Stories from the Chawl - The book of lies

Chapter 1 : Lies...

"Hey Kali, Where the fuck where you ? you know today morning at 6, Pakistan attacked India, and they chose Junagadh as the first target", Divyesh came running
"What ?" I was stunned
"Yeah, You see.... We have mountains on 3 sides and there is only one way out so they chose us".
"What the hell ? Now what "
"Go back to your home. ask aunty to pack the bags" Divyesh was sympathetic at my ignorance of the whole situation.
"Hmm, I'll skip the class. Going home... You, coming with me Divya ?" I asked
"Okay, Lets run"...
We started running out of the chawl. and With us Viro, Narendra, Vishal, Khanjan, all were running to their resp. homes in the chawl to tell their moms about the breaking news. The class was at 6pm and we were already late by 5 minutes... so we continued running towards our tution. It was Vijay Sir's class and we couldnt miss that.

When we entered, Vijay sir already had started. He saw both of us and didnt let us in. "I believe today it was the meeting with Prime Minister Narsimha Rao, which made you come late". Well... the best answer we could have was silence with our face pointed towards our feet. "So... Divyesh, can you tell us about the Pythagorus theorum". Divyesh was dumbstruck now... He knew nobody by that name in the Indian politics. "He is talking about maths, laude" I tried to speak as slowly as I could without any lip movement. Well, after knowing me for 3 years, Vijay sir really knew me too well.

"Divyesh, I am warning you for the last time. Stay away from this jerk". Vijay sir was looking at me instead of him. After 3 years I could still not look at him in his eyes. I was almost whispering "I know the theorem".
"Okay, so Mr. Thavrani will tell us about Mr. Pythagorus now". He was sarcastic enough not to use hands to teach me a lesson.
I spoke about the theorem for some time. and when I stopped everybody in the class including Divyesh were gasping. It was exactly as Vijay sir had been teaching them... and Divyesh came to terms with his knowledge on Indian politics. Pythagorus was no Indian politician... but nonetheless not less than any other politician.

and in the end, as they say the truth wins.... I was asked to sit outside the class and Divyesh was let in. But I loved this arrogant teacher of mine.... Vijay sir was a gem of a man.... and we shared this mutual to-hell-with-u feelings for each-other. While I was being punished here, Viro, Lakhkho and Nadu were being punished at their homes ...

The monsoon had arrived and alongwith that we were facing the first obstacle of our life. The 10th board exams due in the next 10 months. After school, we were supposed to attend the tuitions. I had to cover 3 kms on my cycle in one hour which I seldom did. Visiting the chawl was a ritual, I never missed. After all, I was chawl-religious to the hilt.

Me and Divyesh were in the 10th, the eldest, smartest and "bravest" of them all... Viro was in 8th, Narendra and Lakshit were in 4th the youngest of us all, and were learning our language. At the age of 8, Nadu (Narendra) and Lakhkho( Lakshit) were being educated about girls and their finer sides. Well, sometimes me and Divyesh found it difficult to teach them a lesson or two about girls. For example, I had to show Nadu his own sister to teach him what Voluptuous meant.

Chapter 2 : More lies

"Hey Divya, I did that"
"What ?"
"Are yaar.... Dont you know what I mean ?"
"You mean... that ?"
"Yesterday.... I was alone at home.... and this maid of mine. "
"F*ckkkkkkk.... what the helll"
Nadu, Viro and Lakhkho all were looking at me with admiration. Suddenly I had become more experienced...
"Hey Kali... was it the first time for you" Divyesh asked
"Are naa re... I had an affair with Nadu's mom 9 years back"
"Hey... Nadu is only 8... does that mean.... ????"
and we were again running for the tuition... this time, the only difference was the time... it was 5:55 and if we run real fast... we would be able to be there in time.

Vijay sir looked at his watch and asked us to come inside. Everybody was looking at us as we made our way to the last bench from where we had been ruling our kingdom for the last three years...

"Hey... you really did that ?" Divyesh was puzzled, more than our usual lies it was the thing called sex which made him question me
"Are naa... I was just f**king around with Nadu... I hope you are not touchy about Nadu's mom.... laude" I laughed
"madarbhagat... I was just asking because I am always thinking about doing it" said Divyesh
"but you know Divya... One day I will do it... and I will start doing it before anyone you can see right now in this class"
"and who will be the girl who might have sinned for seven births to have punished to have sex with you"
"It will be.... HER"... I looked at the doors of the class

...and thats when both of us saw her for the first time. It was something.... something which we could not describe... something which we still cant describe.... about her that made us gape. She was a usual beautiful girl. But there was something about her, which made her so attractive that even Kritagna and Heena, the two most beautiful girls in our tuition until that very day, seamt to be jealous of her when they looked at her....

"Miss Charu, This is your first day. So I would like to make it very clear that " Vijay sir started his usualy talks about the rules of the class.
"We start our class at 6 o clock. and when I say 6. It really means 6... Please come in" He stopped as we thanked god.
"Yes Sir" She entered the class almost baffled by what she had heard.

I was getting impatient to let Charu know who was the boss around in the absense of the lion himself. I stood up immediately.
"Yes, Mr. Thavrani, what is it ?" Vijay sir asked almost almost in anger.
"Sir, Miss Charu is new to the class. Can I help her with my notes of the classes she missed till now ?" I asked.
"We have already taken care of that, Mr. Thavrani. Now, will you please sit down and let others study"

Charu looked at me with half sympathy and half appreciation. She will take some time to understand the relationship i shared with Vijay sir, I thought. But till that time, I will enjoy with whatever feelings I, already, had bred in her.

I sat down. Divyesh was sounding a bit low I felt.

Vijay sir started with the geometry class. I tried to start a conversation but Divyesh didnt look interesed so I was forced to attend the class. When I think now, I know for sure that both of us were looking at Charu. To say she was beautiful would be an understatement. She had much more to her which we were still trying to figure out.

"Miss Charu, Are you with us in the class" Vijay sir had spotted Charu on her first day.
"Ye...s... Sir" Charu was trembling
"I must tell you that this is the stepping stone of your career, I would appreciate if you can concentrate on the black-board.. We want to get good score... dont we ?"

Charu couldnt answer... and she started crying. Vijay Sir asked Kinjal to go to her. But she was inconsolable. Everybody was looking at her with shock and a tinge of sympathy, mainly the boys. Here was a girl who started crying by a relatively sober Vijay sir. It was hard to keep our eyes off from Charu after that.

"Lets talk to Kinjal after the class" Divyesh proposed to which I agreed.


"Hmmm.... It's about Charu.. Isnt it ?" Kinjal knew instantly why we had approached her this time.
We looked at each other. We couldnt say no but again that was not the reason why we went to her. We were too restless not to know about her.
"Hey Kali... Please... remember one thing.... Try not to make fun of her.. she is too sensitive"
"Are baba... I will not.. but please can you tell us something about her... why is she so quiet"

Kinjal knew her as they were in the same school. Charu came from a lower middle class family. She had lost her parents at an early age. She stayed with her brother who was married. Her bhabhi was more than a mother to her. They took good care of her to which Charu had to do everything at home. She didnt talk to many people especially never to a boy. She was an average student and so, was allowed the tuition. Her bhabhi didnt like her going to the tuitions. In fact, it was for the first time that she had been allowed to go on her own. and then Kinjal continued with we already had an idea of. Charu was so sensitive even if she saw somebody fight she would start feeling disturbed. She told us about many incidents which proved her senses to be as brittle as Nadu's sense of humor.

When we left Kinjal's house... none of us spoke for some time. We headed straight away to the terrace which was only used when we had to talk something serious. Apart from discussing serious issues, the terrace was also used to look at Girnar. Girnar is a mountainrange which surrounds the Gir Forest. It also acts as a natural 1500 sq. km of cage to some 350 lions we have in India. The tallest of the mountains is called Girnar. It has exactly 9999 steps and is considered to be very tough to climb and at the same time one of the most sacred places. It was Divyesh who started the conversation this time.

"Keep her out"
"What ?"
"Keep her out"
"Bhenchod.. what do you think of me. Do you really think I will harass THIS girl ?"
"Are naaa... please dont take it that way... I think I like her"
"Maa Faadi... Can you please come again Mr. Divyesh" I tried to imitate Vijay Sir
"Are yaar.... you know what I mean... I just want to tell you keep her out of your radar" Divyesh smiled which almost seemed to have come on his face after ages.
"Hmmm... so thats why you were so quiet in the class... I hope she doesnt know about your being touchy towards Nadu's mom"....
"Hey.... his mom has asked us to stay away from both of us" Divyesh said
to which we laughed for some time and then continued looking at the scenic mountainrange...


It was difficult to meet Nadu, Viro and Lakhkho for some days... Partly because of our 10th and mainly due to our dirty jokes, lies and whatever a kid should keep away from. Kinjal kept on helping us with whatever information she could gather about Charu and other girls in the class.

"Hey Kali.. I am again asking you" Kinjal said
"What..." I replied
"Can you help Charu with her Maths"
Divyesh was with me, but he tried hard not to look interested in the talk.
"I think... she is the one who should ask for favour and not you" I could sense Divyesh's uneasiness
"Then... I think... probably you wont. By the time, she gathers courage to talk to you, all of us might have passed the 10th" Kinjal sighed and added "... and in any case... she is quite afraid of your banters"

Two months had passed since we first saw Charu and she had started visiting the chawl. We saw her entering Kinjal's house. It was usually at 5:45 when these girls started for the class. It brought a change in me and Divyesh as well. He insisted on reaching the class on time.

I decided to talk to Charu at the end of the class. and after a lot of convincing, Divyesh agreed to be on my side.

"Miss Charu, " I stopped her outside the gate. It was a rule for the boys in the class to address all the girls with the prefix "miss". One of the few rules I really cared of.
She stopped but didnt say a word.
"I believe you want to learn Maths"
"Yeah, If you can help me with a couple of lessons" It was really difficult to hear her. She spoke in such a low voice and softness, I thought even if I speak in my usual tone, she would cry.
"Well.. I dont have that much time, You see, I have to be back home by 9. Is it okay if Divyesh helps you"
Charu didnt seem to have liked the idea, but I believe she had no other choice.
"Well.. In that case, can you provide me with your notes"
"Well... I would certainly like to ... but You see.. I had lied... I didnt have any... but Divyesh has" I replied.

Divyesh was in a state of shock. He knew both of us kept notes of our maths assignments and my notes were considered to be the best in the class. On the other hand, Charu knew that Divyesh was not the best at Maths and was only able to get decent marks because of my notes.
Charu reluctantly agreed to go to Divyesh's home which was besides Kinjal's in the chawl.

"You should have given him your notes... ".
"You are welcome, Mr. Divyesh, Its time you start writing the notes and keep it up-to-date by tomorrow"
"anyway, Thanks" and agained smile returned to his face. Me and Divyesh were best of the friends and never used thanks in our friendship but this time he really meant it.
"Forget it... Lets go and fuck Nadu and Lakhkho"

We didnt sleep that night. Divyesh kept writing the notes. and after that I helped him with all the lessons. Divyesh came from a very modest background. He worked in a jewellery shop for half a day and helped his family meet ends. The only time, he could study was when he came to my place where We studied less and played hard.

I believe, that was the start of their friendship. Charu went to his home, collected the notes. Months were passing by. Charu was as silent as she ever was. She didnt talk much. The only change in all of us according to Vijay Sir was that suddenly we became aware of the importance of Maths which he couldnt figure out but still felt proud of the fact. but he was right as always. The weekly exam results were enough evidence of that fact. Nobody failed in Maths after that day. Charu was weak in Maths. Divyesh had a weakness in Charu. and Divyesh was my best friend. We made it a point to discuss maths for two hours and almost forgot that we had 6 subjects. We used to practice maths one day, the other day, Divyesh would go and sit with Charu and Kinjal. Sometimes, I also went there and helped them if they had any problems. This continued till the year ended.

Divyesh was happy about whatever was happening in his life. When the year started, everything looked gloomy for him. He couldnt believe he was going to pass the exams, the only time he enjoyed was when we fucked around with Nadu, Lakhkho and Viro and an occasional Cricket game or two with the chawl team on Sundays. When the year ended, He had a friend in Charu, who only talked with Divyesh. and more than anything, It was the goal in his life, to pass the 10th board exams, and to marry Charu when both of them were legally allowed, a secret desire which only I knew. We had stopped playing cricket because of our studies, one of the many sacrifices, especially for Divyesh, who was one of the brightest bowler in our team and would definately have played at the state level, had it not been for the sake of studies, had it not been for the sake of Charu.

The exams were over. My dad was transferred to another city. So I left Junagadh. I was happy for Divyesh. We went thru all the question papers. Divyesh looked doubtful in science but apart from that he did well in all the subjects, especially in Maths in which he was sure to get more than 60. He and Charu became good friends. She also went to the shop were Divyesh worked. Whenever I called Divyesh, we laughed about Nadu, Lakhkho and all the other friends, but the new addition was his inability to do business. He told me that Charu often came to his shop to buy jewellery and he gave her everything at his own cost and sacrificed his own salary for that.

The results were out. Divyesh passed the 10th board exams with 49%. Kinjal had passed too. It took us a week to know Charu's result. Charu had called me a couple of times and she looked very happy when she talked to me. Charu had got 56% and her score in Maths was her highest. She had got 70 in Maths.

Chapter 3 : and the truth...

It took me five years to go back to Junagadh again. I was in final year B. Sc. Divyesh had left his studies after 12th. I had advised him not to do so, but he wanted to go into jewellery business and in any case, he found it difficult to keep on studying in spite of whatever hardships his family was facing.

I entered the chawl, where I still could feel the same pranks we played on Nadu and Lakhkho. Kinjal had also left the Chawl. I reached Divyesh's place. More than anything I was missing those silly jokes, our stupid lies. I shouted for Divyesh, His mom told me that he had gone to the shop and would only return in the evening. I couldnt wait till that time. and in any case, I couldnt find any of my old friends there, so I headed towards Divyesh's shop. I decided to meet Vijay sir, as the tuition class was on my way to Divyesh's shop.

"Mr. Thavrani, so finally you have learnt to be on time... Its 5:50" Vijay sir stood up to greet me.

Vijay sir was getting older now. I could sense that It was getting difficult for him to run the class. The walls didnt have a new paint that Diwali which was quite visible.

"Yes sir, I have learnt that the hard way". I replied.
"I am sorry sir, for always letting you down"
"Yes, my son, You have. You always have. You had no idea what I always saw in you"
I couldnt reply.
"When you joined the class, 9 years back. I knew that I had someone who really could top the board from Junagadh"
"I know you wont believe, but you had it in you. but you had to do what you had to" he continued and added
"but you always were my favorite student"
I really loved this man. I couldnt speak for some time. and then he asked the question, the question which was to give me answers of many of my questions in the future.
"So, How is Charu" He asked me with a smile
"Charu ?" I just wanted to confirm whether he was asking about the same Charu, Divyesh's Charu.
"Yeah, I am asking you about Miss. Charu only, the girl who cried on her first day" he laughed and added "I thought she liked you and I believe you liked her too"
"No sir, she was a good friend of mine and Divyesh, but it was nothing more than that" I was still puzzled
"Ohh, then I must be mistaken, you see, I am getting old. That day, I had to yell at her , because she was looking at you. So I thought you two would be in love"

I felt a bit uneasy. There was no mention of Charu by Divyesh since last 3-4 years. I had to talk to him. I stood up and asked Vijay sir his permission to leave.

I headed for the Jewellery Market. Where we would again start with our usual jokes


I hugged him and waited for him to start.

"Hey Kalpesh... You know that son of a bitch. Raju"
"Who ? That sucker with whom we always had a fight in class. " I knew Divyesh had started.. Raju was the son of a local gold smuggler who was once caught by the police. We always had fights with him. He was one of the dumbest people around in those days.
"Yeah, That sucker married Charu"
"What ? "
"Yeah, guess what ? She had started seeing him when we all were in 10th"
I was silent.
"Initially she was interested in you. You always wanted us to have friendship so she couldnt"
"I dont think that is true. There is something wrong" I finally found words.
"What the hell. You still dont believe that, Kali ? It was only because of her 10th she befriended me, her bhabhi wont allow her to study more had she failed. "
"Lets meet Kinjal"
"Stop it Kali. Do you think, she knows her. She used her as well. "
I had all the reason to believe it to be one of our usual lies until I saw tears in his eyes. I was still trying to figure out this girl who had fooled both of us, Kinjal and everyone who thought to know her.


"Hey Kali... tell me one thing....are you still a virgin" Divyesh asked viping out tears from his eyes. He looked normal. but I was still in the state of shock.

"Yes, unluckily, I still am" I was happy to see Divyesh divert the topic.
"Well... that makes you a loser too. You have lost another of your bet" Divyesh smiled
"How come ? "
"It was Charu who first lost her virginity in our class"

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