College Days

Girl is telling the story to one of her friend. [Flashback Story]..”that was the first time I met him. He was standing right next to me”
Busy roadside,
Girl-(over the phone)(talking to a friend about joining  itre college)
Boy –(over the phone)( talking to a friend about joining  itre college)

Girl- excuse me, can I.. borrow your hand please?
Boy- borrow?(with a crooked half smile half grin, crinkles in his eyes)
Girl-is that a yes?
Boy- han?
Girl-thanku(n holds his hand)
Boy-(mouth lil agape,lil smile, lil wide eyes ..just looks)
Girl-(notices that boy is still looking at her) cross the road..
Boy-cross the road?!
Girl-(just nods)
(Boy does as told…extremely busy road. After crossing she leaves his hand..he gives her a questioning look)
Girl-(lil embarrassed.stammers)I just..have a fear..kind of..u know..phobia...road crossing phobia.(takes a u turn suddenly n leaves hurridly without another word)
Boy’s friend-(smiling)who was she?
Boy-I have no idea ..(looking in her direction). Comeon lets go.RJ must b waiting…(to himself..”funny..cute..”smiles)
Girl-(chatting with new friends,bagpack on both shoulders,licking a cornetto icecream)are they talking of a massbunk?so soon?
Friend1-umhmm.i don’t mind, we can gossip the whole afternoon..
Girl-yappa ..umm its so yummy…byeebyee(almost jumps n yells excitedly waving her left hand as she sees an aeroplane fly away)
(meanwhile a group-4 boys were passing by in the opposite direction..seeing her kid-ish act they laugh uncontrollably-boy is also one among them, while the girl n her friends r embarrassed)
Girl’s friends-“girl”I told u not to do this. .oh god..such an idpd.. guess they are seniors..oh no..comeon girl walk faster ..
Girl- um sorry..
Boy-(to his friends,in between bouts of laughter)hey.. I think I have seen her before..(looks back-the girls’ grp was going faster, he noticed an i-card on the ground) o.(picks it up- n calls after the girl) hey helloo excuseme..
(by the time the girls hear, they try n escape quickly fearing ragging by the assumed seniors)
Boy-I think they think us seniors..
Friend- hah.then lets pretend seniors
Boy-(looks at the icard)hey I have really seen her.. its that girl the road crossing..arreey..the phobia girl..
Friend-phobia girl?!
Boy-ya..don’t u remember ?see
Friend- ooo..that ‘borrow your hand’ wala girl….ah…then lets really pretend to b seniors
Friends-what rubbish? When r u going to return this to her?
Boy- Tomorrow..
Friend1-no way..wait for two days..let us collect some information....(shows teeth)
Boy-what information?what r u guys upto? Listen. I don’t even know her.
Friends- OK. fine. understood.
Friend-she’s a localite, goes in route 5, always seen with the same 4 friends-all day scholars, goes to the library every Saturday morning, n licks icecream every Tuesday…n list is endless, thanks to our messengers..  now..time to perform act 1
Boy- but my dialogues are a bit… I have to ask these?(picks up an assignment copy)..what if c slaps me?
Friend- see this guy..why exaggerate it so much man? What are u going to say that would make her slap u?
Friend2-just chill yaar. Calm down. Just remember your dialogues… after all you have joined dramatics club..
Boy-..fools ..i wonder what would be her reaction..
Friend3- yeah..we audience are also waiting eagerly.Best of luck..consider this your 1st audition..(all laugh out loud)..comeon just have 15 min before the classes start…
Boy-hoof..audition. !(goes towards the classroom) ..(friends shout-“All the best…haha..we’ll b waiting outside…areey take the icard..haha”)(Boy returns, takes the icard, shoots off)
Girl-it has been three days already. I have searched everywhere, asked everyone…(tensed)
Friend-I think you should report it missing and  get another icard.. other option?..ya I should..
(class is half full with students-boy enters, rathers storms into the classroom- completely in the character)
Boy-(looking tough, unflinching) who’s ‘girl’?
(all eyes in ‘girl’s’ direction. Girl stands up. Everyone looks, thinks, behaves like ..he’s a senior)
Girl- that’s me..(looks with”what’s going on” “can’t understand anything looks”)
(boy moves towards her direction, stops, pulls icard from his pocket- all done gracefully, n raising an eyebrow- moves it infront of her eyes like a pendulum)
Boy-is it yours?
Girl-(takes it)yes!(relieved)
Boy-huh. Careless..
Girl- um thank u.where did u get it?
Boy-o look who’s asking questions?(proud adamant authoritative senior like look) comeon introduce yourself first..(girl just looks).I-N-T-R-O..
Girl- name is………I am from ____skul.secured__.%in 10th n ___%in hobbies are....
Boy- that’s it?? Nothing more?..what’s your height?
Girl-han? Um. 5.4(confused look..whole class almost filled is looking at them scared)
Boy-not bad. I also don’t like tall girls.
(girl is surprised:-“what the hell is he talking about?)
Boy-what’s your weight?
(girl gives a disgusted look)
Friend-havent u got manners?a guy shouldn’t ask about a girl’s weight.
Boy-(gives a terrifying look towards her) did I ask u?
Boy-(to girl) I think I asked you something.
Girl-huh. 94
Boy-(gives an amused smile) that means bad.(puts the assignment on the desk) do this. Copy every page in neat and clean handwriting in A4 size paper.
Girl- I’m nt going to do it
Boy-so u hav the guts to say no to ur senior.
Girl- I mean I have my own assignment to complete..i mean..i never complete my own can I complete yours?
Boy-listen miss careless. You owe me for getting ur icard. You have to complete this by next week. Got it
(at that time, the teacher enters the room- he recognizes boy- same teacher who gave them the assignment..)
Prof- “boy” , why r u here? Bunking class ?
Boy-( shocked to get caught in such a situation..tongue tied) sir
Girl- you r no senior..h..(almost throws the copy on his face)
Boy-(takes it and rushes back to his friends)
Friends-(after hearing the story)…hahaha…(holding stomach and laughing uncontrollably)
Boy- why did sir have to enter at that very moment?(frustrated..Embarrassed)..She even threw the copy on my face. And “what’s your weight?” “What’s ur weight?””WHAT’S UR WEIGHT?” who had written that dialogue?haan?? Whose stupid script was that?
Friends- weight?  Hahahahaha(holding stomach and rolling over grass)..
Friend1- one dialogue wala script..hahahaha..
Boy-what would she b thinking of me? Dumb who suggested that “weight” question?
Boy- how can you guys continue laughing?stop it..oh damn
Friend-calm down yaar, by the way , you surely have got some talent..what a great show!!..hahaha
Boy-stop it man, u stink..(frustrated, leaves)
(friend suddenly stops laughing, sniffs around, satisfied that he really stinks, again bursts out laughing, rolling on the lawn grass)
Boy-(standing in a que in library-reissueing books)she’s here
Friend- don’t worry ..she has a habit of not recognizing people.. chill..
(Scenes..1 after 1-she’s sipping coffee near a stall, writing assignment in the library,gupchup stall, licking icecream, dance club-dancing, n in bus earphones on-listening to music- and whenever an aeroplane flies by-she controls her excitement –first checks her surroundings n then waves{boy sees it all- cute..})
Friend1-lets play truth and dare. Today was so hectic.lets have some fun.
Friend2-no lets play dare and dare. Truth is boring.but first lets have some pastries.My treat!
Boy-ofcourse, we deserve it..n I want a coke too.
Friend2-OK gluttons .(they are eating- mouthfuls-when they notice from far that ‘girl’ is coming out from the library with her friends)
Friend4- that’s the “bye bye” girl right.
Friend2-yeah..the “94 kg”girl.
Boy-(little pissed off)her nam is ‘girl’.
Friend1-OK boss..(tells mocking him,imitating) that’s ‘girl’ right?..Hey,you want to talk to her..just can start a conversation by apologizing at just keep looking at her and smiling to yourself..
Boy-(weird expression- thinking something to reply)
Friend2-(picks up a chocolate wrapper)this is your dare..go , give this to her n say “welcome to itre”. N have a good laugh ..that would be an icebreaker.
Boy=no way!she’ll recognize me in an instant!you want to embarrass me infront of her again?(then eats mouthful)
Friend-(thinking)hey..we have pastries..lets disguise u..(wipes off the cream and puts it on his face)
Boy-(protesting-still mouthful)stop it! Today’s not my birthday!
Friend1=yes Mr.fake senior- today is your fake go..(gives him the chocolate wrapper)
(just nearby)
Boy=hello!Miss Junior!
B-whats ur name?
B-which branch-
B-N section?
B-Ok welcome to itre(hands over the wrapper)
(girl is surprised but after a second takes it without suspecting that there’s no chocolate inside..boy cant control himself-bursts out laughing in front of her- friends too laugh uncontrollably in the background..girl realizes the matter- v v embarrassed- goes off..but before she turns by the corner, boy notices her expression)
Boy-ok this is the last time.don’t make fun of her again.she was really embarrassed.
(1 month goes by, just looking, peeping, glancing,observing,spying.etc.etc…fresher’s party-boy-Mr.Fresher- becomes more smart, confident-thanks to his friends. . decides to talk to the girl- start by apologizing)
(girl is with friends, (earphones in her ears, holding mobile, bagpack on both shoulders)(humming a tune) na nan na na nanna nanana naaaa..(her 4 friends chat among themselves while she continues to listen to the music)
Boy-hi (to girl- girl looks but no response) um, sorry for that day. I think u recognized me.My friends and I just decided to pull of pranks..they made me act as a senior.. just to have fun..that’s why…meant no offense at all..sorry for the other day too. It was just a real life audition kind of…..sorry..hope u don’t(couldn’t complete the sentence girl interrupts)
Girl-(takes off earphones) are u talking to me?
Friends and boy-(weird look) u didn’t hear a thing?
(girl nods head – meaning no)boy- u really didn’t hear anything?
Boy-(a lil angry)how could u not know that I was talking to u?i’m right infront of u .huh are u that silly?
Girl-how could I know?i was listening to music. And I don’t even know i?am I supposed to know u at all?
Boy- you really hav a great talent of not recognizing people…or are u pretending right now.. u have never seen me in the library, nor at the coffee shop, ever, u mean?
(girl just looks n pretends to be thinking- boy thinks she’s just knowingly ignoring him)
Boy- huh….what’s your problem?i’m goodlooking, I’m handsome, smart. I have a good personality. I even study well. .. .ok I work hard atleast. And I can guarantee that I’m a good person even. A sworn gentleman Why do u ignore me? Am I that negligible to you?
Girl-(stares surprised..tries recalling filmy dialogues)hav u ever seen urself in the mirror? You are so outspoken n loud, unashamed of everything, and whats with the porcupine hair? Gentleman. my foot,.u know how you behave?and look at the dressing. Jeans n tees! And you don’t even care if your actions hurt just want to have fun.
(huff huff leaves wid friends)
Girl-(whispers to herself) what does he think of himself? Mr fresher title has gone into his head
Boy(smirks)-so u recognize me  well- n also know me too? Hmm??
Girl – (now that she’s caught-thinks of something to say) what’s so good about being infamous?
Friend-I think she insulted just give up.
Boy-um I don’t want to..Sorry!(calls after the girl)..Really!
(girl n her friends were just entering the campus in the morning—bus)
(from nowhere apparently- boy enters the scene,stands in front of the girl , surprising her)
Boy-(in formals, neat n clean hair, well mannered fa├žade, polished shoes)see, now I am as you expected me to be. Now u shouldn’t hav any problem, right?
Girl-(surprised –mouth agape, boy grins widely, girl’s friend elbows her- girl comes to her senses, n trying to hide the smile pulls her friend n walks past the boy towards the classroom- he could see her smiling)
Same evening while girl n her friend were going towards the bus- boy came
Boy-can I talk to u for a while?
Friend –sure sure she was searching for u actually(smirks n walks a few steps)
Girl-(pinches her in the hand) shut up(whispers)
Boy-you look great today(he takes out his phone-clicks a pic of her)
Girl-what the hell!..what..the..delete that..i said delete that..(boy finds whatever the girl speaks v v amusing)..what kind of person are u?you don’t even have respect for people..all u n ur frnds do is laugh at me, mock me and embarrass me-delete it- and why do you keep following me around? And and why do u keep staring at me everytime? Is there a staring competition going on?what am I?haan?am I an alien?and how dare u click my pic without my permission?how—(can’t continue- stops suddenly as boy suddenly squeezes her cheeks)
Boy-cho chsweet..(girl stops talking –stunned).sorry(he holds his ears).. so u know that I keep following u around?so u have noticed while pretending not to notice?hm?..(boy smiles.girl is thinking what to reply)..soo sweet..(again squeezes her cheeks) look the cutest when you are clueless n have no reply.
(girl is surprised at first, but then cant help but smile)
{{{{{{{{{{{{(next year…boy’s family shift to the place, now he’s a localite…has to travel by bus ..coincidence same route 5..puja vacations end)
Earphone- own bus-incident
(girl is sitting inside the bus, earphones on,listening to music,busy in her own world , not conscious of her surroundings. Looking out of the window- towards the sky..boy comes.. slowly . 
->next->girl is crying for some reason –boy comes and sits in front of her and asks her what happened. Girl just faces in the other direction and continues crying.boy again moves n sits in front of her, tries to console.
Boy-listen u can tell me? Whats the matter? Its very unusual of you to cry. You can even borrow my shoulder-if u want to-(said to make her smile, but no effect. She again turns to the other direction..boy again moves n sits in front of her)your nose’s red n your eyes are red too..
Girl-stop looking at me! it..when u r crying one shouldn’t look at it..(goes back seat, n waits—after 5 mins..girl herself calms down)
Boy-are u alright now?(girl nods) know that u don’t have a good impression of me, but let’s start all over again..ok.(he stands up- putting his hand out for a handshake)Hi, I’m ‘boy’. Though I know almost everything about you, you don’t know me. So here’s an introduction.i’m from chemical branch,love football, a true linkin park fan, (add more details)..May I be friends with u?
Girl-(mood ok now, handshake,)ok(smiles).but I have to ask u for a favour..
Boy- yes
Girl-don’t judge me by whatever I say or do or whatever you hear from others..dont analyze me..please
Boy-(sincerely)ok.I won’t. I Promise.


Queeristan by Parmesh Sahani

  Queeristan (Amazon Link) Thanks to Audible Free Trial I listened to this amazing non-fiction on LGBTQ inclusion in Indian workplaces. Author Parmesh Sahani identifies as gay Indian, working closely with Godrej higher management and employees for years to create an inclusive workplace, both legally and in spirit. This book is a result of those years of experience, research, collaboration with individuals from difference spectrum of the society and organizations who has successfully transitioned into a queer friendly one.   Indian history is inclusive. From the Khajuraho temple architectures, to Konark to the Rig Veda, there is existing proofs even 2000 years ago of Indian inclusiveness of queer. It’s the draconian British law that criminalised it, which was scraped in 2009, came into effect once again following a sad judgement in 2013 and eventually was scraped off for good in 2018. I am in awe of the lawyers who fought this legal battle- colleagues and partners – Arundhati Katju

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