From next week, I will be in the final year of the graduation. It has been two months since I started training under Aacharya ji. He is in his mid or late thirties. I never asked. But the man’s impressive. For a change, he has answers to my every question! He is strict but considerate. He is punctual, strong and very disciplined! It’s tough to keep up to his expectations! Thank Lord Mahadev I had been doing minor exercises and morning runs for a while now! But here, this isn’t even warm up but it helped increase my energy level! The first month it was really hard for me to cope up! Specially the first week! I was tired, and had body pain and was always hungry and had no time for extra studies. But then slowly I adapted to it. For the first time, the free Shri is following a timetable not only in college but also in day to day! I am food conscious! Not because it’s too oily or it’s too sweet! I do not avoid them but I look for food which will enhance my energy and immunity! And, the training is also helping me with my anger issues! I mean, I now have a place to vent out my anger! I cannot do pushups for some reasons but I can do planks so Aacharya ji makes me do planks and another trainer does pushups on my back! A number is decided and if I fall down before the trainer completes pushups, he counts again from the beginning! He is such a torcher!
I didn’t go home for session break due to training. My mother and brother are anyways not interested but Papa cares. Hence, I told him that I am doing a special course in the university itself. He agreed and asked about food and stay. Aacharya ji had made arrangements for that but I told papa that hostel has permitted me to stay along with some other students! One of the clause of the forms was that I wasn’t allowed to publicize about this! I had no problem. After initial training, I will get the field work and pay. Along with physical training, there’s fight sessions and mental ability classes. Mental ability classes are interesting but fight sessions are a bit much for me! I am a noob there and I guess I understand only Aacharya ji’s language! But even he has standards. Under his guidance, another man trains me there. He is a good teacher but he isn’t able to explain concepts as him! I try to cooperate. Gradually, we caught up pace with our sessions! I am currently learning defensive moves, soon the training will move on to offensive moves. I was currently on the mat! It was one of the fighting sessions. The trainer Biswas sir was attacking me. I dodged him and blocked his hand move but the next moment he hit my leg and I fell down!
“Shri, the same mistake again! Don’t focus only on one part! Keep your all round senses open! Watch the eyes and body movements of your opponent! At times you will have more than one opponent, at that time you cannot focus on just one! Remember… All round focus! (I nodded) okay let’s do it again!”
We continued. Aacharya ji approached us and signed us to stop.
“Gym Hall in five minutes”
We nodded and moved to Gym Hall. I never knew the physical education department of this university was this well equipped! It had every necessary item and playing grounds! And no one would ever knew that this was even a secret training centre! Few other trainees and trainers joined us. Aacharya ji and two others were heading the meeting. The second man was Aacharya ji’s colleague Angiras Purohit. Aacharya ji and Purohit sir had a bitter sweet equation. They were equanimous! The third one was their boss, the senior most one here, Vagish Prajapati. Prajapati sir addressed us.
“You all have been training here for a while now. Two months is a lot of time. You yourself have noticed some changes and developments within you. Within few days, the university will reopen with its new semester so you all have to be more careful. There could be random students anytime in the Gym. Hence, no open discussions in the gym from now on. You all know what to answer upon your sudden training questions! If you can’t even do that, you don’t deserve to be here! Also, for the next two-three months, some new candidates would be joining us. Now, though you will be in the same batch, technically, you will be their seniors! At least till you all pass out! Now since the candidates would be increasing and people learn better when in competition and you all are chosen to be technical seniors, you are getting special privilege. All the candidates would be divided into four squads. Members of the same squad would be training together. The squads would be competitors here and best performance would be rewarded. Now every squad has a leader. That’s where your golden opportunity comes. Some exams would be conducted in the coming weeks to decide upon the leaders of the squad. Interested candidates can report to Bhargav. Angiras, along with few trainers would be conducting the exams. The selected squad leaders would be given the opportunity to watch over the new candidates during their first week of training to enroll for their squads. All the best everyone. Disperse! ”
And Prajapati sir walked away. Few candidates huddled around Aacharya ji who was writing down the names. I looked around for Biswas sir and asked him.
“Sir. Today’s sessions are over?”
“Yes Shri. Will see you in the ring tomorrow. ”
I nodded and turned to leave when I saw Purohit sir. He asked.
“You aren’t enrolling yourself to Bhargav? You are his trainee! He trains the most potential candidates.”
“Everyone here has the same potential as me. He likes to train untamed horses. Thinks me to be one of those!”
“So you aren’t?”
I smirked at him.
“I am untamed, unreliable and unpredictable. Everything happening to me is because I am allowing it. There’s no way anything can happen to me without my wish. Except for death and misfortunes!”
Purohit sir chuckled. He trains me at mental ability at times when Aacharya ji is busy. He loves to provoke my anger as well as my curiousity! At times it’s tough to decipher his codes! But if one listens to him with focus, it’s not that difficult! He is strict but isn’t always serious like Aacharya ji. He is also Physiotherapy professor at the Physical education faculty of the university. Prajapati sir is the dean of the P. Ed faculty. He asked me again.
“Why aren’t you enrolling?”
“Because I don’t care about leading the squad. Leader or no leader, I will still be learning the same thing and performing the same duties. So how does it matter? And moreover, some people have a natural alpha personality, so 1) I don’t feel like competing with others to prove my leadership qualities and 2) even if I am not a leader here, I know I would be in the outside world! Will see you tomorrow sir!”
He smiled at me and left. I saw Aacharya ji looking at me. I signed him about leaving. He nodded and I left.
I landed with a thud on my bed! Half and hour and I would be good to go again! After dinner, I can resume my study! The university started with its new session last week! I moved back to my hostel. Now since I was having classes till 5 in the evening, my trainings and classes at the P. Ed faculty were to occur in the evening slot from 6:00-11:00. By some internal settings, I got the permission for the frequent late entries in the hostel. Our warden, Meenakshi ma’am was a trainer so she helped me with the hostel things. She even arranged for a plate of food to be kept separately in the mess for me. I just had to knock thrice and the cook would hand me over the dinner plate. It wouldn’t even be cold!
I just had my dinner when Shikha barged into the room. Preesha wasn’t there as usual and I was used to her sudden appearance!
“Ever since the college has resumed, I see you lesser and lesser! Okay seriously! What are you even up to?”
“I have joined a terrorist group secretly and planning a huge bomb blast in the coming independence day!”
She looked at me with huge shocked eyes! But then it was my turn to be shocked!
“If you are planning to implant human bombs, sedate Jai and make him one! And then tell him he is a bomb moments before he is about to be blown into pieces! And then savour the look on his face!”
“You are crazy! (She laughed) I told you earlier. I joined one year diploma course of physical education and then after classes I have my self defense classes. You saw what happened that day at the temple right? What if the three guys had attacked me! If I am to do such stunts, I need to be prepared for future!”
“Right! But you could have waited for me right! We would have done that together! You know how much I love to kick asses!”
“What to do, after classes you are busy with your random dates! You know you can actually earn side income this way. Join a company which conducts surveys and you anyways meet random new people, make proper use of them! Even if they aren’t good at kissing, they can fill a form or two! Two in one! Side income plus fling! ”
We laughed! These few moments were enough to make me go on. Apart from these counted people and my family, I was cold as an ice to the rest of the world. I didn’t care about them anymore!
“Ooh! Remembered from fling, I saw your Mr. Hotshot in the market today! He was with two more Hotshots of his height!”
Viraj! Funny! I never saw him after our fling! Was I really that busy! The other two must have been Abhimanyu and Rahul. They are his close acquaintances. Anyways, I shrugged at Shikha.
“Now that you also attend Physical education classes, is there any chance that you would meet him again!”
“I don’t know. And how does it matter anyway? And he is doing a bachelor’s degree there and mine is diploma. There’s no chance we would meet!”
“I thought maybe you would spice things up but you are such a bore!”
“I have had enough roller coaster rides for a life time! Let me travel on the smooth railway tracks for a while! You enjoy your spiced up rides!”
Shikha huffed and left the room. I chuckled. She will be back in a while. I know her too well! I started studying.
We all were at the Gym Hall again. Purohit sir was announcing the names of the candidates who enrolled for the squad leader exams! A fellow candidate named Tanuj considered himself my rival! He would always compete with me. In fact, in the past week, he hyped up the news that I wasn’t enrolling in the exam because I was afraid of him! And that everyone would know that I will be getting low scores than him and I might as well have to work under him! I didn’t care two straws. I had much more things to focus on. Purohit sir was continuing with the name.
He paused… We looked at him and he looked at me. I didn’t know what he meant unless he continued.
“Shrinika Thakur! ”
- And it left my mouth in a high pitched voice…
To be continued