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Friday, 21 October 2016

The confession of love continued..

Vinod never denied anything. But he also did not suffice an affirmative answer to Soumi. He was surprised by Soumi's question and instead of giving an answer asked her why she entertained such an idea in her head. Soumi told Vinod about the different instances and the strange feeling she had about there being a connection between Latika and Vinod. But Vinod only said that Latika was different, a little weird and he was sure that Latika didn't have any such feelings. After saying so, Vinod went on talking about the picnic and other things and totally avoided being caught up in a similar discussion any further.
Soumi had studied hard for the exams not by choice but because she was almost forced by Latika. What else can a friend of a topper do other than prepare seriously for exams. Soumi stayed back at Latika's home for joint preparations. Latika's mother would prepare coffee and delicious pakodas for them and her sister would provide the comic relief after the mundane hours. One day after school, Soumi went directly to Latika's house to find out why she had not come to school. Her sister opened the door and ushered her inside. While she was waiting for Latika, her sister appeared again and informed her that Latika was asleep. She told Soumi that Latika was not feeling well since morning and probably would have gone off to sleep just then. Since both Soumi and Latika's sister were good friends they started talking about school, teachers, how Latika is too serious for her age etc. All of a sudden she told Soumi that Vinod is a good guy and that Latika liked him from the first day she met him. Soumi was taken aback. Seeing her disbelief, Latika's sister asked Soumi to keep it a secret, but also commented that romance can make the most boring person on earth interesting and what her sister needed was a little romance in her life badly.
The day of their first exam was Latika's birthday. Soumi had bought a pale green scarf with small red flowers painted on it for her. She waited for the exam to end eagerly. Then caught hold of her friend and pulled her to a corner to give her the gift which she had taken so much time to choose. Latika was very happy to see the scarf and had wrapped it around her neck to show Soumi how it suited her. She asked Soumi how she looked, but there was no answer. She then looked towards Soumi to see why she was not paying attention. Soumi's attention was diverted on seeing Vinod approaching Latika. Vinod gifted Latika a fancy pen which Soumi was sure would have cost Vinod a month's pocket money. At first Latika felt a little awkward but then she accepted the gift with a broad smile. The next day, Latika brought the pen for her exam and showed it to Vinod.
Now Soumi summoned her courage once again and asked both of them, of course separately, whether they liked each other. Again the answer was 'no'. It was negative from both sides this time but both of them were smiling while giving that absolutely false answer.
On asking again and again, Latika gave an indignant look towards Soumi and in a rough voice said that she was not a stupid romantic like Soumi and wouldn't dream of unrealistic emotions. Soumi was a little upset. Latika on seeing Soumi sad, pressed her hands in an affectionate way and said that she couldn't expect Vinod to like her. She said, "I am not attractive like the other girls and fact is that I have a tomboyish look. I do not entertain such illusions. I am practical and happy."
Soumi decided to play cupid. She was now quite sure that Latika and Vinod liked each other and she was determined to make them confess their feelings. She understood that Latika is hiding her fear of rejection behind her cold exterior and Soumi agreed with Latika's elder sister that she really needed some romance in her life. Since everything is fair in love and war, Soumi told a few lies mixed with a few truths to Latika that how Vinod always talks about her in her absence and has also noticed her beautiful eyes. To Vinod she again used the same tactic and also divulged some secrets saying that Latika liked the pen he gifted, a lot and also that she had liked him from the day she had joined this school.
Slowly but steadily Soumi's plan was working out. Latika and Vinod had started talking to each other now quite often. They also shared lunch and sometimes could be seen sitting together in the library. But still they did not declare their feelings to each other or to Soumi.
Soumi could only take solace in the fact that now both had become good friends. As the school days were now coming to an end Soumi thought to herself that after all she is not cupid. On the day of school farewell, everybody had dressed up in the best attire. Soumi had specially bought an off-white kurta and light pink palazzos for the occasion and Latika had bought a bracelet to wear with her light blue salwar kameez. When they reached school, the teacher announced a special program arranged by the junior batch of students. Latika was looking here and there as if she was searching somebody. Soumi asked her twice whom or what was she searching. But Latika just nodded. Sometimes, Soumi thought that even if Latika was her friend she could never understand what was going on in her head.
All of a sudden Soumi realized that Vinod was not around and probably Latika was searching him. Soumi went out of the auditorium where the performances were going on to find Vinod. She looked everywhere but in vain and when she was returning back she was stunned to see Vinod sitting on one of his knees and offering a bunch of scarlet roses to Latika.
Soumi could never forget that face. The expression of ardent love had made him look transformed to a grown-up man from a teenager boy. Latika's eyes had become soft and wet. She was blushing and was looking like the shy girl who didn't know how to react on being proposed for the first time. Her voice failed her. She couldn't find any words. Vinod said that he had liked her from the first instant he had set eyes on her. He had liked her eyes, the way she talked, her short trimmed hair and everything about her. He pushed the flowers into her hand and while holding her hands told her that falling in love with her was so easy that he never realized when exactly he had started loving her.
Latika was dumbstruck. She replied after a long silence that she never knew love was so beautiful. She hugged Vinod and acknowledged her feelings. Later the three of them went to an ice-cream parlor to celebrate and of course they paid for their very own cupid's ice-cream without whom there would have been no confession of their long-repressed love.