The LOVE CATALYST 

The BUTTER 

It was the D-DAY as we were attending our chemistry practicals. Chemistry practicals were cool because of the atmosphere there. The teacher incharge would stand in the centre, with everyone around her like some accident had occurred. We both used to stand at the end of this hoard without a care about what was going on. That day wasn’t any different. Everyone was present, and yes, the girl with admirable beauty had paid heed to the invitation until now. 

“Bhai, ready hai na??” I poked Darshan. He seemed a bit nervous as if he was appearing for some exam but still replied,”Yes, it’s everything or nothing.” 

It felt satisfying doing this good thing but the consequences were still unknown. 

“Listen everyone, the Catalyst is an important part in this reaction” shouted the teacher. 

“Sunn be ma’am kya boli?” I taunted him with a wide grin. He laughed it off with his nervousness still visible. 

“Bhai, meri bhi SETTING laga dena!!” touted Akshay in a way to tease Darshan. Apart from us, he knew this thing because of his ‘poke into everyone’s business’ ways. 

“Haa!! I’ll do this stuff and make a living now. Log dosto ke liye STUPIDITY krte hai aur hum CUPIDITY”, I replied as all three of us broke into laughter. 

It was time, time for the final blow. Shruti’s behaviour had been skeptical throughout but still I knew she would come. We were already waiting in the back corridor where nobody bothered to roam about. Ideal place for an ideal beginning. 

And there she was, girl with an adorable charm with her curly locks sliding over her shoulder as she walked through without the slightest bother. 

She didn’t seem shocked seeing both of us, maybe because we hunted together everywhere or maybe because she was okay with it. 

“So?” I tried to break the ice. 

“So?” she said shrugging her shoulders. 

“What do you think?” interrupted Darshan. 

“The FORT GUY huh?” she said looking at me. 

“Yesss! The FORT GUY” I said with a sense of pride. 

“So, what do you think?” asked Darshan again as if they were the only words he had practiced. 

“I always felt that it could be him.” she said. That certainly did boost our confidence. But the atmosphere still had some nervous air in it. 

“I do have a checklist regarding my special someone.” she continued,” and regarding you, let me see” she turned her back towards us as she said this. It felt as if she was laughing there. 

“Okay, looks-check, courtesy-check, sweetness-check” she was speaking. 

“Bhai ye toh maje le rhi hai apne?” Darshan whispered into my ears. 

“Sabar kar baccha. You have waited this long. Thanda rakh” I whispered back. 

“… Bad habit of whispering-check” she went on as we looked at each other, “good at heart-check, gives respect-check and the most important…” she turned towards us as we stood pretending someone who waited for results, “… Loves me-check.” 

We both let out a sigh of relief and I poked Darshan to do the rest and then the moment it was. 

Darshan went down on one knee and Shruti in shock as he said those words, “I LOVE YOU SHRUTI, DO YOU LOVE ME?” 

Shruti was still in disbelief as she was looking towards both of us in total confusion, when she said, “BUT……” 
THE END

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The LOVE CATALYST 

The ESSENCE

“Heya”, I texted Shruti on that boring afternoon. 

“Hey! Wassup?”, came her unexpectedly instant reply. 

“Nothing much re. U say?” 

“Tired. I returned today morning from my mini vacation.” 

“Ohhh! Great. So this is why the boys sulked at college.” 

“Hahaha! Lol! Stop it Nilay. Nobody is soo eager to wait for me and besides this was the best time that I had.”

 I hated the ‘LOL’ thing alot but that ‘thike, ladki hai,achi dikhti hai, chalta hai’ thing made me continue.”Ohhoo! U have had a superb tym I guess! Kidhr gyi thi?” 

“Actually it was a native place thing, Kolhapur is where we went. But this time we enjoyed being there. And you know what the higlight of this trip was?” 

Before i could reply anything came a string of messages

“P

A

N

H

A

L

A” 

Her excitement and enjoyment both were sensed in these 7 letters and I just wanted to listen more. “Sahieee!! Aage bata!” I kept it minimum, eager to listen more. And she continued… 

“Arrree! U must visit this fort. Srsly the climate, the fort, surroundings everything everything mesmerised me to the core. And as always the way our MAHARAJ had built it, all the secretways and stories, they always fill u with a sense of pride that we had techniques that the world didn’t know. And arre the best thing was the chilling drizzle that came there. It wasss the sexiest thing whilst enjoying the fort. I love rains alot and that weather made me miss someone!”

This someone thing made me interrupt her,”Ahem ahem, kisko miss kiyaa??” 

“Ayeee, stop ur wheels. There’s no1 yet but yeah it felt like someone shud have been there. Someone who could click pictures for me when i was engrossed in the beauty of nature. Someone who would do that Yash Chopra movie things of draping something over me when i felt the chills. Someone who would feed me when i was tired enough from the adventure. And someone who would cuddle with me to sleep. Ik I’m being too cheeky but the weather there made my mind wander exctly like this. And yes i missed the spcl sum1”

This one message gave me the existential crisis of GOD. Did he really want me to be the CATALYST? Did he favoured the SETTING? Did he want me to do this CUPIDITY? 

It struck to me that I had forgot to reply Shruti and she was waiting. Her behaviour that day was kind of spooky as she hadn’t been so eager to talk to me before. 

“🙈🙈”, this was all I could reply. 

“Tu kyu sharma raha hai? I didn’t miss U”, and bang came down the world to being normal. 

“I ain’t sharmaing, okay! It’s just that I enjoyed your lovaria in that ecstatic weather on the fort.” I tried being cheeky, ” Acha Shruti what if someone actually existed like your FORT GUY!” 

” Haha! Itni kripa bhagwan ny banake rakhta humpe” she said 

“Arree hum janme hi kaahe hai?” this time I replied without gulping those words. 

“What?? U, the almighty😂?” 

“Naah! It’s like there does exist the FORT GUY and he is one of our classmates.” I said, now, determinant about being the CATALYST. 

“Ummm… Okay! Now I don’t know how to react to this😂! Still, Who is it?” she asked seeming curious this time. 

“Hai koi toh!”, I was loving this suspense thing,”This FORT GUY is, someone u know.” 

“Arre Benedict! Stop this suspense and reveal it once” she seemed annoyed. 

“Not so easily😈. Meet me in the back corridor of college on Thursday.” 

 “Stop this nonsense Nilay! Bata de kon hai? Is it U?”

I was in a fix after this reply. It’s like there are two kinds of guys in this world- first are those who fall for a girl after seeing her, after mentally deciding that she is the one and the second are those who fall for every girl that talks sweetly with them and yeah I proudly belonged to the latter part. 

I could have turned cupid for myself but doing the CUPIDITY for BHAIJAAN seemed more interesting. 
To be continued… 

The LOVE CATALYST 

The CONFESSION 

It was this superb weather after the mid terms that seemed to make college all the more interesting for me. The sweetly shining sun showering its mild heat added with that cool breeze in the air, “Winter was here”. Besides doing the usual notoriety with Darshan added to the fun. Although Darshan seemed like some lad who had lost his way into a big fair. He was weird but this was something different.

“Bhai, all okay?” I asked him that day amidst the chemistry class. “Nothing!”, he said. Never had he so blatantly replied to me.

“Haa ab seth ho gye aap log. Garibo ko kyu bataoge?” 

“Bhai, plzz you pay attention there. Shruti might need your notes later.” 

This reply was enough for me to understand why this lad had lost his way in this fair. Shruti hadn’t yet arrived even though the mid term breaks were over. 

“Darshu, scene kya hai ye Shruti wala?” I asked him this time wanting to know everything. 

“Yaar nilya kyaa batau abb? I think I’m in love. It’s like it was nothing before but now she has became the one who reigns my thoughts most of the time. This hasn’t happened with me before and I tried to get her out but she has become like an ant that sticks to jaggery. She has become like my epitome of happiness right now. All the things that I love, I end up having her in them.”
” Like how?” i asked. 

” Arey its like, if I love forts, I see myself clicking her  pics as she stands by the walls with her arms spread out. If I love food, I see myself feeding her. If I love rain, I see myself draping a coat over her as she feels the chills. If I love sleeping, I see myself cuddling with her. I don’t know why this is happening bhai? ” he said. Every comparison of his made him blush and that’s when I , too, was sure about this lost lad searching for love. Before I  could suggest anything to him came those golden words, 

” BHAI SETTING LAGA NA.”
To be continued….. 

The LOVE CATALYST 

The STIMULUS 

Being in a junior college without the burden of studying had been the best feeling after those mindsquashing board exams. Attending lectures hadn’t been so interesting. We had also learned this bunking phenomenon whilst sneaking out before the next teacher entered. Everything around us gave the feeling of ‘MAA TERA BETA BADA HO GAYA HAI MAA’. 

The bond between Darshan and me, too was blossoming into something stronger than just friends. From birdwatching to brunching, from dozing off mid lectures to standing up for each other, there was everything that a BHAI does between us. Yet, when Shruti was around, things started to twist and turn and roll and jump. Shruti was that occasional bird who would join us during our mischiefs. The girl who used to have no one in this class apart from me had turned to everyone’s, even though mild, but secret crush. She used to hangout with her girl gang which used to flock together everywhere as if they hunted in a group. 

“Nilay, can you give me your chemistry notes? ” she asked me once. I was busy with some stuff so I’d ignored her. “Nilay?” she called again. Before I could look up, came a thud on my head from our very own Darshan ji, “Are Nilya, bichari kabse puuch rhi hai wo, dhyaan kidhr hai tera? .. Deena usko book.” Hitting me on the head usually enraged me but brocodes cooled this rage at that time. I handed over the book to her and turned my attention to this Hulk besides me whose gaze was locked on her departure. 

“Bhaiiii, gayi wo!!” I exclaimed standing in front of his face. What followed was funny weird and shocking as he replied, “Hamesha ke liye toh nahi naa??” with an expression of shyness clearly visible

To be continued…. 

The LOVE CATALYST

THE PRELUDE

It was one fine rainy day when our colleges had started. The air was filled with the feeling of being a grown up as we walked the pavement to our new college that we were enrolled to. Add to it the blooming essence of the soil in the rains. We here referred to my friend Darshan. Till 10th he was just like any other acquaintance that I had but as soon as the admission process for the junior college got over I was glad that there was atleast someone with me. 

As we entered the class, I was actually thrilled seeing so many new faces and that too without the usual uniform… Everyone had their own styles and attitudes. From a hipster to a nerd, from a heroine to a geek, they were everywhere as if the jungle had organised a huge meeting of the animals living in there. We sneaked through these animals to the third last bench as sitting in the first rows was not our cup of tea and doing the nautankiness was in my blood veins. And then started the bird watching game, Darshan was kind of similar to me so he too joined in the natural process. We looked for every bird on every branch in the class. Some of the faces were familiar and some of them were totally alien to me. This thing went on for three lectures and the bell rang. As soon as the professor stepped out the whole place turned out into some sort of market with different pitches of voices being heard. 

“Chal bahar jaake aate hai! ” said Darshan rhetorically. We walked through our small marketplace looking at faces who looked back at us as if we were people with long noses and big ears. As we moved out through the door, I heard a voice call me,”Hey, Nilay!”. 

Startled with this girly voice we looked back, it was Shruti. She was one of the cutest girl in the class. I knew her as we were in the same classes for 9th but never have had the guts to talk to her. Even here I had watched her but there’s always that thing called “AUKAD KE BAHAR” waali feeling which put barriers in my mind. And here she was, calling me. 

I went upto her and said,”Hey, Shruti right? So you too in this college? “, those were the stupidest words that I could manage at that time, yet she replied smiling,” Yeah! So nice to see you here. Idhr koi bhi pehchan ka ny hai yaar.” My internal demons replied with,”Are hum janme hi kaahe hai?” but I gulped them and said,”I know it sucks. I’m glad I have at least one friend. Actually two now.” 

I know I sucked at building rapports with girls but this was it. 
To be continued… 

HER 21ST BIRTHDAY

The happiest face there was of her father’s. 

He whispered to his first love, “How fast has she grown,  I still remember those times when her tiny little fingers used to wrap around mine.” He reminisced the day when his second love had set foot in this world. From that day to this celebration now, he had  been witness to everything that she had been through these 21 years. 

She said, “My love, I know what surge of emotions you are going through. I remember each moment that you both have had and the number of times I’ve lost to both of you.” Both giggled at this, as it had been the story always, when both the father and daughter won over every argument over their mother. “Baba, Aai”, as she fondly called them, “Come here, It’s time for the cake cutting.” 

A three-tier cake awaited them as they all gathered near the table. “How could she always go like Baba Aai and not Aai Baba”, she said. Her baba had the winners smile, as he said those two words again, “I WIN”. Everytime Baba quietly won over Aai as he was her superhero, her knight in shining armour, her saviour, her universe. 

“Ready?” the 21 year old asked as she cut through the first tier of the cake slicing of a piece from it amidst loud voices singing HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU. She turned towards her superhero and fed him the first bite. “I WIN” he said to her mother again. 

The cake cutting was done with as the Father’s daughter had turned 21 today. 21 years of growing up that her father had seen. 21 years that her father had grew with her. 21 years of memories that her father carried with him. 

“Honey, do u remember her first bday?” he asked his wife. She kept silent as she knew it was a rhetorical question and her love would b going on with the story. 

“How tiny she was dressed in that white tshirt. I clearly remember. Even though people were gathered and hoarded around her, our little princess stood there giving the sweetest smile to everyone. And and you remember the way she used to wink. The way she held the knife that day as if she had conquered some big thing. My daughter has grown up”

“Indeed she has. And she has been your daughter only” she said with a made-up smile. “Why do u fell so love?” he said with a wide mischievous grin. 

“Ohh! As if u don’t know. Remember those tyms when she used to take my odhani and wrap around her and then wud take her elder sister’s purse. And she wud make u hole her hand and take rounds of our house saying we r going to d-mart. All that was fine but my heart shattered when she used to say, “Only mi and baba will go. Aai tu nko yeu.” How rude of her? “she said making faces. 

” How could i forget that? Carrying her fake bags. Stopping in the middle as she checked out a fake product. That and the game where i had to taste the tea made by her. Ohh! I so clearly remember the way she used to wave hands as if she made the world’s best tea” he said continuing,”Also the blindfolds game of hers where if i found her she would say,”Baba tula distay na sagla!Cheating krtoy tu” and wud make me again go blindfolded.”

“YES”, she said but some sort of gates of baba’s mind had opened and he didn’t listen to that yes. He continued,”The way her big cute cheeks bounced when I lifted her and ran everywhere in the house. And and do you remember that time when she looked at me with her tiny eyes wide open, the time I clean shaved. I bet that was the only time u might have won.”

“Also remember, when she was some six years old, she used to  forcefully put ur odhani in the back of her top making it look like a queens cape and she used to sit on her chair like a queen.”he asked her. 

“Oh!  Yeah and the queen then let out orders to her mother as she made her father sit beside her as her advisor. You would have had a blast that time making me do things right? ” she said as both of them chuckled. 

“Everything feels as if it happened yesterday. The time she used to wait for me at the door and seeing a glimpse of me would rush down and cling onto me. The time when she made that first greeting card. I still can’t forget those cute little strokes on her face as she made it.”he said. 

“Baba Aai where are my gifts?” came asking a 21 year old girl as she searched for her parent’s gifts all over the place. 

He slid his hand in the pocket and took out some keys which had a ribbon attached to it and a greeting which read, “HAPPIES BDAY SHARA! WE LOVE YOU!” 

Sharvari understood that it was the thing that she had asked him some time ago. He had never let her down. She hugged him tightly as she clinched those keys saying, “I LOVE U SOOO MUCH BABA!!” and she ran downstairs. 

He looked at his wife and said, “I WIN”  again

THE CHERRY BLOSSOM

She sat there looking through her window whining about how she had missed the plane. A plane which would have taken her to the dream of her life,  a plane which defined her route to enjoyment, a plane which she was eager to get on board. She had travelled places all over the world and this hadn’t happened before. She was a traveller by heart whose soul wished to enjoy every bit of place she visited. Maybe that was the reason she was lost in that view outside the window. 
She lived by the hustle and bustle of the city  where if u peep out of your window, all you could see was the continuous chain of people moving like long rows of ants carrying food, all you could hear was the honking of the vehicles which made the roads invisible, all you could feel was the fading humanity in the world. Yet, her mom saw that her no clutches attached girl was smiling, her brave girl was feeling something. She chose not to disturb her because she knew her girl was not like everyone looking out and waving to some boy or that stuff. She knew her girl, even if had missed her plane would travel to that destination sitting in that hustling city. 

They say god cant be anywhere so he made Mothers and it was true. This here was a mother who never imposed narrow minded restrictions on her daughter. This here was a mother who never tried to cut her daughter’s wings. This here was a mother who let her child fly. And yeah she was right her daughter had lost in a fairyland. 

This girl sitting by the window had her eyes on something straight through the window. For a normal person all you could see there was a tall skyscraper or as in her favorite tv show, an ugly naked guy, but to her she could see the highest point on this Earth.

 The plane which this girl had missed was a plane to a distant land. A land where every year happened a festival. A festival which was a treat to her eyes. A festival which she had planned to go since her childhood. A festival where no one used lightings or crackers but it was mother nature that lightened up the festivities. A festival where every year people gathered to see everything pinkish. It was a time when the cherry blossom was what every person living there craved for. Yeah it was the CHERRY BLOSSOM FESTIVAL. 

There she was sitting by the window and viewing the highest peak when suddenly she looked up and lifted her hand as if there was a huge cherry blossom tree above her.  Her eyes had turned pink. She was embracing the flower that smoothly touched her fingers and tingled them. She was feeling the majesty of the everest and the calmness of the cherry blossoms when suddenly a flower fell down upon her. 

There had come a smile on her face. A smile that was a sign that the festival had started, a sign that the cherry blossoms tress had started to paint the land pink, the sign that even in this city the girl had managed to reach to the land of her dreams. 

The window had transformed into a place under a tree, under a cherry blossom tree from where she viewed the majestic everest, from where her tiny little eyes tried to capture the land of her dreams, from where the blossoming had begun. 

From where she returned❤