When she passed by, batting her eyelashes, Bunty’s heart thudded a thousand beats a minute.
‘Oye! Line de rahi hai *.’ His friends would tease him.
Sweety was the most exquisite thing in college. An oval face framed by willowy brown hair and deep brown eyes that shone impishly. Her fair skin was sprinkled with the merest of freckles that gave her a pixyish look. A button nose, fanned on either side by rosy cheeks that dimpled when she smiled. And, oh those lips! Those luscious, full ruby toned lips….. She was perfect and he was smitten.
Sitting behind her in class, Bunty literally swooned, much to Bittu’s annoyance. Bittu was his best friend since forever.
‘Bunty! Stop day-dreaming.’
Jolted to reality Bunty looked at Bittu, ‘Huh?’
‘I said stop mooning over her,’ Bittu repeated, ‘If professor Mehta notices, you’ll be toast.’
‘Class, hand in the weekly assignments,’ as if on cue Prof Mehta’s stentorian voice boomed. He was a stickler for punctuality, did not tolerate tardiness. Every Monday the neatly typed assignment had to be handed in. Bittu hated doing the assignments. Economics, unlike in case of Bunty, was not his best subject. But, his fear of the Professor made him submit on time.
At lunch break the following day…
‘Bittu. Yaar*, guess what? I got nominated to represent our college for the inter-college fest. And you know the best part? I bet you can’t guess… Sweety is my partner. We both have to go together. Oh! Bittu, I’m so happpppyyyy.’
A pained expression on his face, Bittu thought, ‘Damn! It’s difficult enough to jhelo* his Romeo act daily. Now he will be insufferable.’
‘Yaar Bittu. God is great. He has answered my prayers. Lend me your bike so I can drive her to the fest.’
Bittu choked on his sandwich. Coughing, he hastily gulped a few sips of water before weakly asking, ‘Bike? Why do you want my bike? Why can’t you both Uber?’
‘Oye idiot! Have you ever seen romance begin in the back of an Uber? Romance brews on a bike when the girl holds the boy tight.’ Bunty was lost again, this time in his own imagery.
Bittu looked at his friend. ‘This one’s a hopeless gone case now,’ he thought a hand on his forehead.
Then an idea formed. A shrewd glint appeared in his eyes. He looked at Bunty and said, ‘You want my bike? Okay fine, take it. But, I won’t give it for free. I want something in return. I want a trade.’
‘Anything for you, Bittu.’
Bittu smirked. ‘If I give you my bike then in return you will do my assignments for Prof Mehta’s class for an entire term.’
‘Whaaaat?’ slack-jawed Bunty gaped. His mouth opened and shut in rapid succession like a goldfish. He started to say something, probably cuss at his friend but weighing the benefit of the trade-off he remained quiet.
And that is how a swap initiated Bunty & Sweety’s love-story.
* * *
Oye! Line de rahi hai – hey! She is exhibiting an interest in you (in hindi)
Yaar – slang for buddy (in hindi)
Jhelo – slang for to bear/put up with (in hindi)
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