Shikha groaned. “Oh no! Not Papa again! Grow up Rajji.”
“Relax. This isn’t about Papa. It’s about you. If Papa were to give his blessings or laugh at the incident, would you be okay? First analyze your own reactions without dragging Papa into it.”
“Fine! How would you have reacted?” Rajani retorted instantly up in arms.
“Firstly I wouldn’t have been caught dead within arm’s reach of that creep.” She raised her hands at Rajani’s fierce glare, “Okay fine. If, I had been involved, I wouldn’t have made such a big fuss. In all probability, Girish didn’t really mean anything by it, it was all very casual and I would have kept it casual too.”
“Casual meaning?” Rajani looked disbelieving.
“You should have just eased out from under his arm or made a joke or something rather than dashed off like a frightened bunny rabbit. Now everyone will tease you to death. Mark my words.” Shikha predicted direly.
“Nobody would dare.” Rajani scoffed.
“Yeah? I would.”
“Don’t you dare!” Rajani glared at Shikha.
“And if I do? What will you do? Stop talking to me?” she coughed. “Or go running to Girish?” she giggled.
“Shut up Shikss otherwise I swear…”
“You keep swearing I am off to attend the class. I don’t want to miss this one too. Drama queen.”
Rajani gazed after her forlornly – she couldn’t go back to class could she? But how long could she stay away? Damn that Girish, she was going to give him such a ripping…or should she ignore the whole thing? Pretend as if it nothing had happened? Had she overreacted? But how dare he put his arm around her. What was he thinking? What next? And what did others think? She didn’t want the others getting weird ideas about her and Girish. They would likely think that they were a couple, that she had encouraged him.
And had she?
She went hot and then cold. Had she encouraged him? She thought she was just being a friend – had he read something more in it? Had she encouraged him to take liberties with her? Oh no! She buried her hot face in her hands. Yes! That’s what must have happened. Maybe Shikha was right! He was a creep.
And she a fool.
The world’s biggest fool.
She wasn’t going to class ever. She turned tail and started walking back to the hostel.
But Shikha came back.
“I knew it!” she fumed. “Don’t you dare go all mopey and crying back to the hostel. You are coming to class right now.”
“I can’t Shiks,” Rajani held back. “I can’t! What will everyone think?”
“To hell with everyone. Let them think what they want. Don’t behave as if it is your fault. You didn’t like him putting his arm around you and you protested. Big deal. Now come on! How long can you miss classes?”
“Make up your mind!” Rajani snapped quite at the end of her tether. “Is it a big deal or not? First you say it was my fault for overreacting and now you say it was okay?”
“You make up your mind.” Shikha advised. “You set the standard. If you didn’t like it, you didn’t like it. Now stick to it. Don’t go apologizing to Girish for overreacting or to anyone else for they are sure to go straight to Girish and happily inform him of the new developments.”
Rajani flushed guiltily.
Shikha looked at her knowingly.
Rajani had been contemplating saying sorry – that would have sorted the situation as far as she was concerned.
“If you say sorry, it means you have ‘feelings’ for Girish.” Shikha said bluntly.
Rajani paled and stiffened. She dug her heels in. “I am going back to the hostel.”
“Oh no. You are not.”
“I am. You can’t force me.”
“Oh can’t I?” Shikha didn’t listen to any of Rajani’s blathering and half dragged her to class.
“Now do you want to go in like a civilized mature adult or a KG student?”
Furious with Shikha for boxing her into a corner, Rajani jerked her arm away and strode in to the LH with her head held high and eyes shooting daggers.
Instantly, a hush fell over the class.
Rajani snapped. She stood stock-still in the middle of the LH. “What happened? Cat got your tongues or what?” she asked aggressively to all and sundry.
There was pin drop silence and all eyes were on her.
“Am I a joker, a freak?” To prove them wrong, she put her hands on her ears. She waggled her hands and stuck out her tongue.
The class cracked up.
Rajani marched to her seat and sat down with a thump. “Hey Bhagwan!” she moaned. “I am a freak, a joker.”
Shikha was busy stifling her giggles to be able to offer much comfort. It was all she could do not to burst out laughing in deference to Rajani’s feelings.
Rajani stared suspiciously at her. “Are you laughing at me?”
Helpless, Shikha nodded. “You are crazy!” she managed to gasp before going off in whoops.
Rajani looked at her with a superior expression before discarding her dignity for her trademark giggles.
A semi-hush (guffaws and sniggers weren’t so easily contained) fell over the class as Fiscal entered.
He shot a sharp look around the class, antennas on high alert. Something was afoot – thirty years of teaching experience warned him. He made up his mind not to touch the drawers at any cost.
Giving the drawers and cupboards a wide berth and casting suspicious nervous glances at the pile of chairs near the podium, he edged towards the blackboard.
As luck would have it – there was no chalk.
“You!” He pointed towards Sameer and crooked a finger. “Get me chalk.”
“Must be in the drawer Sir.” Wilting under Fiscal’s unblinking glare, Sameer obliging got up and extracted chalk pieces from the drawer while Fiscal slithered away to the far end of the podium. That only served to increase the snigger quotient, which was directly proportional to his irritation levels.
Fiscal accepted the chalk sticks with poor grace. He wished a raging tomcat had jumped out of the drawer.
But clearly Lady luck wasn’t on his side today. He had a bad tummy and his wife had been too mad at him to cook his lunch. Why – all because he didn’t take her for some damn idiotic Hindi movie – she could have packed him curd-rice couldn’t she? And now these students – up to no good as usual, he fumed as he launched into lengthy equations and explanations. He would extract his revenge by taking them through the most complex and convoluted tricky lanes of Fisiks as only he could he vowed. He would make them forget their merriment – he would make them weep and tear their hair out in frustration he thought with grim satisfaction as his fingers flew over the blackboard. So busy and involved was he in the complex tortuosity of his thoughts and of course the intricacies of his beloved Fisiks that he barely registered the guffaws and snickers greeted his complicated theorems and squiggles.
Incomprehension he could deal with, even accept, but giggles! Sacrilege! He couldn’t stomach this kind of disrespect for such an exalted subject as Fisiks.
Fiscal’s blood boiled.
Children of today had no respect – this was Fisiks not a comedy show!
With sweep of his hand he swept the table clean of all its contents including the duster, attendance register and a glass of water. Before the students could recover from the shock of such unexpected behavior, Fiscal threw the chalk in his hand and unerringly hit Girish the main culprit of the ruckus.
Rajani’s giggles dried up even as a welcome coolness spread through her seething innards 😉
Up next Chapter 97: Crisis Averted