My earliest memory of sneaking into a girl’s bag dates back to 1995. I lived in Shimoga then. I remember the house very well. I was taken there by my mother in an ambassador car from mangalore. I was disappointed the first time I was introduced to the house because this house wasn’t a Duplex, just like the previous couple of houses. Not Duplex. I had a strange fixation with Duplex houses ever since I had watched it being repeated in many Hindi movies. Mr. India, Hum aapke Hain Kaun? and Hum Hain Rahi Pyaar ke. I wanted a room of my own and I wanted it on the first floor.

This did come true, to which I will get to, not anytime soon.

The house in Shimoga was on the ground floor. It opened to an unusually long Veranda and cut right into an even longer hall. There were three bedrooms. Gran slept with us, in the children’s room, while grandpa occupied the bed in what was supposed to be Dad’s office. Mom and dad were in the room on the farthest corner of the hall.

My sister and I were always late to school. And this was shocking for most because our school, Educare Academy was on the next street. We were ALWAYS late and owing to that, I hadn’t the faintest clue what our school anthem was, never having had to sing it. I had a depressing time in this school, I didn’t have any friends. And this makes me sad now. I think it had something to do with my tardiness and the fact that I failed. A lot. But dad’s influence made sure that a lot of teachers were my friends (read: they had my best interests at heart).

This girl Rashmi was the class topper. She was fair of skin, rosy lipped bitch, popular and really cute. Her competitor was this boy called Ashish whom I was madly and deeply in love with. Naturally, Rashmi became my nemesis. She was probably the defining moment of all my forthcoming obsessions with women I wanted to become like.I was fascinated with her. To make it worse, rumors had it that she had blood cancer, which of course turned out to be bull shit. Nevertheless, the news of her impending death made her seem all the more desirable to me.

On Children’s day, the boys and girls were supposed to wear color dress and dance with each other. Rashmi and Ashish danced. Burnt my ass. I danced with some loser who made me cry. He broke all the nice beads on my frock.

This one time, during P.T hour we were made to play a match of running race against the boys. What’s up with this school? Why are they doing this to kids? Setting up boys and girls against each other in small budget remakes of Qayamat Se Qayamat Tak scenarios? Anyway, Rashmi and Ashish were captains. They had become good friends after the dance I guess. I remember running for the damn race and falling on my round and heavy face. My head was always too big for my body. I had skinned my knee caps  I stood resolutely in some corner, not crying but hungrily eyeing the puppy friendship those two shared.

That was my first taste of envy. I took excuse from the teacher and walked back to the classroom alone, defeated. I sat in Rashmi’s spot and wondered how life would be if I were her. I saw the board from Rashmi’s eyes, the rest of the class and most importantly I tried to see myself from where she sits. I wondered if she knew I existed. I saw her bag and was immediately aroused by the thought of taking a look at all of its contents. I wanted to see if I can recreate what existed in her life so as to make myself as awesome as her.

I didn’t find anything of interest except the mickey mouse souvenir from Disney land that she would constantly tempt the class with to keep them quiet, Class monitor, as she also was. I considered stealing it. I even took it to my bench but then I chickened out. I was already in a lot of trouble. I returned her mickey mouse and closed my eyes for a bit on her bench.

I remember going to her house once. It was a Duplex house and I fell harder. I saw that she had a room of her own, on the first floor. I remember having cursed her for living my dream. I don’t remember much of what happened later. I moved to a different city and therefore to different girls and their bags and to boys who liked them.

The second time I tried peeking into a girl’s bag was when I was a little older, in 1998. I was in Belgaum, in St. Joseph’s School. It was an all girls’ convent. I had friends here but I was, as usual a second fiddle to a pair of best friends. That, to my annoyance, seemed to follow me even to my college days. Her name was Gaana. I couldn’t really peep into her bag because that freak always carried it with her. But I did fancy her.

Hell, most girls in my class fancied her. One even went to the extent of imitating the way she sits and got told off for doing it by another girl. I felt bad for this mimic. I cursed her stupidity. It was something that I did too, undercover of course and she had to go and do it openly. Because of that stupid wretch I couldn’t imitate Gaana for 2 weeks.

Many girls have come and gone since then. The one in my life right now is super awesome. But it’s funny how my mind brought back those 2 shapes I thought I had forgotten. And now I am wondering where Ashish went. And now I am beginning to think I never was madly and deeply in love with him.


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