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.