Rishav leaves his house, after breakfast, to go to Khanak’s, walking with a spring in his steps. He is really excited to spend today with Khanak that too without Ankan. Not that he would ever admit to Khanak but after breakfast he has rushed back into his room and changed in his best Shirt – the one his mom has bought for him. ‘If he has to make her forgive him, making her like him romantically again will certainly work in his favor and looking nice and attractive is the first step toward it’, Rishav smirks thinking to himself.
He presses the doorbell of Khanak’s house after wiping his palm on his jeans. Even in cold weather he can feel himself sweating with nervousness. Though he has already talked to her yesterday, today is more crucial. Yesterday, he has caught her off-guard but today she must have also prepared a plan to avoid him.
He hears Khanak coming toward the door but she doesn’t open it. She must have seen him through the lens and must be still deciding whether she should open the door for him or not. For a second, he thought about going back and leaving her alone if she really doesn’t want to talk to him or even see him. But just as he was about to turn, she opens the door with a cold look on her face which doesn’t suit her at all. It saddens him to know that he is the reason that Khanak, who is generally filled with so much warmth and affection, has that cold look pasted on her face.
Rishav greets Khanak good morning with a tentative smile on his face but one gets raised eyebrows in reply. As if she was asking, is it really a good morning now that you are here.
“Rishav, come inside beta” Khanak’s mother lovingly orders and he does a hallelujah dance in his head. Her mother is not going to kick him out. In fact, she is inviting him in. Rishav looks at Khanak, asking with his eyes to open the door wide so he could come in and she lets him know what she thinks of his action with the meanest scowl she could muster.
“Have breakfast with us… come, sit.” Aunty says and Rishav remembers that in hurry to meet Khanak as soon as possible he has just eaten few bites of his breakfast and gave the remaining to his brother who like any growing boy can eat a ton so that his mother won’t scold him for not eating the most important meal of the day.
Rishav nods happily and sits at the dining table, in front of Khanak. What can be better than this?! He got to meet Khanak this early and he didn’t even have to miss breakfast. But as soon as he sees the breakfast on the table his smile turns into a grimace which he covers before either of the women could see. They were eating Cornflakes that too, the plain one. He has just given his yummy and freshly made paratha to his brother and now he will have to eat this. Why the hell didn’t he look at the table before nodding his head like an idiot?!
God must be punishing him for continuously hurting everyone around himself, Rishav thinks. Rishav looks at Khanak and finds her smirking at him, enjoying what he is still sure is his punishment. She must have seen the grimace, he thought no one has seen. He just looks at her and picks up the spoon to eat from the bowl her mother has prepared for him. She just shrugs indifferently at his action and resumes her own breakfast.
“You are here this early? Have you all got plans to hang-out with each other?” Aunty asks and Rishav just nods, afraid that if he opens his mouth, he won’t be able to keep the food inside. How does anyone eat this?!
‘“No can do! I am helping mom at boutique and I can’t go anywhere. Besides Ankan is helping his grandfather with something” For a moment Rishav feels jealousy rising inside himself. So, Ankan didn’t have time to say proper bye to Rishav but he had time to call and tell Khanak about what’s his plan for the day. But then he curses his stupidity in his head. Everything is going on as the way he wanted and he starts to smirk even before she has completed her excuse. He has been wishing that she would spend the day with her mother.
Today everything and everyone is really working for his side. Then he thinks about the breakfast he has had to eat and shakes his head – not everything.
Before Rishav could say anything, her mother stops her, “You should go Khanak. I will manage. There is nothing urgent at shop today”. ‘Amazing!’ Rishav thinks to himself sarcastically. He knows Khanak only helps at her mother’s boutique for extra pocket money and would prefer to not do it if her mother didn’t ask her to. And if she won’t go to boutique then how the hell would he convince her to spend her day with him. Just when he thought that God is done punishing him.
“Nooo. You are done escaping from this. I am going to do your accounts of the last month. I know you are only stopping me from doing this so that I won’t find out that you have just collected the receipts in a box and haven’t updated the record of even one day. And I know, you must have already messed up the cleaning I did last week” Khanak narrows her eyes at her mother, telling her that she knows every secret trick of hers.
Rishav doesn’t know how should he react. On the one hand he is happy that now she won’t have another choice but to spend her day with him and even talk to him but on the other, he has yet again realized that how much has he missed in this one year and few months.
“This is not at all democratic. This is complete dictatorship” Khanak’s mother says and Rishav can only manage to look at them like a tennis match is going on between them. When did this happen?! He is bewildered. Aunty doesn’t want Khanak to help in boutique and Khanak is the on forcing her mother to let her help.
“Okay, then that’s what it is” Khanak smiles sarcastically at her mother and takes hers and her mother’s dirty dishes in the kitchen.
“But you must have some plans with Rishav, right?” Khanak’s mother asks in what Rishav guesses as last attempt to save herself from her daughter’s wrath. But before Khanak could reply, Rishav speaks up.
“We don’t have any plan, aunty. I just have to do some groveling and I don’t have any problem with doing it at your boutique” Rishav teases, making Khanak’s mother smile at him.
“Come with us but your friend has turned into a khadoos so you will have to save me from her, okay? Otherwise I will share all the details of your groveling with your mother” Khanak’s mother teases back while pulling his ear. Just as Rishav was about to ask her about this new development in his old friend, Khanak re-enters into the room, making both of them jump as if they had been planning a crime against her. Khanak looks at them with suspicion.
“What were you two planning?” Khanak asks, standing with her both hands on her hips and her eyes narrowed. Her posture exactly similar to police officers when they inquire someone.
“Rishav is coming with us” Aunty announces and Khanak glares at both of them.
“Seriously mom?” Khanak asks rhetorically making her mother smile evilly at her daughter. “Now isn’t this dictatorship?”
“Then that’s what it is” Aunty throws Khanak’s words back at her and goes upstairs to get ready to leave for boutique, leaving her fuming daughter with Rishav. Rishav used to think how cliché it is to say that at girl looks more beautiful when she is angry but today, he realized that clichés are clichés because they are well known and acknowledged truth.
Rishav tries to speak up and tell her how beautiful she looks while she is cursing him under her breath but before he could open his mouth, she glares at him. And, if it would have been possible for her to throw fire at him with her eyes she would have.
“Let’s go. I am ready” Aunty announces and they all go outside to leave but not before Khanak turned to glare at him once more.
Since the boutique is closer to their society, they walk together. All the while, Rishav trying to make Khanak talk to him, Khanak glaring at him whenever he opens his mouth to say something and her mother trying to control her laugh at their antics.