Reviewed by Ironmonkey.
The next morning everything was back to normal, the new semester, placement mania and everything. I was filled with some exotic bliss. I felt happy for my understanding parents, loyal friend and the one person, who could replace everyone else Shantanu.
I wondered, whether I had anything to worry about. I didn’t give any thoughts about attending any other company’s placement. The seventh semester was pretty interesting and easy.
Life has become light. That evening Shantanu called for a date, and we went to one of the less frequented beaches in the city. I had plenty to talk, everything that happened during the two months of semester holidays.
After more than an hour, I realized something was bothering him in some corner of his mind. I saw that something was wrong in his sweet smile. I wondered whether he still worried about the lost dream of mine.
I was in a dilemma to ask about it. The evening was pleasant, the cool breeze, the gentle rhythm of the waves, the ambience of the dusk, the silky smooth sand and the warm shoulders on which I was leaning. I didn’t want to disturb all this by asking ‘what’s wrong?’
After sometime as it got darker we started walking towards the road to get a bus back to our college. My mind raced about venturing the question. He would often say, ‘There is no hiding between us. Never ever give a second thought about asking for an explanation regarding anything. This is the secret of happy living.’
I broke the internal tension, “What’s bothering you?”
“Me? Bothered? No nothing.”
“Someone used to say something about happy living.”
“Well sharing that is good for nothing.”
“It’s not always about solving a problem together, but it’s about sharing a problem together.” I gave a response in the philosophical speaking standards of Shantanu.
His face wore a grimace, “We have college elections in a week.”
“That’s something to be cheered about. What’s wrong with that? With the efforts you had taken and the methods you have used last year there must be no doubt about our victory.”
His grimace grew wider this time. It clearly expressed something painful, “Victory is only for those who compete.”
“Enough of this tricky nonsense. Tell me what it is.”
“I can’t contest for the presidency.”
“Yes. Don’t you know that students with a current arrear can’t contest for college presidency?”
Only now I realized the impact of Shantanu’s arrear. If it was Microsoft for me, it was college presidency for Shantanu. As I was called ‘Microsoft’, his friends used to tease him as ‘Mr.President’. I wondered how many times I have addressed him ‘Mr.President’ myself.
All that was pleasant and good suddenly turned dull with a deep color of melancholy. The butterfly effect of an act of cheating in a mini-project, leading to an arrear, and hence losing our life’s dream hurt me from the inside.