The boards were on. Love and crushes were wrapped up now. We were digging our head in to books. Students, boards and temples. The usual scenario was happening. Ram and Laxmi were little bit out of our minds. Might be for them too. ‘Oh sorry’, they never even considered ‘we existed’. It was time for Meter Bridge, Potentiometer, Organic nitrogen compounds, binomial theorems and chain rules.
Now we were a group like Shravs, Mukunth , Guru and me. Mukunth was one of Guru’s friends. We met often at centers and we were a group bonded for the board preparations. A hai-bye troop. We didn’t have space to breath. The practicals, boards and the entrance tests were disturbing us much. Though at breaks, we talk about Ram and Laxmi. A day doesn’t go without uttering their names yet not even a single day goes without seeing Guru. That marked the difference.
Amidst all the pressures, we were finally on top of the world. The boards were done. Irrespective of the results, holidays made us high. Watched all the remaining flicks, that doesn’t mean we sacrificed any of them for our boards. Visiting places, relative’s home and the same questions which a twelfth grader is fired at, ‘How much marks do you expect?’. Sick of it but you can’t yell at them saying ‘shut the fuck up’.
After few weeks, the excitement of holidays slowly fades off and you start feeling bored. You miss your friends and the fun. It was more like a month that I saw Guru. Though we speak over phones and yeah now Guru is a proud owner of ‘Nokia 2300’. So we had loads of phone conversations.
One thing I could not tolerate was the way he always sings in praises of Laxmi’s beauty. ‘Her salwar, her eyes, the homely looks, her lips, and the way she calls her’. I always give him just five minutes of the usual time and within that he should blurt that day’s compliments. Some days I just place the receiver quite a distance from me and that was the time for me to find a comfortable place with the cordless. One day he caught me red-handed and I was punished by making me repeat the compliments. Yeah, I agree we were the crazy people. It sounded so annoying to hear about another girl’s looks. Not that I am jealous, I never even know it existed. To irritate him back I was given the same five minutes time for debating about Ram’s looks and piss him off.
Ram and Laxmi were straight contrasts of Guru and me. And that’s why till date we never have similar tastes. Wherever we go, shopping or anything we end up fighting. The only solution is he picks one shirt of my choice and the other of his. This started right from our day one of our shopping spree back in school days itself.
And Shravs came up with this idea of computer classes so that we can hang-out together. I made Manasa , Aarti, Priya (my school mates), Guru and Mukunth to join in. We were now having a blast of funda time. We had some blame reason to tell in home and escape in the evenings. This time, my birthday was happening since it fell after the boards. Guru and Mukunth spiced it up. Although it was the same birthday ritual, the bumps, the cake facial and dinner yet it’s always the people which matters and the happiness felt. I forced Guru to gift me a watch. He never in his life tries to surprise me and he was like’ I merely wasted my thousand bucks on you’. Totally that was ’a perfect eighteen’.
The much anticipated boards results were out. Destiny always knows whom to bond together. We scored fairly. Guru and me were in the same college, same department. The next four years had different things in store for us. We never expected such a turn-over. Shravs and Mukunth together were thrown in a different better college than us. Their scores were far better.
We were actually looking forward for our college lives. A life when you always as a school student fancy about. No uniforms, no lunch boxes, no monthly tests, no quarterly, half yearly crap, no boards and yeah no bags too. Being carless brands you ‘the hero ‘image. Movies always emphasize the love stories starting in college life. Watching movies right from being a kiddo, all you know is ‘not what to study’ just the feeling ‘you have to grow-up and be at college and fall in love’. The after-effects of joining an engineering college are altogether a different story though.
Ram was leaving Chennai to take some accountancy course. He aspired to be a charted accountant by profession. He was a nerd with glasses, fairer in complexion. I always felt ‘he was cute’. Now being back in Coimbatore, I had to miss him. No options. Ram was all excited that he hit the college where he was desperate to go. I was happy for him but sad for myself. Pacified I have the phone and it was only for few years. Laxmi ended up with some Business administration course. We are all in to college now. Ram called me like weekly once from Chennai, still he never even considered me. I was just a friend to him. There was no progress in our relationship
College still did not commence the start dates for us. But Shravs and Mukunth were enjoying their first days. We used to listen to their stories and were dreaming high. Now we started hanging out in the mornings too. It was like we were separated only during sleep. Cordless and I were inseparable now. Not that I speak with Ram, my mornings and nights ends with Guru’s conversations. Guru and me were like ‘We should have met in our childhood itself, we missed a lot of quality time together’.
Right before a week to college, I was as always stuck up with a late night conversation with Guru. He asked me to bring the birth certificate and was fixing the place to meet up. In the middle of the conversation, my dad peeped in. He asked ‘didn’t you sleep still, were you talking to someone over?’.
The next day afternoon the news broke, Guru sent a text to Shravs and Mukunth ‘I and Nandita got married’. They were at college utterly confused. Shravs called me immediately in the break .I declared ‘I am pregnant’ my voice broke almost in tears. She was like ‘Are you guys joking?’ I was so irritated and cut the call. She was trying to ring me up again. I did not bother. Muted the cordless and was sitting at the bed almost shattered. All I needed now was ‘silence’.