My First meeting with Anahita
(Haven’t read the first episode yet? click here to read it)
Past – 6 years ago
The crowd was shouting at the top of their pitch. Lights from all ranges of the spectrum were dancing around. Loud Music was only adding to the merriment of the evening.
“Sid..! Sid.!” I heard my name being called out loud. I turned towards my right to find a small group of people dressed up in black, peppered with red glitters. They were my college juniors.
“We need you near stage. We are in trouble” said Disha in a voice that could be faintly heard amidst the deafening music.
We were at Vincent’s College of engineering and it was their annual cultural fest –‘Summer Rains’.
‘Summer rains’ was the biggest cultural fest in Bangalore. Every year students in tens of thousands used to gather to be a part of it. Dance, drama, Music, Fashion show, Street dance -it had it all.
‘It beats and beats and it’s never gonna stop
It doesn’t give a f*** whether it’s heard o’ not..!
Yes your heart..
oh…. yes your heart…!!’
Sound speakers were threatening to burst themselves open. The bald guy on the stage was straining his voice box while performing the rock song along with his band.
“What happened?” I asked while sipping the cola. They tried to tell something but the guy on the stage had his voice all over the place. I could barely hear my juniors.
I sailed through the crowd and reached them.
“What happened?” I asked.
“They are not allowing us to register for the event”, Raghav complained.
“And why is that?” I asked.
‘Yes your heart..
oh…. yes your heart…!!’
Guy on the stage repeated for the umpteenth time.
“It seems that registrations are closed. 6:30 was the cut-off time”, cried Manu.
I was a Final year BE student from Roy’s College of engineering. There were reasons behind these college juniors of mine seeking my help.
The first reason – They were in a trouble.
The second and the most important reason – I was the president of ‘Stumps’- the cricket club of Roy’s College of Engineering, which organizes the city’s most prestigious inter collegiate Cricket tournament. Hence, I enjoyed a major share of popularity and influence amongst the student leaders of various other colleges.
In India, cricket’s a religion. In the city, I was this religious leader.
I followed them to the registration counter.
“Yes?”, the girl at the desk asked. There were about twenty similar desks, five feet apart from each other. Volunteers at the desk were dressed in black t-shirts.
“The dance competition registration”, said one of my juniors.
“Sorry. It’s closed. 6.30 was the deadline. You were supposed to report by then” she threw her hands suggesting helplessness.
“It’s okay. The team has practised a lot. They have been winners all through the year. Try to accommodate them”. I was yet to lose my cool.
“We aren’t the ones to take decisions. We were instructed and we are carrying it out”, a voice spoke behind us.
I turned around. She was as tall as me, I would say 5.9”. Her eyes hidden behind those glasses were exactly in front of mine. She was wearing a black t-shirt carrying the name of the fest, which meant that she was either one of the event organizers or volunteers. But, ‘we were instructed’ suggested that she was a volunteer.
“Excuse me?” I said. I was not used to a treatment of this sort.
Without blinking her eyes she replied, “I guess you heard it right. Now please clear the area and help us attend others”.
My juniors looked at me in horror. My pride was at stake.
“Listen lady.! That nose of yours, let it only carry your spectacles and help you breathe. Let it not poke into matters which do not concern you.
We and this lady at the counter, we are having a conversation. And you better stay out of this”, I said trying to suppress my anger.
I guess, she had felt like scoffing at the dramatized words of mine -I couldn’t help but notice her blinking for the first time since we met.
She stayed quiet, walked past me and whispered something in the left ear of the girl at the desk. The girl at the desk got up and walked away.
“And from now on it’s of my concern sir”, the girl with glasses spoke in sharp voice. For the second time we were looking into each other’s eyes.
I dropped my sight and noticed her name on the ID card.
“Anahita Banerjee. Ok. That’s your name. Listen Anahita.! I don’t want to set up a scene here. It would be better on your part to let these guys take part in the contest”, I said. This time I was pointing my finger right at her.
Juniors of mine- the dance troupe grew little scared now. The situation had turned awkward.
“Sid..!! Forget it. Let’s just leave. If not this fest, some other fest”, Disha tried to drag me away from the scene.
“Sid. Ok.! That’s your name. Listen Sid.! I don’t want to set up a scene here. It would be better on your part to just leave. Bouncers are hardly a phone call away. I call them, and you will be thrown out of the campus in no minute”, she said pointing her finger back at me. This girl was ridiculously daring, stupid and smart.
How much ever hard the world might fight for gender equality, there are few things that you can’t imagine about a young girl. Girl getting her nose punched was one of them. If there was a guy in her place I would have certainly punched his nose.
While my mind was still deciding on my next step, Manu shouted at her. “One phone call and he can have you replaced”, he said.
‘Nice thought buddy. But I am not up for any dirty politics’- I wanted to shout at him.
I had every luxury of calling up the event organizers and asking them to settle the matter. But I had decided against using it, because of the attempt by my juniors to feed on my power. I decided to exit the scene with all dignity but swore in my mind to teach this girl a lesson.
“Forget it guys” I said. “Let’s not waste our time on this. If not this fest, some other fest” I added.
“Saves us both a phone call” came a quick reply. There was a hint of taunt in that voice.
She was like those squash walls. You throw the ball at it and it’s for certain that it bounces back at you- with a greater speed.
If the father of our nation was alive today, he would have been proud seeing this girl challenging the most influential student leader of the city.
I looked at my juniors who were looking disappointed with me. By now, a small crowd had gathered around us in an expectation that some major fight would break out.
I had an immediate change in mind and pulled out my phone. Frowning at her I dialed Farhan’s number.
Farhan happened to be the student secretary of Vincent College’s Cricket club and one of their prime fest coordinators.
“He is calling up the event organizer” said Manu. He had an impressive skill of whispering loud. I silently thanked him for being my subtitle.
Anahita didn’t look bothered and continued attending other registrants.
After about ten rings Farhan picked up his phone and all that I could hear was
‘Yes your heart..
oh…. yes your heart…!!’
The bald guy was still performing.
“Farhan, are you able to hear me?” I repeated twice. But the response was his faint voice which was being suppressed by the loud
‘Yes your heart..
Oh… your heart..!!”
I felt like running up to the stage and ripping his chest open. That would have done a complete justice to the song.
Farhan cut my call and texted saying that he would call me after the fest.
“I am not able to hear him. He has texted me saying that he would meet me after the fest” I said in despair.
“Text him back bro. Ask him to come here right away” shouted Anuj who had chosen to stay quiet all this while.
Okay, after having suffered embarrassment by a girl, now I had to suffer the embarrassment of taking orders from a junior.
I had only two choices now:
- I walk away from the scene with shame, accepting my defeat to the lady.
- I do as my junior suggested which would make it appear as if I was carrying out their orders.
The common denominator was that I would end up with further humiliation.
Before I could choose between the two, Anahita had made her choice. She had chosen the third.She had called up bouncers who were now standing in front of us, all set to throw us out of the campus.
I looked at them and then at Anahita who acted helpless and threw a smile, a smile suggesting a taunt.
I was an influential student leader but not a professional wrestler. Hence, I had to act wise.
“Easy guys! Be easy. We are walking out”, I said lifting my hands up in the air to convey that I meant no harm.
Even before I could complete my sentence, “You don’t know whom you are dealing with. It’s Sid”, Manu blurted out.
The next moment, I was in the arms of a towering Bouncer. While he carried me towards the college entrance, I took a one last look at Anahita.
I was expecting her to laugh and act proud for having won the tussle. Instead of doing so, she chose to raise her eyebrows and bite her lower lip. Even before I could take a second look at her, she was out of my sight and I was out of the college gate.
-To be continued
[Click here to read the third Episode]
——Follow Passionophoria Facebook page to receive updates on the episodes to be released——