I. The Chemistry
All it takes is a moment to light the spark of a lifetime.
The evenings were usually pleasant, contrary to the afternoons. The heat was getting stronger by the day. They had a daily routine in the evenings. A light snack and a tea is always a perfect combination for such evenings. Suhas, Varun and Ashish walked down to the stall and ordered a few snacks to start off with. Ashish sort of found his soul mate in one of the Indian savoury which went by the name of “PaniPuri“. His love for it was undisputed though the chicken was a close competitor, it never could win the battle. Suhas and Varun looked on as he gulped one after another. Suhas brought up the topic about his crush while they placed an order for tea. He had been smitten in love but have been trying to express the same to the one person for whom he fell in love with, hard. Varun and Ashish have never met her, but Suhas showed her to them a while back when he took his friends to his hometown. They had already given him their approval that she would be perfect for him. But for all that to happen, he had to tell her about that. As they sipped the tea and thought about how he could do, Varun got a brilliant idea and he had shared the same with Suhas, who liked the way he came about that idea. The following weekend Suhas decided to implement his idea without any delay.
. . .
Siri had always been good at studies. From the time she had started going to school, the cousins of her who were mostly of the same age always competed with her. They tried though, but Siri was always at the top of the charts. Siri had known Suhas for a while then. They were family relatives so there was a familiarity in the face and the people they indulged with. One of the most interesting things was Suhas’s name, which was coined by none other than Siri’s mother herself. She was a big fan of a fictional character who went by the name of Suhas Chandra and when Suhas’s mother at that asked her to baptize him with a name, she came up with the name of her beloved character since it was on top of her mind. However, as bizarre it might sound, their interactions were limited to formal conversations that too during family gatherings. But that didn’t stop Suhas from developing a liking towards her. She was her first crush even before he understood the what that term meant. He wasn’t sure whether it was love yet. He clearly was walking on new waters and he had a feeling that he has to tread slowly and carefully, and if everything goes well, he might be as well be the luckiest guy. But then again, he wasn’t yet aware of it, about convincing her and getting married might be a whole next level task.
Little did Suhas know, but Siri also had a liking towards him. But it wasn’t that easy for her to admit it, being raised in an orthodox family. And for her, guys hitting on her had gotten quite common. She had all the qualities that the guys were looking for and she was intimidating, to say the least, with her prowess in studying, sports, to name a few. She was clearly not into any of the guys who had hit on her, but then again when quite a lot of people do that, girls start to be more protective of themselves and their feelings. They have to carefully narrow down a person and see if they meet all the criteria that they are looking for in a person. Having said that, being from an orthodox family, what parent’s think becomes more important than what they feel and in an effort to not hurt their sentiments and feelings, they try to not make them aware of these things, the things of matter of the heart. This just makes it more difficult to deny their feelings for someone who happens to sway their heart and sweep them off their feet.
They used to love their annual family gatherings. It was celebrated as a big festival. It truly was, indeed. Siri was always more close to her cousins and one of them was Deeksha. One interesting thing was most of the cousins were of the same age group and the even more interesting thing was a few were of the same age as hers, and among that group were Suhas and Deeksha. Suhas had shared about his interest to a few of his friends and he brought the gang to one of the gatherings, who seemed to be jealous of Suhas’ love interest. Siri figured about what he was up to and that he liked her and also, he wasn’t doing a good job at hiding it either. Apparently, she had a soft corner for him as well, but then again she was quite reserved herself. This lurking around was happening and before they knew, they were already in high school. It was high time Suhas thought he did something about it. He so badly wanted to express his feelings for her. But he was trying to find a perfect time to do exactly that. He wanted it to be perfect and special. He, generally being a little shy, the cards didn’t fall in his favour, but he was determined since it was the matter of the heart which gave him a completely different adrenaline rush and euphoria.
. . .
A month after they returned from their family trip, Suhas was racking his mind to get creative. And that evening when the Suhas, Ashish and Varun were having that refreshing tea, an idea popped in Suhas’ mind. It seemed like a great idea and for some reason he was sure that this will get the message across. That very weekend he decided to put that idea into action. For some reason, Varun also found this to be a good idea, definitely not the best idea but good. But when he went to implement, it only sunk Suhas’s heart a little.
Siri was in high school in the same city as Suhas, but she was staying in a hostel. In the middle of high school, Suhas was on his way to implement his brilliant idea. He went to the hostel in which Siri was staying and asked to meet her. He was in turn informed that the meetings were only allowed for family members who were on the approved list. The hostel in which she stayed in had some strict policies. One of them being that the outsiders weren’t allowed on the premises or to even meet; all outsiders but the family members who were already on the list. One of Siri’s uncle was in the same city and he was one of the family member registered in the system who was allowed to meet. The uncle of Siri was also an uncle to Suhas since they were distant relatives. As Suhas was protruding with multiple ideas, maybe it was the adrenaline rush that she gave or maybe perhaps it was love, who knew. He chose to accept that it was the latter, the love. And however ever scared he was of finding a slap of rejection, he was determined to make an effort and fight, if it were to come to that situation. His quality of shy was no match for what he had been feeling for her and it sort of gave him a power he never knew he had, along with the confidence and determination.
He wasted no time in meeting the mutual uncle was on the list and informed him that he wanted to give a book to Siri, which will be crucial in the exams which were about to come. And he did manage to go accompany his uncle to meet her and hand over the book. She, on the other hand, knew that he liked her and this was his attempt to meet and maybe talk to her. She did take the Chemistry book and discussed how the book will be very important in the entrance exams. Before he forgot the main reason he had even taken all the trouble, he informed her to read a particular chapter which was very important. She must have have been flustered when he met her at her very own hostel because she doesn’t remember what all he had told her. She was in a completely different world where she was just lost in his voice and also being scared of her uncle who was with them. After they had left, she had placed the book over the stack of books that she was no longer reading. She was on the impression that he had come just to meet and talk to her. She didn’t for a second realize that he was trying to quirky and smooth at the same time in his approach. What he was did was cleverly circled the page number 143 (which in kid language was short for I Love You) to convey the message swiftly, and that too in a Chemistry book. Speaking of igniting the obvious chemistry between two people with a chemistry book. Clever, indeed. And he was very hopeful that she would appreciate his quirkiness and maybe respond in similar fashion.
Little did he know that she had forgotten about the book shortly after he had left and since he hadn’t received any response from her, he was not sure how to make the next move. And maybe that snacks stall at the end of the street wasn’t a good place for finding ideas. He was back to square one but he was already making plans for the next move hoping that it will turn out in his favour.
. . .
(To be continued …)
Was he able to succeed in his next effort? How did Siri react to his approach? Read all in the next instalment.
Read about the characters and the story from the start here:
A Happy Beginning