(A parking lot. A girl touching her right foot as if she is badly hurt. A man standing next to her, staring with concern)
Me: Aaaaaoooooooooooooch…. That hurts man! So that’s it. Are you happy?
Him: Aoouch……Really sorry. Is it that bad?
Me: You tell me. What do you think? What were you thinking man? And by the way, I am the one who is ‘aaouching’ today. So don’t you give me that.
Him: That you can never understand my dear.
Me: I don’t want to try either dude!
Him: Let me see. Show it to me. Does it hurt while you walk?
Me: That was mollifying. Well if you are that sorry, why don’t you just do something about it Samaritan?
Him: So many questions. Are you applying for a world record or something?
Me: No thanks. As of now I wish to get the record of my foot straight.
Him: Let me help you sweetie.
Me: Yeah right. Why does your help have to begin with a pain huh?
Him: (Chuckling) Another rhetoric question.
Me: By the rate that you are hurting me, I might as well turn out to be a tragedy playwright or something.
Him: Oh by the way you have your favourite English class. But I suggest you cancel it for today. You can have it re-scheduled tomorrow.
Me: How excited I was at my preparation. But look at what you have done today? Why do you have to hurt me like this?
Him: Don’t you understand why?
Me: I am in no mood of riddles as of now. So why don’t you just get lost.
Him: You are forgetting your purse my dear.
Me: I am not thanking you for that. Even if I had forgotten it, the need for it would have made me return to the parking lot and retrieve it.
Him: It could have got stolen.
Me: Well then too I definitely would have preferred not taking your help.
Him: Are you sure darling?
Me: Yes I am very sure.
Me: I am so glad to humour you. I am sure you have no idea how does it feel to be hit by your own bike that practically takes you to and fro in this pathetic city that badly needs a good local transport.
Him: You don’t want to hear my reply, do you?
Me: Yeah don’t bother man. And did I not ask you to leave me alone or was I just imagining this warning?
Him: I really want to know where your stock of questions comes from. They seem endless, don’t you think?
Me: And whose answers you always seem to evade so thoughtlessly.
Him: Do you really want to hear the answers? Or do you really WANT answers?
Me: Okay I thought the question’s department was mine. You are trespassing again.
Him: Oops can’t help it.
Me: Which means you definitely shall accompany me to the classroom as well. (Smiling) Would you mind if I stare at some cute guys at the reception?
Him: I don’t have to answer that. You already know it’s your choice, isn’t it?
Me: But then what’s the point in your being around if you will let me do what I want to do.
Him: To make sure you don’t get yourself another scratch my darling.
Me: And do you really think I am goanna believe this?
Him: Again. It is absolutely your choice.
Me: No, seriously, please go! Don’t you have a self-respect or something?
Him: Speaking of that, I do think I care about my self-respect but not as much as I do about your reverence and love for me. That’s kinda flattering you know. You may begin by learning to respect me.
Me: You are pushing yourself in again.
Him: (smiling) Okay my dear. Please do take care of yourself and be good. And call me if you need help sweetie.
Me: Ugh! That’s so relieving…aaoouch……..gosh this pain…….it keeps reminding me of him.
Him (from somewhere near): You know there’s an option kiddo.
Me: (ignoring) Just REMEMBERING not CALLING.
Him: Okay. Am gone.
Me: Thank you. Goodness, that feels so less suffocating.
SCENE II ( In classroom)
Akshay: But Madam why would anyone name a cold drink Pepsi if ‘pepsia’ means digestion, which is the opposite of dyspepsia?
Me: Well coz obviously cold drinks were meant as digestion boosters. Or at least that’s what I used to think. Okay I guess I shall get back to you on this one. It’s a good question.
Akshay: Also I am rather confused about why amicable should not be used for a person while amiable can be despite that they both literally mean the same thing.
Me: Well there isn’t quite a reason why that is so. I mean that’s the way it is. Umm…..I guess Akshay, I will have to do more research on that one too….so sorry….
(About a dozen more questions and an hour later)
Scene III (A house. Garden)
Me: What were you thinking? Why didn’t you help me today in class?
Him: I thought you wanted to rely on your own knowledge of words. And well I must say you are good at it. The one on the Pepsi was, well, tactfully handled. Bravo!
Me: Thanks for the compliment but you evaded my question again.
Him: I am not evading it. I am answering it. Are you listening?
Him: You asked me to leave you alone. I did. Then since you specifically wanted my absence and the fact that you so wanted to flaunt your preparation of vocabulary in today’s class, I had to leave you on your own. And since despite the preparation, you still weren’t doing so well, I decided to sneak peek. Actually I was there all the time. How do you think I know that you handled the Pepsi question so well?
I was there whenever you handled any question decently. Else you would have fumbled totally that’s coz clearly your preparation wasn’t good enough for this bunch of students. They are really smart. But since you had specifically WANTED me out, I HAD TO my dear. Yet I love you so much I had to help help you at places when you didn’t know the answer to the questions posed at you. Had I helped you straight with smart answers, you would have accused me of trespassing again. So I just helped you handle the difficult questions well enough so to make you think that YOU were the one handling it without my help.
Me: Oh my goodness! I would have messed it up big time had you not helped me in handling. And yes, I would have definitely fumbled, considering my history of crisis-management. Oh………..Oh…………did you also remote-control that back bencher’s remarks on me?
Him: (chuckling) Couldn’t help. He was annoying you so much, I felt like hitting him myself!
Me: Thanks a lot man. Oh my gosh….I can’t think straight……it’s so overwhelming…….
Him: You look so tired. You will be okay soon if you have some rest.
Me: Wait a minute…..you already knew that this bunch was smarter than I was….so why did you let it happen? I mean you could have prevented me from taking the session without much preparation or may be let it get cancelled or something.
Him: Ha you are so human. Well, that’s what the scratch on the foot was for. And believe me, I did it only because only this morning you had prayed and asked for my help. I thought you usually didn’t take the risk of conducting a class unless you were perfectly healthy. I was so confident that you would postpone the class today but you didn’t! However, had I allowed a deeper wound on your foot, you would have missed your friend’s wedding tomorrow. So I had to balance it, you know.
But then you decided to brave it out. Then too I was very confident that you would seek my help. But never once did you remember me during that one hour that I thought it best to leave you alone. Not really, though.
Me: But if you wanted to forewarn me, why didn’t you do it during the day while I was preparing for the class?
Him: That’s coz you stopped calling me after half the day. Remember you got a call from an old student in the afternoon and then he started complimenting you for your vocabulary knowledge. That kind of got into your head. You stopped your preparation and forgot to call me. That’s why I had to take that last minute ‘scratch’ resort.
Me: (hugging) Oh Abba………….father………my dear dear God………..I am so sorry…….I am so sorry for being so irreverent and insensitive and mean and……
Him: Oh my dearest sweetest daughter. That’s like my girl. I was so dying for this hug. When was the last time you gave it?
Me: Christmas, I suppose!
Him: Hmmmmm……..that’s been like six months my child. Your father needs hugs more frequently. And always remember my girl that your little choices usually define your character. So always be careful in making them.
Me: (holding his hand affectionately) So sorry God. I guess I will always call you whenever in doubt about choosing,I promise. By the way, thanks for the lovely bird that woke me up this morning. Or else I would have missed my morning class.
Him (laughing) Oh she’s my favourite. Listens to me all the time.
Me: (walking hand in hand) Would you accompany me every evening for the walk?
Him: If you insist.
Me: And also I remembered to smell those pink roses this morning, as you had said. How do you get them to smell so awesome man?
Him: Rhetoric question again………
Me: But I really want to know….really…….
By Mukti Masih