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I'll be there for you | Chapter 6 Pg 3 (6/13) (Page 3)

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Apsara.

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jassie_17

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Posted: 28 May 2009 at 2:09am | IP Logged
Wow...thatz such great episodes and thank you for the real treat and that too right after my final ppr.....so I'm reallie happie and i wanna thank you from the bottom of my heart because i have not read much but frankly speaking, I've never read any novels wid a lot of medical knowledge,detailed in this way...by the way just out of curiosity are u a medical student???The work is reallie impressive!!!!
 
Well it's always better to say the truth who saw Todd...well it was only a glimpse so yeah i wud rather stick to the truth....As for Rehaan, if i were in his shoes, i wud most prolly not go forward and participate to prove them wrong. Well that's my mentality cuz if they dun value the students and just throw a talent out just because of influence and biasness, what is the guarantee that such things will not happen in the future???
 
And I totallie lurve ur sigggy...Verie beautiful!!!!
 
Cheers,
Jassie

Apsara.

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jassie_17

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Posted: 10 June 2009 at 12:22am | IP Logged
Suhana...where are you....WE are all waiting for ur updates dearie...

SuhanaSafar

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SuhanaSafar

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Posted: 13 June 2009 at 7:13pm | IP Logged
Guys, I am SOOOO sorry for the delay.  I had exams the week of June 1st, and barely had any time.  Now I have six weeks off, so the next chapter shouldn't take this long for sure.  Thanks for your patience.  I'll respond to your comments soon.
 
-------------------

Recap

Neelam tells Deepali that it was she who saw Todd Mitchell in the car window, not Hina.  Deepali is a little upset at first that Neelam did not confide in her earlier, but quickly forgives her.  Aditya attempts to give Zaid advice on how to find out if Hina likes him too.  Neelam and Deepali join them and the conversation leads to a point where Aditya mentions his parents' death.  Neelam gets emotional, which causes Aditya to be touched by her sensitivity.  Rehaan is upset because the South Asia Society did not give him the choreography position in the upcoming culture show that he deserved.  The boys go to visit Carissa, where Karan shows up to everyone's surprise. Neelam, Deepali and Hina meet up with Samira and wish her a happy birthday.  While they are walking towards the hospital to visit Carissa, they find Todd Mitchell standing in their path.
 
-------------------

Chapter 6: Memories to Last a Lifetime

Trembling slightly, Neelam turned her eyes away from the figure at the end of the street and towards Hina, who was standing next to her.  Hina also seemed taken aback by his presence but was staring at him with an expression of hatred rather than fear.  Coming to a halt behind them, Samira and Deepali exchanged perplexed looks, unaware of the disrupter's identity.  When Neelam finally worked up the nerve to look at Todd once again, she realized that his gaze was solely focused on Hina.  He narrowed his eyes menacingly at her and curled his lips into a sneer.  Hina glared loathingly back without the slightest indication of apprehension on her face.
 
Tucking his hands into the pockets of his brown leather jacket, Todd pushed away from the pole and turned to face them directly.  The disdainful smirk still playing at his lips, he took one step towards them.  Hina had now folded her arms across her chest and continued staring at him defiantly as if daring him to provoke her.  Todd began treading in their direction at a dawdling, leisurely pace.  He stopped abruptly about two feet in front of Hina and continued to stare at her spitefully.
 
The tension was perceivable in the atmosphere as the two of them stood facing one another.  Todd smirked haughtily, and it appeared that he was finally about to speak.  But instead, he walked forward, passing Hina and continuing down the sidewalk.  Hina turned to watch him leave, a glint of triumph in her eyes.
 
Samira looked from Hina's expression to Todd's retreating back.  "What was that all about?" she asked once he was out of earshot.  "Wait a second...That must have been-"
 
"Mitchell." Hina cut in.  "Yup.  I guess he found out that I'm testifying against him."
 
Deepali rolled her eyes.  "So what does he think?  He can just stare at you threateningly, and you'll back down?  He hit someone with his car and took off, for goodness sake!  I don't even understand why the hell he's walking free right now."
 
"Seriously," concurred Hina.  "The wonders of the legal system.  He was bailed out by his father about an hour after they arrested him on Monday night."
 
Samira shook her head.  "You'd think that our word and the huge dent in his truck would be enough proof."
 
"I'm sure it won't take too long to convict him once the trial begins," Neelam reassured them, though not looking entirely convinced herself.
 
"He'll be behind bars for a long time if I have anything to say about it," Hina commented.  "Anyway, we better get a move on."
 
As they continued walking, their conversation became lighter so that by the time they reached the hospital, they were quite cheerful once again.  They stopped once in the lobby where Deepali got a cup of water for herself from a cooler, and then they entered the elevator.
 
Deepali was the first to leave the elevator when it stopped on Carissa's floor.  She was engrossed in conversation with Hina, who was following closely behind her.  Inattentive to her surroundings and looking over her shoulder, Deepali headed down the familiar hallway.  Neelam noticed a young man stepping out of Carissa's room, but before she could warn her sister, it was too late.  Deepali had collided with him, and with a surprised jerk of her arm, had splashed her icy cold water all over the front of his t-shirt.
 
Karan glanced down at his shirt, then up at Deepali's wide-eyed face.  The moment he registered who she was, he sighed in annoyance.  "Why am I not surprised? How did you make it to Penn without learning how to watch where you're going when you walk?"
 
Deepali scowled back.  "You know, Karan, I was about to apologize.  But after that remark, I'm no longer inclined to do so."
 
"Fine.  I don't need your apology."  He was pulling at the front of his shirt now, peeling the wet region away from his skin. 
 
"What are you doing here anyway?" Deepali asked, irately.
 
"The hospital is not your property you know," he replied, echoing the similar statement she had made to him when they had last met.  "I was visiting someone."
 
Samira approached the two of them.  "You were visiting Carissa, right?" she asked.  "You two went to high school together."
 
"Yes, we did," Karan responded.  "Were you there to witness her accident too?  I already talked to the three guys inside about it."
 
"Yeah, we were with them," Hina answered. 
 
For the next couple minutes, Karan asked Hina and Samira some questions about their perspective on the accident, which they happily answered.
 
While they talked, Neelam approached Deepali and whispered in her ear.  "Deeps, you really should apologize.  That was cold water that you spilled on him."
 
"Yeah, all right," Deepali said, grudgingly.
 
After a while, Karan seemed to realize that his sociability was unbecoming of him.  "I have some errands to run, so I better go.  Thanks for filling me in."
 
"No trouble at all," Samira said, smiling.  "We'll see you in class on Tuesday."
 
As Karan turned to leave, Neelam gave Deepali a significant look and nudged her shoulder.  Deepali pursed her lips despondently, but nodded in acquiescence.
 
"Uh...Karan," she called out to him. 
 
Karan stopped in his tracks and turned to face her. 
 
"I'm...sorry.  You know, for the water," she finally said.
 
Karan's expression became smug.  "That wasn't so hard now was it?"  Without another word, he continued down the hallway and into the open elevator.
 
Deepali clenched her fists in anger.  "That guy just makes me want to-"
 
"Chhodo na, Deepali," Neelam advised.  "Let's go inside."
 
Hina opened the door to Carissa's room, and they all filed in, immediately greeted by their five friends inside.
 
"Happy Birthday, Samira," Carissa said cheerfully, pulling out a small wrapped package from behind her pillow.
 
Samira's eyes widened as she took the gift.  "Carissa!  You're in the hospital.  How did you get me a present?"
 
Carissa grinned.  "I bought it last week actually.  It was hidden under my bed.  Gavin went and got it earlier today while you were in class so I could give it to you personally."
 
"You are too sweet."  Samira gave Carissa a hug.  "Thanks Gavin."
 
"Anytime," Gavin responded.
 
As Samira moved away from the bed to stand with everyone else, Aditya grinned and put his arm around her shoulder.  "Happy Birthday, Munchkin," he said with a wink.  Returning his smile, she gave him a hug as well.
 
"So Carissa," Deepali began, "did the doctor tell you how much longer you need to be here?"
 
"Only two more days," Carissa replied..  "I'm moving back home to Phoenix for the rest of the semester.  I've already withdrawn from all my classes.  I'll make a trip or two here over the next few months to give my testimony in court.  But I won't really be back until January, when the next semester begins.  I hope that as long as I take a couple years of summer school, I won't have a problem graduating on time."
 
"Don't even worry about school right now," Zaid opined.  "Make sure you're fully recovered before you return."
 
"I will," Carissa acceded.  "I think my parents are planning to keep me cooped up in the house, so I'll just relax and play video games.  I just feel bad that I'm leaving Samira without a roommate for a semester."
 
"The dorm room will seem empty without you," Samira told her.
 
"We'll have a great time when I return.  And considering how well we get along, I'm sure we'll continue living together for a lot longer."
 
"Don't make plans so early, Carissa," Gavin said.  "You never know when they can change."  He grinned mysteriously, as though hinting something, and stood up suddenly.  "I'll be back in a minute."
 
When he had left the room, Carissa turned towards the others with a puzzled expression.  "Gavin's been speaking in riddles lately.  I feel like he's trying to tell me something, but I can't figure it out."  Everyone shrugged uncertainly back at her except Rehaan.  He was smiling furtively to himself, which did not go unnoticed by Carissa.  "Rehaan, you know what's going on, don't you?" she questioned.
 
"What gives you that idea?"  Rehaan attempted to conceal his smile.
 
"Even if you didn't have the expression of someone who knows something, I might have still asked you.  You're perceptive about things like this."
 
Rehaan hesitated for a moment.  "Well...I do have a hunch, which may be completely wrong.  But I don't think Gavin would be very happy if I gave it away, so...I'm sorry.  My lips are sealed."
 
"All right then," Carissa gave in.  "I'm sure I'll find out soon enough.  He's never been very good at keeping things from me.  Anyway, Hina, have you heard anything new from the police?"
 
"Not really," Hina answered.  "The dent on the hood of Mitchell's truck seems to have sealed the deal as far as they're concerned.  They seem so convinced of his guilt that my contribution as a witness will be quite minimal.  I'm just hoping that he gets a long sentence and expulsion from school."
 
"Mitchell's been on academic probation since his first semester here," Neelam informed them.  "I'm sure now that he has committed a crime, the disciplinary committee will agree that he doesn't belong here.  Hit-and-run is a first degree misdemeanor according to Pennsylvania law, I believe."
 
"Generally it is," Aditya said, once again impressed by Neelam's knowledge, "but if the hit-and-run incident results in serious bodily harm, it's actually a felony.  If he's convicted, there's no way the University will allow him to continue as a student."
 
"Good riddance," Deepali uttered.  "I just can't understand how he thought his behavior was justified.  First of all, speeding down a road where there are always a lot of pedestrians?  I swear, that's just asking for trouble in itself.  And even if we assume that it was an accident, how could he just keep driving?  Any decent human being would stop and call for help.  Mitchell clearly has no regard for anyone's life but his own.  A person like that doesn't belong on the streets, let alone at a University." 
 
Carissa couldn't help but giggle at Deepali's fervor.  "It's sweet of you to get so worked up over what happened to me."  She gave Deepali a grateful smile.  "Oh by the way," she continued, suddenly remembering something, "how's the group assignment for the Indian American Identity class going?  Is it going to be a problem that I'm leaving?"
 
"Not at all," Samira reassured her.  "We finished the recording last night.  We won't have to do a presentation this time.  Leah is letting us off the hook because of what happened.  For the rest of the semester, Rehaan, Deepali and I will just be a three person group."
 
"Cool.  I wish I could be there though.  It seemed like an interesting class."
 
They all continued to talk casually for the next ten minutes, during which time Gavin returned and joined into their conversation.  Finally, as noon approached, everyone except Carissa had to leave for their classes.  Bidding Carissa farewell, they all went their separate ways, leaving her to get some rest.
 
-------------------

At ten minutes to eight that evening, Aditya and Zaid arrived at the front of a dorm building.  Zaid was carrying two 2-liter bottles of Pepsi and a stack of paper cups in a grocery bag.  Aditya had a wrapped gift under one arm and a bag of chips in the other.  Finding no one else at the dorm entrance, the two of them took a seat at a bench nearby. 
 
"I think we're early," Zaid stated, pulling out his cell phone to check the time.
 
Aditya nodded.  "I'm sure everyone will be here in the next five minutes or so."
 
Sure enough, within a minute they recognized Hina's tall and slender form emerging from the darkness.  She also had a small wrapped gift in her hands.
 
"Hey guys!" she greeted them as she dropped down next to Zaid. 
 
Feeling his heart rate increase considerably as the dark red shawl Hina was wearing brushed against his arm in the breeze, Zaid smiled at her.  "Hi.  Thanks for coming."
 
"Of course.  It sounded like fun, and I like spending time with you guys.  It's great to finally find a group of people I enjoy being with."
 
"Lucky us," Aditya said, in a way that could be perceived as sarcastic.  However, the moment he saw her frown, he changed his tone.  "I'm only kidding.  It's nice to know that you won't be avoiding us for your homework anymore."
 
Hina smiled with a slight nod.  Just then, there was a gust of wind, and she pulled her shawl a little tighter around her shoulders.  Zaid watched mesmerized as her curls swept across her face, and she brushed them away with her fingers.  Then to Aditya and Hina's surprise, he clasped his hand over his left eye and took a sharp intake of breath. 
 
"What happened?" Aditya asked with concern.
 
Zaid drew his hand away for a moment and tried to blink a few times, but his eye was watering.  "The wind blew something in my eye," he told them, covering the eye again.
 
"Here, let me help you," Hina said, putting one hand on his cheek.  Using the other hand, she pulled his hand away from his face, and then peered at his eye, which was already turning red.  Moving closer, she gently blew into his eye, causing his heart to race even faster.  Zaid hardly dared a breath as he watched her.  She was so close to him that he could feel her warmth and smell the sweet fragrance of her hair.
 
"Is that better?" she said, backing away slowly.
 
Zaid blinked several times.  "Yeah, I think it's gone.  Thanks."  He turned away from her, afraid that his eyes would give his feelings away.
 
He was saved from any further conversation by the arrival of Neelam, Deepali and Rehaan.  Neelam had a rectangular baking tray covered with foil in her hands, and Deepali was holding a stack of paper plates.
 
"That's everyone," Aditya noted, as he, Zaid and Hina stood up from the bench.  "Let's go."
 
He opened the door and they all followed him into the dorm building.  After signing in at the front desk, they took the elevator up to the fourth floor and followed Zaid down the hallway, chatting as they walked.  When they approached Samira's room, Zaid put a finger to his lips and they fell silent.  He knocked on the door, and they all waited. 
 
Samira opened the door in a white tank top and pajama bottoms striped in different shades of light blue.  Her mouth fell open when she saw them.
 
"Surprise!" they all exclaimed with wide smiles.
 
"That is, if you're really surprised," Deepali said. 
 
"Of course, I am," Samira replied, grinning back.  "I had absolutely no idea!  When did you guys plan all this?"
 
"Zaid arranged it all yesterday," Aditya told her.  "Aren't you going to invite us in?"
 
"Oh, yeah.  Sorry."  Samira opened the door wider and stepped out of the way as they all entered.
 
The dorm room as longer than it was wide.  Everything was symmetric on either side of them as they walked in.  On one side was Samira's bed, cabinet, book shelf and desk, and on the other was Carissa's furniture arranged in precisely the same order.  It was easy to figure out which side was whose.  Samira's bed was made perfectly and her bedspread was pale green and blue, reminding Deepali of a day spa.  There were photographs of her family on the walls along with a giant framed poster of San Francisco's Golden Gate Bridge.  Her desk was organized with great precision and everything looked almost too immaculate to belong to a teenager.  Carissa's side was also neat overall, but her navy blue comforter was slightly wrinkled and there was a small pile of notebooks and handouts placed unevenly on her desk.  There were two posters of rock bands on the walls, and her skateboard was leaning against the corner.  This must have been how she had left it on Monday afternoon, before her accident.
 
They all put their presents on Samira's side table and sat down on beds or in desk chairs. 
 
"This is really nice, Samira," Deepali said.  Her eyes travelled to the poster on the wall.  "I love the Golden Gate Bridge.  I painted it last week in art class."
 
"Really?" Samira asked.  "I'd like to see that."
 
"Sure!  I'll show you when you come over for the next group assignment."  Deepali gazed at the poster once more.  "I've never been to San Francisco.  I really want to go."
 
"You should come with us sometime when we go home for vacation," Zaid suggested.  "Actually, that offer stands for all of you.  I'm sure our parents would be delighted to have guests.  Adi visited last spring, and we had a blast."
 
"It's definitely worth the trip," Aditya told them.  "Whoa, take a look at this bear," he added abruptly, picking up a huge teddy bear from Samira's bed.  "I think it's bigger than you, Samira."
 
Samira gave him a reproachful look, but ended up laughing along with everyone else.
 
"Where did that come from?" Zaid asked her.  "It wasn't there two days ago."
 
"Aisha Apa sent to it me for my birthday," Samira responded.  "Our cousin at Harvard," she explained to everyone else, who nodded.
 
"So should we have Samira cut the cake now?" Neelam suggested.
 
Samira glanced warily at her spotless comforter.  "Maybe we should go to the lounge downstairs.  This room is a little small."
 
"Sounds good," Rehaan said, rising from Carissa's desk chair.
 
"You guys go ahead," said Samira.  "I'll just change and join you."
 
"Oh come on Samira," Zaid pressed her.  "No one will care how you're dressed in a dorm lounge."
 
But Samira shook her head.  "I'm not leaving this room in my pajamas.  It'll only take me a minute."
 
They all left the room leaving Samira to change, and headed towards the elevator.  As they made their way to the lounge, Rehaan imagined Samira straightening the creases in her comforter and putting her teddy bear back in its original location the moment they left.  In fact, he was quite confident that she had done exactly that.
 
-------------------
 
Five minutes later, the seven of them were seated on sofas in the nearly empty lounge.  Neelam had removed the foil from the baking pan to reveal a luscious chocolate fudge cake.
 
"Zaid told me you like chocolate," she said to Samira.
 
Samira nodded.  "It's the one thing I have trouble staying away from."
 
"Not that you need you worry about your diet," Deepali commented as she lit a giant candle in the shape of the number 18 with a lighter and stuck it into the cake.  "In fact, a few more pounds would look good on you."  Samira just shrugged. 
 
They sang 'Happy Birthday' and Samira blew out the candle.  A few minutes later, they were all enjoying Neelam's delectable cake and had broken into three groups, having individual discussions.
 
"So, what kind of piercing are you going to get, Samira?" Deepali asked, as Rehaan listened.
 
Samira almost choked on her Pepsi.  "Piercing?"
 
"You just turned 18, didn't you?  It's a rite of passage to get a piercing when you turn 18, just because you're allowed to do it without parental permission.  I got this done back in April."  Deepali pointed to a small silver ring on the uppermost cartilage of her right ear.
 
Samira raised an eyebrow.  "Hmm...I'm not sure if I want one."
 
Rehaan surprised the two girls by speaking up.  "I think a nose ring would look nice on you, Samira."
 
"You think so?" Samira asked.
 
"Yes, definitely," he replied.  "You have the perfect face for it."
 
She looked toward Deepali, who nodded fervently.
 
"Bhaiyya," Samira called, interrupting Zaid's quiet conversation with Hina.  "Do you think Mummy and Papa would mind if I got my nose pierced?"
 
"I highly doubt it," Zaid replied.  "Over the summer, Mummy told me that I would look good if I pierced one ear.  Apparently Papa had an earring when he was in college."
 
"You're kidding!"  Samira tried unsuccessfully to imagine her workaholic neurosurgeon father with a golden hoop in his ear.
 
Zaid shook his head.  "I'm not.  And about the nose piercing, I think you should go for it."
 
"See!" Deepali urged her.
 
"I'll think about it," Samira responded, though she appeared excited by the thought already.
 
Meanwhile, Aditya and Neelam were sitting on another sofa, talking about Carissa.
 
"I'm sure she won't need more than a month to recover," Aditya surmised.  "Her injuries are a lot less severe than they could have been, thank God."
 
"Yeah," Neelam agreed.  "Plus she'll be at home with her parents taking care of her every need.  She'll be fine.  I just think we'll all miss her.  It would have been nice to have her in the class and part of our group for the rest of the semester."
 
"That reminds me," Aditya began, "we may not have to do presentations next week, but we will eventually.  Will you be okay doing it?  Maybe I can convince Leah to make me the spokesperson instead."
 
Neelam hesitated for a moment.  "Well, I am a little nervous about talking in front of the class...but I also think it's something that I should try to face.  I've been avoiding it throughout my schooling so far and everything has been okay, but at some point, it could hinder my progress.
 
"I know what you mean," he replied with a nod.  "I think there are very few people who are born without stage fright.  Even I'm not one of them.  I wouldn't be surprised if Hina is though."  He grinned as he glanced towards Hina, who was deep in conversation with Zaid.  "Anyway, it takes practice to get over the fear.  It's the only way you can gain confidence.  I'm sure you'll be fine once you get up there and start to speak, and it will only get easier as the semester goes on.  But if you want, I can help you.  We can meet the day before your presentations, and you can practice in front of me."
 
Neelam smiled.  "That would be great.  So every other Monday evening, right?"
 
"Am I invited to your Monday evening plans?"  Deepali had just appeared next to Neelam where she was crouching on the floor and pouring herself another cup of Pepsi.
 
"We're attending this biweekly seminar," Aditya said to Deepali, "where physicists will discuss Einstein's theory of relativity.  Are you still interested in coming?"
 
"Eww, no way," she replied, as Neelam stifled a giggled.  "You guys have fun."
 
"Oh, by the way Deepali," Aditya continued.  "My cousin will be in town this weekend.  He's considering applying for grad school here so he wanted to check out the campus.  I want to spend some time with him, so I'm afraid I'll have to postpone the hang gliding plans."
 
"That's all right," she replied.  "Maybe by the time we actually go, I'll convince Neelam to come with us." 
 
"Yes, Chashmish, you should come with us.  You don't have to actually participate.  Just cheer us on."
 
Neelam looked as though she'd rather not even think about it.
 
On the other side of the room, Hina turned to Samira and spoke loudly so that everyone could hear.  "Zaid tells me that you have a beautiful voice, Samira.  Will you sing something for us?  Maybe an old Hindi song, since those are your favorite."
 
Samira's eyes widened.  "Right now?"
 
"Why not?"
 
"Oooh, I want to hear you sing, Samira," Deepali piped in.
 
"So do I," Rehaan added.
 
Samira finally agreed.  "All right.  But I have one condition.  Bhaiyya will accompany me."  She gestured towards the grand piano in one corner of the lounge.
 
Zaid smiled.  "Okay, fine," he said as he stood up.  "So which song?" he whispered to Samira as he walked to her.
 
"The one we practiced during spring break," she replied.  "It kinda fits the occasion too."
 
"Ah, that's right," he said as he took a seat at the piano.  Samira stood next to him, facing her audience.
 
Zaid began playing, his fingers gliding seamlessly across the keys, and after a few seconds, Samira's melodic voice resonated through the lounge as she sang one of her favorite songs.
 
 
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
yeh safar hai ab mushkil
aane ko hai toofaan
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
 
Rehaan was captivated by the crystalline purity and youthful innocence of Samira's voice. He watched with awe as the same innocence reflected from her face, along with a look of bliss, as if nothing could make her happier than expressing herself through her voice.
 
zindagi ko naye rang milne lage
ek kiran chhoo gayi phool khilne lage
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
yeh safar hai ab mushkil
aane ko hai toofaan
 
As she continued to sing, it almost seemed to Rehaan that she was articulating her own feelings to him.  The emotions associated with growing up, seeing the world differently, leaving behind a pleasant and familiar childhood - he could perceive it all in her voice and in her sweet smile.
 
ek kasak har ghadi dil mein rehne lagi
jo ke tadpa gayi phir bhi achchhi lagi
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
yeh safar hai ab mushkil
aane ko hai toofaan
 
She seemed to be lost in her own dream world by now, oblivious to the fact that anyone else was in the room. 
 
mera aanchal mere bas se baahar hua
mujhko le kar uda aasmaan choo liya
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
yeh safar hai ab mushkil
aane ko hai toofaan
ja ja ja mere bachpan
kahin ja ke chhup naadaan
 
The five-membered audience broke into tumultuous applause as soon as she finished, and she looked around surprised, as if snapping out of a daze. 
 
"That was absolutely fantastic, Samira!" Hina complimented her.  "And, Zaid, you never told me you could play the piano so well," she added, turning to him. 
 
Zaid blushed slightly as he dropped down next to her.  Samira sat by Aditya, who grinned broadly at her.
 
"Nice work, Munchkin.  Tumhaari aawaaz ka to koyi jawaab nahin."
 
"Bahut shukriya, Adi sahib," Samira replied, dramatically.  "Aap ke munh se doosron ki taareef kuch kam hi nikalti haiZyaada tar to sab ka mazaak udaate rehte hain."
 
They all laughed.
 
"You both speak such great Hindi," Deepali commented.  "I really need to work on mine."
 
"It's all about practice," Aditya said.  "I lived in Mumbai for the first ten years of my life, so that explains mine.   Samira and Zaid's parents didn't allow them to speak English in the house when they were younger, which is how they became so good.  All you have to do is find someone to speak Hindi with."
 
"That's what I've been telling her," Neelam explained, "but she gets conscious about having an accent."
 
"Hey, I have an idea," Zaid said.  "Why don't we all speak Hindi to each other?  Not when were in class or anything, only when it's just us.  And it doesn't have to be every word.  Just enough to give Deepali some practice."
 
"Sounds good to me," Aditya agreed.  "It won't be much of a change anyway, since Zaid, Samira and I speak to each other in Hindi a lot already.  But wait, there are two people we haven't checked with.  Hina, Rehaan, does that work for you?  Do you speak Hindi, Urdu or some other similar dialect?
 
"I'm Hyderabadi," Hina announced, as if that explained everything.  "I can recite Ghalib for you."
 
"Okay, so a definite yes.  How about you, Rehaan?"
 
"We speak Hindi at home, and I completed a year of middle school in Delhi," Rehaan answered.  "So, I shoudn't have a problem."
 
"Perfect," said Zaid.  "We can start from tomorrow."
 
"Why tomorrow?" questioned Samira.  "Aaj se hi bolna shuru kar den.  Kya khayaal hai, Deepali?"
 
"Kyoon nahin," Deepali responded.  "Main to bilkul tayyaar hoon."
 
The rest of them exchanged glances.  "Did anyone hear an accent?" Aditya asked.  They all shook their heads and laughed.
 
The seven of them stayed in the lounge for several hours, talking late into the night.  With every conversation, they realized more and more how lucky they were to find such a great group of friends.
 
-------------------

Questions:

1. Is the story's pace going okay or are you eager for more action?

2. What did you think of the semi-romantic scenes?

Thanks for reading!


Edited by SuhanaSafar - 14 June 2009 at 10:54am

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