The Stardust in Siya Nanda's Life

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1. The Beginning

They say you only love once and to hold onto that first love forever is the most beautiful thing in the world. I would have declared it bullshit had I not met Sivan Manak. My entire life I believed there are only two types of people- good and well, situationally bad, if that’s even a thing. But this boy made me believe in the old Chinese philosophy of yin and yang. Yin and yang describes how proven seemingly opposite forces are actually complementary in real life, and how they may give rise to each other as they interrelate to one another. It means there’s good in bad and bad in good; just like there’s a bit of me in him and a bit of him in me. He made me believe in all the clichés about love and I am forever grateful to him for that.

Just like any usual first love, ours bloomed at the school too! I still remember the day he first came in through the door of the classroom and sat two rows across from me. Anyone watching him for the first time would make a mental note to self: not to ever stop looking at him; he had that effect on people. He had the best set of eyes, dark and deep enough to let you drown but kind enough to let you linger, his hair was unruly sometimes and obedient other times but it was always perfect, always! He was tall and lean, his arms wide enough to hold tight and his hands were the most beautiful hands I had ever seen! The fingers so slender and long you would want to draw them. There was something with the way he moved, urgent yet relaxed, like fearing something and then reassuring against it. He could be the person you give your heart to, falling helplessly! The only thing peculiar yet cute about him was the blush on his cheeks! He would be shy and he would blush, angry and he would blush, happy and he would blush. The blush you write songs about.

The only two reactions your mind comes up with when spotting someone as mesmerizing as him are: “he doesn’t even know how beautiful he is!” And “he sure as hell knows how beautiful he is!” so the right-winger in me decided not to talk to him ever. He joined the school in March just when the new academic year began and by the end of the month we knew a lot about him even though he practically never told us anything. Our knowledge of him could be attributed to two crucial factors-

Firstly, we were in high school! And just like Neil Armstrong was the first person on moon, knowing-it-all is the sole agenda of every high schooler.

Secondly, we lived in a town so small everyone could actually be kin to one another and in small towns news travel fast.

From the little thrill the Manak family caused by moving to our otherwise spiritless town, it was just a matter of time before we knew all the basics about all four of them. His family happened to move into the house next door to my best friend Rayna’s. You guessed it, the Devil works hard, but best friends work harder!

Contrary to popular belief, Sivan did not just pretend being mysterious, he actually was mysterious. He would wake up early in the morning to do yoga, walk his pug around the neighbourhood, leave for school and after school he would go for cricket practice with his younger brother, all this without talking to a soul in between. His younger brother, Soyen, maybe two years his junior was the opposite of him, he would get up late, no exercises, would talk to everyone on the street and even made best friends with the neighbouring kids. Soyen looked nothing like Sivan; he had big happy eyes, while Sivan’s were small and penetrating. According to Rayna, Soyen was the happy Bichon Frise while Sivan was the sulky Rottweiler. Sivan’s father, Mr. Manak, was mostly MIA, but on Sundays he would spend the whole day gardening and planting strange looking shrubs in the garden which wouldn’t resemble plants altogether! On googling about the strange plants, me and Rayna found out they were actually rare and were called patio plum, bat flower, devil’s tongue, harlequin glory bower and cupcake blush. As for Sivan’s mother, she could definitely win the next beauty pageant. While Mr. Manak and Soyen were amiable looking peasants of the family, Sivan and his mother were the angels from heaven. Mrs. Manak was a quiet lady, she would spend the day doing household chores and at evening, she would sit on a chair on her terrace sipping tea and humming to herself. While Mr. Manak had a thing going on for the rare, abominable species of plants, Mrs. Manak only loved roses. Their garden was half divided into striking strangeness and half into breath-taking red. You could make out that both of them were not in each other’s good books by the fact that they only watered their side of the garden.

Rayna was the reason why the whole school knew about Sivan in just a month. It almost became customary for us to sit in a circle in the canteen and discuss the daily routine of our oh-so captivating mystery boy. We were obsessed with the Manak family and people would find it weird but when you stay in a small town, you have limited things to be obsessed with. Nothing exciting ever happens in a small town, people go about their businesses all year. Everything happens as per routine, so when something out of the ordinary takes place, it becomes the talk of the town- in literal sense. It was only a matter of time before Sivan started noticing us, he wouldn’t talk to us but he sensed we talked about him. He would walk past us in the canteen, stare at us as if to warn us about the consequences of gossiping about him but we trailed on the forbidden path and kept the Manak Daily going over our lunches.

Suman Bhardwaj

#626 in Romance
#140 in Contemporary fiction

Story about: young romance, secrets, humour

Edited: 02.02.2019

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