*Country Roads-John Denver playing in the background*
As I sit on the windowsill & look at the raindrops falling off the leaves on the trees swaying in the wind,I am taken back to Asthachal on one rainy Saturday in Rishi Valley,my own little paradise on Earth.Sitting there by myself & just thanking whosoever's plan it was to send me there.The dark skies,my illegal Ipod playing my favourite songs,a pen & a paer in hand but nothing to write.Just sitting there on the wet rocks after the downpour in awe of the beauty of the hills.
And then,taken back in time,to the prettiest evening on Astha!I stayed back after everyone had gone from "Astha"(15 minutes of silence on a particular hill every evening..It's beautiful!) & went & sat on my favourite rock.It always provides me with an amazing view.That evening,to my left were the silhouetted three Kondas(Rishikonda,Middle Peak & Bodikonda)looking majestic as ever.Straight ahead was a forest fire near Red Rocks. The full moon in the sky amidst the dark ominous clouds added to the perfection.I ran home & dragged Nehal back with me,in her lovely pink pyjamas!!When we got there,she noticed something to our right-two more forest fires on the adjoining hills.Altogether,a most fantastic experience!
Now,I recollect myself walking to the K Tree(a banyan tree under which the philosopher & founder of my school,Krishnamurthy,used to sit)with Gagan,Sujay,Hari & Sabu on a hot afternoon in February,2007,during our study holidays.When we were supposed to be studying for our boards,the 5 of us retards would be sitting/sleeping in the shade of that tree on our stone benches(each had one where we'd sit regularly)cracking silly jokes, talking about life/family/food,etc(nothing study related-a rule),bitching about people flirting with the "respective other"s or simply jumping off the tree onto a pile of stacked leaves to feel worthy of being knighted.As Hari once advised me,"If you ever see a banyan tree,think of us,climb it & let yourself go wild!".I shall,Knight of Hibernation!
In my head,I am on my hike to Bodikonda. Zohair,the nice guy that he is,is offering to carry my bag because I,as usual,am falling!Backwards,that too,which adds to the agony of Abhiroop,who is behind us.I am determined to make it to the top myself without any help,but at one point, Poopy insists & I give it to him.Next,I see myself walking with Athang & Sneha. Athang & I following our tradition of singing random songs on hikes.We now find out that Sneha despises our songs.She says that I am better than Athu but I shall not stand this insult of my singing partner!We sing louder, now joined in Babu, Rajan & Arya(who I accidentally walk into a hook thorn bush with!).The poor girl is subjected to mental torture & finalls runs to Madhuri or Radha for help.We are overjoyed with our victory & now start counting the number of times I trip on the hike.Babu tries to beat my number but alas! I prevail as the winner.Clumsiness is just my thing!
Prep time-supervised studying for 70 minutes in the evening every weekday.Torture for restless kids like me!I tear a piece of paper from my commerce notebook which I never use & write something silly & pass it to Tejal(Mommy 1-calls me Duckie).I am very bored,as usual.She curtails her laugh so that Mitraji does not find out,writes something in it( a reply to what I wrote) & then,passes it to Chetana(Mommy 2-calls me Sushipa) who is seated far away from the two of us.Chetana replies & then,again Tejal,and then me,and then...The viscious cycle continues till the one who is passing it for us gets annoyed or till we get caught or till we hear the lovely bell that tells us that dinner awaits us,whichever is first.Then,the 3 of us walk to the DH(Dining Hall) after cribbing because one of us made the other 2 wait for some reason or another.
Dinners.The best meal according to me,though many would disagree & choose dull lunch!Grab a plate & "butt into the line" to get food faster! Being a senior helps as we can TRY(in my case) to bully my juniors sometimes!It is a special day for me.I see it there being served so sparingly by the Pappamakkas.The look & smell of the Gobi Manchurian on these rare Saturdays(twice or thrice a term)gets me hyper!I take my share & Babu comes & gives me his share in exchange for the paneer I gave him on Thursday!"Today is my lucky day",I sing.Next walks in Sharat,entering the DH late & walking like a stud!He is a football stud after all..I catch his eye & ask "First for yours?!" with pleading eyes.It has become a mutual understanding now.He either nods(& I get the whole share) or mouths "Half".I run to DP(Deshpande Sir) & I'm now on Cloud 9 as I am getting his Gobi too.I sit,thank my well wishers who gave me their shares,& eat it all up without talking much(Surprising since it's me & I love to talk!).If I can eat more,I take extras from the counter.I wash my plate,swing for a while with Kiran or Nehal and go home,rush to my bed & have a good night's sleep with a big smile on my face.