“Diya! You there?”,Vidya banged on the door.
“Let’s go?”, Anu pinned up her dupatta and asked Vidya.
“Diya is still not up”
“She must be tired from the trip. Let her come for the second hour. It is Malathi’s class. She will not let us in if we are a minute late. Come… Come…” Anu dragged Vidya.
Vidya again banged on Diya’s door during lunch break. Vidya stood in front of the door and tried calling Diya’s phone.
“Vidya, what happened to Diya? Is she too tired from the trip that she can’t even come for the class?”, Shalini laughed loud.
“Listen, I know it was you who spread the news about her trip.”
“Of course, it was me. Tell me one reason for not doing it.”
“Past is past.”
“Then what I had told about her is past too.”
“Diya, just open the door!”, Vidya yelled at the closed-door and banged on it.
Students flocked and they asked Vidya so many questions. Vidya gave up and told everyone that Diya is sick.
During the class, Vidya told her concerns to Anu. Diya’s phone is switched off; her parents have already called Vidya thrice; nobody has seen her after trip.
“Don’t worry; this is not her first time. Or on a happy note, may be they must have made out too many times that she is tired.”
“But still, can’t she at least open the door?”
“We will do one thing. Let’s bunk the next class and then go to her room.”
“OK. Let’s do that.”
When they reached Diya’s room, it was latched from outside.
“She must have gone to the toilet.”
“Let’s sit inside the room.”
They waited for an hour chatting each other.
“Diya’s guts! appreciated.”
“I don’t feel that she has done anything great.”
“But, again how did she make it? Aren’t her parents very pestering and strict?”
“Sigh! She told her parents that she is going to Kodaikkanal for the class trip and then went to Ooty with Deepak.”
“Whoa! She has brains to handle her parents. But still, I would have shivered to death for going on such a date. That’s why Ramesh and I date only inside the campus and I chose him over Naresh because Ramesh and I are from the same caste. I can’t handle complications. It is very difficult to sleep with one guy and then marry another one. I kinda feel disgusting.”
And Diya came holding her bucket in one hand and toiletries in another hand. She looked terribly tired. Eyes looked droopy and face looked pale.
Vidya and Anu sat straight eagerly waiting to hear the stories.”Diyaaaa”, they called teasingly.
She didn’t look at them but stood next to door opening it wide. Vidya looked at Anu and then looked at Diya.She was still standing there holding the opened door.
Shalini was sitting in the mess and Vidya purposely avoided looking at her.
“How is Diya? Her phone is switched off.” A text message flashed in Vidya’s mobile phone. It was from Deepak. She immediately called him but he didn’t pick up the call.”*******”, Vidya told herself.
Then Anu came running to mess and dragged Vidya out.
“Looks like there is some problem.”
“Ramesh told me that there is a rumor that Deepak was just idling time with Diya.He is not serious.”
“Oh that, even I knew. I don’t think even Diya is serious about the relationship.”
“Then who cares. Let them **** how much ever they want. I was worried that Diya was cheated.”
“No, Anu. She isn’t that kind of person. She knows well that any guy would fall for her charm. So if not Deepak, then somebody else.”
“I seriously want to know the art of being a *****.Guys come and go just like this in her life. Phew!”
Four days passed and nobody saw Diya in the class. For two days Vidya and Anu checked on her before going to class but then they got busier for the cycle tests.
During the first test,Diya came to class.She looked terrible.She had dark circles.Her hair was messy.Her lips were dry.The entire exam hall looked at her but she walked slowly to her seat.After ten minutes,Diya walked out of the exam hall.Anu leaned and looked at Vidya and she looked equally clueless.
Vidya and Anu ran behind Deepak after the test.
“Hey,listen,is there any problem between you both?”,Anu asked in stern voice.
“No.What problems?”,Deepak asked innocently.
Deepak joined his friends, laughed over some boys joke and cycled away.
Vidya slightly pushed the door and it opened. Diya was lying down on her bed. Anu also got inside the room and closed it from inside.
“Diya, wake up.”
Diya got up and hugged Vidya tightly. She screamed blue murder.
“What happened?”Anu whispered.
Diya cried. She cried uncontrollably. In two minutes, there was a pool of tears on her.
“Did you see Deepak?”
“Yes, we met him after the test. He looked normal. What happened to you?”
“He has a girlfriend in Delhi.A relationship approved by their parents.”
“WHAT?!!??”,both Anu and Vidya exclaimed.
“Yes,she had called me few days back.She shouted at top of her voice.I didn’t know what to reply.”
“What did Deepak say?”
“He told me that going to Ooty was my idea.Now the blame is on me.”
“Actually,why did you go with him?Anyway you were not serious and he was also not serious.”
“Who the hell told you that I was not serious?”
“So you were serious? Oh my God!”
“Of course I was serious. Otherwise why would I weave such a big story and tell my parents?”
“So, what is next?”
“I don’t know.”
“Coming for lunch?”
Anu and Vidya walked over to the mess and Anu said, ”What goes around comes around. This is the punishment for snatching Shalini’s boyfriend last year.”
“Don’t talk nonsense.”, Vidya joked,” punishment it seems.”
Days passed and the cycle tests were over. The weekend came. Diya and Anu had gone home. Vidya was bored watching movies and sleeping over books. She went to the mess for evening tea. The mess was deserted, so she stretched her legs and kept it on the chair on the other side of the table. She enjoyed the hot elachi tea and went for one more cup.
“Is Diya going out with Ashish?”
Vidya looked back to see who it is. She smiled at Shalini.
“No. I mean I don’t know; I don’t think so.”
“By the way,which Ashish?”
“Ashish — Deepak’s roommate; Rakhi’s boyfriend.”
“I saw Ashish and Diya in the railway station on Friday night when I went to see off my friends.”
“What is she up to?”
“They must be the new friends.”
“Rakhi told me that Ashish broke up with her on Thrusday night.”
The elachi tea tumbler fell down from Vidya’s hand.
Sunday night,Anu texted Vidya — “TTE caught Diya and Ashish from train’s loo. It is a chaos here.”
Vidya looked at the text message and then deleted it.
Next day while going to the class,Vidya knocked on Diya’s door.She was lying down and crying.She hugged Vidya tightly and cried.
“Why did you do this?”
“I don’t know.”
“Leave it.Get ready.”
Before reaching the class,Diya got a call.Both of them stopped their cycles.
“I am bunking the class.”
“Manish wants to talk to me.”
“Diya! Don’t do this.”
“Bye.I will come for the next class.”
Vidya said nothing and cycled to the class.