It’s a wonderful opportunity. If given, no other person will misuse it, for anything else in this world. But, I did it, disastrously. When my Dad called me to say that Sita and her mother are in the city to attend a marriage and told me to bring them home, I should be jumping to grab the offer. More so, when I have a great admiration for her. Sita is my childhood friend and our families were friends since the time I was born. In some way that crosses different time lines and geographies beyond the scope and reach of my intellect, they are my relatives too. I gave up in the middle several times trying figuring out the exact logical connection between our families. When I was eleven years old, they shifted to Hyderabad. Though I haven’t met her for years together, I somehow have a great liking for her. Why do I? No idea, absolutely. Like it was said in some movie, you need a reason to hate a person, but not to like one. In my excitement of meeting her after a long time, I forgot to take my wallet and dashed off to the marriage hall. When you are seeing the person you admire after a long time and she is damn beautiful, words just don’t come out of your mouth. It is really hard. I some how managed to speak a few words of courtesy and accompanied them back home. When we reached home and it was time to pay the autowallah that I came to know I am penniless. Any one will expect a relative who is earning to offer to pay the money. It is considered the first sign of respect you show the visitors to your home. The same happened to me too. I was very eager to pay, but I cannot. I want to explain to them why I cannot, but could not gather the words, courtesy Sita so beautifully standing over there. Finally we are home.
When everyone settled down, it was time to talk. This is when I got a chance to get a fair glance of her. She wore a sari, the traditional type which one is expected to wear in a marriage and matching earrings. She has light brown hair, which she left freely and it turned into curls at the ends. The sweet voice she possesses added to her beauty. In short, she is simply a class apart. I could not justify how this girl with a running nose and a permanent scowl on her face, with whom I played in my childhood turned so beautiful. Is the sari appearing good, because she is wearing it or is it the other way round? Someone asking me why I was here at my home place enjoying a holiday disturbed this state of trance. It’s my aunt. “Er! Ahem! I got an offer with this leading IT company”, I declared rather proudly, “I thought it is a good opportunity and it is time to say the mad metro, Mumbai a goodbye and come down to south. I resigned my previous job and unexpectedly got some time off”, I said expecting her and my aunt to congratulate me. Nothing of that sort happened. “My colleague’s son is also into the same company, he is now working in Chennai. The person I was talking to when you came to pick up us is in the same company too. Had I known it earlier, I would have introduced you to him”, my aunt told me. That’s the issue with these IT companies, the top three at least. They have hordes of employees on their rolls. People like Andhraites who are obsessed with anything related to Engineering and Software will have at least one relative working in each of these companies. You end up having no unique brand image, just at the time you want to showoff.
“What about you? What are you doing?” I asked her, trying to strike a conversation. “I am currently working in xyz Company. It provides customer support to these telecom companies”, she replied adjusting her hair to behind her ears for a hundredth time, “I am also pursuing a correspondence MBA”. The way she does this adjusting her hair is too good. In a way, what ever she does is too irresistible for me. I am watching all that she does like a small baby observing the worldly things in awe. “She financed the MBA course by her earnings”, my aunt interrupted. This interruption is to force me to say “That’s great!” which I promptly did. And this is the time to tell about my MBA plans too, I thought. At least, I can elongate the conversation for some more time. I am very proud of my CAT score and I was sure that it would give her some opinion about me. After all, like any other engineering student who gets fed up of the monotonous courses he studies, I realized that I might be a born manager and I might be wasting my talent, if I get into writing code for the people living on the other side of the world. I prepared for the entrance test and got interview calls from some decent institutes. However, I could not convert them into final admission calls. I told her the same. How difficult it is to get final admission call from a good management institute, if you don’t have the relevant experience. How I am planning to pursue an MBA after gaining some experience. Though I thought it a cool idea to tell her all this and to let her know that we both have common interests, the way I presented it is hopeless. It turned out like, if there is anything I should not be speaking about at that point of time, it is this! The kind of response she gave made me understand that she didn’t like this talk much. Figuring out how women respond, is difficult than getting a star performer award from the client. Everything is going wrong. I no longer want to talk anything that might make her feel bad in any aspect and restricted my self to some plain speaking. How is Hyderabad? How is the work? How is the speed of the new Internet connection she has taken? How good the ballpoint pen she uses writes. How excellently she has chosen the Mobile Phone with FM Radio. Why EAMCET (engineering entrance exam of Andhra Pradesh, in order of importance it is considered next only to Lord of the seven hills) has no relevance now-a-days, et al crap. This brought smiles back on her face. She is beautiful when she is smiling.
The next morning was a sad departing for me. I gave her a book that was gifted to me by her father when I went to their house in my childhood and managed to get her Email Id. If you cannot open up your heart face to face, you can do so through the email.
I spent the rest of the months dreaming of settling down in Hyderabad, spending some wonderful time with her and finally proposing to her some day. Then we would jointly strive to increase the revenues of Pizza Huts, Dominos, KFCs, Coffee Days, Baristas, multiplexes, malls to our extent possible. When all the places in Hyderabad are covered, we would finally walk the seven steps and live happily ever after.
However, God and my company thought otherwise. I have a strong gut feeling that my company somehow got an inkling of my plans. Fearing the low performance on my part if I am posted here at Hyderabad, I was transferred to a place that no Software Engineer in his wildest dreams would have thought that he would land up, Kolkata. All my dreams were shattered.
What I got to do now? I have her Email Id. I can keep mailing her. There is another danger lurking in the corner. A girl of her age and beauty stands the best chance of getting engaged. Who wouldn’t be impressed by such a nice and beautiful person like her? Somehow life has to move on. Now I can at least, Email or call her. Anything may happen next. I just could not sit straight unless I hear from her. I sent an Email with the news that I was transferred to Kolkata. Oblivious of my heartburn, she wished me all the best.
With her best wishes and a heavy heart, I reported for my job at Kolkata. The City of Joy added to my woes. Here I want to say some things that are unique only to Kolkata like the culture shock it gives you. The first thing that shocks any first timer is the public transport. The city buses here are Engineering Wonders meticulously designed not to allow any air circulation inside the bus. Proper care is taken that you cannot see anything outside nor do you have anything to cling to as the Bus vrooms ahead on the road, this is nothing but interconnected potholes with dollops of tar here and there. Once the passengers got into the bus, the fortunes of the companies that insured them are at stake. With their bumpy rides, the buses give roller coasters a run for their money. May be, that’s the reason Kolkata does not have too many Entertainment parks. The people here do not know that there are a section of people in this world, like me who eat only Vegetarian food. These people here are left to Die or care for themselves.
Though my team doesn’t know anything about my heartburn, they took good care that I don’t sit weeping by giving me enough work that would drain me off. By the time I call it a day, I would be clocking in twelve to fourteen hours that I don’t have any other option than to snooze off. Despite keeping up with this heavy schedule, slowly my work and Sita started got mixed up with each other. Believe me, every work I did starting having a stamp of her in it. My passwords from the mail accounts to the LAN network contained that most beautiful name in the world. The Data I used to test the application I am developing was choked up with her details. My team members were driven to nuts with the same data I keep filling into the Database. I need not tell you again whose data it is.
In addition to all this, I am not getting any reply from her. May be she is too busy to check her mails. Or has she just stopped responding. The answer to this contemplation came in the form of the message that her mail id is not active and my mail cannot be delivered. The last I got a reply from her, is probably the last time she checked mail. This was the most painful of all. My only point of contact with her is broken. What to do now? Why do I love her? Why the hell do I have to stay so far away from her? Why does she check her mail only once every six months? Why do I face so many problems in contacting her and pouring my heart out?
If I am healthy and kicking to tell you the story of my love, the credit goes to Krishna. He is my roommate since the time I came to Kolkata. A weed thin person whose weight is almost equal to the Laptop he carries, he too works for the same company and is an expert in matters related to Love. He debuted at the age of ten by successfully proposing to his classmate. Unlike me, he has a long list of girl friends (much longer than the number of Heroines of Emran Hashmi added together) providing their companionship at different stages of his life. His excellent track record, innovative methodology in tackling the issues impressed me a lot. His ideology that you can make any girl love you by changing her attitude brought back the hopes that were lost. I immediately took him as the chief consultant. Though he told that his services are a tribute to our friendship, the parties he took occasionally as fee accrued to such a huge amount that would make the CEO of our company weep out of jealousy.
One Saturday Afternoon we are at Pizza Hut discussing my love story over a Spicy Indian Pan Pizza and Diet Coke.
“Your case is an Emergency”, he declared ordering another round of Garlic Bread with Cheese, “If you don’t act fast and do something, the chances are high that you may lose her forever”.
“I already knew that and I need not spend a few hundred bucks for this unnecessary piece of advice”, I wanted to say.
“What do you want me to do?” are the words that eventually came out. For the next one-hour or so, words of wisdom poured from his mouth. I quickly jotted them down, by borrowing a pen from the couple at the adjacent seat who were enjoying a date and a few paper napkins from the waiter. The waiter didn’t seem to like my idea of using them as notes. All the smiles on his face when he was serving us vanished in a jiffy, when I asked him for a few more. Various issues were discussed at length and these were the points that we finally came up with. They appeared more like Laws of physics than anything else.
Somehow get hold of her Mobile Number.
Contact her over something that is of common interest. Slowly diversify your talks into other things.
The frequency of calls should increase with time. After a stipulated period (which will be fixed later) the frequency of calls should be more than once a day.
The length of the phone calls should increase in proportion to the frequency of the calls.
The humor quotient in all my phone calls with her should be very high. Girls die for jovial People. This is the most debated point of all. I just could not agree with him. Girls may like them, but I have never seen anyone who wanted to share the rest of their life with them. Infact, I have seen hundreds of cases in my college life where the guys entertained their crushes all through their college years and finally ended up being their brothers or something else once the three golden words popped out from their mouth. My consultant’s point is that when all things are equal, if a girl has to choose between two persons the chances are high that she chooses a person who is jovial and light at heart. It appeared that he has a point.
Show a lot of concern and respect for everything related to her. Identify her likes and dislikes.
Share your love story with all the people who show their concern for you. Ask their suggestions.
The first interaction with my consultant, gave me a new perspective of the whole affair. The things that I have shared with you started appearing to me in a new light. I was able to identify the mistakes I have committed. Once I look back I could not identify a single case in which I have shown my concern for her. Infact, I always wanted to show off and impress her. Krishna added one more point. You can never impress your crush and her parents when they are together. Their preferences and ideas about life will be different. There is a whole lot of generation gap between them.
A detailed plan of action was prepared and we started working on it. After each interaction with her we would join together and discuss all the points that can be shared with him and bring any improvisations needed. “Well we will meet at the same place, same time, next week”, Krishna blurted out like a corporate honcho breaking for lunch after discussing financial results. The professionalism and seriousness with which he discussed the matter bowled me over. In spite of all this and I being a Fan of the Pan Pizza here, the economic viability of coming there every week made me didn’t like the idea much. “Why the same place? What do you say about Komal Vilas at Lake Garden? They have good South Indian fare there. The Sambar is really good. Shall we fix that place?” “Okay”, he replied. The word Sambar seems to have made him agree to it instantaneously. Like I die for Sita, he dies for Sambar. They are too irresistible for us.
Through my network of cousins it didn’t take much time to get her mobile number. No idea! Why I didn’t do it earlier. I am sure talking to your colleagues and friends is quite different to talking to a girl with whom you wish to share the rest of your life. I am not an expert at that. Preparing well would help me a lot, I thought and started writing down the points I got to talk. I am talking with her after a long time. So I should be introducing myself first. The introduction should be followed by calls of courtesy. I would enquire about her parents and is everything going fine. I got to initiate the conversation on some point that is of common interest to both of us. All I can get that we both are interested is the MBA. Right! I would enquire about her studies. I too want to do an MBA and ask her advice. I also researched about correspondence MBA on the net and prepared a few questions I can ask her. Then I would end the call with some general talk about movies, music etc. Wonderful! The plan seems to be perfect. I decided to call her on Monday morning and the place is also fixed, the long car parking at the back of our office over looking the Salt Lake. She would be alone in all probability. The weekend before it will give me enough time to do some mock sessions and bring any improvisations.
I just could not get any sleep the night before. When the phone started ringing, my face was more serious than my Project Lead’s when he catches an error in my code.
”Hello!” the same sweet voice that has given me sleepless nights responded. The thrill of hearing her voice after such a long time ran through me.
“May I speak to Sita?” I asked.
“Yes! Speaking”, she replied with a tinge of doubtfulness in her voice.
“Hi! This is Sriram from Kolkata. How are you? Hope you have remembered me”, I introduced myself. It took her some time to identify me.
“Oh Yaah! Hi How are you?” The call was as surprising to her as it is to me, “I just came from the night shift and sleeping. It took some time to get my senses back”.
“Hope I am not disturbing you. I was trying to Email you regarding this correspondence MBA you are pursuing. But, the Email I have sent you has bounced. Have you changed your Email Id?” I enquired.
“No Sriram! I actually could not find time to check my mail. Since the time I shifted to this new Job, I am very busy at work. Tell me what you want to know.” The preparation helped a lot. I asked her the questions that were prepared one after the other.
“So you are into a new job! Congrats. You seem to have gained more than one year of experience with this. That’s great and I wish you all the best.”
I ended the call not bothering about our call length theory, having known that my call has disturbed her sleep.
I was on the cloud Nine and very excited. I was never so happy for the past few months and could hardly wait to share the news with Krishna. I called and repeated to him everything that has happened. He too was excited and started asking me how she looks and everything. He demanded immediate explanation as to why I didn’t show him her photograph. The next meeting, which was to happen at Komal Vilas, was shifted to Red Hot Chilly Pepper, our company’s canteen that afternoon. We were too excited to discuss anything in the negative sense. I could hardly wait for the next time to call her. Krishna warned me not to call her in less than a week. Even he doesn’t know why, but that’s the prescribed time. Once it is next Monday, I called her again. However, the time is shifted to the evening in view of not disturbing her sleep. I got to beat the length of previous call with this one.
Me: Hi Sita! This is Sriram.
Sita: Hi! So what happened to your MBA plans?
Me: I almost registered for the MBA course. That is when my Project Manager called and told me to appear for these certification exams. I have an appraisal coming up next month and I am supposed to complete it by that time. I may not join the course this time.
Sita: Is it!
Me: Yes! What else? How are your mother and your brother! Hope they are doing well.
Sita: They are fine! How about your parents?
Me: They are fine. Tell me about you. You have bagged a wonderful job. How is your work place? How is your Job?
Sita: The job is cool. The company is in Hitec City. I am slowly getting used to the night shifts. Hey! That day after you called me I went to the browsing center and checked my mail. As you have said the Mail account was closed. I have emailed you my alternate mail Id. You can mail me at that. How is your Sis? What is she doing?
Me: She is fine! Hope she too lands up in some job. She is going to sit for campus interviews this year.
Sita: Sriram! Tell me one thing! Why every Tom, Dick and Harry I meet is in this bloody IT Sector and that too your company. Why are they recruiting in such frenzy?
Me: Well Sita! It’s not the case with our company, but with the entire IT sector. Getting people who have the required skills and experience to work for a project, once the company wins it is difficult. The new strategy is to recruit people and train them, as they are expecting huge number of projects to come in. What else Sita, how are things going?
Sita: Fine, actually I am getting ready for the office!
Me: Okay then, call you later, Bye.
“Go to hell!” Krishna responded when I told him about my latest phone call to her. “Who the hell told you to discuss your unnecessary certifications, appraisals, IT sector, its earnings.”
“Why the hell do you expect her to be interested in this crap?”
Though I initially thought that he is just kidding, the repetition of the word hell for so many times, made me understand that he is serious.
“You don’t seem to have as much interest as I have in your affair. Have you forgotten about the humor quotient? Going by what you say, the humor quotient in your call is absolutely zero. She didn’t like you boasting about the software industry all the time. You came back to the same topic even when she enquired about your sister. The call length is almost equal to the previous one. This call sucks.” He enlightened me.
Slowly I began to understand that by any standards my call doesn’t have the ingredients that are expected to be in a conversation between a boy and a girl. I replied to her question about my MBA plans like a kid lying to his teacher as to why he didn’t bring the notes that day.
“And do you understand now why she asked you why every other person she meets is in your company?” he added. It didn’t take much time for me to know that I have screwed up big time my chances of winning her. Believe me, it’s a really tough feeling to know that you are on the losing side in love. It took me some time to get my senses back. I was near to breaking down, when Krishna consoled me “Don’t worry. This is not the end of the world. Remember there is always a next chance. Luckily you have her Email Id. why don’t you mail her?”
“Do you want me to reveal my feelings for her?”
“Yes! It is better to tell her everything before something bad happens. Actually you are too far away from her for some chemistry to develop between you both.”
That seems to be a better Idea. I will write to her. Not just my feelings. Everything right from the time she visited our home to my latest phone Call. I have done innumerable number of stupid things. She must have identified most of them. I want her to know why? Because Love makes you do stupid things. It might be my desperation to win her love. It might be my fear of losing her forever. I started writing down. That is what kept you engaged till now, as I am anxiously awaiting her reply.