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Joined: 24 February 2008
CHAPTER 5 - The first regret
It was recess and Asra was in her sister Afra's class. Asra, who was a year older to Afra, was helping her with homework.
"Umm .. Asra ? Could I talk to you for a moment .. alone?"
Asra's eyes almost left their sockets and migrated to the northpole. She looked at her sister who as equally shocked. Ali had followed her all the way here just to "talk" and that too "alone" ? No this can't be good.
Ali had an uncharacteristically saccharine-sweet smile on and Asra was no dimwit.
"You can say whatever you want to say here"
No way in Green hell was she gonna let Ali corner her alone.
"No really, its kinda personal. I don't want to talk about it in front of them"
Asra looked at her sister's face that was silently pleading her not to give-in and Ali's puppy-dog eyes that spelled "Pretty please" all the way up to the earnest tilt of her brows and mentally decided the girl meant no harm. She started walking towards the door with Ali as her eyes fell on her. The girl beamed at her and said :
"Trust me, I mean all well"
That line kicked Asra back to her senses. She remembered Farzana's terrifying recollection of last week's little incidence. Poor girl was still in a state of catatonic shock. No, Alizey "Ali" Khan could never not mean no harm. She took a wary step back and stated matter-of-factly :
"We're out of earshot of others. We can talk, we don't need to go out of the class for that"
If Ali's plan was to take her to an empty room, and stab her with that demon-scissor of hers that "seemed to appear out of thin air" (According to the descriptions of a very frightened Farzana), she might as well have some witnesses.
"Uh .. its actually about that DDLJ DVD of your's. I was wondering if you could lend it to me ? Actually my mom's a huge fan and its her birthday next week, so I wanted to treat her to the movie"
The "its-my-mother's-birthday" line. Always works. On everyone. And ESPECIALLY on a Shahrukh Khan fan who's watched DDLJ more than the number of times she's farted in her life which is saying something for someone whose entire diet seemed to be made out of channaa (chick peas) and other legumes of the like. Ali knew she had Asra there, hook, line and sinker.
"That's it ?! you want to borrow my DDLJ DVD ?! Then why didn't you say so earlier ??! We don't need to go out of the room for that"
Asra was still skeptical.
Ali was getting impatient now. Asra was proving to be a much a tougher nut to crack than Farzana. Mebbe legumes were good for your brains after all, Ali thought as she mentally made a note to not exchange her plate with her dad's every time mom served sweet-peas. On the outside however she continued smiling sweetly and brought her voice down to an almost apologetic notch:
"Now I can't be heard talking about borrowing a Hindi film DVD, can I? Doesn't go with the image"
Ah, the image. Now it all made sense.
As she gave Ali the head-to-toe look, taking in her tall form with the all the studs, piercings and goth eye make-up, Asra's face relaxed into an understanding smile as she handed over the DVD to Ali.
Now Asra was no Farzana but she was no Zara either, who, had she been there, would've had the good sense to stop Asra from handing over that DVD to Ali so easily. That very DVD whose cover had numerous "Flames" attempts with Asra and Sikander's name with tiny hearts dotting the "i" everywhere she wrote his name. Oh this was going to be so much more fun that tormenting Farzana. This was going to be a bang of a much, much bigger scale .. Sikander Zafar was the school stud and was rumored to be pickier about girls than Victoria Beckham about her shoes. To top it all off, Sikander was Asra's older brother Junaid's rival soccer team's captain. Every senior in Seaview high knew that the only times Sikander Zafar and Junaid Mohsin saw eye-to-eye was during kick-off at the field. The boys hated each other guts.
As she made her way out of the room, she stole one last glance at Asra good-naturedly helping her little sister with homework. Ali almost felt bad for what she was about to do to her. Damn that tiny voice of conscience. If Asra wasn't part of the DDT she was so allergic to, Ali could almost grow to like her. So yeah, she was still in two minds about the girl. On one hand there's the fact that she was such an easy going person and there was this homely, almost motherly vibe about her, the very manifestation of which was in front of her eyes. On the other hand was the DDT she shared such venomous mutual dislike with. Sadly, the latter was more compelling at the moment because in a 13 year old's mind, apparently repulsion lingers longer than warmth and goodness. For now, this gripe is so insidious it had pretty much overshadowed any positive feelings Ali had harbored for Asra in that 5 minutes of encounter, so self-absorbed was she in her vendetta against DDT. Just like she had subconsciously feared, years later, Ali would look back at this incidence, and feel ashamed at what she had done. Had she, for a minute, thought things out, given the girls or "DDT" as she called them , the benefit of doubt, and tried to resolve things in a grown up manner, this "incident" never need to have seen the light of day. But then again she was no grown up, she was but 13 , and it was the age of instant solution from the generation of instant coffee that somehow brought out the uglier side in her. May be that's the sad thing about being a teenager ... the age when your hypothalamus unbeknownst to you, dominates your frontal lobe.
Surprisingly , her Piss Ali off and you are toast attitude that led to the character Asra's almost social suicide, would be the turning point for our Ali's story. Although not one of the assertive and extraordinarily gifted or one of the "cool" and happening people, Asra , indirectly would be the the one to have Ali eat the humble pie. I bet you didn't see this coming, but this was the start of the steep gradient that was to be Alizey's learning curve.
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