I paced the room, unable to control my nervousness. God! I hated this feeling. My fingers continued to tingle no matter how hard I squeezed them. He was thirty minutes late. This would not do. He might be a singing sensation but that didn’t mean he could walk in whenever he wanted to. If it wasn’t for Venkat sir, I would never have agreed to do this.
I took a deep breath and looked into the mirror. I smiled at my reflection, extended my hand and said, “Hi! I’m Prisha Thakur.”
“I didn’t know that nowadays people talk to themselves while looking in the mirror.”
I locked eyes with him and almost stopped breathing. I opened my mouth to speak but nothing came out. I tried again, but it seemed my voice box had a will of its own.
“And when questioned about their idiotic behavior they gasp like a fish out of water.”
I turned around with my mouth still open to find his hazel eyes piercing through mine, full of mockery.
Trying to ignore my rising temper I forced myself to smile and looked directly into his eyes.
“Hi I’m Prisha…”
He lifted his hand and cut me off mid-sentence.
“Whatever, just ask the accounts professor to come and meet me.”
“I am your accounts professor.”
I saw his eyes widen. He opened his mouth to say something and then promptly shut it.
“Now, why are you gasping like a fish out of water Mr. Aarav Mehra?”
“What! How can you teach me accounts? You look like a fresher,” he thundered.
Running out of patience I crossed my arms and said, “Listen, I don’t have time to waste. I need to teach you quite a lot so it would be best if we start with today’s session.”
“No, he said emphatically, “I’m sure there’s a big mistake. I was under the impression that I will be taught by a professor and not some fellow student. I’m sorry but I can’t accept you as my teacher. Also, you’re a woman and I don’t trust women.”
His matter- of- fact reply stumped me but my initial shock soon changed to anger.
“I get that you are skeptical at the prospect of being taught by a final year B.com student your age, but I can’t believe that you have a problem with me being a woman. How can you have such regressive thoughts?”
Aarav tightened his jaw and glared at me, “I have my own reasons and I don’t need to justify anything to you.”
“Before you write me off as incompetent who can’t be trusted simply because of her gender, you need to give me a chance to prove you wrong. If you walk away from here, I’ll assume that you are a coward who forms opinions without any logic.”
We continued glaring at each other for a long time. Aarav finally spoke.
“Fine. Help me score 65 in my upcoming exam. But remember, my failure is your failure.”
With these words he walked out of the classroom.
After meeting Aarav Mehra in person, I felt compelled to find out more about him. I already knew that he had shot to fame with his solo album ‘Tamanah’ last year. His sultry voice had left the entire nation in a tizzy and his arresting face had every girl swooning at his feet. Well, not every girl, because apparently his pretty face had no effect on me whatsoever. A quick google search revealed that he was the son of Mr. Narain Mehra, the renowned hotelier who owned several five star hotels in India as well as abroad.
A rich spoilt brat who happened to be born with a golden voice- that to me, was Aarav Mehra. If I could have my way, I would never set eyes on him but the image of Venkat sir lying glumly on his bed with a broken hip bone gave me the impetus to get dressed and hail a taxi to Aarav’s swanky pad in south Mumbai.
Venkat sir was like a father figure to me. It was under his tutelage that I realised my passion for accounts and managed to top every accounts paper. When I was unable to pay his fees he agreed to teach me at a discounted price. He had said with a smile on his face, “ because you are a bright student.”
Since I was struggling to pay my house rent he suggested that I become an assistant teacher and help him in his coaching class. Apparently Venkat sir was to tutor Aarav privately, but unfortunately he fell down and injured his hip bone. As a result he was confined to his bed for two months and that’s where I came into the picture.
I paid the taxi driver and proceeded to enter the building that looked more like a hotel than a residential complex. His butler ushered me into his study and before I could admire the grandeur of the room or the Mumbai skyline, Aarav walked into the room with his books.
We didn’t exchange any pleasantries and neither did he smile. It was all business for him which suited me just fine. I started explaining the topic- ‘Capital reduction and internal reconstruction’ which he listened to with concentration. Our interaction was mostly in the form of a monologue wherein I spoke and he listened. When class ended, there was no ‘bye’ or ‘see you next time’, just a curt nod to signal that the homework would be done before next class.
This went on for a week and his haughty behaviour always set my teeth on edge. But I had to admit that he was a good student and he managed to grasp the concepts and apply them quite well. One day while I was on my way home from college, I saw a huge hoarding with Aarav’s face on it. He looked dapper in ripped jeans and a black leather jacket. His white shirt beautifully brought out his hazel eyes and his longish jet black hair that fell into his eyes lent him a rakish air. He was holding a guitar and grinning back at me. I scowled at his poster which declared that his new album ‘Junoon’ was out. I decided to find out why all my classmates couldn’t stop gushing about him and his songs.
I listened to his entire song in complete silence unable to believe that a voice had the power make you forget everything, even lose track of time. His song hit straight to the heart and his voice had a rare sincerity that was hard to find. Just then my phone buzzed, it was Venkat sir calling to inform me that my session with Aarav tomorrow was cancelled.
His call left me feeling confused. How could an ill-mannered and unfeeling guy celebrate his birthday at an orphanage? It just didn’t tie up with Aarav’s persona. The guy was like an accounts problem that seemed pretty straightforward at first glance but as you proceed, it keeps throwing surprises at you and takes much longer to solve.
During my next session, Aarav told me that he had scored 75/100 in his class test. I was elated to hear such good news. Unable to quell my curiosity I asked him about his birthday celebration.
“It was great! I do this every year and it is immensely satisfying to play board games with those kids and sing to them. They are the best audience I have had till date.”
I saw him smile for the first time and that’s where all the trouble began. His dimpled smile reached his eyes and when he laughed I almost forgot to breathe. How could someone look so attractive when they laughed? I shook my head, trying to get rid of such ludicrous thoughts.
Aarav smiled sheepishly and said, “I do realise that my rude behaviour was uncalled for. I apologise for that. To make up for it and as a token of my appreciation, I would like to treat you for dinner.”
I almost fell out of my chair. Dinner? With Aarav? No way! I tried my level best to weasel out but he seemed determined. Finally I relented and we decided to call for Domino’s pizza. During dinner he told me about his music, how he was always inclined towards singing, his first album, all the places he had travelled to and in return he asked me about my life, my dreams and my family.
From that day onwards we developed a sort of friendship. After class we would hang out- either go for coffee, watch a movie or sometimes just sit and talk for hours. Even after we graduated from college, we stayed in touch. I went on to pursue chartered accountancy and he decided to focus on his singing career. We both led busy lives but we always made it a point to make time for each other. Strangely enough he had no friend who was a girl except me and I still hadn’t forgotten his comment about not trusting women. I often wondered why did he then choose to be my friend.
One day I asked him this question and he said, “You’re different, you’re not like the other women I meet. I see a lot of myself in you; you’re ambitious, hardworking, you never back down from a challenge, you are an independent girl who chases her dreams which is commendable and what I like about you the most is your sense of self- respect.”
Nobody had ever praised me, that too with such sincerity and honesty. That day, something changed. No matter how hard I tried to deny it, I knew I was falling for him. Every time he won an award, my heart would fill with pride and joy, every time he donated a significant portion of his income towards a charitable cause as opposed to blowing it on some expensive item, I fell a little more in love with him. Aarav not only had a golden voice but also a golden heart. But expecting him to love me back was delusional because guys who looked like Greek gods didn’t go for girls who could be best described as plain Jane.
To be continued…
Will a rising super star fall in love with an ordinary girl? Will Prisha tell Aarav how much she loves him? Will they a have a love story with a happy ending? All these questions will be answered next Friday. Till then keep guessing! 😛