunatic girl? May be stupidity is infectious. May be if he remained in her company for much longer, he too would turn into a pinhead. Just when he turned and started walking away, there was a thud followed by Simmi’s yelp. Exasperated, he turned around with a mind to tell her to start behaving like a normal girl but when he saw her bleeding from the forehead with her hand on the cut, he forgot his irritation.
“What happened? How come you have started bleeding?”
Simmi pointed to a bloody tennis ball lying at her feet. Seeing the ball, Arpit saw red mist in front of his eyes. Right then a guy, outfitted in shorts and t-shirt, came running with a racket in one hand. “Oh…I am so sorry. Are you hurt?”
Before Simmi could say anything, Arpit lit into that guy. “Are you stupid or blind? Can’t you see her bleeding? Do you think a person normally bleeds like this?” And before that guy could do anything, Arpit started dragging Simmi toward college building.
“Wh-where are you taking me?”
“Oh! So you can talk normally. Glad to know it. I was getting tired of your stammers.”
“C-can you slow down a bit? I am feeling little bit dizzy.”
Aggravated, Arpit just turned around and let go Simmi’s hand. He slipped one arm around her shoulder, other under her knees and just lifted her up, and started walking around the college building.
“What are you doing? Are you out of your mind? Put me down.” Seeing Simmi so full of life, Arpit was pleasantly surprised. He really hated the stammering Simmi. Now this Simmi was interesting. Ignoring Simmi’s shrieks and the stares from the passersby, Arpit quickly marched into the college’s administration office.
“Where’s the first aid? This girl is hit by a tennis ball and she’s bleeding.”
Seeing Simmi’s and Arpit’s bloody clothes, the office clerk immediately got up and took them to the smaller room where there was a hospital-like bed. “Please put her on that bed. I will check out her cut. If it doesn’t require stitches, I will dress it up; otherwise we might need to call a doctor to check her up.”
Arpit didn’t like a novice like this clerk checking Simmi’s cut. He wasn’t sure of the reason for dislike but he knew that Simmi should get the best treatment possible.
“Do you know how to check? How would you know whether it requires stitches?”
“Well, I have been trained for rendering first aid treatment. Now if you move away, I could check the girl.”
Even though Arpit was reluctant to let go of Simmi in the care of a rookie, he saw no other choice. When the clerk approached the bed, he moved back a step to give him a little bit space to work on Simmi. When the clerk gave him a look, he felt like grinning. He knew the clerk expected him to give him more room but he was in no mood to accommodate him. He was happy where he was standing and so he continued to stand over there.
Giving him a disgruntled look, the clerk started cleaning Simmi’s cut. When Arpit noticed that Simmi had gone pale, he got angry again on that idiot with the racket.
“Hmm…the cut is shallow. She won’t need stitches. I will dress it up, but I think she might feel dizzy for a day or two from all the blood loss. Although the blood loss is not so alarming, it will be better to visit a doctor if she feels weak. Also, don’t let her drive for couple of days. She might feel weak and faint, and you don’t want that happening.”
“Yeah, I will take care of it.” Arpit had already decided to drop Simmi off at her house; the clerk just bolstered his resolve.
When the clerk was done dressing, Arpit simply picked Simmi up and started moving off. When he didn’t hear any protest from Simmi, Arpit looked down at her. Simmi’s eyes were closed and he felt her shivering. On one side he was glad to see that Simmi was in no state to argue with him but on the other side, he was confused by the emotions this girl was able to evoke in him. It had been long time since he wanted to protect somebody, wanted to take care of somebody except him. And he didn’t like this feeling. He was happy being selfish. He reveled in his boorish behavior. No expectations, no responsibilities. But he was scared that this girl had the power of changing everything. In fact, he didn’t want to stop it, and that in itself was terrifying.
Resolving to examine those feelings later on, Arpit placed Simmi on his bike. “Where do you stay?”
“Uh?” It seemed that Simmi couldn’t understand the question.
“I asked where do u stay?”
Again Arpit could feel his blood pressure rising. “Do you stay in your bag?”
“My bag. My address.” Saying that Simmi nearly fainted. Arpit rummaged the bag and found one diary with Simmi’s phone address and friends’ numbers. Shaking his head, Arpit started his bike. Who in today’s age kept such outdated diaries? Of course, this girl had to. But anyway he was happy for that otherwise how would he have dropped her to her place?
Somehow he managed to drive and support Simmi throughout the way. When he reached outside Simmi’s home, Simmi had regained little bit of awareness about her surroundings. As soon as he climbed down the bike and helped Simmi down, Simmi placed a hand on his chest.
“Please don’t come inside. My family will get more scared.” Even though Arpit wanted to see her personally settled in her home, the pleading in her eyes stopped him from insisting. “Ok. But I will wait here until you reach your home safely. If I see you falling down, I am coming to help you. And I won’t care who sees it.”
Nodding solemnly at Arpit, Simmi started making way to her home. Arpit was standing by his bike, muscles bunched up like a runner at the starting point of the race. He wasn’t bluffing. If he saw Simmi faltering, he was going to rush to her, pick her up and carry her inside. Whosoever had any problem with that could take a flying hike for all he cared.
When Simmi reached her door, she turned around and waved at him. Suddenly feeling light-hearted, Arpit began to whistle. He kicked started the bike and started humming while going back to his home.