The Five day Affair

Monday

Ashwin looked at Ritu sitting in the next row. She was dozing, her head nodding forward. He grinned quietly! He’d better warn her before Professor  Kumar caught her sleeping in his class.

“ Wake up you idiot! You know better than to sleep in Prof Kumar’s lecture!!” he wrote on a small slip of paper and nudged  before giving it to her.

Ritu took the chit , shrugging as she read it. Ashwin raised his eyebrows at her. She bent down to write something. Hah!!  “Nerd!! She must have been staying up late in the night studying. ” thought Ashwin waiting impatiently for the chit to make its way back  to him.

He wondered why? Was there a test that he was unaware of?

Ah, there… she was passing the chit back to him. He unfolded it as it reached him. What was her excuse he wondered.

” Can’t help it. Couldn’t get enough sleep for two nights in succession. You see, I am having an affair!” she had written.

His mouth dropped open! Was she joking? He looked at her. She smiled at him in a secretive manner her chin dimpling.

“Psst, what is this all about” he whispered, unable to contain his surprise.

“ Ashwin, what is going on at the back?” asked Professor Kumar suddenly becoming aware of the disturbance. “Oh nothing sir. Just shifting my position. This  bench.. it  is very uncomfortable”  he said uneasily.

“If you are very uncomfortable, you may leave my class” said the Professor Kumar angrily.

Ashwin could hear muffled laughter coming from two rows behind him. He glared at the fellows sitting there.  Thankfully, the bell rang and he was put out of his discomfort.

He made his way towards Ritu.

“Hey what is this? You say you are having a what? ”  he asked her disbelievingly

“ A love affair!  Something that you have been regularly having since class XII” she replied cheekily as she gathered her books and swept out of the room.

Ashwin stared at her retreating back. Yes, it was true that he was known as the school and now college Romeo. He couldn’t help it. Girls just flocked around him like bees to a pot of honey. At any given point in time he had about two girls competing for his attention and affection.  However, his life was an open book. He was not secretive like her!!

He felt betrayed! But he was not sure why he felt that way. Was it because she was having an affair or because she had kept it from him?

He had known Ritu since the time they were in kindergarten. They had both joined school on the same day ,had been together in the same class and section until the day they had  passed out of school.  Nobody was  surprised that they had joined the same college. Though they were constantly arguing about most things, they had always been the best of pals!  They lived in the same neighborhood and over the seventeen odd years that they had known each other, both their families had also become very close.

Ritu was the more academically oriented one among the two. She had always stood first in class right through school and now college. Ashwin, though not as  brilliant a student was an all rounder. He  was good at extra  curricular activities and was considered by everyone to have a lot of leadership qualities. By the time he was sixteen, he had started attracting a lot of female attention. He had quickly realized it  and cashed in on his new found popularity!

But Ritu was different. Though not exactly a tomboy, to him she was never a  “girl”. She was his best friend ! He could and did tell her everything. He was now hurt that she hadn’t told him about her “affair”!

And anyway, what the hell was this “Affair”? What did she mean? Nobody used this word anymore. It seemed sleazy. He preferred “relationship”.

Whatever it was , he needed to talk to her.

Tuesday

Ashwin was very irritated with Sonia. He wished she would stop talking. Sonia at the best of times was nothing more than a pretty face and now when he was preoccupied she seemed to be testing his patience These were the moments he wished he was invisible- or well.. visible only to those he wanted to be with.

He looked around for Ritu. Where was she? He had not been able to speak to her since the time she had made that shocking revelation yesterday. He had tried to locate her all over campus but she seemed to have vanished. Her gang of female friends seemed very vague about her whereabouts.

He looked out of the canteen window. It overlooked the basketball court. He wondered if he could tell Sonia that he had a match and slip out. But knowing her,  she would want to come with him and cheer. What should be say…?

“Sonia, wait here I will be back in a minute” he said as he left the table.

“Ash, where are you going?” she asked petulantly.

“To the library. Just remembered that I had reserved a book.!” he said and ran out.

He walked fast towards library. He was sure that this was one place where Sonia would not follow him. Books and Sonia were like chalk and cheese!

Where was Ritu?  “Why is she avoiding me” he thought looking down as he walked down the corridors leading to the library.

“Ouch!! You clumsy oaf! Why don’t you look where you are walking. You almost stamped on my foot” she screamed.

“Ritu!!”  he exclaimed with relief. “ I have been looking for you the entire day. Where have you been” he asked her.

“At college. Where else?” she said.

“Listen I need to talk to you” he said pulling her into a corner.

“Okay. Go on” she said impatiently.

“ What is this  thing about an affair? Who is this fellow? You never mentioned him before” he asked her angrily.

“ I didn’t know I had to seek your permission for this” she said sarcastically.

“But you can share your thoughts with a friend. Come on… I tell you everything about myself. Please .. tell me who is this  guy” he pleaded

“His name is Mihir. He is a pilot and he has just moved into flat 5B in our apartment. What else do you want to know ”. she asked.

“Oh everything!” he said grandly

But  when Ritu started telling him “everything” Ashwin was not sure he wanted to hear it all. He could not believe some of the things. It seemed like she knew this guy only for a couple of weeks. Yet, she seemed to speak about him in such a familiar manner.

“ Do your parents know?” he asked her.

“Why?” she asked challenging him

“Well.. you are interested in him aren’t you?” he replied.

“I will tell them when the time comes” she told him.

“Be careful” he told her.

“Why?” she asked him again.

“ You know he may take advantage of you” he told her

“Like how you take advantage of Sonia” she asked him with a grin.

Ashwin did not like the way this conversation was going. She was putting him in a spot.

“ Okay then, do whatever you want. It was my duty to warn you” he said in a huff.

“ You sound like a policeman” she said laughing… as she opened her bag, taking out a few things to make place for the book that she was carrying.

“What is this?” he asked eyeing her new iphone. She never carried anything other than a functional Nokia model.

“ Oh.. that was his gift. Hey give it back to me” she said  trying to retrieve it from him as he held it high up in the air.

“Ash, don’t be an idiot. Give me that  phone” she said jumping up in the air  to grab it from his hand. She missed a footing and almost tumbled down the two steps below them as he caught her.

“Steady..! No man is worth losing your balance over” he said with a grin. He was about to threaten her saying that he would read all her messages, when the phone rang.

She pulled it out of his hand, looked at the caller id and  exclaimed“ Mihir” before going a safe distance away from his hearing.

He watched her speaking over the phone. She looked happy and animated, in a way that he had never seen her before. He looked at the way she was twirling her finger around the lock of hair that fell behind her ears.  He saw her throwing back her head and laughing. Her skin looked flushed in the afternoon sun. He watched a bead of sweat trickle down her cheek.

Strange.. he had never noticed these things about her. How had she changed like this? Or was it him?

( There are three more working days to the week 🙂)

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5 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. KP
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 19:51:49

    How can you do this stopping the story midway?Somehow I suspect Ritu may be playing a ruse on Ashwin..When will your next post come out? Put all the three days in one post

    Reply

  2. Meera
    Oct 04, 2013 @ 19:58:24

    🙂 Why are girls suspected of such devious things? Anyway, now I have to think about three days at one go!!

    Reply

  3. renu
    Oct 05, 2013 @ 11:21:01

    I am so curious, write next post fast, you make them come so alive that I feel like i am watching them…

    Reply

  4. Leela
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 10:48:01

    I love your fluid style & the build up of suspense! Great going!

    Reply

  5. Meera
    Oct 07, 2013 @ 15:15:03

    Thanks Leela

    Reply

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