Reviewed by Padu and Ironmonkey.
Everything around came crashing down on me. I could see Shantanu getting into a duel with the placement officers. May be he was arguing about how they could change the criteria all of a sudden. I knew it was hopeless. What can a final year student do against the authorities, who controlled our entire placement process, and had the control over our placement offers?
I gathered strength to urge Anu to go for it. “Just go. Prove that’s not something out of our reach.” I forced a meek smile, “All the best” and I turned towards our hostel.
I was all alone in our room. We had classes that day. Clearly I had no idea of going to the classes or anywhere else for that matter. I wished there was someone, someone to share my thoughts with, share before all my neurons disintegrated. At the same time I preferred to stay alone, I detested the idea of people pitying me.
I tried to get some sleep, but I couldn’t. I turned on Sangi’s Laptop, and checked for movies or something at all, that could keep me away from the worldly hell. I was skimming through every folder, mind kept loitering somewhere.
The very thought of facing my parents was bone chilling. The embarrassing thought of explaining this to my juniors almost killed me. Finally the thought about Shantanu, though I had no hope whatsoever in getting over the break-up, but somewhere in the depths of me, amidst all these brain eating thoughts his name silently drained the last of my blood.
I opened and closed three movies. Nothing was powerful enough to pull me in. I convinced myself there was nothing more to come. I told myself ‘Nothing can break me down. I am strong enough.’ A statement which made me weaker with every time I repeated it. Only then I noticed mobile flashing with Shantanu’s picture.
A cold feeling crept into me. I tried to answer the call with my hands shaking. Before my fingers could respond, the call died. I noticed there were 6 missed calls, all from him. I was wondering whether to call him back. Before I could make a decision the mobile flashed again.
I picked it up without second thoughts, with the first thought being, ‘The worst is over. No better bad news waits’.
Before I could say anything, “I know I shattered all your dreams. I can never forgive myself. I am not asking you to pardon me, but… I think I am going mad. I am..” Breaks!! In Shantanu’s words! Is he sobbing or what!! Mind raced with thoughts.
“Hey come on. There is nothing wrong on your part. Calm down. I want to see you.”
“Elvi I can never face you again. I..”
“Just come.” And I cut the call. I wondered whether I should feel happy about this. ‘Shantanu crying on the phone.’ For a moment I forgot everything. I had tears in my eyes. I didn’t know why. I quickly dressed myself, fumbled with my make up kit, and ran down to our usual meeting spot.
Shantanu walked towards me from the other side of the deserted road. I tried hard to control my excitement. I just stood there before him.
“Say something Elvia. For heavens sake accuse me please.” He was soliciting. It definitely was funny to see a man of his kind doing something like that. ‘Is he mad?’
“I broke your dreams. I..” He caught my hands “Hit me. Please hit me.”
“Hey cool it. You have nothing to do with me losing. I was equally guilty. It’s me who selfishly asked you to be my project mate, in spite of you wanting to stick with your helpless friends.”
“But… at least for my sake. Hit me”
I gave him a good punch in his abdomen, which startled him for a moment. I didn’t know whether I was angry with him, or over excited. He caught his stomach with his hands, and sat down in the pavement.
I sat next to him. Both of us were laughing. Some unknown feeling, an exotic bliss crept into our veins. We didn’t speak for a long time. We just sat there.
Finally I broke the silence, “So will you love a loser, who lost her only ambition in life.”
“Will you love a 7 pointer with an arrear?”
We laughed again forgetting about anything and everything, lost in our private world.