So it happened that Rajani watched Harry and Rita practice their song with deep misgivings while Harry watched Rajani and Girish with a boulder on his heart 😉
To tell the truth, both were under immense mental stress and agony, albeit for different reasons. Harry did have a massive soft corner for Rajani and it was very much evident for all and sundry – including Rajani. Yet he couldn’t quite pluck up the courage to say anything to her directly but then neither did he object to all the ribbing or the knowing glances that came his way. He grinned amiably and was happy to wear his heart on his sleeve.
Rajani on the other hand, was fond of Harry and had sort of taken his attention and ‘love’ for granted. Plus in the absence of an open declaration she couldn’t be very sure could she?
To see him with another (even though she didn’t really want him ‘that’ way) was not a very pleasant feeling and the green monster gave her no peace. To make matters more interesting, during the rehearsals, her classmates turned up in hordes to watch the fun and add their own zing and ideas to the potpourri of unfolding events.
“Hey Harry! Put more feeling and soul into your song.”
“Yeah that’s right Rita! Look at Harry.”
“Harry follow Rita’s lead and look deep into her eyes. Forget about the audience. Just sing for her…Mere haath main tera haath ho….”
Harry manfully followed the instructions much to Rajani’s disgust and fury. She fretted and fidgeted no end putting Shikha quite out of patience with her.
“Oho Rajji! If the sight of Harry and Rita gives you so much grief, either you shouldn’t go to the rehearsals or just accept that you too are in love with Harry.”
“Oh no Shikha!” Rajani was horrified. “How can I do that? Not that it’s true,” she added hastily. “I don’t love Harry but I do feel Rita is not a nice girl and she is very manipulative and will create problems for Harry.”
“Ahaa! So it is finally Harry is it?” Shikha pounced.
“Come on Shikss! Don’t make a mountain out of a molehill okay? Everyone calls him Harry and me calling him HK is a bit weird…”
“Bit weird? You are ALL weird. What do you want? Harry for yourself? Harry free and at your beck and call while you are off romping with Girish?”
“Ohh!” Rajani paled and then flushed. “I knew it! You are jealous of my friendship with Girish. You don’t want him but you don’t like him hanging around with me. You are the one who wants Girish fancy free and at your beck and call…”
“Oh shut up Rajji! Please don’t compare Girish and Harry. Girish is an out and out creep while Harry is a gem of a person. I was just worried about you but since you insist on learning the hard way, be my guest.” Shikha bowed low with a flourish. “My apologies your Highness.”
Fuming Rajani glared at Shikha. “I think you are in love with Harry…”
“And you are not only weird, you are crazy.” Shikha stomped off with her nose in the air.
Depressed and unhappy, Rajani moped around completely lost without her BFF. And she couldn’t even go and cry on Harry’s shoulder – SHE was with him. God only knew what SHE would say to Harry, what would Harry say? What would Harry think about her? Would he stop…?”
Girish stepped into the vacuum. “Hey what’s up?”
That was all it needed.
Rajani sniffed and burst into tears.
Ill-prepared Girish shrank. For a second he contemplated running away. But shock held him rooted to the spot. “Heyy! Err. Umm. Relax!” He blustered. “Have a coffee. Toffee? Coke. Yeah that’s right Coke.” He clicked his fingers and dashed off. “Here, drink this.” Helpless and clueless, he waved the Coke in front of her – predictably he splashed some on her bent head.
“Girish!” Rajani raised a tear-streaked face. Relieved (at the familiar all-suffering intonation of his name) Girish grinned unrepentantly. “Here drink this,” he insisted, feeling confident and on safer ground, “you will feel better.”
Used to being told, Rajani accepted the Coke. Besides, she didn’t want to risk another sugar shower.
“Drink it.” Girish urged. “Let’s go. We will be late for class.” Despite his bravado misgivings assaulted Girish. The initial relief had faded and he was back to feeling antsy. He felt out of his depth and craved the safety of his classmates – particularly Shikaa.
Rajani sniffled but much to Girish’s relief nodded.
Girish smiled. “Great! Now hurry and finish it up.”
“I can’t drink the whole thing.”
“No problem.” He took the bottle and finished it in one swig. “Let’s go.”
Feeling better after her weep and sugar rush, Rajani followed docilely enough. Girish flushed with pleasure and he was back on top of the world. He had handled that tricky situation pretty well he thought swelling with pride. Rajani and he were meant to be together he exulted. They did look good together.
Yes! In a celebratory mood, he slipped an arm around Rajani just as they reached the LH.
Rajani stiffened. Her eyes widened. Completely panic-stricken, she looked to Shikha for help. The murmur of voices faded away and they held their breaths – something big was going to happen, they just knew it. Unaware of the vibes and on his own trip, Girish plodded on like a bull in a China shop. He drew Rajani closer and murmured softly, “Hey let’s go for a movie. Jab We Met I heard is great. What do you say?”
Rajani pushed him with such a force that he stumbled. “How dare you?!” she screeched before dashing off.
Shikha swerved to dodge the flailing Girish and took off after Rajani. Everyone’s eyes swung back to Girish – sure to be fun to watch him squirm.
But Girish was made of sterner stuff. He steadied himself and stared after the disappearing figures of the girls. “What happened? Why is she so mad?”
“If you don’t know that, why not ask Rajani?” Raj snickered. “I am sure she would love to explain to you in great depth and detail.”
“Okay fine,” Girish thrust his chin out and strode off.
“Hey, hey!” Sameer caught hold of him and hauled him back. “Let her cool down at least.”
“But I want to know what happened? Why did she go crazy?”
“Maybe,” Harry said, taking care to maintain a neutral tone, “she didn’t much care for the way you put an arm around her?”
“Oh really? Why didn’t she just say so?”
“I think she was afraid of hurting your feelings.” Rita explained.
Girish stared. “They would have been less hurt then!”
They burst out laughing at his comical expression. Looking sheepish, he joined in after a while. And was back to his usual bindaas self.
Rajani took more time to calm down. She missed her next class torn between plotting ways to torture Girish and fear of running into him.
“How dare he? What the hell does he think of himself? I swear I will murder him next time I meet him.”
“It’s your fault.” Shikha said.
“What!” Rajani was up in arms. “How is it my fault?”
Shikha shrugged, still a bit put out with Rajani. “He probably thought it was okay to put his arms around his good friend.”
Rajani glared at her. “That’s not fair.”
“What’s the big deal? And what’s not fair?”
“You taking his side.” Rajani said in a small voice.
Shikha rolled her eyes. “I really think you are overreacting. But if you want your pound of flesh go and complain to Wiggy.”
“I just might! Ohhh how dare he? If Papa got to know, he would murder me for being so forward and shameless.”
Up next Chapter 96: Fiscal Reactions