As i stepped into the class, I could notice high activity. It was more than the usual. All the girls were sitting at one corner on benches and giggling. They always seemed silly and stupid to me. But today i felt they had completely lost their brains. At the last bench my Last Bench Lords community was also involved in similar activity. For a moment i thought the girls had used some magic spell on usually rough and aggressive Lords. A Day before i was absent from the school due to fever. And in a day Lords had forgotten their identity. I was feeling furious.
I walked to my seat and pushed my bag into the single desk. RAM was etched on the desk with my distinct style. Tools used were dividers. "Kal kya ho gaya the tuje?" Anirudh enquired. "Meri baat chod. Tum logon ko kya ho gaya hai. Ladkiyon ne kaat liya kya?". I shouted back. Suddenly Lords went silent. "I would really be thankful to god if he misses the trip". I am not sure which girl said that but now i could not control myself anymore. Before i could raise war cries something struck my mind. What was she talking about. A Trip. I never knew that.
The day i was absent class teacher had announced the trip and there were only 48 seats available from both A and B division. All the girls and guys had expectedly booked the seats to the full yesterday evening itself. Now to take revenge i had to be on that bus to banwasi. It was the question of pride after all.
He was busy correcting test books for previous month’s tests. "May i come in sir". Narayan said. Without looking at us he nodded. He was dark,well built person standing at 6.2. Mr.Shastry was our class teacher and also conducted biology classes. I and narayan approached him. Then hesitatingly i asked him "Sir, is there any chance of me getting into the list. I was absent yesterday and so did not know about it. i am really interested to join the people on tour." He looked at me and smiled. I bet he knew what my real interest was. He said "Not unless anybody gets ill or withdraw." With that he killed all my hopes.
Me, Narayan ( silent killer), Anirudh ( Lambu ), Shirish ( Motu ) and mansoor (Bansi) all formed the Lords of Last Bench group. There were others but not so important for the group. It was time for one of those secret LLB meetings. As always we bunked the prayers and stayed back in the class for the meeting. I was sad that i could not make it to trip. Meeting was to identify the girl who insulted me. "It must be S. I saw her saying something in B’s ears." Anirudh started. "It can’t be her." Shirish thundered. We knew anirudh had pressed wrong button. Before i could say anything to shirish, narayan suddenly announced "Raama is coming with us." I felt happy to hear that but all knew it was not possible. But narayan was one the best criminal minds ( that’s what we call thinking and analytical minds) we had. I got hopes. Usually he comes up with foolproof plans.
"Bata tere shaitani deemag mein kya plan hai." Mansoor was curious. "Did you hear what Shastry said. Somebody has to withdraw or get ill." There was that wicked smile on our faces. We knew what had to be done.
Planning is the easiest part but the implementation is the toughest. We started to identify possible targets. Out of 48 we zeroed on 2 who were soft targets. Suharsh and Vinay. Suharsh was skinny and short boy. So we thought he would not survive our attack. So Vinay was the chosen one.
Vinay was short and plump. He always wanted to be part of our group but he never had anything that could make him eligible to be in our group. We had just two days to execute our plan. Everybody was informed of their roles. For the next 4 periods i was dreaming of the trip.
In the lunch break, as soon as we finished our lunch, myself and narayan approached vinay who was still busy with his chapattis. "Tuje hum logon ne apne group mein shamil kar liya hai. Chal issi khushi mein coke peete hain." Narayan announced. Vinay could not contain his excitment. He closed his half finished lunch box and got up. I was already feeling the pain of guilt.
All three of us walked into the small ice cream parlour. Anirudh,mansoor and shirish were already there, arguing about what anirudh had said earlier in the day. According to the plan all three were supposed to have arranged everything. On the table were six coke bottles. One of the bottle had pink napkin below it. That was the one that was reserved for vinay. All of us sat comfortably in our seats. Just to make sure everything was alright i called mansoor aside and asked about the status. "Coke normal hai. Tablets tho narayan ke paas the. Isliye hum thumara intezar kar rahe the." I went through two kinds of feelings. One was of anger. Other was of being relived of the sin. But i badly wanted to be on the trip.
"Teek hai. Vinay ko kisi bahane saamne wale greetings store le chal aur 5 minute ke baad lautna." I instructed him. The poor guy had not even lifted his coke, mansoor dragged him towards the greetings store. (He actually did). In a hurry i asked narayan in sign language to mix tablets in the coke. He did. "Arre yaar. Pehle usse powder tho bana deta." Shirish shouted. In a hurry narayan had forgotten the basics. We just hoped the tablet melted before vinay could notice.
Vinay and Mansoor returned. Vinay was beaming with smile. I did not feel like looking at him. The more i looked at him the more guilt i had to face. Vinay started taking his coke. All of us were busy talking about how vinay had to behave being part of our group. Suddenly narayan grabbed coke from vinay. "Chalo chalte hain. Kumbar sir ka class hai." Vinay was shocked at his behaviour but not we. We knew another two to three sips and tablet would reveal itself. We didnt wanted that.
At the end of the day all of us were sitting at the school gate. I was sure our plan had failed. Vinay was fit and fine. No signs of stomach upset. "Kam se kam 10 goli dalni chahiye thi" Shirish felt.
I was already feeling upset and down. Not because i missed the trip, because of what we had done. I went to narayan's house in the evening. He too was feeling bad. A quick meeting on the phone and all of us decided we will inform vinay the truth and plead sorry. But it should be done in privacy as LLB's never felt sorry for others. That was the rule.
Next Day morning we bunked the prayers again. This time vinay was with us. He was happy that he was doing what LLB's were supposed to. But all of us knew it was not the case. Narayan was given the responsibility of explaining everything to vinay. And he did a good job. Vinay felt bad and was obviously hurt. In bargain for keeping this secret he was made lifetime member of LLB. (Lifetime = still we were in school).
Everybody was relieved that good sense had prevailed at the right time. At the end of the biology period, Mr.Shastry announced that i was on the trip as one of the guys from B section was ill and had withdrawn. That made me really happy. I could hear few girls murmuring. I hoped now even they would withdraw. It was not that i was a bad boy but don’t know i somehow hated few girls. The girls who were in good terms with me were happy for me. The girls i hated were mostly the ones for whom few guys had special feelings.
We had great time on the trip. While returning back LLB were sleeping in last seats whereas others were having fun with antakshri. Its not that we didn’t want to be part of the fun or we were tired. As destiny would have it , all of us were down with fever. Vinay included.
Since that incident I have believed in what my dad usually says. U get back what you give. Life is like a boomerang. Spread happiness and you will be happy. Try and hurt someone, life will hurt where it pains most.
B happy, Keep smiling. By the way anybody want to omit me for their trips??????