There are numerous ways to become happy, and more than those ways are ways to become unhappy. Daily as you move you encounter various things, things which are there as if they were always there, and things which are continuously on move. There are people who were there with you yesterday and then there are fellows who come in your life, mark their impressions and then just like alcohol (for girls, like nail paint remover) they evaporate. Life is such a filthy game and yet so lovely.
Something similar to what I have written happened with me, on a day before Valentines day, 13/2/2008. I can still smile about it, and will keep doing so, but will never like to face it again. I personally do not believe in charm of St. Valentine, so I do not believe in Valentines day, what I believe is that things or girls come up to you when you expect them least, and most of the time they turn up beautifully. I think I have created enough of aura, for the lines which I am going to write. And I think I should jump straight to the events which still bring smell of fresh flowers in my nose, and some salty water in my eyes.
Like every weekday, I left college around half an hour past five and followed my usual way, hoping for nothing great, nothing unusual, same humdrum drive. After dropping my pillion at his place, I, that day, thought of following slightly different route. It meant that I was going to pass thru Bittan Market rather than, Char Imili. I had only 20 rupees and some coins, I don’t know how much. So stopping some where for coffee or for some snacks was out of question, though I had an ATM card which could have burped some big notes on my will, but using it would have meant some thoughtless spending. So I was driving straight to my home, which was still some 5 kilometers away. Around the gate of Dusherra maindan which faces the main road, I saw a girl; I knew that face, beautiful as it was always and enough for me to twitch my fingers and push the indicator switch and turning towards left. As I have already written Life is a nasty yet beautiful thing, I was going to be face to face with a girl I knew as Shraddha, surname, I never asked it even six years back when I saw her last time and neither was I going to ask on that day.
I cancelled my indicator to buy some more time and then I turned around Rajiv Gandhi, and wasn’t he smiling. It seemed at that moment every body was smiling. Even the drooling face of street dogs, were gleaming with happiness. It was after six years I was going to talk to her, and like a true human, with every rotation of wheels of my Activa, there were more and more questions surfacing up, there were more and more doubts. And as it is said in soft drink advertisement that beyond fear lies victory, I kept on moving. I parked my vehicle in front of Reebok showroom, took a deep breath, and moved on. While I was stepping ahead, I kept on thinking and rehearsing first few lines which I was going to say. All those lines which I thought ( more than ten, they were) proved useless when I said, “Hi” and she turned back, and when she said “Kartik” loudly after few microseconds I was relieved of few of my fears. I felt like hugging her, and then at that time I wished (in years) that it should have all happened in some other country, not India. All of my questions were pushed in closet inside my brain by questions fired by her. I usually do not prefer answering too much questions but none of her question was loading me with any pressure, it was so light to answer her question that today I wish that every question paper in RGTU should be framed by her. I answered every question of hers, she was angry and rightly so because when I left Bhopal for greener pastures in Kota I didn’t informed her, I just vanished from her life. We were soon back to our usual self, laughing loud on pretty normal things which were not even enough to push some smile on her friends face. That girl, was trying to put normalcy on her face and none of us, was trying to comfort her.
Her eyes were still bright and black. It is said that when girls feel excited in a boys presence, her eyes get dilated as a signal of getting attracted. But I could not comprehend her pupils as my eyes were locked on her eyelashes once I finished with her eyes. She was same, the way she was six years back. It was me with all the changes, and she was prompt on pointing all the changes, my quasi French cut beard, my hairstyle, my mannerism and I was unable to find a flaw in her immaculate analysis. It took another girl, her friend to make us move to café. Oh! Her smile is still being revered by empty corners of my brains. We talked and talked about probably about everything which was there on this planet and also of things which weren’t. She for all those years remembered that I loved quantum science and relativity so much that I considered Einstein and Heisenberg as demigods. She remembered that I would jump on a cup of curd just like a lactobacillus. She knew it all, and me, I never bothered asking her anything. For me, I was all that time, when she was telling me about myself, was busy matching her with the image which I had for six years based on her six year old edition. Laughable, indeed. I know I wanted to kiss her, no qualms about that, hug her, even in India on the eve of Valentine. What was the thing which was stopping me, hmm…that has to be left for another day or else I have to keep on writing.
I would once again repeat that Life is a nasty yet beautiful thing, all this time I was facing the beautiful side and now it was turn for nasty one. If life is a coin then on one side it has Venus and on other Medusa. So figuratively it was Medusa’s turn to kiss me. All the time when I was talking to the damsel, her poor friend on whom I wasn’t paying much attention was talking to someone on her cell phone. After some fifteen minutes when we entered the café, a stud type of boy entered in. And you guess is as good as mine, he was the villain in my budding love story, love story which I always wanted to continue, though which never came into any concrete form. He was the boyfriend, smart looking, no matter how jealous I was, but I wont lie and say that he was after being so smart, handsome a genuine gentleman.
When you would be reading this, and coming few lines you might be saying it in your head that it was all very predictable, and yes it is all very predictable, but the life being nasty and beautiful is very predictable and this predictability only adds up on its nastiness and beauty. He stood there behind my girl, she was all that time talking to me, and taking sips of coffee. He tapped on her shoulders and said, “Hi” very much in same way I uttered it. His presence was surprise to her, and moments she was in his arms, in India, and he kissed her on her cheeks in front my eyes, in India. After that there was war to be fought, not with that friend of hers, but with one man within. I didn’t had a gun so shooting was out of question, I didn’t had enough saliva in my mouth to spit on him, and my throat was half choked. But I was showing a brave face, showing a happy smile and within moments my condition became pretty similar to that poor girl who was her friend. There is not much to tell after that, we had normal talk, he paid for our coffees, that gentleman. My twenty rupees and some coins thus remained with me. He was doing his engineering from Indore, and his name was Aakash. That poor girl with whom I didn’t talked for majority of time had a very beautiful name, Diya, and she was the one who was involved in bringing up Aakash to café, the surprise. I was later enlightened that Aakash and Shraddha were friends for past two years and that too very good friends.
My coffee was over and at that time, my mobile vibrated, I took it out of my pocket, and as I scrolled down the message, I made a sad face. All what I said after that, “Oops, My mom is calling me home, have to go” and then I stood up. Then we shook hands, with smiling faces exchanged phone numbers. I know one thing for sure that she was indeed happy to see me after six years.
I drove off quickly, because I felt that there wasn’t much for me left over there. I crossed Rajiv Gandhi, and wasn’t he smiling he was, probably manufacturer made it that way. Those drooling face of street dogs were also smiling, they somehow always find reasons to smile, or it’s just their facial structure which gives impression that they are smiling. My mobile once again started vibrating, dash by dash, and I knew it was my mom who was calling me, because the previous message was not from my mother but was wishing me Happy Valentine day and asking me to buy some ring tones or caller tune for same. One thing of which I got reassured that day was that Life plays a wonderful game and by now you also know what kind of game life plays. No matter what kind of game life play, I will surely call Shraddha once in a while; next gap won’t be six years long. And for you all, the readers, only thing which is left to be said is that fiction indeed is less strange than truth.