I never went back to Zoology class again. Instead, I decided that I would focus solely on the medical/engineering entrance tests that year. I was betting everything on those tests, and they were only a couple of months away. This was risky. If I couldn’t do well in them, I would have nothing to show for the entire year, and admissions next year would be still more difficult. I was in no way confident that I would crack them, but somehow, I didn’t really care. Doubts and second thoughts have this beautiful way of suddenly vanishing once you really make up your mind. I still went to college once in a while, but that was strictly for socializing, and checking out girls, of course.
Once the creepy distractions of zoology were gone, I realised I was focusing better on my preparations, and I was actually enjoying them. As my parents noticed with no small amazement, I had started spending a lot of time in my room with books, without being told to do so. Surprisingly, at that time I never felt I was under a lot of pressure. I didn’t worry about results or exams. Incredible as this may sound now, it was in those few months before the exams that I have probably been the most relaxed ever. Why? Well, I’m not sure, but I think the good friendship I had struck with her was a great stress-buster.
Speaking of her, things turned out better than we had anticipated. Some enterprising guy had opened a phone-booth right inside her college campus, and she frequently monopolized it during her lunch breaks to call me. Once she had settled down in her college, we had continued right from where we had left off. She called me every two or three days, and those thirty-odd minutes were beyond a doubt my favorite time of the day.
My exams eventually came and went. After so much fuss, they were actually something of an anticlimax. I just went to the exam hall, answered the questions and came home, like it was another ordinary day. So far as I could tell, I had done well. Once the exams were done, there was nothing for me to do till the results came out, and no studies or coaching classes as well. It was basically a two month-long holiday, and we started talking more frequently.
Since we now lived in different cities, did different things and had different friends, there was always a lot to talk about. For the first couple of months, she kept giving me detailed updates of all the ragging they were going through. Now, don’t get the wrong idea. It wasn’t the abuse and harassment stuff you read about in newspapers, it was simple harmless fun. For example, she once told me that in the preceding two months, she had been made to propose to no less than twenty-seven guys from different batches. I laughed uproariously on the phone at this, while inside I seethed with anger, Those f**king seniors! How dare they! She’s mine.
A few weeks before my results, she called me early one morning instead of her usual time in the afternoon.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“Oh there’s this really juicy piece of gossip that I’m just dying to give you since last night!” She laughed.
“Really? Do tell.”
“You know this girl….” I did, the girl in question was a classmate of her in school who had enrolled in the same college. “she was caught last night by the warden with a senior, in the football ground!” She was bursting with excitement and mirth.
“So..girls are not allowed to play football?” That sounds unforgivable, I know, but my mind had not woken up yet.
She gave me her signature silence for a couple of seconds. When she spoke again, she sounded like she was in deep distress.
“Really? That’s the best you can do? You think she was playing football with one senior at night on the football ground?”
“Oh,” It dawned upon me, “OH!! You mean she was…”
“Thank you genius, yes. Isn’t it crazy? I mean, fine, everybody knows they’re in a relation, but that was stupid! Why do people go all crazy as soon as they start having an affair?” She jabbered on.
“Oh I don’t know, maybe we can have an affair and see for ourselves.” I joked.
“Yeah, why not?” She joined in. “We do get along so well, we like each other, understand each other..”
“Exactly! We can go on dates, give silly gifts to each other, write love-letters..”
“Of course. We might not be together, but so what? Lot of people have long distance relationships.”
We both discovered and offered each other some more benefits and justifications of having an affair, before I concluded, still laughing, “Yes! See? This could work. Why don’t we give it a shot?”
She was laughing as well, although not as loudly as me. “Well yes, I suppose we could.” A pause. Then, “You’re not serious, are you?”
“What??” I laughed. “No, of course not! Do you think I’m crazy? Of all the…”
She cut me off with two quiet words, and changed my life forever.
This time, it was my turn to be silent. It was the 2nd of July, 2004.
- The Road To Ithaca – 15 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 14 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 13 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)
- The Road To Ithaca – 11 (thecleverdog.wordpress.com)