Reviewed by Srivatsan and Ironmonkey.
I couldn’t sleep peacefully that night. His words, false words kept ringing in my ears, “Good that I am not the president. It takes too much of my time. I couldn’t even afford to spend enough time with you.”
He was not that good a pretender to me. His smile filled with grief said it all. I spent the whole night regretting my piggishness for better grades. If only I had left him do the project with his friends. It doesn’t matter anymore. It’s all over.
Shantanu was offered the leadership of the college symposium committee the previous year, but as there was ‘One person One Post’ rule, he rejected the offer. His close friend Vignesh was made the head of the committee.
As soon as the elections were over Vignesh readily came forward to give up his leadership to Shantanu. But Shantanu politely refused to accept it promising all possible help.
Days went by. Now we had nothing else to worry about. All we had to do was attend classes, and study if at all there was an exam the next day. I lost interest in my voracious mark race. I never cared who topped the class in any paper.
We had to choose our Final year project(FYP) guides and the topics in which were about to do that. Shantanu chose to do some software that would help individual stock market investors. The software is expected to do all technical analysis on any given stock over any given period by collecting data from the internet.
I badly wanted to do the project with him. Not for acquiring good grades in our FYP, but I enjoy every moment spent with him. But Shantanu again wanted to do it with his friends stating that the project has more to do with Stock trading and less with programming, and hence it wouldn’t be valued good by the panel.
I never cared anymore about any valuations. But I didn’t want to force him again to desert his friends. I choose another project in DSP, and I did it with Anu and Sindhu.
A big list of big companies flocked our campus. People spent hours together before the placement cell waiting for their interviews or results. The class attendance hung around 60% as the rest of them used to be attending the placements. At times we cancelled all the classes for the day as more than half the class would have left for placements.
The semester was fun with people walloping on their selection, and others kvetching everyone for they not getting through. Weekend movie plans were now replaced by placement treats. Anu was yet to give a treat for Mic.
Divya got into Cisco. Divya and Anu planned to give their placement treats together. A big list of invitees was prepared. Sindhu, Sangi, Swarna, Thamarai, Palani, Hari and many others were short-listed to be called for the treat.
The final list was a strong 30. Shantanu was given the responsibility of taking care of the booking and other arrangements. Vignesh and Shantanu left to the restaurant an hour before in Vignesh’s bike. We arranged auto-rickshaws for other girls. I, Anu, Sindhu, Sangi, Thamarai were all dumped into Revathi’s Tata Indica.
It was a Wednesday afternoon. We had no classes in the afternoon. Divya and her classmates had one class, and they readily bunked it for the treat. We reached the restaurant by 2.15PM.
The green board with the name Barbeque Nation with its tagline ‘The world on a Grill’ welcomed us. Shantanu was at the reception guiding us to the hall. The restaurant in general had tables spread normally. There was one little hall with 6 tables. We had booked it entirely for us.
In the privacy of the hall we behaved no less than barbarians of Barbeque Nation. The servers were all almost petrified. They struggled to keep in pace with our eating pace to serve the starters. The grill was of no use as the chicken or anything that was placed on the grill was consumed in no time.
A few choose beer as their complimentary drink, and the competition on who would do a bottom sip in the least time was intense with Sindhu almost spewing the beer on her shoes. Sangi commented that I would have won the beer bottom sip contest if only Shantanu was sitting in the next table. Laughter filled the table with me hurriedly silencing them.
Ours was a big table with 12 chairs other tables had either 5 or six chairs. The pleasant ambience of the room was filled with loud chatters. The hall maitre d’ would have felt relieved as we were allotted the hall or the decorum of the restaurant would have been put at stake.
After the first course we moved out of the hall to the buffet. Another competition begun and it was the best barbarian competition. People used soup bowls for icecreams and mixed jammuns with icecreams. I didn’t think it was that bad, but mixing jammuns with chicken soup!
It was one hell of a treat. We stayed there till 5PM and we were the last to leave the place. A few people carried cakes with them eating them as they left the place. Anu had invited Kiran to the treat as well. He was working in Symantec and he paid some amount when Anu found out that she was a little short of the bill.
We reached college around six. I spent some time with Shantanu before going back to our room. We cheerfully talked about the treat. Both our minds had the thoughts that we should have been one of the hosts, but it doesn’t matter.
I was no more the computer science cynosure, and the Shantanu was no more the majestic Mr.President. Yet it never mattered. We had each other. Life was so good to think about what’s lost and past.
I walked back to hostel without any thoughts about having the messy dinner at the mess. Stomach felt like it would never again ask for food in my life time, with my heart as filled as my stomach with bliss.