“Hi Rahul.. This is my new number. Sheela here.. how r u? Loooong time! ”
I am Arun Kumar, doing my 2nd year engineering and living in a hostel in one of those million engineering colleges in Coimbatore, Tamilnadu. I had just received an SMS with the above text at around midnight. Basically being a barren land when it comes to girls, I was not sure how to react to that message. It was pretty obvious that the message was not intended for me but I didn’t want to let go of this opportunity. A thousand questions ran through my mind as I looked at the SMS for the 197th time in 5 minutes. “Should I reply saying I’m not Rahul?” “Should I call that number?” “Should I ignore the message?” “What if it’s an attu piece?” Damn! I’ve never strained my brain so much in my life. Finally I decided to temporarily ignore the message. Firstly, I didn’t want to portray myself as too desperate by replying immediately, and secondly, it would give me time to think. As far as the attu piece dilemma was concerned, I thought of the age old wonderful saying by an unknown Tamil poet: ‘Vandha mala, Pona masuru.’
After a lot of deliberation, I decided to reply next morning from class. “Hi Sheela.. sorry for the late reply.. had slept yesterday.. I’m doin great.. wazzup with u?” Yes, I had done what Madhavan did in Minnale (a Tamil movie). I knew I was no Maddy in looks, but how would she ever find out through a phone? Nervous and struggling to concentrate in class, I waited for a reply from Sheela. After a wait of around 20 minutes which seemed like an eternity, I received an SMS.
“Hey! I’m good 2...slept so soon?? I thot guys in IIT hostels don’t sleep so early! Anyways, no problems..:).. where r u now? Bunked class? It’s been ages since we spoke.. I guess we didn’t talk after the school farewell??”
IIT. A mini explosion took place in my heart. IIT enga naa enga? (Where is IIT and where am I?)No wonder she had messaged ‘Rahul’ after a ‘looooong’ time! But I decided to carry on. ‘Confident machi.. confident’ I said to myself and replied:
“Yeah guys in IIT hostels don’t sleep early. But you know I’m not one of those nerds ;).. and yeah.. a looong time indeed..madam suddenly became super-busy after school :P”
Somehow, my hands automatically made me use smileys. Pretty soon I received a reply and we started exchanging messages at a faster rate.
“Ha ha! Me and busy? No way! And you not a nerd eh? Then how did u get to IIT in the first place :P?”
“Still trying to find out the answer. I actually asked my professor after I joined here. He said shit happens once in a while.. I guess that answers it ;)”
“LOL. I’m literally rolling on the floor and laughinguncontrollably. HAHAHA!” came the reply.
Was it that funny? Anyways, a part of me felt proud and happy to have made a girl laugh. The confidence urged me to continue.
“Chuck that. Hey btw..wazzup with u? What you doin these days?I’m sorry I forgot.. you know IIT guys tend to have short term memory loss ;)”
“Ah..but i thot you were not the ‘typical IIT guy’?? :P I’m like you.. in the process of wasting 4 years of my life.. I mean I’m doingengineering..bu t not in the IIT! LOL”
I had succeeded in my first step - to get some details. But why was she LOL-ing? Whatever. I decided to LOL too. Thought it would sound rude otherwise.
“LOL. Yeah I guessed you would be doing engineering.. and Yeah not many people waste their lives in IITs ;) It’s reserved for the special (un)lucky ones!”
“Haha! You are in IIT and you are complaining? But its logical - guys in IIT are never satisfied.. thats why you end up in IIT in the first place!”
I went and stood near a mirror. The person from the other end stared back at me and had a million expressions. Some of them being :
* This face ku IIT too much. (For this face, IIT is too much) * This face ku IIT too much. * This face ku IIT too much. * This face ku IIT too much. * Have you ever seen an IIT campus? * Have you ever seen an IIT campus? * Have you ever seen an IIT campus? * You still have 3 arrears left. * You still have 3 arrears left. * You still have 3 arrears left.
But I decided to carry on. Confident machi..confident.
“Oh what a brainy girl..you deserve to be in the IIT :P”
“No thanks. I’m happy this way. And hey btw.. how did u find out that I would be doing engineering too??”
“Oh..that..It’s only natural for anyone to jump into engineering after 12th standard right? Especially for girls..enroll in some engineering college.. slog for 4 years... outperform the boys.. draw margins in assignments.. submit assignments a day in advance.. block 2-3 jobs when the guys struggle to get one.. and then finally give up the jobs to marry some rich guy from America.. this is the life-routine for most girls in Tamilnadu right? :P”
“Ooooohh.. why don’t you give some figures about how many girls take up engineering... how many go on to get jobs.. how many get married to America maapilais (bridegroom)? That would be interesting..:P”
“ You think I’m captain Vijaykanth (Tamil actor) or what? ;) I am weak in those statistics!”
“LOL. You are a funny guy. Anyways.. i got to go.. nice convo after a long time.. bye bye”
It was indeed a nice convo, not after a long time - but for the first time. I just realised that I had spent almost the entire morning session in messaging her. There are a few ways to check if your kadalai (love) session went well - First, you should lose track of time. Second and most important: you should not remember what you spoke. I succeeded in both and found myself smiling - for no reason.
The next few weeks saw me completely addicted to my mobile phone. I took it everywhere I went. Literally everywhere. You usually have an entire lifetime to waste when you are in an engineering college and I made maximum use of it. My daily routine was simple:
1. Wake up in the morning and either send or receive messages like :
Morning Coolness, Rising Sun, Singing Birds, Melting Dew, Along With This Little Heart Wishing You A Very Glorious Good Morning.
2. Go to class and continue messaging
3. Go for lunch.
4. Send/receive messages like :
Give laugh to all but smile to ONE. Give love to all but heart to ONE. Give life to all but live for ONE.. Have a cool evening.
5. Continue messaging
6. Continue messaging
7. Send/ Receive messages like: In this lovely night, I pray to the sweet moon to protect you through the night, The wind to blow away your worries, and, the twinkle stars to guide you the way, Sweet dreams and Good Night.
“Who are you messaging at 2 AM da?” Raj, my roomie asked me suddenly.
Taken aback, I stuttered and replied “Not messaging da.. playing a game on the phone.. not getting sleep so just killing time”
“Ooooho.. sounds very convincing.. show me your phone.. I’ll also play the game.. even am unable to sleep”
“Battery low machaan.. got switched off just now.. gonna sleep now..gnite,” I said and immediately deleted my inbox.
There was no way I could tell my friends what I was up to. There are some drawbacks of being a gethu gang member in college - you were not allowed to talk to girls. Friends would first tease you. Then warn you not to trust girls. Then ignore you. Then abuse you. The guys in hostel would think I was some villain and leave me out of their plans. I was not going to let that happen to me.
“Hey.. gotta go now..i’ll be dead if my friends find out i’m messaging a girl so late in the night..don’t ask me why.. thats how these idiots are in hostels :(.. do not reply.. i’ve deleted my inbox.. will msg you tomo.. gnite!” I sent her an SMS before sleeping.
The addiction got worse each day. I ignored food, I ignored sleep, I ignored my studies. All I cared in life was the SMS from her. I succeeded in almost everything - I got to know about her, I got to know about ‘Rahul’, I made her get addicted to her mobile as much as I was to mine. But there were a few questions which I couldn’t find answers to. Firstly, is this love? Secondly, is she an attu figure or good figure? Thirdly, how and when am I going to tell her the truth?
The second question didn’t really matter because I was too addicted to her anyways. The only problems seemed to be the 1st and 3rd questions, and there was only one way I was going to find answers to those - ignore her. Time would solve my confusions, I thought and started ignoring her. Yes, I decided to stop sending or replying to her messages from then on.
It was easier said that done though. My hands would itch to grab the mobile and send her a message - especially when I was sitting bored in a stupid lecture. The first 2-3 days were very extremely difficult. I would get a forward or two from her, which I read and ignored. If the first few days were difficult, the next 2-3 were unbearable.
“Hey.. wassup?”, “Hey..too busy or what? showing off that you are an IIT-an to me eh? Thought you were not one of those nerds? ;)” , “This is why I HATE IIT!”. These were a few messages that I got from her. She would never receive a reply.
A week passed, and it was getting clearer to me that I couldn’t live without her. The first question was answered. Call it love. Cal it friendship. Call it whatever. I wanted to talk to her. But the week also taught me an important thing - that I can’t continue this for long. I HAD to tell her the truth. But how could I suddenly give her such a shock? What if she stops talking to me? What if she goes to the cops? A million questions ran through my mind when my phone beeped.
“Hi.. look I don’t know what happened to you all of a sudden.. its been a while since you contacted me.. I don’t understand why you are avoiding me..but let me tell you one thing.. I don’t think I can be normal without messaging you..I don’t know what else to say.. all I can say is plzzz reply! Miss u :(“
I was happy and sad. I was happy that she missed me. I was sad that I had put her through this. An important question had just been answered. She indeed felt the same way I did. But there was an important and unanswered question. How will she react when I tell her the truth? After all, I was neither Rahul nor an IIT-an. Continue acting - told a part of me. Tell her the truth, said another. I decided not to think. I took my phone, closed my eyes and typed as fast as I could.
“Look Sheela.. I have a confession to make.. I don’t know how to say this. I am not the guy who you think I am. I am not Rahul. My name is Arun Kumar. I do not study in IIT. I am just another engineering student in just another engineering college like you. I realised the very first day you messaged me that I was not the intended recipient but decided to carry on. I know I was being cheap, but I didn’t think it was wrong. It started as a timepass thing but it became much more than that over the weeks.. I dunno if you are fair. I dunno if u r fat. I dunno if u r good looking. I dunno if u r ugly. But I do know that I don’t care. All I care about is YOU. And yes, I do know that I love you. You can choose to swear at me. You can choose to reject me. You can choose to accept me. But please do not choose to ignore me...(i don’t know what smiley to use)..”
I sent the message. I didn’t bother to read it again. My eyes remained close till I heard the next beep.
“Look Arun. I too have a confession to make.. I don’t know how to say this. I am not the girl who you think I am. I am not Sheela. I am Raj - your roomie. Please come immediately to the next room.. all of us are waiting for you :D :D :D”
Today I met you nearly after 2 years (that also after you reminding me that it's from 2 years you are not in Mumbai). After waiting for nearly 10 minutes (oh,i hate waiting for anyone in my life although i always reach late ;)), I saw you in the same purani yedfut types t-shirt and jeans looking here and there with those chit-chor eyes and I was laughing in my mind saying that "you are still the same". As soon you looked at me, you smiled! Was wondering why did you smile, although you should be really very angry on me for not being in touch with you from past 2 years by not talking to you, ignoring you, no replies to your messages... ufff so bad of me!! ;) The first line i uttered when i saw you "I would kill you. Itna late? You made me wait for 10 long minutes!!!!! Idiot. Stupid.! And again you smiled saying "I didn't do anything. You called me and said me to come in 15 minutes." (Tune mujhe call kiya aur bulaya. Maine kuch nahi kiya) Haha. I laughed and laughed. You and your Hindi is the same. Tuta phuta like you with that Keralite ascent.
I said "You are the same". (tum abhi bhi nahi badle) And you said "You are also the same. Only you have become a bit fat. But your anger is the same. Donno when it's gonna change!?" (Tu bhi abhi waisi hi hai. Bas thodi aur moti ho gayi. Gussa abhi bhi waisa hi hai. Pata nahi kab sudhregi tu?!) With my expressions changing , you stopped and asked "Kya kar rahi tu aajkal? Tera Bandra ka woh khatam ho gaya?" (What are you doing these days? Have you stopped going to Bandra?) You hardly know why I used to go to Bandra and when did I finish my graduation, but still showing off as if you know every happening in my life. Then Mystraightforward question "Why did you come here?" (Tu kyu aaya idhar?) And you are doubtfully asking "Here means I should not have come to meet you?" (Idhar matlab main tereko nahi milneka).
Arey, I asked "Why did you come to Mumbai?" He smiled and said "To meet you, sneha, anup.." (Main tujhe, tereko, sneha, anup in sab se milne aaya). Again my bad habit of laughing at things, I laughed and in a teasing tone said "Tujhe and tereko are the same, and the list should have 1 more name, howcome you are forgetting?" You got irritated "Haan, to meet her also, now happy, now don't ask me more questions". Still then I wasn't convinced. I asked you again "Why did you come here?" Your reply "I am looking for jobs in Mumbai. Tomorrow there is an interview and if i get selected, would stay here or else leave for Kerala." What should be my reaction? Neither I am happy nor sad. Before I can be happy, you made me sad saying you would go back.Thought atleast You would be here to help me out of my problems. But before I could share anything with you of what has happened, you made me quiet by saying this statement. Alright then there came a Ice-cream shop, remembered the old days we both used to always eat Paani puri and then an ice-cream. (what a strange combination ;) ) , but our group was really strange! "Lets go there and have ice-cream" (Chal na udhar jaate hai ice-cream khaane". We went there and you ordered "Chocolate Cornetto" (it was favorite of both of us) and i said "Chocolate Nuts Bar", you said "Even I want the same" (Mujhe bhi phir wohi do). You paid and I said "After all, you have started earning now, going to get married soon, so it's your treat". You said, " That's not the case, I had money so I am paying it. Next time it would be your turn". (Paisa tha isliye de raha hun, nahi toh tu hi pay karegi). I was staring at you and giving gaalis in my mind Stupid, donkey, idiot, fool... and you smiled seeing me. Really you are Stupid! Then what my questions started "How's all at home? How's your mom, dad, sis? What's your sis doing? When are you getting married? You won't call me to your marriage and I know that very well. By the way tell me whom are you going to get married? Which girl? You had many options and thats why i am asking, now tell fast!"
You ate the whole icecream till my questions got over and I hadn't even started. Now you said "All are fine at home. My sis is now doing Dentistry, she would treat you soon (seeing at my braces) ;) My marriage still has 2 months sorry 2 years and i would send you train ticket with my wedding card, now happy?" Hmm. I started eating ice-cream and it was half-finished. Again there was silence, then asked "Tell me frankly shaadi kar kisse raha hai?" Then you showed me your engagement ring "See this is silver ring, my engagement ring. We don't wear gold rings."
I was seeing at it and the ice-cream fell on my dress. You again got irritated, took my bag and started searching "Kuch hai kya bag mein pochne layak? Abhi tak icecream khana nahi aata bacchi ko!" and then gave my handkerchief. You continued saying "You wanna see her pics? I had sent you before in mails. You didn't check them?" I nodded saying yes. Again my kerchief fell down and mobile was about to fall down. Your purana wala dialogue "Tu kab sudhregi?" and my topic change karnewala attitude "Accha, aajkal tu apne behen ka photo wallet mein leke ghumta hai?" You asked "Kya? You know who she is?" I said "Yeah, isliye toh mazak kar rahi thi, i saw it when u were paying for the icecream.
Are you serious that you would marry her only?" You were really irritated.... "Ab tereko kya bolke samjhaun main? Why don't you trust me? And anyways i came to know that my ex-girlfriend has got a new bf." I started arguing "Ofcourse, when you can have 3-4 girlfriends, why can't we girls move on?" You made me calm "Relax, and by the way what do you mean by 'we', you are also engaged?" I signed and said "I am alone and really don't need anyone". You understood. Hahah. You were in a hurry "Today is friday and I wanna go to Masjid at 1pm and have to take bath before that. Would meet you in the evening and we would eat Sev puri. You like Paani puri na?
But, i won't have it, you know the news about it". I said "Noways, now we will meet only when all friends are here" (knowing that he was hesitating to call few of them). Staring at me and my reply, you said "Main kisiko bulata nahi, jo saamne se aata hai unse main milunga". You and your ego... !! I said nothing and said Bye. Then while returning home, sent him a text saying "After meeting you today after so long time, i felt as if i am meeting you for the first time in my life. Don't know why but many things have changed :(." Stupid ka reply tak nahi aaya. ;) And I know you won't do as the firing waits for me in our next meet. ;)
What made me write this blog was just to remember this day of mine in long run, when i realized that how we were 3 years back and how we are now. You were one of my best friends. And i made you my best friend reason being you were the most stupid, idiot, fool and donkey. haha. I used to laugh at you for Your grammatical mistakes in Hindi as you were born and brought up in Kerala and didn't have access to Mumbaiya Hindi. I, Sneha, Mads, You, Anup all were the bestest friends (neither college friends nor building friends) but somehow we became friends.
There were few common things which we all had and enjoyed whenever we met and roamed. You were always 1st in my Hitlist whenever i wanted to remove my frustration or share anything in my life. I never had any sharam to shout at you for your sillly mistakes on the road infront of anyone although you were quite elder to me. And you always forgave me as my face resembled ur sis. That was an advantage for me though lol. My fights with you were really like WARS when you had to either chose this or that. Dominating, crying, giving you lectures, telling what to do and what not, ignoring your talks, not believing in you, avoiding you, making you feel lonely and sad coz you lied to me and i couldn't forgive your mistakes ---was all a part of our friendship. How much you tried to bring me back to the same "chashmis" as you always called me and said "main tere saath kabhi dosti nahi todunga..."
But it was the worst part of me that never accepted you as you are and always tried to expect that you would change to be a better person. ---- It was all my bachpan or say childish nature to expect more from people to be like this or like that.. and especially from really close friends. Still Now I have changed that nature but then a bit maturity has come. I am now laughing at what i did with you. And since you know my nature and would forgive me for all the kiddddddddishness, i know you understand me a bit.
You didn't call me "chashmish" today and neither did I shout at you as i usually do when we meet. Maybe you are the same, but i don't know why i have changed. Why I am not able to behave the way i used to before? Didn't understand what's wrong with me? I felt as if i didn't have any rights on you to say anything. The feelings were strange and really hurting when you meet a friend after a long time.
But still if you sit back and think, you would understand and realize that every relationship changes and goes through all these moments - happy, funny, sad, hurting and so on. But Friendship never stops and ends! Although you may be close friends now but after few years, they would be somewhere else doing something else busy in their lives. But still then friendship continues forever, the moments shared becomes memories and those good and bad memories helps us in making and building new relationships in our future.Although "You" (I always saved your number as Neelam haha and also spoke to you as a girl whenever some known faces are around, coz of many reasons) would always be my idiot, stupid, donkey and yedfut friend! Sorry, but even if you become a buddha and come to meet me even after 30-40 years with your grandchildren, I would still call you the same. ;)