PUPPY LOVE

Nina rang the bell and stood in the foyer of the apartment block waiting for the door to open. She turned her back to the door for she was afraid to even show her face. She waited for a minute and then rang the bell again. She double checked the front door. ‘No, they couldn’t have gone out. There is no lock hanging on the brass handle’ she thought.

She waited counting to twenty and rang the bell again. ‘Maybe she is in the bathroom’ she thought and suddenly her feelings came rushing like a huge ball stuck in her stomach. She leaned against the front door and stuffed her fist into her mouth trying not to keen like a banshee. She clung to the door as if seeking comfort. ‘I am home, I am home, I am home’ she whispered repeatedly to give herself security.

It all began in the High School that she moved into. Nina had studied all her life in a convent, an all girls’ school where even the teachers were women. Her interaction with boys was restricted to a few distant cousins whom she hardly met. Even the friends she made in the Rainbow Colony that the Rajans now lived in, were girls of her own age. Her father had passed away when she was just seven and Nina had been brought up as an only child by her mother Asha Rajan and maternal grandmother Kaveri. They were well-to-do but Asha had taken up a job in a boutique to keep herself busy after her husband died. The only extra-curricular activity that Nina indulged in was her passion for music. She sang like an angel and took training in classical music. Of course it was on a one-to-one basis with the lady teacher coming home.

Nina had scored very well in her secondary school leaving exam, the 10th. Now she wanted to take up a professional course like Architecture or Engineering and so she sought and gained admission in the best High School in the city where the focus was on marks and the training vigorous to send its students into the best under-grad institutions in the country. The school was a co-ed and a new experience for Nina. Asha was over protective and insisted on Nina taking the school bus even though many others in the building complex in which they lived in made it by car pool or public transport to different schools.

In the school bus there was a section in the front reserved for the girls while the boys sat at the back. The bus was mostly occupied with younger children but a few high schoolers also rode in it. Nina was soon identified as studious, the one who was on time with homework and projects and a really bright girl in her studies. Gradually, other students approached her for help with problems in maths and Physics and she blossomed with all this attention. She was nicknamed Nina Nerd, but she enjoyed the label. One day when the whole bus was in a singing mood, they played the game of Anthakshari where two teams are formed. A member of one team sings the first verse of a popular film song. Next the other team has to sing a song that begins with the Hindustani consonant on which the previous contestant’s song selection ended. The sweet voice of Nina and her thorough knowledge of songs and their lyrics caught the attention of everybody. She was declared a star!

Soon she was dragged into the school band that was headed by Ramesh and the team began to make a mark in inter school singing competitions. The friendship between Nina and Ramesh too developed and they started spending time together, talking to each other on the phone and emailing and texting at all times.

Asha began to get worried about the hours Nina was spending with Ramesh. She decided to caution her daughter, “You have your future ahead of you. Your education should take precedence over anything for that is your stepstone to a career Nina. All of us get attracted to somebody at this age. I did too….but in my times we dreamt our romances safely with film heroes and story book charmers. You haven’t had any interaction with boys….so you feel that Ramesh is somebody special. Keep it within limits of friendship”. But it fell on deaf years.

Asha sent an email to Nina explaining all about this growing attachment. ‘Puppy love (also known as simple infatuation, a crush, calf love, or kitten love) is an informal term for feelings of love, romance, or infatuation, often felt by young people during their childhood and adolescence. It is named for its resemblance to the adoring, worshipful affection that may be felt by a puppy. It may also be able to describe short-term love interest”.

Both Nina and Ramesh were unable to control their feelings. Ramesh confessed that at home, he too was under a lot of flak. “Parents don’t understand. They had arranged marriages and they have no sense of this deep emotion that we share dear Nina. They are practical. Let us get married on the quiet. Then they cannot separate us”. They sneaked off to a temple to try and get married. But the priest refused to oblige as both were underage what with the government laying down rules that a girl had to be 18 and a boy 21 before they could get married.

The young couple refused to accept this and like the movies they just built up a fire on a deserted beach and went round it seven times, the prescribed rituals of a wedding ceremony. There were no witnesses, no certificate…nothing but a cheap imitation gold Mangalsutra, the chain of black beads with a distinct pendant that signifies married status worn by Indian women around their neck. They had no place to go so they went back home to wait until their high school was done.

“Do you know how much the Engineering colleges are asking for admission”, asked Kaveri one morning at the breakfast table. She looked at Asha and read out aloud from the newspaper “BE, BTech and BArch courses will cost 40,000 for non-accredited courses and 45,000 for accredited courses. A management seat will cost 70,000. This fee is valid only for the 2012-13 academic year.The fee structure drawn up in 2006 allowed colleges to collect 32,500 for a government quota seat and 62,500 for a management seat”.

That is for one year Amma! This has to be paid every year and that too only if you are in the merit list. Otherwise we have to pay capitation fees of many lakhs” she pointedly said as Nina picked up her school bag to catch the bus. She was lost in her own world and her mother’s statement did not register at all.

The exams were soon done and Ramesh was sure that he had done well. Nina was in a haze driven by her longing to be with and barely registered what she had written in her exams. The summer holidays sped by with entrance exams to professional courses and soon the results were out. Ramesh had done extremely well and was amongst the top three in the school. Nina’s results were good but not enough to match the cut-off marks for Engineering/Architecture courses.

“It doesn’t matter” said Nina. “I am going to live with you. I will just study for a degree” she confidentally said to Ramesh.

He greeted this with silence. “Ramesh, why are you quiet?” She asked. “I want to meet you tonight” she said. Please, please let us meet”.

“Hmmm…..”said Ramesh and quietly got up and left.

Nina packed her school bag surreptitiously and sneaked out of the house and went to the spot where she met Ramesh regularly. She texted him, “Waiting: Come soon xxxxxx”. There was no reply. She called his cell….no reply. She texted him again and called him: “The number you are calling is currently switched off. Try again later” the disembodied voice answered. Meanwhile it was getting dark. Unsavoury characters with bottles in their hands came rolling along the sands and looked blearily at her. One or two made lewd comments: “Coming, darling?” a dude shouted at her. “I have a lovely room to spend the night with you”. Nina froze and began to move away from the spot. Suddenly she saw a policeman shouting at her, “Hey you! Soliciting or what? Want to see the four walls of a cell?”

Nina began to run, sobbing, crying, tripping, falling and getting up and running. She ran, as fast as her breath would allow her and ran and ran, not looking back even once. There was a painful stitch on her ribs and as she sobbed and ran, her mind just kept screaming, “Amma, amma, amma”. Finally she reached her apartment complex and then within its gates manned by security, she stopped to catch her breath. “Why are you so late?” asked the security guard. “It is not safe for a young girl to be out alone. Do you know it is 11?”he asked. “Go home” he murmured.

Nina ran into the lobby and took the lift up to her apartment. She rang the bell waiting for the door to open. She turned her back to the door for she was afraid to even show her face. She waited for a minute and then rang the bell again. She double checked the front door. ‘No, they couldn’t have gone out. There is no lock hanging on the brass handle’ she thought.

She waited counting to twenty and rang the bell again. ‘Maybe she is in the bathroom’ she thought and suddenly her feelings came rushing like a huge ball stuck in her stomach. She leaned against the front door and stuffed her fist into her mouth trying not to keen like a banshee. She clung to the door as if seeking comfort. ‘I am home, I am home, I am home’ she whispered repeatedly to give herself security.

The door remained shut!

Welcome to the Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium where Anu, Ashok, Conrad, DeliriousGaelikaa,  GrannymarMagpie11Paul, Maria the Silver Fox, Rummuser , Will Knott, Shackman and I write on the same topic. Please do visit the linked blogs to get  different flavours of the same topic.

Advertisements

About padmum

You could call me Dame Quixote! I tilt at windmills. I have an opinion on most matters. What I don't have, my husband Raju has in plenty. Writer and story teller, columnist and contributer of articles, blogs, poems, travelogues and essays to Chennai newspapers, national magazines and websites, I review and edit books for publishers and have specialized as a Culinary Editor and contributed content, edited and collaborated on Cookbooks. My other major interest is acting on Tamil and English stage, Indian cinema and TV. I am a wordsmith, a voracious reader, crossword buff and write about India's heritage, culture and traditions. I am interested in Vedanta nowadays.
This entry was posted in Friday Loose Bloggers Consortium, Life skills, Women and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to PUPPY LOVE

  1. Maxi says:

    I love this story Padmini, I felt Nina’s every emotion; stood waiting with her at the front door.
    blessings ~ maxi

    Like

  2. Rummuser says:

    “Some stories are true that never happened.” -Elie Wiesel

    Like

  3. Grannymar says:

    Sounds like life is very difficult for young ladies in India. It makes me realise how fortunate I was to have brothers. They certainly prepared me for socialising with the opposite sex.

    Like

  4. Delirious says:

    Isn’t that the way most puppy love experiences end? At least for me anyway. 🙂

    Like

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s