Black and White
© Copyright 2018 by Amisha Bansal
I am persuing law from India. I've a keen interest in writing and flaunting my knowledge. My dream is to serve my country by joining the Army.
"What? How did this happen? No one had any hint about it." said Antony who couldn't believe what he saw.
"It's true. Believe it.” answered Della in a calm and soothing voice.
"I want to know everything, from scratch and you need to tell me, okay." Antony said in a commanding voice and still couldn't believe the news.
"It's a long story." said Della, irritated.
"I've 2 hours before my office." Antony winked at Della and smiled at her.
Amidst the hustle bustle of the corridor, the chirping of the birds outside the window and the continuous babbling of the pupils, I was sitting there, far behind on the last bench, lost in my own thoughts. The depressing thoughts, of leaving your birth place and loosing everyone, with whom you had shared every moment of black and white, were sacked in my mind. I was just 15, and was in a new city with my parents. My father being in a public job, had got transferred to the new city.
“School is really depressing, mum!” said I.
“You need to go darling; things will get sorted in a week or two.” said my mum who was really tired after doing the packing and unpacking of things.
I rolled beside her on the 4-inched mattress. The next day was school again and I had to wake up early for that. Thinking about the dreary teachers and unrecognisable fellows, I slept hugging her, feeling her warmth, which was the only good thing that happened to me, the whole day.
“Wake up, Della! It’s 6:15 am. You need to hurry up now!” shouted my mum from the kitchen, which might have been the tenth wakeup call since morning.
I finally listened to her sharp voice, with a heavy mind, tensed about the new ambience which again I had to face. I had the habit of readying up really fast and hence reached the school at exact 7:15 am. I took my last bench and sat quietly without uttering a single word.
“Hi, Edward here.” A fair- complexioned boy, with small brown eyes came to me with some papers in his hand. “This is the form for monitors of our house. I had this extra one, if you wish to become a monitor you can take it.”
I thought for a second, and then with a sudden happiness of being able to do something new, I took the form. “Today is the last date of submission. Fill it fast and submit it to the teacher. ”
It was a lengthy form, but yet I managed to finish it and submit it.
“Della, you will have an interview tomorrow. Be prepared.” said the teacher to me and the words left me nervous. I had never faced an interview, yet I was excited too for this new experience.
“Antony! Come in.” I heard the high pitched voice of the teacher calling students for the interview. I was just third after Antony and was trying to decipher the secretive talks of the interviewer and interviewee. “For which post have you applied?” asked Edward who stood behind me. I looked at him, with my eyes and mind half concentrated on the corporate talks inside and half on his question.
“Ummm.. for Literary, and you?” Edward, stood there for a moment, not uttering a single word, but just looking at me constantly, as if he had found in me something which he would like to have and then finally he replied, “Cultural”.
“Okay. All the best, then.” said I, with a bit of nervousness in my voice due to his awkward gaze at me and in a formality to reply back.
I heard my name being called by the teacher, and I went inside, praying to God to give me confidence.
“Why do you think, you can become a monitor?” asked the interviewer after going through my form.
“Well, I think, I’m an ambitious person, with good will power, courage, leadership quality and dexterity to work. Being new to the school, it would give me a chance to take unbiased decisions and even know the students and teachers well.” I was happy that she asked me the same question which my mother had made me cram the previous day and hence replied with full enthusiasm.
“Okay, so what if you are not selected?” the next question which she asked. I felt a bit nervous as it was a new question for me, but yet answered it confidently.
“No problem. I’ll be happy for those who are better and deserving than me.”
The teacher gave a one sided smile and said, “Thank you, you may go.”
I got up from the chair with a feeling of pride in my heart and walked confidently towards the gate as if I had cracked the Engineering entrance. Edward was standing there at the gate and winked at me while I was leaving.
After the interviews were over we were there in the class again and I was as usual on my last bench, when Edward came and sat beside me.
“Hey, how was the interview?” asked Edward with a smile like of a shy boy on his face.
“It was nice. And yours?” I replied with eagerness.
“Mine was okay. Can we become friends?” he asked suddenly.
“Umm, yeah! Of course.” I smiled back at him and our eyes met for a couple of seconds.
“Let’s leave, the bell has rung. Would you like to come with me?” said he.
“Sure.” I replied shyly, with my cheeks turning pink.
After about a couple of months in the school, I went to home with a cute smile on my face which my mother recognized as expected.
“Tell the name of your new male friend.” She asked suddenly.
“What? No one mom.” I replied and went to the bathroom to freshen up myself.
Mothers have magic. Without knowing anything, just by looking at the body language of her child, she can predict what’s going on in his life.
“Mom, I’m going to study, I’ve my exam tomorrow.”
“Okay. Study well. Don’t forget your inner Della.” she replied, the same sentence which she says before my exam. Since childhood, she has been my guardian, my teacher, my best friend, my sister, everything. It is she, who has been able to win infinite prizes in several Olympiads, sports, arts and science through me. It is she, who has been the topper always; always touching the infinite and for whose sky is the limit- through me. She has relived her childhood in me and had made me feel the sweetness of success, in a very early age. Whenever I’m afraid (which I usually am, before exams), she says, “Don’t forget your inner Della”, to remind me of the capabilities which I’ve and the level of aptitude which I’ve attained through her. I went to study with a zeal and learnt the topics well.
The next day, my paper went great and ssuddenly, as soon as I was beginning to leave, I felt someone holding my hand and I checked who it was.
“Actually, I have started liking you, I had first sight crush on you. I was mesmerized by your eyes and fell in love with you. I couldn’t sleep for the whole night, was just thinking about you. Don’t know what’s happening. Sorry. Bye.” said Edward, continuously in a single breath without even listening to me and started to move.
“Sorry, I don’t believe in love. Yeah! Bye.” My mother had always kept me rooted towards studies and has taught me enough to abstain from any sort of distractions and hence, I replied spontaneously to him.
Though, I was not happy with what I said. I could have said yes. I cried. But, I didn’t know why I was crying, why I was regretting. May be because I’ve lost my friend or may be I had too started liking him. Being hung in between feelings, I decided to forget these things and instead concentrate.
I joined coaching class and due to which my section changed and I kept myself busy for three long years in studies. We both maintained distance, but yet, I could still feel the love in his eyes whenever I passed across him. Even if, I had feelings, I couldn’t confess. I was engulfed with the Indian values my mother had instilled in me. I never bothered about him much and was doing marvellous in my studies.
The most difficult thing, which every student has to choose, is about his or her career. I chose to enter into legal field as I was sufficiently motivated by the jurists around, the judges, their majestic looks and their aura and hence decided to jump in this field. So, I opted for Commerce and Business studies to know about the country better. My aim had always been to serve people and the poor in my country and to give them justice. With this passion in my mind, I happily started studying to the best of my ability.
The subjects were interesting and easy to understand and I grasped them faster. It was around 15th day of the senior secondary school, when something odd happened with me.
“Hey”, I heard a familiar voice. It was Edward. We were talking after 3 years. Many a times he had come to me, so as to get in a conversation, but I had always avoided that.
“Hey” I replied.
“That’s nice. We both are commercians. I had joined today as I had a terrible accident and God gave me a cute gift in compensation” he winked at me in a flirtatious way.
“Yeah, mam is calling me.” said I and went away so as to avoid conversation.
“Della, can you please announce in the class this notice.”, asked the teacher.
‘There is a surprise gala night tomorrow and you all are invited to attend it at the Hotel Lakesalt from 7:00 pm. Those who are willing to come may give their names to the teacher.’ The notice read.
I was a little shocked to see. Those who never even stood up before the teacher gave names and the whole class was around her to get their names on the list.
The next day was the gala night day and we all reached on time fully dressed up and colourful. I was wearing a black evening gown, with a simple make up on my face and a bun. All the girls were looking mature like ladies and boys like gentlemen. We swayed, ate, sang and did all sorts of fun. I was in a very cheerful mood. I have the habit of losing my sense a little when I’m really happy. I did a thing, that day, which changed my life completely.
“Della, you are looking beautiful.” said Edward, flirtatiously. I knew what he wanted yet, I replied.
“Della, if you don’t mind please can I’ve your number?” he asked
“Okay. But don’t give it to anyone else.” said I and struggled between the conflict of mind and heart. It was a decision which I left to God, as it was an unexpected and uncontrollable, and came out of me suddenly.
I was expecting a “hi” from him and which did pop on the screen when I checked my phone. My inner thoughts dictated me- just friends, not more than that, inner Della, law. I knew all this, yet a feeling was there in my heart which I couldn’t resist. I too had feelings for him since years but always kept it dormant. Whenever, he sent me a “hi” after that, I always replied as if I was waiting for his message and we texted for a few minutes, which increased to hours very soon.
Once, a text popped on my screen “I’ve tried vodka today: Edward”
As soon as I read this text, I felt concerned I was at the top of his head criticizing for his action and scolded him for an hour or so as it was not the age to drink. I had seen many men in my locality, losing their career just because of the habit of drinking. I don’t know why I did this, yet there was something inside me, may be a soft corner for him and he replied,
“You know, you love me.”
“Nooo, I’m just concerned.” said I.
“May be. I can drink litres of vodka if I will get this sweet scolding from you.”
This small incident ended in laughter. But this was the foundation of our love.
Soon, we had started talking on phone and finally a day came when I couldn’t resist and had inculcated great feelings for him. I replied in positive to his “I love you” and we started dating each other. I was very afraid. I never wanted to compromise on my studies but also, didn’t want to lose him as I too had feelings for him since childhood.
We never feel the passion of love, unless there is a negative force on the love. That opposing force was my mother.
Once, Edward called me and my mother picked up the phone. He, without even knowing who’s there at the other end, said in a single breath, “I love you, I want to marry you” and ended the call suddenly.
My mother stood for a second, shocked, almost in tears, as she could sense her dream for me fading away. Listening to this my mother became anxious and lectured me on the subject "dream and love: none you will get" for hours. I knew what she was saying; I had always known it by heart. I understood her, promised her to leave him, yet couldn't. I too had started loving him. The values in my mind had surrendered to my love for him. Soon, love moved a step ahead to become passionate love.
It was the repelling force of my mother which made us realise the love for each other and pushed us closer and closer, to the extent that we continued despite all odds. We had our first kiss, very soon. The more physical we got, exchanged warmth, the closer we became. The time from the gala night till the final day of the school, we both focused a lot on our relation which became our priority. Our results went down, parents never supported us, yet, we had that passion for love. The passion was to the extent that we went to the same college after completing school and whatever hard work we did was just for – same college.
Yet, my passion to serve the country never went away and I did my legal studies whole heartedly. We got the chance of making love several times, and we did it, with full passion and zeal, feeling each other's warmth and even making our love bond stronger.“Do you feel like I was a distraction on your studies and was it due to me, that relation with mother became harder?” asked Edward once to me.
“I had never cared. I did my best both in love and studies. My love was never forceful, it had just flown out. It’s an unconditional and uncontrollable love. Since that gala night till this very second, I’ve been with you every moment and I’ve cherished that. Though, I fell many times yet, I stood up holding your hand and fulfilling my dreams. Sometimes, I feel that the conflict between the stern cultural values which my mother instilled in me and love, was the main reason of several "terrified and confused " years.Today, I’m wearing this black and white uniform which not only symbolizes legal field, but also the blacks, whites and greys of our life, the ups and downs of our lives. I’m very happy with you. At this present stage, only a month is left for our marriage. I’ve never regretted my love and have enjoyed every second with you. It was your love which gave me more happiness to study well and serve people better. You know all these years, what I’ve learnt is that love and determination is the ultimate power. Nothing is bad, provided it does not give you sufficient energy and spirit to work. I just wanted both- career and you, and for that, I did, work hard. Mother always cared for me, but was never apprehensive of us, though she understood a little late.” replied I as if I had already known the question, had crammed it a minute before and almost said it with a zeal of a poet. It could be my answer to what I had already been guilty of or may be a cumulative experience of years of balancing love and studies.
“Yeah...That’s why mom said yes. She cares for you and even us” he said lovingly so as to cool me down.
“I would like our children to fall in love, like we did and we will never stop them.” said I, almost crying.
“Sure love” he said and kissed me on my forehead.
Suddenly, a call interrupted the love scene which my assistant had attended and said, “Mam, a call has come asking, if you could represent the cause of a poor labour... he is on the call right now.”
“Sure, tell them to meet me tomorrow.” I replied with a satisfaction, as that was the moment, which I had aspired for years- my love with me and my aim flourishing.
"Well, see I told you, it's a long story... your office time is near. Do attend our marriage ceremony and accept this invitation." said Della taking a deep breath after remembering the nostalgic moments.
"I'm happy for both of you and even for how it went. I'll be first in the ceremony." said Antony in a cheerful mood and with a spark of happiness which could be seen in his eyes, wished her good luck.