Love’s labours–lost or found?

It’s highly unlikely that I’ll be getting any sleep tonight–making a quiz for tomorrow morning, since I was informed only today evening and my little sister positively refused to give me the laptop charger till a few hours ago. So I have a few hours on my hands till the sun rises till I finish it off.

Something rather funny happened today. But before that, some background info.

Ayush–that’s not his real name, but let it stay for the time being–is one of my closest friends, who I’ve known for more than four years, about the time I joined the school. He recently acquired a girlfriend by name of Mariyathat’s not her real name either–with a little help from yours truly *ahem*. But he’s been complaining of late that she hasn’t been opening up to him as much as he’d have liked her to–by which he means that she’s being shy towards him. And she is afraid of anyone else getting to know. Well, seeing as the people who matter already know (among the students, of course!) and those who don’t know couldn’t care less about it, I don’t really know why she’s complaining. That’s irrelevant, though.

Anyway, Mariya’s birthday is on the 16th of April. So Ayush planned to give her a present for her birthday. All clear sailing so far. Well, one hitch. He didn’t have the least idea what to buy for her. So he asked me too to come along with him to buy a present for her.Problem was, I didn’t have any more idea what to buy for her than Ayush himself. So I roped in Reshma–yet another friend of mine–who had extremely clear-cut ideas of fashion and style, unlike the two of us.

Fortunately for us, Reshma knew exactly what Mariya would like. Apparently, the two of them had been to a store in Focus Mall before, and had obsessed over a bracelet for some time, but couldn’t buy it then since neither of them had had any money. So, she reasoned, Ayush could buy that particular bracelet for Mariya. It wasn’t too expensive either–Ayush had a budget of 240 (he’s rather broke at the moment) and the bracelet cost about 200. Besides, since that particular shop was not too busy either, it was highly unlikely that that particular bracelet would have been sold. So we persuaded Reshma to come with us too. We’d planned it all out–Mariya had said she would be absent today, a friend of ours–Yadu–who was likely to spill the beans to Mariya, was also likely to be absent, so we–Ayush, Reshma, and I–could go to the store together, buy the stuff, get out quick, and reach home by around 4. Simple.

Our first indication that things wouldn’t go all that smoothly came in the morning. These days, since only the tenth- and the twelfth-graders have school in the summer, we have only 2 common buses, both starting from the same point, Mananchira. Well, as I got in, the first person I saw was Mariya. The second–Yadu. Ayush gets on at the second or third stop, so he got on after we’d all settled down–and his expression was priceless.

We were convinced of one thing, anyway–that this complication called for a major change of plans. So, after some deliberation–interrupted constantly by Mariya herself, who was very suspicious (what are you guys talking about?)–we decided on this: Reshma and I would get down at a stop earlier than the others, then we would take an auto to the mall. Ayush would get down at the usual stop, walk with Mariya as he usually does, then come back to where Reshma and I would be waiting.

On the way back from school, however, both of us started having second thoughts–especially Reshma. She grew so agitated that Ayush actually suggested a game of rock-paper-scissors to decide whether she would get down at her stop or not (fortunately for him, I have never lost a game of rock-paper-scissors against her yet). Our main concern was this–Focus Mall, while quite harmless as malls go, had one problem–it was highly probable that we would run into someone we knew. And if that “someone” turned out to be a teacher, we would be in serious trouble–even though we’d be staying only five minutes, even though we wouldn’t be doing any harm. Since, as I’ve already written, the teachers have this idea that we don’t study. At all. And our meetings/outings at places out of school have already been banned. So being caught at Focus Mall–in uniform, no less!–would be a fine kettle of fish.

So we changed our plans slightly–instead of going to Focus Mall, we would go to a small shop in Mananchira, where we would be unlikely to be seen, and–moreover–was closer to our bus stop.

But the fun was just about to begin. Firstly, everyone–Yadu, for one, and Mariya herself, for another–asked me where I was going rather than getting down with them. I had to invent a cousin brother who had a birthday the next day on the spur of the moment to head them off. (I do have a cousin brother, but his birthday is definitely not tomorrow. I’m not really sure.) Secondly, instead of dropping us off at Nadakkavu, which is just before the others–Ayush included–get down, we were forced to get down at the same stop as them, Mavoor Road. (Another friend of mine in the know, Keerthana, stayed behind to make sure that Yadu didn’t make too much of a ruckus.) And we walked really fast–across the road and over to Mananchira (aside: Reshma knows precious little about crossing a road.)

Reshma had already told me that the particular shop we were heading to–Fiona, I think its name was–was really low-key, and had next to nothing which Mariya would like. And she was proved right. Fiona wasn’t of much use to us–if anything, it showed me what not to buy for her. We got out of the shop quickly and went to Regal Bakes–where we spent quite a bit of our time. That was when Reshma saw that she’d accidentally taken two bracelets from Fiona and had them on her hand, and had to go back and return them. We stood outside, waiting for Ayush to come–I knew they’d take time, they always do, but I’d hoped for them to leave earlier today. (Well, they did, if you call coming at 3:27 P.M. when they usually come at 3:30 P.M. “earlier”.)

Fortunately, Ayush (I keep typing his real name, for some reason) didn’t have to go with Mariya all the way, because he’d told her that he had had to go to the bank. Heaven knows how she swallowed that, but she did! We quickly ruled out Fiona, and stood there discussing what we could do. After some time–it was nearly 3:45–we decided to go back to Plan A–that is, go to Focus Mall, and hope for the best. So we took an about face and walked in the opposite direction to Focus Mall.

As predicted, we did see someone we knew at Focus Mall–actually two of them. Ayush saw a friend of his come his way, but fortunately (for all of us) he didn’t see Ayush. And while we were walking in, I saw a guy from our school–Diouf–but he’s in the eighth, and is a pretty good sort.

So. We looked around. We went into the mall. We looked around. We ran up the escalator. We looked around. We went into the shop. We looked around again. No teachers, praise the lorde. But no bracelet either.

Ayush and Reshma were rather crushed at first. But the bracelet wasn’t the only thing in the shop. We looked around, and finally found a few things she would like. By then, it was past 4 and I remembered–I would have to buy something for Mariya as well. So after some trial-and-error, we found that, since there would be a discount, three things–two bracelets and a set of clips–would cost less than just the bracelets. And that fit kinda okay in our combined budget (I’d had 130 or so then). The shopkeeper was cool about it–he gave us an extra discount of 15 rupees since we didn’t have that much.

Our task was done. Now all we had to do was reach home.

I was pretty much cleaned out, and so was Ayush. As for Reshma, she’d never had any money in the first place. Ayush had about 7 rupees–enough for the bus–and I’d had about 5. Since I’d need an auto anyway–not many buses come our way due to the repairs being done on the roads, I volunteered to drop Reshma at BMH, where she’d get an auto home, and I would continue to my house. So we parted ways.

The pipeline work on Mavoor Road is, as far as I know, totally unnecessary. Because of it, we had to go a reaaaaaaaaaaaallly long way from Mavoor Road to BMH. It usually takes less than a minute in an auto/bus/car. The way we went, it took just about as long as it would have for us to walk that much distance. And the fare–well, it was just about twice the usual fare from Mavoor Road to my house.

But that’s all beside the point. The main thing is that we accomplished our mission. Now only time can tell. All I hope is this–even if Mariya doesn’t like the bracelet–odds are that she will, but you never know–she appreciates the thought behind the action. To her, it might be just another bracelet. But to us–Ayush, Reshma and I–it is a symbol of the mini-adventure we had today. Especially for Ayush, who probably isn’t looking forward to Mariya’s next birthday.

You can see Ayush, Yadu, Keerthana, and Reshma from this post in the picture.

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