Whole damn week passed and she ignored me like a stranger! It was like we never knew each other. And moreover, I never got a chance to talk to her or even say an informal hello! She was always the last one to enter the class and first one to leave. Except for the basketball theory classes, I saw her in physiotherapy, athletics, Gym and even during swimming theory and practicals! Swimming was my diploma and her main subject. And then after classes, I would be busy with the trainings and had no time to contact her or talk to her. By the time I would be free, it would have been late night and I don’t feel comfortable messaging random girls at midnight. This is not what my mother taught me! I mean she is no random girl but then she is also….. Okay I don’t know what to call her! But for the first time, I wanted to seek attention!
She was waiting for me in the gallery as I finished my practice. She had rested her face on her hands looking at me smiling.
“In a few moments, I am going to start blushing! Stop staring now!”
“What to do… When you are on field, it’s hard to take eyes off you!”
“Well, you are definitely going to avert your eyes now!”
I took off my tee shirt! Her cheeks turned red and she looked to the ground. She looked cute! I took out the fresh pair of Tees and wore them
“Okay, how come you shy when I take off my tees even though after few minutes, you wouldn’t mind kissing and making out with me!”
She looked at me first with peripheral vision and then straight. She stood up a stair above to even our heights. I chuckled! This was her habit! She had a fairly good height but I was naturally taller. Her head came up to my chest.
“Listen Mr. Viraj Rai, my family hasn’t taught me to peep on others while changing! That’s my family values and making out and kissing is worldly pleasure and both should be kept separated!”
She said raising her nose high as if passing a royal decree! I laughed. Her random rants are fun to listen. I immediately pulled her closer by her waist. The sudden proximity made her shush. Only surprise element worked with her!
“I am sure the separation diminishes here!”
I winked at her and she blushed and giggled. I moved closer to her when Rahul screamed!
“Bro at least wait for us to leave! And don’t forget to switch off the lights!”
I looked at Rahul embarrassed! I actually thought they left! Abhi hit him with a ball! Shri chuckled at that! Others left the court and I went to switch off the lights. It felt calm sitting under the stars with her and obviously there were other things!
“Ab to hosh na khabar hai… Ye kaisa asar hai! Tumse milne ke baad dilbar… ”
“Dilbar Dilbar… Dilbar Dilbar… ”
I heard two most disharmonious voices on the planet! Rahul mostly stayed at our room. He was like an impromptu roommate to us.
“Seriously! Spare me off your singing talents! I don’t want to go deaf before old age!”
They both laughed. Abhi asked.
“Lately, you have been only thinking about Shrinika! I am worried it’s turning into infatuation! ”
“Shut up Abhi! It’s nothing like that. I am just wondering why is she behaving as if she doesn’t know me at all! ”
“Maybe she is angry with you because you ended things abruptly and thinks you are a cheat!”
Rahul suggested! He had a point and even Abhi seconded him but then.
“No! That’s not possible. Because things didn’t stopped only from my side. Even she never contacted me or even tried to contact me!”
“That’s the point! And moreover, if that would have been the case, then she would have at least shown signs of anger or deliberate ignorance but she behaves as if strangers…”
Abhi pointed out.
“Maybe she is dating someone else and doesn’t want to face guilt, dilemma or embarrassment seeing the person with whom she had a fling! That’s why she’s behaving such!”
Rahul again suggested and even Abhi seconded him.
“That could be the case! ”
Has she? Really? I mean not to boast but I do raise expectations… And if it’s true, it has definitely raised my curiousity as to who’s the new guy whom she thought to be better than me! Not that I am jealous or anything but just general knowledge!
“It pinched there right?”
Rahul teased me. I glared him.
“Complete your assignments. Idiot!”
Rahul made a face and started writing. Abhi looked at me.
“Vir. Don’t think much brother!”
“Trust me bro, I am not thinking! Let’s complete the assignment!”
I knew I lied. Even Abhi knew I lied. And the sniff from Rahul confirmed that even he knew I lied. But I didn’t want to accept it. I tried to focus on my assignment. I also had to make up for the mental ability classes I have been missing due to tournament practices! There’s so much to do!
The whole week, I was finalising names for Deathwish squad. I was looking for second best people in most of the fields. Because they always have the scope of making themselves even better! Only for the shooting I chose the best one. I am sure they wouldn’t deny me one best member! Some of the second bests would be getting away for sure! The board had to make even squads to maintain the balance. For mental ability I had to sneak into the classes and sit at the back to watch out the candidates! I couldn’t see their faces for the room would be usually dark except for the huge projector screen for case studies but we had to introduce before answering! So I managed to pull one two good candidates there as well! I was doing warm up when the keypad phone rang. It was Aacharya ji.
“Shri, the squad members have been finalised and assigned. Collect the list for your squad from Dean’s office!”
“Yes Aacharya ji.”
“And you have to adress them today. And I know you hate this but put on a good show. Let them know they cannot underestimate their alpha.”
“Yes Aacharya ji. ”
I went to Prajapati sir’s office and knocked.
I went inside and stood in attention.
“Cadet Thakur. Here’s your list. You have a good eye for talents. Most of your selection has been retained. Other’s either had to be shuffled or weren’t the part of this training. And I have a question. We had to strike a name. Rahul Burman. How come you selected him?”
“The guy’s dumb but has got physical ability and strength. I thought he would have been a part.”
“We recruited people with fairly good mental ability! Not that low! The guys good for defence but in the army area. He is still immature and rich and spoilt! Not fit for the intelligence.”
I nodded and checked the list. And my eyes stopped at two names. Abhimanyu Singh. Viraj Rai.
“Abhimanyu and Viraj?”
“They both are the high scorers in the academics. They have been shuffled to your squad! They aren’t only the star players of the university but their mental abilities are worth noticing. I have noticed during many matches! They would change or adjust the strategy and court settings mid match to surprise the opponents! All other three squads had claimed them except for you. Thought to snatch somethings from them as well! They are a good investment.”
“Jai hind sir.”
And I left the room. Now I had to make sure of the good show. I immediately typed a letter and made copies in accordance and sent it to Aacharya ji’s room. I asked if he could send them and he agreed.
“Squads? Seriously? Where are we at? School?”
Abhi whispered to me.
“Sshhh. Listen first!”
“What listen? House v/s house at school and now squad v/s squad here?”
“Yes Cadet Abhimanyu do you have questions?”
Angiras sir asked out loudly. Abhi got conscious and shook his head!
“You would be reporting to your squad leader now. Also, from now on, the head trainer of your squad leader would be your head trainer as well. Disperse! ”
As Angiras sir walked away, Coach approached us with envelopes. He handed one to both of us and others to some other candidates.
“It’s from your squad leader. Read it and report to her.”
And he walked away. We opened the envelope.
𝘞𝘦𝘭𝘤𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘵𝘰 𝘴𝘲𝘶𝘢𝘥 𝘋𝘦𝘢𝘵𝘩𝘸𝘪𝘴𝘩. 𝘉𝘦𝘧𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘸𝘦 𝘮𝘦𝘦𝘵, 𝘭𝘦𝘵 𝘮𝘦 𝘮𝘢𝘬𝘦 𝘰𝘯𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘷𝘦𝘳𝘺 𝘤𝘭𝘦𝘢𝘳! 𝘐 𝘢𝘮 𝘩𝘪𝘨𝘩𝘭𝘺 𝘫𝘶𝘥𝘨𝘦𝘮𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘭 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘢𝘭𝘸𝘢𝘺𝘴 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵 𝘮𝘰𝘳𝘦 𝘵𝘩𝘢𝘯 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘤𝘵𝘶𝘢𝘭 𝘤𝘢𝘭𝘪𝘣𝘦𝘳. 𝘐 𝘬𝘯𝘰𝘸 𝘺𝘰𝘶 𝘩𝘢𝘷𝘦 𝘴𝘰𝘮𝘦 𝘦𝘹𝘱𝘦𝘤𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯𝘴 𝘧𝘳𝘰𝘮 𝘺𝘰𝘶𝘳 𝘢𝘭𝘱𝘩𝘢 𝘢𝘴 𝘸𝘦𝘭𝘭 𝘣𝘶𝘵 𝘣𝘦 𝘢𝘴𝘴𝘶𝘳𝘦𝘥. 𝘐 𝘵𝘳𝘶𝘴𝘵 𝘮𝘺𝘴𝘦𝘭𝘧 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘮𝘰𝘴𝘵 𝘢𝘯𝘥 𝘥𝘰𝘯’𝘵 𝘨𝘪𝘷𝘦 𝘢 𝘥𝘢𝘮𝘯 𝘪𝘧 𝘢𝘯𝘺𝘣𝘰𝘥𝘺 𝘭𝘪𝘬𝘦𝘴 𝘮𝘦 𝘰𝘳 𝘯𝘰𝘵! 𝘙𝘦𝘴𝘵 𝘪𝘯 𝘰𝘳𝘪𝘦𝘯𝘵𝘢𝘵𝘪𝘰𝘯 𝘸𝘩𝘪𝘤𝘩 𝘪𝘴 𝘵𝘰 𝘩𝘢𝘱𝘱𝘦𝘯 𝘪𝘯 𝘵𝘩𝘦 𝘣𝘰𝘹𝘪𝘯𝘨 𝘳𝘪𝘯𝘨.
Whoever the squad leader is, the person is utterly rude! I am already disliking my squad leader!
“Why do I have a feeling that there isn’t going to be harmony in the squad?”
“You spoke my mind. Let’s meet our squad leader in the boxing ring!”
Abhi nodded and the whole squad walked towards the destination. I looked around. There were fairly good members. Whoever chose them, has their grey matter working in the right direction. I haven’t been training for so long here but in this little while, I came to know about some of their calibers. And two three I knew from P. Ed classes.
We reached the boxing ring.
Two people were engaged in a combat wearing helmets. And then suddenly one of them lift the other by leg and performed the washerman stroke! Abhi whispered excitedly from beside.
“Broooooo!!!!! Our squad leader is the washerman stroke specialist!!!!! ”
“Who is utterly rude!”
He suddenly seemed to remember the letter and nodded. We looked at front!
The specialist removed the helmet and we saw a braided bun on the head! So it’s a girl. Our squad leader is a girl! And then she opened the bun and her shoulder length hair fell down. She wore her jacket and turned around. And it subconsciously left my mouth as soon as I saw her face….
To be continued