Have you guys ever been on date? I am sure you do.
My first date was when I had no clue what a date was. I was, may be sixteen or seventeen, let’s assume eighteen to play a little safe, as no one would ask me then because our constitution even says that eighteen means adults. And adult means I am enough mature to vote the least undeserved, to fall in love, to date someone, to make my own decision, to buy alcohol or tobacco products and to watch even porn. Though I know none of us follow that. I have grown up in a lower middle-class family so what I knew about date was eating full plate rajma rice together or may be one full plate divided into two half plates. It’s not two half plates separately. I know very well that one full plate always costs less than two half plates. Above all, I was not sure that a date could mean a lot more. And it is not an injustice to my awareness. What else you could learn with a bunch of under nourished friends who have no idea about life other than food. Even if you want to learn something more about a date, you can’t. Not that I was given few auspicious advices on that occasion. One of my friends had advised me to take her on a Vaishno Dhaba if she was a vegetarian and of course in contrast the other one couldn’t keep himself silent and advised me for a Punjabi dhaba in case of non-vegetarian. But in both the cases dhaba was common as none of us could think beyond that. The word Restaurant never existed in our dictionary. In fact, rest-o-rant did.
I’m sure one must have plans before going on a date like what should he wear? Or how should he look? Perhaps how should he smell? Or how should he behave? Etc etc. But such things never troubled me and I am sure it can not trouble millions like me. Reason? Quite simple. I never had to face such dilemma where I am standing in front of closet to select. In fact, I wore the same trouser in every occasion. “Keep one of your trouser ready for any function” my mother used to say beside the fact that I had only one to wear. Though that one trouser sometimes would get layers of dust in the wait of so-called function if I had ever attended in years. But at least my mother slept in peace that I had something to wear for any occasion. Yes, if it comes to looks, I had spent hours in front of mirror. Smell is the least thing we bother. Our armpits do the rest. And behaviour, that is one thing a lower middle-class guy owns while he is growing up. His character certificate is something he believes can let him achieve anything in this world. Poor grades with a great character certificate. Though before he feels proud on his character certificate, he comes to know that everyone has got the same certificate. In my case it was bit worse or I would rather say depressing when I saw back benchers and teasers have got the same character certificate. I learnt that it is just a paper of formality. A hoax may be.
So, point is with grades below than average and a male character of ‘Sita’ I struggled to get even one love in school days. Let me tell you, it’s an observation of years that while you grow you see three categories of students in a class. Front benchers and back benchers you obviously know and then there are middle benchers who are actually nothing but the victims of front benchers and unacceptable by back benchers. I was one of them and honestly you look around and you will not deny the fact that the former two categories attract “love and lovely girls” more.
“Middle benchers don’t get much here even.”
But sometimes to prevent this fact from being true God gives middle bencher a chance of a date. I’d that chance. In my vague memories, she was dressed in pink and white. Those days were good when your head doesn’t have more than soft feelings for someone and when you know a relationship means sharing your notebooks, one’s blushes on the other’s smile and sometimes a plate of chaat papdi if you have saved money for the entire week. I’d the same trouser which I used to wear for every occasion. It’s a bigger occasion for me. I’d met her in Tilak park, the only location we both knew. Half of the time we were managing our fear. I don’t know about her but I barely saw her face, and felt classrooms were good to see each other without any fear.
Fear of being caught by familiar eyes is proportional to the attempts you made to hide from them.
I still could sense the feeling of being together with her on a date. Her unintentional soft elbow frictions to mine, I wish they were intentional, her exquisite gestures made me fall in love million times with her. By the time I was started being comfortable with her, she said it’s time to go back home. Why didn’t I feel easy at the moment I met her? Why did I waste so much of time to be comfortable? Such thoughts never left me alone for days. Before she left, I gave her a notebook, an easy proof or excuse if someone would have asked her reason for being out the whole evening. I made a pencil art inside that notebook. It was a heart. I still don’t know if she had kept that page in the notebook or torn that page but she never gave me the notebook back and I never asked for it. The story didn’t go beyond that date but what fascinates me still that what would have happened to that pencil art. Don’t know but I think she must have gone with a front bencher…