Karan realized on the very first day of the training and development program that Shekhar was right. It was gruelling stuff as the candidates were subjected to harsh conditions – made to run around the campus without stopping, made to do cross-fits, asked to carry heavy loads from one point to another… what’s more, made to run on the staircase and reach the 500th floor. Only 3 people were able to achieve it – 2 of them being Shekhar and Jenny.
Karan couldn’t believe it; he could only reach the 280th floor after which he sat down panting heavily.
“This is insane… this is madness. You people are godlike and I am nothing in front of you.” Exclaimed Karan.
Shekhar gave him a bottle of water and then tried to motivate him, “Come on, buddy. You are not the kind of person who would quit so easily. Remember why we came here and for what purpose. This is just the first day… you will do well.”
Jenny was sitting and chatting with some of the girls; she turned around and glanced at Karan and Shekhar. She couldn’t help smiling looking at Karan who was still panting heavily and drinking bottle after bottle of water.
“It is about time we started getting along with the boys, however, I am not sure if the one’s in our batch are trustworthy.” Said Roshni.
“You will never know unless you talk with them. Some of the boys are good, some are decent… there are those who are really good looking and handsome, but you will never know unless and until we actually sit together, and get to know each other.” Said Poorna.
“Hmmm… so who is eagerly waiting for someone to come and approach us?” asked Disha, smiling at everyone.
The others, except, Jenny looked at her, looked at each other and then started giggling. Poorna then noticed Jenny still looking at Shekhar and Karan, and glanced at them too. Even she couldn’t help smiling at their antics. She then got up from her place and sat beside Jenny.
“So… which one do you like?” Poorna asked.
Jenny stared at Poorna, as if coming out of a trance, she stammered, “I…no… I was just looking at them… I wasn’t…”
“Come on, Jenny. Don’t lie to me.” Said Poorna, giving a nudge to Jenny.
Jenny took a grip of herself, she nodded her head in disagreement and said, “Girls, I don’t want to spoil your moods but… is it wrong to not have that kind of feeling for anyone. ”
The girls looked at Jenny, perplexed at that question.
“Don’t get me wrong but we are here training to be security elites. Even before graduation, we all have a sense of responsibility to ourselves and the citizens. We are all training to be someone who people will look up to and that is why we cannot be complacent by bringing out those little emotions like love, hate, jealousy… the likes.
We are going to be soldiers, we are not sure if we would live that long to even dream of going into a relationship or to have a family.
I am not saying that you people should not think about it. I am just saying that… I would prefer to stay away from those stuffs.” Jenny explained her situation.
The others looked at each other confused, however, Poorna understood everything.
“Jenny, you are saying as though a soldier is not supposed to have feelings towards anything. You cannot stop yourself from feeling something or being emotional… you can only control your emotions… and there is a difference of heaven and earth between stopping and controlling.
It is only by controlling our emotions can we think rationally about anything in life and that is what we need to learn as a soldier. You will come across situations where your emotions will get the better of you. That is when you need to control yourself and start to think, otherwise you will lose yourself in that soup and no one will come to rescue you.
Don’t worry about not being responsible as a soldier. Worry about the fact that as a soldier when people are going to look up to us as an inspiration, they shouldn’t see a person who will just stare at them… instead, you smile and wave at them and they will love that.” Said Poorna.
Jenny looked at Poorna, the latter’s words made her think hard. She did not respond to it though, she got up from her place and walked away unaware of the fact that there was someone who was checking on her for a long time. He took a sip of water from his bottle and started following her.
Jenny threw the bottle in a bin, grabbed two more from a station and turned around to accidently bump into the person following her. The bottles fell from her hands and she looked at the person alarmed.
“Oh, I am sorry. I didn’t do it on purpose.” Said the man.
Jenny didn’t respond. Irritated, she got down to pick up the bottles. The man decided to help saying, “Let me help you.”
“It is ok. I will pick them up.” As Jenny took the bottles, the man was still checking on her and was now looking at her cleavage.
Jenny was able to sense that the man was up to no good and looked at him with stern eyes; it didn’t do much effect as the man had a smile lingering on his lips. As they both got up, the man introduced himself, “Hi, my name is Avesh. I wish to congratulate you for reaching the target. Not many people can do it on the first go. I could only reach the 250th floor.”
Jenny did not respond, instead she walked away from there. The smile disappeared from Avesh’s face; looking at the direction Jenny went, he said to himself, “No way you can escape from me. One day, when the time is right… I will have my hands on every part of your body… and darling, I can’t wait for that day.”
In the evening, Shekhar dressed up to go for a stroll and walked towards Karan’s room. It was open and Shekhar could make out that Karan had dozed off snoring loudly. Shaking his head and smiling, he walked towards him to wake him up.
“Karan! Get up, bro, its 6pm… let us go for a stroll. You don’t want to miss the sunset and the spectacle that follows.” Said Shekhar.
Karan opened his eyes and looked at Shekhar, he responded, “Where do you get that energy to even think of going for a stroll after a tough day we had? You got be kidding me, right? I am not going anywhere. You go on, I will just relax.”
“Yeah, you can… but tell you what, it is evening. A lot of people are outside… and considering it is evening, a lot of girls would also be outside. You don’t want to miss so much of that hotness in this cool windy evening.” Shekhar commented.
That was enough to motivate Karan. He looked at Shekhar and smiled, “Seriously, buddy. You want me to get thrown out for real. By the way, you also seem interested… found someone to ogle your eyes on, I guess.”
“If I had that luck as similar to yours… and if I do, would you want me to miss it?” asked Shekhar, smiling mischievously.
“Not in a million years, bro. Give me a minute, I will get dressed.” Said Karan, as he jumped from his bed and went to the washroom.
At the BASE Park, many had gathered to watch the sunset… but that was not the only reason they were here.
“Are you seeing this? Even the General and Major General are here. I guess they see it every day.” Commented Shekhar.
“Wait a minute, bro! What is going on over here? All these people have thronged over here… looking at what?” asked Karan, confused.
“I am kind of impressed that you were interested in being a security elite yet did not do so much research on this organization. It is a pity that it is the most costly tourist attraction and not many people are lucky enough to see this spectacle. We… on the other hand are going to watch it for free. Let us not get close, but find a position on top of everyone.” Said Shekhar.
Karan still confused, looked at Shekhar and then spotted a tree house among many of them which was yet to be filled.
“Hurry up before that gets filled.” Said Karan rushing towards the tree house.
Shekhar followed closely, commenting, “Good Call, Soldier.”
The duo reached the tree house and found a proper spot. The people were looking at a giant statue that was built on the middle of the river. It was the statue of Rani Lakshmi Bai, the largest statue ever built… it stood at a height of 850 ft.
“Whoever built it took no stones unturned to make it as real as possible. The steed on which she rides looks as though it will come alive at any moment.” Said Shekhar.
On the left of the statue was a harbour where all passenger and commercial ships were docked, while on the right was where a lot of couples or families had come to enjoy a good evening boat ride. A laser barricade was created so that no civilian would accidently cross it and get hit by the ships sailing towards the harbour.
Karan spotted Jenny and Poorna standing close to the railings; they came quite early enough to watch whatever the spectacle was.
“Are you still going to keep this a secret? What is the spectacle all about?” asked Karan, still looking at Jenny.
“Well, buddy… Jenny is not the only spectacle over here. So just be patient.” Said Shekhar, grinning.
“Oh hell, Shekhar. Come on, man. Stop that nonsense.” Karan snapped.
“I must say… I have seen you stare at every girl out there but now, your eyes are fixed on just one. That is one hell of an achievement and there is a lot of scope for improvement.” Said Shekhar.
“Well, you got me on that one, Shekhar. There is something about her… something that I have never seen in any other woman. I am not a fortune teller… but I know that she has all the potential to be a great soldier, a potential I see in you too, Shekhar. You both showed it on our first day of training.
What am I, Shekhar? I don’t want to underestimate myself but I will end up being a regular soldier, lost in that soup doing wet work… watching everyone I know achieve greatness while I stay behind and clap my hands at those people.
Even if death comes to befriend me, it won’t be a glorious day… it will be just another regular day where I would just smile at death and accept that friend request.” Said Karan.
Shekhar nodded his head in disagreement, and patting Karan’s back, said, “I know you, Karan. Sometimes, all we need is a chance… and when that comes, you will get to prove your worth. Be patient.”
As the sun began to set, Shekhar tapped Karan to look at the statue. By that time, even the crowd noticed the same with everyone yelling and pointing their fingers at the statue. Karan looked at it and realized why it was a spectacle to behold.
As the sun slowly set, the colour of the statue turned from black to blue and then after a few moments it became violet. As if that was not enough, there were engravings on the statue and for some reason due to the sun’s rays and atmospheric lights, the engravings started to light up one after the other. The spectacular light show lasted for about 5 minutes before it stopped and loud cheers and clapping followed.
Shekhar explained the phenomenon, “There is a reason why it is a costly attraction. It is said that the people who erected this had no such plans. The statue was just built and erected here, and then one fine day, at the same time, the sculptors saw this and were dumbfounded. Since then, it has become a sight to behold.”
Slowly and steadily, the crowds started to disperse while a few remained there to have a stroll. Karan and Shekhar waited for the area to get clear and after a few minutes, got down from the tree house.
“Let us go for a walk too… and then, we will have some coffee.” Said Karan.
“Agreed.” Shekhar replied.
As they walked, Poorna spotted them and tugged at Jenny.
“What do you say, Jenny? Want to strike a conversation with them?” asked Poorna.
“Are you crazy? No way. You go if you are so interested… you know, for a heart break.” Jenny retorted.
“Don’t be so negative, Jenny. It is not like I am asking you to marry one of them. Of course, if there is something called luck… I might want to try it out with that tall guy in white t-shirt and maybe, get you hooked to the one in semi-formals.” Said Poorna.
“You are too much, Poorna! Seriously!! What the hell is wrong with you?” Jenny asked feeling uncomfortable now.
As Shekhar and Karan continued walking, the former looked at the girls and then at Karan. He smiled mischievously and without telling Karan, turned right and started to walk towards the girls. Poorna’s heart skipped a beat and she stared at Shekhar as the latter continued to walk towards them.
“Jenny… I don’t believe it. This is actually happening. The target is coming straight at me… and I have no idea whether to fire or… surrender.” Poorna reacted.
Jenny looked at Poorna, with a smirk, she replied, “There is a 3rd option… DIE!!!”
Shekhar came close, looking at Jenny, he started, “We both were the winners today yet, I did not get the chance to congratulate you. I am Shekhar.”
Jenny hesitantly shook hands with him and replied, “Thank You and same to you, Shekhar. I am Jennifer.”
Poorna continued to stare at Shekhar, her mouth was wide open as she looked at Shekhar from top to bottom. Karan joined in and noticed Poorna ogling Shekhar.
“I am not surprised. He does have a charm and Poorna seems to be the right girl for him.” Thought Karan.
Jenny also noticed the same, smiling, she introduced her to Shekhar, “This is my friend, Poorna.”
Shekhar tried to shake hands with her but Poorna was not in her senses. Jenny tugged at Poorna, the latter came back to her senses but instead of shaking hands, she greeted by folding her hands. Shekhar, confused, followed the same, and then looking at Karan, introduced him, “Oh, by the way… this is my friend, Karan… and Karan, this is Jennifer and this is Poorna.”
Karan shook hands with Poorna comfortably, however, while greeting Jenny, he couldn’t look into her eyes. He blushed and said hello, it was the same for Jenny… she couldn’t understand her feelings; however, she shook hands, blushing.
The group continued on their walk. Shekhar and Poorna were growing close in just few minutes into their meeting and their conversations were getting animated minute by minute. It was not the same between Karan and Jenny; they struggled to say a few words and could only just laugh along listening to Shekhar and Poorna’s senseless conversation.
After dinner at night, while all the others were asleep, Karan kept thinking about Jenny.
“She is so beautiful yet, I couldn’t speak with her. I have talked with girls before, yet why is it so different with her? Shekhar calls me a playboy… which I am not, of course. I never had any wrong intentions with any of them, and I do have a lot of female friends. I guess… I guess… she is different, someone totally different from the others, a different league all together. Maybe, someday… someday, we will become friends… just friends, I guess!!” Karan thought.
It was the same with Jenny.
“He was not looking at me while shaking hands. He was blushing… I am not sure whether he was acting or… he really couldn’t see eye to eye with me. He seems to be nice and modest man, but first meetings don’t reveal everything. However, I don’t know why I feel like wanting to meet him again.
I have come with a commitment to serve the nation, distance myself from this feeling… but what if… what if, I get carried away with this feeling… what if, I succumb to my emotions.”
Jenny got up from her bed and looked out of the window; the sky was clear with the 2 moons shining brightly and in the horizon, a giant ringed planet that had turned from green to violet. She looked at the moons, closed her eyes and prayed, “I am not sure what lies ahead of me. I am not sure what you have planned for me. If it is for my own good, then I will gladly accept whatever is in my fate.”
She opened her eyes and was about to go in when she noticed a room with lights on. She glanced at the room and could see Karan looking at his mobile.
“He is awake… why he is awake at this time?” Jenny asked herself.
She continued watching as Karan kept his mobile aside, prayed and then switching off the lights, went to sleep. Jenny went in, with a smile, she got up on her bed and went to sleep. However, Karan and Jenny were not the only ones awake at that time.
“Hmmm… you were awake, I see. Thinking about me? Well, one day you will… and I can’t wait for that day. For now, you are in my dreams… and talking about making my dreams a reality; I am going to have some fun with you in my dreams.” It was Avesh, a sly smile lingered on his lips as he went back in and switched off the lights of his room.
The next day, the batch was undergoing combat training.
“Good Morning, people… I am Major Ratan, and I am your combat trainer. Now, there are some of you who might be wondering why combat training before wielding a weapon. The answer is simple… as a security elite, it is obvious that you will encounter enemies in every turn, in every nook and cranny… anytime, and any part of the day and night.
Imagine, you are going for shopping or you are on a date, and you suddenly find yourself in the midst of a hostage crisis and unfortunately, you do not have access to a weapon… even a sidearm, what will you people do?”
The people looked at each other and they did not have an answer to it… except Shekhar and Jenny who raised their hands.
“Mr. Shekhar Ranavat, go on.” Said Major Ratan.
“Sir, the first thing I would do… if I get the opportunity… is to save as many citizens as possible and try to get them out of the place. The security of the citizens is our first priority. I cannot save all of them but at least save some of them.
Secondly, and this might sound radical for a few people… if I do get the chance, I may want to take on the armed men and try to steal a weapon from them. That way, I will not only get a free weapon but I would be able to divert the attention of the armed men towards me while allowing the other people to escape.” Said Shekhar.
There were some who laughed while there were others who clapped their hands. Shekhar glanced at Poorna, the latter was as usual impressed.
Major Ratan was also impressed and said, “Well, Shekhar… indeed, that was radical… but I admire your bravery. Ms. Anderson, you want to add anything.”
“I do agree with Shekhar… and I don’t think it would be radical. It is all about necessity and yes, grabbing the opportunity. Those are the times when we may be all alone and we have no other choice but to take matters in our own hands, forget about our lives and think about the others. I would have also done the same.” Said Jenny.
Major Ratan nodded his head in agreement and then asked, “Anybody else wants to add something?”
Karan looked at everyone, smirked and then raised his hand.
“Yes, Mr. Bose, go on.” Said Major Ratan.
“Sir, tell me if I am wrong but I am under the impression that we are given an ‘Alarmer’. The alarmer is used to alert the command centre of any crisis that we may face. While we being security elites are given a special permission to use that, civilians are not allowed for misuse of technology. However, public offices, companies, schools, shopping malls, discotheques… the facility is available everywhere and in times of crisis, citizens can use that.
The command centre needs to be notified first of a crisis like this so that back up can be arranged in no time and in turn, we can then think… analyse the situation and choose the best course of action.
The first course of action would be to activate my tracker and then my alarmer before doing something radical.” Said Karan.
The others including Shekhar stared at Karan. Jenny looked at Karan and then looked away, she smiled and then blushed, thinking, “Oh yes, he is right, how stupid of me!”
Soon the others realized that Karan was right and along with Major Ratan clapped their hands, everyone except Avesh who was not impressed. He glanced at Jenny who was smiling at Karan and clapping, and the former went wild with anger and jealousy.
Major Ratan went on to explain the motive behind his question, “There you go people. I do admire the vigour you people have to be a hero, to be remembered for a good deed… you people are already heroes as you train yourself to be the ultimate security elites, however, there will always come a time when you need to use your head in pressure situations. Being a hero will always take a backseat most often… and you will have to use your head to use all possible resources at hand to complete a mission.”
He then asked a question, “Now, how many of you have undergone combat training before joining BASE?”
A lot of cadets raised their hands including Karan, Shekhar and Jenny.
“Alright then, Karan… Jenny… come over here.” Major Ratan ordered.
Both Karan and Jenny were taken aback, yet they heeded considering it was an order. They came to the centre and Major Ratan told them to face each other.
Major Ratan looked at the cadets and said, “You have a male cadet and a female cadet… and in due time, you will understand why I decided on this.” He then turned towards Karan and asked, “Mr. Karan Bose, what combat form have you specialized in?”
“Kung fu… I was also undergoing training in kickboxing for a year, however, I got selected in BASE and so had to leave it.” Karan replied.
“Splendid. Don’t worry, while you will be given combat training lessons… cadets also have the option here to select any form of martial art training as a form of upgrading themselves, so you can complete you training here.” said Major Ratan.
“Thank you, sir. Then I will enlist myself for it after this session.” Karan replied.
Major Ratan then turned to Jenny and asked her specialization to which Jenny replied, “Krav Maga.”
“Interesting… a martial art technique where your body weight becomes your biggest weapon along with basic knowledge of physics, and for a woman, the right technique to adapt going by their physicality. Well, then let us see what happens when 2 different techniques crash against each other.” Said Major Ratan.
Karan and Jenny took their stance and waited for the Major’s signal.
“Fight.” Major Ratan ordered and without any inhibition, Jenny attempted a round horse kick.
Karan was quick to react, however, thanks to his training. He was able to deduce and marvel at how high the kick went… it almost went over his head and grazed his hair. He backtracked and looked at Jenny. The latter knew that Karan didn’t expect that and flashed that sweet smile again.
“You are good, Jenny. Without a doubt…a 100 times better than me. Well then, let us dance sweetie.” Thought Karan, as he smiled back.
He charged ahead, only to face a barrage of strong and well targeted kicks. Karan, at first tried his best to dodge but after a few moments, Jenny showed off how fast she was with her kicks and punches and ultimately, Karan was slammed on his head with a butterfly kick. The former crashed to the ground groaning in pain.
There was thunderous clapping from everyone except Shekhar and Poorna who were amazed. Avesh who was also clapping his hand, smirked looking at the condition Karan was in. Jenny, however, started feeling guilty looking at Karan groaning in pain and trying to get,up, she offered help but Major Ratan stopped her.
“Well then, Karan. Either you underestimated your opponent or you were not prepared. I bet… it is the first one.” Commented Major Ratan.
Karan got up on his feet and then shook his head. He wanted to respond to that comment but decided to keep his mouth shut.
“Alright, let us do it again.” Major Ratan ordered and the duo took their stance again.
Karan replayed Jenny’s moves in his mind trying to look for a weakness, however, the moment Major Ratan said to fight, Jenny charged again with a flurry of kicks and punches. Karan back tracked as far as possible from Jenny to avoid them. When Jenny stopped, Karan stood ground.
“Alright, let me not charge. The only way I can find a weakness in her technique is to wait for her to attack. I believe she doesn’t like to defend herself… she only likes to attack or bring down her enemy as fast as possible. She lacks patience… which is her biggest weakness.” Karan thought.
Karan did not attack as Jenny waited for him to charge. Jenny waited with baited breath; however, Karan still stood his ground as they saw eye to eye.
“What happened? Why isn’t he attacking? Is he scared? I know I hit him hard, but if he has really undergone real training, he must be good at his technique. I cannot accept the fact that he is a coward. I… I… Karan, I don’t think you are what you seem to be. You are better than me. Show me what you have got, Karan… show the world that you are worth more than this.” Thought Jenny as she waited for Karan to charge again.
Poorna couldn’t understand what was going on and therefore, walked towards Shekhar and asked, “What is going in, Shekhar? Is Karan really good at what he is saying?”
Shekhar looked at Poorna , and then back at the fight and replied, “Jenny is good, Poorna. Accept that. However, Karan has an ability that few people have, something that requires guts.”
“And what is that?” Poorna asked, irritated.
“The ability to accept failure, the ability to accept that it is sometimes ok to lose, however, he may lose a 100 times, yet, in those 100 times, he is still learning, watching… observing… and when the time is right, he is the one that delivers the final blow and has the last laugh. Just wait and watch.” Said Shekhar.
Both Karan and Jenny were watching eye to eye and going round and round in the same area. Karan continued with his defensive approach playing on Jenny’s mind, while the latter was now growing impatient.
“Alright, Karan… I thought you were brave, I thought you were not going down without a fight… but I guess I was wrong. I am disappointed with you. I don’t want to have anything with you now. Let this be a real fight.” Saying, Jenny charged ahead and attempted an axe kick but Karan realizing the kind of kick moved aside.
The moment Jenny put her foot down; Karan punched her in her stomach. Jenny winced, after which Karan ducked and kicked her on her legs, and the former slammed to the ground.
Jenny was surprised by that attack and stared at Karan. The cadets were not just clapping but were giggling at Jenny who fell for the trap. Jenny was angered; she quickly got up on her feet and took stance.
“She looks cute when she is angry. Well love, no hard feelings. You are good… it is me who is trying to save his ass.” Karan thought.
Jenny once again began her assault as Karan began dodging and defending. The former was getting quick with her moves, however, Karan was not looking to attack yet and waiting for a loophole. It came soon enough. As Jenny tried to punch him, Karan once again moved to his side, tapped Jenny’s head which distracted her after which Karan quickly moved to her back and kicked her. Jenny fell to the ground on her face.
There was thunderous applause now with even Shekhar and Poorna clapping their hands and cheering. Jenny got up, shook her head and once again stared at Karan. She was angry and irritated.
“Well, well… that is some solid comeback. There is a reason why I wanted a male and female fighter. I don’t know how many of you realized this but Jenny was hell bent on defeating his opponent, however, Karan was being a gentlemen. There was no hard hits or punches from him but just playing around… to defeat his ‘enemy’.
It does not matter who your enemy is… all that matters is how you use your brain, your eyes, your ears, your sense of your surroundings… your abilities… and the fact that you should also learn from your mistakes… is what keeps us alive.
We will have one more round and then break for lunch.”
While Karan smiled at Jenny and took stance, the latter was not impressed. Instead she was burning with anger, she took her stance and waited for the Major’s order. The moment he said ‘fight’, Jenny did a head scissors facebuster on Karan. The latter slammed to the ground hard groaning in pain again, however, that was not enough. Jenny’s anger got the better of her and she started to hold on to her grip as Karan slowly realized that he was being strangulated.
Everyone was clapping at that technique, however, they didn’t realize the situation that Karan was in. The latter tapped her hand to release him but Jenny was still angry at him for mocking her in front of everyone. Soon, it was Shekhar who realized it and he ran from his position towards the combatants; he grabbed hold of Jenny, opened her grip and threw her to the side. Released from the clutches, Karan coughed hard holding his neck while Poorna too joined in and helped the former stand up on his feet.
Jenny’s anger subsided, looking at Karan coughing hard made her realize her mistake and she started to feel guilty. Shekhar was angered and yelled at Jenny, “Are you out of your mind? What is wrong with you? We are not your enemies… this is just a training session.”
Jenny stared at Shekhar, then at Major Ratan, and then looked around. There were murmurs around and Jenny felt embarrassed at her attitude, tears welled up as she covered her face and ran away from there. Major Ratan tried to stop her but Karan intervened.
“Please, sir… let her go. It is ok; it is natural for someone to not accept defeat. We must be proud to have a fighter like her; however, she has much to learn… we all have much to learn.” Said Karan.
Poorna, however, was not happy with what happened and decided to confront Jenny. She stepped out of the training hall towards the BASE Park where she found the latter sitting on a bench with her face covered.
“What happened back there, Jenny? What did you intend doing? You were trying to kill him! You were trying to kill Karan!” Poorna shouted.
Jenny tried to justify her action, “I wasn’t trying to kill him, Poorna. I was trying to teach him a lesson for playing with me and making a mockery of me in front of everyone. It was not intentional…”
“You were strangling him. I saw the rage in your eyes. Is that how you react if you are defeated or someone gets the better of you? We are not your enemies… we are colleagues here. We are trying to learn the rules of survival over here and here you are trying to prove your mettle by hurting your own people.” Poorna reacted.
Jenny looked at Poorna, she was still in tears, and she wanted to say something but realized that after what she had done, there was nothing left to say. She hung her head in shame and started to cry profusely now.
Poorna shook her head in disgust; she started to walk away but stopped, turned around and spoke to Jenny, “I am really not sure what you were trying to do back there. All I can assume is that you are suffering from a complex… you feel you are no good, you feel you are a loser, you feel that no one will look up to you… yet, when you showed of your moves, Shekhar wasn’t feeling bad about his best friend getting hit, he was more impressed seeing your skills.
It is the same with Karan too… when you walked out; Karan also called you an amazing fighter, someone we should be proud of having in BASE. He has massive respect for you and this is how you repay him. You should be ashamed of yourself.”
Jenny stared at Poorna, the latter walked away while the former could just sit and cry over her mistake.
During dinner, while Jenny was walking towards the cafeteria, she spotted Karan and Shekhar going ahead of her. She had a growing urge of walking up to them and apologizing for her mistake. She tried to catch up and call out to Karan, however, Avesh blocked her path.
“Jenny!! You were amazing back there. What a fight you put up with that stupid Karan.” Avesh started while Jenny continued to look at Karan who was now chatting with a few men of her batch.
“Serves him right, the way he was playing around with you like a fool… what kind of fighter does that.” Said Avesh.
Jenny was growing impatient and irritated now, she glared at Avesh and the latter was surprised by it. He stepped back; he wanted to say something but decided to keep his mouth shut. That very moment, Karan came towards Jenny and it was her time to get surprised.
“I am sorry if I have hurt you in anyways, Jenny. You are a brilliant fighter; I was not able to match up to your fast punches and kicks, so I had to improvise a few skills of mine to negate that speed. Believe me, I wasn’t trying to mock you or play around with you… I was only trying to save myself.” Said Karan.
Jenny was filled with remorse now, she had done a mistake and this was the time to sort out everything.
“Please Karan, you don’t have to apologize. I am the one guilty here. I shouldn’t have allowed my rage to get the better of me. You were doing the right thing; however, I didn’t realize that. I was so hell bent on trying to prove myself that all lines between friends and enemies became blurred. I am sorry for what I have done.” Said Jenny.
Karan couldn’t help looking at Jenny’s eyes, they were beautiful and he could only stare at it. Hearing Jenny’s words, he nodded his head in disagreement, looked into her eyes and said, “Never underestimate yourself, Jenny. You know you are good, everyone of us over here are unique in our own ways… so stop trying to prove yourself and instead try to better yourself. You better yourself… the world will automatically look up to you.”
Jenny listened to those words as though they were a kind of mantra, she felt motivated and slowly, a smile sprouted. She was guilty no more and heaved a sigh of relief that everything was sorted out.
“Come now, Jenny. Join us for dinner.” Said Karan.
Jenny was about to agree but then remembered that Poorna was angry with her. She would be joining them but would not want to sit with her.
“I have no issues, Karan but you see… Poorna is angry with me after what I did. She didn’t speak to me after the training. I am not sure she would like to sit with me.” Said Jenny.
“Oh yes, I know but don’t you worry. The moment she will see us entering the cafeteria as a ‘couple’, I bet all her anger would vanish in an instant. You can take that in writing if you want to.” Said Karan with a smug look.
Jenny stared at Karan, she giggled and then blushed at that comment. Avesh, who was listening to the conversation, was once again burning with anger and jealousy. As the duo walked towards the cafeteria, some of their batch mates who were also listening to their conversation started to clap their hands realizing that everything was sorted out and they were friends now. Major Ratan was standing in the corner and he, too, started to clap.
While Shekhar and Poorna had brought their food tray to their table, the latter glanced at Karan and Jenny coming together and indeed, she was surprised. Jenny walked towards her and was about to apologize but Poorna stopped her, and then hugged her. Jenny, feeling relieved again, looked at Karan and thought, “We are still strangers but I do have the strong urge to know more about you. I am not sure whether we will be together like this but I pray to God that if we are supposed to be together, let it be the most beautiful and memorable part of our life. Thank you for coming into my life, Karan.”
Karan was also looking at Jenny and thought, “I am not sure if I have a future with you, however, I am happy that you are my friend. You will always be my best friend and whenever you need me, I will always be there to support you and motivate you. You are a strong woman; you may not need anyone in your life yet, if you need someone, know this… that I will always be there for you… in every step of your life…. take it in writing.”