I am nobody’s Rakhi brother

It happened to me once and I have decided not to let it happen again. Not after the agony I endured for a mistake as small as the one I committed that day.
It was a normal day. As usual, I had fetched milk from a Mother Dairy booth, taken a shower, and lugging my school bag, was off to school. Not that I loved it, but the fact that my father was in the army made it a little risky to object. As icing on the cake (for him) he was a small arms specialist, which meant he had revolvers and pistols at his disposal – quite a dangerous proposition.

Even as I walked to the school, I saw a few guys walking with their right hand a little further from their body. Their gait suggested that there was something wrong. Something that made them look at their hand at regular intervals. But I had been asked to come early by a one of my classmates – a girl at that – and I was in no mood to disappoint her.

I walked on. I knew I was smiling. After all, not everyday did a girl come to me and say: “Rajan, why don`t you come early tomorrow morning.”

Did she want to propose? Did she like me? Though I would have preferred somebody better, she was kinda on the okay side. Actually, I knew beauty is but skin deep. So I decided that I would accept it as soon as she proposed.

I was 13 and big enough. I qualified as a teenager and I guess it was time I had a girl to call mine. And she was smart … and beautiful.

To reach my classroom, I had to cross  the Principal`s office. It was wide open. And I could see him prancing about his room like a dog waiting for its owner to take it for a dump. I wanted to avoid a lecture from him.

Being a notorious latecomer, I had every chance of getting a lecture from the old man. Somehow, I escaped his early morning warm-up. At that time I had thought lady luck was on my side. Little did I realize that lady luck was like the Red Indians, who believed that only unhurt men qualified for human sacrifices.

Anyways, I moved on and as I entered my classroom, I could see that she was waiting for me. She was alone and if I am not wrong I noticed a glow around her face. Something, that had missed my attention all these days. I knew she wanted to say something important but was just a wee bit hesitant.

I walked towards her. She stood still. She was radiating energy and I could tell that she was working wonders on me. I moved closer. Her innocence showed. Through the corner of my eyes I saw that her bag was open and a greeting card was neatly placed next to it. My heart started pounding. Was it a heart shaped card?

She smiled. Something was amiss. And then she asked, “Rajan, will you be my rakhi brother.” She no longer seemed innocent!

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