At 12:30, our professor decided that we had learnt enough about the life cycle and mating season of the PNP transistor and left the classroom.
The chap arose from his seat, still fiddling continuously with his Reliance. As he walked towards the canteen, I regaled him with cheerful prattle about R World. Not because I found R World or its applications particularly interesting, but because that seemed the only topic that could presently hold his attention for more than a few seconds. And I desperately wanted to be around when _______ called him up. (I had noticed her looking terribly worked up and preparing herself for an explosive outburst)
Gandhi was lurking in the background as well, and still had that ugly smile affixed on his face. The more I saw the smile, the more I felt he looked like a vile medieval villain. But I, once again, did not devote much thought to Gandhi’s facial expressions. I was too busy thinking of new Reliance IndiaMobile features to keep ***** at his seat in the canteen.
12:45 – almost like clockwork, the cell rang. Sadly, _____ was in the classroom. She was probably too flustered to come down to the canteen. So we were not blessed with the opportunity to hear both ends of the conversation.
‘Hello...Good Afternoon...’, said the chap, in a cheerful tone, which was rather inappropriate considering what she had called for.
There was a pause for 30 seconds and the omnipresent cheeky grin on *****’s face went into hiding behind his lips for the first time in living memory.
‘Why, this is ***** here... Wha....?’
There was a much longer pause and we could distinct hear a shrill female voice screaming incessantly over the phone for around two minutes. Gandhi and I watched with barely concealed glee as the expression on the bloke’s face became graver and graver with every passing second.
‘Listen...what am I to do if you’re on drugs or some mo***&* blackmails you about it...’, shouted he. By then, he had begun to appear distinctly haggard and frustrated.
Gandhi was bent over double as he bit his jeans to muffle his laughter.
‘You’ve got psychological problems. You’re hallucinating...’
Gandhi moved a safe distance away and began to laugh like a particularly boorish hyena.
‘I DON’T HAVE YOUR NUMBER... I DIDN’t MESSAGE YOU AND I DON’T WANT TO!!! WILL YOU CUT THE F***ING LINE!!!?’
*****’s angry voice resonated across the canteen. Everybody fell silent. Eggs, beans and crumpets (to borrow a phrase from Wodehouse) all around the canteen turned their heads around to take a dekko at *****. ***** suddenly realized he was the cynosure of all eyes. All eyes except one, to be precise. Gandhi had placed his hand smack on top of somebody’s fried rice (much to the diner’s dismay and consternation) and continued to express amusement to a degree that was almost unholy.
Embarassed, he hung up rather tamely with a muted and rather unnecessary ‘Bye...’
I began to ask him wide-eyed questions as to the identity of the mystery caller. He started telling me about ____’s apparent mental imbalance. It was as he was propounding a (highly implausible) theory that ______ had a crush on him and how her crush had made her act irrationally that Gandhi turned up, looking rather a vulture out on a hunt for juicy caracasses.
‘Hi *****... , what da machcha, _____ called you up, ah?’
I was stunned. After comparing Gandhi to Machiavelli, the last thing I expected from him was to make a blunder which even the Beagle Boys wouldn’t.
***** looked up suddenly from his phone which he was fondling like a long-lost brother,
‘How the hell do you know?’
‘Hmmmm... Siddhu may not like me telling you this, but I think the joke went a little too far and since I feel it may cause irrepairable harm to your friendship with ________, I think it is best that I tell you...’
Gandhi had that wretched smile of his plastered all over his face. I should have known, I thought to myself, Machiavelli always liked to be the last man standing!!
I thought of the possible courses of action that lay open to me –
A) Attempt to smother Gandhi with blows until he confessed to having planned and executed it himself
B) To attempt to run to the bike stand and disappear from college for 10 days
I arrived upon Option (B) as the more workable among the two after taking one look at Gandhi - who did not resemble the Mahatma (either physically or in the purity of his mind).
But I could not exercise either option as ****** gripped my wrist firmly. Under such circumstances, people like Jack the Ripper and Arnold Schwarzenegger would have broken free. But even a cursory inspection of my physique would reveal that I was neither. So I stayed put.
Gandhi, that turncoat whose treachery would have done Benedict Arnold and Mir Jaffer proud, continued to reveal a fabric of terrible lies and slander all of which was unfortunately true.
I slumped into a chair –defeated, a shadow of my former self.
To cut a long story short, the events that followed were not pleasant in the least. ***** swore to use my cell for even more nefarious purposes, I was forced (after being arm twisted (yeah, literally) into compliance) to apologise to _____, ______ blasted me in turn and almost pushed her cell’s gargantuan antenna up my nostril, ______’s friend blasted me just for the pleasure of blasting me(and later cornered me and asked me if I had a crush on ____ (please, for heaven’s sake, not that!!, I thought) and whether this whole incident was calculated to portray a potential rival (!!?) in bad light) and Gandhi laughed his way to a free Coke, courtesy ******.
Sadly, my dear readers, like most incidents in my life, this ended in sorrow. Therefore, it ain’t too shocking that I end up writing tragic stories like these which would put any Greek epic to shame. Don’t blame me, dear readers, for not being a cheery soul. Don’t blame me, my countrymen, for not writing cheerful stories. Blame it all on the machinations of a cruel fate...