May 15th, 2016
A summer night in Mumbai is never pleasant. Unless you are on the very coasts of Arabian Sea, you can expect a lot of sweat trickling down your body. On the beach it is a different story. The chilly, salty breeze of ocean and the soft grains of the sand on the seashore are soothing enough to calm down a hulk. It does wonders to me too. When I am raging (I do that a lot these days; blame the hormones, as my mom does) I come to the beach nearest to my home, ‘Rocks’. I walk to the shore, take off my shoes and walk straight into the ocean till I’m waist-deep in water. When the lapping waves pull the sand beneath my feet to the center of the ocean, I feel my anger seeping away with it.
It’s very quiet at night on the beach, so that I can listen to the music of the rippling waves. It’s as soothing as a lullaby and it’s my most favorite thing in the world. That and of course the moon. Much of the stars and constellations aren’t visible on the city’s skyline because of Light pollution. But not moon! I wish I could have lived in some quiet place, where I could stargaze endlessly. Here I can only see brightest of the stars and the moon, and despite of this, I can connect to these celestial bodies more than I connect with any human being. I don’t even get along with my mother, and she does so much for me. But she sometimes gets on my nerves.
I generally don’t come to the beach during the day. It’s too bright because of sunlight, and it hurts my eyes. As it is I’m wary of everything that too bright or hot. Mom says as a baby I caught fire several times; even if there was no source of fire near my cradle. When it happened for the first time, I was just over 8 months old and my parents freaked out. I had suffered second degree burns and I was in a very bad shape. They blamed themselves for the neglect. But it happened countless times before they figured out that it was not because of any external factor, something was wrong with me. My mom used to sleep with a blanket and a bucket of water besides me, just in case, to put off the fire. They were at a loss of explanation when one of my dad’s doctor friends thought I could be suffering from ‘Spontaneous Human Combustion’. Nobody knew about the disorder, nobody knew how to treat it. Everyone thought it was a miracle when I stopped ‘catching fire’, everyone except my mom. She thinks it was her efforts. She used to make those weird, smelly herbal packs for applying on my whole body. It used to leave a strange smell on my whole persona even after washing rigorously, which by the way earned me the title of “Smelly-Fish Aditya” by the kids on the block. They would have anyway bullied me for one thing or other. Everyone thought I was weird; a ‘freak’ – they would call me. I remember only one boy was my friend back then, and he too stopped playing with me after his mother told him that I ‘set myself up on fire’ and could ‘burn’ him too. Well, I don’t blame him, and, for that matter any of them. They were kids after all. Most of them were of my age, or a couple of years give or take. And how could I blame them if even I thought I was a freak back then? I blamed my mom for my weirdness for a good part of my childhood, but now I know better.
Things began to change as I grew up. And I grew up quite a lot, well to be precise, over 5’11. And I’m still 17. I’m strong because of my night-time runs on the beach and nobody even thinks of messing up with me. That’s sad, in a way, because all I am itching for nowadays is a good brawl. I feel the urge to beat someone up so badly that sometimes I run for miles and miles just to suppress that urge. Well, what can you say? The victim becomes victimizer. Don’t judge me; I have never bullied a defenceless child for my own amusement. I am in general a little bitter towards the world. Well, most of the times.
Today I am not angry, though. Nervous? Well, a little. When I’m on seashore, I like to consider that I’m the only person in existence, and I make it a point to never share this time with anyone. Not even my mom. But today I’m going to break this self-imposed rule. I’m nervous because I’m generally wary of people. In past whenever I’ve tried to make friends, it hasn’t turned well. Kids at school always saw me as a freak; same case was with people in my locality. And over the period I refused to be saddened by the fact, and gave everyone the impression that I don’t care. So naturally, nobody cares for my existence too.
But this new girl in my high school is an exception. She’s the most popular student in my class right now. Teachers adore her, boys want to get close to her, and girls want to be her. But all she cares about is why the tallest and brightest (Yes, I always top in exam, and no! I’ve no intentions of bragging) boy in the class is a loner. Initially when she tried to get friendly, I tried to use my standard steps to stay away from people – avoid, intimidate by staring down, and if that too doesn’t work, the silent treatment. But she poked holes through all my defences and was standing in front of me every single time. And I started to admire her for her persistence. She’s rather sweet though, so I finally gave in.
And that’s why I’m standing here, waiting for the girl, who might be the one to tame me – Avani.
(To be Continued)
PS: The idea for this story was bugging my head for several
months years now, but I’ve been delaying it for one reason or other. Mainly because I couldn’t find the perfect opening to launch this story. After reading today’s one word prompt, I started writing about something countless, boundless and accidentally stumbled upon the opening of my story. 🙂 Human mind works in a strange way, what else can I say?
I will be continuing this story further, as and when I complete next parts. Till then any feedback/constructive comments are welcome.