The Thing Called: Solid Support
It was an unwritten rule that the three of us would sit together to prepare for every exam – internal or semester. But this semester, it was going to be different. This separation had left me in pretty bad shape. I didn’t know what hurt me more, the break up with my girlfriend or my falling out with Mourya. But as the saying goes, as god has given us a stomach, he has also procured food from somewhere.
Three days before the third semester exam, I was in a dilemma. I wasn’t sure if I should give the exam or not. It was 10:30 in the morning and I got a text. I didn’t know what was happening to me. but for every text I used to get, I always used to pray in my mind that this time it must be her, but this time unfortunately, the text wasn’t from her, it was from Monika, saying the hall tickets had been issued and asking me to collect mine. I thought, if I was not giving the exam; why the hell should I collect my hall ticket? As I threw my mobile phone on the bed, my mother found me. She looked worried and asked me what happened.
Me: Why do you want to know if I am ok or not?
Mom: I am just asking son. If you don’t want to tell me, it’s ok. But don’t get upset on such a beautiful morning.
Upset, yes that was the word I was searching for, the emotion I was struggling with. I was upset because I had been beset with all these incidents. I wasn’t able to compartmentalize my feelings. I was restless, I felt suffocated. I was dying to get out of the situation, but didn’t know how. I was in desperate need of a friend who could guide and support me, pull me out of this quicksand. But the thing here was I couldn’t ask anyone to pull me out because I had promised her that I wouldn’t tell anybody about our relationship. I was stuck between quicksand and a desert storm. Where you can’t see anything, can't figure out where to go, neither can you call anyone for help. If I opened my mouth, everyone would come to know.
I decided I had to pull myself out of this situation on my own, I had to be strong. I needed to keep myself busy, surround myself with friends to forget about the ones gone by. So I decided to go to college where I knew I would find three or four of my friends at least.
When I reached college, I bumped into Jay. Almost 5.11”, slim fit shirt, tablet in one hand, black colour trousers, smile on the face. As I saw him, he waved to me, I gave him a smile. We called him JT. He was my classmate, but we were not close. Somehow I always felt I could not connect with him.
Me: How are you?
JT: I am fine. How are you?
Me: I am also fine.
JT: Are you? You don’t look fine. What’s the matter?
Me: Nah. I am fine. Believe me.
JT: Ok. We will discuss this later. Go and collect your hall ticket first.
Me: Did you collect yours?
JT: Nope. Fees not paid yet.
Me: Dude when are you going to do that? Just pay the damn fees, otherwise they will not allow you to sit for the exams.
JT: Well, that’s the fun part. They will have to allow me to sit for the exams. And I am not going to pay the fees till I get a placement from the college. See, this is my account balance.
He showed me his balance on his tablet, apart from the fee amount, he had Rs. 5,000 extra. That was the interest he had earned on depositing the fees with the bank.
Me: Well, you are one of a kind.
JT: I know that. Go and collect your hall ticket. I will collect mine on the day of the exam.
As I was stepping out after collecting it, I saw the notice board. My ex-girlfriend had been nominated for the sports scholarship. There were other nominees, but her chances were higher. I was excited and happy. I immediately called her to congratulate her.
Me: Hey, congrats.
Her: Congrats for what, Samrat? What is it this time? Please don’t irritate me. Our exams begin in three days. Please don’t disturb me.
Her: Now, please go and study, or do whatever you want. But please, let me study.
She cut the call.
Though she was upset with me, I felt happy because I had got a chance to hear her voice. Everyone around me was busy, so I went to the library. Many students, especially juniors, were busy gathering notes. I was looking at them and smiling. It was amusing to think about student life. Many gather in the library for notes or books when exams are knocking at the door. But if you ask them to attend college regularly, half of them will start bunking lectures from that very day. Those who attend lectures daily are either studious or they have girlfriends who like to sit through lectures. As I was thinking about this, JT came and sat beside me. He was reading the newspaper and there were three huge books on his table.
Me: JT, what are these?
JT: Ganu is coming to college. He asked me to get these books.
Me: So, you are going to start studying from today.
JT: Nope, from tomorrow. Today, I am just going to look at books so that my eyes will get accustomed to the colour and size. Ganu will decide what to read. What about you? When you are going to start?
Me: Haven’t decided yet. I don’t want to study or give the exam. I have been thinking that I will sit for the re-exams after two months. I will clear all the subjects then.
JT: Dude, this attitude doesn’t suit you. Come, lets study together.
Me: Yes, let’s see.
When I stepped out, Ganu had come to take the books. I accidentally bumped into JT, Ganu, and Rider as they were about to leave the college. It was an awkward moment.
Me: Got the notes?
Me: So, what are you guys going to do now?
JT: We will make food and take a nap. Do you wish to join? You haven’t seen our flat, have you?
JT: Come with us. We can have lunch together.
I followed him. It was a 2-bedroom flat, little did I know then that I would be spending some of the best moments of my life there.
I started spending more time with them. We developed a strong bond and an especially strong one with JT. I remember when JT landed a job, we celebrated by making sweets from scratch. He knew how to have fun. Any party was incomplete without him.
December 23, 2013. The booze kept flowing that night and we must have smoked innumerable packs of cigarettes. JT had invited around 30 people and everyone was punch drunk towards the end. By 1:30 am, most of them had left.
The party reminded me of the previous year’s party, “The Reunion” and how I had eventually proposed. I checked my mobile phone to see if there were any messages or calls. There was only one new message, it was from Monika. It said
'It's that time of the year again. A time to think of all your loved ones. A time to forget and forgive, and give all your loved ones a second chance. May the coming Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love. Merry Christmas!'
This message reminded me of how Monika had missed the chance of asking me out by just two days last year. This year though she had remembered and texted me at the same time. Looking at the message I smiled. JT asked me who the lucky girl was. I looked at JT and told myself that this time, Monika had texted me at the right time.
Me: JT, have you experienced love?
JT immediately took out his tablet and showed me the wallpaper.
Me: Who is she?
JT: She is my girlfriend. We have been together for the past five years.
Me: What? Are you serious?
JT: Yes, I am serious. I am going to marry her. Her parents also know about us. That’s why getting a job was very important. I am very happy today and threw this party.
JT belonged to a rich family. They owned huge tracts of land and many of his family members were politicians.
Me: Well JT, you are one lucky guy.
JT: Sammy, you must have noticed that most of the people who came here tonight were shocked to see you at the party.
JT: Because they have never seen you hanging out at a friend’s apartment or drinking. They have always seen you getting involved in some college event or doing something else. And I know that many girls in our college are dying to go out with you. I have been watching you over the past few months and you seem lost. You haven’t been involved in any college activity also. What is the matter? You know some wise man had said “What could be tree should not die as a plant”. And I believe that you have the potential to grow into a tree. So what is the matter with you?
Me: I have been going through a rough phase.
JT: Was it the break up?
Me: What? No, no, no. Not at all. Who told you that?
I wanted to tell him the truth and scream out loud, 'Yes. It was my fucking break up that had turned me into a wreck'. But I could not say this because I had promised someone. But in my heart I thanked him for being there for me.
JT: Well I don’t know the reason but if it was because of a relationship, then remember – this is just my observation. Guys like you should not get involved in relationships because your breed is different. Guys like you are meant to do the great things. There will be thousands of girls lining up for you.
If what JT said was true, then why not her? I didn’t want thousands of girls, I only wanted her. If she had said yes to my proposal exactly a year ago, then why couldn’t I ask her again right now, because Monika didn’t forget she also had some hope left, so why not me? I called up to ask.
Me: Hi, still awake?
Caller: Are you ok?
Me: I am ok.
Caller: How drunk are you?
Me: How did you know?
Caller: I am your elder brother dear. I can sense that you are pretty drunk right now.
Me: You are right. I must have had one full bottle. I called to tell you that I am going to call her one last time. If she says no, I am not going to call her or talk to her ever again.
Bro: My dear little brother, always remember that we belong to a royal family. If that girl says she doesn’t want to be with you, then respect her decision. A gentleman never calls a woman at night and especially not in the condition that you are in. If you want to call her, get sober and ask her politely. Now, go to sleep.
The very next day, as soon as I woke up the next day, I called her. I had come to know from Monika that she had got a job in Chennai but I pretended I was hearing this news for the first time.
We spoke over the phone for almost an hour, but I did not bring up the topic of our relationship. To this day, I don’t know why.