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A Short Story By Agam Anand
Part-1) A Gentle Bully STRANGE HAPPENSTANCES
Time really flies as I am sitting in my office chamber and writing this blog for the people, in general, to read about the great coincidences which now has happened thrice in my life so far. Let’s begin with what I did some years ago when I was in Std. 11th but this is the first time I am writing something so I have to introduce myself, I am Anubhav Kumar, a self-practicing company secretary and a few years back I was a bully at least as per a special person’s judgment, I lived with my roommates in Patna. That is the capital of Bihar where people lived to study or to be admitted to the hospitals because you will only find coaching classes and sanatoriums there. I also became a patient because I diagnosed a disease of seeing someone, actually, I saw a girl walk past in the lane one day in the afternoon from the balcony of my PG. I saw her crossing by the road many times afterwards and somehow I also discovered the time of her return. It became my duty to stand for her and wait till the time she crossed twice in the evening within the interval of 3 hours. I was so young and that is the time when you like someone that means ‘you really like someone’ not like when you are an adult where every relation you make is for profit or compromise. When I saw her first I felt like she was the one whom I was searching for since my birth (Really? Even in diapers? Literature takes too much liberty).
I look back and sometimes think I wasted many hours of my life just to see her but trust me at that time it was holier for me than any pilgrimage, she was my deity and I was her devotee even in dreams I saw both of us romancing in my PG balcony, I must tell you my sleeping creativity is brilliant. Slowly and gradually my friends and my roommates knew that I spend all my afternoom to evening hours on the corner of the road or in the balcony just to see a girl whose name even I didn’t know, then they started fueling my mind to move further to the next level that is to know her name and to get her phone number. My roommate Amit (Don’t know where he is and what he does now, his Facebook updates are mostly forwards which begs us to not scroll down without liking in the name of country, religion or five-legged cows, gosh!) was the one who was more desperate than me to talk to her and to know her name because I just wanted to see my Goddess, nothing more and nothing less. When I secretly saw her cross the road it was all good, she never knew someone waited for hours to see her and I usually noticed her beautiful dresses (that’s what you can do when you can’t see beneath), the best was when she wore white trousers with a pink top. Even today whenever I remember her in that dress I feel ecstatic, not to forget her well-cured nails. But after my friends got to know about the scene, they started commenting whenever she passed by from there and made her feel that we boys were street brats. Amit gave me an Idea to propose her for friendship by giving her a card, I refused to purchase and instead made a beautiful (really?) one by myself. My creativity went an all-time high with that card (what at least I thought then), I was so happy with the brilliant (make it, brilliantly pathetic) use of colors and the content. I just wrote ‘I want to know you more so that we can be friends’ with my name and mobile number at the bottom. Next day was the real horror, making card was easy but giving it to her was more than difficult for a shy guy like me. Amit said don’t worry I will stop her and you can talk to her and give it, Amit did exactly that and she to avoid us and in fear went inside a shop ignoring the things Amit said and did. She may have told the shopkeeper that some unknown boys were following her and asked for help after that Amit told me to go back to the PG. Next day in the KV Road, Amit told me to follow her and I did that with him. I said ‘Please take this card, I want to do friendship with you’, she ignored and behaved as if she hadn’t heard a word. She was scared that’s true, but I was hell scared, mother promise. My hands were shaking and my lips were suffering to utter a word even. Amit was fearlessly speaking many things to stop her but I don’t remember a word in the nervousness, then I anyhow in her bag kept the card (Inserted like an uncivilized one without her consent) and almost ran. 5 minutes later Amit came to the PG and said, don’t worry she has your card with her now, wait for the call.
I was not feeling right because I did something deliberately which I never expected from myself ever, I again went to the road after an hour or so to wait for her return and far away I saw my card biting the dust literally, I ran to pick it up and saw it was crushed badly. With that my heart got crumpled, Okay she didn’t want my friendship but why to destroy my creativity which I made after the hard work of many hours (she did right by throwing that ugly card by the way) and I somehow knew nothing was going to happen between us, no friendship, none. In my heartbreak, I refused to wait for her but only after the night I got revitalized and went again the next day to wait and see her. Amit this time around followed her again alone and said ‘It’s very bad to hurt someone’ to which she actually replied and said ‘You guys deserve uncountable tight slaps’ and suddenly two tall muscular guys appeared from her back, one was I think her brother (I can say that because his face resembled her) and they came to Amit and were almost ready to punch him in his face but he said ‘I am not the one who was following her it was him’ pointing towards me. Till that time she left the scene with one of her friends who also appeared with the tall giants. The boys came and punched over my face. I said ‘crowd will gather here, don’t beat me please’, then they took me to a silent lane somewhere near Munna Chowk and punctured me. I in that pain went back to my PG and found Amit was calling his Gunda group to take the revenge and beat the two boys. I said him not to do any such thing and literally packed my stuff and left the area and went to the place of a family acquaintance in Boring road Which is far away from the KV road.
I found a new PG there in few days and was healing quickly both mentally and physically. I was not in the mood to forget her then or ever, I remember even after relocating to a different place I only thanked God that he at least made me see her for so long and made me meet her. I was a bully for her, but I never wanted to be one, I mean why girls cannot talk to a guy who meets them on the road and wants to have a friendship? Here in India marriages only take place between the same caste and friendship takes place with people who are in the class, canteen or if they are acquaintances. Why restrict the horizon? Every guy who is on the road is not a bully and he might be better than everyone you know, give a chance. But again you can’t blame the girls, on an average out of 100 only two are gentle bullies, and the society runs like that. Well, moving ahead, I then thought we’ll never meet, and the girl whose name I never knew remained the most stunning face for me till date.
Part-2) Bully Reversed
Five years later I went to Kolkata, the boy from a small place like Arah of Bihar was going places to study. Kolkata is the city of fish and yes, Paan. The corners of Howrah bridge is getting rotten day by day because of the rust caused by the paan spits and the time is not far when it’ll fall, so in future we’ll say, Britishers built it with their skills and Bengalis destroyed it with their spits. Anyway, after completing my graduation in commerce stream from Patna I decided to be a CS, it means company secretary, and it is not like CA, find yourself more about it and I don’t want to end up explaining about this course only, as being one is already very taxing. People say if you don’t want to work for ten years then opt for CS. God damn, it’s that tough to pass, I was in the executive program and was keen on passing it as soon as possible and not in a decade as per the common belief. My fashion sense went up notches by then, I also learned to play guitar and was very good in studies. And because of all these girls drooled over me, eventually, I had a girlfriend too. She loved me so much that despite preparing for CA in a different coaching, she came all the way by her scooter every evening to pick me up from my CS chapter and to drop me to the PG (such a good rider she was and I never learned how to drive a bike till date, car is something for which I am meant for). Whatever it is, once you enroll into CS you have to attend a seven days SIP (Student Induction Program) followed by a 5 days EDP (Entrepreneurship development program), so I was up for the SIP. It began and there were over 200 students in the building, divided into three halls, lots of new faces and interesting people gathered at the CS regional chapter.
And then I saw someone in my hall, the face was gorgeous and I found, it was she. Yes, the same girl whom I tried to have a friendship with by giving a card drawn by wax colors, I mean so foolish I was, trust me I am a terrible artist and anyone would have thrashed me up for doing that, the two boys were right. Well, I saw her and tried to ignore which was next to impossible but the questions in the mind were killing me. How come the girl also opted for CS and is in Kolkata, life throws a lot of surprises. She also identified me and I was like hiding my face as if she was some police official searching for a wanted criminal from years. My team won the group discussion round on Day 1 of the SIP and I was adjudged the best speaker, teachers loved me but I found she always said something about me to her friends and they all laughed whenever I was around, I was worried because I had a reputation there and she might have spoiled it by saying, everyone, what I did 5 years back, and also that I was a bully. I was getting attracted to her again, she is extremely beautiful but I had a girlfriend who came every day to pick me up and I can’t ditch her (or else I had to pay for the metro), and I was not going to give another card to her again, not even a purchased one. But she from the 3rd day of SIP started following me, so in the lunch when I went to eat from the buffet she stood behind me and commented and her friends enjoyed, I never gave my ears to all that in the nervousness of getting exposed ‘of being a bully’ in the past and losing all the respect I had among my teachers and friends in the Kolkata CS chapter. She sent some of her friends to ask my name, I told them gently but in reply, they said ‘Anubhav, hmm nice name but have you left following people these days or is it still on?’. It was embarrassing, she and her friends continued to bully me. Yes, the bully was reversed and I think she wanted to have friendship with me, as I told earlier because I converted into a fellow student and not a road guy, so I stand a chance to be her friend, the famous social terms you see and she then might have thought I am good, crazy beliefs we have.
Well, on the last day at the time of certificate distribution, Chairman Sir was calling the names of all the students so that we can go on the stage to collect it and in the process, I finally got to know her name. Jaanavi Gupta (even we belonged to the same caste, another so-called social reason to be friends), it took me 5 years to know her name. Is it a record of sorts? Well, in the end we were given the details of every student by the teachers so that we can build a new CS community in the times to come, and when the printout of the student’s detail sheet came in my hands I read she was from proper Patna, yes lived near Munna Chowk, (the place where I got serious treatment) and like me came over to Kolkata for CS, her phone number was there too, my mind was falling for her, wanted to call but the very moment my girlfriend called and said she will be there to pick me up, the thought of calling Jaanavi died with the immediate effect. Many new friendships began and many ended on the 7th day of SIP itself, later I saw Jaanavi calling someone with a scintillating smile on her face and looked at me with flirting eyes. My phone rang and an unknown number appeared on the screen, I knew it was she. My fingers, heart and every pore of the body wanted to pick it up but my mind was against it, suddenly my girlfriend came and held my hands from behind and told me to go, and her scooty was ready. I rejected the phone and also ended all the possibilities to be friends with her. Two days later she sent me a friend request on Facebook also and I by declining it placed the last nail in the coffin of our potential friendship. And then I was more than sure that we’ll never meet again.
Part-3) Judgement Day
Let’s come back to the present time, to the chamber of my office where I am writing this blog, it’s been 6 years now since that SIP ended and for me, it was a forgotten story till yesterday. For the record, I completed my CS course in just 3 and half years, did the job for a year as an assistant and from the last two years I have my own office. My partner is a CA, over 15 people work under us and the office is in Gurgaon, by the God’s grace we have a lot of work to do and I am one of the most sought after CS here. Well, Gurgaon is India’s Startup capital, so many new entrepreneurs and that means so much work for us, sometimes I feel, people here before starting their lives build an idea for their startups (Liberty of literature, hyperbole you see but I think its a bad one). By the way, it’s high time I should break the big news that I am going to get engaged and not with the scooty girl, actually, we broke up 3 years back because she wanted me to marry her and I was not ready then. Well, before writing any further I want to tell that my assistant resigned a few days back to open his own firm, start up again, wooh! And then I published an advertisement in the newspaper for the recruitment, many fresh CS’s sent me their resumes and I called all of them yesterday for the interview so that I can recruit the most efficient one and they all came one by one. And at last, a girl came, and she was non-other than Jaanavi, gosh! I almost jumped on my chair. When she saw me sitting in the cabin then without asking anything she was going back and I said, okay shouted, ‘I am not the one who judge people without knowing them like you, so come, sit and let me have your interview’.
She said ‘Interview? What kind of?’ and I said for the post of my assistant. And then she almost went into a shock and screamed ‘you will treat your wife as an assistant?’ Then I got a jolt and said ‘What? Wife?’ To which she replied, ‘yes wife, my mom wanted me to see the picture of the boy she picked for marriage but I wanted to meet directly to form an opinion, and I came here without intimation so that I can see the real face of the boy and found, it is you and that’s why I was leaving because 6 years back you rejected my friendship and I was sure there’s no way you’ll talk to me but then you called me in and started saying all this shit’.
‘Oh my-my, so you are not here for the job of my assistant?’ I asked and she said ‘No way, I have my own office here in Delhi, my father got his posting 2 years back and now he is going to retire from SBI so I established my office here only.’ After hearing all that I felt very good. That was a great feeling and I was happy, confused, and nervous and off course was behaving like a stupid above all. ‘Okay so you are the one my parents want me to marry, I must say my parents have a very good choice ‘like me’, anyways once you rejected me and then I rejected you, so the score is one all. Let’s give each other finally a chance, what say?’ I said and then we laughed. This is by far going to be the weirdest arrange marriage of India and I now know that destiny is nothing more than a coincidence. I, in the end, told her that ‘I am going to be one of the rare bridegrooms who had been badly thrashed by his brother in law years before marriage’ and we continued to laugh. Finally, we’ll get to know each other, sigh of relief for me, and maybe very soon my balcony dream will be a reality, it’s high time I should start taking my sleeping creativity seriously, right? Well, this is just the beginning of my unusual love story and its time I should leave my office but yes, before signing off let me tell you all that, we are going to have our first date today in the evening and it took us 11 long years, another world record, isn’t it?