(Continued from previous post with same Title..)
Slowly, with more and more interactions, we were able to understand each other better. There were many common things between us, such as similar likes and dislikes, similar perspective of looking at things, inclination towards logical and rational thinking etc. But there were many contradictions too. Opposites attract. That was applicable between us too.
She was bold, jovial, fun-filled, and believed in fully enjoying every moment of life in present, without worrying too much about future or living in the past. We could find excuses that she did not need to worry about finances to manage her life that’s why she was happy. But that’s so not true. Everyone has problems in life.
She was least bothered about restrictions imposed by society, family or cultures. In her opinion, if your heart feels something is good, you must do it with all your heart and soul without worrying about “What others may say?”.
All these and many more things were there which attracted me to her. I learned a new definition of life and also learned the better way of living it. It did not mean that we should overrule our culture or social values just for sake of being “Modern” and liberal minded. It would be wrong. It only meant that we should make informed and rational decisions after proper analysis. We should give it a thought with an open mind to see if what we were going to do was still relevant in current context. It means that we should give due consideration to see if our action is somehow not going to adversely affect someone else, before we jump to a conclusion or act on it. We need to be “alert” and “awake”.
She only made me understand what exactly is the meaning of gender-equality in practical terms. I was falling for her. I respected her. Although, for most of the people in college campus, she was still a “Bitch” who knew some sort of black magic too as she succeeded in winning over the most decent, typical and reserved guy – Me, who was too shy initially with Girls.
Slowly, she also started spending more and more time with me, instead of other guys in her group. She “reserved” her rights over the seat immediately next to me in every class in a couple of days after we met. Slowly, we were to be seen together all around the day, whether it was library hour, free time, lunch time or computer labs. She was confirmed to be with me, wherever I was. It was her voluntary act and I never objected it. I actually started feeling good to be in her company. For rest of the world, we were “couple”.
We were mostly occupied with our gang of buddies and I was cautious of not to give her any preference or special treatment over and above others in our group. She was mature enough and understood it “why?”, and actually was quite supportive in this context except for allowing anyone else to claim her seat (next to me), which she never allowed in those two years when we were together.
There was another problem, which surfaced gradually with time. Although she never created a scene for this thing but most of the buddies in our gang noticed that she was becoming possessive for me, day by day, and felt uncomfortable or behaved rudely with others whenever someone touched me or hugged me. Initially she used to deal it diplomatically by interrupting in between me and other person but her abnormal behavior was soon noticed.
In a few exceptional cases, when we had to part away for a reasonably longer period of time, she would come to me without worrying about where I was or who all were accompanying me. In one such silly event, she followed me to boys’ rest room. It created a great chaos and a huge tantrum among many “sections” of school-administration. Not to mention, she made the news-headlines for the un-published version of school news bulletin for couple of weeks, and was among the top trending topics for gossips among all students and teachers. Thanks to her bold act, now everyone knew about “us” in a far better way. That day I realized how stubborn and daring she could be.
“My Gosh ! She really was daring…did not sound normal to me !“, interrupted my roomie with this comment, looking at my face for a reaction. And then he continued, “Or, probably, your charm made her do so…“, and winked with a big smile on his face.
He asked me again, “From what you have described, it does not sound that you liked her the way she liked you. Right?“.
“Well…. it’s not completely true. I also liked her company a lot. Every person has a different level of maturity at emotional and physical fronts and different needs, which give a feeling of satisfaction. Only Physical aspects were never my cup of tea. I would appreciate outer-beauty, but only physical beauty might not be sufficient to keep me tied to a person for long unless I am also emotionally attached to that person.“, I replied to my roomie and then continued the story as following.
We were soon very close friends. But she was still a mystery for me. She always used to do something totally unexpected. Her nature kept me curious all the time and constantly maintained my interests in her. We had a small group of guys and girls, who were now close friends, and most of them had now accepted her in our group and were okay with her joining our group. They were also able to see her real beauty and appreciated it. Whereas for some of them, she was just okay because I liked her. People started telling us that we both were changing, in a good sense of “Change”. They started complimenting her for a better change with virtues like “Politeness, Sensitivity to others, being Humane, Helpful and Kind”, and me for “being more Romantic, Cheerful, Understanding, Open-minded” etc. etc. It happens; People who are closely associated with us tend to notice small changes in us even before we notice them.
In due course of time, when we started knowing each-other in a better way, and shared some of our secrets and details of our families, she revealed that she was living in USA for past 12 years and came to India a month before joining this school. Her parents did not want her to live there now and that’s why she came back to India. It was also evident from her accent and style of communication too, which was often a point of teasing her and making fun of her style during her initial days in school among the students of the class.
I also came to know that her Parents had got her admission confirmed in the best 5-Star school of the city, which was the only place for all kids belonging to those super-rich or elite business class families. She attended that school for two days, until she noticed me on the way to her school from her car. I used to ride by bike to my school. Third day she asked her driver to follow me to find out which school I was studying in. And fourth day, she insisted with her parents to get her admission confirmed in my school.
Her parents were initially reluctant to let her join our school which was “below their standards” but later surrendered against her strong resolution to study only in this school. They loved their daughter very much and tried their best to meet all her demands. It was not a problem for a high class business-family with abundant money and sound political relations to get the admission confirmed even after all the seats were full.
Our friendship grew very fast. She also took me to her home and introduced me to her Parents. Typical upper-class family! I knew that I would not be a welcome guest as I was clearly no match to their financial status. I belonged to a different class of society, and even after 70 years of independence, they probably considered themselves the royal blood of Great Victorian Dynasty. Her father was a little bit rude (or I might have felt it for obvious reasons) but her mother was a bit better and a little more affectionate. Mothers are always full of Love. I must admit that there was a huge difference in culture and family values between ours and this upper-class super-rich family. Even a pet in our family gets more attention and care, as a part of family, than they (Parents in this super upper class) give to their kids. No wonder, Shalaka was carried away with kind of love, care and affection she received in our group.
Her home was not less than a mansion in itself, having a separate room (I would rather call them halls) for every member of the family. I had seen those kind of things only in movies. Different types of sub-ordinates (I would not like to call them servants) for different activities in different departments. There was a complete team to serve the dishes at dining table. Different etiquette to be followed for different times of day.
After that visit, I was not interested to go to her home again but I visited her house a few more times when she insisted a lot for different reasons. Although, I did not feel comfortable whenever I visited her house, as I always felt like being an alien in her house, but I agreed to her requests as it was a matter of her happiness. It would not be appropriate for me to turn it into an ego problem when it was a matter of her happiness.
She also invited the whole gang at her mansion a couple of times when she had thrown a small party for the whole group. She did not do it to show-off or to impress us with her luxurious life-style and upper high class status. It was a genuine attempt from her to become more friendly and come close to everyone in the gang. She was willing to share with her friends what she was blessed with in real life and others in the group had only seen in movies or fantasies. She also organized a show of the Hollywood movie “Baby’s Day Out” in sound-proof auditorium in her house for us to enjoy.
She left her Mercedes and accompanied me on my bike many times and asked me to drop her to her home. Slowly, her security staff, driver and “others” also understood it that I was a “special” friend for her. Even though I met her mother just twice, but I was not an unfamiliar name for her. Shalaka had already made me famous in her family even before I visited her house for the very first time. I came to know about this when her mother guessed me correctly in our very first meeting without any prior introduction. She was the only child and her mother was a good friend to this growing young lady, so they both kind of shared their girly-talks and secrets. Perhaps, that could be a reason of her being a little more affectionate and kind to me, unlike her husband who always appeared very rude to me.
Anyways, it was always Shalaka, and her happiness, which was important for me, and not her financial status or her family associations. I did not find that level of problems, which could possibly force us to split apart or something which we could not timely address. She was careful about not to hurt my self-respect or not to let the differences in our financial status be a matter or concern between us. She tried her best to be one of us, the gang of buddies, and succeeded quite a lot in her efforts to be a buddy.