Saturday, April 27, 2013

Finding Love | Chapter-5 | The invoice of love

Love is a strange thing. More i think about the events that unfolded on that Sunday, the more i am convinced about the strangeness of love. Luv always said that love is around us- we just need to see it. He would be holding my hand and talking to me while walking across the crowded Brigade road but still he would be looking around. He would usually speak in metaphors and i was a women of literals.It was difficult for me to relate to what he said. But then i was in love.

I had planned for a beautiful Sunday afternoon in Luv's company. First a two course meal-lemon rice followed by lots of curd rice and then watching the most successful movie ever in my vernacular language. Although till that time he was not completely conversant in my native language but for him language was a non determinant in a relationship. On the day he proposed me sitting on a drop vehicle at the end of a night shift, he said that love only understands one language and that language is the language of heart. I thought he was talking about the acoustical patterns we hear while using a stethoscope on a person's chest but he made it clear that he meant emotional connection. So with my expectations soaring high  i called him a day before that fateful Sunday. But my hopes were shattered when he told me his schedule was already set for the next day. He was invited by his friends Ank and Amir for a lunch. If ever anything annoyed me more than non vegetarian food was Luv's friend circle. He along with his friends were part of the great human migration from north India to Bangalore that took place during the early stages of  the IT bubble. Before Luv introduced me to them my understanding of north Indians was that geographically they lived north of Vindhya mountain ranges and spoke Punjabi. However to my utter amazement it turned out that his friends were from various parts of India like West Bengal, Assam and even Kerala . Their parents had emigrated to central India during the socialist era to get into government jobs as there was a scarcity of skilled labor in those parts. And like past repeating itself, these immigrant population was again migrating to Bangalore to overcrowd our streets. They would make lewd jokes and swear openly with utter disregard of the neighbourhood. But what annoyed me most that they would make fun of Luv. Specially the two cousin brothers -Deepu and Jeetu who would spare no expenses in ridiculing him. I do not why Luv S Chauhan who belonged to a respected Rajput family would take crap from such people. Each time we went to meet his friends, he would do a lot of explaining later to  make me understand that they don not mean anything seriously. Also in his circle was JJ who due to no particular reason always competed with Luv. Then there was Amir who was obnoxious and tried hard to appear smart. Ank was the one who was most intelligent among the pack and i conversed with him more often than others. Every time these guys would get together they would indulge in drinking and smoking and making fun of each other.
Due to all these reasons I was enraged at the idea of Luv spending an entire Sunday with this company instead of being with me. This resulted in a heated altercation over the phone followed by heinous name calling and stereotyping . I told him i would never call him again and ended the call. I thought he would call me in the evening or at night but he did not. Next morning i could not take it anymore and decided to call him. His phone was unreachable. I redialed his number repeatedly in the hope that it would connect once but it did not. I called up Ank thinking maybe Luv was with them as he was supposed to be according to his schedule. But when Ank said he was not there yet, i was alarmed. Did he went somewhere due to the fight we had yesterday? Did something bad happened to him on the way? Is he purposely doing this to make me feel miserable. I wanted to find Luv but did not want to tell these guys about our fight yesterday as it would make our pair a constant source of amusement for them for the next two months. In an emotional voice i said that i feared something bad could have happened to Luv. My appeal worked and Ank and Amir launched a manhunt. I was being updated timely regarding the pursuit by the duo. I opened the photo album and kept looking at pictures of us and thinking how could i have avoided the fight. The curd rice that i had prepared for consumption by both of us was entirely consumed by me and due to its soothing effects i  do not remember when i fell asleep, still holding the album  in my hands. My slumber was broken by the monotonic ringtone of my Nokia phone. It was Luv. I grabbed it and instantly broke into tears.

Where were you?
What happened? Why are you crying?
Where were you? I was so frightened. I am sorry and i promise not to fight with you again.
Well honey i was coming to meet you for breakfast-to sort out our differences.But my bike broke down midway and i had to go to a mechanic where the carrier signal was not available.
Please dont ever do that again. I was so terrified at the prospect of loosing you. We kept searching for you everywhere.
Dont worry dear. I love you and i forgive you for the fight we had. Why were you looking for me all over the city? I am always with you. Love is always inside us. We just need to look within.

Sunday, April 7, 2013

Finding Love | Chapter-4 | The testimony of a second chancer

The Whitefield police station was about five kilometers from Prem's rented residence. We debated on waiting for a bus or taking an auto rickshaw to reach there. We went for the auto rickshaw as time was slipping from our hands. Although the auto rickshaw driver complained of his broken meter and charged us ten times the bus fare, still it was not the thing that preoccupied our minds. Each and every neuron in our brains was only consumed in figuring the possible reasons of Luv's sudden disappearance from our lives.None of us spoke for sometime. Suddenly the uncomfortable silence was broken when my cell phone rang. On the screen an unknown number flashed. I did not wanted to be reminded of a missed credit card payment or enlightened about a new(and better) connection plan at this crucial moment. The uncomfortable fact of the moment was our dear friend Luv Singh Chauhan was missing since morning and as the time went from AM to PM the chances of seeing him again appeared bleaker to us. So i cut the incoming call. It rang again and i repeated the action i did last time. En route we decided to file a missing persons report although i knew Ank would have loved to report an alien abduction.My casual mention of a facility for the mentally insane in the vicinity of the police station might have acted as a deterrent and hence he never spoke of such a possibility. Still there were lot of questions on which we could not reach a common conclusion-like:
Should we mention about the old monk to the police?
What if the policed surmised us as possible suspects in his disappearance?
Should we tell Ragini about the police report and police about Ragini?
What do we eat for lunch and where once the reporting was over?

Although i was with Ank on our decision to report this to the police but my heart kept telling me that nothing had happened to Luv, that he was around us somewhere just waiting to be found. I always believed in second chances and wanted to give ourselves a another chance to find Luv or Luv to find us.

As the wheels of auto rickshaw kept spinning and my stomach kept churning from the after effects of the Dosa and Sambhar we consumed at Majestic Bus Depot  i reckoned life for me was always about second chances. The reason probably was that i was never able to accomplish something in the first chance itself-be it matters of materialism or matters of the heart. Also in most situations those second chances were more painful than having no chances at all.I still remember clearly the day Ank made me propose a girl from my graduation days whom i admired mostly due to her peculiar way of talking. We hardly met after graduation and i would only talk to her sometimes on telephone. But Ank thought otherwise. He believed that like our friend Luv who although being an avid philanderer, would never give up on a girl once he had his heart fixed, i too should give this girl a second chance. He was in the city due to summer break and offered to help me in all possible ways in doing so. He had recently unearthed that i was the one who had emailed the girl of his affection as i was the creator of his email id. It was his heart wrapped up in the form of my text in the body of that email. I thought maybe he wanted to return this favor as a friend and succumbed to his coercion.  Those days cell phone technology was not widespread and i did not want to use my home corded landline- a Beetel B11 due to reasons of privacy. Most people used a calling booth to communicate. Due to some reason beyond my comprehension they were popularly known as STD booths although you could also make a local call too. Ank decided to use the calling booth in a particular neighborhood whose call rates were standard and more importantly it had a parallel line. He said he would stand beside me through all this and listen and provide immediate feedback should i be slipping. The booth was smaller than what i expected and when we both stood inside we could feel each others breath. As i punched the numbers and the call connected, Ank picked up the receiver of the parallel connected line. Maybe it was the heat or the suffocation caused due to the booth door being closed for privacy, i could not utter anything for half a minute, all the while the girl kept saying hello. Ank gestured me to say something and whatever came out of my mouth did not collude either in form or intent to what i had been rehearsing with Ank for the last week or so. Her replies were monosyllabic-yes,no, OK,hmm. As drops of sweat as big as hail in a hailstorm kept falling into the receiver from my face, she said the only sentence which comprised more than one word-
I am kinda busy now.
And then she disconnected the call. We looked at each other and both kept the receiver on the cradle at the same time. I paid the bill quickly without discussing anything with Ank as the booth owner was getting suspicious. Outside Ank kept a hand on by shoulder and said-
I know it did not work out as we had planned but you should give another chance to this second chance.

My string of thoughts were broken by Ank's voice. The auto rickshaw had stopped at the police station and it was my turn to pay the fare. As i was paying the fare, my cell phone rang again. Ank said me to cut the call and walk towards the police station. But i wanted to give this persistent caller a second chance. As soon as the call connected, to my amazement it was Luv's voice on the other side. He sounded angry.

Where are you guys? I kept calling you but you never picked.
But you didn't turn up on time and neither were you reachable on cell phone. We thought something might have happened to you.
I could not muster up the courage to say we were at the police station and were on our way to report his disappearance.
Are you guys drunk already? The handle of my motorcycle went bad and kept pointing to wrong directions. I thought i should get it fixed and then join you guys.
Really. But don't you think it took a long time for you to get it fixed. And on top of that you never called to inform us.
Man i forgot to recharge my cell phone and the cheap motor cycle mechanic shop was in a place where i did not get the service providers signal.
But Ragini said...
Just forget all that and tell me where are you guys now? Coz i am at Ank's place and there is no trace of you guys.  I am very hungry and thirsty.
We are at your place. We thought you might have fallen ill and hence came to your place.
After a few seconds of dead air Luv said-
Man you guys are crazy. Ok lets do one thing. Since we do not have the time for cooking now lets meet at Biju's place. It's midway for both of us and more importantly those guys have a cooking maid and usually there are leftovers. But you have to bring the old monk with you as i am not going to pay for that. If you have forgotten, i was the one who was invited.