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Home Short Stories Am I different?

Am I different?

 

“Hey Shaina, I have been looking for you. Where were you since morning? I didn’t see you in the class too,” questioned Kirti as she entered the cafeteria.
“I had a severe headache. So I was ingesting some caffeine,” replied I, gently pressing my head.
“Oh! Is your migraine bothering you again?” asked Kirti in a concerned voice.
“Yes, so it seems.”
“Anyways, you tell me how did the lecture of Dr. Smriti go? I so wanted to attend it. Have you taken notes?” I asked anxiously.
“Yes I have but you know me well. I don’t jot down everything the way you do,” teased Kirti.
“Haha. It’s fine. I’m sure she will soon share some notes of her own. That should suffice,” I replied, assuring more to myself than to her.
“By the way, what was she wearing today? Blue saree with a pair of jhumki or a western outfit?” I giggled.
“You are really in love with her, aren’t you?” chaffed Kirti.
“Don’t say that! You are my only bestie,” I smiled at Kirti.
“Now let’s run for the next lecture, else I’ll have a lot to catch up,” said I, moving out of the chair.
We were in the final year of graduation and the microbiology subjects were making us work harder than we had thought.
Though a group of four friends, I had always felt more comfortable with Kirti than with Rohan or Sumit. Although boys were quite cooperative and caring, I always hankered for Kirti’s attention. She was always the first one to know about my secrets or my mood swings. I always looked forward to gossiping with her.
“Hey after this lecture, I have to share something with you. I am dying to tell you,” Kirti’s eyes shone as she uttered those words.
“Now I won’t be able to able to concentrate in the class. Tell me now!” I demanded.
“Chill yaar! I don’t want to tell you hurriedly,” she replied as we entered the classroom.
The teacher was already taking the attendance so we quietly took our seats.
After the class, Rohan and Sumit forced us to the cafeteria as they were starving and then the day took its course with lectures and breaks.
In the evening, when we got a little solitude in the crowd of metro, I asked Kirti,“ Kirti what did you want to share with me?”
“Oh yes! I have been waiting to share this with you. Guess what! I’m going on a date with Aditya on Saturday!” she said beaming with joy.
“Aditya? Are you sure about him?” I stammered, shock evident in my tone.
“Of course I’m sure! What are you saying? Aditya is such an attractive and charming guy. He asked me out and I instantly said ‘yes’,” she said chirpily as if lost in a dream.
“Hmm. I’m happy to see you all excited,” I gave her a fake smile.
“And you have to help me with the dress too! I want to look the best,” she screamed.
“You’ll look gorgeous in every attire. You know that,” I said smilingly.
“You are such a darling Shaina!” she jumped, planting a kiss on my cheeks.
I flushed.
I reached home and locked myself in a room. I recalled the day when I had met Kirti for the first time. It was our first day in the college and I was seated in the auditorium for the orientation. Dean was introducing the various faculty members when I felt someone pushing me. “Shift a little please,“ a girl whispered. It was dark so I couldn’t see her face but politely shifted to make space for her.
After about an hour, when the auditorium was lit, I noticed a tall, slim and attractive girl seated by my side.
“Hi! I’m Kirti,” she smiled in a pleasing tone.
I froze for a few seconds until she called out again.
“Hey! You ok? I’m Kirti, first-year microbiology.”
“Yes, I’m fine. My name is Shaina,” I smiled, regaining posture.
I felt some electricity running through my body; some unfamiliar vibes that blocked all my other senses. Wasn’t it the same feeling that I had observed with Hoor, my classmate in school?
I still remember how my mom had reprimanded me when I had shared my feelings with her. She first abused me verbally by saying that social media and extensive exposure to TV had corrupted my mind.
When I repeated the same disclosure of how Hoor made my heart go wild and that I loved to just watch her, she had even kept me locked in my room for a week. Finally, I had to write an apology to her and convince her that I was only meddling with her mind, only then did she allow me to go back to school.
As the entire incident flashed in front of my eyes, I quickly picked up my bag and started to move.
“Hey, Shaina! Which course is yours?” I heard Kirti question me.
“I’m in microbiology too,” I replied.
“Well, great then! Let’s walk down to the class together,” Kirti said in a friendly manner as she got up to walk with me.

Kirti was too buoyant to go unnoticed. She carried a charisma that attracted everyone to her. As days passed, we became good friends. I loved to spend time with her.

Not a single day would go when we wouldn’t talk to each other. But that wasn’t it. I had now started to observe her closely- the way she walked, the way she dressed and carried herself. I loved her in deep neck shirts and shorts. At times, I would even try touching her bare skin, which she wouldn’t mind.
I had even started seeing myself in the mirror for a longer duration. I preferred to wear light colour tones as Kirti had once commented, “Light tones suit you more. You glow in them, shining like your name- Shaina,” she laughed off.
Kirti’s presence made me come alive. This was ‘my normal.’
The way my sister preferred to hang out with boys, I preferred the company of Kirti.
What was wrong about it? It was natural for me, the way it was natural for other girls to like boys. It wasn’t something that I had imposed upon myself or that I had learnt from mass media but it came naturally to me, as natural as menstrual cycles! Why couldn’t my mother or sister understand this?
I was made to believe that I was different; different in a different way.
How could I change or control my gender preferences? If boys didn’t attract me, then how was I at fault? How did that make me abnormal?
I was a normal child but this world made me feel different.
Prejudice made me feel different.
Mockery made me feel different.
Society’s standards made me feel different.
I sulked every day for hiding my feelings for Kirti. I wanted to embrace her in my arms and feel every inch of her body. I wanted to indulge in her body odour and experience divinity, especially when she kissed me, the way she did today in the metro. I crazily yearned for her touch. And somehow, I believed that Kirti liked me too. She always chose me over her other friends. But the fear of rejection coerced me to remain silent. I didn’t want to lose her. She was the only one who understood me, I think, minus this little secret of mine.
But today when I saw her all ecstatic about her date with Aditya, I was shattered.
I had thought that Kirti loved me the way I did. But I was mistaken.
With Aditya now beginning to be a part of her life, she would have less time for me. It hurt me even more than the pain of being locked in my room for a week. I wondered if Kirti would also desert me if she got to know about me. I wouldn’t be able to stand her insolence or abhorrence.
Finally, I decided to maintain distance from Kirti as I could neither disclose my love for her nor I could see her with Aditya or any other boy, for that matter.
I felt alone and abandoned, with no one to share my feelings, not a soul who could empathize with me.
Was I so different than the rest of the world?
Did I not deserve to be happy just because I liked girls?
Did it make me a little less than humans?
I guess I had more questions than answers and it appeared it would remain so for the rest of my life.

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