She opened her cupboard and browsed through her possessions. Then Pankh glanced at her reflection in the mirror. She touched her hair and smiled. Then she peered at the sun through her windows and decided it wasn’t going to rain that morning. Pankh- Arts honours, J.L Nehru College, Delhi- she said it out loudly to herself while switching on her iPod. The door closed behind her with a thud as she walked out of her house.
Pankh- rebel, vivacious, unkempt, methodical and brutal. As she went off into her Skoda, she realised she’d forgotten her cell phone. So, she walked all the way back to her house, into her room retrieved her phone and she took one last look at herself in the mirror. Her eyes were kohl-lined, just the way her mother did not like it.
She was driving down to the local park for her early morning run. This was her last run in that park. The next day, she was moving to Mumbai for her first ever job.
She switched her iPod off and turned on the car stereo. She needed music to breathe. It made her exist. It made her know she was alive. Instead of the usual Pink Floyd and BeeGees, she tuned into the radio for a change. 92.8fm was the first station she arrived at. Pankh wasn’t particularly fond of hindi songs, but this song caught her fancy.
Rab Ne Bana Di Jodi.
In music history, it was epochs old and it was a flop in its own right. But she held the sweetest memories of that movie, that song. Her best friends- Aarohi and Sadhika had spent an entire night stay sleeping through that movie! She smiled to herself while she tried to recollect who the protagonist was, it was a new girl, the heroine, she knew it… Aarohi had joined her in college, both of them were studying art- Oil painting. Sadhika had gone on to become a Doctor from MAMC. But that Christmas Eve, they knew nothing about how their future would be. Pankh remembered the 3:00 am coffee and black forest cakes they had gobbled down and felt hungry. She’d forgotten to have breakfast. But her thoughts engulfed her again. The sleepover was at Aarohi’s place- Pink walls, rainbow curtains and bridal dolls! They were a typical girl gang in their school days. Priyanka, Anumeha, Amaanika, Surabhi, Aarohi, Ragaa, Sadhika and Pankh- formidable, together, unbreakable and ‘tagged’ as the ‘goal-spotters’.
The song ended and Pankh jerked to a halt almost in harmony with the next song. The first signal of the seven more she had to cross before reaching her ‘Local’ park. She fiddled with her car-keys while taking in the lyrics of the song that her stereo blared at her. It was from some old English movie. Audrey Hepburn probably. She changed the frequency and finally succumbed to the last channel available. She cursed the RJs and the traffic. Pankh re-started her car engine and began driving. Finally, she found a song she knew and liked- Lady in Red, Chris Deburgh. She zapped back to her first boyfriend. She called him Lucifer and he called her Angel. They had a silly teenage romance on and Pankh was not the kind he’d like. Pankh was 14 at that time. They broke quite inevitably but their love remained in place. Pankh was still in touch with all her ex-boyfriends. Not that she had many, but she liked to know which girls they chose over her. But she waited for them to like her back. Always. They never did. And she had to move on.
She rolled down the window of her air conditioned car and saw a group of girls, teenagers, laughing down the road. She thought of her own- The way her entire class used to climb up the staircase and hide, so that their teachers wouldn’t be able to find them. She thought of the seemingly gay, yet perfectly straight couple. She couldn’t recollect their names- it was a long time ago. (Sorry, Devesh and Vineet. I had to do this to you). And she thought of the love birds with whom she’d had a very public fight. the one’s who called themselves siblings. Muskaan and that genius of a guy, the name she couldn’t remember either. She thought of the money they had collected by singing in the corridors of her school. It stood at 15 rupees and 75 paise. No more, no less.
The boy who always sold greeting cards reminded her of Amaanika. The card she’d given on her 16th birthday. The baby gifts and the visit to City centre.
It all came rushing back to Pankh that day. And then, she screeched to a halt on her last but second signal. She sighed loudly. She missed her school and her friends. She missed living with her mom in Kolkata. She missed the late night chats with Kath and their ridiculous yet believable plans and secrets!
She wanted those memories to be alive.
She reached the multiplex- iMax. Spiderman had released three days ago.
Aarohi and Pankh had plans to catch it the following weekend. Spiderman- Rahul. Her school fiancé of course! She hadn’t chatted with him for a long, long time now. She wanted to. The radio blared out some cheap, horrendous music. She shut it off and tied her hair into a bun. Then she saw her nails. Pink- shocking pink. A colour she rarely liked when she was Rahul’s made up wife. She still had the ambigram he’d made for her.
Then she remembered Pinky. What was his REAL name? She strained her memory but she was too used to calling him that! She thought of the weird stories people had created regarding them. Her mind wandered to the Ketchup inceident with
Tall-boy Anant. She skipped thinking about him and instead checked the time. Already 20 minutes late. She damned the traffic. She hated Delhi. She wanted her Kolkata back.
She drove continuously, determined to dodge the next signal. She did! And she was over joyed. The breezy morning had metamorphosed into a soggy summer day. She decided against the usual running and settled under the shade for sometime. She was due to meet Aarohi at 11.30. She took out a copy of the Week from her car along with a Cadbury and began reading. But, all she did was think. She went back in time where Aarohi had bumped into her in The Bookstore (That’s the name- Crossword, really). They’d spent 3 whole hours talking about life and love. That’s exactly when Aarohi and Pankh had grown closer. And boy, was she glad that had happened.
The Cadbury- The incident Anumeha and Pankh had over it? The rubber-band incident in class 9- She laughed so hard that the Crackle almost fell out of her hands!
Her iPod was on. It played her favourite break up song- 21 Guns/ Green Day. She did not know why she called it her break-up song. Perhaps, because when Aarush had left her, she’d been particularly fancying that song. She often linked memories to life incidents.
And so, she went to the CCD where Aarohi waited for her. She went there while listening to Iris/ Ronan Keating. Yet another memory, yet another song, yet another day, yet another place.
A hurried man’s guide to who’s who:
Pankh- Ofcourse, Me.
Aarohi- Phuhaar ( I love the name and i love her.)
Sadhika- Sugandha (The S-S thing..)
Kath- Nidhi T (She writes as Kath in her blog, that’s why.)
Priyanka- Anurupa (She was gunna be named as Priyanka before)
Ragaa- Aanchal (Aanchla, Song, Ragaa. No real reason.)
Amaanika- Riddhi (‘Aman’ika. ;] )
Surabhi- Srishti (When will she join Fb?)
Pinky- Shashwat 😀
Pinky- Shashwat 😀
Muskaan- Sahiba (Dunno why.)
The genius- Sahiba’s brother cum boyfriend 😛
Lucifer- I bet you know.
Aarush- You too.
Anant- Anant (My creativity deserted me)
The seemingly gay, yet perfectly straight couple- Vineet and Devesh. I’m so sorry, bet you don’t mind!
P.S Jha, Kush, Aakhilesh, Sahil, Pramit. Sorry i couldn’t include you here. I wanted to, but wasn’t fitting in the story, So, I put you in that picture!