Read the prologue and rest of the chapters here: https://kavyajanani.wordpress.com/debut-novel/
I stood terrified at the scene, not knowing how my mom would react.
“Bhavana, what makes you loiter in the sit-out?” she almost hollered.
“Why are you stammering? Tell me the truth.”
‘God! This is getting worse. Where am I leading myself to?’
“Jim…Jimmy…” I was casting the blame on Jimmy. ‘Poor Jimmy!’
“What’s with Jimmy? He is sleeping peacefully in the den.”
“I..I just came to check on him.”
“Then, why were you smiling to yourself?”
‘Thank god!’ My mom hadn’t noticed Jairam. At that moment, I desperately wanted to know at which second she had appeared at the main door. I wanted to know how she had failed to notice him.
“Ma..I just saw Jimmy. He was sleeping peacefully. So I smiled to myself.”
“But why would you smile for that?”
‘She is getting suspicious. Tell something believable, Bhavana. Come on!’
“No, I haven’t seen him sleep so peacefully. That’s why.” I managed to blabber something.
My mom was still unconvinced. “I think nowadays you are standing most of the time in the sit-out. What are you up to?”
‘What the hell!’ My mom wasn’t going to leave me without a proper answer.
“Ma! Why are you prodding me with such questions? I come out to the sit-out so that I can get some fresh air. What’s wrong in that?”
Now it was her turn to get surprised at my mini outburst. She wasn’t used to being questioned back.
“Don’t raise your voice. Nothing is wrong in getting some fresh air. But I felt that something wrong was happening with you. That’s why I asked you such questions. I know about my daughter very well. I can say when she is normal and when she is up to something.”
‘God! Please help me. She has got complete suspicion on me.’
“Please leave it, Ma. I am gonna study in the sit-out.”
“Okay, go ahead. Sorry for asking you too many questions.”
“Ma, you need not feel sorry. It’s your right to ask me whatever you want.”
My mom smiled at me and then left the place. I sighed after she moved away. I turned around to see whether Jairam had left. There was no sign of him on the road.
‘He might have left when I was fighting my little battle with Ma.’
I got excited as soon as I heard it. That was what I wanted to hear for a long time. Finally, it was there and I felt happy. The news spread through an old friend named Priya. We used to be friends in my old school. It was the same school where the kids whom Jairam brought, studied. I was cycling back from my music class, when I was stopped by Priya.
“Our Annual Day is on March 1st, Bhavana. You have to come,” she ordered.
“Is it?” I almost bawled in joy.
“Of course. And this time our juniors are performing a Bhangra dance. You have to watch them perform.”
“Sure, sure, I will be there. Don’t worry. Though I have left you people long ago, I did not stop attending your Annual Day. I will surely come.”
“That’s so good of you, Bhavana! Okay bye. I have to inform Monica, Sneha and Roshni too. I am off to their place.”
I waved her a goodbye. I could feel happiness surging from the bottom of my heart. Not only I was going to meet my old friends, I had another plan too. I cycled back home, whistling a happy tune to myself.
My palm had turned sweaty. I was waiting for my Jairam on the outer pavement. He would be there at any moment. I had planned to talk to him. It was going to be my first conversation with my love. I felt nervous as well as happy. After a few seconds, he came. I moved closer to the compound wall and looked at him directly. He stopped where he was, enigma spread over his eyes.
“Umm..Is your name Jairam?” I asked him. But the question sounded so stupid.
“Yes..And what’s your name?”
‘Aye bhagavan! Finally he is asking for my real name. And he is so dumb. He did not ask me how I knew his name.’
“I am Bhavana.”
“Bhavana? Okay, okay.” He stared at me expecting the next question. An awkward silence hung between us.
“Will you come for Mayflower School’s Annual day?”
“Umm..Kya? Bolo,” He moved closer to the other side of the compound wall from the road.
Till then we were conversing in Tamil, but he switched to Hindi all of a sudden.
“Will you come to this school’s Annual day?” I said, pointing towards where the school was situated. I even showed some dance symbols with my hand so that he could understand what I meant.
“Yeah, okay,” he replied. That was all he could say. I hoped that he understood. Smiling, I moved away from the wall. He nodded at me and started walking.
I turned to enter my house, but then something inside me told that he was waiting for me to turn around and look at him. I slowly spun around to see. Well, my heart was absolutely correct. He was standing there flashing his million dollar smile. He waved at me. I blushed at that moment and waved back.
The moment was so cute that I wanted to treasure it forever. I wished I had a time travel machine so that I could reverse a few minutes. Replaying that scene in my mind repeatedly, I prayed to God that he should turn up for the Annual Day. I imagined us sitting together and having sweet talks.
‘Where is he?’ I was desperately searching for Jairam in the auditorium, but he was nowhere to be seen.
“Heyeeee Bhavana…” It was Priya, Monica, Sneha and Roshni.
“Hey girls..Wow! You all look gorgeous.” I went over and we had a group hug. We’d dressed ourselves in colourful ghagra cholis and hence we looked like a cheerful lot.
We grabbed our seats, as many people were rushing towards them. I sat down and looked for Jairam. My eyes frantically searched for him in every nook and cranny of the auditorium, but all I could see was a swarm of smiling faces, some known and some unknown. I couldn’t spot my Jairam.
“Girls, wait a minute. I will be right back.” I excused myself and moved to the entrance of the auditorium. I stood there and waited for him, hoping that he would drop in at any moment. Half an hour passed. The show had begun and there was no sign of him. I felt heavy at heart.
“Bhavana, what are you doing here? Come let’s go to our place.” It was Priya. She had come looking for me. I went back to my place and slumped down on the chair with a thud.
“What’s the problem?” Priya questioned me, looking at my pained face.
“Nothing. Let’s watch the show.”
For the rest of the show, I tried to concentrate on the dance performances and cheer along with the crowd, but my mind was dominated by Jairam’s thoughts.
‘Where is my love story leading me to? Did he understand what I told him? Or did he intentionally not show up? Does he truly love me or just whiling away his time with me?’ My eyes turned moist at my own thoughts.
The show ended soon much to my relief. We mixed along with the crowd to go out. Suddenly I felt a tap on my shoulder. I turned around to see who it was.
“Jairam!” I screamed. He smiled at me and was about to open his mouth.
“Bhavanaaaa..Come on, we might get crushed in this stampede.” Priya dragged me from my encounter with Jairam. She did not even bother to ask me to whom I was speaking to.
As she kept pulling me, I turned back and pouted at Jairam. He understood and waved at me, smiling like he always used to.
‘My god!’ I was the happiest person in the world at that moment. Jairam had touched me! I could feel his soft touch on my shoulder. It was lingering for a long time. I also noticed the stubble of beard on his chin which looked cute on him. But I had a thousand unanswered questions.
‘Why did he not arrive before? Why didn’t he attempt to speak to me?’
But I felt appeased that at least he had made an appearance for my sake.
‘Yes, he loves me’. I blushed and reached home, feeling completely satisfied.
“Daddyyy..” I hugged my dad. He had returned home. He was working as a programming analyst in Delhi and visited home once in three months. Those were the most enjoyable days of my life.
“I have got chocolates for you, dear.” My dad brought out a box of chocolates consisting of Toblerone, Ferrero Rocher, Snickers and Bounty. I had a sweet tooth and was fond of candies and chocolates.
“Thank you, daddy. And you have grown fatter. What’s inside this pot belly?”
“Ha ha ha..Delhi is providing me with delicious food.”
“So, you come to say that Ma doesn’t provide you yummy food?”
“Aiyo, not like that. Don’t create a tiff between us.”
“Just kidding, daddy.”
“Okay, next time when I come, ask me for something that will be useful to you.”
It was the right chance for me to request him.
“Daddy, I need a mobile phone.”
He looked at me in surprise.
“But why do you need that now, dear? You are still not mature enough to use a mobile phone. You can stay in touch with your friends through the landline or through your mom’s mobile phone.”
“No. It’s not possible, Bhavana. Wait till you enter college. I will buy you a basic feature phone. Once you start working, I will get you a Smartphone.” He appeared like one of the villain dads from Bollywood movies. His moustache had grown thick and he seemed to be stricter than before.
I sighed at him sadly. My attempts to own a mobile phone had turned futile. I felt jealous when my friends owned one and showed it off to me. But I had Nimmi by my side. She too did not have a mobile phone.
‘Somehow I will convince my father soon. I need to have a mobile phone; because I have heard many love stories breaking up due to lack of communication. I don’t want that to happen. I should get a mobile phone and continue my relationship with Jairam.’
I gathered my books and went out to the sit-out to study. It was 3.30 p.m and Jairam was about to arrive. Eagerness took over me as I pictured my own scenes that may happen after his arrival. I never knew that the imagination level of a 15 year old could soar up after falling in love. Daydreaming had turned into one of my hobbies. My tryst with music was also increasing as I had developed a special bond with it. Especially A.R.Rahman’s compositions. Each and every minute of my life had one of his songs being played in the background. They were my soul songs. As I was in love, those songs seemed even more scintillating. When Jairam passed by my house, my heart would instantly break into a Rahman’s number.
Soon, Jairam came and stopped in front of the main gate. He was about to speak something. I questioned him with my eyes.
“Give me your phone number,” he asked me, partially through words and partially through signs.
My eyes widened and I signed him back that I did not have a mobile phone.
He looked at me with a dash of sadness in his eyes. I felt sorry for him. I was also surprised that he had asked my mobile number just after my ‘mobile-phone-conversation’ with dad.
“Sorryyy..” I told him.
“That’s okay,” he said and the next moment, he blew a kiss to me!
‘What the heck!’ I was horrified at his action. Though I was blushing from cheek to cheek, I felt frightened of my neighbours watching him doing such a thing. But there was no one around. I felt shy to look at him after that and scurried inside. I never expected such Bollywood-ish filmy sequences happening to me. But Jairam was intrepid. He wasn’t worried about the consequences of his actions.
Hey friends! Tell me which character you love the most. I’ll conduct an interview with all your favourite characters. 🙂