Joined: 05 May 2011
Joined: 05 May 2011
Gr8 updt loved it <3 u write so well
so Aru is finally fighting with her biggest enemy. way to go Aru
loved this part waiting for the next
Joined: 05 May 2011
Joined: 05 May 2011
Joined: 05 May 2011
I also have to admit though, I've also spent my time thinking about Arjun Punj. About our last confrontation. I didn't think it could get even more awkward than it already was but it has. Every single time I went out jogging in the morning, no matter how many different routes I took, I always ended up running into him. Which concluded in him sending a shy smile in my direction and me turning my face away and having my cheeks burning in embarrassment. I really don't know what to think of that boy anymore. I'm confused. I thought that he would at least go back to ignoring me. I mean, of course I'm glad that he hasn't gotten the urge to abuse or harass me... yet. But these small signs of acknowledgment don't make sense. And don't think for a minute that I think that he's changed. Because I know he hasn't. He's Arjun Punj for God's sake! I know he wouldn't be nice to me if he was around his "buddies." He would treat me the same way. So it's a good thing that I'll be moving before I see his split personality. I'm not ready for anymore drama. That's why I'm looking forward to having a fresh new start somewhere else where nobody will know me as the "fat one" anymore.
Meanwhile, I kept setting more goals for myself. More goals to help me find my inner self again. The person that I had once been and wanted to be.
Particularly on a sunny Wednesday morning. I was sitting in my room deciding what to do when my eyes found my father's song book. Sitting there innocently on my desk. I gulped. I hadn't looked inside that since I was about seven.
Somehow, my feet made it over to my desk and I picked it up. I gazed at the cover. And immediately-almost as if a memory slipped out of the box that held all the painful memories- came back to me.
"Daddy, what are you doing?" I asked.
I was seven years old. I looked over to my dad's desk where he was sitting looked at a thick, black book. I ran towards him, my black curls bouncing across my back.
" I was thinking..." he answered, lost in thought.
"About what?" I persisted.
" About making a book. Full of songs. Just for you and me so we can sing them. It will be our own little project, just you and me, Aru."
" Songs? About what? Which ones?"
"About anything! We can write them ourselves! Anything we want to write about!" And I saw his brown eyes light up, the way they always did when he was excited about something.
"Yeah! That sounds fun!"
" Well come on up here! Let's start now!"
I responded with vigor, as I jumped into his lap and we both set to work, laughing and talking through the night. Even though it was way past my bedtime.
I ran my fingers over the cover that we had decorated. "Our Songbook."
With a shudder, I dropped the book as tears started spilling down my cheeks. Every single memory that I wanted to get rid of, the memories of my dad, were starting to come back. The ones I had kept locked away, tried to forget about. And even though I was hurting right now, I was trying as hard as I could to welcome these memories. Because they were the only ones I had left of my dad. And I knew it would help me to find myself, the old me.
I heard the ding-dong of the door bell and rushed down the stairs to find out who it was. It wouldn't make sense for it to be my mom. She had a house key. Plus, she always came home at around 12:00 midnight.
As I peeked through the peep hole, my heart started accelerating. Because guess who was at the door... again?
Yep, you got it, Arjun Punj.
I threw the door open and there he was... again.
"Uh... hi. My mom just wanted me to drop this off to give to your mom. I don't know. It's a new recipe that she's trying out and she wants to know if it's good."
I looked at the covered dish in his hands and took it.
"Thank you." I took the longest time staring at his hypnotizing eyes, something that I didn't know I had the strength to do.
" Hey, were you... crying?" He asked hesitantly
I hurriedly wiped the tears off my face and tried, unsuccessfully to make it seem like it was no big deal.
" Uh, no. It's nothing. Im fine."
He continued to stare at my face which I'm sure was puffy and red.
I just couldn't stand the silence anymore and him scrutinizing me, so with a burst of confidence, I decided to break the silence.
"So, was it good?" I asked meekly.
"Huh?" He asked, having no idea what I was talking about.
"The food-" I continued. I'm an idiot.
" The food? God no. It's disgusting. Some eggplant crap or something." He made such a funny face that I giggled a little bit.
And in my defense, it was a funny face and hard to ignore.
He smiled again.
"So if you guys get a stomachache or something, don't say I didn't warn you."
"I'll try to remember that."
"Okay, cool. So... I'll see you. Bye." And with one more smile, he was out the door.
Oh. My. God. I just had a normal conversation with Arjun Punj. Something that I had once deemed impossible. But I tried not to get too happy. There was no way Arjun would be that nice to me at school. Impossible.
I lost ten pounds! TEN pounds! TEN POUNDS IN THREE WEEKS! I could dance forever! Yep! The scale now reads 150 prior to my 160!
I did my little jig outside in my balcony and in my brief relapse of stupidity, I forgot that there were other people who could, in fact, see me dancing like an idiot. I heard a small chuckle and I looked up to see Arjun passing by my house after his evening jog.
My cheeks burned as I glanced at him and retreated back to my room. But there was one difference to his laugh. Usually when he laughed at me, it was in a mocking way. This time, it was more of a... friendly way. Like not necessarily laughing AT me in a mean way. It's hard to explain. But that doesn't make it any less embarrassing!
ON one particular Saturday evening I was quite surprised to hear my mother's voice. By the sound of it, she was in her room. Usually she was still working. It sounded like she was on the phone with someone. I was curious to who she was talking to, so I quietly put my ear against the crack in the door and listened. Okay, I know this looks bad but I wanted to know who she was talking to! It couldn't hurt.
" Oh Naina! Thank you so much for that eggplant dish! It was delicious!" Oh Arjun's mom. The usual. And I hate to say it, but Arjun was right. It was gross.
" Oh, Arohi? She's doing great! Just great!" She said in this fake voice she does whenever she's lying.
How would she know. She hasn't talked to me in weeks.
"And what about Arjun? What's going on with him? Basketball camp? Oooh, how exciting!"
"Oh no, Aru isn't going to any camps this summer! She's fine just being at home!" God. I can't believe my mom already lied. Twice in the same conversation! What is wrong with her?
"He's going to be gone for a month? That's an awful long time for him to be away from home!"
Okay, nothing interesting in this conversation... Just the fact that my mother is lying about me and my well being. No big deal, right?
SUNDAY morning, after I was done with my morning jog, I looked over at the Punj's and saw Arjun loading luggage in the back of his dad's car. Going to his basketball camp or whatever. As he was getting into the passenger seat, he caught me looking. With another smile and a wave, he was gone.
Even though it makes no sense for him to be friendly to me, as I have told you numerous times before, I was starting to get used to it.
I watched his car drive away. I kept watching till I couldn't see it anymore. And I realized that it was the last time I was going to see Arjun Punj. I would be gone before school started again. And I felt oddly sad and curious. Sad because I knew I would never get to know him anymore than I already had. And curious. Because I would have no idea how he would treat me if I was going back to Delhi High. Would he treat me the same way he always has? Or would he continue the shy politeness that had evolved this summer?
I continued to look down the road even though there was no car in sight. Then I turned on my heel and walked back inside.
4 Weeks Later
This entire July, I spent my days with nothing on my mind but exercising and my dad. I continued my morning routines so that by the time 4 weeks had elapsed, I was down by a size 14.
Yes, I was happy, but it wasn't good enough. I needed to be at the place where I was before. Healthy and thin.
And don't think for a minute that my own mother noticed. And if she did, she made no comment. It was getting to be so bad that sometimes I found myself thinking that I was the only one who lived in the house. Until I suddenly remembered that there were two people. And that just made me more sad.
But I had other things to work on as well. According to a note my mother left me before she went to work, we were leaving to Calcutta in three days. Did you hear that? THREE days. She expects me to pack my whole room and part of the house in THREE days. Don't you think she could've told me this at least two weeks in advance? And so thanks to HER, I also spent my evenings packing up my room and putting things away in boxes.
I looked out the window into the starry night. I was bored, it was a Friday night and I had nothing to do. I mean, I guess I could pack but I didn't feel like it. I had spent almost the entire day packing. Mumbling to myself, I stomped up the stairs. And that's when I saw it. The Songbook. I let out a shaky sigh, slowly made myself across the room and gingerly picked it up. I took a deep breath and opened the cover. My eyes scanned the page. I saw the messy handwriting of a seven year old and his handwriting. Just the way I remembered it. The page was full of silly songs that we had made up. Whether it was about ice cream or dancing... I ran my hand down the page. Knowing that he had touched this page. After about the first 30 pages, the book was blank. Until I saw something in the very back of the book. One of the pages were dog eared. I skipped to the page and nearly broke down in tears when I saw the inscription.
My Dear Aru,
By the time you read this, I'll be gone. I'll be gone from this earth. Because Aru, I'm dying. I'm dying and I'm scared. I don't want to leave you or your mom. And it's not fair. But sometimes life isn't fair. But I'm writing this to tell you that you can't stop living your life. Once I'm gone, you need to continue what you've been doing before. You can't let that happiness die inside of you. Go on living. And I promise that it will be better. I'll always be watching you, mi princess. I love you so much. Never forget that.
My sadness was replaced with a rush of anger. He knew. My MOM knew. She didn't tell me. They didn't tell me. I had had no idea that he was going to be gone from this earth until a few days before. Just the thought that I could have spent more time being with him instead of off with my friends hurt me deeply. Sure I had known that he was sick. He had lung cancer. But in my eight year old mind, I had thought that he was going to get better. Images flashed in my mind.
"Daddy! DADDY!! Where are you?" I had gone from room to room, wondering where he was until at last, I had found him in his favorite arm chair by the fire.
"Hey Dad! Wanna play outside! Or go to the park?"
" Not right now. Daddy's tired." And for the first time in weeks, I looked at him really well. There was something different about him. He looked paler, more tired. Sad.
" Oh. Okay." I said grudgingly.
He laughed a weak laugh and held out his arms.
"Come here.My Princess."
I climbed into his lap and looked up at him. I smiled but he didn't exactly smile back.
"I need to tell you something. Something important."
I looked up at him pointedly. He rarely told me something important and I was happy knowing that I was big enough to know something like this. Just like the grownups. I Waited for him to continue. He looked forward. Focusing his attention at the full moon through that window. After a long pause, he spoke again.
" You know, sometimes... I won't always be with you. You know that, right, Princess?"
"What do you mean?"
" At one point in your life, you're going to have to be on your own. Without my help.
"But you're always here, Dad."
" I know. But you never know. I might be gone one day or the next. You're going to have to learn how to be independent. But even though I'm not exactly with you, I'll always be in your heart. Right here."
He picked up my hand and put it over my heart. I looked up at him. Confused as ever.
"Do you understand?"
I shook my head yes and he kissed me on the top of my head.
"Now go play." I slipped off his lap and ran out of the room. Glancing back, I saw that he laid his head on the back of the chair. His eyes were closed. Little did I know that those were one of the last father daughter moments I had with him.
I wiped the tears off my face. I crawled over to my balcony and sat on the chair outside. I fell asleep looking up at the moon.
THE next morning I woke up to the chattering of birds and the hot sun on my face. One particularly loud squack made me jump. It seemed like any other peaceful morning.
As I headed down the stairs, I heard the clatter of dishes in the sink. What would my mom be doing in the kitchen on a Saturday? Usually she left the house at 4:30 in the morning.
I edged cautiously into the kitchen. Almost immediately my mom turned around. She finally looked at me for the first time in a month and a half. Surprise flitted across her face. She must have just noticed all my weight lost. But what surprised me was that she actually spoke to me.
"Sit down. I made you breakfast." she said in a terse voice.
Breakfast. We haven't sat down together in such a long while. I silently made my way to the table and sat down. Homemade breakfast. Huh... Interesting.
As I dug in, she stared at me for a while until she said, "There's something I have to talk to you about." she nervously.
Oh. So that's why she went to all this trouble. Something bad's going to happen. She always does this. Tries to butter me up before she hits me with a slammer. Well it's NOT going to work this time.
I set my fork down and looked at her.
"Well, you know how my job's really demanding." I snorted. It was only demanding because she made it that way.
" And they told me that I had to transfer soon. So we're leaving TODAY , around 2."
I think my mouth was open. I just stared at her in disbelief. I needed to pack my things, which I hadn't done. Coz I thought I had a day more wid me. Mum always did Strange stuffs/
"Mama. Please tell me your joking." Even though I knew full well that she wouldn't joke, much less about something like this.
" Unfortunately, I can't tell you that." She said in an emotionless voice.
"Mom! You could do it earlier !"My voice had a hysterical edge to it. I continued to stare at her wildly.
" You better get going and pack."
With a clatter, I pushed my plate away and ran out the front door. This time, I wasn't sad. I was angry. BEYOND angry. I strutted down my lawn. But not before I noticed a familiar red car in the Punj's driveway. Oh. He was back. 'Great.' I thought sarcastically.
I continued walking at an angry, fast pace until I saw the local park in view. I sat myself down on one of the benches and was muttering to myself. I had now began to throw rocks at a nearby tree with all the force I could muster.
How could she do this to me? She had told me that we were going to be moving to Calcutta after 3 days! I was looking forward to it! I know nothing was wrong in going days fast , but what annoyed was my mom's behaviour! She always did this. The current event wasn't at all too annoying but it brought up memories which hurted. At these thoughts, I started picking up handfuls of rocks and started throwing them faster so that they scattered all over the place.
"Ouch! Woah! Slow down there!" Great. How could my life possibly get any worse? It was him again. Had he followed me here? And why?
"What do you want?" I snapped. I now realized that I had never talked to him in that tone of voice before but I didn't care. All I saw was red.
He held his hands up in defense and said, " Calm down there. I just wanted to know what had set you off that way. I mean, I don't think I've ever seen you that angry before."
With a glare that I directed only upon him I said sarcastically, "Oh really? You haven't?"
And I know he knew what I was referring to. The night that I almost drowned. He turned away embarrassed.
"Why are you here anyways?" I snapped.
" Just wanted to know if I could help, is all." he said quietly.
"Well you can't. There's nothing anybody can do for me. And why are you even talking to me anyways? Just because I forgave you doesn't mean that I trust you. What? Drowning the fat girl isn't enough? You wanna find some more gossip before school starts so that you can spread it about me?" I said in a hard, harsh voice.
"No." I looked up at him and studied him. His eyes were hard now. His jaw was set and he looked mad. Probably because of my last comment. He looked a little different than when I had last seen him. Older was for sure. His eyes seemed somehow darker and his skin tanner. And more muscular. Don't forget that.
" Sorry." I said in a voice that didn't sound like I was at all. Which I wasn't.
"It's just that my mom dumped some news on me that I wasn't expecting." I said bitterly.
"What was it?" He no longer looked mad. He looked like he wanted to know.
"Why do you care?" I hissed at him.
He shook his head and turned around to leave. I had to remember not to take it out on him. After all, it wasn't his fault my mom decided to go psycho and change my whole plans for the year, was it?
Before he could leave, I yelled out " We're moving right now. I thought that I was leaving to another state tomorrow. But now she told me that we are moving just today. She always does this stuff. Sudden change of plan"
He turned around again. He looked confused.
" You're moving? Isn't that usually something that someone would be sad about? Your being sad coz t-the plan changed ?"
I laughed bitterly, " You're right, Arjun. Living in a town where everyone bullies you, where you have no friends, and you're considered a freak is exactly where I want to live."
He became uncomfortable again and shifted from foot to foot.
"Sorry." I said again. But this time I meant it.
"I don't mean to bring that up again. I'm just... mad."
He nodded his head at me and scrutinized me with those impossibly brown eyes that immediately made me uncomfortable and I turned away from his gaze and fixed my eyes on the trees.
After a long while, he said to me, " Well, I'm actually not glad you're moving." he finished with a quiet tone. And with that he turned around and walked back to his house.
My mouth dropped open. What did he just say? Did Arjun Punj just say that to ME? I shook my head to clear my thoughts. Another rush of anger replaced my confusion. What exactly did that mean? Did he consider us friends now? Acquaintances? What right did he have to make me more confused? He had NO right. That's what.
And with a swift move, I picked up another handful of gravel up and continued to throw the rocks at a tree trunk, watching the rocks scatter throughout the park as I stood under the yellow lamplight.
Okay So this is it Folks :]
Do Comment , Either it be criticism or appreciation :)
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