Friday, July 24, 2009

Like we always planned

Year:2009 Time: Not wearing a watch, too lazy to pull out my cell phone. GMT

I sipped my vodka as I looked around the bar, the bar was quite empty. On the table to my right hand side, was an old man reading his newspaper and drinking a scotch, with his spectacles at the tip of his nose. He had his stern expression for company, as he turned the pages of the newspaper. Silent and grim, were the thoughts with him.

The table on my left was Noise and Cheers, three college kids sat there guzzling down beer. They looked happy and fresh; they laughed loud and giggled with a stop. Their shouts told me they had just finished their final exams. Their laughs, their giggles reminded me of a time, a time when I was in college......





Year: 2002 Time: 9:00 am IST

"Don't forget our deal" he whispered as we entered the room

Looking at the question paper I couldn't stop smiling and after a while I couldn't put my pen down. My fingers were tired writing but my brain got happier and happier with each passing question. Calling the question paper easy would be an understatement.

An hour into the exam, I felt someone kicking my bench from behind. That was the distress signal, I leaned back to hear a tensed whisper "Sid move your paper to the left a little, I can hardly see anything"

That tensed whisper was from my best friend "Patae". Patae was not his real name, it was one those stupid nicknames you give your friend, and it sticks with them their whole life. I have known Patae from when I started to school. We have always been together; all our school pictures we stood together with a smile on our face. After school we got into the same college, same class and same bench. Exams he sits right behind me, am number 78 and he is 80.

When we entered college, we made a deal. I show him all the answers in the exams, and he treats me every month. Patae usually never finds "free time" to study, I really can't blame him. He works in a call centre during nights and sleeps during the day. Weekends are booked for his girlfriends; so really can't blame the guy for not studying.

I moved the answer sheet to my left and I moved a bit to the right. I leaned back and asked him "Is this okay, can you see the answers".

He replied with a faint "yes".

I got back to answering the question paper. Half an hour later, he again kicked my bench.

"Dude, you are too fast, go back to the previous page" he said as I leaned back.

"I can't, there isn't much time left, I still have lot of questions to answer" I replied stretching my arm and breaking my knuckles.

"Pass me your answer sheet dude, just 10 mins, I just need 40 marks" he said as he bent to his side acting like he had dropped his pen

This was not something we did every exam, passing paper was something I was very scared off.

I sat there looking around the room to see where the invigilator was, the invigilator was standing near the door facing out with his back to us.

I pushed my pencil off the desk, bent straight down to pick it up; as I bent down I passed my answer sheet to Patae. I was amazed by the swiftness with which I passed the answer sheet.

I kept looking at my watch and then at the door. I had to sit quiet for 10 mins; I kept an eye on the invigilator, who was still at the door. Five mins passed, I looked around to see few of my friends trying to copy from others' paper. Some leaned forward, while others slid across the bench to copy from the guy sitting next to them.

Suddenly the invigilator turned around and came running back in, he started to pace up and down the room.

My worst nightmare had come true. The principal walked in and I had no answer sheet with me. I tried to remain calm, but started to sweat heavily. I started kicking the desk behind me, as I kicked the bench, a soft voice said "Look beside you, idiot"

I turned to my left to find my answer sheet beside my left thigh. Patae had slid it in, when the principal was talking to the invigilator before he started to go around the room.

The last half hour passed smoothly, I just kept changing my positions so Patae could copy.

"Thank God! Am gonna pass" Patae said as we walked out of the college building and walked into the parking lot.

"God? Dude what about me?" I questioned with a smile

"Ya ya, don't show off now" he replied with a grin as he sat on his bike

I sat behind him and we rode out of the college.

"So where we going now?" I asked

"I don't know, you tell me?" he questioned

I hate it when people answer my question with a question.

I stayed silent for a minute and then answered "Patae lets go to Coorg, road trip, on the bike, like we had planned, Go home grab some clothes and leave. What say?"

"Oh ya. Lets go now, we keep planning it every month but never were able to go" he replied liking the idea of the bike trip.

"Ya your girlfriends keep hijacking them" I replied with a smirk

"Talking of girlfriends, what happened to Prachi? You still call her, what’s happening between you two" he asked as we stopped at a signal.

"No idea, she stopped replying to my messages. I send some random, good night good morning messages" I replied, hoping he would not take the topic further ahead.

"That's bad, but you were trying to enter a one way street. You were gonna get hit by the incoming vehicle anyway." he giggled

"Ya ya, not the best way of putting it, but point noted" I said as we rode past the signal.

We were near our hang out joint, Mishra's samosa point, when he stopped his bike to answer a call. I got down and stood there looking towards Mishra, trying to see who all were in the shop.

I could hear Patae talking over the phone and the tone of his voice, told me it was his girl friend.

"Ah dude, the thing is" he started as he walked towards me.

I knew it, it was his girlfriend and she wanted to go out.

"Ah dude, she is kinda feeling down, her exams did not go well. She wants to talk. I don't know what to say" he said and standing in front of me.

"What, just go talk to her, don't worry, we'll go next weekend on the road trip"

I continued

"Hey don't worry about me, I’ll walk home, I wanna eat samosas at mishra, so I’ll do that and then walk home"

"Bro are you sure? This is like some 20th time, am ditching you, middle of the road" he asked

"Leave, before she gets angry with you, just leave" I said with a loud voice and clapping my hands

He got on his bike, started it and said "You are a real life saver bro"

"I know, but what is the use no one around to hear this " I joked

"Don't worry I’ll go meet Prachi and tell her how I passed my exam" he said with a smile as he put on his helmet

I smiled and stood there as he rode away on his bike





Year: 2009 Time: My cell says 3:30 pm GMT, so its 9:00 pm in India

I looked around, there were more people in the bar now. I got up to leave, as I walked out of the bar, I pulled out my cell phone dialled the number.

A beautiful voice sang "Soniyo oh soniyo" which was interrupted by "Hey Sid! How are you dude?"

"Hey Patae, I was thinking. How about a road trip to Coorg? You know like we always planned"


naina said...

Hey Harsha, good one!! Now i've planned to call a few of my old frens n surprise them!! :-)

rajeshwari said...

Very nice harsha ... keep it up :)

Elizabeth said...

Wow !!! This is really nice...a new visitor to the blog...
A very touching story, something youngsters can relate to very easily

Harsha Chittar said...

@naina: glad to have made to remember your friends
@rajeshwari: Thank you
@Elizabeth: Thank you very much for reading the story :) motivates me to write more. Keep reading :)

Rajiv said...

Hey Harsha nice one da.... The ending was good especially..... :)

Karthik said...

Nostalgia unleashed, huh?
Splendid, man. Was able to relate very well. Keep writing!