He had the face of an injured puppy, the kind that melts human hearts and I had a meeting to attend. Not able to withstand the squished-emotions-face any more, I (quite reluctantly) went up to him and sat beside him, afraid he would start (what he thought was) the only topic left in the world.
“She left me, you heard?”
“Yeah! I heard that from ________ [names not written to protect me from them]. What happened?”
“Beats me! Everything was so hunky-dory until a couple of days ago. We even went for a movie, “The Matrix: Reloaded”. Shen was absolutely normal then. Apart from the fact that she didn’t care two hoots for the movie and was constantly chattering about how we don’t give time to each other and other blah-blahs, she didn’t seem to be in a breaking-off mood. Wonder why she did it? I still don’t understand…Why is your face contorted like that?”
How was I supposed to tell him that he was a complete idiot and he should have listened to her blah-blahs? Anyways, mustering courage, I decided to say it out but instead I found myself saying,
“Didn’t you hear what she was saying? At least didn’t you want to hear?”
“Are you crazy asking me something like that?”
That’s better, I thought, at least this guy had the sense to hear his girl out. I began singing praises for his good listening capabilities in my mind, but not a moment too soon…
“Morpheus was delivering his famous Xyon speech… there was so much of philosophy he was speaking, much of it quite like Swami Vivekananda’s. How could I not listen to that and listen to this…this…this bitch?”
The last few words seemed to drop out of his mouth like glue from a bottle. I stood aghast (Was it because I was waiting to hear more or was it because I went blank and was in a dilemma whether to shoot and kill him or just strangulate him? Frankly, I don’t know. You tell me.)
“She called me up yesterday night and said she had something important to talk to me about. I thought she must be ready to apologise for all her talking during the movie. So I told her to meet me in the college during lunch. She agreed. When she finally came half an hour late, she didn’t even apologise, neither for the movie nor for being late.Imagine her nerve, the… the… bitch!! She just said, ‘That’s it. I have had it with you. This is the end of our relationship. I am not going to see your face even if you are the last man alive on this earth. I’d prefer to consume poison and die before I have to see that shit-face of yours again… Good-bye and God help your girlfriend and/or wife, if you are lucky enough to find one!!’ And she just walked off leaving me in this mess…”
“She said that to you?”
“Yeah!! Each and every word of it…”
“Aw C’mon now!! She must have just said something in anger and you must have heard something else. She probably can’t…”
“No, she did!! I taped her voice.I can show you the tape if you wish…”
“You… what?” I almost yelled. Or may be I did yell because I saw the other students on the steps turn sharply and look at me. I gritted my teeth and said it again, this time softer, “You… what?”
“I said, I can show you the tape anytime you wish. Wanna hear it now?”
“Not that, you sick jerk!! You taped her voice and she said nothing?”
“Are you crazy man? How can that happen? She doesn’t even know I did that. Actually, I have taped all of our conversations. I love to hear her sweet voice when she isn’t around. My uncle got me one of these digital voice-activated recorders from America. It can store upto 90 mins of voice conversations and it doesn’t get activated by background noises…”
“Stop the f*kin promo, you ass*. Do you know what will happen if she gets to know about this? Who else knows about this?”
“Oh!! Everyone knows that we have broken up, though I am not sure if everyone knew we were going around… Or may be they knew that and they don’t know this… whatever. As of now, I can tell you that only I, you and _________ & _________ &….(he took a ‘few’ more names) know about our break-up for sure.What’s the matter? You look like you are gonna throw up… Need any thing?
I was about to tell him that I was gonna puke all over his Nikes, and I sure as hell would have liked to do that, but self-respect and a sense of social responsibility, stopped me from doing it. Instead, I resigned to fate and his incompetency and asked him calmly,
“Does anyone know about the tapes?”, I was about to add ‘you filthy-sick jerk’ but better sense prevailed (Damn!!). I futher asked, “Do you have any idea why she left you?”
“No is the answer to both your questions. Only a selected few know about the tapes. I was actually planning to gift them to her on her 18th birthday. But then, this came up…”
“Trriiiinnnngg” went the lecture bell. And he stood up abruptly.
“Where are you going?” I asked, knowing the answer very well.
“I need an answer. She has behaved absolutely irrationally. She can’t leave me just like that. The ought to be a valid reason. She has to give me a valid reason. I am not going to let her off so easily. I am not any roadside Romeo who troubles her. I was her….er…I mean… I am her boyfriend for god’s sake! She is answerable to me…Hey you!! _______, wait up!! We need to talk!!”
Calling out her name, he ran off through the corridor, darting like an arrow headed for its ultimate goal – the bulls-eye. I stood up in a daze, wondering whether to believe it or to convince myself that it was a bad dream, nay, a nightmare. I shook my head to clear off the evil thoughts and decided that it would be better if I had another cutting chai before I started off any where.
As I started down the steps and made my way towards the Tea-stall, I thought time stopped still and I thought I heard a distinct crack, like that of someone being slapped…..
Oh well!! I wasn’t dreaming after all….