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Saturday, June 12, 2010



One of the winners of Blogadda's "My first Crush !" Contest declared June 18, 2010.

The contest was judged by Preeti Shenoy author of '34 Bubblegums and Candies’. 

      She wrote: "A moment of weakness by Hanif Murad:

"Reading the above piece made me go‘aaaaaaaaw’. It is very well written too. Read it and you will see    why."

As Bombay started receding from the rear view mirror, we could feel the change in the weather. The chilliness in the air was bracing, as the car slowly started climbing the ghats towards its destination. The holiday resort we had booked was perched right on the top of the hill and was supposed to have a breathtaking view of the valley. It promised to be a great holiday. I had, then, just been promoted to Standard X of my school. I had also attained, for the first time in my school career, the top rank in the class. However, I was bespectacled and gawky in my looks.

The owner of the resort and his wife were a friendly and an affable couple. However, their 15-year-old daughter, although living in a small hill station, had a mega attitude about her. She preferred to stay aloof from everyone. It was by sheer chance that my parents casually mentioned about my recent scholastic accomplishments to the owner’s wife. She, thereupon, requested me to coach her daughter some mathematics as she had failed in that subject.

I was thrilled by this opportunity for, truth be told, I was smitten by her fresh scrubbed looks. Therefore, I was secretly delighted that she had failed in mathematics for I thought this would bring down her conceited bearing when we would meet the next day for the tuition. However, I was in for a surprise.

The next morning found us sitting together, at one corner of the huge dining table, for the teaching and learning of the Unitary Method. She was arrogance personified and almost made it appear as if she was doing me a favour by being willing to learn the subject from me. I checked her mathematics’ class workbook and found it not only untidy, but also full of angry crosses by her teacher in red ink.

Nevertheless, keeping her outlook in mind and my feelings for her, I asked her in a very conciliatory tone, “Mrinalni, tell me what you don’t understand about these sums?”

Haughtily she replied, “Everything.”

Keeping my cool, I jokingly replied, “That’s good. We can start from the beginning.”

She condescendingly nodded her head to imply that she may just deign to hear me out. It felt that I was the one actually on trial.

I started with the simplest of the equations and told her how to place the fixed and the variable values in the proper slots to arrive at the correct answer. Thereafter, I set her a problem but she just could not get it right. Being as infatuated as I was at that time, I remained extremely patient with her. Repeatedly, in different ways, I tried to explain the formula to her but it was all in vain.

Finally, I could not take it anymore and with great exasperation told her, “You don’t have brains. You have sawdust there.”

She flared up at that, and with her cheeks glistening red with anger, she pulled the books from me, shut them with a loud bang and, after giving me a regal sneer, walked away. She went straight to her mother and banging her fist forcefully on the table told her, “I don’t care if I have to repeat this class for a hundred years but I will not be taught by him. He is an awful teacher. He cannot even explain a simple formula!”

For fifteen days after that, we did not speak to each other. However, a picnic and a game of antakshari came to the rescue. Knowing the cold war between Mrinalni and me, we were put on opposite sides. I launched the game with the soulful number from Madhumati, ending with,

Ruthhe Hain Naa Jaane Kyo, Mehamaan Woh Mere Dil Ke

I must have rendered the song with some feeling for most people thought I was pouring out my heart to Mrinalni. The game, however, proceeded normally until Mrinalni, most unsuspectingly, responded to a later antakshari cue and sang the opening line of another song from Madhumati,

Aaja re,

There is a small interlude after that and as Mrinalni paused, a lot of furtive glances were exchanged amongst the participants but Mrinalni was totally unaware of them. She continued,

Main To Kab Se Khadi Is Paar, Ye Ankhiyaan Thak Gayi.
Panth Nihaar, Aaja Re Pardesi

As she innocently ended the mukhda, there was a burst of spontaneous laughter. Someone, looking towards me, quipped, “Hey, you have got your answer.” That was the first time Mrinalni realized the possible implication of the song. She blushed furiously, hid her face in the palm of her hands and went right at the back where no one could see her. After the game ended, I went up to her and said, “Mrinalni that was a beautiful way of expressing your feelings.”

“Eh, Mister, don’t flatter yourself. Chhera kabhi seeshe mein dekha hai” was her quick retort. It was vintage Mrinalni. But the defrost had begun. After a week, I left for Bombay and Mrinalni found it difficult to put up a brave face at my departure.

Many years have passed since then and Mrinalni is now married and has two cute children. The children love to hear me recount the above anecdote. I begin the narrative thus to them, “Your mother is a very beautiful woman but even at the age of 15, she could not add up 9 + 7.” The children - who are five and seven years old - are greatly amused by this revelation about their mother. Finally, I would end the story by saying, “Ananya, you are as beautiful as your mother but I hope you don’t have sawdust in your head!” At this, both the children would squeal in delight and Ananya would say, “No, no. I am like Papa.”

Mrinalni, at this point, with mock-strictness, would tell the children, “You have heard your Papa’s favorite bedtime story, now off to bed.” Mrinalni fondly remembers that Valentine day, about nine years ago, when, as she blushingly says, in a moment of weakness she had agreed to marry the Pardesi.


Ugich Konitari said...

Congratulations ! Great post on your first crush ! Truly deserving ....

Shankha said...


Anonymous said...

That's a happy ending :) Lovely!!! Congratulations :)

Lazy Pineapple said...

Congratulations :)
Loved your post...I had bubbles in my stomach while reading it..BTW not because of indigestion hehhe

Your story reminded me of one of my crushes..

Anonymous said...

congratulations...beautiful story :)

Doli said...

oh my! how sweet! u married her too.. that's really really sweet

Kalpak said...

Loved it.... Keep writing ..

Rakesh said...

i loved this one

I need to start wearing spectacles & maybe even try my hand at singing

Anonymous said...

am truly head over heels in love with your post. Beautiful narration and yup cutest love story. sobs...making me all mushy.

Anonymous said...

That's a cute love story.. Congrats.. :)

Ritu said...

Wow, this is romance! Lovely. Well deserved win!

Zainab Urooj said...

Enjoyed reading every bit

sushobhan roy said...

Congratulations man.. Beautiful story.. Enjoyed reading every bit of it..:)

Hanif Murad said...

Hi you great guys,


Preeti Shenoy did a wonderful job!!! Thanks Preeti wherever you are.

Ugich, You were the first to comment, you will always remain special.

Shankha Thanks

Indianhomemaker Thanks to you too.

Lazypineapple Bubbles is a true index. Ha ha. Would love to hear about your experiences. If possible, alert me.

Ayushrastogi Thanks.

Doli Dil toh pagal hai.

Kalpak Thanks

crackedchronicles I think I have a future!! Ha ha
Rakesh And cultivate a gawky look!

Hanif Murad said...


Bedlam Thanks.

Ritu Shakespeare beware Ha Ha.

Zainab Thanks

Sushobhan Thanks

~ Lopa said...

Beautiful post and congratulations on winning !

Hanif Murad said...

Thanks, Lopa

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Thoroughly enjoyable! And congratulations!

Hanif Murad said...

Thanks, Corinne.

GNSD said...

Its such a well written peice... Really enjoyed reading your trip down memory lane.. it really feels like a movie come true!

Hanif Murad said...

Hi Garima - (hope I've got it right.)

It was indeed a great pleasure to receive a comment almost a week after the last one. Wonder how you came across the post.

Happy you enjoyed the nostalgic recollection.

All the best.

namit said...

mannn...u guys got married...dis is 1st tym in my life i ve heard sm1 getin maried to dere 1st

Hanif Murad said...

Hi Namit

Ha ha. Those were the days ....

namit said...

yeah...dose were d best dez of ur life...m happy fr u.. :)

Hanif Murad said...

Thank you, Namit

Deepa said...

Liked it a lot!

Especially when you said she has sawdust instead of brains..:))

How she must have tested your patience, to get that from someone so infatuated!! LOL!!!

Hanif Murad said...

Hi Deepa,

What an insightful analysis.

Thoroughly enjoyed reading it.