Joined: 16 December 2009
Clouds loomed over. The streets darkened. Little shops and carts covered their selling with thick, blue plastic sheets. Kids ran behind me and towards the corner I just turned alone, towards the park. There was strange dampness in the air and for the seconds time that day as I stood there facing my ex boyfriend and his life long best friend, I felt Monsoon's early call.
"I thought that was you." Piya smiled her bubbly smile. As long as I have known her, she is the most cheerful, joyful and happy person I have ever met. She was beautiful and her smile was adorable. She was dressed in all pink, as usual. I turned to look at my ex boyfriend and I lost track of present. I had no idea what to say.
His eyes were black and his eyelashes long. Fringes of his hair fell over his forehead. His expressions were hard in concentration. I subconsciously compared him with Ayush. I am sure Kiya would agree when I say Kartik's hair stands no chance next to Ayush's. Not that Kartik wasn't good looking, because trust me, the first time I saw Kartik, I was dazed. But Ayush is definitely better--though am never admitting that. The first time I met Kartik was right after I failed my first practice Covert Operation test on these very streets. I was loomed over a trashcan, looking for Mr. Mehta's bottle of Coke for his fingerprint sample. But when an ordinary guy asks you what you are doing with an empty Coke bottle, you don't tell them the truth. So I told him, "It's for my cat, Daisy. She loves playing with bottles!" And I regret it till today.
Because according to RAW's deputy director and the mom headmistress of my school, you should absolutely stay away from normal, ordinary, nosey boys.
"Hey." I replied, not sure how you're supposed to talk to your ex. Piya was holding Kartik's hand, and as soon as my eyes landed on their perfectly fitting hands, she left his hand. This is beyond awkward. Kartik was staring at me like he always does. As if trying to solve me, but he doesn't know he needs a very high level clearance to solve this living puzzle.
"How are you?" Piya walked up to be and gave me a tight hug. "I missed you! You don't come around anymore!"
Then Kartik smiled at me.
"Hey Neesh!" He said. "How are you?"
The last time I did seen Kartik was during a Covert Operation test too. He had corrupted my exam by driving in with a huge hunter jeep, and almost driving over Dr. Bhatia with it. He was then told everything about Royal Institute at a tea with my mother. The tea modified his memory, and he forgot everything that happened that day. So when I see him today, I don't think "okay" was really how I would like to describe my feelings.
Then I looked at Piya and smiled at her. A look passed between them that said we're caught.
"We're actually..I mean'" She trailed off. I knew what she was going to say. Honestly, I didn't mind. Piya has liked Kartik since they were kids, and I was just a bone in her food. "There is a dance function for the community, and Kartik was helping me. I mean, I needed help so'" She rambled and stuttered, which was very common for going undercover for the first time. "You should come."
I am sure she would have continued rambling if Ayush hadn't walked up from behind me. "There you're Neeshu! Where were you?" I turned to look at him. He gave me a smile and then looked at Piya and Kartik. "Oh hello! I am Ayush."
"I am Piya." Piya smiled at him. I don't know what it was in her voice, but something told me she was flirting. Really! She has a boyfriend now!
"Hey Piya! A beautiful name!" Ayush said with a grin. He turned to Kartik, just as he slipped his hand into mine. Yeah, you heard that right. Ayushman Kashyap just held my hand, like a boyfriend does.
"They are'" But I wasn't sure how to end this sentence.
"We are Neesha's friends." Piya saved me.
"Oh really? I actually go to school with Neesha." Ayush said, smiling again.
"I thought it was a girl's school." Kartik said. There was something in his eyes as he looked at Ayush, scrutinizing him.
"Yeah, actually my school is doing an exchange project." Ayush said. "Neesha, Mr. Saxena is looking for us. We should head back!" He turned to Piya and Kartik. "Well, see you guys later."
Then he left my hand and I turned to watch as he walked away around the corner again.
It wasn't until he disappeared behind the wall that I realized the coin from my hand was gone. He had taken it with him.
I can't believe I froze in front of my ex boyfriend! It was the most embarrassing thing ever! And to add to that, Ayush had to come and save me. Can the world get any meaner?
"It's okay, you know?" Panchi said. "Its not as bad as dropping an ice cream on your partner!"
"You guys were laughing about it!" I exclaimed.
"He called me a kid!" Gen cried. Genelia can take anything but being underestimated. Calling her a kid isn't a very good move.
"He is just annoying." Kiya said and buried her face in the pillow.
I frowned. This is the first time we have had a boy problem, well we excludes Kiya. But this attitude is bad. Very bad.
"So, are you going to the party?" Kiya asked.
"Of course..wait, how did you know about the party?" I asked. They looked at me and fought a smile.
"You were on coms unit Neesh!"
That Monday night we crawled out of our rooms, and towards the air conditioner ventilation ducts that led to Shouthern Wing. It took a minute for Gen to unlock the ventilator door. We crawled into the dusty, cold tunnel. Trying our best to not bump our heads into the metal ceilings.
"Panchi!" Gen stopped and whispered. Panchi looked up before me. "Laser security!"
Gen pushed back against the sidewall and Panchi made her way across her. She shuffled into her waist bag and brought out a little plastic box. She held it mid-air and the res laser beams disappeared into it. I wonder is that makes her the most dangerous of us all.
Covert Operation Report
Summarized by Neesha Rai, Genelia Raman, Panchi Rastogi and Kiya Gujral. (Here after referred to as Operatives.)
Operative Raman confirmed that on Monday night the Ashvamedh boys are going to be taken out of the Institute. The operatives decided to execute their operation on the corresponding night.
Operative Gujral discovered their allergy of dust while crawling through narrow ventilator ducts.
Operative Rastogi realized keeping your pocket vacum around is very efficient.
Operative Rai was still unsure about this unofficial operation.
Gen sighed loudly as soon as we jumped down on the floor.
"Are you sure they are not here?" I asked. Gen looked at me with an exasperated look.
"For the hundredth time, yes Neesh!" She cried.
"Fourteenth." Kiya corrected her as we dusted our clothes.
"Oh my god!" Gen said as we turned the hallway into the boys' suits. I followed her gaze and stared at the neatly divided compartments.
"Are boy always so'" She started with a disgusting face, "'clean?"
If you have lived with Genelia for more than five years (I spent many of my vacation at her house), you would know that she isn't the cleanest person you will meet. But looking at the boys' quarters, even I was shocked. Every bed was neatly made, no wrinkles in sight. Nothing was out of sight, everything neatly placed. There was no forgotten laundry on the floor, no speck of dust either.
"Wow!" Panchi whispered. Yeah, even Panchi seemed to be in shock.
"This is weird." Kiya said with a disgusted face as well. She is well experienced with boys, and she knows about them more than any of us. So if she is surprised, we are not over reacting.
"Okay, now let's get to work!" Gen said with a cunning smile. I shook my head but smiled back.
"Let's go!" I whispered.
"Anything?" I whispered to Panchi as we got ready for classes next morning. She shook her head. "What do they talk about?"
"Nothing! They barely talk! It's been like, a week! And if they do talk, it's about classes, or food." She said. "Are they boys for real?"
"They are different from those I have met. Excluding KD. He was always the brooding, annoying asshole!" Kiya said, putting on her blazer. I am still not used to her cursing.
I tried my best to not think about my dad and instead concentrated on keeping up with my class. I was walking back to my room after completing a late essay in Professor Bhatia's class, but I wasn't necessarily feeling like going back to my room. Instead, I turned around and made my way towards my favorite passage way. It was behind the only temple at Royal Institute. I was pure white and simple.
Krishna's idol was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen. Lord Krishna is known for a lot of things. Cleverness, naughtiness and magic but the real magic was his flute. If I push the flute towards his mouth a little, a tile on the floor behind him silently opens up. It was just a coincidence that I saw it open while brooding around. All I wanted to do was walk down the cold stones and disappear for a while.
I would have too, had another voice not interrupted my thinking process.
"I don't think I ever got the rest of my tour, you know!"
Ayush. Ayush was behind me. I don't know what was scarier. That I was sloppy enough to not notice him, or that he was good enough to bypass my sight. Ayush stood against the white pillar with his arms crossed against his chest. His blazer was hanging from his hand his tie still tight up his neck.
"Is this where I get my Neesha Rai-No passage-way-too-secret, no-wall-too-high tour?" He raised his eyebrow at me.
"How do you know about--" But he broke my sentence as he cocked his head and pointed a thumb towards his chest.
I clenched my jaw as I saw the tile slid back in place under my gaze.
"So," He said as I came out from behind the idol, ready to walk away. "That was Kartar?"
"Kartik!" I corrected him.
"Whatever!" He waved it away with his hand. "He is cute."
"What do you want Ayush?" I turned on him. Kartik was cute, but I don't think Ayush meant it seriously. "If you're here to make fun of me, go ahead. I don't care!"
He studied me for a long time, fighting an urge to smile. "Kya yaar! I would, but you just took the fun out of it."
Those are the first hindi words from Ayush. See? We have a normal story, nothing special. Not that I ever thought it was special.
"Sorry!" I whispered and turned to walk away again, but Ayush blocked my path. I was not in my best mood. I was missing my dad over the top and had a lot of homework over my shoulders. And I was very tired of the whole Kartik fiasco.
"Hey!" He said softly, looking right into my eyes. "Why did you freeze out there?" He whispered. "Are you okay?"
He looked at me like he had never before. The boy who had grinned at me in Mumbai, and the guy sitting on the slide bore no resemblance to guy standing before me. So far I have seen three sides of Ayushman Kashyap, and I had no idea which was real and which was legend.
Joined: 31 March 2008
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