Study hours are getting stretched. Eventually, the cool practice of studying one hour before running off to field to play seems to be weaning away. I am a proud good student, that makes the pressure of scoring better even more. Very few girls will be appearing for intermediate exam, few of my friends have been married off too. I am so lucky that my family doesn’t think that way. Thankfully, their definition of settling down is not getting married. And having kids. My parents insist me to be self-dependent. I believe a lot in self-study. Mom and dad help me; but there are no tuition’s. Mom says rich kids who are not attentive in class need tuition. I wish to score best than I have scored till now.
I have been experiencing cramps in my abdomen for past couple of days. My Aunt and Taiji, came home with Jalebis, Imaratis and did some teeka and random things to me, I hate these ladies and their silly pointless rituals. I am having so much stomach-ache and these people are happy; I don’t know why. What’s so good about all this? They say I am a big girl now, my heart broke when aunt taunted me by saying now no one will call me for kanjak. I love going for kanjak. Everyone touches my feet, gives me money and gifts. And the puri-halwa and channa are my favourite.
Apart from studies, I have another thing that I love. Dancing. My Kathhak classes liberate me. Every time I dance, I feel like I am a butterfly. I have won dance competitions in my school. Papa has fixed a cycle rickshaw for my pick-up and drop from Kathhak Class. One of our neighbour’s daughter, Shobha also comes along with me. I have to ride across a big ground to get to Kathhak Class. Boys keep playing cricket there, they play all day. I don’t know if they don’t have studies? ‘Tuition material’. I wondered. Some of them are from my school; some are from different schools.
There is this one boy, who intentionally or unintentionally always throws cricket ball towards us. Sometimes it hits the rickshaw, sometimes it flies past it. One day the ball stuck me on my legs. It cannot be coincidental. He plays well; his shots go high. He is handsome; but rude. Once the ball landed near me, he didn’t even bother to say sorry. Instead he said “it’s dangerous to go through the ground”. I ignored him until I saw his eyes. I can’t take them out of my mind. “Antara, focus karo warna ghar jao”!!, yelled my dance guruji. I am usually very non-social. Keep to myself.
The coincidence is happening more frequently these days, I think he is trying to start a conversation or may be wants to be my friend! But I am not that type of girl. I don’t speak to unknown boys. Shobha’s brother Prakash is also his friend, he plays with him. He has been to Shobha’s home. When we cross the ground Shobha smiles at him. “Suvin Bhaiya! Bahut hi achche hai!”, Shobha said, adjusting her duppatta. ‘Suvin?, sounds like some detergent powder company’s name.’,
I got my first periods yesterday. Mom is spending a lot of time with me. ‘Suvin, not a bad name though!!’ It’s a different name isn’t it. I kind of liked it, just the name. don’t make assumptions. My cramps are becoming worse. Aunt says that now I am coming to age, I will feel attracted towards boys, I am not yet and if I get attracted it will be a polite and studious boy, not a rowdy and rude one, definitely not Suvin types.
We kept crossing each other’s way often now, we even spoke to each other about exams, as I got to know from Shobha that he is also studying for intermediate exam. I have not told it to anyone that there is something about him that I like. Girls in my school say they have some crush, few even have boyfriends. But its 1975 and all this is considered bad girl stuff, and I am my dads’ pride. So, the emotions better be kept to me.
Once the studies increased and exams were near, I stopped going to Kathhak class. I will resume it in summer vacation. I am not saying I miss seeing Suvin, as he sometimes comes to Shobha’s house. Her dad has a telescope and both these boys; Suvin and Prakash spend many hours gazing stars, I don’t know what they see but sometime Shobha doubts they might be trying to peep into others houses also using the telescope, ‘Suvin is not bad. He cannot be bad. He is eccentric.’ Anyways, I don’t have any interest, neither in starts nor in these boys.
Exam starts next week, Mom and Dad have never forced me to score or study but their silent expectations are enough for me to feel the pressure. I am planning to pursue my graduation from here only, I can’t stay away from my parents, hence I need to score really well so that I can get admission in the college of my choice. Won’t you wish me good luck?
This blog of part of #A2Z Challenge, there will be 26 blogs in this series all the blogs are in continuation. I am writing them from Z to A, as the story also flows from Death towards life. Hope you enjoy knowing Antara’s journey.
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