Tanya sat down on her bed and took a writing paper and pen. She made a chart of sorts, a kinda walkthrough to figure out things. She wrote ‘Secret Admirer’ on one side and wrote ‘Sameer’ on its side. Then decided he is not the secret admirer and maybe not even the college peon. Then was he a decoy? If yes, then was he planted by someone or was just a stalker? She crossed out his name and wrote ‘Rishi’ on another side of the paper. Gazing at his name she thought everything about Rishi, piecing all the information to reach a concrete conclusion. Rishi was her nemesis as far as the class topper was concerned, but that doesn’t mean he can’t be the one writing those letters. So because Rishi is the admirer he cannot think to harm her and he can’t plant Sameer to meet her. If Aditi knows that Rishi is the secret admirer, then why is she playing vamp this time. Maybe because she likes Rishi? YESSS!!! That is it.
She felt exultant as she was able to reach one conclusion. She wrote ‘Aditi’ on the same paper and chewed on the back of her ballpoint pen. She made an arrow between Aditi and Rishi’s names on paper and then another arrow from Rishi to Tanya.
“So this is a love triangle!!!” She spoke out loud.
“Aditi loves Rishi, and she can’t swallow that I smite Rishi and that is why she is feeding me wrong information. She lied to me about Priya and Rishi. He isn’t in an alliance with her, in fact, Priya is an excellent girl, she can’t be that nasty. And that is why Rishi was taken aback when I confronted her about THE WEAPON. And it is highly probable that Sameer was a ploy of Aditi” Tanya said to herself and pondered on Aditi.
Aditi and herself had been besties for last 12 yrs, but Tanya couldn’t swear that Aditi wasn’t capable of such an evil act. She was reminded of the one time in summer vacations when Aditi’s Dad gifted her with a Pug, but that Pug would bark at Aditi and threaten to bite her while he would wag his tail on seeing Tanya and roll on the floor to woo her. A few days later the dog was nowhere to be found. Tanya had had a flicker of doubt on Aditi back then, that it was an outcome of the dog’s disloyalty towards her. But the incident was soon forgotten.
And then there was this another time when they were all on a trip to camping and Tanya had been allotted partner with Kartik who was a cousin of Aditi and Aditi had to crush on him. Aditi wasn’t talking to them both on the entire trip and on the first day, they went mountain climbing where Kartik slipped on a rock and rolled down the hill. Someone had played a prank on him and had tied his laces together; he was sent back home.
The more Tanya thought about it, the more she was sure of her theory. Everything was falling into place. It filled her with deep regret and melancholy. She cherished Aditi and had always wished well for her; she could not think in her wildest dreams that Aditi was doing this to her. 12 yrs worth of friendship was so frail that it shook with the first blow of time. Tanya cried with her head in her lap and slept like that.
She woke up an hour later and rubbed her eyes with the heel of her palms to drive sleep from her eyes, and her gaze fell on the paper where she had solved the puzzle. She looked at Aditi’s name, and suddenly her heart spoke to her. She felt that everything she had thought was the product of a very negative and stressed mind. Aditi would not do this to her; they had been together through thick and thin. Maybe Rishi was not the secret admirer, after all, even he was perhaps the evil one was Priya and not Aditi.
The best way out of this dilemma was a face-to-face confrontation with Aditi. Only that way can she reach the bottom of this mystery that has stolen her peace. If Aditi is innocent she will feel hurt, and their friendship would take a big hit and if she were guilty then too, she would lose her friend. Was the secret admirer worth it? But if Aditi hates her that much, what would Tanya gain out of this hollow friendship? Tanya was dealing with this inner struggle when her mother knocked her door and poked her head in through the parted door.
“Tanya, are you up?” Her mother asked in a hurry.
“Yes….yes Maa I am up. I will be out in a minute” Tanya said curling her hair behind her ears and standing up as she stretched her arms above her head.
“Yeah, come out because Aditi is here to see you. Or shall I send her right in?” Her mother asked impatiently.
Tanya nodded, “Yes Maa, please send her in,” she said in a shaky voice, and her mother left.
Tanya quickly tore the page with the names on it from her book and tore it into pieces and threw them in the dustbin just when Aditi walked in.
“Hey, Tani!!!” She told seeing the bits of paper in the bin.
A look of concern came over Aditi’s face, and she asked: “Are you disposing another letter from HIM?” She asked with her hands on her hips.
Tanya merely nodded and came back to her bed. “How come you are here at this hour, isn’t this time for your Gym class?” Tanya questioned Aditi with a sceptical look, trying to maintain a poker face.
“Well, darling there is news for you. We now have ways to find out if Rishi is your secret admirer or not. Then we can go back to believing it was really that Sameer guy or keep on hunting” Aditi declared somewhat pompously; her face had a wicked smile as she came to sit on the bed with Tanya.
Tanya’s took a deep breath and blurted a raced “How?“
Aditi picked Tanya’s Rubik’s Cube and began solving it as she took her time, building up suspense and Tanya shook her by her shoulders “Tell me na!” Tanya shrieked.
Aditi laughed and threw the cube on the bed and said: “Rishi has fractured his right hand, his writing hand and all those letters were handwritten.” Aditi said with a twinkle in her eyes and Tanya’s breath froze in her lungs.
She was thinking about Kartik from her childhood camping trip…