I have a history of stalking...yes, I am a self-confessed criminal. I have practiced this patient art since I was in the 6th standard. I should have been a detective...or a pocket-maar...but wot to do...jab kismat ho pandu to kya karega Yogu. Laal Tel Paree. Yes...that was her name...my sixth standard heart-throb. Baap re baap...she used to wear those pig-tail types chotee with red ribbons and all. But me was total fida on her...her bonafide deewana...red-ribbons-dipped-in-coconut-oil or not. I used to dream about her even when I was staring straight at her...I was so smitten.
My feeble brain had no idea what to do in this situation as I was way ahead...hormonically speaking...from the rest of the half-pant-waali junta in my class. My friends were no use as they thought that all girls were a waste of time. One of them still does...but we now call him Gay-jendar...and he is not my bottom-slapping friend anymore.
So anyway...my highly advanced Phantom-comics influenced intellect decided that in situations like these...where you don't have enough guts to approach a particular species...you stalk them...hunt them down...subdue them...and then scratch your costume and plot the next course of action. Old Jungle Saying. So I started earnestly with step one...and decided to trail my prey...my superhero costume being my school uniform.
The good thing about Red-Ribbons was that she did not take a bus or rick-shaw or elephant from school...but walked back to her home...which I guessed was somewhere near the school. I realized that it was a lucky break and I should make full use of this fact. I did not take the bus home one day and sent a message through my conductor that I would be staying at a friends place and will come home later in the afternoon. I had smartly calculated how much time it would take me to reach home after this detour.
As school left...I spotted my victim walking with determination towards her goal. I followed at least 15-people spaces behind...quickening my pace as she marched on. She continued...and I relentlessly pursued. The blazing hot noon sun was out...and Bombay's humidity was gushing out of my pores. The incessant mid-day honking and dodging other vehicles on the road wasn't making the job any easier. But I did not give up...I stuck to her like chewing-gum in hair.
We passed the place where I hoped she lived...but she continued. We passed my favourite juice-stall...she still continued. We passed the haunted house on the narrow street...and yet she continued. We even passed the aromatic dye factory...she didn't even stop for a quick sniff...but just breezed on. By this time..we had come quite far from the school and I was wheezing and panting like an old man just trying to keep up with PT Usha. But she showed no signs of slowing up...and maintained a constant speed which was getting way beyond my grasp. Where the hell did she live!!??!! We were now well into the territory where school buses were required...well...required at least by all sane people.
Finally...I saw her slow down...thank the constellations!!! I thought my hard tiring work was about to pay off...when suddenly...she stopped and looked behind. I froze like the Statue Of Liberty wishing to be invisible at that moment...but I guess she was just checking the traffic behind as she deftly crossed the road in the twinkling of an eye. I gathered my remains and scrambled after her...still profusely sweating and huffing. I saw her figure disappear into an area called Liberty Garden...which was completely unknown to me. I entered the area and stopped...the road was straight ahead and I could see her easily...while she kept on going and going like an energizer bunny...further and further away!!! Holy Moonlighting!!! That was it!...I decided in desperate frustration...no girl however oily was worth this much effort! Tired and defeated...I flagged down a rickshaw and was off to my place. I looked behind...and she was still walking!!!
The next day during assembly...I saw her come in...walking again...without a single drop of sweat on her forehead...and without any heavy breathing. She's gotta be an alien I mused... when suddenly my new house captain Preeti Cutie pulled me out of the assembly line for wearing white shoes to school. She wore yellow ribbons with no oil...and yellow was suddenly my favourite colour...and Parachute my most hated hair-oil.