7. CONFUSED

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We both never could differentiate love, attraction and friendship. May be due to the reason that Ram and Laxmi started reciprocating their feelings slowly. They didn’t still propose but showed the beginning positive signs of a relationship. But now we didn’t feel for them the same way. The attraction was there but the effect was fading off. The highlights were things started to fall in pace for both of us at the same time eventually which was least expected. The same relationship confusion prevailed, we did not know whom to prioritise. Love or friend (a complicated one now)?

Possessiveness started to creep for Laxmi since Guru was always either around or hanging with me. She fought with him and Guru was in total mess. He was not able to either avoid me or go by her. Though I wanted him to let go for his ‘love’, my heart yearned and even his. It was mutual on either side. On the other hand Ram started calling me often, he was in town and yeah we hanged out quite a few times. He was a bit flirty this time. I was clearly able to differentiate. I was supposed to reciprocate; after all I was dying for it for two years.  I tried too but all I can do was to smile and change the topic to commonalities. He offered me even a spin and I don’t know why I even rejected the offer. Before my mind processed my lips avoided instantly.

We were supposed to be close in love, but we didn’t. We were supposed to be distant from friendship, but we didn’t. We never showed each other. We showed off each other that Ram and Laxmi both were falling for us now, but it was not from our hearts. Every relationship was demanding. Girls always have a set of rules in which the guy should follow it for them to prove that they loved them. Laxmi was the perfect girlie types and rules were fired on Guru. He was not supposed to talk to girls, nor come late to home, hang out even with his friends the boys too; he should always speak with her and the same same boring list which went on and on. Guru was helpless. It was ‘love’ and he obviously tried to satisfy her.

Ram was also upset on me. Whenever he is up in the phone, when I utter ‘Guru’s name, he deviates ‘let’s talk about us’. Obviously when he asks me ‘how was the day’? Guru is filled in it, what can I bluff? It tested my patience so much. I tried to keep me down as I was not ready to fight with him. It was not Guru to handle me or remain silent and will never let me go whatever it is. I hit my head and told ‘This is Ram’. So I was to control whatever it is. Ram added fuel to the fire ‘Do you like Guru or me’. It was getting too much. Days went harder.

We were not the happy; take it easy typo friends anymore. We were corned by our relationship problems. We started blasting between us not directly to Ram and Laxmi; we don’t have guts to leave our ‘love’ down. We were good actors in our relationship. But in friendship only we were the ‘real-us’.  We yelled ‘Ram and Laxmi: these guys never even bothered when we were heart-broke, showed their disgusting attitude, and treated us like shit’. But suddenly they enter our lives and they want us to change for them and even die at their feet’. They will ask us to ditch the ‘friendship’ and die for ‘love’. The highlight is still they both didn’t even propose us still yet they were so demanding.

When we analysed through brains we felt, Ram and Laxmi were also right according to their perspectives. We could not deny that. They are the perfects but the expectations what they wanted to meet was off high standards. They are the exact love materials. We both can’t even afford to stand near to it however we try to. We never could tell, ‘They didn’t match us ‘. Brutally it’s a sin. It will be better saying’ we didn’t match them or never could’.

We were the most insane ones. That’s why we never had a problem between us. Our relationship was entirely different. Now it was still more complicated that too after the bike ride. We were in oscillation. We liked each other but we don’t know whether its ‘friendship’. We believe it’s ‘friendship’. We don’t want to name it love and spoil the divine feeling. That too since we have named Ram and Laxmi’s relationship with us as love, we felt it was filthy. Friendship was a purer form.

Whenever a conversation strikes about them, we start comparing Ram and Laxmi to us. Guru was telling ‘How nice if Laxmi has the same characteristics like you’ and I felt the same between ‘Ram and Guru’. In a relationship once when you have started comparing with all your heart with others. It means obviously you have already fallen for them. But still we were clueless.

One thing which was soothing is that, though we were restricted from hanging out by our respective lovers. Yeah of course we were loyal to them. We did not do that. But college was the only place we were at peace. The workload squeezed us close even more. It was time for our semesters. Study holidays had already begun, model exams followed. Group studies were on. Shiv, Tanvi, Shravs and Mukunth joined. The two jelled with the other two well and we were now six. We had subjects in common. Information Technology and Computer Science have quite similar papers. So study time was fun that too minus our lovers-the added advantage. No restrictions because it was semesters. Now Guru and I even loved semesters for that. Crazy right: I will tell you, fall in love you will know the sequences. That too with the serious type nerds, you will understand the difference when you are tested every day without a break. You will start urging for independent space.

Guru started looking too manly in the recent days. I loved his shirts, his eye brows, his dusky shades, his silky hair, his smile and everything about him. This never happened in the first instant. He was a normal typo guy but now something is special. As a person I loved everything about him totally. His attitude, his decisions, and his valid arguments everything drew me closer. Sometimes whatever is loved by your heart, your eyes portrays it even more beautifully. It just happens.

Two and a half years back, I use to tell him ‘Wacky, what colour shirt man, disgusting dressing sense’. But now I felt like telling him ‘You look good’. I was not able to tell him daily though, that seemed odd. Back in the earlier days, I used to tell him, but it was very rarely that too in a sarcastic way. I felt so obsessed that Guru was good looking when compared to Ram. Argh not Ram too, even better than my favourite celebrities. I was blind folded with Guru. Addiction was beyond stages.

I don’t know whether Guru felt the same way. But sometimes the way you look in to each other is different. I observed those signs. He was looking liking me often while in a group even when I didn’t contribute to the conversation. He looked Tanvi and Shravs in a very casual way just like Shiv and Mukunth. But whenever it was me, it was bit deeper. Might be I was looking him in the same yearning way or I don’t know whether I assumed things. Oh no, now I started to fall for his eyes too. It was electrifying.  Sometimes it may be cinematic but after all real life is inspired from movies. So what!!

That was the end of models. The final one was ‘Data structures’. As a college-goer you don’t mind the model exam stuff. So it was like a time pass to fill in the paper since attendance was compulsory. After all you have the study holidays to clear the semesters. Evening we had the six of us to hit the coffee shop. To stretch out a bit and start hunting for books. All you need is a whole night, local author book and an intelligent head to explain the logics and yeah you can clear engineering. We had nerds like Tanvi and Mukunth around so exams did not bother much.

It was a busy evening in Café Day. We had a good chit-chat and managed to get a corner seat, a view from the first floor. It was raining like cats and dogs. The leaves were dripping, it frost the glasses. It made the lovers romantic who were sitting next to us. They were blushing often and were getting cosy. As we were all a gang, the only way to have fun was to look and irritate them. Finally they insulted us by not even having a turn-around. Best insult ever. They were so much endorsed in to their own worlds.  We started talking about us, same conversations: affairs, family tantrums and boozing. It was usual. The topic just flew from childhood days, schools, how we became friends and there it was ‘The little crazy undefined desires’.

Tanvi was like ‘I want a church wedding, the bridal dresses’. It alarmed Shiv, being a Hindu. But he didn’t show. Mukunth wanted to ‘kiss his tenth standard teacher’. Shravs wanted to bang her ‘maternal uncle’s son’ childhood vengeance it seems. It was Guru’s turn; he wanted to be the only guest with thousand guitarists playing only for him’. Next was mine, I immediately sprung telling ‘I want to go in train, I have never been’. All my relatives are in Coimbatore. I did not have a chance. Everyone instantly broke in to laughter.

Coimbatore is an industrial hub. It’s not a metropolitan one. So local metros never existed. It was a posh, highly civilized town. So it was not a crime that why I haven’t travelled in train? But we all had a good laugh especially mocking at my little crazy desire. It was not unattainable but I didn’t have chances. The next two weeks were study holidays.  We slept, ate everything in home, mocked at the books, talk with neighbours watched all the stupid flicks on television even the boring cooking shows and the hyper mode is cleaning your room. The least interesting ones too interest you, the power of study holidays.

Already we both were the lethargic ones, study holidays was a boost to us. Guru rang me and told the next day, we have some mechanics class. He asked me to meet before starting to college in a nearby stadium. I reached there next day; he waved hands and handed me over two train tickets which were for a nearby town. The travel was two hours. He told lets reach station immediately, and then only you can reach home by six after taking a bus from there. The best surprise ever!!!

 

 

 

 

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6.GETTING CLOSER

5070499173_4a4899f828_zCollege commenced. Everything was getting in to pace. New friends, new ambience, new subjects and new bus rides to college. It was a colourful world. The much awaited one. At the initial phases it took a lot of time to settle down. Since Guru and I were already close-to, we didn’t find much hassle. We now had four people in our gang. The new entrants were Shiv and Tanvi.

We were like the best four. Within few days we had lot of attention. Not because of our academics. But for all our pranks right from the day one. We hit the canteen the very first day, for the use of cell phones in class, for not bringing books and drafters. We were the perfect fit. From seniors to fellow college mates we were clearly identifiable.

Tanvi was a pretty girl. She had a fairer complexion, deep brown eyes, thick eyebrows, medium height, had dimples whenever she smiled and lusty pale pink lips. And the hilarious one was Tanvi and me were most-wanted girls around. Tanvi, I can agree she is a damsel in beauty but what was in me. An average looker though. I thought it was due to my eyes. The one asset I love about myself and which Guru hates till now. I think by now one can clearly make out how the engineering girls will look like after all when even I had a fan-following.

Talking about Shiv, he was also dusky. A tall guy moderately built guy and he had a stunning dressing sense which made girls to go gaga on him. But I felt there was some attraction going between Tanvi and Shiv. They both didn’t reveal each other was our assumption. Knowing each other for just a month or two it’s difficult to fall for each other so soon. If Guru and I were given a chance to propose to Ram and Laxmi we would have done it the right from the day we bumped in to them. Rest others, understanding stuff would all been in the next phase. Different people have different perceptions before entering in to a relationship. But in this perspective, I and Guru were the perfect sync. Only in this relationship matters we were so damn similar. That’s why we were called love fanatics by Shiv and Tanvi.

Engineering college was not the one which was portrayed in cinemas. It was just like school with colourful dresses. I should tell colourful uniforms. You were supposed to wear salwars with dupatta. They branded it to be modest. It was very disappointing. The workload was too much. Even Saturdays we had colleges. For each class they had attendance. Even if you have banked a day, they intimate home through phone calls and letters. Altogether reality was a shit. After some days we got used to and started having a good time by knowing the loop holes. That’s the life of a student. All the complexities were nowhere now. We loved college however it was.

Assignments, Internals and semesters followed. Since it was the first academic exams we studied too much to prove ourselves. The usual brain drain session was there called ‘placements’. And your scores were directly proportional to placements. All the four of us had better scores. Life was good. Ram was now calling me like twice a week, so for me especially it was better. We had bit long conversations. Ram did not set in to the college well. He barely had friends. But that was a positive sign for me. He started becoming closer he didn’t have an option though. His school friends were all busy with their new college stuff but only I was dying to talk to him. So we talked and talked. We became good friends. Not the best like me and Guru. A decent typo one.

Guru and I were like nearly eight hours together in college then it continued for two hours for hangouts and then it was with the phone chats. Now we were all grown-ups, so we had cell phones. Texting was like breathing for both of us. My phone bills were getting too much but who cared. The conversations and the fun mattered. Guru owned TN 38 AR 5991, a black pulsar in the mid of our second semester and asked me to come over for a spin.

I was bit fussy, the usual thing. I don’t mean the girlie thing. I was like; I will go with Ram only and asked him to take Laxmi. He gave me a ‘go to hell’ look and mocked at me sarcastically. We broke in to laughter the next instant. We know, never in our life it’s going to happen. Even in our wildest dreams. I told him might be by Saturday afternoon or so. We were looking forward for that afternoon which we never expressed though.

Finally it was Saturday; we just had few sessions of engineering mechanics classes and were heading to home. I bought my bike since we had planned for the spin. Eventually we were not in the best clothes or we tried to have a make-over like a date but it was nervous. We didn’t know why. I parked my bike on the outskirts of the city and headed to Guru.

He gave me a casual look and asked me to settle. That was it!!! It was a beautiful ride to an unknown destination for lifetime. Being in a cultured city and an orthodox family gave me shivers while sitting behind a guy. Not my brother or father. An unknown guy, whom I have coined as ’friend’. It was nail-biting but over all excited. The weather was neither sunny nor rainy. It was windy. After sitting on the bike, I never shook my head. I felt bit scary whether people known to us will identify. I wanted to pretend normal and have a look on the road. For few minutes, every men and women I saw looked like either my relatives or friends .I was a bit shaky. Guru told me to relax. He pacified me telling ‘nothing will happen’ and asked me to trust him that we were too away from the city. He assured me a look of confidence.

I tried to cover my head with dupatta. He told me, ‘Don’t act cheap, if you do that people will look even sarcastic after that’. I liked his way of taking things. I sat not too close or too distant from him. Yet I was able to feel him. This was not our first touches but these touches had a lot more meaning. Now we both felt the distinction which we never felt for two years, the boy and girl one. He asked me to shrug his shoulders as I was half falling when he applied brakes not intentionally that too not in this stage. I did, it was a different intimate feel. Now I slowly started enjoying the ride forgetting the after home consequences if we get caught. Finally I felt whatever, let it happen. It’s definitely worth-while.

I should tell you now; Guru was looking the most handsome today. I never blurted it but he did, he told me, I looked ravishing. This was never the ‘usual us’. I tried to make it funny but something stopped me I loved this transformation so I didn’t ruin it. We smiled lots, gazed in to each other’s eyes never made fun of each other but were warmed by each other’s presence. The non-stop talking factor was missing. But it was complete. The road was not that crowdy and the ride was definitely a pleasant one. He drove in to the villages; we had such a lovely evening. The breeze brushed us in intervals and our unspoken glances had lot to be said. We never wanted the ride to end, but it was already late evening and I had to take my bike from the outskirts and drive to home which was more than an hour. So we wrapped up though unwillingly.

Before I reached, there was a text from Guru ‘Have you reached’. Now I just loved the care and smiled. When I entered home, I was back to the real world; I sounded to be extra normal but couldn’t be and was looking deep in my mom and dad’s eyes. Every phone ring which later followed I picked it within a ring or so because literally I was dying whether my neighbours, friends or relatives have seen us together on bike. But no mishaps happened and reminiscence of the ride was echoing in my head. We texted till night and our conversation followed. My brain tells ‘he is a friend’, my heart was battling ‘not love but still it was a much more than friendship’. Finally girls try to follow their brains not like the guys who fall for their heart. I was an exception from the normal girls stuff but some genes in you show the basic characteristics. So I called Guru, following my brain. Sounded to be normal and started to pull him, yelled that ‘he drove too bad’. Called him the ‘worst driver’, ‘Thank God I am saved’ and was torturing him as usual. But this time Guru just listened surprisingly, told he had the best ride ever thanked me and asked we should go for a spin often.

After the ride, it pulled us still more closely. Now we started discussing more about the clothes we wear. We dressed depending on each other favourites, the colours. These guys at the initial phases we find sweet when they flatter regarding our dressing sense but at the later phases they restrict you so much calling it over- protective. And that is the time when you feel like hitting them back. Now obviously we were in the initial phases and I loved the way he compliments me back. The rest is history. We yearned for each other. Now our hearts were half filled for both of us, the rest was reserved for Ram and Laxmi. At times we have the inner part striking hard and reminding us about Ram and Laxmi either through phone calls or when our friends remind them about us. We were clear yet confused.We were confused yet clear. It was a beautiful mode in our relationship.

5. BONDED FOR LIFETIME

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As planned, I was to reach our usual venue at five. I had no interest in even washing my face or to get ready. I looked at the mirror,’ I looked horrible’. My eyes were so sunk. As Guru always states ‘your eyes looks so drunk’, today it was even more. Yes, today it was drunk with ‘guilt’. I did not apply kajal nor even brushed my hair. I was in total mess.

I started my scooty and rushed. Everyone was standing there in different directions. There were no commotions, not even a word slipped from their mouths. I parked my scooty there and walked towards them. I just sat there on the bench.  Mixed blend of emotions on everyone’s face I did not have guts to start the conversation. Finally,

SHRAVS: When did this happen?

GURU: Morning, we had no idea what to do. We faked documents. There was my friend’s relative in registration who helped me through this.

SHRAVS: I still couldn’t believe. ‘Are you fooling us’?

NANDITA: Then just get the hell out of here. We will help ourselves. ‘Thanks’

SHRAVS: ‘Oh sorry’, I didn’t mean that. When was this pregnancy ? I barely never knew you both fell for each other. Sounds totally weird.

NANDITA: Now, ‘do you guys want to know when and where we had sex?’ Or can you help us sort this issue?

MUKUNTH: What ‘pregnant also’. You didn’t even tell me Guru.

(He was shocked and surprised. Marched near Guru and told’ Man, how was it? Congrats’) Typical guy’s thing

SHRAVS( I lost my senses and raised Mukunth collar) ‘Do you think am a third rated girl asking as to how the hell was it that too before me , itself’

(Shravs and Guru bought me down and saved Mukunth)

MUKUNTH: Am sorry, I didn’t mean that really. Let us do something. I tried to make the situation light, it fell in a wrong pace.

SHRAVS: Okay listen guys ‘It’s all happened, you have made it too complicated’. What have you planned regarding the pregnancy?

NANDITA: I am sure, I am pregnant. I have all the symptoms. Have to confirm the doctor by tomorrow. I was waiting for the marriage thing.

SHRAVS: ‘Are you guys insane’? Without even confirming ‘you are pregnant’, ‘why did you go for this marriage scene?’

MUKUNTH: You guys proved, ‘we are still not mature-enough’. You should have discussed with us before heading to marriage

GURU: ‘I got the pregnancy-tester for her. She tried it twice’. Seems she is pregnant for sure. It shows positive.

SHRAVS: Fine we will bunk the college tomorrow, we will accompany you both. After that we will move this issue whether we can talk to family or what next.

MUKUNTH: By the way, where are your marriage registration documents? I will keep it at my place. You guys don’t get caught in home for now.

GURU: It takes a week or so to receive it. I will hand-over it to you.

NANDITA: That’s right Mukunth. You pass over Guru.  Shall we go to the nearby temple and then go home?. I am so disturbed.

(We stopped near the temple and was taking off our shoes)

SHRAVS: Hey Nandita, look at that you have worn different pairs of shoe and slipper

NANDITA: That’s embarrassing; I don’t know what I am doing past this week.

SHRAVS: I understand totally dear.’ Don’t worry things will be fine’. ‘I don’t want you to be pregnant’. That’s my only concern. I want the tester results to be fake.

NANDITA: Me too

(When I bent down to remove my shoes, my dupatta was off my shoulders)

Shravs: Hey, I didn’t notice, since you were wearing a collared salwar. ‘The sacred yellow thread, mangalsutra’ also. Now this is for what purpose.

NANDITA:’ Don’t bother’. Guru wanted too. He told ‘Marriage is only once’. Whenever or however it is so let’s do the custom. (If you are a southie, the mangalsutra is the sacred yellow rope which should be knotted thrice)

SHRAVS:That’s too much. Now show me that, she took it out in a flow. And it was now in her hands.

It was not tied with the custom ‘three knots’ .That was it; I could not hold my laughter. Guru was almost on the ground laughing

Shravs and Mukunth started hitting us. The laughter was so contagious and we started shouting too much. The priest came over and gave a shout.

We walked away from the temple. On the way, we were like ‘you guys better treat us; both were so   dumb’. They both were like’ I had a doubt and that and this blah blah and was trying to cover up. Finally they claimed us good actors.

I was shouting at Guru. ‘I told you know, the over-acting will tear our masks’. ‘You wanted this yellow rope’. If this was not, we would have made them bunk and enjoyed tomorrow too. Guru was like ‘I never thought Shravs will take it up, better you should have tied the knots’. The spoiler of our plan was your dad. Yesterday if he could have not tapped the door. You would have never slept soon and missed the flow of yellow rope conversation. Morning we skipped that topic concentrating on rest others.

And we was telling our behind scenes drama. The dull make-up, different pairs of slippers, intentional sliding off my dupatta, how we met in the morning in our new college for submitting the certificates and documents and was making the evening’s plan while standing in the queue not even trying to look at the ambience. How serious we were to make it lively. The way we prepared for the questions you will fire at us and the practices from morning we had before the mirror to look drop-dead.

I was asking Shravs, ‘How can you ever think in your life, I will marry him’. Moreover ‘sleep with him’. Guru was like’ I will marry even a donkey, not her’. We started fighting right there. And yeah, ‘we have this habit of driving others too insane’. Today it was Shravs and Mukunth time. Finally we asked each other to shut up and it was all settled.

I was now jumping to hit the roadside Pani Puri guy. Guru was like before Shravs and Mukunth was telling ‘Your pregnant sweetheart, it’s not hygienic’. We started again to pull each other’s legs and it was a masti wedding bash. We laughed till our stomach’s hurted.

We had sharply only two days for our college to commence. We were desperate to hit the college and see our fellow handsome/pretty guys and girls. That doesn’t mean we are not loyal to ‘Ram’ or ‘Laxmi’ . These will be crushes. For everyone the word ‘crush’ will last till you get married. Previous other love-affairs in school/college/work before marriage will remain as crushes only. They are not ‘true love’ until you meet your ‘husband/wife’. Blessed people will have crushes even after marriage. That’s a different story. And yeah, we were no different from that assumption. We are normals too.

Our beautiful first wedding made us still closer. We assured each other, ‘whomever we marry, we should we bonded forever’. The usual friendship promise. We now realised’ We can’t live without each other’. The next four years was a beautiful ride.

We still after years celebrate our beautiful fake anniversary date. We have still Mukunth and Shravs calling to wish us. We tell them it is absolutely ‘a fool’s day for you’. They tell us ‘we were fools that time but not now; you are the real ones’. Might be that’s true too.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4. MRS NANDITA, W/O GURU, 18 YEARS, PREGNANT

Pregnancy-test

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’.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

               

 

3. THE CALL :)

beetel-x64-400x400-imad8h584ph2g875-750x750I was almost starving and the ‘so-called food’ was served. As always, only the sandwiches save you nothing else. I already had the mind-set and so it didn’t affect any of my expectations. I was now thinking about the yummy food back home. The lovely home-made ladoos, murukus and the “Krishna sweets” mysurpas . I was craving totally and I was feeling like ‘Oh death you can adorn me at peace, if I have gulped one piece of mysurpas.’ It was like a ‘feel to eternity’ and nothing can be replaced.
When I have booked the tickets itself I was making a list of restaurants I have to haunt and started to review the newly-opened ones. The spicy lamb biriyani from venu, (if you are a southie you would have never missed that) have started to haunt me right from the day one, I have swiped my card of booking the air-ticket. I can tell, you can never compromise an Indian in food. We live and die for that and I am especially for the’ biriyani’, no the ‘sweets’, no the’ chats’, no the ‘murukus’, no the ‘pakodas’, no the ‘filter coffee’, no the’ ____’ and the list goes on. Ok, I agree it’s totally ‘Food’ the ‘Indian food’ for me. The flavours are so intoxicating.
Ok I have to tell you at this time, I am a big foodie but I am the typo where the obese people complain, ‘you eat like a pig, but you never gain weight’. Fortunately I belong to that category. For me anytime is like ‘Chicken’ and always ‘Chicken’. Obviously I am confused which food should I rank first, but I can proudly declare ‘Chicken’ is the first and then the big list follows.
Now back to the yuky sandwich and the butter I was having with the set of jams served sipping sprite at regular intervals. And ‘Sprite’, I never liked it though in the initial phases and that was Guru’s favourite drink .Now I pick ‘Sprite’ even though I have lot of options amidst my favourite ‘pepsi’. The reason is, I don’t want to fake telling ‘I loved it’, just because he does, so dramatically. It was the thing that I was been force-fed sprite daily because he was the one who buys the list of groceries and sprite is always the one topping in that list. In a period of time you start getting used to the taste. And that’s the wierd story of me becoming a ‘sprite-lover’, a ‘force-fed’ one though.
And yeah the ‘sprite’, whenever you come across his favourites you die a little inside. I think now it was a little more because I was already missing him. I don’t have him sitting next to me to give a sarcastic smile and pass stupid comments on me having sprite. And now back to our old picture and the drifting storyline. The differential calculus classes and 2444336.
Life was just perfect as an eleventh grader. The age you fall in love with the celebrities, watch all of his movies, and have crushes and all your conversations starts and ends with guys. The blissful adolescent age. It is one of the beautiful chapters in life where you have countless memories. The age you feel, you can rule the world. Everything is new to you.
First crush, first date, first love and first kiss are the ones you always fancy about. You obviously don’t dare to move to the next stages that too being in early sixteens. Friends are the ones who make your world happening. The birthday bashes, hangouts, group-studies or the group gossips rating each guy you have come across, fighting for favourite celebs and everything happens.
And here I have this guy, not definitely my type for a conversation. I didn’t have time to raise my collars up to my friends because he was the one in my math tution classes and have already fixed the time .Definitely I can’t hit the school at this odd time nor I have my friends around . I just had one hour left. I obviously didn’t like his looks at the first instant but I felt he was ‘Okay’, obviously decent enough to pick a conversation. Anyways or never in my life, I was not going to fall for him. And that too ‘Have you told anyone, we are going out in a serious mode’, kindled lot of curiosity in me.
He was not one among the guys who definitely flirted. Sketching our looks. I was not the prettiest nor was he the super-smart fellow. I am definitely not the fairer side, he was kind of dusky. I don’t have the too-much girly looks nor do I try to take efforts to dress like that say the matchy matchy ones and follow the fashion trends nor he is the cutest chap with breath-taking hairstyles, he was a macho guy . We both had one thing in similar contrast we were the skinny people and average lookers. Yet we had our own fan-following individually though, people who loved and flattered for the looks. I should say now, “Pity them, go and get your eyes checked!!”.
But that age you obviously love the attention around you. Someone trying to flatter you, writing letters, offers Dairy Milk on daily basis and the compliments about your look”. I think that makes you complete those days. It’s a sin if you don’t drag an attention of a guy. Amidst my fan-following, that’s what I ‘show-off’ in my adolescent times a new entrant “Guru”.
And straight after the tuition classes, I called all of my school and tuition friends and was asking whether” I should call him or will I sound like I am flirting”. Biggest confusion you see, back in those days. I had mixed opinion polls and finally my heart yearned for the call. It was 8, and I thought I will call him around 8 15 sounding not to be desperate but my heart convinced my mind by 8 05 itself and here I was on the beetel phone’s number pad pressed 2..4..4…3.. .3. Before I could press 6,’ I was dead’. And finally the deed was done, a life-time sin through the number 6. The ring went like three times and I could hear the ‘Hello’.
I told ‘Hello, Nandita’ here, sounding to be normal. And after the formal enquiries he told, “Sorry about it , I came to know some guy from the center was only gossiping and I heard it was you earlier. And the apology seemed nice and I was ‘Okay’ for it. And had a crisp conversation about schools, the upcoming tests and yeah he blurted his crush’s name while calling me. I was like ‘Was it your girlfriend?’ He told ‘Ya’. Now I was becoming much more eager to listen to his story. And he was now sounding extra-decent. Before me faking’ I am running late’, he told me’ I have to go for dinner’ and said’ bye’. I now certified him the goodie guy. Just thought about his girlfriend and thought” Laxmi, you are lucky”.
Now ‘Guru’ was the pulse the next day in school. Even though my friends don’t know how he looks like I was like,” he is this and that and told them he was the loyal boyfriend”. And everyone was asking, ’what happened to my crush’? I was like, “He holds always a special place and this guy is surely not my bf “. ‘Whatever Ram is the guy for me’, I told my friend Manasa
Now it was the tuition time, I was talking to Shravanthi and I saw Guru. He never showed any signs as to ‘who I was’ on the earth. When I looked at him again and again in repeated intervals he smiled at me and that made me happy. Weeks flew by with this smile.
Now it was like end of third week, Guru came near while everyone was leaving and asked me ‘shall we meet at the next road’. I told ‘Okay’. Started my two-wheeler and wrapped the conversation with Shravs and rushed. He was adjusting his mirror in his bike and told he wants my notes and wants to take a photo-copy. I told, ‘Take it’ and we started speaking about our love-lives. Our crush looks, how we met, have we proposed and now the stranger’s line drifted from ‘friends’ to ‘just-friends’.
Now we both were like friends not hanging out but helping each other both in academics and our love-lives. Giving ideas how to flatter them, arguing how it will feel like from a girl’s and boy’s point of view and now it was like one classy friendship.
I stood with him in the bus stops while he ogles at Laxmi. I was begging to her for him to join in his birthday parties. It became a custom to stand at the bus-stops. And he was picking shirts for Ram and giving all stupid ideas which never worked to make him fall for me. Whether we look at Laxmi or Ram or talk to them daily, we spoke and spoke like too much.
We became addicted to each other. Studied together, roamed out and we were having our best time in our lives. But that was in the friendship mode. We got hit by Ram and Laxmi together. We throw our tantrums on each other and yeah the best part is now ‘Guru and Laxmi’ were getting close. And I was very happy for them.
But I don’t know why, ‘I never liked Laxmi’. I felt she was bit dominating but who cares. I was like,’I am not going to live with her, so what’. Pitied Guru, but he told me ‘she was possessive’. Anyways, I did not bother any shit. It was ‘Ram’ and always ‘Ram’ for me.
Here I tell you the best essence of a love marriage. After you get married, like in the arranged marriages, ’ You need not ask your husband/wife as to whom you fell in love with.’ Instead you know your counter-part’s crush/love-story in detail. You play a role in it. But now we both when fighting we were like’ Better you should have married Ram/ Laxmi ‘, else’ I would have escaped’. Its total fun, we know every one of our friends, their love/ break-up stories and that’s why you don’t seem to be to be a husband/wife in whatever aspect. Neither of you in the relationship is demanding and that’s the magic and you never run short of topics.

1. AIRPORT PARTINGS

silhouette of pair of lovers near the window in airport
Nandita :Now don’t start again as to what I have to do, I am a mother of a two year old and I know what my responsibilities are. I know whom should I visit and don’t give me an itinerary. This marriage is driving me insane. Now please leave me to board in peace.
Guru:‘Ok, fine am sorry darling’. Let us not shout before Maya and induce a wrong notion about her parents. I will try to engage her so that after you get settle in flight she dozes off and you can be at peace.
‘I am going to miss you and mum for two months sweetie’. Be a good girl don’t disturb mum or she will thrash you since I am not there too to save you”. Common tell me,” Love you daddy “. Look at her darling, just like you ‘I have to bribe her’ to tell me that. Here you go, a candy, now tell me.
Maya:‘Loww you
Guru: ‘ Aww that is sweet, I too love you, Maya. Ok hold her, No I will put her in the stroller, I will check in the luggage and get your boarding passes.

He rushed in to the crowd and I could not see him. Guru was lost in the crowd.It was the usual scenario in airport. People shopping around the stores, waiting to board, reading books, sipping coffees, the hugs, the cuddles and painful goodbyes. Airports are always beautiful you can observe and get in to different people’s world altogether. A mixed state of emotions and it is always a visual treat to watch but today it is an exception. I am no different from the crowd.

Today right after the day one from marriage, this is the first time I am leaving him behind. Marriage drives you crazy but you can’t live without each other after living under the same roof was my perception. If you were in a relationship that’s a different story, but marriage is definitely a contrast.

Guru: Darling, here it is. Put it in your handbag the passes. “Shall I take Maya to the rest room.
Nandita: Don’t worry about that, she is fine”. I want to spend some time with you.
Guru:‘Someone is already missing me’, that’s sweet. Don’t worry after you come back let’s ‘make love lustfully’ darling. Nandita: Now what is that ‘lustfully’?
Guru:Remember your stupid philosophy and crazy framing of words. When our first kid was a girl you told me, we didn’t make love lustfully, it was more of love that’s why we have a girl. Now I want a boy so let’s make it with pure lust 100%. ‘No girls’, okay. Although, I should not deny, after Maya I love and enjoy being a father of a daughter. It’s a different feeling. ‘Maya Guru’ always makes me dignified.
Nandita: Just look at the proud father. I always wanted a girl since it was a love marriage, everyone asked which clan you will get married your daughter. If it’s a boy at least you need not worry. I wanted to tell them I will leave her to her choice and that’s why. Anyways, I think we are going to end up with a girl again Guru, because you love me too much and lustfully is unknown to you. Is that okay with you?
Guru: “No worries, we will try until we end up with a boy” .And I think now its 5:30 better check-in .Maya, is already dozing off.
Nandita: Yeah okay,’ I love you and miss you ’. Don’t start partying and fooling around until I am back.
Guru: I miss you too, I think it will be much more in the nights. Take care darling.

He kissed me and Maya on our foreheads. Being an Indian, obviously wherever you are, you don’t dare to make a lip-lock.I moved in the terminal and was waving at him with the stroller alongside. We were distant from each other that hardly all I could see is his figure in a blue checked shirt and brown jeans waving hands. I know he misses us from his yearning final touches and obviously I can read it from his eyes.

Now I could see him nowhere. Reality struck me that I have to be responsible with a two year old with me. I moved in the queue ready to board. It was my turn to show the passports. The hot sexy girl took my passes and looked at the picture on my passport and was staring at me for a moment. She flipped the first page of my passport telling Mrs Nandita Guru, you look different and faked a smile

At the least all I can do is, just smile back at her. In my heads I was thinking you stupid lady ‘’I can’t obviously wear an traditional anarkali salwar suit in England with kumkum’ just like the picture and you guys will look at me as if I have landed from another planet and stare at me as a dead meat. And that’s why this change over.

I led in further. Maya was already cranky since I took her in my hands in the mid of her sleep. She started crying for sleep. The cabin crew started with their instructions and when I entered he showed me go straight, left is D14 and 15. I told him a ‘Thank you’ and found my seats. Made Maya sit there and sorted my hand luggage out. Finally I was all settled. It was a window seat and obviously that ensured I will have a good travel. Another guy came in and settled in D16. Obviously he looked nice. Nice, not in the flirting forms that too being a mother. He was an Asian by origin and that was pleasing.I tucked Maya and my selves in the seat belts. Patted her and the pre-flight briefing was on process. And here we are all set to India.

It’s been like a year like I have visited and always India vacations are all what NRI’s badly look forward too. The fun, weddings, get-togethers, meeting old friends and obviously the food can never be replaced. Sometimes you never know the value of the place until it’s missed. A life totally free from responsibilities, a much-needed break. You don’t need to get up early, pack lunch for Guru and keep looking at Maya cautiously. You have your mom and dad to take care of you and Maya. And you obviously can become a kid. I felt too much Indian and since I was just eight hours ahead I was longing to breathe Indian air. Sounds too much right, that’s the typical me.

The flight was taking off. I put ear plugs for Maya and she was fine. We were on skies now. I put the ipad now and she was busily engaged on her rhymes stuff. Everything was exciting except the fact I miss Guru. That feel of security is what I have already started missing.

The nice-to guy started engaging Maya and was playing with her hair . I looked at him and smiled. He introduced himself as ‘Mr Abhay Verma’ and I replied him back ‘ Mrs Nandita Guru’. And asked Maya, to tell him her name. She as always mocked at me and told ‘No’ and turned back. He smiled and told that’s okay and he was a student. After the formal pleasantries everyone got engaged in their own worlds. Abhay, in some English flick, Maya on five little monkeys rhyme and after I addressed Mrs Nandita Guru. Guru that name haunted me back to ages.

Travelling always gives more space to think. That too when your alone. And here the love story unravels. As always the rotten flash back of an usual story plot on the same plane travel.

2. GLIMPSES OF THE PAST

forget-your-first-loveGuru, this guy who held drafters, assignments and project books for me now is carrying the grocery bags, carrying Maya and what not. He has been a responsible father, a loving husband, love-stuck boyfriend and of all a best friend in all phases of life. But my favourite was always the love-struck boyfriend without responsibilities. Knowing him from fifteen I know the total Guru.
Marriage is always the best thing to happen in everyone’s life. But love marriages are always special. It was a fairy tale coming to reality. Though I don’t have any idea of arranged marriages nor could I go for one again.
Whenever you pick a fight or you both feel you are married to the worst people ever. You certainly think how you can speak about this to your family because we always don’t want to deny that our early decisions were wrong. And there will always be love hidden whatever it is. He feels, you have left so much and living miles away from your family just for him and she feels why should he marry in such younger age and take up responsibilities just for her. That’s the one beautiful patch-up session.
The love you have been having through ages reflects in every part of your life and that makes the come- back easy. The magnetic force always pulls you. That too abroad living is totally different you can’t run to your mom’s place if you fought with him immediately. You both have to look in to each other whatever or however it is, finally at one point you have to get-along. By the time you get agitated and start looking for tickets, the fight fades off and love is back on track. There are also some minor advantages you can’t deny being here when compared to the happening life back in India.
Now, the glimpses of blue checked shirt and brown jeans are still making me a hopeless romantic. The eye-candy near the window seat is inducing me more too. I could still remember the teen-us.
It was the middle of Vector Algebra and Analytical Geometry we saw each other. Still obviously I could not remember the first day we bumped in to each other. No back-ground music, no love waves was all striking just like the movies we were totally strangers to each other.
He was one usual guy, the ruggy type. Whenever I saw him I felt he looked like a rogue and tell my friends he is a road-side Romeo but I never realised this road side Romeo will be my house hero one day. That happens.
We both didn’t notice each other. Until one fine breezy evening after Differential Calculus classes in the parking lot, he called me, ‘Nandini’
I mocked at him and gave one dying look and told him, I am’ Nandita’, not ‘Nandini’. That was the first conversation supposedly. And the streamline of our next conversations
GURU: Ok whatever. ‘Why the hell are you telling everyone we both are going out in a serious mode’.
NANDITA: I was like ‘Hardly this is the first time I am talking to you, what the hell’ and gave a stern look.
GURU: ‘Give me your phone number, everyone are staring at us’, I will talk over.
NANDITA: “Who on earth are you, why should I give you “
GURU: Okay fine. Bye
NANDITA: (That was quite decent) Hmm, fine give me yours. I will give you a call if I feel so
GURU: 2444336. Call me, after eight. If possible, Bye
That was the time when cell phones were emerging. It was not common for the school goers like us.
What drink can I give you? The BA air-hostess in white and blue addressed me and I was back from the love slumber. Yeah, ‘Sprite please’. Is it with ice?. I told Yup, the chilled one. Meanwhile I fed Maya, with the tinned food and made her sleep.