It was the occasion of Holi, and OG’s atmosphere was filled with aroma of Gulal. Everyone was happy and celebrating the festival of colours. As the afternoon passed, ‘brothers’ from Boys’ School were preparing to go to the Girls’ School to meet their sisters. My friends and I were sitting in the canteen when Yash Sharma of our class came to buy something for his sister. He said he was going to Girls’ School and if I was interested in sending any letter or any message. Suddenly, a devil struck my mind with a mischief. I bought a ‘Kit-Kat’ family pack and removed all the stuff from this packet very nicely and found some pieces of cemented asbestos. I broke the asbestos pieces in exact shape as of chocolates and placed it in the packet. I gave the packet to the canteen boy and asked him to wrap it in a gift paper, and he followed my instructions. I gave this packet to Yash and asked him to get it delivered to Miss ‘X’ (fictional name but the character is factual) and tell it was from Pranjal Pratik. Pranjal was very close to me and we shared lots of our secrets and he was also Vice Captain of our Class Cricket Team who came handy in my captaincy.

No creature on the earth knew except Yash and me. In next couple of days, Pranjal got official break up letter from Miss X and he was very furious that how dare she wrote me all those things. He came to me as he considered me his love guru but without knowing the fact that I was the culprit behind this break-up. I had no courage to confess the truth, because I never expected that it could go to this extent. Whatever I did was completely out of fun and naughtiness which a common Class VIII guy had. Instead of making things easy I made it more difficult for them to come again together.

Almost two years passed, and on that Saturday night, there was no electricity. I called Pranjal on my bed and said let’s cook some story for tonight and we quickly agreed to the name of Shantanu. He was to be made ‘Bakra’ of that particular night. We called Shantanu and started with our talk. Pranjal and I, told him that there was a girl who liked him a lot and wanted to get into relationship. Initially, Shantanu was not ready and he kept on saying that we were only joking and there wasn’t anything serious. But, we didn’t give up our plan and went on. That night was over, and next day early in the morning Shantanu came to me and said if the stuff which we talked last night was true then please proceed further, and he accepted the proposal. When I heard this, I was really dumbstruck not knowing what to speak. It was something like a yorker bowled by any spinner as you don’t expect the one from them. I just shook my head and said we would talk later. I went to Pranjal and asked him whose name to tell, as Shantanu was already in a mood to say ‘yes’. He said the name of his Ex-Gf, Miss X. Now, Shantanu came to me again and asked me to do the rest. I made him write so called love letter. I was narrating and he was writing and then I got this sent to Miss X. I had a fear in my mind, if suppose she didn’t accept his proposal then what would happen. Shantanu joined the school in Class VII, and a very destructive batsman, we came close as he was my housemate too. And he was member of my cricket team, so he was also very close to me. Now, Both Pranjal and Shantanu were very close to me and probably I would not have chosen anyone if asked to choose one amongst them. To my surprise, Miss X accepted the proposal of Shantanu, who was Pranjal’s Ex-Gf. I was very happy for Shantanu, and we partied. When I told this to Pranjal, he didn’t say anything to me. But, few days later, he reminded me that I was the one who hatched the conspiracy for his break-up. And he said to me that I was a mastermind conspirator who worked for two years just to set Shantanu’s relationship with Miss X. Although he said jokingly, I didn’t mind at all as he also knew the reality that I didn’t do anything as such.
From a love-guru to a conspirator. How much time did it take for me to fill in the boots of a new role of conspirator. Yes, it took two years, for Pranjal I became a conspirator but how does it matter. Shantanu found a Love-guru in me, so Guru remained but in two years what changed was my ‘Shishya’ from Pranjal to Shantanu.

You never know when you are standing on the crease with a ball remaining and you have to score just one run. You don’t expect the bowler to bowl short ball, you just hit the ball and you result into losing the match. When you sit back, probably one voice of your heart may say, ‘Mate, you could have ducked it, and it could have been given a ‘wide’.’ But, why do I need to duck, as I am playing last ball of the game.

I can understand the pains which may have resulted after that gift and break-up fiasco. I know I can’t do anything in lieu of the pain they suffered. But, I can seek forgiveness from those two souls.

I regret what I did in Class VIII but I feel proud for what I did in Class X. This is life, where you are totally unaware of the next delivery, and you get out. You sit back to reflect and be prepared but you don’t get the same delivery. I want to go back to Class VIII and fix the things back in their position but what will I do in Class X, on one side Pranjal and other side Shantanu. Where to go? Whether to duck the ball or hit the ball? Being a bowler myself, I can’t convert that bouncer into six. If I hit then also I lose and if I duck then also I lose.

(Excerpt from my book, ‘The Life Around An Acorn’.)

– Modassir Mushtaque

This piece was shared by Modassir Mushtaque (School Vice Captain, Patel House Captain & School Cricket Captain, Session 2009-10) on April 14, 2018.


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