I was very close---from the time I was 17 to about 19---to a boy two years younger than me, called Abhinav. I met him online, but it turned out after we started chatting a bit on ICQ (I miss ICQ! Does anyone even use it anymore?) that we had some common friends. Not so surprising, because the Delhi social circles are so small and so incestous that forget six degrees of separation, you probably know someone who dated someone else who everyone knows. It's nice because everyone knows everyone and it sucks because everyone knows everyone.
Anyway, so Abhi and I graduated from chatting online to chatting on the phone, till we struck up a really good phone friendship. It got so that the minute I got home from school the phone would ring and it would be him. At night, right before I went to bed, he'd call. Sometimes even after I went to bed, but bleary-eyed I'd still talk to him. There was so much to say, I'd tease him for being two years younger and I'd ask him what he looked like (coz we still hadn't met) and he'd say, "Yeah, I'm kinda overweight and I like wearing huge gold chains." He said this so often that I half-believed it was true and saw him as he described himself--a foppish, wealthy young man.
Finally, because it had to happen sooner or later, we arranged to meet up, an event I was dreading. You see, Abhinav was my fantasy boy, what if he turned out to be really ugly or fat and I knew things would never be the same again. Plus, what kind of people actually met with other people they met online? Discounting me, of course. I was really cool.
Next to my school was this place we caleld the Mink, for reasons no-one knew. It had been passed down from generation to generation and it was where all the cool students hung out, ordering Coke and Cheetos, or the more daring amongst them, lighting up. After-school fights happened there and we went, as a matter of course, to find out gossip because you could tell who was dating whom just by seeing who hung out at the Mink.
I had asked Abhinav to meet me there and spent a feverish hour in the Girl's Room (bunking my class, which happened to be Sociology) fixing my hair, smearing glittery lipgloss over my mouth and adding some forbidden eye pencil. I hiked up my skirt (rolling it up and untucking my blouse slightly so it hid the fold) and wished it was the winter so I could've been in my much chic-er winter uniform--grey skirt, white blouse, green pullover and green tie. But it was summer and white skirts and blouses were the code, even though when it rained it was like a wet t-shirt contest. Oh well. I contented myself by rolling down my socks and slathering moisturiser all over my legs. At least I was wearing sneakers and not those horrible "prescribed" school shoes.
And he drove up, or rather was chaffeur driven, in this big fancy car and he was waiting for me and he was hot. No, I mean, really, truly, feel-like-someones-punched-you-in-the-stomach-hot. And at that moment, though I only realise it now, I knew that this relationship was going to be trouble.
Instantly all my prepared-ness leaked out of me. I was tongue tied and awkward and he was evidently enjoying it, because his mouth (and oh my god, what a mouth it was) kept curling up at the corners as he watched me fidget and look around desperately. Nope, it wasn't the best first meeting in the history of first meetings, but some chord must have been struck because when he left he said, "I'll call you" and did. Honestly, no fooling.
I returned to my friends after he left, heart still thumping, palms still sweaty and was gratified to note their jaws scraping the floor.
"Wow, he was really cute," said Devyani at last.
"Ya," I said laconically.
What happens next? Stay tuned... (I'm sorry, but I have TONS of work. Plus I liked the last sentence. Didn't you?)