I had already posted part of this post earlier. Due to a small inclusion I had to delete the old one and have re-posted it. Kindly bear with the confusion. A reference to the post titles of the last 4-5 posts will do. Thank you.
Dad spoke normally. But I felt there was something strange in the way he spoke. I convinced myself that I was assuming things.
I couldn’t bear mom and dad urging me to attend a dream placement. So I resorted to go to Bangalore to do interns in the company in which I already did interns after my fourth semester exams.
Unfortunately Manikandan was sent to Germany on an onsite contract. Gokul who replaced Manikandan as Team leader was only too eager to welcome me, and he readily accepted my application to do interns.
I was skeptical, and I asked Shantanu about it. “There is nothing to worry about. He will be fine. You take up the interns for the good.” Shantanu told me reassuringly.
As said the interns went on pretty well, and Gokul was engaged to a girl, who was working in another team in the same company. The amiability and genial treatment of the team members was the same.
Anu was doing interns with Microsoft. We both stayed together. We hung around the city almost every evening. In less than a week we had explored almost every single store in MG road.
On a Saturday we completed our exploration of the Lido mall with a matinee in the theatre watching Singh is King. The next day Shantanu came to Bangalore.
I was really missing him in just a week’s time. I was excited about meeting him after a week, as if that was my first ever date. However effectively the technological developments have shrunken the gaps, nothing can match the bliss of talking to him with his eyes wetting me with love, and the warmth of sitting next to him.
Shantanu and I started as early as possible to Lalbagh. We walked through the serene beauty of the botanical garden, the man-made beauty of Mother Nature. There were quite a few people in the park, and we enjoyed the deserted beauty in the company of each other.
To keep myself warm in the December cold, or in the excuse of keeping me warm I let my left arm bind tightly to his right, and hold on to him keeping myself as close to him as possible. Shantanu had a tinge of uneasy feel in such acts of love in public places, but I didn’t mind making him feel queasy.
We sat on a park bench. I never let loose of my hold on him. “Seriously dear, do you have any intention of breaking loose my arm from my shoulders?” he said with a sardonic smile.
I frowned, and let go of his hand. He turned to his bag, and pulled out a cute little pink teddy bear with a red heart tied to its neck. He gave it to me with a grin. “Open it.”
Just then I noticed it was not a doll, but a hand bag. I anxiously opened the bag for surprises like a kid opening her Christmas presents. All I found was a pocket hard-disk. I frowned.
“Er- sorry I couldn’t think of any useful present for a computer science engineer.” He told me with all the color drain out of his face with an embarrassment strained smile. He looked like a kid, who was caught red handed by his mom while stealing candies.
I broke out a laugh at his expression. “You could have very well stopped with this hand bag this is cute in itself, why do you bother to load me with more storage devices?”
“Well I get such stuff cheap from my uncle’s shop here.” He said with an impish smile.
“You tightwad…” I punched him on his shoulders.
“Ouch that hurts. I at least care to gift you with something..” he stopped at mid sentence.
I turned to my bag, and took out the jewel case. “Open it.”
I could clearly see he was taken back by the 5 gram gold chain with a 7 gram kitty pendent. He was speechless for a few moments staring at the chain, holding the pendent in his palm.
“Are you weighing it or what?”
“Hey…” he swallowed. “How much did this cost?”
“How ill-mannered of you, to ask for the price of a gift?” It was my turn to wear his impish smile.
“Must have costed a good deal, but I have told you not to spend our parents money for each other.”
“This is my own money. You are not the only person who earns. Remember I had already done an intern, and have also been doing free lance projects. You always told me, ‘The best way of spending money is to invest it.’ I also wanted to gift you. So now 2 in1”
He shared my grin. He attempted to put the case in his bag, but I insisted upon him wearing it. “This kitty should always keep reminding you of your rich ambitions.”
We spent the rest of our time walking around the park. After lunch in a near by restaurant he intended to leave, I protested but to no avail. I bid him good bye at the majestic station.
The rest of the days in Bangalore went on with me and Anu having fun, with Anu often teasing me by touching my handbag.
We came back to college, after a fortnight of semester holidays. Shantanu who faintly kept suggesting me to attend a dream placement every now and then fearing my fury was let down by my results.
“What on earth is wrong with you?”
“Nothing” I said casually.
“Nothing” I could feel the heat when he snorted. “You say nothing. After that you have got a 7.8”
“Well why does it matter anyway? I have still passed, and I don’t think Infy would feel bad to take me with that.”
“Stop talking about Infy. Don’t act as if you are satisfied with it. Do you know what this has cost you? Your CGPA is now less than 9. All these years of your shrewd hardwork ..”
“-is worth a shit, and would stop me from attending a placement for one stupid arrear.” I completed the sentence.
“Stop talking about it. There were other companies which pay good, and whose placements won’t mind that ‘stupid arrear’.”
I didn’t respond. After a while he gave up. His shoulders slumped, and he looked at the ground below.
“Honey, you always wanted to score more than me in at least one semester, and you did now. You scored 8.5 this semester. You should feel happy about it. It’s all about making each other happy.”
“Happy!!! At the cost of your grades!”
We left the conversation with that. The semester went on as the previous one, with me staring out of the window dreamily lost all interest in academics. Life seemed so beautiful with nothing to worry about; grades, internals, lessons, notes or anything for that matter. I was a complete blithe spirit.