29 Apr 2015

The Thing Called: Love, Lust and Faith

Chapter 4
The Thing Called: Love, Lust and Faith
My summer internship project meant I had to meet doctors, specifically surgeons, and ask them whether they knew of the company's medical instruments, and if they did not, I would note that hospital's name to inform the person in charge of sales.
While waiting for the doctor outside his chamber, I used to text her and we used to chat like hell. It was 3 pm when I received a call from Richa, our teacher.
R: Hello. is it Samrat?
Me: Hello Ma'am.
R: Kahaan pe ho beta? (Where are you, son?)
Me: Ma'am, waiting outside a doctor’s chamber.
R: Ok, listen. Would you compere for the Juniors' induction program?
Me: Ok Ma'am.
R: I am not asking you, I am telling you to do this. It will be a good platform for you. I remember your compering from Sensation 2013 and I need something similar. We only have two days left. Can you meet me today? I will be in college till 5 pm.
Me: Ok, Ma'am, I will reach around 5 pm.
R: You better do so.
I was anxious, as compering meant that I would have to set my internship aside for three days. I had targets to complete. How would I manage?
An idea saved my skin. I went to the grocery shop, bought 10 chocolate bars, and came to the hospital. Being my fourth visit to this hospital, the receptionist knew me well by now, I  gave her and her colleagues the chocolates after telling her it was my birthday. I asked her the doctors' timings for the rest of the day, and requested her if she could get the forms filled by then. She said she would try. So I gave her the forms and told her I will come to collect them after four days.
By the time I completed this juggling it was 4:30, I entered the doctor’s chamber, did my call, and came out. When I checked my watch it was 4:45 pm. I hurried and reached college, just as she was about to leave her desk.
Me: Hello. Ma'am, sorry for being late.
R: It's ok.
Me: What time is the induction? Will I be handling it on my own?.
R: I am not sure about the timing. Be that as it may, I want both of you to reach college at 8 am sharp. And you will only report to me.
Me: You both? I don’t understand, who else is there with me?
R: She will be there with you.
Richa ma'am pointed to someone behind me. As I turned, I saw Sakshi standing near the door.
Me: Sakshi?
R: Why? Is there any problem?
Sakshi … She had been my first crush in college. By the time I decided to ask her out though, she was already in a relationship with someone. Sakshi was insanely fair, black shiny eyes, perfect figure. She was gorgeous and many had their hearts set on her.
Me: No, not at all.
I extended my hand.
Me: How are you? Sorry about that, I didn't see you.
S: Hey, it’s ok.
R: Samrat, you know how to compere. Please prepare the script. We will meet at 1 pm tomorrow.
Me: Shall do that.
R: All right. Call me if you want, but not after 10 pm. Bye!
Me & S: Bye Ma'am.
Me: Hmm, so what’s up? How is your internship progressing?
S: It is quite relaxed. Actually, it’s not the internship that I am worried about. I have a deadline looming at another part-time job and that is what worries me.
Me: Another job? That’s nice. Are you hungry? Let’s grab a bite!
S: Ok.
She received a text message as we walked to the tea stall. A natural smile spread across her face as she read it. Must have been her boyfriend. I wish this smile could have been for me, if I would have asked her out before this boyfriend of hers, but what the heck, I am happy with my girlfriend, she is more beautiful to me than Sakshi. Besides, she knows me better and understands me better than anyone else. She then texted him back and put her mobile in her pocket. We ordered two cuttings (half a cup of tea), and a cream roll.
Me: Have you ever tasted a cream roll with tea? It tastes so  delicious.
S: Not yet, but I will. So you seem busy these days. How’s your internship progressing?
Me: Yes, I have been busy lately. These doctors you know, they just can’t seem to get enough of me. They make me sit outside their chamber and once I get in, they won’t leave me easily. 
Sakshi was the only other person, besides my girlfriend, whom I could talk with like this. We shared a similar background. Likes and dislikes.
Me: So anything new happening in Castle?
S: No, haven’t seen that for a while. Only Californication and How I met your mother.
Me: Hmm.
As we were talking she gave me the smile which was there on her face a while back. Just as I was beginning to smile back in response, I heard a male voice behind me. A man, chatting loudly over his phone, walked up to Sakshi and hugged her. That was Vikram, her boyfriend.
V: What are you having?
S: Tea and cream rolls. Do you want some?
She turned to the stall owner.
S: Make that three cuttings.
Me: Hey, how are you?
V: I am good. How are you?
Me: I am doing great!
V: Why are you with her?
My friends had told me about Vikram, and his attitude, he had become the arrogant son of bitch ever since Sakshi had proposed to him.
Me: We are compering for the induction program.
Vikram got busy talking with Sakshi, and I got a call from my girlfriend as I dug into the cream roll.
Me: Hey, guess what? I will be doing the compering for the induction program.
Her: That’s nice.
Me: And guess who will be there with me?
Her: Pyaari?
Me: Oh, come on! You know, I don’t like that name, or is it just that you like teasing me every now and then?
Her: All right, all right. Who will be there with you?
Me: It is Sakshi.
Her: Hmm.
Me: Are you feeling jealous? And the cherry on top is that we may need to put in long hours for this because we don’t have a lot of time. We will complete the script tonight.
Her: Do whatever you want.
Me: Hey dear, don’t get angry, I was just teasing you. You can come here if you want to. I think Sakshi’s boyfriend will also be there.
Her: I am not angry, neither am I jealous. Compering for an important function was your dream, so I hope you do it well, and all the best to you.
Me: Thank you. But I am still sensing something is wrong. Are you ok with this?
Her: Absolutely. it’s just that I have a headache that’s all.
Me: Have some medicines or something. Shall I come over and apply balm on your forehead? I am sure that will do the trick.
Her: Ok sweetheart, no need to come here. I will take the medicines. When will you ever stop flirting with me?
Me: My delicious apple pie, I wasn’t flirting, just concerned about you.  
Her: Ok, my sweet angel, now go and concentrate on the script. All the best.
Me: Thank you. Bye.
Her: Bye.
They had finished their tea and snacks by this time. So the tea I had ordered had gone cold. I hurriedly gulped down my cream roll and signalled we should get going.
S: Finish your tea first.
Me: No, I will drink it while walking. We need to start working on the script. Its 6:30 now. It will take at least three hours.
S: As you say.
We had just started discussing how to begin, when Vikram sat down beside Sakshi. He fiddled with his mobile and pretended to be totally lost in it.
Me: Well I think that this script should have an element of naughtiness. What do you think?
S: Naughty, huh? How naughty are we talking here?
Me: Naughty enough to make them feel comfortable and decent enough to make them realise that they are beginning their post-graduation.
Vikram got a call and he reacted to it like he was getting irritated with the call, or was it the word 'naughty' which made him more irritated and the poor caller was suffering because of it? While he barked into the phone, I suddenly noticed how close we were sitting to each other.
S: Sammy, why don’t you flirt with me?
Me: Excuse me?
S: I mean on the stage. It will serve the purpose of being naughty and you will get a chance to flirt with a girl in front of an audience.
Before I could react, she put her hand inside my shirt and pinched me.
S: You better say yes.
We heard Vikram's voice getting louder as he approached and she removed her hand from my shirt, while simultaneously making space between us.
S: So Sammy, will you do what we decided and shall we call it a day?
Me: But Sakshi, the script is only half done …
S: Don’t worry. I will write the naughty part and you write the rest. Mail it to me once you are done, I will be up late. Call me any time if you have any doubts.
By the time she finished speaking with me, Vikram was already inside the room.
S: Babu, shall we?
V: You've finished your script?
S: I am done for now, Sammy will take care of the rest. Am I right, Sammy?
Me: Yes. That’s what I am famous for, being a good finisher. I will make it a smooth one, so that it will be easy for you to get used to, in no time. 
I packed the bag and dialled my girlfriend's number.
Me: Hey, how is my apple pie?
Her: Your apple pie is feeling lonely.
Me: Why so?
Her: Because her boyfriend is busy with work and he has no time for her.
Me: Hmm. Something must be done. Why is he so busy? Can’t he understand that a lovely girl is waiting for him?
Her: He should know that. Even so, he’s the most caring and lovely boyfriend when he's around.
Me: But then why is he not the same all the time? Is he mad?
Her: Don’t you dare call him mad.
Me: Then why is he not giving attention to his girlfriend?
Her: He is busy with his work.
Me: Leaving a girl like you alone when she is suffering from a headache is not fair. Give me his name and address. I will go personally and give him some advice and a few punches if needed.
Her: Don’t you dare go near him, else I will punch your lights out.
Me: Great! See how times change? You try to do something right for somebody and that somebody bites you in return.
Her: Sammy, enough! Get back to normal. 
Me: Ok. How are you feeling?
Her: The same as before.
Me: Did you take the medicines?
Her: Yes, I did.
Me: Let me come over.
Her: No. You concentrate on your compering. I will be fine. How’s the script coming along?
Me: It is half done. I will write the rest at home and forward it to Sakshi.
Her: Ok. All the best! Now go home. It’s late already.
Me: As you say, my lady.
Her: Ride safe, my sweet angel.
Me: Bye, my apple pie!
I was very happy. It was a dream come true for me. I went home and began writing the script, finished it just after midnight. I wrote the full script as I was sure that Sakshi was not going to write a word.
The next day, I got an expected response.
S: Thank you Sammy, you have saved me today, otherwise Richa Ma'am would have been mad at us.
Me: I know that dear. Don’t worry, you just follow Ma'am’s lead.
S: Thank you Sammy.
We practised extensively for over four hours. She made us realise the importance of each word, its pronunciation and intonation.
I learned a lot that day, and we performed brilliantly the next day. Praise flowed in from all quarters, but I was a bit upset as my girlfriend had not been there.

23 Apr 2015

The Thing Called: Balancing Act

Chapter 3
The Thing Called: Balancing Act
The second day of Sensation '13 was christened Denim Day. Everyone, including faculty members wore denim. My girlfriend, a badminton player, was busy with a match. I reached the court just as she wound up her match and entered the quarter-finals.
Her: Just made it into the quarters! Wow! That outfit looks good on you.
Me: Thank you, and congratulations. Who is your next opponent?
Her: That girl in the red t–shirt, she is a strong player.
Me: Don’t worry, you can easily defeat her, I will be right here to cheer for you.
Her: Thank you, but that’s not necessary. Enjoy the other events, besides I feel pressurized when you are around.
Me: Ok. Promise me you will text me as soon as you finish. We will have lunch.
Her: Ok, now go.
As I left the court, I called Mourya but he didn't answer. I saw Monika – she looked fabulous. I asked her “Have you seen Mourya?” She said she had seen Mourya in the tug-of-war event at the ground.
Everybody was cheering him and why not? He was tall, muscular and handsome – a hunk. I also cheered for him, and then went into the shadow where I could sit and enjoy the match. As I saw everyone was looking different. The boys were in their best outfits, but the girls looked more attractive and sexy.
Everybody was either busy with their own thing or trying to grab someone's attention. I shoved my glasses in my jacket, and put my goggles on. A quick looked around later, I was engrossed in the match.
As I turned my head towards the ground, I heard the voice of a girl.
Girl: Excuse me, Samrat. Would you take one photo of our group?.
it was Yosha, the beauty with money, lots of money as we used to call her behind her back.
Me: Sure.
Yosha gave me her camera, a Canon 550 D. I took a photograph but, she asked for one more. I clicked again.
She came towards me,
Y: Show me, hmm, not good enough. Would you click one more?
I had used a Canon in the past and I tinkered with the functions, and then tried again.
Me: Now, it’s better.
I heard her friends giggling and knew what was happening as she stood next to me.
Y: Show me. Yes, it's really cool.
She stood very close to me, I could hear little giggling sounds from Yosha’s friends. I knew what was happening, but I pretended like I could not hear them.
Y: Are you a photographer or something?
Me: Yes, in a way you can say that.
Y: Would you take some close-ups?
Me: Yes.
Y: Where should I stand?
Me: Under that tree.
I clicked away while she posed and then suggested some poses. Some of her friends had left, while others requested me to take their photographs too.
I showed her the photographs. She liked them a lot, her and of course her friends' too. It was almost 1 pm, and everyone was hungry. She asked for my phone number before leaving, I gave it to her. And we said good bye.
Now there was nothing on the ground, the tug of war had ended. So I dialled my girlfriend’s number, her friend Kumud answered and said she was playing at the moment.
Me: What’s her status?
K: I guess, she is going to win the game, and will enter the semifinal.
Me: That’s nice. Ask her to call me when she is done with the game.
K: Ok.
As I disconnected the call, another one flashed, from an unknown number.
Me: Hello.
Caller: Hi, Samrat. Yosha here.
Me: Oh, hi. What's up?
Y: Where are you?
Me: Still at the ground where you left me.
Y: Would you come to the parking lot?
Me: Yes, what happened?
Y: Just start walking, I will tell you.
Me: Ok.
The parking lot wasn’t far from the ground.
Y: You really are a good photographer.
Me: Thank you.
Y: Why didn’t you tell me earlier? I would have saved a lot of money on photo shoots. My friends also agree with me on that.  It would be very rude if I didn’t invite you for a bite to say thank you. I am sure you must be hungry.
Me: Well, that’s not necessary.
As I was saying this, she drove up and opened the passenger door. Her two friends were in the back seat, she opened the door and signalled to me to hop in, I smiled a bit and hopped in.
Y: What happened? Why you are smiling?
Me: It’s nothing. Where are we going?
Y: Café Coffee Day.
We reached CCD in 10 minutes.
So, what else do you do, that I don’t know of?
Me: Just photography, that’s it.
As we were talking, Rupa, Yosha’s friend, got a call, and she immediately asked Yosha for the keys and took off with her friend.
Me: Is everything alright?
Y: Yes, she was expecting that call, it’s from her boyfriend. Uhh leave it, it’s her personal matter. So what do you want to eat?
Me: Sorry, but my tummy is full right now.
Y: This is not fair, you are embarrassing me. At least have some coffee.
Me: Sorry Yosha.
Y: I am letting you go this time, but that doesn’t mean you're free. You are definitely going to have lunch with me sometime.
Me: Sure.
While Yosha was at the counter for the order, I asked my girlfriend about her match. She had made the final.
Y: Are you sure you don’t want anything?
Me: Just a glass of water will be fine.
On her return, silence filled the space between us before I spoke up.
Me: Nice dress. You know, it's said it's more difficult for a girl to find the right pair of jeans than to find the right kind of boyfriend. I think you have found one.
Y: What?
Me: The jeans, they suit you.
Y: Thank you.
Y: How do you happen to have this information?.
Me: Well, let’s say it’s a simple observation.
Y: Hmm, so Mr. Observer what do your observations say?
Me: Hmm, what do you want to hear?
Y: Anything …
Me: Do you see that couple over there?
She nodded.
Me: They are going to break up with each other, in a few minutes.
Y: How can you say that?
Me: Just wait and watch.
She pointed at another couple.
Y: What about them?
Me: Well, that case is a little complicated. The boy is not in love with the girl, but the girl is completely in love with him. Look at his relaxed posture and compare it with the way she is leaning towards him. There is also a hint of a smile on her face, also her pupils are dilated.
Y: Are you some kind of Sherlock Holmes or something?
Me: Oh, you watch Sherlock Holmes?
Y: Yes. I'm a big fan of the serial and the movie.
Me: Hmm, what else do you watch?
Y: The L Word, GCB and Shameless.
I instantly understood why everybody in our college considered her to be different. I decided to dig deeper.
Me: Do you watch other genres too?
Y: Don’t judge me. I do watch other stuff too.
Me: No no, I am not. In fact, I am glad that I found someone who likes what I like.
She idly sipped her coffee.
Y: What do you watch?
Me: Friends, Entourage, The Good Wife, GCB and so on.
She was amused to hear that I watch GCB. She put the straw of her cappucino in her mouth, and took a sip playfully.
Me: Are you trying to seduce me?
Y: Am I? No!! Wait, are you being seduced by this?
Me: No, I'm not. But that is what I feel is happening.
Y: Well, here is the thing with seduction. Never ask a girl if she is trying to seduce you. Just feel it.
Me: Hmm. So what is your favourite movie?
Y: The Cook the Thief His Wife and Her Lover.
As she spoke, she put her toe between my feet, and dragged it upwards.
Me: That’s a nice movie. I have seen it.
Y: Oh really? You are interesting Mr Samrat Shirke. We should catch up more often.
I received a text message from my girlfriend. She had lost the final. I congratulated her for being the runner-up, and requested her to hurry as I was very hungry.
Me: Yes, we should. But right now something important has come up.
Y: Oh alright. Let me call Rupa.
Rupa arrived in a few minutes. I realised that it had been set up. She dropped me near college. While walking to college, I sent her a text message which read, “Whatever it was, it was good”.
I ran towards my girlfriend and congratulated her first.
Me: Congratulations on making the finals. Shall we eat? I am hungry.
Her: Why didn’t you eat?
Me: I didn’t get time.
Her: Ok, let’s go. Have you called Mourya?
Me: Just a second.
I dialled Mourya's number.
M: Yup bro. What’s up?
Me: Come to the coffee shop.
M: Will be there in no time.
We ordered two subjis, vegetable dishes, and six rotis.
As we started discussing each other’s experiences of the day, I touched her foot with mine. She noticed it immediately and removed her footwear, and caressed my foot with her toe as we smiled at each other.
M: Sammy, where have you been the whole day? And what was Yosha doing with you?
Me: She asked me to take her photographs, so I gave her a few suggestions for poses.
She pinched me with her toes.
Her: Hmm, how come we never got any ideas for poses. People change in a day, don’t they Mourya?
Me: (creasing her leg with my foot, which was saying I am sorry) Well, some people never asked for a pose. Sometimes, they don’t even care to join in for photographs with their friends. Am I right Mourya?
M: You guys, eat first. The subji is getting cold.
He waved  to the waiter.
M: Bhaiyya ek roti, Do you want any rotis?
Her: I am done.
Me: I will have one more.
M: Ok, make it three.
The waiter noted the order and walked off.
Her: I am not going to eat one more roti.
M: Who said it’s for you? Just order what you want. I am here to finish it.
Mourya and I laughed, as she made a face, despite which she looked beautiful. And in between our sweet conversations my phone rang, it was on the table, so she saw the name Yosha. They hummed in comprehension.
As I ended the conversation, she stared at me.
Her: Somebody is getting busy now-a-days.
Me: Yup with badminton, I guess?
M: Hey, I forgot. How was the match? Who won?
Her: Well, not me. I finished as the runner-up.
M: Congratulations. Bhaiyya today’s lunch is on her. Sammy, order what you want and don’t worry about the bill. We got the financer for today.
Me: No, this roti is enough for me.
M: Ok. Bhaiyya one more roti for me please.
Her: You are so greedy. I feel sympathy for that poor stomach of yours, which has to accommodate all that.