The Lover of Oranges (A Healthy Love Story)

Aditya, or as he insisted everyone call him- Aadu, was a health-conscious boy right from childhood, which is not surprising, as both his parents were doctors. So, from the day his first crooked milk tooth showed signs of taking birth, Aadu was told to eat healthy. His first taste of any vegetable was Karele ka juice (Bitter Gourd juice), and he absolutely loved it, after all, it was healthy! But his favourite food item of all time was the humble orange, which, as his mom missed no opportunity of reminding him, was full of Vitamin C, and kept the body’s immune system robust.

This love for oranges often made Aadu a butt of jokes and ridicule among his chocolate-chomping friends, but he did not care- Oranges were the healthiest fruit, and he would keep eating them till his dying day. And he stuck to that resolve…till that fateful day.

It was Aadu’s 18th birthday, and he was extremely excited. No, not because it was his birthday, which his logical brain told him was just a date that brought him one calendar year closer to death, but because Natasha had invited him over post his birthday party.

Natasha….Aaah Natasha….The most beautiful, most perfect, most amazing girl Aadu had ever met. She’d just shifted into the house next door a couple of months ago, and it had been love at first sight for Aadu, who had never even looked at a girl before that day, as he felt they would distract him from remaining focused on his health.

Like all neighbourhood love stories, this too started with stolen glances, moved on to looks filled with longing, and first contact happened only after two months. And wonder of wonders, they hit it off almost immediately, for Natasha, just like Aadu, was a fitness freak.

She joined his gym at his recommendation, and now, they started travelling to the gym together, and spending hours there bonding over weights, cardio, biceps, triceps, quadrilaterals (Narrator’s Note: I am pretty sure this is not a real muscle set, but those who know me know that I am the last person to know anything about a gym, so kindly bear with me!) and, in the case of Aadu, oranges.

But all they ever talked about was exercising and health food, and Aadu longed to have a real conversation with Natasha, so that he could reveal the intensity of his love for her, which was almost making him ill from inside. But he trusted his oranges to cure his love sickness too, for, as his mom always told him, oranges were the healthiest fruit in the world.

And Aadu finally got his opportunity over his 18th birthday party. He had invited Natasha also, and meeting up in a non-gym environment seemed to have done wonders for their relationship. They chatted non-stop about life, their dreams, what they found attractive in each other….and as the party reached its peak, Natasha whispered in Aadu’s ears, “Let’s go to my place, my parents are out for a wedding!”

Aadu’s excitement at his good fortune was beyond belief. Natasha left first, making some excuse, and after a few minutes, AAdu told his friends that he had a badly upset stomach, and he HAD to go home and take some medicines to set it right. And just like that, he was off, running at breakneck speed towards Natasha’s home. But even while running, Aadu was keeping tabs of his speed, distance covered, heart rate, and calories burnt, so that he could share the same with his trainer in the gym the next day.

He reached Natasha’s home out of breath, and rang the bell. And as Natasha opened the door, Aadu’s heart started hammering faster than ever before, and it had nothing to do with the cardio that he had just been doing. Natasha seemed to have come straight out of her bath, her hair were still wet, and she was wearing a night suit that set his imagination, along with his heartbeat, running wild!

She made him sit on the sofa, and said, “Just give me a minute,” and went into the bathroom. As he waited for her, his heart still racing out of control, Aadu saw something that increased his excitement multi-fold. Fresh, juicy, luscious Nagpur oranges, kept on the table in a huge bowl, calling out to him!

Seeing them, Aadu couldn’t resist himself, and immediately picked some up and started peeling them indiscriminately and then gulping them down. And it was in the midst of eating seven orange slices at one go that Natasha walked back in, sat next to him on the sofa, looked at him with her dreamy eyes, and said, “Would you like to kiss me Aadu?”

Aadu, in his excitement, shouted, “YES!” but he forgot one tiny thing…the seven orange slices in his mouth at that time. The intensity of his YES forced the pips of the oranges to pop out of them, and suddenly, Natasha’s face was bombarded with some 40-50 orange pips, hitting her with rocket speed (or so it seemed to her at that time). And if that was not enough, one pip unerringly found its way to one of Natasha’s dreamy eyes, which had been so welcoming and seductive just a few moments ago!

Natasha howled with pain, but her howl was overshadowed by a louder howl, that of Aadu, for Natasha had punched him on his nose…hard, instinctively when his orange pips had hit her. Aadu’s eyes filled with water due to the pain, and when he finally managed to see, he wished he didn’t, for a trail of blood was running down Natasha’s eyes, and another trail of blood was running down his own nose.

Apologizing profusely, Aadu took out his phone and called up his parents in a state of panic. They came immediately, and one attended to Aadu, and the other to Natasha, and soon, the situation was under control. Aadu kept apologizing to Natasha throughout, but he knew from the way she looked at him now that he had blown any chance that he had with her…forever!

So, with a broken heart, and a broken nose, Aadu reached home and went straight to his bedroom. His mom checked in on him a few minutes later. She was holding something in her hand. She came up to him, and extending her hand, said, “Here, take this orange, it is the healthiest fruit in the world, it will help with the pain!”

And Aadu could not hold in his pain and frustration any longer. He took the orange, and threw it at the 75-inch LED TV, smashing it (the orange, not the TV, which had bulletproof glass) to a pulp. As his mother looked on in shock, Aadu calmly told her, “I will never ever, ever ever, ever ever…have another orange in my life!”

And those who know Aadu will tell you that this is is one oath he HAS stuck to till this day!



About anuragbakhshi

At the age of 40, I decided to exit the corporate world, and enter the world of stories as a full-time writer. Wish me luck!
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