(This is a fantasizing view of reality as it unfolded; a semi-fictional, semi-autobiographical account of past events with hopefully no future implications. This will be a three part series on what could have possibly happened if dreams came true. For some people, some dreams actually did. )
We all love thrills. We may be living and experiencing a very constrained and disciplined life. In no way, it meant we did not have opportunities to experience thrill, especially the cheap ones.
While in junior division, bathing was fun. It was a common exercise. All boys had to kneel down together and get a bath-full in a queue. Interestingly, only a select few were allowed to wear undergarments for bath. No explanations to the criteria. But that was the thrill. Waiting for the day when you are told, “wear something from tomorrow”. Thrill was over. The thrill was in waiting.
When boys got to senior division, everyday was a thrill. Spanking was a surety. Here too, it was a common exercise. No matter who made a mistake, the entire batch would be “washed off the sins of error”. Thrill began with waiting for the prefect announcing after breakfast or lunch, “Class Z, move in”. Once inside the classroom, seniors would walk in and make the class sit with “eyes closed and fingers on your lips”. Boys could hear whispers and talks in the corridor. But there was pin drop silence in the class. The real thrill began in knowing there is a slap coming but not knowing from where and with whom will it begin? We knew someone will try opening his eyes slightly. To check who opens first, someone will open his eyes before the first one! Washing began and thrill was over. The thrill was in waiting.
As I said, life was disciplined. Everything followed the clock. There were very limited options for everything, including of the opposite sex. Hence, it actually helped keeping time. But, interestingly, here too, it was always a common exercise. There was no jealousy, no competition. “She is mine, but you can try your luck too” was the bonhomie feeling. Ofcourse, she became no one’s. And, boys waited for the exact time for girls to come walking out of the bamboo trees on the turn for “combined classes”. They waited for that one sly look, that one wicked smile. They waited for her to give a look. They had preferences. But in fact any one of the girls from the bunch would do, actually. Once the girls had gone, the small discussion which ensued, started with “today, she couldn’t trace me in the crowd” and ended with “bastard, why did you block my view? She looked at me and was about to smile”. The other would just retort, “Be in your boots. She was looking at me and even whispered something to her friend about me. Anyways, lets wait for tomorrow and see at whom does she smile”? We neither got a smile back nor ever got to know what was whispered, last of all, if at all it was about anyone in the boys crowd. But it was thrilling. We waited for tomorrow to come.
Boys waited for an invitation to be sent to girls’ school to come and watch our match. The boys in the sports team were excited. But the boys on the stands were even more excited. The playing XI would not have much time, energy or bandwidth to have a good look at the girls in the stands. The ones in the stands were the ones who had all the fun. But in the playing XI, the one who had even half the chance of scoring a goal infront the crowd which constituted of girls would just blank out. He started imagining which side of the field would he run and celebrate; the way in which he would celebrate and towards which girl will he kiss and raise his finger? The wait for confirmation of invitation, the wait for those beauties to walk up to the stands, the wait for that pass which created that half a chance to blank out. The thrill was in the wait.
One of the biggest waits was when boys waited for “Gorgeous”. Here too, “Gorgeous” was everyone’s quest but no one’s conquest. It was a common exercise. All boys had equal faith and hope to harvest their field of imaginations. Everyone waited for her to come out, walk the entire length of the road and disappear in the sloping horizon. Boys waited for her to take the last turn, sprint across the corridors and catch a second glimpse of her from another angle, with waited breath to not let her know they ran like there was no tomorrow. On most days she won’t smile. The day she did, it was assumed it was for a reason. All boys made it their responsibility to convince self and the rest that she smiled at him and only him. The entire day passed in a second waiting for her to return, walk back the entire length and flash the same smile. The day passed. She passed all boys, without a smile. What she left was a new thrill for tomorrow. For today, the thrill was over. The thrill was in the wait.
The real thrill is when you are on the edge and waiting; for the outcome. Deep inside, the factual outcome that would be, is not what you want. But you still expect the same. The imaginative possibility will never be. Yet, you desire. The chase between reality and desire is the “thrill”. Boys chased such moments, everyday. On the hills, with the chills, we played hide and seek with our own thrills.
(MAY BE continued.... )