Book Excerpts from
The Disappointing 5
When Failures Turn Heroes
Author – Bhim Singh Bobanga
This article is a continuation of the 1st part found here.
From Chapter 4
They both again fell in silence for a moment as he offered another cigarette to Bindya, which she accepted.
“What about you?” he asked.
A surge of emotions swelled in her chest. She didn’t know what to say. She didn’t even know if she could speak about it. She lit her cigarette and took a huge puff from it.
Then she looked at him.
Should she tell him about her heart’s deepest secrets? The secrets that she never even told Robin. He did, so it’s fair that she told him about her as well. Bindya looked down at the chasm below them and took another deep puff of the cigarette.
Well, if they were both going to kill themselves, might as well release the burden that had been weighing on her heart for so long.
“What do you know about me?” she asked him.
Akash hesitated, but answered. “The most successful, famous, rich and good looking girl in school and maybe in the whole city. The scion of Shah industries, a multi billion dollar industry which has its wings all over the globe. Everyone wonders what such a powerful family is doing in such a city as ours when they should be in New Delhi or Mumbai or London or New York.”
“This is my mother’s home town and she prefers that I grow up here,” she informed. “So you know that I’m rich and famous; yet I only have one true friend. Funny isn’t it?” she said.
“Wait, what?” He asked, confused. “ What do you mean one? You are always surrounded by girls and guys.”
She abruptly stood up and crushed her cigarette under her bare foot.
“Yes! The gorgeous! The sexiest! The smartest! The most popular! Miss Bindya Shah! The boys want her! The girls want to be like her! She has it all!” she shouted loudly which echoed beneath them. Her tone was mocking and she posed for an imaginary crowd in front of her.
“The ‘It’ girl! The rising super model! Or maybe a future business tycoon! What can’t she do? She is the dream that everyone wants!”
Her hands balled into a fist.
“All anyone wants is a piece of me.”
Her voice came out strangled. Her jaws tightened. Her teeth grit against each other and her nose was now burning.
“I am either a piece of meat for consumption or a mannequin for someone to dress up. And if I am none of those then I am a snobby, stuck up, arrogant, egotistical, narcissistic bitch because I refuse the advances of perverts.”
Her voice increased as she continued. “How dare I refuse them? Oh they went and got me expensive or rare flowers? Oh they were being nice to me? Well then obviously I am now obligated to go on a date with them. Or sleep with them, despite me being underage and uninterested.”
She started coughing as she got out of breath. “When mum takes me to big parties or events in big cities, I see their looks. I can see it clearly what they are thinking, what they are imagining. They do not even hide it when my mum isn’t looking. I am the goose that lays golden eggs. I am a jackpot in bed and in their bank account. Oh how they wish I turn 18 as soon as possible…”
Bindya relaxed her fingers and sat down. She was exhausted. “I am lusted upon by old men and young boys alike. If not, I am the target for others’ hatred and jealousy. Oh she aced her exams? What a bitch. Oh, she is great at sports? What a bitch. Everyone is after her? What a slut!” Her voice lost its energy.
“And these people, they are everywhere. Everywhere I look, I see those eyes, I see those looks, I see the hunger. And nobody protects me from them. Everyone thinks that just because I am rich, all my concerns are invalid…”
Akash could see a drop of tear dangling from her nose. It shone in the moonlight before falling into the darkness.
“The one who should protect me and the one who I crave attention the most from…is never there for me. And I am tired of feeling vulnerable. I am tired of feeling alone.”
It was getting difficult to speak further. Her beauty and her social status had been nothing but a curse. The thought of sex did nothing but disgust her anymore because every time she thought about it, all she could see in front of her were the lecherous looks of old men, and young men, boys…
All of them.
She had tried to avoid everyone by immersing herself in sports and books. She tried to communicate with as less people as possible. But she didn’t know if she could go on like this.
They again fell back to their silence.
Several minutes passed by, and yet no one spoke a word. Both of them lost in their own thoughts. Both stared into the dark abyss beneath them where they presumed their bodies would be found the next day.
“Well this is it then,” said Bindya, finally. “How about it? let’s jump toge—”
“Don’t do it.” Akash interrupts.
“What?” she asked, confused.
“Don’t…Don’t kill yourself.” He said.
She stared at him.
“You… you said you have nobody to lean on to, no one to cling to. You said you don’t have any one who protects you.”
His breathing became heavy.
“I … I have never felt wanted,” he started. “I have always felt that I was the reason for everyone’s problems. That they all would be better off without me. That no one needs me.”
The breeze came again. It was cold. It was damp. Yet, both of their bodies were burning with emotions.
“Let me protect you,” He finally said.
Bindya was stumped. “What?”
Akash looked at her. He stared right at her hazel eyes. “Let me protect you. Let me be that person whom you could rely upon.”
“I…I…” she didn’t know what to say to him. She didn’t even know him.
“I meant,” he cleared. “That you can call me whenever you need somebody. I, I would like it if I mean something to someone, in any way that is.”
Bindya just sat there and stared at him. She couldn’t move. She couldn’t speak. And she wasn’t sure she was processing the whole thing right.
“You want to be…my…”
He wanted to be the one whom she could call when she wanted somebody. What did that mean? What did that make him?
“Friend. Just a friend. I would like to be your friend whom you could rely upon,” he said. “I don’t have bad intentions of any kind, It’s just… I would like to feel like I have a purpose too,” he finally confessed.
Bindya kept staring at him. She was at a loss for words. She then again looked down at the waters flowing several feet below them.
That’s where her fate should have been by then. She should have already become history, a memory.
She kept looking at him, locking her eyes with him as he looked back at her.
She searched his eyes for that look. That very look that she had seen in all the men that she had come across. The look that always hid a predator within.
She…she didn’t see it.
All she saw was an openness in those eyes. She also saw plea in them.
She also saw vulnerability in them.
Just like hers.
He…he seemed genuine.
She already had Robin as a friend, but, it was always Robin who needed her help. She never had anyone whom she could depend upon.
Should she accept what he was offering?
“Umm, can I hug you?” she finally asked. She was pretty sure her complexion went all red when she said that, but she was dying for someone to comfort her.
Akash was startled too.
“Uh…umm…uh…yeah sure,” he said, feeling the blush creeping upon him as well.
He scooted closer to where Bindya was sitting.
There was no longer a gap between them. Bindya looked at him and Akash looked at her. They were very close to each other.
Akash then realised something. He took off his jacket and put it over Bindya.
Only when she got the jacket did it dawn on Bindya about the current state of her and her partial nudity.
And the guy she was partially nude with.
Suddenly she realised how cold it actually was outside. She started freezing.
While simultaneously blushing like a tomato.
They both shared a glance at each other for another moment, before Bindya leaned onto him. Akash shifted a bit so she could have easier access to him.
Bindya rested her head on his chest and put her arms around his waist as Akash put his arms around her shoulders, covering her.
They both stayed like that for a minute.
She didn’t feel it.
She waited for some more time. But it did not come.
That repulsive feeling, that lecherous aura, she waited for any sign of them to turn up.
And Akash did not make any funny move at her either. He just held her. Made sure that she didn’t fall off.
“Yeah,” she finally blurted, still hugging him. “I mean… sure, I guess we can be…friends.”
Akash didn’t respond. He just held her and looked up at the sky.
“It is a beautiful night, tonight,” he said.
“Mhm,” she said, basking in his warmth. It was the first time she was ever hugging someone so close. It was the first time a hug felt so… safe.
“Want to look at them a bit more comfortably?” he asked
“Yeah?” she replied.
Akash then scooted back and spread his legs a little.
“Go on, you can put your head on my lap and look at the sky,” he said.
Bindya blushed hard again. Okay maybe this was all going too fast. Maybe this was all too awkward. Maybe she should back out of all this. Or better, maybe she should just jump off the bridge and be done with all this.
She looked at his eyes again. Will that be the moment where he would make a move? Will that be the moment where he would show his true colours?
She couldn’t see any signs of such feelings in his eyes.
She laid her head on top his lap and covered her body with his jacket. The heat emanating from his body and his jacket engulfed her. She felt warm.
She felt comfortable.
They both were again left in silence. They could hear the crickets in the bushes. They could hear the splashing sounds of the stream below. Other than that, silence.
But the silence this time wasn’t awkward. It was…nice. Friendly.
They both just looked up and stared at the stars. Some were really bright and some were not, some looked like they were moving and one or two looked like they were changing colours.
Bindya and Akash were so engrossed in it that both of them did not realise when Akash had started to play with her hair. His hand grazed through her locks, caressing her head on its own volition.
They didn’t know how long but time passed as they remained. Their hearts slowing down, calming down, both lost in the heavens above.
It was when Akash’s phone started buzzing that they both came back to their present reality.
Bindya sat upright immediately while Akash checked his phone.
It was Sunayna.
He picked up the call.
“Hey… no I’m outside, just went for a walk haha… yeah I know…” Akash rolled his eyes at something. “Yeah I’m not naked, I am wearing enough clothes… yeah okay …actually let’s not talk right now, tomorrow maybe?… no I am fine…okay, see you later… bye.”
He cut the call.
“We…we should get going,” Bindya suggested.
“Y-yeah…” he replied.
The awkwardness was slowly coming back to both of them. Akash got off the guard rail and onto the bridge. He dusted the back of his pants and offered his hand to Bindya.
Bindya stared at his hand.
On one side was the cliff, the end of her everything. She could just jump and all her problems would be history. She would be history. No more worries.
And on the other side was his hand.
What did this entail? Where would this lead to? What was she setting herself on?
She looked at him. He really had those puppy dog eyes, but he also had the look of sincerity in them.
A look of hope and fear as well.
How will this all end up?
She didn’t know.
But a second chance might not hurt… right?
Que sera sera I guess, she thought.
And took his hand.
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Book Excerpts from
The Disappointing 5
Author – Bobanga