Prajapati sir was adressing us.
“Apart from your current colleagues, your squads will also have the later recruited candidates. They don’t know your identities yet and they wouldn’t even know it unless their squads are finalised so that you can choose them on the basis of their natural performance! Also, even you all don’t know who the candidates are. For a week, you all will be attending the regular classes here as diploma students and the evening training sessions as self defense classes. Boys can do that as a gym. Let’s see if you have an eye for a gem. Cadet Thakur. You scored the highest so obviously you would be getting some privileges. (I nodded) Observe for a week and finalise your squad. Submit the names to your head trainers. Remember, there has to be fourteen names. Then the rest of them who are left,if any, then they will be equally distributed! The final decision would be taken by the board. Oh! And also, you get to name your squad. Disperse!”
We did as told! For a week now, I was a P.Ed diploma student! I have a selection strategy in my mind let’s see if it works.
“The privilege would definitely be that everyone she puts her finger on ends up in her squad! She will obviously choose the best players! And her squad would obviously win! This us straight away unfair! ”
I heard Tanuj instigating other two squad leaders! He was also among us. Four of us had been selected after the tests. Tanuj was the fourth scorer. The other two were Arjun Rana and Siddhartha Sarna.
“The thing is, the mind game you are trying to play here if you would have done it in the mental ability test, at least you would have surpassed me or Siddhartha!”
“Instead of instigating others against her, focus on your selection procedure. I am sure the board would make sure to make a properly balanced squads! Just finalize your candidates and let us all do the same.”
And they walked away from there. A place where people cannot be manipulated easily! I like it! I drank the water from my bottle when Arjun called me.
“Congrats on the high score Shri!”
I smiled formally and nodded. Siddhartha joined him as he lifted the bottle
I gestured the same with a formal smile. We had to go to the physiotherapy class as it was scheduled first! Mahadev knows what would happen to my actual classes for a week! I hope I don’t miss much! But before that, I had to meet Aacharya ji. He had asked me to meet him. I took out the keypad phone he gave me and called him to ask his whereabouts.
“Listen everyone! Some diploma students are going to join the classes with you all for a while. Don’t rag Or harass them! They have come here to watch you and learn! Am I clear?”
We all replied as coach instructed us. Abhi and Rahul looked at me and winked I winked back! A little ragging doesn’t harm right!
I heard a familiar voice and immediately turned around! I saw her! Shri… Abhi and Rahul stood beside me.
“She looks different doesn’t she?”
“Dumbass Rahul! She has just tied her hairs! She isn’t different!”
“Shut up you both! Why she came to meet coach?”
They both also looked at her. Coach signed her to come in and she moved to him and stood in attention. He said something and she relaxed. She indeed looked different! I have always seen her with free hairs but here it was tied up in a bun. She had a more flexed posture and her alpha walk was more powerful now. She had a royal presence about her always! But her eyes. Something was off. Her eyes threw a different light before but now there was just fire. That light depicted hope but this fire somehow depicts danger! She talked with coach for a while and turned to leave but just before that her eyes caught mine. It widened for a second but then normalized. Maybe for her it was our first meet after that fling! She didn’t stay there for long and left. No eyelocks, no brief eye contacts, no smile or hellos nothing! She could have at least acknowledged me! I somehow felt offended!
“Bro!! Did she just ignore you!”
“Of course she did! She just looked at him randomly and walked off!”
“Shut up you both and focus on the practice! Idiots!”
We had Physiotherapy class first and I had to attend it as I cannot miss them now! Angiras sir also trained me after classes so one way or other I had to face him. I had no other option. The only best thing was even Abhi was obligated to do it! I was happy this wasn’t my misery alone! Sir was already there in the class! There were indeed some new faces around. Must be the diploma students. Sir started.
“Okay let’s start!”
“May I come in sir?”
We all looked at the door. She was here! Shrinika was here! Why was she here?
What!!! Shrinika Thakur in Diploma P.Ed!
It was one of our first few date/meet. The field was almost empty and dark and except for the few opportunity seekers in the dark! It was getting late so I called her at the basketball court itself. We were sitting in the gallery.
” Why are you behaving so weird as if a girl whose arrange marriage alliance has come?”
She said and chuckled! I laughed as well!
“I have never been on a date in the basketball court! I feel like I am cheating my love!”
She laughed again! She then gestured with her hand and said.
“Don’t worry, I will make her understand that I ain’t claiming any rights on you and she can have all of you!”
I smiled. She is always in a jolly mood. The moment you see her billion dollar smile, you feel all your stress and tiredness flying away! She had that relaxing and calm aura coming from her! She snapped her fingers in front of me and stood up. I smiled and looked at her.
“You are so amazing when you are in action on the court! And some of your moves are just so swift and amazing!”
“You know I can teach you a move or two!”
“You can!? That’s great! Where’s the ball tell me! ”
I told her and she got the ball. I taught her few moves! She was a quick learner!
“If trained well you can actually play for the team!”
“Naah! Don’t want to make other P.Ed students insecure!”
“Then become a P.Ed student! There’s diploma course. And even I have applied for the bachelor’s degree here.”
“You be happy with your P.Ed. I am happy and content with where I am!”
And she threw the ball towards me!
“It’s your first day and you are already three minutes late!”
“Sorry to point out sir but you are five minutes early! There’s still two minutes left for the class to begin according to the timetable.”
Woah! That’s one more thing about her. She always has sassy comebacks! Abhi whispered to me.
“Today this hothead Purohit is going to eat her raw!”
I thought the same but she smirked instead and signed her to come in. We were all startled! Did he actually woke up on the right side of the bed today!
“Bro! It’s beginner’s luck I am telling you! She is lucky his mood isn’t bad today!”
“Or maybe it’s her first day and he didn’t want to show his true colours!”
I put forward another possibility! Abhi nodded! She came in and sat in the row beside me but a two three benches ahead! She definitely was different! The warm and cozy vibe which always used to emit from her somehow felt cold and distant! Was it true or am I thinking too much? Suddenly I felt a sharp pain on my forehead and looked ahead! The hothead had hit me with a chalk piece! He signed me to focus on the class. I rubbed my forehead and nodded!
I signed the paper and went to Aacharya ji to submit my finalised names. I spotted some potential candidates and they were pretty good. I hope my guesses were correct and my squad is good. Aacharya ji looked at my list with a frown. He always has that frown whenever he is reading something.
“Shri. Is this final? No changes?”
“Okay then. After two days the board will make the squad leaders and their squad meet each other.”
I nodded and turned to leave. But he called me again.
“Shri. What name have thought for your squad?”
After all my squad should feel like they are the ultimate ones whom no one can dare to cross unless they have a death wish! Aacharya ji looked at me and nodded. I took his leave.
To be continued