There, I’ve said it and I know it sounds ridiculous but trust me the reality was way more absurd. Especially since as events transpired, I was forced to question and analyze the definition and limits of several of the words in my opening line. Chastity – I mean where the hell did one draw the line – would only going all the way be a violation or would just looking, thinking pop up on the offence radar? Any case we’ll get to that. Virtue – let’s not go there at all, ok? Comical – yeah, I’m sure you guys are going to find most of what happened, pretty darn funny, but I sure as hell wasn’t laughing. And love, oh man, that’s where everything really came unstuck... but maybe I should just start at the very beginning.
You know how all of us make those deals with God just before those critical events that could change the entire course of our lives (ok, I admit that lots of these events aren’t so critical but when you’re living through them it sure does seem like life and death stuff). Like for example – God, please help me clear my Organic Chem exam and I’ll chadao 11 coconuts at the temple, God, please don’t let Dad notice the dent in the car and that I put in there and that it happened when I took it without permission and that I had downed 3 beers... don’t let him find out anything and I promise I’ll never drive again, I mean I’ll never drive again without Dad’s permission, actually let’s make it I’ll never drive Dad’s car again without permission under the influence of alcohol, umm God what if I said, I’ll never...
I think you guys get the idea. So yes, I’d done one of the deals with the Almighty. Only it wasn’t for something as silly as exams or a car. It was for something truly life changing – a girl.
Did I say A girl? No way. She was THE girl!!! Come on, we’re talking about Devika
Malik, the girl I’d been in love with forever. Well, it does feel like I’ve been in college forever. And so what if the first time I saw her was 5 months later when as an Informals volunteer I was tossing 5 Stars into the crowd (Vineet, if you’re reading this I swear I only threw 3 towards her and out of that one bounced off this guy’s head and landed in her lap so actually it’s only 2, so don’t believe what Sharan says. I do deserve to be organizer next year). Point is I’ve been in love with her ever since. Ok, it took another 8 months for the message from my heart to reach my head which back then had decided I was in love with Nafisa Husain but we all know how that turned out. And fact is it’s not my heart’s fault that my internal communication system is so slow or that I was so thick headed. Bottom line is I’d loved her for really long and she was THE GIRL!
You’re thinking where does He (God Almighty, who else) come into all this. Well, it had been 3 mont... um, considerable time since I’d been in love with Devika, we’d smiled at each other when we passed each other in the corridors, we’d bitched about Prof. Ghosh once outside the Physics Lab (hope he’s not reading this), we’d even done coffee together at DPs – yes, I do remember that the reason she sat at my table was cause the place was full up but it’s not like that was the only seat available. She could have sat opposite Harshal (sure people call him Hawas ka Darinda but that’s just cause they’re mean, he doesn’t really start drooling and dripping when he sees a female, well maybe just a couple of drops and it’s not all women, well actually...). Anyway all that’s irrelevant, she chose me so sucks to everyone else! And I did pay for her coffee, we did have a great time chatting about how hot it was and how it’s time the city got centrally air-conditioned, how the only parts of the samosa worth eating are the crispy corners, how Rowdies is so much better than Roadies 9... Face it people, we’re soul mates.
So coming back to the deal with the Divine; emboldened by our little tête-à-tête and the fact that she laughed the loudest when I wise-assed Sanwari Mam, and flashed me a big grin as she walked past (being kicked out of class was so totally worth it), I’d decided to go for broke, leap right off the cliff, offer her my heart and take the risk she might use it as a football. I was going to pop the question!
“Will you come to the prom with me?”
Naturally I couldn’t risk my all on the blind faith that she would come up with the right 3 lettered answer. I mean if she rejected me my life would be over, I would never be able to love again, I might be so shattered that I dropped out of college, became an alco – ok maybe not so drastic but I might definitely not be able to go to Facebook ever again for fear of seeing her updates and finding out she was with another guy. That’s bad, really bad. Not that she would say no – coffee, conversation, conspiratorial smiles – we were practically seeing each other. Still I was dealing with the unfairer sex; they do have this slight penchant for being capricious and whimsical (which makes them all the more adorable – just in case you wonderful ladies out there are reading this). And what if she was in a bad mood, what if Sridhar Parthasarthy had already asked her (don’t get fooled please, six packs aren’t everything), what if... Nope. This was too big to leave on chance. Or on Devika’s impulse at that particular moment. No, I needed a sure thing.
I needed God!
And since nothing in life comes free (or so Dad and my eco Prof keep drilling into my head) a deal had to be struck.
“God, please, please let Devika say yes to coming with me to the prom and I swear I’ll, I’ll... (No coconuts, takes forever to break those damn things... no money offerings...that’s really cheap... could say I’ll never do anything wrong again but for God’s sakes I’m only human... umm... uhh) I’ll never look at another girl... I mean I’ll be true to Devika only, I’ll be chaste.”
In retrospect I wish the previous evening I hadn’t dropped in on that rehearsal of Romeo and Juliet that the Dram Club was going to be performing this year and that they hadn’t been reading Act 1, Scene 1 and that accursed C word hadn’t entered my porous mind and stuck there like a leech but I had, it had. The deal was done.
And Devika said yes. Yay, I’m the king of the world
And the deal was now sealed. It had to be lived up to. Yikes, I’m dead!
(Note:) The story and all characters are the copyright of Anand Sivakumaran. No part of this may be reproduced or used in any form without the permission of the author.
**This bi-weekly web-story will be posted Every Friday and the following Monday.