To read first part, click here.
To read second part, click here.
To read third part, click here.
To read fourth part, click here.
Where the hell is Simi? Arpit wondered furiously. He had checked Simmi’s class, canteen and library but she was nowhere. He had sighted Kajal but she was in her basketball practice uniform and so he didn’t expect Simmi to be around her. He had already deduced that his Simmi was a mild person with no inclination toward any kind of sports, and he was thankful for that. He didn’t want her to be distracted by stupid games. She was fine as she was, but where was she?
At one point he did think that she might have bunked her class but then dismissed the idea. In last one month, he had never seen her bunking a class. She loved to study; he couldn’t understand how could anyone love books but apparently she loved it. Maybe he should check the library again. Maybe she is sitting in one corner of the library with her head buried deep in a book and he missed it.
As minutes ticked by, Arpit started getting angry. Why couldn’t she just be there where she’s supposed to be? Why he has to look all over the place if he wants to talk to her? And why does he want to talk to her so badly? He does have other friends, doesn’t he? Why should he get so angry on not able to find Simmi? Hang on, was he angry? Or merely irritated? Shaking his head in disgust, Arpit decided to chill with his friends. Simmi can go to hell for all he cared.
As soon as Arpit entered Rakesh’s room, the smell of stale beer and cigarettes hit him. It seemed that they had had a party and he missed it. All due to Simmi.
“Hey man, where have you been? We just had an impromptu party. Tony had got 3 packs of beer. Your favorite brand – Kingfisher. Your pack is over there. Get it.”
“Ah, it’s warm now. Dude, couldn’t you put it in the fridge?”
“We didn’t know you won’t come for ages. Usually you are lying somewhere around here, but lately you have taken to going to the college at odd hours. If you had to go for the classes, why not go during the time of the classes? Why are you going to college at the end of the day?”
“Shut the fuck up and mind your business. Do I ever ask you what you do when I am not there? Don’t ask me again.”
“Chill man! No need to get so angry. I was just curious.”
Arpit pinched his nose. He knew he was in the wrong but he was still angry. Still irritated on Simmi, he amended silently to himself. “Yeah, I am sorry. I am pissed off about another thing. Anyway, do you have a joint?”
“No yaar. I had the last one. If you want one, I can go and buy one for you.”
“Nah, leave it. I will make do with the beer.” Saying this, Arpit gulped down an entire bottle of beer in one go.
“What man, you are drinking beer like water. Are you okay?”
“Yes, yes. I am fine. Anyway, I am going home. See you tomorrow.”
“What about the rest of your pack? Don’t you want it?”
“Well, have it yourself if you want. Or keep it in the fridge. We can enjoy it tomorrow.”
Both Rakesh and Tony looked at him as if he had sprouted another head. They thought Arpit was being weird but they didn’t want to say anything else. Right now Arpit looked very much like a ticking bomb, and they weren’t in the mood to be the lighter for that bomb. They had never seen Arpit so much on the edge. Maybe they should give him some space.
Simmi felt like stamping her foot. Her new spectacles felt so awkward to her that throughout the day she kept fidgeting with them. Even her economics professor had asked her if there was any problem with her glasses. She was not only embarrassed by that question but angry too; angry because it drew everyone’s attention to her and her newly myopic condition. Life wasn’t fair! As if her plainness was not good enough to make her a wall flower, she turned near-sighted too. Surely she looked like an aunty now with her black-framed spectacles. Yesterday she had to bunk an entire day of college to go to optometrist and get her eyes checked. Since last few days, she was getting headaches and had problems reading whatever was written on the black board of the class. Her family doctor had advised her to go see an optometrist to cover all bases, and sure enough, she got spectacles. She had wanted to opt for lenses but doctor had advised her not to as her eyes were quite sensitive right now. According to the doctor, she should wear spectacles for a year and then try lenses. Yeah, she will try it when she’s an old woman who couldn’t walk without her cane.
Books in hand, Simmi looked back in surprise. Who could be calling her? Everybody had already left the class and she was the last one to get out, as usual. When she saw Arpit striding toward her, she started going hot and cold at the same time. She still remembered Arpit’s kiss on her forehead, and she was both embarrassed and angry about it. How dare he take such liberties with her? And what if somebody had seen him doing it? Didn’t he know how to behave with a girl? She didn’t want to have a fight with him and so she didn’t stop. She kept on walking along the isolated lobby.
Suddenly she was grabbed by her arm and turned around. “Didn’t you hear me?” Arpit asked her furiously.
“Yes, I did.” Simmi made her voice as chilly as she could. She was not going to let Arpit get away with anything he wanted to do. He needed to learn that she was a free individual, not his slave.
“Then why didn’t you stop? I had to run to catch up with you.” The idea of Simmi not waiting for him didn’t sit well with Arpit. He didn’t want her to behave like that again.
“Well, I didn’t want to speak with you. So why should I stop?” Arpit was completely taken aback by Simmi’s aggressiveness. Simmi, a docile, timid girl, was shouting at him. But he was loving it!
“What are you smiling at? Do you think I am cracking up jokes here for your entertainment?”
Seeing Simmi glaring at him with her new spectacles perched on her nose, Arpit was more than entertained. In fact, he felt down-right thrilled. He absolutely loved to banter with Simmi.
“Why didn’t you come yesterday? I was looking for you.”
“Well, can’t you can see my new spectacles? Do you think I got it overnight?” Simmi found a soft target in Arpit to vent out all her recent optical frustrations. If life wasn’t fair to her, why should she be fair to him? Let him get a taste of unfair life.
“Yes, I saw your new glasses, and I think you look adorable in it.”
“Adorable? I look adorable with this pair of glasses? Are you out of your ever-loving mind?”
“Why? What’s wrong with the spectacles?” Arpit really couldn’t see the point of Simmi’s pique. In fact, he didn’t just find her adorable, he found her sexy. But he didn’t want to tell her that because he was sure as hell that she would be more than embarrassed.
“I was already a plain girl and now with these spectacles, I am at my worst.”
“Why are you giving so much importance to your looks? Don’t you know beauty is only skin deep?”
“Well, it’s easier for you to say. You are a guy, you won’t understand it. It’s just not a matter of looks. It directly relates to your confidence too.”
“So you mean to say that if you know that you are attractive, you will have better confidence?”
“Yes. In fact, every person is like that.”
“Then you shouldn’t worry about it because you look more than attractive in this new look of yours.”
“Yeah, right. Now let me go.”
“No, I won’t until you believe me.”
Seeing the glint of determination in Arpit’s eyes, a spark of fury lit in Simmi. “I said let go of my hand.”
“And I said I won’t until you believe me.” Arpit said equally calmly.
Simmi tried to wretch her hand free by force but Arpit kept his grip firm. In fact, he drew Simmi near to him so that she couldn’t apply much force. “Simmi, stop it before you hurt yourself. I said I will let you go once you believe me. So trust me and believe me.”
“Why should I trust you? Since when did you become such a trust-worthy person? And why are you being like a dog with a bone for this?”
“Have I ever lied to you?”
“What but? If I say you look sexy in this look, then you should believe me.”
On hearing the word “sexy,” Simmi gasped. Nobody had ever called her sexy, least of all, a guy. And that too Arpit!
“Cat got your tongue?”
“No need to stammer. You really look sexy. In fact, you should always wear these glasses,” saying this Arpit started drawing Simmi in his arms.
“Wh-what are you doing?” Simmi couldn’t believe what was happening. Why was her heart beating so fast?
“Well, I want to see how it feels to kiss you while you are wearing your spectacles. Good experiment, don’t you think?”
“I..I…” Before Simmi could complete her sentence, Arpit’s lips covered hers. Even though Arpit wasn’t forcing her to kiss him, Simmi couldn’t move. She wasn’t even sure if she should move. Her knees went weak and body turned limp. Her heart speeded and her brain stopped working. She couldn’t hear anything but a huge wave of roar. She couldn’t see anything, just feel.
Seeing Simmi enjoy his kisses, Arpit felt a spurt of satisfaction. It felt right to have Simmi in his arms. It felt amazing to touch her baby-soft skin. It felt marvelous to run his hand through her tresses. Although he didn’t want to stop kissing Simmi, he knew he had to. They were in the lobby and they could be seen by anyone. He wasn’t worried about his own reputation; he didn’t have one to worry. Simmi’s reputation was another matter. If anyone saw them, he was sure Simmi would never ever speak to him, and he didn’t want to face that prospect. Better stop before it goes too far.
“Now you believe me?” Arpit asked Simmi while pushing her gently out of his arms.
Seeing the dazed look in Simmi’s eyes, Arpit felt ecstatic. At least this chemistry wasn’t one sided. “I said, do you now believe me that you are sexy?”
Coming to her senses was a painful process for Simmi. When she regained enough consciousness about her surrounding, she was aghast to realize what she let happen. How could she let Arpit kiss her like that? And that too in a public lobby? What if somebody saw them and started spreading tales about them? What will Kajal think when she hears about it? What will her parents do when they come to know about it?
Unable to bear so many horrendous thoughts at a time, Simmi turned around and dashed away. She wanted to hide away, never to come out again.
Arpit watched several emotions chase through Simmi’s face in just few seconds and he could make out each and every thought of hers. Even though he was hurt at one level that Simmi had not thought about him for a second, he could sympathize with her. He knew that Simmi, who had led a sheltered life until now, was ill-equipped to know what was happening. But he wasn’t. He knew exactly what was happening between them and what was going to happen in the future. He was prepared for it, and more than that, he looked forward to it.