It was on a beautiful evening – the kind of evening when one doesn’t need any alcohol to see things through rose tinted glasses – that it all began.
It was a happy, contented self that read the Harold Robbins, tucked neatly beneath the covers of my Physics textbook. I was just getting to the interesting part of the book, where the intrepid explorer discovers the hidden location of the G-spot when backpacking through the reddest areas of New York City.
And then, the phone rang. With a soft curse on my lips, I abandoned the hero in his quest for the elusive conference of nymphomaniacs (for the nonce, at least).
‘Hello’, I said abrasively.
All I could perceive was persistent sobs from the other end of the line.
I was not amused. My intrepid explorer awaited my return, in order to continue his journey through a hundred vaginas. And here I was, listening to some idiot sobbing on a phone.
After a few more sobs, the voice at the other end cleared. It was Ramesh, a classmate of mine.
‘She sent me a love letter da’, said he and resumed his sobbing.
I wished to know who it was, being the logical, rational kind of bloke that you hear so much about. But before I could, he continued,
‘My mother didn’t (sob) raise me this way, da. I’m not the love letter kind of guy.’, and begin to bawl loud enough to wake the dead.
I completely concurred with him on that. He was the kind of chap who was raised from a young age to enjoy his tyresaadam frigid and his women even more so. What I failed to understand was why any woman would send him a love letter, when there were gallant, charming, dashing and available men like me.
‘Who is she? Is she not what you’d called endowed with espièglerie?’, asked I.
‘Dai, at this age, da! Crucial 12th Standard da! It’s so filthy to do this loving and all. And it’s Sweety!’
At this moment, the world did not, in all likelihood, stop spinning. But as far as I was concerned, creation ceased to exist for the space of a minute. Sweety was the kind of girl who could elicit a whistle or two even if she walked past a trappist* monastery in upper Tibet. Hot, to be plain, just about summed it up.
‘Then why on earth are you crying? She should be crying for having sent the letter to you of all people’, said I, rather uncharitably.
He waxed eloquent on the immorality of pre-marital love (especially if the girl fell in love first) and how he wouldn’t look at a girl unless his mother told him to. He then told me to break the bad news to her, failing which my broken neck would float in the well near the vice-principal’s quarters.
Harold Robbin’s riveting tale of a young man’s felinological quest would have to wait.
The next day, I was blessed with the opportunity to read that ode to immortal love that Sweety had written. Sweety was blessed with plenty in many places, including plenty of thick bone in the base of the skull. This was amply in evidence from the effort she’d put into drawing little red hearts along the margins of the notepaper in which she’d written the letter, and the utter bilge she’d filled the notepaper with.
I erupted into laughter when I read a line where she’d listed her only crushes in life – a list which included such doyens as Rowan Atkinson and the bloke who played Tipu Sultan in the teleseries. He was, she asserted, the only real-life character that had caught her fancy.
She went on to request him to wear a purple arm band (enclosed within) ten inches from his wrist and walk down the stairs at 12:35 pm the next day to bring to her notice his ardour.
(I owe it to the reader to explain at this point that Ramesh had the physical proportions of a John Abraham, and the psychological growth of a Little Lord Faunterloy.)
Ramesh spent the whole day cowering beneath his desk. I toyed briefly with the idea of wearing the purple arm-band myself, but dismissed it as beyond the sphere of practical politics. I re-read the love letters, placed it carefully within my Physics notebook, and prepared myself to speak to Sweety – who had till then treated me as something of a cross between an iguana and a cockroach. At 12:40, I walked down the stairs.
‘Er hi Sweety…what’s up?’, I said, trying hard not to salivate. She looked particularly tantalizing that day.
Sweety bestowed upon me a bored look.
‘ What do you want, Siddhu? Why don’t you come back later? I’m busy now’
‘Its something important I have to tell you.’, said I rather desperately, a sheepish grin plastered on my face.
‘Oh… but you’re not important. So buzz off!’, said she, rather cruelly. Her giggly friend, who stood next to her as always, began to giggle at this.
But, as I have had opportunity to mention before, us Warriers are made of sterner stuff.
‘Its about Ramesh…’, I said, a confident smile on my face.
Her entire aspect changed. It was one thing to crush beneath her pretty heel a puny little rat whom she strongly suspected had a crush on her. But it was another matter altogether when the puny little rat turned out to be the loved one’s emissary.
I tried to tell her, as mildly as possible, that Ramesh wasn’t the ‘love-letter kind of guy’, and he was a few miles removed from being the ‘pub-kind of guy’ she lusted for.
She deliberated on this with her friend, philosopher and guide for awhile, whispering away as I watched.
Then, her friend took me apart and told me in a solemn voice that she understood that I had long nourished feelings for Sweety, and that I had this soulful look in my eyes when I looked at her.
And then she concluded rather hastily requesting me to keep my pimply nose to myself, at least until I’d added a few inches to my chest and lost a few around the waist. She’s way out of your league, buster, was the message.
And that was that…
I took the pages of the love-letter off my Physics notebook and returned them to Ramesh, refusing any further involvement in the sordid mess. I told him that I preferred floating lifeless in the well near the vice-principal’s quarters. Hell, I could probably give my vice-principal a scare that way!
I then walked toward the Physics lab to submit my Physics notebook, hoping she’d understand why I hadn’t submitted it two days ago with the rest of the class. She didn’t.
I was a shell of my former self as I dragged myself back to class. In class lay waiting an agitated Ramesh.
‘B****, you haven’t given me the first page of the letter. I want to tear it up too and scatter the pieces near the park.’, said he.
‘Oh, it’s in my physics notebook, don’t worry!’, said I, nonchalantly.
‘Where the f*** is your physics notebook’, he said rather agitatedly.
The world came to a grinding halt for the second time in two days.
‘Oh f***! I gave it to Gandu…’, I said slowly, alluding to the nom de guerre of my Physics teacher.
‘Holy shit!’, screamed Ramesh as he began to strangulate me. I could see the tears stream down his face as he strained to separate my head from my torso.
To be continued…
*Trappist ( P ) Pronunciation Key (tr p st)n.
A member of the main branch of Cistercian monks, characterized by austerity and a vow of silence, established in 1664 at La Trappe Monastery in northwest France.