Aah, chocolate cream biscuits. In those days, they were wrapped in glossy violet packets bearing a typical image of a half-eaten biscuit with mouthwatering chocolate oozing out of it. Simply delicious!
I was in 4th Standard and the shortest kid in the class. But that didn’t stop me from desperately falling in love with Ann. I may have been a bit too young for relationships but Ann was fated to be my first love. Oh yes, she was taller than me and even smarter than me. She would sweep back her soft, brown hair in an unconscious gesture of concentration as she outlined those long coconut trees in the prototypical scenery, which included a hut, a winding road, and a few miniature mountains, with a sun peeping in the background. Ann rarely used an eraser – she was perfect!
I used to eagerly wait for the lunch bell. My ladylove used to bring those famous chocolate cream biscuits almost every day, neatly packed inside her round, sky-blue lunch box. She would slowly open it and look around, her lips curved with that mysterious smile; her red ribbons fluttering as she turned her head, her small hands covering the blue box now and then. The chocolate smell would gradually immerse us as she took the first bite.
Hesitantly I would put forward my lunch box, crammed with cold, yellow, sticky noodles. I knew very well she wouldn’t touch it. She would look at me and smile – a smile infused with mischief, affection and most probably some sympathy. She knew why I offered those insipid noodles to her and exactly what was I looking for in exchange. With the quick hand movements of a magician, she would pick one from her box and give it to me; the orb-shaped biscuit as brown as her eyes. Bewitched, I would smile at her and mutter an almost inaudible ‘thank you’. Then we would sit together on the desks that overlooked the playground and share our innocent stories about anything and everything. Rest of the world would be a blur, somewhere lost in between the two of us.
I never tried the six strings but I can guarantee you – those were the best days of my life. I don’t remember exactly how long this sweet ritual of sharing and caring went on. But when it came to a halt, for the first time I was aware of this strange emotion- a typical burning feel, which later I learned was commonly known as ‘jealousy’.
It all started when this guy named Abhishek, a tall, stupid but charming fellow joined us in the 5th Standard (most probably transferred from some school in Delhi) and instantly became Ann’s friend. I had no idea how or exactly when this happened or else I would have surely objected to it. But after the summer holidays, Ann and Abhishek were inseparable. They were playing stupid games together, fighting over sweet nothings, sharing books in the class, waiting outside for the school bus hand-in-hand and to my utter disbelief; they used to share their lunches also. And when I saw Abhi wolfing down a chocolate cream biscuit for the first time, I knew I had to come up with some quick strategy.
I tried to be with Ann as much as possible, to win her back. I sang her favorite songs while playing antakshari; helped her copy my Math homework; even spread some muddy rumors about Abhi. Told everyone who cared to listen that Abhi was actually an alien just trying to con us. But somehow the story didn’t go well with the general public and more importantly I failed to break the spell.
A year passed by. Nothing changed. I felt so helpless and lonely but never gave up hope.
And in one sunny afternoon hope returned it’s favor. I was swinging on the back gate, waiting for the school bus when Abhi came running towards me. I was shocked to see him crying. He sobbed like a baby. He announced that his father was getting transferred again, this time to Chennai, so consequently he would be leaving the city. His sobbing grew louder at the mention of Ann’s name. To my bewilderment he also added my name in the list of his close friends. Baffled, I did my best to put up a sad face so that he wouldn’t have any idea how I felt inside.
Abhishek pleaded that if he couldn’t meet Ann before leaving, then I would have to explain this whole ‘transfer’ episode to her. I assured him that I would. He gave me his future postal address and requested to pass it to Ann. I promised I would. He said he would wait for her letters.
But I loved Ann too much.
Souranath Banerjee is a commerce graduate from Kolkata. He came to Mumbai and worked with Prana Studios (Animation Company) for four years and then had a crazy idea to learn direction. So he did a film direction course at Whistling Woods International. Has made two short films. Currently working on the script of his own Bengali feature film. Also loves to travel and write and click pictures as well.