Pritika met Shailesh (names changed) during her college.
Not my type
Shailesh and I were studying a Bachelor in Commerce course together at a Coimbatore-based university. He was the social butterfly of our campus, always surrounded by girls. I was a quiet girl, stuck to my small set of close friends. It wasn’t a very large campus so everyone knew each other, at least by first name.
The first time we properly spoke to each other, it was at a party. He looked pretty good and carried himself in a certain way. He dressed up more than the other boys, had a tattoo and came to college on a bike. Everyone was attracted towards his ‘bad-boy’ personality.
Frankly, he was just not my type. Back then, I resented his attitude and taste. I thought it was a ruse. May be I had judged the book by its cover. When I first spoke to him, I was pleasantly surprised to find that he wasn’t that bad.
Win him over?
It was refreshing for him to know that I wasn’t one of the girls gushing over him, saying things that would win him over. If anything, I was saying things that would destroy any affection he felt towards me. I hit hard — I was bad-mouthing his favourite football team. It was something he took to his heart.
I guess he hadn’t discussed sports with too many girls until then. That night, he told me that he was impressed with my knowledge about sports. That was seven years ago.
Slowly, we started chatting whenever we bumped into each other. Over time, we got close. We exchanged numbers and started hanging out together with other friends over the weekends.
Game of predictions
As our friendship grew stronger, neither of us anticipated the barrage of questions from curious friends and nosy acquaintances. It seemed like everyone wanted to throw their bet in the hat. Everyone thought we were in love, just not ready to accept it. There were predictions about which one of us would fall in love and who would have their heart broken.
All the gossip that was floating around started bothering me. Shailesh wasn’t a player but he did go on a lot of dates. We talked about it sometimes but never let that affect our friendship. He spoke to me like I was one of his buddies.
I was fairly used to this behaviour because I grew up with brothers and male friends around me. Most of the times, my friends would forget that I am a girl. But when they said something remotely sexist — then all hell broke loose.
Test of our friendship
After college, we moved to different cities to pursue our careers. We continued to stay in touch, talking every week and messaging almost daily. That was the test of our friendship. We were often worried about distance creating a rift in our relationship. We built a bridge quite easily. The silly banter and college gossip had stopped and it helped both of us grow.
A couple of months later, Shailesh came to Mumbai for work and stayed with me. After work, we went out for drinks one evening and ended up partying and talking till 3 am. I told him about our friends and what they still thought of us. I grew nervous as I spoke those words out loud. The next few moments were precious; I will never forget.
Just friends forever?
He heard me out patiently. His expressions changed from being goofy drunk to pensive drunk. We were both pretty drunk, sitting on my couch and he moved closer. He pulled me and kissed me.
Yikes! It was the worst kiss of my life!
We immediately pulled apart, looked at each other and burst out laughing. “That was like kissing my sister,” he said. “You don’t have a sister,” I replied. “Well, if I did, I still wouldn’t kiss her,” he replied. I almost fell off the couch laughing.
It has been three years since that silly incident. Shailesh and I still get gentle nudges from friends who think we’d make a great pair. We remind them that we’re friends. The conversation never seems to get old.