“How many are still left?” Lalit asked Jitendra.
“Only two- Coffee beans and Urad dal, then finally we will be able to say Mission Shopping List Accomplished!” Jitendra checked and rechecked the bit of paper his mother had given him.
“Alright, we could buy it from Rao Uncle’s store. Let’s get this done with, I am getting hungry.” Said Aryan and his stomach obediently grumbled in cue.
As they rode their bicycles through the twists and turns of their town, they went over the whole day once again. So much had happened in a single day. The morning had started with all of them anxious about the hurdle race. Aryan had to prepare a consolation speech just in case Prat Praatik somehow won, but it had not come to that thankfully. Jitendra had won. The trophy now hung proudly with other medals and awards in Jitendra’s bedroom. After the race they had headed to Jitendra’s home where they had had a great lunch. Mrs Nath was an exceptional cook. Lalit and Aryan shamelessly jumped at every occasion to visit Jitendra’s house and satiate their gastronomical demons. Jitendra’s parents were a very warm couple and treated Lalit and Aryan almost as their sons. After a delightful lunch they had played a few video games. Jitendra and Aryan had together squashed Lalit much to his annoyance and to cheer him up Aryan and Jitendra destroyed each other’s bots.
Fun and banter had always been their way of life. It still was. However, when Lalit lost his father to a fatal car accident it had been very difficult to draw out Lalit from outside his room. He’d always stayed holed up inside his room. Jitendra and Aryan themselves had taken time to let the fact sink in. They had let Lalit be for a week. But after that they had barged in, broken his door, picked him up and wrapped him in a bag and threatened to throw him off the bridge if he didn’t promise he would get back to his normal life. Death hadn’t been easy on anyone ever. Period. But life moved on and hence one has to move on as well. The departed would forever remain a part of you. They will always remain in your heart. Aryan and Jitendra did not know what Lalit was going through but they knew isolating oneself wasn’t the solution. Slowly, Lalit had come back to his normal self. It had been two years since the night the accident happened. The three boys were just that –boys, but that one experience had matured them up.
They had reached the Azad chowk, Rao Uncle’s shop was two blocks away. They were waiting for the traffic to give way. Unlike some of their peers these respected the traffic rules and obediently waited for the lights to turn green. A black sedan drove up to their side. Aryan – the forever Narcissus of the group – checked his reflection in the mirror. It took him full five seconds to realize that behind the tinted glass peered a familiar face. Alexandria was looking at him with much amusement.
Oh come on! Not her again. He thought. She seemed to be able to hear his thoughts as her face broke into an amused smile at that moment; her white teeth gleamed from behind the tinted windows. He can’t help but smile back sheepishly. All animosity from the morning seemed to dissolve. The lights changed. The sedan moved away. Aryan followed his friends to Rao uncle’s shop. Unbeknownst to both of them something had moved that day.