He had been up since 11 am but could only leave the house at about 5. It was still very hot outside but at least the sun was less vicious.
Hedges lining the manicured Mayo campus were burning in the summer heat. The Cricket field looked lifeless, and Bikaner Pavilion desolate. All the glorious buildings looked sadly under-appreciated during the school summer holidays.
He entered Gibson Pool from the back – where the massive filter was. It was uncool to use the main entrance at the front. Many staff children were already there. Laughing. Chasing each other. Screaming challenges.
He was never short of witty words when he was with the boys, and he was never able to say anything when there were girls around. Today was no different. He couldn’t even look at them in the eye. Like he’d be charged with assault if he did!
After swimming, he walked with a friend to Praveen Fast Food Corner just outside the campus. They had a Dosa each, and discussed political alignments among the staff children. Apparently one of the groups was far too arrogant.
It was past 8 by the time he got home. Chitrahaar was on TV, and Sunny Deol was looking surprised at Amrita Singh’s musical abilities. The next song involved Manoj Kumar refusing to let his hand move away from his face.
Dinner time. The Dosa was still sitting tight in the tummy, and nobody in the family could know about it! It was going to be a struggle to finish the mandatory two chapatis before he’d be allowed to eat rice. He somehow managed to do it.
Almost time for the football match. Italia 90 had not been terribly exciting thus far. This game was no different. So he decided to read another P.G. Wodehouse. That guy knew how to write!
He felt hungry again so he made a jam sandwich for himself. No sign of sleep so he picked up his grandfather’s Philips transistor and went to the rooftop. Lying on the cool stone roof of Jodhpur House he looked above. His friends always seemed to know where the constellations were. (Or were they making it up?) He didn’t have any idea. He only saw stars.
As he took the first bite, All India Radio decided to play Main Zindagi Ka Saath Nibhata Chala Gaya. And he thought to himself, “Man! This is good.”