Tarun knew that she was waiting for some sort of a conversation between them, just as eagerly as he was. And, as he saw her eating alone in the college canteen, he was tempted to give his ego a rest, and ask her for explanations. Hate is always a burden, his mother would tell him when he was a child. Yet, he walked off through the gates of the college. Surely, it was just a passing thought, and he would regret it dearly if he succumbed to it.

The events leading up to this had to be forgotten. But, fresh as they were, and with the focus of his universe now on Garima, he could only try in vain.

****

On the way to the bar, Tarun wondered why Garima had not come to his place before going to the bar by herself. “Most unusual, but understandable. She could have been near the bar itself, and called me instead of making the logical error of coming to my place first, and then going. Waste of time, it would have been. Besides, there is no rulebook or anything between us that says that we should enter together. In fact, it is the girls who get sensitive over such silly things. Now, that she herself has done it, I can do it myself in the future.”, he thought while on the auto.

Once, he entered the bar he saw Garima smile. Tarun smiled back, as he quickly approached the table where she was sitting with mutual friends. And, just to relay the message that he wasn’t offended by her coming here alone, he gave her a quick kiss on her cheek.

“You guys have ordered.”, he asked (whether it was a question or a statement, Tarun himself was not clear) as he sat down. He had just noticed how two amongst them were already having some whiskey.

“We are here since evening. Now, you’ve arrived and night has come.”, a friend who was known to be a drunkard and the relayer of some silly thoughts that he felt was profound.

The six of them on the table laughed at the randomness of the dialogue. “One big bakchod, you are.”, he said to his friend. All was well, everybody seemed to love everybody, and as chance would have it, a popular song blared through the speakers, and all of them sang along. The speakers would turn on at 9, every night and from there on, people had to speak in loud voices to get their message across.

Half an hour later though, Garima saw another guy from their class, and went on to greet him. Tarun was unfazed, and continued the usual drinking. His friend had brought up the topic of Football, and he having read a few interesting essays online, began to narrate an anecdote relating to the club his friend supported. It portrayed the club in a good light, and his friend was pleased to hear it.

Soon, it was clear that Garima had gone not just to meet this guy, but had in fact taken a seat next to him and was even conversing. Tarun did not want to appear as an insecure human, and ignored her absence for another 20 minutes. After that, he couldn’t take it any longer. He stared right at their table, and kept staring. His friends too were observing all this, and even though they were sympathetic towards Tarun, they did not dare speak anything.

Garima was not making any eye contact. Purposely, it seemed to Tarun. Why is she doing this, he had no clue. He walked up to their table appearing normal like an actor playing his part. Before he could say anything, the guy greeted him with ‘What’s up?’. Tarun instinctively said, “Nothing much.”, which he had decided to use everytime that question was asked.

“We are ordering another round. Do you want to order?”, he said now looking at Garima. He did not want to create a scene.

“No, you guys order. I’ll come in another ten minutes or so.”

“Cool.”, Tarun said with a nod of his head.

“What happened?”, his friends asked him, once he returned to the table.

“Even, I have no clue what happened or what is happening.”

One thing was clear to Tarun. In 10 minutes, if she did not come back, he would pay his share of money and walk towards his home. The comforting place, which had given him an escape so many times in the past was becoming a burden now.

****

Garima didn’t come in 10 minutes, and for the next two working days he avoided college just because he could not stand to see her. Tarun, experienced one of the most acute phases of restlessness in his life. Various types of logic, memories and even a wild hope of an apology from her side, passed through his mind in fragments, and sometimes two thoughts collided at once leaving him shaken and disconcerted. He expressed himself to his friends, “If at all, she had felt that I am not the right guy, then at least she should have spoken to me about it. That is what most sane people do. What kind of a ridiculous thing this is.”,

“It must have been that friend of hers. She must have poisoned her mind, with lies regarding me.”,

“I am not initiating anything, under any circumstances. There is something called as self-respect also. I am not even going to demand an explanation from her.”,

“What do I do, if we looked good together. I did not do anything, and I will not do anything.”,

“This sort of unique bad luck is there in my fate.”

****

The night before he decided to re-enter college, he had a small brainwave inspired by a song suggested to him by a friend over Facebook. There was a line, which when translated to English said, “Why do we crib so much, so what if the heart broke. It was a toy made of glass. It broke. Let it be, my friend, and do not think about how it happened, why it happened, when it happened.”

“This was the end of the story.” he said, to himself, “and I shouldn’t let it continue even mentally. There maybe phases where it will instinctively return, like the cravings of a junkie, but it will go away. Besides, god is great, and this bad luck will be compensated by some good luck in the future.”

Feeling positive, he decided to go to the college the next day. Only, to find that the feelings had not subsided after all. “They will, eventually.”,he advised himself and waited for the class to begin, so that he could concentrate on what was being taught and distract himself.

The classes were over prematurely, and Tarun made his way to the library. Not because, he had an appetite for books, but because he wanted there to be a sufficient time gap between Garima’s exit from the college, and his. Yet, on the way out, he saw her sitting in the canteen. Probably, she too must be waiting for a conversation.

It is in that precise moment, that this story began.

________

bakchod – one who speaks shit. (Personally, I love that word and could not find a substitute for it in English.)

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