The boys in the class had enough reasons to feel bored and sleepy; they did not need a lesson on the bull whip theory to add to their misery. Some killed their boredom through their i-pods; some did it through playing the oldest fashioned game of book cricket. While Ayushman kept Ashima’s falling hair at bay and tried understanding the concept itself.
Ashima rubbed her eyes every few minutes; she tried concentrating hard on what the professor was trying to explain. Every time she did that, the words on the white board appeared more alien to her.
Ayushman continued making his notes, the class continued to yawn and Ashima finished drawing the caricature of a bored classroom. The bell rang and BIM-B batch five room number 101 had a spring in their stride. Unanimously they seconded the professor’s teachings and rushed out for a desperate smoke break.
Ayushman stood in one corner, reflecting on the class and smoking his roll up. Rahul was standing next to him cribbing about the Bull whip effect; Ayushman though was lost in another world. He tried hard to forget the presence of Ashima sitting next to him in the class. He searched for answers within, why he did not mind the occasional fall of her hair on his shoulder, he wondered what had changed post the summer internship. He finished the roll up stubbed it on the ground and walked towards the bus. Rahul tagged along still cribbing about the class.
Ayushman stared at Rahul, told him that ‘He had used a similar theory last year at a college fest’. Rahul probed further, Ayushman rolled up another joint and patiently explained ‘You don’t have to learn such things, just think what happened when the professor taught you Bull-Whip effect, you didn’t get anything right. That was because the professor wasn’t quite clear of what he wanted to say, and that is what the Bull-Whip effect is all about’. Rahul shook his head in the affirmative but his blank expression spoke another story.
The ride to the hostel was more joyous for the band of boys than the blue lit classroom of management lessons. Some spoke about the latest crack codes to break into pornographic sites, others cribbed about the class, some frowned that the girl’s hostel was a far cry from theirs; others seconded their opinion by adding that the managing committee should have taken lessons from them before choosing the girls.
The one common link that binds this nation and its people together is the lack of electricity. The boys trudged the steps to reach their rooms. None cribbed though about the failed power. Ayushman picked up his guitar and went on the terrace, rolled up another joint and started playing it.
Rahul sat next to him, smoking a cigarette and sipping on chilled beer, when he questioned Ayushman, whether he had seen how beautiful Ashima looked today in the class.
Ayushman continued playing the guitar, as Rahul probed further ‘did you see that white thing hanging out of her closet’? Ayushman took a deep puff inside, circled the smoke in the air and answered ‘mate concentrate harder on your studies and you will experience many such whites all your life’.
Slowly the whole band of boys entered the terrace, and stood around Ayushman clapping with him as his music reached a crescendo.
Rajiv sat in a smoke filled room, working on his laptop trying to understand the dynamics of the project. His phone flashed Ashima’s number. He chose to ignore it. After ten attempts he picked up the phone and faced her wrath.
Ashima was upset that Rajiv was avoiding her; he on the other hand was grappling with the project as there was a presentation the following day. Ashima changed the topic to the happenings in the class, to which Rajiv showed least interest. After several attempts to draw his attention towards her talks she disconnected the phone.
Her phone buzzed, it had fallen on the floor, with the cover on one side and the body on the other. Ashima had slumped next to her cupboard and had tears rolling down her cheek. She remembered a similar day few years back, when Rajiv had walked into her life and had proved to be her guiding angel with a magic wand.
His young boyish charm and humour had her in splits; she continued crying as she reflected upon the past memories.
She remembered the long walks they used to take back home after the night shift. How safe she used to feel with him, in the unsafe capital. The first hug she got from him after his failed attempt at a self cooked dinner date. The phone kept ringing as the tears slowly started changing into a smile.
Ashima got up from the floor; re arranged her phone and tried calling Rajiv again. As the phone rang, she remembered how she lost her virginity to the man she loved the most in the whole world. She frowned at herself, for even thinking twice whether she had made the right choice. The phone kept ringing.
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