Monday, June 29, 2009
Win some, lose some
The story as promised …………………………….
(All characters in this story are fictional and any resemblance to people in real life, living or dead, is purely coincidental)
Mehek was the highlight of this batch of corporate trainees just out of engineering school. As usual, the guys spared no efforts to make this evident to her. She was the Rajput princess – wheatish complexion, coffee brown eyes and straightened hair, her pony tail was really like a pony’s tail. However, she held no airs about her beauty. Right from the day I entered this training batch I knew that Radhik would be the most talked about guy. He looked the dare devil types but later I realized he was cent percent insane with not even an iota of sanity. Grey matter he did have, no wonder he was a programming wizard. On the other hand, Subroto was the mama’s boy getting his first taste of freedom outside his city of joy, beloved Kolkata. With such a star cast, or rather, should I say ‘characters’ the stage was set for a roller coaster ride of mind games , deception , romance etc.
Pune is considered to be the city of two wheelers and rightly so, the city has a very poor network of public transport like buses. Radhik had his own Royal Enfield motorbike which made him self-reliant as far as transportation was concerned. Though Mehek was never the matlabi types she realized that in a new city with no friends, befriending Radhik was not a bad idea. As it always happens, intentions of care and friendship from the fairer sex are usually received with lust and opportunism by the males. Mehek knew this very well but she knew her limits and if she was my daughter or sister I would bank on her decisions. The point of convergence for both was that they believed in working hard and partying harder but in a recession hit era none of the other trainees were willing to take chances. That meant most of their other colleagues would have working weekends spent in office without letting their hair down. Pune had the malls , ice-cream parlours , theatres , pizza huts and McDonalds which never disappointed people looking for fun and frolic on a day out. Rajput princess and Delhi biker made most of this on their weekends. They looked every bit the stereotypical mismatched couples which are a common sight in Pune.
Heyo ! ~.. Na-Na-Na!~ .. Na-Na-Na! !~, played the hip-hop dummy lyrics of a Hindi song on Subroto’s cell phone while he banged his head. Subroto knew that she was stuff that dreams are made of but he dared to dream that dream, though everybody including himself knew he stood no chance. Nonetheless, he built castles in air. Mehek was the elusive desert rose he adored and wanted to pursue. It was apparently nothing but a kiddish puppy love with no meaning and consequence. Subroto knew nothing about love and all the warped notions he had about attraction and romance came from the kilos of movies he had watched in his otherwise insignificant existence. As much as the sight of Mehek would stir him, seeing her with Radhik was agony for him. Subroto could never be discreet about anything and same was the case in this situation, everything was out in the public domain which in his case did not help his cause at all. He refused to recognize this bitter fact.
Radhik shared a good rapport with Subroto and if it was not for Mehek then they might well have been buddies for life. Subroto knew Radhik had a way with women and sought advice from him about wooing Mehek. Radhik promised to guide him and in a way guaranteed success for him. Radhik’s room mate and friend Vikram knew all the time that Radhik would do no such thing but he could not be articulate about this to Subroto. Subroto was doomed for disappointment in love but he still dared to dream and Radhik’s promise came as a thin ray of hope. At last, Subroto could hang out with ‘the’ princess and he did not mind Radhik’s presence at all. Radhik would get touchy with Mehek but Subroto overlooked that, but sometimes he would cry alone fearing that Radhik would confirm his worst fears.
In the meanwhile, the corporate training was coming toward its last phases and getting rigorous and brain racking. The company could no longer sustain the trainees and on Christmas Eve decided to send them all on a long undefined sabbatical to survive on love and fresh air (love was no option for Subroto). The HR personnel used polished language and assured the trainees that the company was committed to forward their careers. Nobody believed that and the vibes of disappointment and dejection filled the atmosphere for the remaining days of the trainings.
Amidst all the chaos, Subroto could find a quantum of solace in his dreams. Once while chatting with Mehek , he dropped hints about his feelings towards her. Surprisingly, the usually calm princess freaked out and shouted profanities at him. However, the wrath was not towards him. She was already committed back home in Udaipur and she did not like guys asking her out. In her fit of rage, she admitted that even Radhik had expressed such feelings towards her and she was surely not amused. Subroto was frozen. Radhik had deceived him, Mehek did not care, and all this added to an uncertain career transported him to the depths of despair. Dreams shattered !
Dreams held in my eyes
Dreams of glass shattered
The fragments hurt my eyes
Weep I tears of blood
Mehek and Radhik, though not in a relationship according to the grapevine, continued to be the best of friends .They decided to visit Goa on a weekend. Subroto saw this as salt on his wounds but he was powerless as usual , he felt his princess was acting cheap by going out with a guy just for fun when she was already committed to someone. Mehek left the office but forgot to take her cell phone with her. Subroto saw it but he could not figure out how he could inform her because that was her sole contact number and the handset was in his hands. Subroto was perfectly well-mannered but his curiosity got the better of him and he decided to read her sms. Far from what he expected , the messages were very surprising. Most of the sms were from a foreign number. He looked up the country code of the number and found that most of the messages were from Dubai. Mehek never mentioned about connections in Dubai. Women are complicated, it is well known, but the messages baffled Subroto.
Her inbox :
“Send the fool alone to Goa with the package and then he gets his stuff”
“No money, he has to pay in kind”
Her Sent sms:
“Yes boss, will get done”
“Yes boss, done!”
Who was the fool?.... Who was Mehek reporting to with such submission ? .. Such queries cluttered Subroto’s smart but relatively innocent mind. Should he ask her? NO! , he did not like what he saw. It sickened him. Suddenly, Mehek entered the office drenched in sweat, she asked about the cell phone. Subroto pretended to know nothing. He also realized that it was already 4 PM, the time her bus was scheduled for departure. Was she not leaving? Subroto felt like asking but something stopped him. Mehek made a quick exit with her phone looking a lot more relieved then when she had entered. Subroto could not keep this to himself. He knew he would be ridiculed by his friends. Who could he share this with? He decided to leave office , go home and have a good nap to forget it all.
As he left office, he met his Java programming trainer Karan. Karan’s bald plate and French beard made him look profound. It was as if the vibe possessed Subroto and he told Karan all about what had happened. As expected, Karan listened carefully and gave a good thought to it. Karan was disappointed because Mehek was his favourite student but he knew something was fishy about all this. He spoke to his friend, Police Inspector Joshi. Joshi promised to look into the matter .
Subroto sleepily opened the door next morning. The newspaper was a surprise.
SECURITY ATTACK FOILED!
Mehek and Radhik’s pictures featured on the first page.
POLICE FOILS ATTEMPT OF BLACKMAILED DRUG ADDICT TO TRANSPORT RDX FROM PUNE TO GOA.
Subroto was no where in the picture but he felt proud and relieved. The phone rang. It was Karan.
He laughed and said “Good Morning !… Congrats!”
Subroto smiled and replied “Good morning Sir, thanks!”
Karan asked “Weekend hai, movie dekhne chale? “
Subroto replied in the affirmative.