Joined: 18 June 2006
Joined: 08 March 2008
Kasturi, RKS Banner Contest Winner
Joined: 20 June 2008
Kasturi, RKS Banner Contest Winner
Joined: 20 June 2008
Visit to old college.. and some old memories
Maithili woke up groggily, with a slight smile on her face. She had a lot to do today. Things were going well at Sahitya Advocacy Group (SAG) and she had been adjusting well at her job, much to the satisfaction of Mrs. Mehra. She was finding out that there was more to Shruti than her professionalism. The other day, Maithili's car had a flat tire and Shruti offered to drive her home. Maithili was surprised by Shruti's down-to-earth manner.
Shruti also developed both a professional respect as well as a kind tenderness towards Maithili. She quickly found out that Maithili was Kamal Aggarwal's daughter. The Aggarwals had been their old family friends, much before Sameer had died. Poor Maithili had grown up without her mother Pallavi, and though Shruti didn't doubt the love Kamal Aggarwal would have given his daughter, she felt a maternal fondness developing for Maithili. Shruti was also motherless, but when she got married, Sameer's parents, Parvati and Suyash Mehra had given her all the love they would give a daughter. Parvati and Shruti were so close that nobody would suspect that they weren't really mother and daughter. Parvati and Suyash now lived in Darjeeling. Parvati was sweet, but had spent far too long taking over the entire family's life problems as well as lecturing them. Parvati and Suyash moved to Darjeeling to chill out once and for all. Even though Suyash was now a veritable senior citizen, his interest in romancing his dear wife Parvati never faded. Shruti and her kids often visited them, since Parvati and Suyash rarely came into Mumbai.
At times, Maithili felt like calling Shruti 'aunty,' but strictly refrained in order to not blur the boundaries of their professional relationship. She was still new here, and she was going to be wary. How did she know she could trust Shruti? Again, she was only getting to know her at work, and new next to nothing about her personal life. Maithili couldn't help being curious about her personal life, for without knowing it, she was constructing inner fantasies about what it would be like to be Shruti's daughter. But she never let these thoughts develop. Here she was again, being too guarded, but she knew this was an old disease that wouldn't wear off so easily.
Anyway, today she had to spend most of her day at her old college's law library coming up to speed on the latest legal theory and changes within applications of law within India. She worked with a group of lawyers and social workers within SAG who challenged her, and she was excited to be part of such a team. Apart from legal stuff, she also had to learn about what kinds of companies there were in Mumbai, and what kinds of cases SAG advocated for. But first she needed a footing in the legal knowledge before she could understand what's happening on the ground.
She was deeply absorbed in such thoughts as she arrived at her old college. It was only when she stepped outside her car in the parking lot did she realize that she had so many memories of college. Standing exactly where she was, she remembered a really bad fight that she had had with Aditya Mehra in that same spot many years ago. She was 18 years old, and he was probably 21. She didn't remember what they fought over anymore, but she remembered the confrontation. She had pushed things a little too far when she teased him, and Adi, insulted by the fact that a junior girl was acting so smart with him, had threatened her to back off. It was after classes had ended for the day, and there had been nobody around.
As they argued, Adi suddenly pushed her body against the wall, and with only a couple of inches of distance between their faces, quietly but strongly warned her to stop irritating him. In that moment, she felt so much disgust for this guy, who was such a male chauvinist, and who thought he could treat women like toys. And here he was, trying to "manhandle" Maithili Aggarwal, thinking he would get away with it yet again, and Maithili would make sure to teach him a lesson. But despite all the disgust, she also let his eyes bore into her own. He held her against the wall like that for a couple of minutes, holding her wrists against the wall, over her shoulders while she resisted. He was certainly stronger than she was, but she wouldn't stand limp while he did with her what he pleased. She summoned up all the hatred she could to show in her face, while simultaneously fearing that she was attracted to those eyes. She was fighting, but there was something about that 2-inch distance that sent electricity through her body, down her knees, making it difficult to stand straight. When he squinted his eyes, they gained even more depth, and she felt like it required even more energy than usual to hate him. How tempting it was to just collapse into his arms at that moment and bury her face in his chest, but never would Maithili Aggarwal lose to Aditya Mehra. She knew that that's what he wanted, for her to become one of his stupid fans. As she was thinking this, Adi said that it wouldn't take him very much to bridge the 2-inch gap between them to meet her lips to shut that ziddi zubaan of his. When he said that, Maithili felt something stir deeply in her even though her body was still fighting him and resisting his power. To her horror, she realized that she was desperate for that kiss in that moment, just in that one moment. If he hadn't walked away from her then, Maithili might have held his eyes forever. She rebuked herself later for being so weak, and hated those eyes for what they did to her against her will. She was not used to not being in control of herself.
She hadn't returned to these thoughts in all these years. Maithili was no child now that she'd get into stupid fights, or be naively powerless in front of Adi's eyes if he cornered her like that now. He had probably become even more spoiled now than he was in college, she thought to himself. Rich snobs like him never changed, and his entire family probably didn't mind that kind of behaviour. Maithili quickly abandoned these thoughts and went on her way.
She quickly registered at the library, and went forward with her research, pulling off large books from the shelf with the help of the librarian. She found it took her more effort than usual to focus, with stray thoughts about college entering her mind now and then. For instance, she had remembered the time she saw Adi with one of the members of his female fan club in this same library and had felt disgusted by his playboy persona. When will this guy grow up, she had thought to herself? And why did she care, anyway? It was obvious to anyone that there was an undeniable chemistry underneath all the fire they spit at each other, but Adi and Maithili were also known for being too ziddi. Maithili was glad at least she had grown up, and thinking this, she willed herself into stopping thoughts about Adi.
It had been a few hours, and Maithili had collected most of the information she had needed for now, though she would have to return later at some point. A fairly productive day despite the few memories that distracted her. It was more than just standard memories of college because the weight of Aditya Mehra clung to the air of this place, or rather of her mind when she was in this place. Something about it was amusing, but it was also unbearable. She decided not to explore the feeling any further.
On her way out of the library, Maithili saw a small protest and what seemed like an altercation between some of the protestors and some other students. She walked towards the crowd, curious to see what was happening. She quickly found out that some women's organization wing of the student body was fighting against having modelling recruiters on campus, and some students who were being recruited for modelling were angered by this. Modelling recruiters on a college campus? How was that relevant or productive regarding education? She found it frustrating that young girls and boys were being lured away from getting an education into a dark and dingy modelling world where they developed low self-esteem, not to mention problems like eating disorders. Maithili started speaking up to break up the fight, and that's when she came face to face with a young girl named Tanu, one of the new model recruits, but as Maithili learned, also a law student. Tanu and Maithili quickly ended up in a heated verbal exchange.
"Who the hell are you and what you're doing interfering in our college matter?" shouted Tanu.
"Excuse me, but clearly it looked like things were getting out of hand which is why I intervened, and don't you know how to speak with respect?" asked Maithili
"Enough," Maithili said. "You might think you know everything in the world at this age, and sure enough, I have also been through such an age where I thought everything revolved around me, but let me assure you that you are not here to get involved with modelling and are instead here to develop your minds. The modelling world looks glamorous from the outside but is full of problems that won't be so visible to your young eyes. And in any case, you should learn how to have a debate without trying to shouting at the other person. You're in law school after all, and hopefully picking up some argumentation skills… or aren't you?"
Tanu was enraged. Who was this woman, and how dare she talk to her in this way? Didn't she know who Tanu Mehra was, one of the most popular girls in college? To this Maithili replied saying that one's popularity or just good looks didn't go too far after graduating from college, and that if Tanu wanted to develop any self-worth, she might want to spend more time developing her brain than she does on her hairstyle. Tanu blew up at this. Tanu's friend Gauri was standing nearby, trying to get Tanu to calm down. The two were inseparable since the first day of college, and had become very close friends, but had personalities that were as different as night and day. Whereas Tanu was impulsive and quick to temper, Gauri was more poised, matured, and carried a lively and cheerful disposition.
Tanu Mehra was not bad at heart, but she had been spoiled to bits by her brothers, and especially her oldest brother Adi. Adi encouraged in Tanu what he saw as her strong will and determination, for somewhere deep down Tanu's sharpness reminded him of someone he knew in college. But what he didn't realize was that by giving her his unconditional support, Adi was spoiling her and encouraging her budtameezi. In some ways, if there could've been a female version of the kind of person Adi was in college, it was Tanu. But in his blind brotherly love for her, he didn't notice this. Since they grew up without a father, it sometimes fell on Adi to shower Tanu and Ashu with as much fatherly love as possible. And now that Adi had grown up and matured, he was stepping into that role more and more.
In the nick of time, Professor Rishika Rai Choudhury walked by, instantly recognizing Maithili as one of her promising old students. She stopped the hungama and told Tanu to stop misbehaving as usual and also threw a stern look at her daughter, Gauri. Rishika introduced Maithili Aggarwal as one of the emerging top lawyers specializing in human rights, and as someone who once studied in this very college. She asked Maithili what she was doing in Mumbai, and that too, in their college. Maithili replied that she has just joined the executive board of SAG. Rishika was happy to hear that Maithili was working with her friend Shruti, and she told Maithili that she wanted to bring her back to their college as a past student for a guest lecture on human rights law, to which Maithili instantly agreed. When Tanu heard that Maithili worked for her mother's company, a slow smile spread across her face. "Humaari billi aur humse meow?" she thought. I'll show you who I am, Tanu said to herself.
Fate, it seems, would make sure there was something or the other going on between Maithili and a Mehra.
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