So this book will take you to the journey of a lover boy showing how he follows his heart and finally stops at the one he was destined to be with.
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Read an Excerpt
Finally I Stopped At You
Balboa PressCopyright © 2016 Sonya
All rights reserved.
"Here she comes," I uttered the moment I saw her, a second before I hid my face behind a book. I peeped from the other side, trying to locate her.
"Arush, she looked right at you," whispered Vikas, my best buddy.
I raised my eyebrows. "Are you saying the truth? Swear on my mother's name.
"I swear not just on her, but on your whole family. She looked at you and pinched her friend."
I was distracted for a moment. I could not even gather my thoughts. All of a sudden, the principal, Mr. Iyer, came striding down the corridor.
"Arush," warned Vikas "turn around Aiyaa is here." We used to call our principal sir Aiyaa. Cool na!
"Hey, you boys, hold on!" A huge, callous voice came from the back.
"We are gone, Vikas". I murmured.
"What are you boys doing here? Where is your class?" asked Mr. Iyer.
"Sir, we are from ninth A," Vikas answered innocently.
"Then go to your class. Why are you roaming in the corridor?"
"No, sir, I mean Yes, sir. We were going to the class only," I fumbled. "Sorry sir. Thank you, sir."
"Come on, run or else he won't spare us," mumbled Vikas.
So here are the two mischievous boys, Vikas and I, both studying in ninth class and staying together during and after school. I was prominent as the chocolaty boy of the school, a healthy, wealthy teenager hailing from a moneyed family. I lived in Patiala, Punjab state of India. I stayed with my family, and my dad was a well-known businessman of the city. I had one sister, and I was the only son of my parents. Maybe this is why I was a rich, spoiled brat; not that spoiled, but, yes, mischievous. I had a huge crush on Sonali. Yes, crush, for love is a special emotion that is never painless to feel or comprehend.
"Arush It's too much now. How long will you wait to express your unsaid words to her?" asked Vikas annoyingly while playing table tennis. "You know it's of utmost importance, or else she'll move to some other guy. And you keep on mounting strategies ... huh."
"No buddy, it's not about strategies. I am just trying to figure out how to approach her, for even I know that she has something for me," I said and pulled a smash. "Ha, see? You lost again." I winked.
"Hey! How about a letter" Vikas asked with gleaming eyes.
"You mean a love letter? Have you gone mad! It's not so simple to put pen to paper." I nodded, still holding the ball.
"Oh ho, nothing will happen, trust me. At least give it a try. You never know what will click. My heart says it's the best idea."
"Okay, let me see" I replied after a pause.
So the quest for my crush began — on a full-moon night!
I scratched my head and suddenly had a glimpse of the sky. Ahhh! Now I can write something good, filled with love. So I wrote:
My dear naaa, my dearest Shonali,
You know I love to call you Shonali. You remember last Friday in the assembly prayer when you came on the mic? I was amazed by your eyes. The moment you started speaking, my eyes were stuck on your lips ... roses filled with snow. Ahhhhhh! Every time you pass by me, I sense your fragrance. Trust me you are the most gorgeous gal in the whole school. Each time I look at you, my heart hums. "You are so beautiful." Shonali, I love you. It's late at night, but I am sleepless. There is a silver line in the sky reminding me of your smile. I always appreciate your long hair tied with two red ribbons.
I am not able to express my love any better. But I wish that, the moment you read these words, they'll put my love for you into a perfect picture.
P.S. I love you.
"I don't know how to give her this letter," I murmured, holding the piece of paper.
"Chill man, let her come first," countered Vikas, grabbing a bite of burger.
"That's okay, but I don't want someone else to learn what's in my heart. I just need her to feel ..." I said slowly as I peered down the corridor.
"Oh hero okay we won't let anyone else know." Vikas shook his head with a wink.
"Vikas, I have an idea. I know where to go. Yes, that'll be the best place."
"Fine, but where" Vikas enquired trying to chew the bite of burger in his mouth.
"At the bus stop. She stands all alone over there, waiting for the school bus to come."
I had yet another sleepless night. Somehow, at four in the morning, I had a nap. After a while, as I tossed and turned, I noticed black clouds encasing the sky. I jumped out of my bed and rushed to the balcony. "Wow! It's raining." Often it's been said that rain ignites burning hearts, and it was true for me then. I leaned on the door and kept gazing at the drizzling water, listening the tapping of pouring drops. After a while, my trapped imagination vanished with the buzz of the alarm clock.
"It's 5:30 a.m.! Gosh, I have to rush!" I swiftly got dressed, trying to look better than ever.
"Arush," my mother said, "it's still an hour before school starts. Where are you heading early in the morning wearing your uniform?" Mom took a sip of tea. Mothers, they are so protective.
"Mom, oh, I forgot to tell you. We have an extra math class today. Got to go."
"Extra math class? But you didn't tell me last night! I have not even prepared your lunchbox." Mom was quite surprised with my response, but I didn't bother at all.
"Maa, I will find something to eat. Don't worry. Love you," I answered as I rushed to the door.
I reached Sonali's stop before she did. I took my school bag off my shoulders and sat beneath a tree. While wiping the sweat from my face, I took the letter out of my bag to read it one more time. I glanced at my watch; forty minutes had passed, and still I was on pins and needles. After a while, I saw a girl dressed in a gray skirt, white shirt, and gray tie. As she looked for the bus, she twirled a strand of hair at the back of her ear. She patted her cheeks with her fingers. For a moment, I was lost in just watching Sonali, forgetting why I was there. A shrill bus horn brought me back to my senses. I stood straight, trying not to tremble, and moved toward Sonali with the paper.
"Sonali" I called her name very politely, like never before.
Sonali turned around, astounded to see me. I greeted her. As I had expected, she was stunned for a moment.
"Aammmm, I wanted to give you this," I said as I passed the letter to her.
Sonali just took it without uttering a single word, looking pale. She looked down at the paper and raised her eyes to mine. It appeared as if she wanted to say something — or nothing or everything. Abruptly the school bus came. She tried to hide the letter behind her skirt, and then spoke quietly. "Arush, this is meant only for me; I can't let anyone peek."
The bus stopped. Sonali stepped inside and sat next to the window. A cute smirk appeared on her lips. As the bus moved ahead a little, she turned from the pane, peeping out to see me. I stood there silently, staring at the window. Our eyes locked for a moment, and then the connection was lost.
"Hey, I am asking you, what happened," said Vikas. "And you are lost in some strange world. Hey, hello, Arush! I am talking to you." Vikas wouldn't stop talking. "Okay, enough, Arush. You are getting on my nerves now. Will you speak something or I'm leaving."
"What to tell you, man. It was a long pause, neither yes nor no. What to make out of it? Is it a yes? Or maybe it's a no. Ahhhhhh, it's killing me," I answered as I scratched my head.
"Oh, this is the matter. Many a time silence is itself a language." Vikas tried to console me with his encouraging words. "Maybe she didn't say anything verbally, but indirectly, she said it all. Stay calm, dude, don't be bothered."
"Oh, Mr. Peace Giver, go and deliver your lecture to someone else. I understand only direct communication."
"If you were so bothered about instant reactions, why the hell did you fall for her, huh?" Now this time, even Vikas was cross. We turned our faces from each other and sat in silence.
Days passed; there was no response from her. One afternoon, when I returned home from school, I found Mom standing in the doorway. Today she was in an unusual mood, probably like never before. I put my head down and walked in.
"Arush" An intense voice came from behind. I turned around.
"Yes, Mom" I replied, swallowing hard.
"What is going on with Sonali?" The moment Mother uttered the name Sonali, I turned wishy-washy. "And are you the right age for writing love letters?" Mother was yelling in a callous voice.
"Yes, Mom, no, Mom It was just like that".
"Just like that, what do you mean just like that? Aren't you a little ashamed of what have you done? Thanks to God that Sonali's mother called me instead of going to the principal. Or else what would have happened? Do you have any idea what you have done?" Mother kept on yelling.
"Yes, yes, give him more freedom", said my sister, Ira. Thank goodness for siblings; they add additional drama to the scenes. Anyhow, I kept on listening to Mother's rebuke. After all, I was at fault so I had to pay for it. Anyhow at the back of my mind, I kept on wondering why Sonali had shown the letter to her mom! But that day she had seemed fine. I had seen something in her eyes as well. I was contemplating, plus minus, least bothered of what all Maa was saying. Subsequently my body was physically present there though my heart was experiencing a little pain. Yes, the twinge was little, yet it was there.
Eventually, I made up my mind. "Okay, enough! No more notions for me about love and all. I'll get back into football, my studies, and back to my chill pill attitude." Still girls used to take a deep breath while watching me kicking the football in heavy downpours, all soaked in water and mud, but these feelings were beyond sensible. "I am the best. I deserve the best."
With the passage of time, I was able to shake off the "Sonali effect." Since exams were coming up, studies took all my attention. I passed by Sonali a few times, but now I hardly paid any heed to her; nevertheless, it appeared as if she wanted to say something, and this piqued my interest.
After exams, we had a farewell party. All the sections of the ninth class assembled for fun, food, and frolic. It was all fun as girls and boys partied, adding excitement to the atmosphere. At the end, we were all tapping to the beat of the music. Vikas and I were standing on the sidelines with our cold drinks and snacks. Unexpectedly, I heard a familiar voice behind me: "Arush."
I turned around and found Sonali standing there, looking nervous. I replied very politely, "Yes?"
"Can I talk to you for a moment? If you don't mind?" she enquired.
"Yes, surely, go ahead," I replied confidently.
"Well not here. May be somewhere outside the hall, in the garden."
"I paused for a moment, looked at Vikas and said, "Okay, come." Viks nodded his head, signaling me to go with her.
We moved together silently. I didn't look at her, not even once. In the back of my mind, thoughts were jumbling and running like ocean waves. I was silent on the outside, but internally I was very confused. All I could think was, Now what does she need?
When we finally reached the garden, I said, "Okay, now tell me why you have dragged me out here." I don't know why, but I was a bit discourteous. I spoke in a challenging tone.
"Well, I wanted say I am sorry for that incident," she replied with her head down.
Thanks to this English word sorry, you can bang anyone's heart or head and wash the action away with this mere word. Even though I tried to control my emotions, I spoke in a harsh voice, "That's it? Fine! Now may I go?"
Sonali got a little scared. "There isn't anything else you want to say or ask about?" she asked.
"Is there something left to ask you?" I said. "You had a problem with me, but what was the need of showing the letter to your mother?" I burst out with fury, as if the situation had been buried within my heart for a long time.
"I understand how you feel," she said, "but I didn't show the letter to my mother. I hid it in my bookshelf, and she somehow found it while she was cleaning my room."
The moment Sonali justified herself, I found my rage suddenly vanished.
"If this is so, then why didn't you tell me before?" I asked as I turned toward her. I felt as if my heart was melting inside my chest.
"I tried, but each time I turned up to you, your anger seemed to turn me away."
This was more painful than before. There was an absolute silence; we said nothing, but we said a lot.
"I am leaving this school," Sonali said.
"What?" I was quite shocked at the sudden outburst. "Are you serious?"
"Yes," she answered meekly.
And so my school love came to an end. It had been a love that left me little to think about. A love between two who were at such a tender age as ours was a love with no big dreams or desire. It consisted of a cute smile, some unspoken words, and some clashing of eyes, maybe. That's all we needed to make love special, pious, and endearing.
After my first love story came to such a sad end, I started showing off my cool dude attitude. As our school days were over, it was time to step up for college. College is a place where everyone brings differing outlooks. Some youths come to sketch their dreams; some appear to chase their woven dreams. A few turn up to enjoy the freedom of being far away from the restraints of school, homework, and structured time. Some, like me, arrive lost in their own world, eager to discover a new life, new people, and a new self. Vikas and I ... together we headed to college.CHAPTER 2
I was good in handling and understanding accounts, so I decided to major in commerce, as I was eager to learn more about money matters. By the time I entered my second year of college, my personality had become prominent, and I was recognized among the entire student body. I was not known for a bullying nature or for arrogance or mischievousness; rather, I was known for my free-living approach toward life and everyone around me. I used to stay far away from the word stress, and I encouraged others to do the same. For me, every girl was beautiful, and I always appreciated their beauty.
When I was in my second year of college, our session started a bit later then the fresher's. The week flew by, and we started going to college. One afternoon I was late for my economics class, which I never used to miss. It was Vikas' fault! We were walking together swiftly along the corridor toward our class when I somehow peeped into another classroom. I started to walk by, but then suddenly I came to a halt.
"What happened? Why did you stop?" Vikas asked as he went a little further and turned back to see me standing there still.
Even though I heard him, I took few steps back and peered through the open door into the classroom. I saw a beautiful girl sitting in the first row. She was busy jotting down notes, and her hand was moving so fast, her tippet had slid down from her shoulder, and she was holding it with her other hand. One moment she was looking at the board, and the next moment she was looking down at her notebook. Her long black hair rippled down her back. I just couldn't stop starring at her.
"Yes?" a hoarse voice came from inside. The teacher was asking me what I was doing there. The lovely student also took her eyes from the board and turned to me.
I was so busy looking at her that suddenly Vikas pulled my arm. "Come Arush! Have you turned mad?" And so he dragged me away from that stunning student. I was still lost in my thoughts of her. "What happened? Now will you please break this famous silence and explain me". Vikas pulled me aside. "What did you see in there?"
"What class it that?" I asked with a lost look on my face while he dragged me down the corridor.
"BA first year, juniors," he said. "Now tell me what happened!" Vikas hurled his question at me.
"Who is she?"
"That girl dressed in yellow! Ahhh, she was so beautiful." I was still talking gibberish, and I discovered that I had missed my economics class. But it was all fine; after all, I had seen her.
The very next day, I spotted her. She was wearing a pink flowered salwar kameez — traditional dress. Her hair was untied, and she was walking slowly. I kept on staring till she raised her eyes and connected with mine. I was never in the habit of turning around to see a girl, so as she passed by my side, I mumbled, "Beautiful." I don't know if she heard me, as I had whispered. After that I often passed her on the campus, and each time I hummed the word beautiful.
Excerpted from Finally I Stopped At You by Sonya. Copyright © 2016 Sonya. Excerpted by permission of Balboa Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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