You can do this… yes, you can. Rule no 1: don’t look at him, rule no.2: Remember nature is not colliding your destiny with his, it’s all playing in your mind, so stop fantasising. Rule no.3: never, yes never let the opposing party know, the moment they do, you have lost the duel without fighting. So, square your shoulders and walk it out, Noor.
Noor’s sixteen-year-old heart thumped with staccato rhythm as her mind tried to leash her adrenalin rush by these rules.
She walked across the courtyard with élan, head held high and eyes focused straight on her path and not towards the lanky guy who had come to teach the English language to her elder sister. However, she could sense his eyes on herself. His glance picked her from the bottom of the staircase, across the courtyard and dropped her till the kitchen.
“Noor, why are you smiling? Hurry up, take this tea for master Saab.” Her Ammi placed the tray in her hands and sauntered off. This was the moment her innocent heart had been waiting for. She had to make a fine impression. She drained off the prepared tea in the drain and kept some freshwater with tea leaves to simmer on the gas stove. Noor quickly scavenged through the cupboards to find the treasured tea set. The turquoise cup and saucer with the matching teapot were her favourite. She added a sugar pot, only if Ammi had let her buy the sugar cubes, she sighed. The milk pot, filled a little short of the brim, completed the look. This was as Angrezan as she could be.
Noor held her breath as she walked towards the duo seated in the courtyard, to ensure not a drop of milk spilt over onto the tray.
“Mathew sir, tea.” Noor had practised the line countlessly, but the words still stumbled out like a squeak.
“Oh! Thanks for such a beautiful display, it reminds me of home.”
Noor looked up to see the look of appreciation in the eyes of her new love. Her mind prodded her not to break the first rule, but her heart overruled. Clicked! Their eyes locked for a fraction of a second as Mathew’s blue eyes strayed away to rest on her elder sister’s face, “However, I prefer the kadak Indian masala chai your elder sister prepares.”
His eyes locked with her sister’s, exchanging the language of love! Yes, Noor was a newbie at love, but not foolish enough to understand when it was not reciprocated.
Rule numbers two and three pulled her to sanity and her eyes lowered, thereby avoiding her confession of love through them. She squared her shoulders, smiled at them and walked away.
As she climbed the stairs to her room, her mind had already started repairing her broken heart. He wasn’t good enough for you, he is old and too tall.
Noor shut the door behind her and smiled as a lone tear dropped from her eyes.
She picked the teardrop and saw it through filtering sunlight, “I shall cherish this feeling of pain all my life, as it shall remind me of my first tryst with love.”
Angrezan: term used for British females by Indians
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