January 24. “Button, your turn to take the story ahead.”
This particular incident took place when Pandit was in the 10th standard. Since the school he went to was co-ed, his eyes fell on a pretty looking girl in the same class as him. Her name was Pia and, even though Pandit and Pia had studied together from kindergarten, she had been another class-mate like any of his other class-mates and he had not seen her as anything else but one. Why then was he feeling differently towards her suddenly? One day, during their English class, Pandit built up enough courage to send her a little chit. It read—Do you know you’re pretty? Pia looked his way and giggled. B
At one of the breaks between classes, Pandit managed to take Pia aside and tell her that he would like to see more of her.
A couple of months pased. One day, Pandit ventured to ask Pia out. Pia was game. The two met at Worli after school and decided to stroll along the sea front. Why do you find me pretty after all these years? Asked Pia. But you are pretty, replied Pandit. They shared some pani-puri and a little later, decided to sit on one of the benches and watch the world go by. B
They spoke about a lot of things when Pia suddenly saw Pandit open his mouth wide and crinkle his eyes as if he was about to sneeze. This wasn’t new to Pia. She had been witness to Pandit’s sneezing fits and figured something like that was on the way. She was about to move out of the sneezing range when Pandit aaaaaachooooooooed not once but six times. Pia had lovely straight hair that fell almost to her waist. Pandit had never noticed this as Pia used to wear it in a ponytail. As she touched her tresses with her fingers, they came away sticky and damp. Pia screamed and almost broke down.
I am sorry, Pia, but I couldn’t help it. This will never be repeated, I promise. B