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Another Bout of Nostalgia

This time it is those fun days as a teenager when you discover boys!

Now fortunately our colony had an extremely convenient tradition. Nobody knew how it originated by it was never ever broken. The colony had a huge play ground in the center surrounded by a number of apartments. Between the ground and the apartments was a road where all the colony residents took their daily “rounds”. Which means every single evening most of the residents would walk round and round, encircling the central grounds religiously but that was not all. The “rule” was that the girls always walked around clockwise while the guys walked in the anti clockwise direction. These rounds were something everybody did…with variations in time according to age. Kids would take rounds around early evening, teenagers between 6 and 7, unmarried adults after around 8 when they returned from work or colleges and parents took their nightly constitutional walk at about 10 pm after dinner.

Flashback to 1991: The guy staying below P’s house just discovered that he is interested in P. Being typical teenagers, all his friends can do is to howl and comment loudly each time they spot P. Which was often for if you remember the “ground rule”, we would pass each other twice on each round and therefore several times each day. So this continued for a few weeks. Raucous laughter and a volley of comments, many of them unintelligible, from the guys. Although we did not care much for the comments or the cackle of laughter that burst from the group each time we passed by, we could not say the same about the attention. Not that we were exactly naïve or innocent either. Our replies ranged from dignified stares, to fuming glares and sometimes the occasional repartee that is when we understood what the comment was. Of course the moment we passed the group we would be giggling away and trying to predict the reactions during the next encounter.

So this continued for a few weeks. One Saturday afternoon, the three of us had nothing to do. P’s sister was watching “ Maine Pyaar Kiya ” for the 23 rd time. She was in love with Salman Khan. We were not. We were more interested in the guy staying below. We were getting tired of the same old routine and wanted to spice things up a bit. So we decided we should devise some way to meet this Romeo…Well if he needs a helping hint or two we were more than willing to provide it. So we decide to take matters into our own hands and arrange an intro…”accidentally” of course.

We quickly eliminated the thought of meeting him when he was with his friends. The best thing we decided was when he was alone and we were all together. That gave us the advantage of numbers 3 to 1. So we devised this rather ingenious idea. Since P’s house was directly above our Romeo’s house, we thought that if we dropped something from the balcony it would fall right onto the parapet near Romeo’s house. Then all we had to do is go to his house and innocently ask for that item, setting up a unique balcony scene. We argued for hours on what the item would be. Possible a piece of cloth. That seemed natural… Make it appear as though it had fallen off from the clothesline. A handkerchief was too filmi . Also we did not want to give the wrong idea by dropping any piece of our clothing. It had to be a towel. We hunted around for a relatively new towel and pushed it off P’s balcony after surreptitiously checking for P’s sister or other inquisitive neighbors. We watched with bated breath as the towel fell down to its final destination. When it finally landed on the parapet we were at first relieved and then in advanced panic mode.

We ran down the stairs and stood outside Romeo’s house. Debated for a long time to ring the bell or not. We arranged for the lift to be on the same floor in order to make a quick escape if things didn’t work out. Then gathering up all our courage and assuming a nonchalant air, we rang the bell and waited for Romeo to open the door.

It was Romeo’s sister who opened the door. We plunged into the rehearsed story of the towel and looked around for Romeo to appear. He was not there. We smiled some more and asked for permission to retrieve the towel from the balcony. Romeo still absent. We even peeped into the rooms we passed on our way to the balcony. In all our calculations we did not take care of this “missing” variable. Fortunately Romeo’s sister did not bother to ask why three people needed to retrieve one towel.

That was the end of our attempts to meet Romeo. But the rounds continued for a few more years, the comments petered out till there was a time where we did not even notice the group.

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