Finally the school bell rings. He stands at the main corridor watching over the kids and ensuring that they move in a queue. When everybody has left, he enters his classroom to fetch his school-bag and starts walking towards the cycle stand. I am standing near his new cycle, waiting for him like everyday. He gives out a sweet smile as he twitches my cheek and asks, “Did you finish your lunch?” I nod and smile back at him. He makes room for me to sit on his cycle and starts paddling. On our way back home, we talk incessantly. He tells me about his class-mates and the little gossips about him that are making news. I take pride in all these gossips featuring him and those numerous girls who can’t stop talking about him. I tell him about a girl I got to know that very day. She stands in front of his class-room everyday during the recess to try to talk to him. I always boast about him among my class-mates, especially to those whom I don’t quite like. He only smiles and adds some details here and there. We then switch over to movies and actors and to books and to our parents.
I am engrossed in our conversation when I give out a sudden cry. The cycle stops before he can pull the brakes and I am thrown forward. My right foot does not feel alright as I try to balance myself on my other foot. We see my ankle twisted and stuffed between some broken spokes soaked in blood. I don’t feel pain but I panic seeing so much blood around. It’s a major cut. I can’t move. I stand still till he gently pulls my ankle out of his bicycle Tyre. He lifts and deposits me on his cycle again and paddles as fast as he can. He then submits me to the nurse. His shirt is soaked in my blood and his sweat. He holds my hand while I lie there groaning in pain and jokes about the bad essay he wrote for his mid-terms. Soon I find myself giggling. We leave the hospital after a tetanus jab. He buys me a chocolate from the pharmacy and after sometime I forget all the pain.
Later in the evening mom was scolding bhai for not taking proper care of me. I tried to tell her that it wasn’t his fault. But, he interrupted me. I did not try again unless mom would have started railing at my carelessness.
I feel bold today. Very brave.
I didn’t know I could have ever done this. It’s a different thing in school. You can put on a brave face in that safe environment but outside the premises, the world is hostile. Today I learnt my first lesson to deal with this not-so-good world.
That is why probably when I stood in the corridor after the final bell, watching my juniors leave in a queue, ma’am told me that I reminded her of my brother.
You remember I had been writing to you about that weird guy from our own neighborhood who stands at my bus stand. You know, he always had that look on his face which made me feel strange. And the worst part was that he would be there on his motorbike every morning which eventually spoils my mood for the day. And last Monday he came and told me that I should wear a shorter skirt. I was too dumbstruck to react. How could he dare to walk to me and say something of that kind. Why does the length of my skirt concern him so much, in fact why am I his concern at all?
I couldn’t tell this to my mom. I was too scared to do that. I did not know how will she react so I narrated the incidence to bhai. He thought it was pretty normal and asked me to deal with it myself. You know, this scared me all the more. How could I? How would I bring myself to answer that shit-head? I asked him to do something about this. He could just talk to that guy and then he would probably stop staring at me.
He said he wouldn’t talk to him on my behalf. He told me that I will have to deal with it myself.
I thought of asking mom to drop me school everyday. But, I knew it wasn’t possible for her. There had to be a way out of this and I couldn’t think of anything else. It had been disturbing me.
Yesterday he walked to me again. He asked, ” Didn’t I ask you to wear shorter skirts?”
For the next couple of seconds I could not bring myself to utter a word. I kept looking at him with an air of disbelief. How did he have the audacity of commenting on my skirt. After my initial reaction I somehow gathered myself and tried to make a don’t-bulshit-me face. A hundred thousand thoughts raged inside my head, but I could utter only a syllable “So?”
“Keep this in mind next time,” he said sternly.
And that was it. I shouted back at him, ” I don’t give a damn, mister. And don’t you dare bug me next time. I know your mom, I am going to tell all this to her.”
Can you believe, he wasn’t there at the bus stand today morning? It’s amazing, isn’t it? I was scared all through the school today. What if he had done something to me at that time, harmed me in some way?
But when I didn’t see him today, I was relieved. I narrated the incidence to bhai and also about my fear. He smiled, you know, that mysterious smile of him and then told me that he had been bunking his first lecture from the last two weeks so that he could see me facing him bravely and if at all something bad happened, he could take care of it from there on.
Bhai is good, isn’t it?
I don’t know what to do.
I have come to realize that I am not in love with my boyfriend anymore. I told him I don’t feel for him anymore. He just won’t listen to me. He is such a nuisance. He keeps crying all the time. I mean, it’s all good, fine and sweet to see someone so much in love with yourself, but then….
I feel so suffocated. I feel strange when he cries in front of me. I don’t feel anything except pity. I know, I am being a bit bitch-like but, I can’t help it at all. It just does not come out of me. I truly feel bad about him. What should I do now?
Should I talk to bhai?
O no! I will have to tell him the entire story. And of course, he will be mad on me when he gets to know that I was having an affair all this while. And then all that usual jazz will follow.
I will have to talk him through not to let mom get even the slightest hint about this.
This is becoming too troublesome. Probably, he can suggest me how to deal with this.
He laughed, you know.
He laughed so much. He said he always suspected that I was up to something. But, it still felt strange, he said, to know that I had grown up so much to have affairs. He was plain surprised.
You know I had expected him to shout at me. But, he was so cool about it. The best thing was that he understood that it was possible to fall out of love. He understood man! He understood! Shit, this is crazy. My boyfriend doesn’t understand this, but bhai does. Amazing really.
I feel so relaxed now. He is the best.
Anyway, he will talk to my boyfriend tomorrow and take this up with him.
I hope it doesn’t turn ugly. Fingers crossed.
Yeah that’s the word. It was so simple. I told you about the meeting yesterday, isn’t it? So we met. I was so worried.
The three of us met. I was silent for most part of it. You should have seen my boyfriend’s face today. He went out so convinced.
It worked out, diary. It worked out man.
I feel so unburdened. Bhai had to make a sincere face and tell him that nothing can be done now, nothing even if I wanted. Why? Because I was a lesbian.
Hahaha! lesbian…hahaha! Can you imagine? I am a lesbian? What an excuse man!
You know bhai even cited instances to prove tat I was a lesbian. Shit! what a manipulator man, what a master manipulator!
Anyway, everything is sorted out now. This is cheap I know. But what do they say, “all’s well that ends well.”
This is important. I finally broke the news to my parents.
I told them that I can’t have good fulfilling relationship with men.
You know what did mom say?
She said, “Wait, till you find someone who changes your opinion regarding this.”
And dad, you know, did not even bother to react. I felt so unwanted man. What’s wrong with them. Why don’t they even try to understand. They think I am only trying to be radical. I am not trying to shock them.
I am not confused. I know what I want. I don’t like men that way. They are good. I like spending time with them. But I am so disappointed everytime. It feels as if something is missing. to tell you frankly, I don’t even feel excited when I am with them. This isn’t abnormal. I am just different.
Thank god, bhai was there.
He took my side, you know. He said he always knew I wasn’t straight. He knew it all along, He had felt it the way I talked about women. I never realized.
He said to mom that it was no big deal and asked me not to remain closeted with my preference. He asked me to go out and explore. I am truly amazed with the way he dealt with it.
He is such a support.
I don’t know what am I going to do now, but it feels good.
Thank you bhai. You’ve been there always. I love you.
You have simplified my life. You inspire me. I wish I could be as calm and mature as you.
Sometimes, it’s all about dealing with complex issues in a simple way.