The crowd was abuzz with excitement. The winner of the 200m Men’s Hurdle race was about to be announced. It had been very close, so close. Jitendra and Pratik, a classmate had crossed the finishing line at almost the same time. The administration was busy going over and over the video loop of the last second.
Finally, the School Coach stood up on the podium and the stadium went eerily silent. After the customary check of the microphone the Coach’s voice boomed “Jitendra Nath” across the stadium, which spontaneously erupted into a huge cheer. There were a few Boos which were ignored happily.
Aryan was hooting the loudest. Jitendra had done it again, shown that show-off Pratik who’s the real champ- in the face! He laughed as he saw Jitendra trying to decide whether to look scared or ecstatic as he was hoisted up by his teammates. Lalit too clapped as loudly as he could, which seemed a bit difficult owing to the thick book he carried in his left hand.
Five minutes later a red-faced Pratik was seen shaking hands with Jitendra as he walked upto the stage to collect the school trophy. As Jitendra raised the trophy high above his head, beaming ear to ear Aryan copied him –only, instead of the trophy he hoisted up Lalit.
“Hey, Bro! Not done! Put me down!” Lalit exclaimed and tried to wriggle out of Aryan’s grasp. In his struggle however he hit a nearby member of the audience. Realising this Aryan dropped Lalit unceremoniously and turned to them.
“Are you alright, Miss…?” It was a girl. She was looking down on her white skirt where there was a large muddy shoe print. She was tall. Her face was hidden by her long black straight hair.
“Yeah, am fine. You should rather ask that question to your friend?” she indicated towards Lalit who was scowling up at Aryan.
“I am Alexandria by the way. And you are…?”, brushing off the dirt she looked up.
And for the first time at that moment – blue met black.
—- To be continued—