E18hteen – 3. Cast(E)Away

0/18 – Prologue

1/18 – A Walk To Remember

2/18 – You’ve Got Mail

3/18 – Cast(E)Away

Abhi. . . You ruined my holidays completely. . . I never before felt so blank after being promoted into a higher class… I couldn’t believe my behaviour in the days that followed. . . I cried a lot. . . I shouted my guts out into the pillows. . . I used to call your land line to just listen to your voice… I hated myself. . . I hated the fact that I had to wait for some kind of spring in my life. . . The very thought that someone apart from me had a say in my happiness and that ‘someone’ was you sent me into a neurotic frenzy. . . You made me listen to slow sad songs across linguistic barriers . . . I started hating myself and knew that you had no reprieve, just because of this. . . I had to find a way out of this rut that I had gotten myself into . . . I needed happiness and in liberal doses. . .

The only good thing to happen in that phase was that we were put in different sections in the next class… I put my mind into studies, but nothing worthwhile happened in that front. . .

Then Sridevi ma’am and her music club happened. . . She loved my singing. . . she thought I put my heart and soul into every note of the song I sang . . . No wonder they say nothing is more inspirational than a broken heart. . . I was a part of the school band. . .

I started getting validation from all quarters. . . When I held the microphone and listened to the applause from the beaming faces in front, I knew I was truly happy. . . You were gradually moving out of my system. . . . Music, along with studies and my select group of friends namely Swathi, Nandhini and Keerthy became my life. . . The truly liberating moment came when you came back for a second chance . . . I found an uncanny happiness and a eerie sense of vindication when I turned you down. . . I was Finally done with you… OK now don’t feel so bad… you deserved what you got da Abhi. . .

Around this time I heard you were going behind that other singer girl… now, I had to do something about it… you just couldn’t find someone before I did… It wasn’t right. . . That’s about the time when my popularity began to be rising like an Aarohanam. . . Even I know my carnatic da Abhi. . . I started getting those messages on Orkut about how awesome I was and the like… but there was this particular guy though who went an extra mile to make me feel special. . . and when I came to know that he was from Nandhini’s building… I showed some interest in the guy… he was a chef in one of the big chain of five star hotels… I fell for him… Head over heels… he made every second spent with him worthwhile… I felt like a princess and which 17 year old wouldn’t like it… he pampered me no end… he showed what I meant for someone who truly loved me… I hadn’t felt that way with you and finally could slowly forgive you because if not for you, I wouldn’t have embarked on one of the most beautiful phases of my life. . . I never told him about you. Though we had started to be civil with each other, I refrained from telling you about him for a really long time… I quite don’t know why I didn’t. . . But somehow I just couldn’t… it was my little secret… I was content at the moment and I didn’t want to jinx it… there wasn’t a single soul except Nandhini and Ashwathy that knew about him… he was a secret… my very own secret… no one yet knew about the 25 year old Rahul. . . Rahul Samuel

I couldn’t resist a chuckle looking back at the events that unfolded… I removed my glasses to clean it and suddenly could smell the fragrance of the earth… I had a peek outside the window and saw the darkening clouds… Things seemed to be looking up finally. . . I took out another Cigarette. . . Unknowingly tapped it on the box, lit it up and took the cup of coffee that Amma had placed here earlier, while I was reading about Mrinalini Kannan’s love for Rahul Samuel…

Contrary to my expectations, the casanova image wasn’t given the mileage that I thought It’d garner… I did have a set of new friends but things weren’t the same… They didn’t think of me in that way… actually they didn’t think much about me at all… a change in section made me realise that I wasn’t the centre of the world… I was in a different galaxy altogether… and in addition to all this, was her acting as if I never existed. . .

I thought I was doing the right thing when I broke up with her… the reason seemed right and I felt I was being a gentleman… I never realised that doing the right thing would make me feel stupid and worthless… and in addition to all this was her band endeavours… I became red with anger and green with envy…

I just couldn’t digest the fact that she wasn’t mine anymore. . . I couldn’t be away from her anymore… I was fed up with standing behind the trees to have a glimpse of her walking away with her friends and taking one trip too many to the restroom so that I could pass by her class and look at her… I decided I’ll tell her what exactly happened and give ourselves a second chance…

I’d never felt more insulted in my life… She asked me to leave in the most pinching way possible, without hearing me through… I was hurt… my ego, more so… I decided I couldn’t let this affect me… I concentrated on my studies… that didn’t bolster my marks in any way… It is then, I decided to give theatre a try… It proved to be one of the best decisions or rather the only good decision I took in quite some time…

Theatre helped me a lot… it taught me to rein in my anger… improving my sense of humour, putting up a facade and to memorise lines, which in turn helped me in clearing my Chemistry paper later.. and most importantly… Theatre led me to meet Priyanka. . .

She was exquisitely beautiful and I couldn’t muster enough courage to talk more than a couple of lines to her… everything I knew about myself was undone in the instant I started talking to her… I realised that she might be the only girl that left me tongue tied with her presence…

Before alcohol entered my world, the quality of insane bravery was a result of shamelessness and improper guidance of the people around… with both being highly abundant and by weeks of stalking and perseverance, I somehow conveyed that I didn’t see her as just a friend… I still couldn’t muster the courage to tell it directly, but training in theatre helped me in conveying it without saying it in those exact words… the same night, I received a text from her.. “it took you a lot of time πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ ” . . . I couldn’t stop smiling and did a couple of cartwheels in my mind… and did it properly once I reached school the following day…

We decided against making it public because of the various opinions and advice that people around us might give… coincidentally she was an excellent singer herself and was a major reason in leading me to falsely believe that I could sing too. . .

Seeing Priyanka became a routine and being from around the same locality, we started regularly meeting at the local temple… the people back at home, welcomed my sudden religious turn and they felt that this would at least make my grades become better… Nothing of that sort happened though…

Looking at her going around the temple wearing the traditional tamil attire, hair adorned with jasmine flowers and just a slight streak of red kumkum between her eyebrows made my day brighter and made me temporarily forget the thrashing that used to wait for me back home because of the marks that would have come earlier in the day…

The both of us used to talk frequently over phone… God bless the Booster packs… she knew I’d do anything for her… I was so madly in love… she sang me to sleep at times… Everything was just perfect.. it was more than perfect, it was MAGIC…

That very thought jinxed it. . . We started to overthink about where the relationship was headed once our school ends and college starts… There were lots more arguments about our contrasting upbringing, rituals and beliefs… I slowly understood that there was a sense of inevitability to our breaking up… We couldn't probably do a long distance if ever it comes to that because of our career choices…

It finally was the time to have the talk… about where this was going… we were in our temple… sitting 50 yards from each other and texting…


Abhi : Why aren't you wearing flowers today…
Priya : I left in a hurry da…
Abhi : Well… tell me. . . You wanted to talk… so start….
Priya : there's no future to us da
Abhi : Not even a hi, how.are you first???
Priya : please Abhi… you know that am a Brahmin . . .
Abhi : Of course, Priyanka Seshadri would most certainly not be a Roman Catholic. . .
Priya : I think it's time da. . . School also is ending
Abhi : But… we can….. try….
Priya: However we try, nothing concrete would happen between the two of us… Ever
Abhi : All that will be okay… paathuklaam… we'll see.. and don't say Ever…
Priya : No chance da… and don't be filmy… and to top it all you eat meat whereas we haven't even seen them ever da…
Abhi : What if I quit having meat???.
Priya : we've had this conversation loads of times before da…
Abhi : So is that it… just over like that??
Priya : Yeah
Abhi : There's no logic at all… At all…
Priya : I can't meet you anymore like this and texting you also wouldn't be right once we've come to this decision. . .
Abhi : Not we… you came to this decision…
Priya : Please don't do this … not again…
Abhi : well… so you want to call it an end today itself???
Priya : But today is February the 14th . . .
Abhi : It doesn't make a difference anymore Priyanka
Priya : well if you say so…
Abhi : and yeah… I'm not going to have meat again…
She looked at me with teary eyes
Priya : πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚ it wont make much of a difference da… but you'll do it for me???
Abhi : I never thought this would be a reason for us to not be together Priya. . . So yeah… This I'd do… For you. . . Even if it's pointless…
Priya : it's not pointless Abhi…
Abhi : If you say so. . .

I looked at her… took a heavy breath, wiped that single tear from my cheek, mouthed the words I LOVE YOU to her for the first time, rubbed the streak of ash from my forehead, stood up and left the temple…

The boards got over and this was a time when I was slowly getting back in touch with Rina. . . The news that I'd broken up with Priyanka probably warmed her more towards me. . . Just as a friend though… A point she never failed to reiterate…

After a lot of efforts, I joined a college… It made sense then, to do engineering and I was in my first year… Starting on a phase that would pave what I'd be for the rest of my life. . . Everything seemed to be going on smoothly till one fine day, I received a text from Rina, saying she was in a relationship and wanted to talk about it with me…

I suddenly lost all composure, took my bike and went to Priyanka's place to talk to her… It had been a few months since we spoke and at my present mental disposition, she seemed to be the right person to talk…

I slowed down my bike near her place… I saw her holding hands and talking to some random guy. . . . She was laughing a lot… still holding his hands and gently moving closer… They were with their backs to me and I just had to see them up close… I increased my speed lightly and gradually crossed them… I don't know if she saw me… I didn't care either… All I saw and remembered was the single vertical streak on his forehead…

I rode straight to a restaurant.. and called out to the server…
" Anna one plate Briyani. . CHICKEN BRIYANI

"

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4 thoughts on “E18hteen – 3. Cast(E)Away

  1. Pingback: E18hteen – 4. Mission Impossible – ‘Dosth’ Protocol | The Wannabe Writer

  2. Pingback: E18hteen – 5. Shakespeare In Love – The Hatman Writes

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