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Ketaki Patwardhan Nirkhi : Blogs


First crush

“Good morning doc”. I looked around. A surgeon, in his operation theatre gown, complete with cap and mask, was addressing me. I knew a new surgeon had joined our hospital. But I didn’t know him personally. I had already started one surgical case and was now sitting in the doctor’s room, having snacks.
“Good morning” I greeted him.
“So you are the anesthetist here, Manjiri?”
How did he know my name? He settled in the chair opposite me and removed his mask. That was when I saw his face. It looked so familiar! Could it be…
“Varun?” I asked, surprised.
“So you remember me?” he asked with a smile.
“Of course I remember you. But how did you know it was me?” I asked.
“I saw you when you were taking the pre anesthetic rounds in the morning. I had no idea you were working here as anesthetist. It’s been so many years…!”
“True…So…how are you? How have you been?”
When you meet someone after so many years, you have so much to share, yet don’t know how and where to begin.
“I have been good. I was in Delhi these past years. I had to leave school back then as my grandpa was serious in Delhi. He expired that year. I continued my schooling in Delhi Public school. Did my MBBS and MS there itself. But now shifted here, in Mumbai. What about you?”
“I did MBBS from Nagpur, and MD from Mumbai. I and my husband are based here itself.” I said.
“So…are you in touch with any of our school buddies?” he asked.
“No, I am not in touch with any of our school mates…we all are so stuck up in our busy lives” I said.
Just then a nurse called out to Varun.
“So it will be nice working with you” Varun said as he got up.
“Same here” I smiled.
As I went about my work, my mind wandered back in time…the time when I was in 8th grade, high school…

“Did you see that new guy in 9th grade?” Sailee asked me. I, Sailee and Daksha were having lunch in the recess.
“Who?” I asked, feigning ignorance. Actually, I had. I had noticed the tall and handsome guy with fair complexion and jet black hair. And the moment I had seen him, my heart took a double leap. What was it? I had never had that feeling for any guy before. I had this urge to go and speak to him. But why would he speak to me? I was just an average looking eighth grader, the ‘blink-and-you-miss’ kinds. I had never been a great conversationalist either. And flirting had never been my domain. So all I did was just stare at him till he disappeared from my field of vision.
“His name is Varun” Daksha informed us. “He has done his schooling in a boarding school from Dehradun, till now. He is a national level basketball player as well. And…”
I and Sailee were looking at Daksha in awe. She was always the one who was well informed, especially in these matters.
“And what?” I asked impatiently, wanting to know more.
“He has a girlfriend back in Dehradun”.
My heart broke into thousand pieces. My first ever crush in life didn’t even last one day. He already had a girl friend!
Coming month, we had school gathering. The whole school was excited and busy with preparations. One day, during lunch break, I and Daksha were returning to our class when someone called my name from behind. I turned around to find Varun. I thought I was mistaken, must be somebody else. Why would he want to speak to me?
“You are Manjiri, right?” So it was indeed Varun speaking to me. I wanted to say yes but suddenly I felt tongue tied. I just kept staring at him like an idiot, while he patiently waited for a response. Daksha came to my rescue.
“Yes, she is Manjiri” and she nudged me with her elbow. I came back to my senses. Varun must have noticed that obvious nudge, but probably decided to ignore it.
“I am singing a song in the gathering. It’s a duet. I needed a female voice as well. Miss Roy suggested your name. She said you sing well. Are you interested?”
Frankly speaking, I was not a great singer and I knew it too well. Had anyone else asked it, I would have flatly refused. But how could I refuse Varun, my first crush? Had he asked me if I could fly, I would have said yes…!
As I did not respond immediately, Daksha took it on herself to respond on behalf of me. “No,” she began. But I cut her short. “Sure” I heard myself saying. Daksha turned to look at me in disbelief. I had refused to sing with her in the last gathering. But I ignored her.
“Great then. Meet me in the sports room after school”.
“Are you sure you are going to sing? Last year you said you had stage fear. Will you be able to sing in front of hundreds of students?” Daksha was trying to dissuade me.
“It’s okay Daksha, I have to overcome this fear some day or the other” I said, which abviously did not convince her. She was probably aware of my intentions, but didn’t verbalize it.
The next few days were the best days. Every evening, I and Varun met to practice the song. Of course, there were many other students who stayed back to practice songs, dance and drama, but I and Varun got along very well. Between practices, we would chat. He would tell me about his days in Dehradun, and I realized he had led a very different life. Yet we had many common interests. We both loved music, we both loved sea food, we both loved reading suspense novels. But I never dared to ask about his girl friend. We became very good friends within those two weeks.
Our song in the gathering turned out beautifully and we received a thunderous applause. I was on the top of the world. Over the next few months, I and Varun became the best of friends. Somewhere in my mind, I still secretly liked him. But I never told him. And one fine day, Varun left school. We didn’t even get time to say good bye. He left because of some family emergency, and nobody knew where he had gone, and whether or not he was coming back. I was heartbroken…

That evening, after all the surgeries were done, we were heading back to our respective cars. That was when I realized my car had a flat tyre and I would have to take a cab. As I stood in front of the hospital gate, Varun stopped his car in front of me and rolled down the window.
“Shall I drop you?” he asked.
“No, its fine, I will take a cab”, I said.
“No, come, I will drop you”.
I told him my address as I sat in the car. Thankfully it was on his way home.
Now that we were married and all that was between us was so long back, I decided to ask Varun about his girlfriend from Dehradun. It was a meager thing now, but it had kept me in suspense for a very long time.
“I have wanted to ask you something” I said.
“Yes?” Varun asked.
“Did you marry your girlfriend from Dehradun?”
“You had a girlfriend from Dehradun, right?”
“Who told you?” Varun asked, surprised.
“Didn’t you have one back then?” I too was surprised. I clearly remembered Daksha had said that.
“Now that it’s all past, let me tell you”, said Varun, “I had never had a girl friend before we met, and you were my first crush. I had fallen for you the day I had seen you in school. No one had said you had a good voice, I had hatched up a little lie about Miss Roy recommending you”, Varun said.
I was surprised to know this. Even if it didn’t matter now, at that point of time, it would have been a big thing for me, had I known.
“Didn’t Daksha tell you?” he asked further.
“Daksha?” I asked surprised.
“Yes, she was the one I had confided in. But she told me you already had a boyfriend”.
I listened in sort of disbelief. But before I could clarify, Varun further said, “Did I tell you, now I am married to Daksha”.

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About The Author


Ketaki Patwardhan Nirkhi

Public & Government Service

Maharashtra ,  INDIA

I am Dr.Ketaki, an anesthetist by profession and writer by passion. My debut novel, "Those enchanted four and half years" is a medical college campus lovestory. My next novel 'The missing connection' which is a psychological thriller has been launched recently.  Few of my short stories have been published on sites like induswomanwriting, shortstorybook, Muse India, writers cafe, Your story club, Litizen etc. Besides writing, I love reading, travelling and playing casio. My husband, Dr.Aniruddha is also an anesthetist and we stay in Mumbai with our cute little daughter Isha.

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