[Creative writing for the sake of it]
“There comes Savita aunty”, Nand elbowed Vasu
Savita was one of the freshies. Today she was wearing a long sleeved Punjabi dress, which could have easily belonged to her mom, in her younger days. She had kaajal in her eyes. Her long hair were arranged in two plates.
“Come on guys, just because someone’s different doesn’t mean you should take potshots at them”, Abhay said in his calm tone.
“Cut your philosophical crap, yaar”, Nand — an eternal pragmatist, an incurable conformist (by choice) — snapped out.
“No I’m serious”
“Like you are. Would you date her?”
“How is that fucking relevant?”
“I date no one!”
“Well you wanted me to introduce you to Vasu”, Nand blurted out, regretting the slip of information.
“Darling! You never told me that”, Vasu said with a mock expression.
“You guys are pathetic”, Abhay said, avoiding Vasu’s gaze.
“No. Seriously man. Would you like to be seen in public with her?”, persisted Nand.
“The better question is: would I mind? And the answer is, no. I won’t mind”
“Thus spoke Plato”, Nand added, “Now enough of this evasion. I don’t want to get into verbal duet with you. I challenge you to go around with her for two days — in the campus!”
“To prove what?”, Abhay asked incredibly.
“That you’re not just words”
“Again, this is gross non-sequitur”
“Whatever that means, I’m not interested in talking”
“It means, it does not follow, literally”
“I said I’m not interested”
“But I can’t just date someone because of some stupid challenge”
“Okay, how about I throw in Crossword Gift Vouchers worth Rs. 2500?”
“You creep. You have them?”
“Here!”, Nand said dangling them, “And this time, you better earn them”
“Hi! I’m Abhay”, he said practicing in the empty classroom, “Damn it, I should forget about those gift vouchers”
“Yes darling! You should think about me, instead”, Vasu entered suppressing a smile.
“Shut up! And help me with this…”
“No way! You must do it without any outside help”
“Crap! The bet is not about pataoing her. It’s about being seen with her in public”
“Why don’t you ask Nand to fix you up then? He’ll do a nice job”
“Yeah. The trouble is he might do too nice a job”
“So you are doing it just for the coupons?”
“What else could it possibly be for?”
“You know, to get to know her. Just because she is different doesn’t mean…”, Vasu started saying and couldn’t finish it, as she burst out laughing.
“Are you going to help me at all?”
“Okay. Okay. I’m sorry. Look, what you gotta do is to find an excuse to talk to her”
“Thanks Madam Curie. But how is the million dollar question”
“Well Mr. Plato, you are the senior remember?”
“So you want me to rag her? Do you know that cowards rag — cowards who didn’t have guts to say no to ragging, and then take it out on the weak juniors?”
“Oh God! You know what, you’re stupid. If you rag her, why would she go out with you? You save her from ragging. I’ll rag her!”
“Thanks for yesterday”, Savita said to Abhay as they sat in the Stunt Canteen (for someone had removed the letters “de” from the board long back, and no one had bothered to repaint it again).
Abhay was sitting in the canteen with his copy of “The Republic”, when she had walked towards his
“Oh, that was nothing. I hate ragging. I routinely fight with my batch-mates over it”
“Actually you know, I don’t mind it much”, she said smiling
“So maybe I should say sorry then?”
She gave a hearty laugh at that
“You know, you’ve got a great smile”
“Oh! So now you’re flirting with me!”
“Oh NO! I was … I just …”
“Hey, it’s okay, I was kidding.”
“What are you reading?”, she asked. He showed her the book.
“Oh. You read philosophy too?”
“You mean, you too? What do you read?”
“Oh, mostly Indian philosophy”
They talked for a long time. It was like they were long lost friends meeting after a long time.
“You seem very happy. Looks like you enjoyed the date”, Nand asked
“That was NOT a date!” snapped Abhay.
“Well, in that case you still need two dates for the gift-coupons”
“This is not fair”
“What is not fair? We agreed two dates”
“We agreed two public appearances with her, on campus”
“That’s dates, technically”, Nand said grinning, “and why do you mind that? If she were one of those cool girls you wouldn’t mind it being called a date!”
“If she were one of those cool girls, you wouldn’t offer me 2500 bucks for being seen with her in public”
“Yeah you’re right. I’d bet they’d never see you in public”
“Anyways, don’t change the subject. You seem to have enjoyed your time with her”
“And may I ask how you reached that conclusion?”
“Plato is clean shaven today, again. Just after three days”
“Well if you used a fraction of your penchant for details in your studies, you’d be a topper you know”
“I know. Only it’s too damn boring being a topper. You end up with the Savitas”
“There comes my sautan”, Vasu elbowed Abhay as they were sitting on the stairs.
“Will you ever stop that?”, Abhay snapped
“My my! Whatever you say, darling. I don’t want to fall down further in your eyes”
Abhay’s angry stare was cut short by a sweet “Hi Abhay”
“Hey Savita. What’s up”
“Are you going to the SPICMACAY concert tonight?”
“He always goes”, Vasu added, putting her arm around Abhay.
“Would you mind if I joined you?”
“No, why would I mind”
“Oh I’m not going. I can’t sit silent for a whole hour! And please, don’t call me *madam*. This guy will bark at me again!”
“Okay sorry. See you in the evening then Abhay?”.
Just as she left, Vasu asked “So that’s your second date huh?”
“Well it’s public alright!”
“Looks like I’ve lost my chances”, she added, with a mock pout.
“You know Savita, you’d look great if you cut you hair a little short”
“You mean I don’t’ look great now?”, she asked with a grin.
“Well… Of course you look great”
“It’s okay Abhay. You don’t lie that well. I know. But this works for me”
“This aunty image. It keeps the idiots away”
“You know, appearances might not be everything, but they are not nothing either”
“What do you mean?”
“I mean even decent guys will stay away because of this “aunty” image”
“But you didn’t, right?”
“What if I had?”
“Then you’d be one of the idiots”
“The crossword voucher really saved you, didn’t they?”
“You knew?”, he screamed.
“Well Nand’s my cousin. I gave him those gift vouchers”
“I am an idiot!”
“Remember, appearances can be deceptive”