If life was an animation movie and I was a cartoon character, my face would have turned tomato red with embarrassment at that point. I looked up. No one seemed to have noticed my ungainly act except my friends whom I had called out to seconds ago. I was still in the shadows. X and Y came rushing to me, trying hard but failing to suppress their smile. My annoyance at myself soon took the place of embarrassment. They helped me up. As I tried to stand, my left knee balked. Annoyance left my mind as pain shot up at the speed of light! I cried out in agony… my salwaar was torn and my knee was bleeding… turning the lilac color to crimson! The three of us stood there, trying to figure out what to do. The school office was obviously closed, so first aid was out of question. But the wound needed to be cleaned. We headed for the nearest water source, which was a bathroom in the junior section- I think it was a boys’ bathroom, it was too dark to see anything clearly. My friends held me on both sides, trying to find a safe area on my hands to hold, as I hobbled on my less injured leg- oh! I had managed to injure both my knees, scrape both the elbows and the palms and twist an ankle at the same time! It’s incredible how we actually managed to clean the cut given the fact that all we could see was each other’s silhouette; but we did and headed back for the basketball court.
As we approached the light, I looked down to check if my knee was still bleeding. Both the boys jumped a mile high as I shrieked and started crying! “What?!… is it hurting… are you in pain…?!” My friends had (and have) never seen me cry or make fuss of anything before. Me, crying, was a pretty big deal and had fazed them. I’m and have always been a tough nut. I seldom cry (though, maybe, due to some weird manufacturing defect I guess- my tear ducts are hot wired to my temper!). It had been an emotionally demanding day. First my hair was butchered, then X spent the entire evening lamenting and now this! It was too much for me to bear! “My new dress! It’s torn!” I wailed! X and Y looked at me in confusion… I was crying for a ruined dress! The very girl who didn’t ever care what she wore! Y burst out laughing! “You are crying… not because you are hurt and can’t walk… but because your dress is torn!” “Tum sach mein pagal ho!” (You really are crazy)
My outburst had subsided by the time we reached the party grounds. I spent the rest of the evening sulking, with my legs propped up on a chair. Like true friends, the boys didn’t leave my side. They made sure in their own little ways that I was comfortable. Once they had done that, the ‘clumsy jokes’ started. They sat with me, teasing and having a field day at my expense. I was supposed to go back with a senior who was a family friend. Once he was free to head home, X and Y put on a fake-serious-face and told him about my injury and helped me up on to the bike with a final parting comment, “Don’t fall off the bike on the way!” (I didn’t. I’m not that much of a disaster… or maybe I am?!)
So much for my Fresher’s Party! My classmates and I have a very different version of this party etched in our memories! In the span of one evening my hair was ruined, new dress torn; arms and legs injured and I had missed the main event while it happened right in front of my eyes! BRAVO! A new record was set that day… only to be broken in future!