I got off at the metro station, climbed up the stairs, taking them two at a time and then, for the next 10 minutes waited for him to come. It was all going exactly as planned...
If you had asked my parents where i was on the 25th of November you would have gotten a rather proud 'He was at his friends house preparing for a competition' in reply. The truth, however, as it often was, was the diametric opposite to this. I, until recently had been taking full advantage of the trust abbu ammi had on me. However, as it often is, when you take something for granted, it disappears. Things were to change soon and it wasnt going to be at all pretty.
The sun shone bright, melting away any traces of guilt i had left within me, along with it. For the first time this winter, i could notice my breath in the air as i inhaled in. The usual hustle bustle of morning travelers surrounded me as i stood there, avoiding the thousand eyes that gazed at me.
After an agonizing 10 minutes, he arrived, dressed in a blue sweatshirt and dark blue denims, with a bag hung around his neck with his school uniform inside.
'Mene station pe change kar lia tha' he said as he greeted me with a handshake and an almost shameless smile.
The bell in the school nearby rung, signalling the the start of the school day. On an usual day, i would be sitting in class, with a newspaper in one hand and a sandwich in another. Today, i found myself,in a dark avenue, right behind the metro station, where we were hiding ourselves from Bluebellian eyes. We made our way to the next door market where we were to meet with 4 others.
After a few packets of chips, and a few boxes of something else, hairy potter with his jadoo, chole bathure for breakfast and a frankie each for lunch we made our way back home. On my return, I was bombarded with questions. My mom knew something was amiss. Yet, she, having full faith in me, refused to show me any signs, and as she spoke, there wasnt even the slightest tone of suspicion.
'How was the movie?' She said, as she opened the door.
A smile appeared on her face as the one on mine disappeared.
'Mummy, i had gone to my friends to do a project and i might have to go tomorrow too!' I replied, keeping in mind the possibility of us going again tomorrow.
The rest of the day was rather uneventful. Most of it spent in the darkness of my room, leaving it only at times to go to the kitchen in the hunt for something to eat. I was extremely pleased with my achievements of the day! MY FIRST SCHOOL BUNK :D i thought. And if things went as was planned, the first of many to come.
Morning next, i was in my school uniform, sitting in my class, reading the paper. Half the day passed and not a word about the previous day was said. Everything was surprisingly normal! Like i had never been gone...
'I dont get it, if you wanted to have some clean fun, why couldn't you have gone after school?' She looked straight at me as she spoke and I, ashamed, look straight at the laminated floor. This was it, the hunter had caught his prey, i had run out of luck.
I looked up, searching for an answer but found myself going through her vast collection of books instead. A yellow paperback copy with Bob Dylan inscribed on it in bold black letters caught my eye. I opened my mouth and closed it again, unable to find the words to describe what i really felt.
Bhenchod chutiyagayi hein kya? BHENCHOD ZYAADA BAKWAS MAT KAR! I thought as she went on..
'Yes tell me child? What was the need to bunk?' She sat in her leather chair signing papers and occasionally looked up at me as she spoke. Moments passed, I still hadnt said anything. This was clearly irritating her.
'I'm sorry maam, i didnt know what i was doing and i came under...'
'Peer pressure? Who's peer pressure did you come under?'
Kya bhenchod. Ek tho bol raha hun, aur bolne bhi nahi de rahi. Chutiyagayi hein aur saat mein saatya bhi gayi.
'Sorry maam, what i'm trying to say is i got carried away, it shouldnt have happened and i promise you it will never happen again. I made a mistake, sorry!' I said, still staring at the Bob Dylan book half wanting to ask her if i could borrow it.
'I still dont get it though, why did you have to bunk?'
'I'm sorry maam. i just wanted to experience bunking, i've done it now and i promise you it wont happen again.'
She was a bit taken aback by this. Still signing papers and dialing digits on her phone frantically she looked me in the eyes, here face still calm as ever, her hair, like it always does, resembling a birds nest held into place with over-sized sunglasses and her reading classed slowly climbing down her nose.
'Was this your first time?'
'Yes maam, it will never happen again, i'm sorry' I said, finally realizing the gravity of the situation. This was my only chance to save myself from suspension and i wasn't going to let it fly by.
She looked at me again..
'Did you drink or do something you shouldnt have?'
'No maam, i swear i didnt do anything i shouldnt have, i went to watch harry potter with a few friends and went straight back home.'
There was silence and i knew better than to open my mouth again. She put the bunch of papers aside, put her pen down and shuffled around in her chair. What seemed like hours passed. Silence prevailed still. I recited a silent prayer to God above, knowing it was only he who could save me.
'Okay, I'm trusting you and i'm letting you off with a warning.' She was sitting back in her chair now, still in deep thought, which i decided to interrupt, making sure she didnt change her mind.
I broke into a smile. I wanted to jump, higher than I ever had, I wanted to go hug her and say thank you, I wanted to scream bhenchod, louder than i ever had before, I WANTED to do oh so many things. And yet, i managed a 'Thank you maam, i assure you it will never happen again!'
As i left the room, a Yeah, i hope it doesnt, followed me from behind.