“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.
A loud cheer erupted. Aryan turned around in time to see Jitendra mid-air holding tightly onto the trophy for his dear life.
‘As if that would help!’ Aryan rolled his eyes. ‘They would break his neck’, he thought. He sighed –time for an intervention.
“Excuse me?” said that stranger girl. ‘What was her name? Yes, Alexandria.’ He thought.
“Umm, yeah… I’ll get back to you later ok? My friend’s… Uh” he said and gestured at the entirety of the celebration hoping she would understand why his going there was more important than small talk and introduction.
“Wait, that’s your friend?” she pointed towards Jitendra. She looked displeased.
“Yes he is.” His tone changed to defensive. “Do you have any problem with that?”
“No, none at all. Just… Pratik says he is a real show off mostly. What’s his name? Yes, Jitendra. Then you must be either Lalit or Aryan. He doesn’t really ever has anything good to tell about you guys.” she explained.
“Ah, friends with Prat Pratik are you?” Aryan said with much venom in his voice. The stanger girl, what was her name? Yes, Alexandria -pompous name, pompous friend, she looked taken aback.
“No, he is merely a- “she stopped as Aryan made a gesture of disinterest and walked away arrogantly.
“A family friend.” She finished fuming angrily. Such attitude! Pratik had been correct, she had thought he had been only exaggerating at the time.
“Alex!” Martha called. “Coming Mother!” she looked their way one last time before walking away.
“Hey, who was that girl you were talking to today?” Lalit asked Aryan later that day as they watched the sunset from the terrace of Jitendra’s house. Jitendra was downstairs; his mother had just called him away.
“Oh, she was some friend of Pratik. She is already brainwashed by that guy. Can’t help her now, she thinks the world of him.” Aryan grimaced.
“Get this, her name’s Alexandria.” He continued. “One pompous name. I bet Pratik suggested it”
“She looked the same age as Pratik. Wait. Wait a minute. Did you say Alexandria? Pratik’s friend Alexandria? Yeah, I heard him that day talking about… about some business friend of his dad- Something Robertson. Anyway, his dad’s friend’s brother (don’t ask me how I remember that) married an Indian Christian. They live in Pondicherry. They are here for some business tour, I think.”
“Long story short- I. Don’t. Care.” Aryan looked at Lalit.
“I don’t know. She looked cute.” said Lalit.
“You kicked her. “Aryan retorted.
“Because of you! Finger’s crossed she doesn’t remember that?” Lalit’s face broke into a hopeful smile.
Aryan shook his head. “She is Pratik’s friend!” he exclaimed exasperated.
“Hey, for all we know probably a forced friend! Maybe she wants to get rid of him as much as we want to.” Lalit explained with the enthusiasm of a scientist come upon a new discovery.
“Stop it. Lalit, I am serious, stop it.” He started laughing as Lalit copied Aryan’s scowl.
“Oi! What are you two doing up there?” Jitendra’s voice called from downstairs. “Come along! Mom’s given me a shopping list! Let’s go shopping!”
Both of the boys groaned but got going obediently.