“Hello Ayesha, how come here?”
As if I did not know that she must be here with her dad offering fajr prayers after morning aajaan inside the mosque. She smiled and gave me the answer I already knew. Now I did not know how to continue with our conversation.
She came to rescue me out of it, by asking “how come you in a temple? As far as I know you are an atheist, with a sarcastic smile.”
This took me by surprise,. I did not expect her to know this part of me, as very few of school-mates knew this, at least not her. I could easily hide my inner expression of surprise with a short laugh.
“That’s why I was forced to stay out of the temple by Mom, I said. And you are busy looking at these flowers,”
I asked to continue with the conversation, she answered yes and these red roses are my favorites. We barely had talk for few minutes as it seemed to me at that time, I saw mom coming out. Honestly speaking, I was not very glad to see her coming out so soon. Anyway I introduced Ayesha to mom and she greeted mom in by touching her feet. It is a usual of greeting elders in India. In turn she got a hug from my mom and some blessing with the sweets from the temple. After a short conversation between mom and Ayesha we had to say goodbye for the day and I moved towards my car with mom, but did not forget to wave my hands before throwing myself at the driving seat. I was 15 at that time but could drive without hesitation. This is one of the awards of being related to the city police chief in India.
She suddenly came with a question,
“You were surprised on that day when I called you an atheist, weren’t you ?”
Ah! I don’t how the hell girls can know something even if you try your best to hide it from them. I think that makes them a better spy (Mr. Ian Flemming your movies should have a female bond). I just smiled with acceptance. She laughed and told the reason was Priyanka (Only my good friends and anti’s knew about this quality). It was enjoyable to know that she used to talk about me before. For the first and last time I was happy with what Priyanka did. She was an annoyer for me before. I just thanked her without blabbering a word. During the next days we talked more often than ever, with words and without words. Once in the school park she told me again that she loves red roses perhaps for the 9th time in 10 days. To admit, at that time I was stupid enough to not understand the meaning hidden in her words, and I continued to be idiot for next few days.
Eid- Ul- Fitar invitation brought a reason to meet her parents. I was determined to behave in the best possible to impress way. I did not need a lot of change or rehearsal as I was already a well behaved boy. Believe me I did more just accomplishing the job in my hand. The impression that I left that day won me the freedom to meet and talk to her more often than I used to enjoy before. But it was because their parent still took us as kids. This is probably one issue that has never been resolved and will never get resolved. All the parent take their kids to be kids even if they turn into grand parents.
That morning she came and without saying even Hi moved into the lecture room. The teacher was inside so verbal communication was difficult. I thought of playing the postman game. The game was very simple and efficient way to communicate in presence of teacher. The sender writes something on a piece of paper and the paper passes to the person you want to communicate with, through class mates, hiding beneath the desks and tables.
“What happened? Why are you not talking to me?” I asked.
After a long journey of 11 people it came back to me.
“Khaalaa jaan saw us yesterday and she told mom about us”, was the answer.
The news was not good but like a fearless lone warrior engulfed in enemies den I wrote
She wrote that we will talk after the lecture.
As soon as the lecture was over I rushed towards and almost screamed at her,
“so what if Khaalaa saw us ? Its still the same we love each other”.
She, without saying anything started crying and now I was down.
Trying to console her I said, “why do you worry its not a big issue”.
In sobbing voice she replied “no, its not possible to continue with this anymore. Mom slapped me yesterday. Look I come from an orthodox muslim family. My parents will never accept anything like this and that too with a hindu boy”.
“What the hell? don’t you think its just stupid and nothing else?”
She came closer and then said
“we would continue to friends but it cant continue in the same way anymore”.
“Friends! shut up” I barked. This is very typical of girls first carry you to a stage where they call you more than a friend and suddenly freeze with this kind of end. It was all getting to an end very suddenly and awfully
I somehow managed to attend rest of the lecture came back home and cried for sometime hiding in a blanket. Then onwards I met her everyday for next 30 days or so but no talks, just staring and hiding from each other. Board exams came and went. I went to a different school to continue with studies and then moved to the medical school. Next two years of study and preparation for medical school never gave me enough time to remember or forget Ayesha. Dad was transferred from that city, so never had a chance to visit this city of good old memories. Today after 8 years just trying to remember incidents that had happened, getting deeper into nostalgia. From the street I could see two teenagers who started with a story here.
I was so drowned into all these memories suddenly the mobile vibration woke me up and without looking at the call I asked
“yes dad where are you?”
Oh I can see dad’s car coming, gotta go…..