A deathly silence fell over the room. The boys stopped fidgeting and the girls stopped breathing.
“What’s the matter?” Tantrum over, mischief managed, Fiscal asked in his usual expressionless tone.
“Surely there is something.” He looked down at himself and patted his hair. “Something wrong with me?” He looked anxious. He checked his socks. Perhaps they were mismatched? After all, his wife was mad at him.
A snort, a gurgle and gasps caught his ear. He threw up his hands in despair.
“It’s not you Sir.” Rajani felt guilty. Sir looked so sad. His anger had made her withdraw, but his abject expression made her want to reassure him.
“Just a joke or two Sir.” Harry piped up as Rajani readied herself into the confession mode.
Fiscal pulled up a chair. “I could do with a laugh or two.”
There was pin drop silence.
“Well? I am listening. Care to share?”
Harry rolled his eyes at the others, seeking, begging for help.
“Err…err… A neutron walked into a bar and asked, “How much for a drink?” The bartender replied, “For you, no charge.”
Necessity is the mother of invention. In this case, urgency of the situation kick-started Harry’s grey cells to recollect and spit out a joke in the nick of time for Fiscal was back to wearing a dangerous expression.
Everyone held their collective breaths wondering if Fiscal would bite.
“Hmm,” Fiscal nodded ponderously, “not bad but not that funny. Surely that’s not the one that set you all in such a rollicking mood?”
“Actually Sir it’s the upcoming college festival,” Sameer tried to shoulder Harry’s burden.
“Ah yes! Collage is around the corner.” Fiscal shook his head. “A whole of fun,” he admitted, “albeit noisy and crowded but not funny is it?” He looked keenly around the class.
“We were practicing for a play Sir,” Raj ventured.
“Yes?” Fiscal was all ears. “Who’s acting?”
“Girish and Rajani.”
Snickers erupted. Fiscal looked interested. Finally he seemed to be getting somewhere.
“And, what’s so funny?”
Raj coughed while Rajani shot daggers at him from her seat. “Well, they were practicing the murder scene….”
The class erupted.
Fiscal’s lips twitched. “I never thought a murder scene would be this entertaining. Ah well, enjoy your time.” Now that he had a clearer picture of what seemed to have transpired before his entry to class he felt indulgent. He too had been a student once. He grinned to himself and then rapidly sobered. If only he hadn’t been chicken-hearted – he would have been married to her and not to this scheming shrew. The bittersweet memories were the ‘borax on gold’ – he gathered his stuff and quietly left the class.
The students looked at each other questioning, wondering if Fiscal was once again off to Dean’s office to complain. “Hey! Just find out where’s he’s going,” hissed a worried Sameer. Curious, Rohit instantly obliged by dashing out in hot pursuit of the absconding professor.
“Raj!” Rajani had other matters on her mind. “How dare you…”
“Excuse me? Here I save you from confessing the whole story and this is the thanks I get?”
Rajani flushed. “I am sorry,” she mumbled. She had completely forgotten about that aspect. But still, why did Raj have to interfere…Shikha nudged her. “Thanks.”
“You are welcome.” Raj grinned, his good humor restored.
“Why did you have to go and spoil the fun?” It was Girish’s turn to object. “You two,” he pointed to Harry and Raj, “should have let Rajani handle it.”
“Which means that you Mister, would have been in big trouble.” Sameer said in a sotto voce.
“You guys just need a reason to play hero. They cannot resist saving damsels in distress.” Girish blustered and blundered on, feeling as if he had not come out very well in the preceding events of the day and the best way to redeem himself was by going on a rampage. “Harry has an excuse. Poor chap is madly in loouve with the one and only Rajani,” he smirked, “but what’s yours Raj?” He asked suggestively. “Don’t tell me you are also…”
“Shut up Girish!” Rajani glared at him hand on her hips. “I think you’ve lost your marbles.”
“I never had any to start with.” Girish chortled. “So how could I lose them?”
Rajani quivered and shook on the brink of one of her inevitable giggles. Realizing the disastrous consequences of her giggling at such an inopportune moment, Shikha butted. She grasped Rajani firmly by the arm and said, “Let’s go to the canteen. I am starving.” Without waiting for a response she marched off, dragging Rajani along.
Crisis averted, Rajani was properly grateful to Shikha for saving her. She dimly realized the fallout if she had gone off into one of her giggling fits – back to square one as far as the Raj-Giri saga went. And she was heartily sick of Girish’s company. Relieved to have Shikha take matters into her own hands, she docilely followed suit and topped it by giving Girish the royal ignore.
He moped around for a few days, heaving huge theatrical sighs whenever Rajani was around but Shikha’s glares hardened Rajani’s over-tender and soft heart. She stuck to her guns – much to Shikha (and Harry’s) relief.
Thankfully for all concerned, Collage was upon them. Suddenly nobody had any time. There was a ton of work to be done and not enough hands. The professors looked the other ways as attendance thinned and everyone pitched in to rehearse or help in the management (well err some took advantage of the situation and slept in :D)
There were exceptions to these three categories – actually one exception.
Girish – as you may remember, he was in love.
In love with love.
And a very determined lover.
Third time lucky he thought. But he decided to assist luck by tempering his haste. He was ready to settle down but with the best of the lot. Which clearly Shika and Rajani were not. I mean just look at their ability to judge people him – quite non-existent. This time he would choose wisely, someone who deserved him, valued him and realized his worth.
And thereby started his campaign to find the one whose heart beat for him and only him. He would adapt – besides, his heart already beat for him. 😉
With Collage in the air and everybody let down their hair and the boundaries between the batches thinning and on occasion vanishing, he wasted no time mixing with the others. Best would be if he could find someone from his college. If completely unsuccessful, he would tap into the other colleges that would be visiting during Collage. Back up plan (if you remember, he was a fan of back up plans) in place he jumped into the fray and became the soul of the party.
Green rooms to be arranged – Girish was there. Lighting and decorations to be organized, Girish was the one to be contacted. Stage required for dance practice (or any other practice) contact Girish, he took complete charge of scheduling rehearsal timings. Football and cricket – no, sorry Girish was nowhere to be found. You get the drift of his thinking I hope?
The girls soon got used to his presence and took him in as one of their kind. Girish was in the seventh heaven of delight. Why settle on one love he thought – he was young yet. Time to play the field before he settled down – or someone was so crazy about him that he had no choice but to save her from herself.
Well that’s enough of Girish for now – we’ll check back on him when (and if) there is some significant development in his love life 😉
Have a grand weekend
Up next Chapter 98: Shikha's Ragging
A/N Oh by the way, DMami has been twitching in her grave. Would any of you be interested in random (once in a while) SS/IPK based one shots? Do let me know either way so that I can pass on the message 😀