An interesting story of 2 college boys and what is in store for them!!
|"Hey darling, I can't believe I’ve waited all these days for someone as beautiful as you!! I love you so much..." said Ram in a husky voice to the stunning lady in front of him. She looked right into his eyes and bent down as though inviting a kiss. Just as he was about to do the obvious, the whole place shook giving indications of an earthquake. A part of him told he should be bothered to know what was happening but the other part of him didn't want to miss out such a precious moment with her. As you expect, he calmly listened to what the latter had to say. He closed his eyes and something that had started off soft and cool started turning warm.. warmer... gentle... hot... hotter and very hot.. He suddenly opened his eyes and was shocked to see that his lips were adhered to an iron box(a heated one of course!!). Across him sat TPS (a short name for Thippusundar and nick name being “Terrible Pain on Sight” for his rather non-pleasing appearance) giving him a cold stare.
TPS and Mr.Rammohanaachaar were roommates for almost an year now. Both were doing their graduate studies in a reputed college in Bangalore. As far as the college reputation is concerned, it produced only 2 kinds of students - The ones who were well-proportioned scientists, theatre artists, fine sportspersons, in short, "the achievers" and the ones who were just otherwise. (Well, they were achievers too in the sense you wouldn't find someone spoilt to such an irreparable extent! So, here were Ram and TPS still exploring to which category they would belong to. TPS was the "good boy" types while Ram was the "getting into trouble" types and quite naturally Ram envied TPS. However since Ram was smart looking, he had an advantage over TPS - the gals in the college were fond of him :) He took pride for always being successful in flattering a girl with his flirty wit and charm.
It was 7 in the morning and TPS tried hard to wake up Ram who had to write 2 papers back to back starting at 8am. Our dear Ram, had over drunk the previous night (a mark of celebration every time he succeeded flattering a gal) and had over slept. The previous evening, Shaila and Sunanda (his classmates) were walking by the khaakha shop and saw the college Romeo puffing a cigar very stylishly. After every puff, he let out the smoke very artistically in the form of rings, hearts etc..(he had mastered the art over a period of 3 years, no wonder he was an "expert").
"Hey Ramiee, could you blow some more hearts at me??? Mine seems to be longing for yours..." said Sunanda who never missed a chance to have a chatter with Ram. Though Ram couldn't recall her name, he acknowledged winking at her "Oh sure baby!! why not?!?" and blew 5 more hearts out of the next puff. Though this routine was no different there was something special that caught his attention!! It was Shaila who had accompanied Sunanda. She had silently smiled at him and he had instantly fallen for her, probably what is known as “love at first sight”. He felt butterflies in his stomach and couldn't take her off his mind the rest of the day!!
"Have you no plans of clearing at least one of these last 2 exams? If you flunk either of these, you may have to sit back for another year!!" grumbled TPS.
"Oh just stop it. To hell with you! Not only did you put an end to my romantic dream, now you also want to boss over me?? !! How dare you!! Remember why I told you I had come to Bangalore all the way from Mangalore? Just to escape such badgering from my parents!! ", snapped back Ram and showed a flaring nose.
"Ahhh.. That single smile of hers has carried her to your dreams huh??? A girl's smile...." Momentarily TPS went back an year in time remembering his crush and how crazy he was about her. When he had tried proposing her, she had told - "Just because a girl smiles at you, it doesn't mean anything more than a friendly gesture." The poor thing was heartbroken and hadn't the guts to take it any further. He continued... "A girl's smile is highly captivating I agree, nevertheless it doesn't mean a damn, trust me(still thinking about her..) As far as Shaila is concerned she's smart and intelligent girl. And I am sure she wouldn't even care to look at you!!", TSP shot back.
"Oh really? What the hell do you know about girls and their smile? You must have the talent of casting a charm spell or atleast be handsome, of course the cocktail would be great. Unfortunately you have none and I have both. No wonder even the ugliest gal of the college whom you were eyeing didn't agree for your proposal. And now you speak of GALS AND THEIR SMILE???(Laughed mockingly) And Shaila, I am mesmerized by her smile and beauty. Lets take a bet!! She will start going around with me in 2 days time. How do you like it?" told Ram in a cold menacing voice and walked off.
After undergoing a hardship of having had to sit for atleast 2 hours in the examination hall for the first paper, Ram vented directly into the khaakha's shop for a quick puff of a cigar. The shop overlooked a main road and on the other side Ram noticed the television anchor “Bindu” of the local channel. It seemed like a shoot for new episode was going on. He went into the shop again for the second pack of cigar and luckily he caught a glimpse of Shaila coming that way on his left. He suddenly remembered his bet and his mind started to race working out a plan to speak to her. She was just a few yards away when someone called him from behind. It was Bindu.
“Hello sir, this is Bindu from InBang channel. How do you do?”
Ram saw Shaila watching and he wanted to take full advantage of the situation to impress her. He suddenly felt as though the heavens had opened their doors and all the Gods showered blessings simultaneously.
“Hi Bindu, I am doing great, I'm an ardent fan of yours and never miss your show!! you look stunning” he said shaking hands with her.
“I'm flattered... Thanks so much!! :) Well, we’ve been hosting some talent show off late, and thought you could be our today’s hero!!” smiled Bindu.
“Oh, me?? A HERO?? That’s great!!” he told enthusiastically in a voice just audible to Shaila, though he was not sure how he would fit into the frame. However he refrained from asking her about that being fully conscious of Shaila’s eyes on him.
“Dude, our crew has been watching you puffing cigars way too stylishly. Immediately, you were put into the participant’s list. Your good name please? You don't mind taking part, do you?” asked Bindu.
“Oh.. I’d love to!! By the way, I’m Rammohan… err... Ram... Ramiee... 1st year student of this college serving 2nd term.”, told Ram pointing towards the college building.
He saw a confused look on Bindu’s face and quickly murmured – “I lost an year after I flunked in Chemistry”, and winked. Bindu smiled and winked back.
Ram suddenly remembered that his next paper was due in 5 min. He said – “Can we wait for 2 hours? I have to appear for a paper that is due in 5 min”.
Before Bindu could answer, Ram again said – “Well, we can start. The exam is at 4pm. There’s hell lot of time for it.“ (“Now that I’ve an year back already, how does it matter if another year’s gone??? Once a thief, always a thief!!” he managed to convinced himself!! But this opportunity would never come.)
“Oh that’s good then. Before we start i shall put forth some simple rules of the game. All that you have to do is showcase all your stylish ways of smoking and answer some simple questions for us. Shall we start?” asked Bindu.
In the next half an hour, Ram puffed another 3 packs showing the rings, the hearts etc and answered really simple questions. Finally it was all done. Just as Bindu was packing and about to leave, the khaakha in the khaakha’s shop volunteered to give a closing note – “Though I am 65 yrs old now, I am not able to make hearts out of the smoke. I started smoking at the age of 10. But this guy is awesome. Do declare him a winner!!”
Bindu gave a reassuring smile and told – “Sure. After all a 21-yr old is too talented and deserves it!! Don’t forget to watch the telecast tomorrow in the coffee show at 8a.m”, and left.
Ram jumped out 8am of joy and Shaila approached him and said “hi darling!!, I will watch it too, you were great and will definitely win!!”, blushed, giggled and left. His joy saw no end that day. His ecstasy reached sky heights!! He knew he had struck the right chords and played his cards impressively well.
Ram went back to his room and told his room mate that he’d become a hero overnight and he would join the college achiever’s list shortly.TPS wondered how and thought he'd better wait till the next day.
The next morning, both of them tuned into the TV sharp at 7:55am. The programme started and Bindu was on the screen. It was half an hour’s show and people started showcasing their talents in mimicry, dance, songs and several different categories. All was well but Ram’s turn never came. He waited patiently. After everyone’s turn was over, the winners were announced. But still there was no clue of Ram. At the end of the programme, Bindu said – “It’s a great feeling to have such superior talents showing up here today. Congratulations to all the winners. Coming up next is a short documentary on 'life in Bangalore' in your favorite InBang... Stay tuned!!”
After the break, the programme resumed. The documentary started with a few clips of popular hangouts in Bangalore and now Ram saw his college. His face blossomed. He was now sure that he was the best and so they TV crew wanted to dedicate last few minutes explicitly.
Bindu’s voice in the background said – “This college carries the glory of producing talents in various fields of arts and science. However, some students like the ones you are watching now on screen, can bring down the prestige of the institution in a wink of an eye. This guy is RamMohan… He is one of those idiots who feels embarrassed of his old fashioned name. Calls himself as “Rammiee” poshly (like timmy for Timothy in The famous five series...). He was found smoking cigars one after the other not even pausing to cough in peace…” Ram started to feel that the TV volume was suddenly increased to maximum.
He exclaimed – “Hey TPS, that was too much of an exaggeration, I've hardly coughed and yesterday I had put all efforts to control it and may be just 4 or 5 escaped!!!” TPS looked away from him with a sarcastic smile.
Bindu continued – “The boy skipped his exams to show off his style in puffing a cigar… The dumb boy thought we believed him when he said the exams would start at 4pm. NOW NOW NOW.... look at this… He’s blowing his hearts out… We were told it was for his list of GFs. Shockingly, their number was double his age."
Ram was fuming now – “I never made such a statement!!” ("Or did I slip my tongue???" he asked himself.)
Bindu continued – “Here’s a supporting statement from his beloved khaakha…”
The interview of khaakha was played. For the first time he felt he wanted to run away out of embarrassment. What would Shaila think? What about his reputation with her parents whom he had started to picture as his future in-laws?? He desperately wished both their parents wouldn’t watch the show.
It went on “… I wish the authorities of the college would take rigid action on such “fit for nothing” students and thereby keep up the name and fame of the college….”
I shall somehow have to make up with Shaila... Hope she isn’t watching it, wish there's a power cut!!
The next set of statements was about to blow up his head...
"...lastly, special thanks to Shaila, the very own student of the same college, who volunteered for the making of this documentary and helped the college track one such student of the elite group ... And thanks to Mr. Bharath, the principal of the college for getting his daughter involved for this great deed!!"
Ram couldn’t believe his eyes and ears!! The truth on the screen hit so hard on him that he had to gasp for breath. TPS exclaimed – “YOU WERE RIGHT RAMMIEE, A GIRL'S SMILE DOES WONDERS AND MEANS A LOT OF THINGS!!!” Just as he said that, he heard Bindu say something more...
"The principal has also agreed to get his daughter married to the guy of her choice. He is a 2nd year student of this prestigious college who has topped the class twice in a row. Many congratulations to Thippusamy!! The date of marriage will be fixed once the couple complete their graduation!!" The anchor wore a bright smile as she said that.. "That’s all for today folks!! Hope the show was enjoyable, see you next week same time same day, until then, take care!! Here's Bindu signing off. Bye byeeeee :)"
It was TPS' turn for not being able to believe what was seen and heard!!! He turned to Ram, who had already fainted. He was out of words to express his joy... After trying hard, all he said was - "God’s great!!”
(Word Count - 2336)