Nikhil and Riya (An excerpt)

The country’s bestselling author, Ira Trivedi is back! This time with “Nikhil and Riya”. Come join her in an adventurous journey of love and life but first…here’s a little sneak peak 😉
I COULD NEVER forget the first time I saw her, no matter how hard I ever tried.
Tenth standard, Prem Ma’am’s second period history class.
The class, as usual, was chaotic. Under Prem Ma’am’s weak authority, even the most disciplined girls misbehaved. At the back of the class, the boys, led by Vikram, tried to squash a little green lizard that had snuck up the wall.
This was a strain as I sat at the back of the musty, echoing classroom, struggling to hear Prem Ma’am’s lousy dictations, desperately making notes in not just my notebook, but in Vikram’s too, the splintered wooden desk, at least a hundred years old, wobbling as I scribbled in haste. The class was getting wilder by the minute as Prem Ma’am stood sputtering in the front of the room, her white bra visible through her thin muslin blouse.
And then, suddenly, the class went silent, probably more silent than it had ever been in the history of Prem Ma’am’s history period. I was relieved to take this time to complete the dictation, the wobbles of my desk the loudest sound in the room.
‘Prem Ma’am?’ said a voice at the door.
Yes?’ said Prem Ma’am, turning around, pallu falling off her neck, her hands full of chalk dust. Ordinarily this would have induced laughter. Not today. The newcomer walked in and handed Prem Ma’am a note which she hastily read, her glasses slipping down her nose.
‘Riya. Riya Pratap. Welcome to Residency School.’
Then she turned towards the class.
‘Children, it’s her first day on campus, please say hello.’ ‘Heeellooo, Riyaaa,’ chimed the class, the boys grinning,
the girls giggling. None of them had welcomed a student like this since the second standard.
This was when I, finally, looked up. And this was also when my whole life changed.
She stood in front of the chalk-streaked blackboard, her hair tied at the nape of her neck, spilling down her back in a messy ponytail. Her blue skirt was too short. Her white shirt was transparent, and she wasn’t wearing a slip underneath. Her white socks fell far below the knee, where they were required to be.
The girl standing at the front of the class was different from anyone or anything that I had ever seen in my life. The sight of her was so striking that I dropped my pen. And stared and stared and stared.
Then I felt a slap on my back, and snapped out of my reverie.
‘Oi, what are you looking at?’ Vikram whispered in my ear, a crooked smile on his lips.
I mumbled something and pretended to go back to my notebook. Then I used every ounce of my self-control to try not to look at her. But I failed; I simply could not tear my eyes away. She stood haughty and nervous in front of the class, straight as an arrow, her chin up in the air, her eyes the darkest shade of brown, her lips the deepest shade of red. She had long brown legs and thighs so strong that they were visible even under her thick pleated skirt. I remember thinking, She can probably run well. I was wrong. She ran like the wind.
Watch out for more such exciting excerpts from Harper Collins India that will keep you hooked on our blog!

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