Chapter 3: Kavi
Akshay was sauntering on the beach. The cool breeze accompanied by undulating movements of the waves was producing an enchanting effect; calming down the already stressed nerves. He was thinking why this civilized society had cut itself from nature to find again the ways to reclaim it for itself. May be the dilemma of human life moves around this paradox. Suddenly, he saw somebody lying on the beach. Akshay thought of calling the police and then he thought of checking whether he was alive or not. He can feel the sound of ‘lub dub’ with the palm of his hand. He tried to wake him up by shaking his body but in vain. He tried again by sprinkling sea water on his face. Dead body started moving.
“Who are you?”
“I am Akshay. And you?”
Pointing his finger towards the sun, he said, “Kavi, the son of Ravi.”
From the smell of his breath it was clear that he had drunk a lot last night. Without wasting time on redundant questions like how do you get here and what happened last night, Akshay started moving away from Kavi.
“Where are you going?”
“Right now, away from you.”
“Could you help me to get an auto rickshaw?”
“Oh sure. How does it feel out of senses, Kavi?”
“I feel free. This is my nirvana. I feel attaining nirvana – Buddha way- is very difficult and is not certain also. My way is easy and certainty is there. Moreover, I feel insecure when I am in senses. The world around me intimidates me. This way I give myself a sense of security.”
“Is this the right way?”
“For me, yes.”
“There are some basic tenets of life which remains same for everybody. Something that is temporary cannot be nirvana. It is something eternal.”
“I don’t want to indulge into any of your so called discussions.”
As Kavi started moving towards the auto rickshaw, Akshay stopped him.
“I feel like accompanying you to your house.”
“No, its okay.”
“Am I intimidating you?”
“You are a good human being, rarely found.”
“How can you say that in such a brief meeting?”
“Experience my friend, experience!”
“Be your own light.”
“I too believe in that.”
Auto rickshaw was zooming through the traffic free roads and the pleasant air of the morning added luxury to the ride. They reached Kavi’s house within twenty minutes.
“Come to my house.”
“Some other time.”
“When are you free?”
“Come on this Sunday.”
Akshay returned to the flat. Gappori was getting ready for his office.
“Akshay, bread is there get some butter for you. I am getting late.”
“Bye, see you in the evening.”
Out of laziness Akshay thought of having bread without butter; but then the idea of having dry bread questioned his notion about affordable quality in life and he decided to bring butter. The butter was very hard due to the cold storage it was put in. He tried spreading that butter over the piece of the dry bread but in vain. It stretched and even tore the fresh dried bread. Frustrated with this, Akshay tried to calm himself by putting brakes on his haste to watch television. He put the bowl of butter over the flame to make it semi solid. Now he can spread it smoothly over the heated bread. He prepared a cup of tea. Now he can loosen the grip of the brakes. Hurriedly, he switched on the television. Shoaib Akhtar started running from the commentator end to ball the first ball of the match. As usual he was running hard; facing him was Virendar Sehwag and Sachin Tendulkar was at the runner’s end. He was happy that he didn’t miss any bowl. After eight hours Gappori called Akshay to ask about his whereabouts.
“Akshay, where are you?”
“I am in the flat watching the presentation ceremony. I am anxious to know that how would captains respond to their positions.”
“What are your plans?”
“Why don’t you go for a walk and come back after two hours?”
“You can understand that.”
“Without any doubt.”
“You are my sweetest friend.”
“I know that.”
Akshay wore his running short, t-shirt and jogging shoes and got ready to spend his next two hours in the park nearby. He thought it to be a better way to make use of the time. The park was not sufficiently big as compared to the number of people visiting it. So it was little crowded. Moreover, the presence of trees on the tracks had narrowed it. To avoid the delay caused by obstruction Akshay decided to run anticlockwise as the people were moving clockwise. Fifteen minutes of running was enough for him to launch himself for heavy work out. He got exhausted with the repeated contraction and relaxation of muscles. He then hurried down the lactic acid formed by stretching the sore muscles. He sat on the bench to relax and enjoy the moments of good health which seemed an illusion; however, short the moments are. He saw the name of Gappori with the word ‘calling’ below it, on the screen of the mobile. Akshay took the call.
“Where are you?”
“I am in the park.”
“What are you doing there?”
“Savouring the moments, I have just created for myself. I am rejuvenating.”
“What is this? I am waiting for you for half an hour, buddy.”
“You put the phone down, I am coming,” said Akshay irritatingly. These contradictory statements of Gappori were beyond Akshay’s comprehension. Within no time he overcame the irritation which he considered useless to give time to and reached the flat.
“Sometimes your behaviour irritates me”, he retorted to clear the traces of irritation left inside.
“You know why? Ok leave it. Tell me what happened today?” he asked curiously about his self proclaimed adventures.
“After the culmination, she went back to her home. You know Akshay, I am very vigorous.”
“You came to know about this thing today!”
“I knew it already. Every time it accentuates the fact.”
“What is this “it”?”
“You know it.”
“Yes, I know,” said Akshay mockingly.
After having breakfast on Sunday, Akshay confirmed Kavi’s presence for the meeting. Kavi gave green signal for the meeting. Within an hour, he reached Kavi’s house. He knocked the door which was left ajar. The knocking of door was followed by the voice of a male.
Akshay pushed the door and entered the room. The room was shabby. Almost all the things were misplaced. A human body wrapped in towel from waist to four inches down the knees was followed by a voice. Decibel level of the voice kept increasing as it came nearer.
“Welcome to my shell
It’s the place,
Where I dwell
May be it looks like a hell!
But for me
It’s a well.
And I am a frog
Who sustains here,
“How is life?”
“In motion.” And they both started laughing.
“What brings you here?”
“So what is or are the curiosities?”
“Don’t bombard me with the flurry of questions. It flusters me. Let it come naturally during discussion……………or banter.”
“As you wish. So let’s have a cup of tea, before entering the sea.”
Now Akshay started getting the frequency at which Kavi was vibrating. He found it very close to his’.”
“What do you do?”
“Drink and breathe.”
“Ok. Let me rephrase the question. How do you manage to get the required materials for eating and drinking from the places that sustains with the help of money?”
“By touching the human emotions.”
“Could you explain that in layman’s terminology?”
“Yes, why not? I am a theater artist who earns by doing acting on stage.”
“Now it’s clear.”
“How much of sugar you need?”
“Three-fourth of a spoon.”
Kavi came out of the kitchen with two cups of tea.
“You are looking sensible as compared to what you seemed to be at our first meeting.”
“Don’t call me sensible.”
“It’s a virtue of cowards.”
“I feel the other way round and we all agree to disagree.”
“May be you are right. For the time being I want to remain insensitive to the outer world so that I can sensitize myself.”
“I want to scream out
Which costs me dear.
Boys don’t cry
Even if it’s deep fry
Can’t figure out
That’s why I want to shout
I want to scream out,
In this civilized world
Project me a fool
But will make me cool.”
Cool in a fool!
I opted for
Let’s start it now.”
“Why have you become this crass?”
“Hypersensitivity with lack of intelligence can make you crass.”
“Your behaviour gives me a notion of being revengeful towards the outside world.”
“I don’t think so deeply.”
“Or you have left it.”
“I don’t say that I am a brave person. Everybody is coward in its own way, but I recognize the importance of dealing with the problem head-on.”
“What do you suggest?”
“Speak out your mind and resolve the issues.”
“What if there are no issues.”
“The biggest issue with the humans is the external orientation of the mind. Because of this he lets external issues creep in to the mind. If this process lingers on; internal disorientation is the result. His anomalous behaviour is the result of internal disorientation. Even if the external issues are no more, internal disorientation make you believe, they are still there.”
There was lull for a moment.
“Go on,” said Akshay.
“Now just listen and don’t utter a single word in between.”
“Before that I want to know why you introduced yourself in a bizarre manner- Kavi, the son of Ravi.”
“Ours is a high context culture where father and son rarely talk. They just can’t stay at one place for too long. It’s same with sun and me. When he rises, I go to sleep and vice-versa.”
“Ok, now continue.”
“Four years back, in winters,-I joined a workshop where we were taught to apply Physics in real life. It was more about the electrical circuits. Mess of wires with electrons flowing enthused me with their behaviour; the speed of electrons is less but the electricity travels with speed of light. Physics in real life made a lot of sense for me. More than that, I was excited at the prospect of learning something new. From the very first day I enjoyed putting wires in the breadboard. There were ten students in our batch. My interest and eagerness to learn gave me an edge over other students who were doing the course just to complete the credit. Other students in the batch exacted help in completing their circuits. I was always eager to help other students because I knew that by disseminating my knowledge; I am actually enhancing it for myself. Moreover, for me it was very difficult to say ‘no’. In the same batch there was a girl named Komal. She had neat hour glass body shape. Her fair complexion and small height put her in the category of cute girl. She was the most beautiful girl in the batch. Although in the batch there were only four girls but still she was attractive enough to be loved. Scarcity cannot be considered the reason for falling in love with her. Even in plenty she stood very good probability of young guns falling for her. Not only had she physical beauty but integrity of character too. One of the students in the batch - reminded me of hyena, whenever I looked at him – made some lewd comments; I don’t know what they were exact but I liked the way she retorted to those comments. That guy was dumbstruck with her response. Falling in love is the accumulation of these little incidents and moments. I started making use of every opportunity to have a glance of her. Every time I looked at her, I was reciprocated with a smile on her face. I considered it as her inclination towards me. Life doesn’t run on prejudices; prejudices only create perceptions. My prejudices took me to the imaginary world created by me for myself. My loneliness got drenched in the oasis of love. I was no more the beggar of loneliness but the prince of love. I had my castle visible only to me. Little by little I started giving finishing touch to the castle without the consent of the future living member. Everyday before going for the sleep, I wade through this utopian world which was free from all kind of insecurities of the real world. I was the king and Komal was the newly appointed queen. We ruled the heart of the people and command their respect. Life looked heavenly till the unconscious mind overpowers conscious counterpart. I was spending less time with my unconscious mind.
I became a disciplined lad. Never on time lad, was reaching the workshop before the scheduled time. During that period mind was engrossed with two only things – circuits and Komal. Those glances have now become stares. Earlier I was making use of opportunities thrown at me by the circumstances but then I started stealing opportunities to look at her. Her smiles were encouraging me to move forward. I started thinking where would these events culminate. I thought of bringing this to an end or to take it to another level. I was savouring those moments but the question of what’s next kept haunting me. The moment I reached the threshold level, it became difficult for me to carry on like this; I decided to come out with those feelings in open. But there is huge gap in thinking something and implementing that thinking. With that surge of emotion inside, I thought it won’t be too difficult; but I was wrong. Fear creates confusion—whether to propose without preparation or should I have some script in mind? Going by the conventional wisdom and saying abruptly those three letters didn’t excited me too much. Infact, it would make me look dumbass in front her, it thought. After simulating those situations over and again while sleeping in the bed rehearsing the sentences that would help me in moving forward I got tired. Confused mind gets tired quickly than the focused one. Finally, I decided to do it impromptu.
Next day as usual I reached the classroom early. That day the number of times I looked at her reduced drastically. I don’t know why; might be I wanted to make her feel secure to provide myself a good platform for a rendezvous in the near future. That day she called me to help her in completing the circuit. That was the first time she asked for my help. She also wanted me to explain the functioning of the circuit. I thought it to be a good omen. While going towards her I was little nervous out of excitement but hid it successfully. I helped her out in making the circuit and explained the working to her. Let’s make the discussion personal, my heart echoed. Just keep it focused on circuit, mind retorted. Heart argued that what’s wrong in asking from where she is? What is the need asked the mind. The discussion between the mind and the heart kept echoing inside the skull but unable to penetrate out. While the discussion was going on vocal chords under the direct orders from heart asked her, “Where do you come from?” “I come from Udyan,” she replied back. “It’s far from this place. Is it not difficult to come from that place? How do you manage that?” When she said its fine, then I realized that I was going too fast and was showing signs of nervousness. I was nervous but I didn’t want to get it reflected on my face or in my expression. Then mind halted the movements of the vocal chords and ordered the legs to move back to the place from where it started. Not today, I decided. Omen was good but not the confidence level. Tomorrow for sure. Next day i.e. “Tomorrow” things were normal. There was calmness in the atmosphere but not inside me. As workshop was about to end for the day, she went out of the class room. I chased her and noticed that she was chatting with a boy. There was a paradigm shift in the emotion- from excitement to sadness. I consoled myself by saying, “He doesn’t need to be his boyfriend. Can be his brother or friend?” This argument brought down level of sadness. I had never encountered such large fluctuations of emotions within a short period of time. I changed my way towards the water cooler. I came back to the class room and started completing the file work of what we had done that day in the workshop. After few minutes Komal came back and went directly towards the teacher. She asked for the permission to go as her brother has come to take her. Teacher gave the permission. I was relieved as if some burden had been taken off from my mind. It’s a pressure thing, I thought. Tomorrow for sure. I was ready today but……I told myself. Next day I was ready with the only weapon I had for the time being —courage. Again she gave that characteristic smile. Favorable conditions make courage a relatively easy attribute to carry on. She went out of the classroom to have water. I followed her. I slowed down a little bit as I saw her drinking water. There was no one in the corridor. I waited for her in the corridor. I interrupted her while she was coming back after drinking water. “I want to talk to you.”
“Tell me what happened?” she asked.
“Not here. Alone somewhere else.”
“In the canteen.”
“Somewhere outside the campus.”
“Yes, will tell you then.”
“So, tell me where can we meet?”
“After the workshop is over for today, wait for me on Dakshin bus stop. I will pick you from there. Is it ok?”
“I was excited. Everything was going as per the plan. I thought that the foundation for the castles, I had in mind, had been laid. Now building castle won’t be that much difficult. I never realized how time flew away on that after the meeting. Mind was busy preparing script for the time to come. I was very optimistic of the outcome. After that I didn’t have to wander anymore. “This is your first proposal and it will be accepted. What more do you want from God,” I said to myself. On that day the teacher left early because she had some urgent work. One more reason to cheer for. All those things augured well for the time to come. She left as soon as the teacher left. I quickly followed her. She was on the gate of the campus. I offered her lift which she accepted. During the journey we talked about the education qualifications of each other and the future plans. Komal asked me about the agenda of the meeting which I delayed till we reach a café house nearby. I kept talking and searching for the destination. She was concerned about getting late if she spent time with me. I convinced her that I would make up for the time spent with me. We reached the parking of the café house. I asked her to go inside the cafe house. In the mean time I parked the car, checked the face in the rear view mirror to ensure I was not nervous. She opted for the corner seat meant for two people. She was sitting there relaxed and confident. Akshay I have observed that girls are more confident than boys in percentage. I sat opposite to her with a table in front of her. Before settling in the chair I asked her what she would like to have. ‘Coffee’, she replied. Bingo, me too. I have heard before that if drink coffee before interview it helps as it builds confidence. Today I require a lot of that. I ordered two regular cappuccinos.
“Now tell Kavi, what’s in your mind?”
“I think till now you have got the fair idea of what’s in my mind.”
“Yes, but I want to listen from you.” Upto that point I was ecstatic.
“During this workshop I have developed liking for you. I am here to make you aware of that.”
“I already knew it. I am engaged.”
“It was like a bolt out of the blue for me. I was dumbstruck. I saw the annihilation of the castle. Then she started telling me how she fell in love. I was hearing what she was saying but nothing was going up. I was responding to her story as a reasonable person should. I started thinking that I had to drop her too. We are selfish. I realized at that moment. She asked me to drop me somewhere near and I would catch the bus. I said, “You have rejected my proposal but that doesn’t mean I won’t fulfill my promise. I will drop you to your house.” She said, “I am sorry but I can’t help you.”
“Don’t say sorry. I have never expected such a mature response. Nobody could have replied in way better than this. I rather thank you for handling the situation in best possible manner. The workshop
will end after three more days. After that we will never meet because we can’t be friends. So thank you once again.”
“I know it feels bad. If I was at your place it would have been disastrous for me.”
On the way, we just talked on trivial issues as if nothing has happened. I showed that I was enjoying talking to her. I dropped her near her house. Before saying good bye, she said sorry again for one last time. After leaving her I felt some kind of hollowness inside me. In one way I was satisfied with her response but on the other hand I thought that I missed a wonderful girl. Such girls are not easy to find. For the next three days I didn’t even look at her. Now it became difficult for me to work in the class. Enthusiasm had gone down. I just wanted to finish the workshop. I couldn’t take leave from the course. Somehow I finished the workshop. But one question kept nagging me. Why she used to smile? I wrote a poem after that.”
It looked like a smile
But was a guile
How vulnerable was I?
Never realized before
Then I tested for my high
And ended up in sigh,
So beware of deceptive smiles
“So this is the reason for bitterness in you.”
“I am not finished yet.”
“This incident or accident whatever you call it did not fill any bitterness in me. Heart was at pain but mind was satisfied with overall things. Still I had faith in life. Goodness would prevail — I believed.”
There was a lull for a moment. Kavi’s face became somber. He started again.
“I joined the second workshop to complete my course. This time it was just one week workshop. I was waiting for the result of the Bada examination. If I would clear the examination I would get admission into Prestige College. This college has very good reputation in the country. Future would be secure. On the first day of the workshop I saw a good looking girl. It was like love at first sight or I was a lame person who was looking for crutches to walk in life. Priority for work was gone down. Now the lame person was looking after the crutches. She looked a better match than Komal. I was excited and happy with the God’s decision of choosing the best match for me. I started believing that whatever he does,is best for you. His decisions are unquestionable. Being cynical about what he does is a sheer waste of energy and time. We as human being will never understand his way of doing things. I was excited with the way he plans the cycle of life. He takes due care of his children. I have always considered myself His good child who hasn’t done anything very bad. This is His way of rewarding the beloved ones. I was happy that He runs this world. At the same time I was the firm believer of Karma. He helps those who help themselves. Let’s try it again.
On the first day, she was fighting to find a place for herself in the class. By God’s grace there was a space vacant adjacent to me. We were instructed to work in group of two. I had my partner with me. She already had hers. I wanted her to take that vacant space but she was unaware of it. Other students were also looking for empty spaces to fit in. Once you acquire a space on the first day it remains same throughout the whole workshop. It was a tacit understanding in the batch and the teacher. This system was working well. If she comes there, she will remain there; better are the chances for interaction. I was required to act fast before anybody got there. I informed my partner that the adjacent seat is not vacant and moved towards the girl and her partner. Moreover, there was little chaos that would help me to convey the message without getting noticed As soon as I reached near her, my heart started thumping for the reasons unknown to me. “Am I doing something wrong or it’s just a way to accept change?” Thinking, I crossed her. Calmed myself down, gathered some courage and came back again. Second time I did that. She thanked curtly. I came back like a soldier who had lost the battle but not the spirit. I started working on the experiment I was assigned to. After some time I saw that the vacant place had been filled. Two girls were there. She came with her partner. Bingo! I was exhilarated. Next day I got the news that I was selected for Prestige College. I was above cloud nine. I don’t know the number but it must be a double digit. The omen was good. I was feeling little more confident in life. It’s just the series of successes that is required to improve your confidence. “What else do you need in your life?” I asked myself. Then I started interacting with Chulbuli. During the conversation she came to know about my admission in the Prestige College. She was awed with the achievement. She started asking questions about getting admission in the college. She was also preparing for getting admission in a good college. She was keen to know how I got admission in the Prestige College. “How much effort was required to get admission as fast as possible?” she asked. I shared whatever I had done to get admission. I thought that then I was focused and got in the right direction. I was very much interested in acting but my parents and friends opposed the idea, they succeeded and made me concentrate on studies. I felt I made the right choice by listening to them or obeying them. Everybody was happy. At times the urge to become an actor conspired against my stable mind and made me restless but the successes and the happiness around me thwarted every conspiracy to destabilize me.”
“On the fourth day the teacher asked to make a group of three students for a particular experiment for which there were fewer equipments. “You will work with us”, said Chulbuli assertively with a sense of belongingness. The statement made me more confident of my decision to move forward in the long term relationship that I was envisaging with her. I didn’t know how I come to the conclusion that I should go for a long term relationship with her. It was like jumping from one building to another without taking in to account the dangers of not making up. I was in the middle of the jump. I had put my whole hearted effort and was not thinking of falling. But I decided not to propose her until the end of the workshop so as to avoid any disturbance in my work (A lesson learnt from the previous experience). It was an ethereal experience. If there was a heaven in this world I was the part of it. There was no stopping for me now.”
“Workshop ended after seven days. I recommended some good books to her (I had them, so I recommended). On the last day of the workshop, she gave me her mobile number before I could ask for it. We—me, Chulbuli and her friend from her neighbourhood – had snacks before saying goodbye to each other. Her friend didn’t leave her for a single moment. So I didn’t get the chance to express myself. “May be on phone, this time” I thought. I reached home. I calculated time she would have taken to reach her home. I thought if I gave her time to be alone I would have better chances of getting accepted. That spirited courageous Kavi inside me awoke once again and I called her.”
“Hi Chulbuli, this is Kavi.”
“Tell me what happened?”
“I want to talk to you, alone.”
“What?” and she hanged the phone. Embarrassed, and that spirited courageous Kavi put in some dark corner for time being; I had my lunch and went to bed to recuperate.
“What to do now?” I was down but not out, I thought after waking up from the sleep. While I was preparing for the examination for getting in to the Prestige College, I had discussion with one of the faculty members regarding the books. So we knew each other, not too well though. I felt I could talk on sensitive issues. Generally people who read good literature are reasonable; even if they are not, there is a probability that they might listen. She was among them so I thought of meeting her to get the address of Chulbuli who was studying in the same coaching centre but in the different branch. Only faculty could access the student’s information. Hesitatingly, I called her and requested to meet her. When asked about the purpose I told to explain her during the meeting. Without much fuss she agreed to meet me in the evening. Even though I was not sure whether it was the right move or not but I was moving in some direction. That was important. Whatever, I was doing it was with a good intention. That was enough for me. I think it’s your intention that defines right or wrong; nothing else.
Those were the days of dilemmas. I felt being beleaguered by chaotic emotions. Apprehensions of talking to a female teacher on issues of infatuation towards a girl made me little less confident about the road I was travelling, but I stayed on course to reach the point of climax of my desperation. As I reached the institute she was waiting for me inside her cabin. It was a small cabin with three chairs and a big rectangular table. She was sitting on the office chair on one side and on the other side there were two swivel chairs; I sat on one of them.
“So tell me what happened?” she asked.
“I want to know the address of a girl in our coaching centre.”
“I like her.”
“I thought you were a studious boy.”
“I still am,” I lowered my eyes and continued, “That doesn’t mean that I lack emotions”, I replied.
“What about your result of the Prestige College?”
“I got through.”
“I don’t go to that coaching center, therefore, can’t access the student’s database. But I will try to get the mobile number of the girl from faculty of that center whom I know.”
“I have the mobile number.”
“Then give her a call.”
“I proposed and she rejected.”
“Now what do you want.”
“She rejected because she doesn’t know me. Once she understands me she won’t reject.”
And both of us smiled. I was surprised for what I had said.
“Right now I am preparing for my examinations. I will go to that centre after a month. Then I can help you.”
Then I was free for around two months. There was nothing to do. I thought of joining a drama group. Drama had been my passion. I hadn’t achieved anything in that field but still it was my first love. I participated in drama during my school days and every time our group performed we came first. That’s the only achievement I had got in that field. I came to know about a drama group which requires actors for a play through a friend. Knowing my interest, my friend recommended me to join the group. The play had to take place within a month. Group was in deficit of actors for the play. The head of the group had already taken the advance from the organizers. So he desperately wanted actors. My friend was already working on the same play. He wanted me to join the group. I went with him to the group’s rehearsal area and got selected without any audition as the head was looking for somebody to take the role. My friend told me that if I would perform well I would be given bigger role than the one that I had got. I was happy and content that at least I was given an opportunity. So it was a win-win situation.
I started attending the practice sessions. I enjoyed the practice sessions as I was not concerned about the future. The play was to be performed exactly one month after I joined the group. The group consisted of people of diverse backgrounds. Some were students who wanted to make a career out of acting, some of them were following their interest like me and some other were working and following acting simultaneously. Practice sessions usually started in the evening after everybody got free from their office or college. I was free. It was the most refreshing activity of the day. I started enjoying the short stint with the drama group.
After one week I thought of calling Chulbuli again rather than waiting for the teacher to give her address. Frustrated with same thumping of heart over and again over the same issue, I called her.
“Hi, this is Kavi.”
“I am sorry for what I said, last time I called you.”
“It’s ok. Not an issue.”
“I called you to say sorry and that you can have books that you wanted from me.”
“Bye, see you.”
I was excited. I thought that I still had a chance. Then I started calling her every day. Our conversation was short but regular. Simultaneously, I was completing the pre-admission processes i.e. submission of documents and payment of fees before the actual commencement of the course. I was happy that things were moving in the right direction. One day during the conversation, she asked me for books. I asked for the place to meet where I could give her books. We decided for handover ceremony to take place in a canteen near my residence. The canteen was within the premise of the college.
I got ready for the rendezvous. I tried every single dress I had. Mirror was my companion in deciding which dress suited me the most. Finally, I, with the help of the mirror, settled for the light blue coloured denim jeans and black shirt. I kissed the other me who was in the mirror and took off on the bike. I had to pick her up from the bus stand near canteen. I reached there before time. It was hot outside but not for me. It seemed that day everybody was observing me. I know it was not like that but I felt that way on that particular moment. She came after 15minutes of wait. She was wearing green sleeveless salwar and kurta with a bag hanging on her left shoulder. Waves of excitement were hitting the shores of the body from inside. Outside I successfully maintained the phlegmatic look on my face. She sat on the bike with both legs on same side. I kicked the bike and started riding cautiously to avoid accelerating and sudden applying of the brake. I didn’t want to make her uncomfortable. Within few minutes we reached the canteen. We talked about the books. Then she started discussing about how to get into Prestige College. Discussion then shifted towards the books and their relevance in life and their significance in cracking the examination. I shared whatever I knew. This was my forte. So I was in full swing enjoying every bit of it. It feels good when a girl- to whom you want to impress- sees you with awe. We had coffee and sat there for an hour. You want time to stop for these moments but opposite happens. She wanted to leave as she was getting late. I offered her to drop which she readily (second time) accepted. Every acceptance of hers was creating a sense of victory for me. She asked me to leave around one kilometer before her house. I dropped her at her desired spot.
Things were moving at a steady pace. Phone conversation became a regular affair. As she was employed with a medical transcription firm we got very time to meet in person. Still we managed to meet twice thereafter, before joining the prestigious Prestige College. Things were never so favourable to me. So I was enjoying the every bit of it. Unintentionally, I started building castles in the air. I never knew that I was repeating the same mistake differently. All events- drama, talking to Chulbuli and admission process- were going simultaneously. After two months I was ready to go to the college. I messaged her ‘good bye’ as I was very busy on that day. The message she sent back laid the foundation for the castle which I built in the air and gave it the ground support. But I missed the fact that the foundation for any building is laid under the ground and not on the ground. Human mind……In the message there was a heart in which two people were sitting and it read: Two little friends in a big heart. Our friendship will never break or end.”
“I joined the Prestige College. It was on the outskirts of PrathamShehar. It has a very big campus. The campus was surrounded by hills on three sides. At the reception of the hostels senior students were allocating the rooms for the new students. Two students were needed to share one room. Officially ragging was not allowed in the campus but after dinner juniors were asked to fall in. First they took the attendance to figure out if someone was missing or not. Juniors were asked to do different kind of activities. Manhandling was strictly prohibited. We were asked to come in formals for ragging. Ragging continued for a month and then everything was normal. Simultaneously, classes started and conversation with Chulbuli. Soon I realized that I was not interested in accounts or the balance sheets of the company. I was not satisfied with what I was doing then. This feeling of dissatisfaction kept on increasing till one day I decided to quit. But the question that kept haunting me whether to choose for a successful career with lot of money or pursue my passion for acting where there was no certainty of future. I would always be subjected to economic insecurity. Moreover, father had paid the fees for the first trimester. Taking his advice was asking for trouble. I knew I have to decide of my own because I would be the ultimate sufferer or gainer of the decision made. I gave myself one more week to ponder over the issue. That week made me more determined about my decision than before. At the same time my conversation with Chulbuli started being a prolonged affair. Fear of losing Chulbuli due to the decision was also in the mind. I was of the opinion that if she cannot accept me as I was then she should go. I thought of proposing her before leaving college but that way I was putting her in dark. She won’t be able to make right decision then. She should know the truth before making any decision. That was what I thought at that moment. I left the college the moment I knew what I was doing and what the consequences might be. I informed my parents about my decision and messaged Chulbuli about my decision after leaving the college. I thought of telling her after I resolve family issues. They ordered me to come to Gaon and I went. We belong to a rich family of Gaon. In Gaon people are very much into the personal affairs of each other. Concept of individuality, pursuing one’s passion etc has not evolved yet.”
“Things are very much similar at my place” Akshay interrupted.
“In that scenario it was difficult to understand, why a person left college to pursue his interest? My father who is a very dominant person won’t even try to understand this state of mind. Moreover, I had left one of the best college to pursue a career in acting was bizarre for him. There is an intermingling between profession and character in the society of Gaon. Your character is defined by the profession you choose. Acting is not considered as the profession to be taken by the children of the good family. All the relatives of Gaon came to convince me to change the decision. Under the pressure I thought of changing my decision but got scared with the idea of going back to attend those classes again. There was pandemonium in the house. It was too much for me to handle. Next morning I left the house for
Bada Shehar. I am a little bit of escapist kind of person. Bickering, altercation and problems scare me. I try to avoid these circumstances and if they arise and become too much to handle, I run away from that situation.”
After reaching Bada Shehar, I called Chulbuli. Number was out of service. I was taken by surprise. What to do then? Apart from phone number I never had anything to contact her. Then I remembered those events that were taking me to some cloud of double digit. In the same manner I was coming down to clouds whose number was in single digit. I was afraid of being grounded. Desperation made me restless. Riding on double digit clouds made me forgot to get the address from the teacher of the institute then. The onus was on me then. But how? One more bingo. My books were with her which was a fairly good reason for me to go to institute and asked about her. I was at the nadir of my life. I went to the institute fully prepared with all the reasons. Convinced with the reasons receptionist called her handed me the phone. I talked to her and she promised to return tomorrow in the same institute where we did the workshop together. I asked the receptionist for Chulbuli’s mobile number which she refused, giving me the reason that it’s the discretion of the Chulbuli not hers. Convinced and irritated I returned. I decided not to continue like that.
In the heat of September I waited for her outside the institute. The humidity and the heat were adding to the irritation caused by desperation. I felt as if I had lost self respect waiting there. Akshay that feeling in good for any human being. I became when I saw her coming with books in her hand. I was least bothered whether she had read those books or not, but still I asked the question whose answer I knew already. She had to submit the photocopy of documents at the institute so she went there directly after giving me the books. I offered to accompany her which she accepted. In the meanwhile she told me about her boyfriend with whom she was going to get married but was unaware of the name of his engineering college. I offered her a cup of coffee which she refused giving some silly excuse which I readily accepted because I had no choice except to create some drama there. I asked her “why I was misinformed” to which she reacted by saying “what do you mean”? I was dumbstruck. And consoled myself with my newly created definition of love—Love is a schizophrenic hallucination of psychedelic in origin.” I came back to my room wrote a poem expressing my pain.
“Go on”, said Akshay with empathy.
Death of a Boy
“He was cheerful
And never careful,
Blossomed like flower
Which flowed like a river.
He was the driver
Of the boat
With same breeze.
But one day he died
He never cried,
Out his pain
As death was his sole aim.
Everyone was amazed
At the change
Then the boy awoke one day
He became a man,
To see changeover,
It wasn’t ocular
Lost his marbles.
What had metamorphosed?
To realize it’s just the transmutation of consciousness.”
There was a lull for a long time after he finished the poem.
“I think you should go now” said Kavi.
“Ok” said Akshay and came back to the flat. The clock showed 11pm. The dinner was there in the kitchen, Gappori told him. The undulating movements of the waves of the thought satiated him; if not satiated then stopped the functioning of the centre from where the satiation starts. Akshay and Gappori used to sleep on the double bed which was the only option in the flat. Without changing clothes he went in the bed room and lay down.
“What happened?” asked Gappori.
“Nothing” said Akshay and he kept gazing on the ceiling.