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  • Wednesday, 12 December 2007


    The examinations are over - a few days ago. Was it three days or four days? After the exams, one day merged into another. I have already lost count.

    Relief. I studied hard. Dad felt otherwise is another matter. All I know is that the effort was hard on me. I could have done better in the exams. Doubts about things I knew well, (OK, I had thought I knew well) did me in. The relief is not because the results will satisfy dad. Nothing satisfies him anyway. The relief is because the long dreaded thing is over.

    The fourth or the fifth day after the exams, I am in a cyber café. I want to check mail. Not that I expect much. All my friends were busy with their exams too and wouldn’t have written. It is kind of dull.

    I get into the booth. Log in. More spam than mails. Tell me something new. I have just enough money for an hour at the café. I don’t want to sit here for an hour. In a day or two there would be more mails. I will sit for more time then. Let me see if I can get more money by then. Mom will give me if I am nice enough. (Dad will blow a fuse if he heard me now. Calling Amma mom really gets “his goat” as he calls it. He will also blow a fuse if he knows that I got some more money to sit at the café. And calling him dad ….)

    Ten rupees for 15 minutes, That’s enough for today, to purge the inbox of spam. I open the chat window just to see if anyone is ‘alive’. What madness, thirty rupees for an hour, but ten for 15 minutes. No one seems to be online. What a bore. Let me close it too and go. Pinnnnnng….. there is a message. What? My god! It is her! (Or is it ‘It is she’? Who cares, except dad and ‘PTS’ – the English teacher) Now I know why I was feeling off colour. That ‘fight’ with her when I had gone to the school to get the hall ticket, (Next year, it will be “when I had been to the college to get the hall ticket”. Not the fight I hope ..) We had not talked again! I thought she will never talk to me again. I had been rude. But she was the one who started it all by acting funny. Someone told her something about me. And she started asking me all those questions. What do I do? Close the window and go and save the money for later?

    OK, I will just say hello.




    God! One hour over. I have to go now or the snobbish girl at the counterl . . . .She will take the thirty rupees and I can pay the rest later. Anyway, I don’t like the superior look she gave me last time I ran out of money. I am leaving. Bye, I am off, Hurried good byes. I wonder where she is. Instead of this stupid sweaty café, we could have had ice creams somewhere. “Where are you?” Cyber café. Big deal. Aaaaaaas if. As if she has internet connection at home. She told me she does not have. Why should I ask which café? As if I would run after her if she told me.

    I wonder which café she is in. What if she is in this one? Dad would say that I could start writing scripts for Kannada movies. If he at least said Hindi movies……. I have to go now. Bye

    I come out of the booth, Which pocket did I put the money into? Freeze! Dive right back into the booth. There she is at the counter, paying the bill. Fool! Why did I not ask her first thing where she was?

    Sunday, 9 December 2007


    A busy day. Too many things happening but not all of them the way they should.

    An urgent need to consult and take the permission of the boss, to take a particular course of action. So, he walks up the stairs to the boss’s chambers. At the landing of the stairs, facing it, sits a PYT.

    Wow, thinks he. Good that I have this problem and this solution that needs the boss’s OK.

    He goes in and the boss’s secretary informs him that the PYT has passed the initial rounds of tests and interviews and is waiting for the final dekko by the boss man.

    Hope she gets the job, he thinks.

    Busy day passes. Two busy weeks pass.

    A fortnight later there is a colleague taking the very same PYT around and introducing her to her new colleagues.

    It is his turn now. He says, “You have already joined? It was only a fortnight ago that you were interviewed!” It is a wonder since the whole process of interviews, decisions, job offer, acceptance and reporting for duty could take more than a month.

    She looks him straight in the eye and remarks, “You have an excellent memory! You saw me just once and only for a few seconds!”

    Of course he has an excellent memory. When it comes to PYTs.

    He returns the complement. Your memory is excellent too. You saw me just once and for the same few seconds too.

    Then it hits her! Blush…….. awkward silence. He smiles and releases her from it all. “

    “In any case, welcome to the company. I hope you enjoy working here. Wish you all the best”

    The guy doing the honours does not understand what is happening. It is all happening too quickly and he does not know the circumstances. So he lets it pass and takes her to the next colleague for introductions.

    Days and weeks pass.

    One evening, as he leaves the factory for home, he sees the PYT standing in the bus stand. The factory is far off from the city and the buses are few and far between. So, he is “chivalrous” and offers her a lift on his scooter. It is accepted with alacrity.

    They start a conversation, back to front, eyes unable to meet. Against the wind, above the engine noise – A Bajaj Super for chrissake, above the rattle of the vehicle on the bad road.

    She asks him, “Where do you live?”

    “At home”. Very helpful.

    She makes it simpler for him, “with your parents?” He really looks much younger than his thirty-five years. Much, much, younger, in fact.

    “No, with my wife and two sons”

    “What?” she exclaims. No "pardon me", mind you. The scooter sways a bit.

    He soon brings it under control. It was just a small sway, anyway.

    He confirms the answer.

    Silence. They reach the bus stop inside the city limits, where she can catch the next bus and go home.

    End of conversation, Hurried byes. Formal thanks, Equally formal dismissal of thanks, No problems at all. A pleasure, in fact, . . .

    End of the story . .