Once upon a time, there were no coffee shops, or many places to hangout for school going kids, in Ludhiana. In fact, the pocket money was never enough to go to such places.
But there was this one small bakery, near our school, which seemed to be everyone's favorite. It had some seating space as well. (If you go to this place today, it is not recognizable. It has changed with times and is now very grand). So we often used to go there to have our fill of puffs and pastries after the school. As we learnt the art of bunking classes, even during the school. Kipps Bakery had something for everyone.
I don't remember the timeline clearly, but P was in 11th or 12th standard and she was my house captain. She used to wear spectacles and I think she is the sole reason, that I always end up liking girls who wear spectacles more than others. Poor eyesight seems to turn me on. I had a huge crush on P. I don't think she even knew me. Or she would have ever noticed me. She bumped into me once and I felt a pain. I think it was in my heart or may be some part else. She said sorry, and moved on. That is the only interaction I ever had with her. She used to participate in everything - sports, speaking competitions etc. I used to collect each piece of poster, paper or any substance on which her name used to appear. Then I used to fold it diligently as if I was an origami expert, to ensure I could only see her name and nothing else on that paper and used to keep such papers in my geometry box.
It was sports day. She was wearing our house color shirt. Yellow. She looked more beautiful than ever before. She just had completed a race. I felt my heart sinking. I decided to tell my inner feelings to someone. So I slipped out of the school along with a friend of mine. We went to Kipps Bakery. As we sat across the table, I told my friend about my feelings for P. Before my friend could advise me on anything, I felt a strong hand on my neck holding me and a booming voice piercing through my ears. "You are too young for all this stuff. P is like your elder sister. Stay away from her or you will get a beating. You are just in 7th standard."
He was P's classmate. May be he liked P too. But seemingly he had better chances to win her over. He was her age and in her class too. I was 5 years younger than P. My face went red with pain. I realized that day that just like exams, debates and ownership of latest video games, love is a competition too.