Chapter 1 – The Incident
Sandhya – “Mom, I am leaving.”
Kashish – “Ok, sweetheart! Have you taken your tiffin?”
Sandhya – “Yes, have taken tiffin box. Bye!”
Sandhya hurriedly rushes off as she is getting late for school while Kashish, her mother is getting ready for office.
Kashish had a 9 to 7 job; she worked in JP Megan (Mumbai office) in Gregon suburb in Western Mumbai, at a distance of 25 km from her home in Mudhar suburb in Central Mumbai. Office car used to pick and drop her everyday but still daily commute took around 4 hours. Her husband, Kailash was an army officer and died in a car accident 5 years ago. Sandhya was just 9 years old then. Kashish’s mother Mrs Sinha often used to opine that she should remarry but Kashish was not interested. She was still in love with Kailash and for her no man could take his place. She had accepted to live the rest of her life just by raising her kid and with support of his memories.
Sandhya’s school was a mere 2 km from her home. Sandhya was a smart and beautiful girl who had developed quite a bit early for her age. She was tall and had long straight hair, fair complexion and fuller lips in contrast to her mother who was short and had shoulder-length blond hair.
Sandhya is sneaking into the classroom through the back door with the help of some boys of her class who are covering up for her while the teacher is writing the sinx-cosx equation on the blackboard. Sandhya gets into her chair saved by her best friends Mona and Luly. The three friends are giggling and chatting in low voices when the teacher’s eye falls on them.
Teacher shouts in an angry tone – “Sandhya! What are you doing? No talking in my class. How many times have I told you this? The next time, I find any misbehaviour in my class, I will take you to the Principal. Did you understand that?”
Students – “Yes, Mam”
Teacher – “Sandhya, What is the question I have asked the class? Tell me.”
Sandhya – “Ahhh….”
Govind, another fellow student, shouting on the top of his voice in a hurried tone – “sinx-cosx equation”
Sandhya getting the cue and answering in a rush – “Yes, Mam, that’s right! Sinx-cosx equation. I was also going to say that when Govind jumped in.”
Teacher in an irritated tone – “Oh! Really. Do you think I am dumb? Who asked you, Govind to answer this question; I had asked it to Sandhya, don’t you know that. I understand everything what’s going on. Don’t fool me.”
Sandhya – “Sorry Mam”
Govind – “Sorry Mam! I didn’t hear properly that you had asked Sandhya the question. I think lots of wax is filled in my ear which is impairing my ability to hear. I will clean my ears today itself.”
The entire class starts laughing out aloud.
Teacher in a frustrated tone screams – “Shut up! Stand up all of you; this is your punishment for the rest of the period. I am not teaching anymore. Everything is a joke for you guys. If I find anyone not taking the punishment seriously, you are going to the Principal.” Saying this, the teacher stamps out of the class in anger and disgust.
Sandhya makes a thank-you gesture to Govind for saving her today in the class.
Ruhi, another fellow student, standing behind Sandhya whispers to her – “It’s all because of you that we are standing here. Why had this Govind to pitch in? You are the boys’ favourite; they will do anything for you; first they sneaked you into the class and then this Govind jumping in to save you. Most importantly this is not the first time, you always get undue advantage and above all everyone lands into trouble because of you.”
Sandhya in a rude and arrogant tone – “Fuck off! Don’t mess with me. I am beautiful and so I deserve all the guys’ attention. If you are jealous, that’s your problem and not mine. Get lost! I don’t care what happens and doesn’t happen to anyone.”
Ruhi stamps down her foot in frustration.
As the school bell rings for close of the day, everyone rushes out from the class. Sandhya is walking towards the bike parking area when she hears her name from behind. She looks back and sees Govind running towards her.
Govind, finally reaching up to her, panting for breath – “Hey Sandhya!”
Sandhya – “Hey Govind! Thank you again for saving me today in the class.”
Govind – “Oh! It was nothing. Don’t you think about it. I was thinking we could go together till Purak chauraha and from there I will take the left and you can take the right for our respective homes. What say?”
Sandhya – “Yup! Dude. No problem, let’s go.”
Sandhya – “Today the wind is very fierce. It’s difficult to drive in this weather.”
Govind – “Yes, that’s true.”
Sandhya – “I don’t like Purak chauraha signal. You have to wait for at least 5 minutes to go from one side to another.
Govind – “I completely agree.”
Coincidently, Kashish was in her car with her boss going for a client meeting at Purak chauraha. Kashish was looking around outside the car getting impatient for the signal to turn green when she spots Sandhya and her face instantly brightens up which was otherwise pale and dull tired from the day’s weariness. She is just going to wave to her when her face again turns pale on seeing Sandhya send a flying kiss to the guy on her left. In the same instant, the signal turns green and the car moves ahead. Kashish is a bit shocked on what she has just witnessed and is lost in her thoughts when somebody calls her.
Kashish’s boss – “Kashish, Come let’s go. We have reached the restaurant.”
Kashish – “Yes! Sure.”