I continue today on what I had begun a few days ago– assisting young love on its way (while at the same time taking generous leaps along the road to perdition myself). To recap, yesterday we had left a love struck swain who was game to follow his true love to the ends of the earth (provided somebody else paid the air fare) waiting with bated breath for the reply to a letter ghost written (deliberately badly) by yours truly...
There was silence for a week. I grew curiouser and curiouser with every passing day. It was a week later that &*^ approached me, looking tired, careworn and worried.
‘Eda...she’s not replied to me, da’
‘She probably was so moonstruck by your letter that she couldn’t possibly have walked all the way to the lab and composed her reply. Let me tell you something – that letter was so good that if you’d given that letter to the queen of Sheba she’d have accepted you into her harem of husbands with not a second thought!!’, I said, lying brazenly through my teeth.
He dismissed these illuminating thoughts with a careless wave of his hand.
'Don't talk bullshit, you bastard!', said he. He was one of those chaps whose frankness in speech bordered on the obscenely insulting, the blighter!
‘So what do you want me to do now? Write another letter?’, I asked, adopting that sarcastic manner which had failed to penetrate his hide in the least when I used it last.
Once again, it bounced off him like bullets bounce off Superman.
‘Actually, yeah’, he said shamelessly. He did not even attempt to look embarrassed at the thought of imposing on my time.
‘It ‘ll cost you if you want me to do it the second time. The first time, being a freeware demo, came for free. 99 rupees and 95 paise – I’ve brought my rates down...’, said I, attempting to sound like a technical czar talking about the NTFS kernel (assuming such a creature exists).
Talk of money changing hands (only when he was at the wrong end of the transaction) always had a peculiar effect on &*^. He began to rapidly rethink on a strategy that had seemed so imperative just a few minutes ago. After concluding his customary disparaging remarks - comparing my methods of embezzlement to Mr. Ambani’s (to my benefit) - he begged me to reconsider or at least ask her of the outcome of the outpourings of his heart.
I agreed – more out of curiosity and unrestrained boredom which had returned to haunt me once again than anything else. I was very uncomfortable with the whole idea. The thought of approaching a girl I had spoken to probably once in my life and asking her for her verdict on &*^’s undying love did not appear to me as fun. I walked towards her feeling a trepidation that was almost definitely shameful, considering the fact that she was a mere first year and I was a second year student.
‘Er...#######, &*^ asked me to ask you this...’
‘What...?’, she said, in her customary tone of voice, which lay somewhere in between a deferential whisper and the ramblings of a chap with laryngitis.
But us Warriers are made of stern stuff. I continued…
‘He wants to know if you received the letter and how you react to his proposition of undying love, y’know...’, I stuttered.
‘I don’t see any reason to have any opinion about it...’, she said, her voice rising well above her usual deferential whisper.
‘But why...?’, I asked. I began to realize that asking her out in the middle of Mount road while standing on my hands was a considerably less onerous task.
‘I know you wrote it – it was too ridiculous to have been thought of by &^*. In fact, too poetic to have been thought of by anybody who didn’t possess three copies of Roget’s. Besides, he’s yet to have discovered the joys of constructing an English sentence. Anyway, I never did like him and would be greatly pleased if he didn’t call me this weekend... Can I go now, sir? I still have three psalms left out of my day’s quota of 45!’
Her ‘sir’ was loaded with a sarcasm that bites (quite unlike the ‘sir’s we, as seniors, expect out of our juniors as a matter of course).
But I did not attempt to take her to task. I could see that the scales had fallen before her eyes. I slunk away into the darkness quietly, leaving her to her psalms.......