Humourist Soumya shares a fictionalised story of his daughter, Medha, and her Valentine’s Day blues. Here’s a special feature, on the eve of the V-Day, in the weekly column, exclusively for Different Truths.
My little girl had shared this funny story of heartbreak with me, which I am trying to fictionalise.
Medha had just moved to Delhi. Her Mom was thrilled to come back to her hometown, but for the girl, it was a scary new place. She dreaded having to make new friends in a new school. Everyone here was so large and loud. She couldn’t speak Hindi, which people found funny. She was just entering her teens. In her old school, she was the star singer and artist and had many friends, a few admirers, and a serious crush that she missed so much. Here she was just the awkward kid with a funny accent who wouldn’t open her mouth. She was pining away for her old city.
But things slowly changed. Mostly because of a totally extroverted girl, Dimpy, who decided to take the new kid under her wing and make her fit in by sheer force! She made the new girl try out at the talent contest, and gave wide publicity to her prowess in singing and painting after her success there. Medha may not be good at talking, but boy, could she sing! People began to acknowledge her and life started to get better.
But now her mentor started bullying her to try something outlandish. Medha was a great admirer of the school band, and was awestruck by those cool gods and goddesses who climb the stage, toss their hair, strum the guitars and say testing, check, check into the mike. Her mentor wanted Medha to audition for it.
While she was trained in Indian classical, Rabindrasangeet and choir, rock wasn’t her forte. She loved the classic rock in her dad’s collection and the grunge and emo that her friends were into. She belted out these numbers in the shower with an air guitar, but could not quite imagine herself on stage in front of people, doing this.
The audition went off brilliantly. It was a Celine Dion number that suited her voice, and the powerful notes of a trained musician in both Indian and Western classical wowed the judges. Soon she was jamming with kids four years her senior, and the coolest crowd in school. Medha was tongue-tied most of the time in their company, except of course when she was singing. She observed and absorbed the lingo and mannerisms on stage, but couldn’t dream of repeating those at home. The hairstyle, wardrobe and body art of these kids would have made Medha’s dad faint.
There was one boy who was different, the tall soft-spoken bass player Sid. He was serious about music and was the main person to back Medha’s inclusion as the lead female vocal against older and more glamorous claimants. This upset not only those other girls but also the drummer, a boy in low slung baggy pants. Sid would praise Medha’s voice during jam sessions and patiently teach her bass chords. He was also into reading, and sometimes would talk about books to Medha, an avid and precocious reader, without acting patronising. Inevitably, Medha idolised Sid.
The band jammed till late after school, which Medha couldn’t attend as she had to take the school bus and wasn’t allowed to use public transport on her own. The other seniors made rude comments about problems in letting kids into the band which drove Medha almost to tears. Then one day, when it was important to practice before a competition, Sid offered to drop her home on his bike, saying it wasn’t out of his way.
Medha was thrilled. She was a little apprehensive of what dad would say about her transport arrangements. But beyond some gentle kidding that wasn’t a problem. And the ragging from her friends, especially Dimpy, she secretly enjoyed. You see, she had a huge secret crush on Sid.
She loved dreaming about Sid, even to the extent of thinking that Sid being a half bong like her, her parents may not mind him. Then one day, when in the general celebration for the band winning a prize in some inter-school competition, she got a big hug from Sid, she was deliriously happy.
The secret had to be shared with someone, or Medha would burst. Dimpy was possibly not the best choice, but she was the only one. Didi would scoff, and mom might tell dad, who would then rag her mercilessly and share this with others as a huge joke.
So Dimpy was sworn into secrecy and made a confidant. That led to another problem. Dimpy insisted that the feelings were shared and that Sid would have to be told. Medha was mortified by the idea. But Dimpy wasn’t a girl to take no for an answer.
Finally, Dimpy decided that Medha would confide her feelings with Sid on 14th Feb, the eagerly anticipated V-Day, which was approaching. A terrified Medha thought about bunking school, but couldn’t think of a good enough excuse to give at home.
On the big day, Dimpy held the quacking Medha captive and waited in ambush in the school hall for Sid to appear. The moment he did, Dimpy’s ringing voice announced “Siddharth! Medha has something to say to you” and a firm shove sent poor Medha sliding along the hall towards Sid.
“Hi, what’s up?” Sid politely enquired. A blushing Medha was speechless. The Cadbury brought for the occasion was pushed deep in her blazer pocket. ‘Tell me, Medha,” Sid gently reminded, “I’m getting late for class”
Summoning all her courage, Medha looked up, took out the by now melted chocolate from her pocket and held it up, “I think I… uh… um I mean, I sort of… I like you,” she mumbled, flushing deep scarlet. It seemed like the whole school was listening in with bated breath. There was a ringing in her ear. It was the school bell.
“Oh, how sweet!” Sid exclaimed, and laughed, and patted her head and pinched her cheeks, like those obnoxious aunts. Taking the offered sweet with thanks, he rushed off to class.
Medha felt herself burning. It was tough keeping the tears at bay. She looked firmly at the floor, hating Dimpy, Sid, the band, herself, school, and everything. She crept into class, feeling all eyes boring into her.
Actually, hardly anyone noticed. Everyone was busy on the big day chasing their own crushes. Exams being around the corner, the band practice was discontinued, until the gig giving farewell to the senior class, where Medha was one of the few old members, auditioning newcomers to replace Sid, the drummer, and the others.
This little heartbreak long forgotten, Medha is in a new city now, the lead singer in an all-girl band, a toast in the college fest circuit, and Sid is just another friend on Facebook, like her old crush from her old city. But she still hates Valentine’s Day!
Photos from the Internet
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Soumya Mukherjee is an alumnus of St Stephens College and Delhi School of Economics. He earns his daily bread by working for a PSU Insurance company, and lectures for peanuts. His other passions, family, friends, films, travel, food, trekking, wildlife, music, theater, and occasionally, writing. He has been published in many national newspapers of repute. He has published his first novel, Memories, a novella, hopefully, the first of his many books. He blogs as well.