Friday, 28 September 2012

The Fruitcake

Baba Gyani Triviani said:
"I wonder if it is better to be fruitier than a nut-cake or nuttier than a fruitcake"

The boring drivel continued unabated. My chum on my left was busy doodling what I could only imagine to be a grotesque version of a rabbit. Or was it a witch? I rest my case. "This bally lecture seems to be unending" I said through clenched teeth "It's not like anyone's listening". He continued shading some areas carefully. "What do you think of it? I drew ginger" he said proudly. "Nice" I said to avoid the topic. Ginger? It looked like a dead rat. "You won't believe what happened to me yesterday" I told him. "I got an e-card from this girl I happened to meet recently. I don't know how to respond to it. What do you reckon I should do?"

He made a face. But it seemed like I had finally caught his attention. "What ho! A girl you say? To you? Surely you didn't concoct it out of your fantasy?" I was offended by his insinuation. I swallowed my pride "Of course not. It really happened". He was right for not believing me though. I wasn't particularly good with the ladies. "Very well, pray tell me more" he said as he flipped the page over to begin a new doodle. I began thus - "Well, when I reached home yesterday, there was a lady and her daughter at home, speaking to my mother. It seems the lady is a distant relative of ours. She is two years younger than us." "The lady?" he interrupted. "The daughter!! She's done with her exams and is looking to join a good college. They wanted to know how to proceed." His pencil stopped making marks on the paper for a moment. "And you suggested this college, didn't you? Smooth" he grinned.

I could feel my ears getting slightly hot. "No, not exactly like that. I explained to her about various colleges, branches and all that rot. I did tell her that our branch and college had the best scope. Which is true". He continued to grin. Of course he didn't buy it, I didn't believe it myself. I gave out a slight chuckle. "And the card? What about it?" he asked as he started drawing some weird strokes. He seemed to be drawing grass. I never knew drawing grass could be this simple. "Oh yeah, I saw it at night. There was a 'Thank You' card from her, for helping her out with the college conundrum." I saw that peevish smile forming on his face again "Thank you eh? Well then, send a 'You're welcome' card. What's so difficult about that? Showing off, are we?" "I wouldn't have asked you if it was as simple as that. You see, there were hearts in that card" He paused again.

"What nonsense is going on there!" bellowed the teacher. We looked up. Someone was getting the works. "Tut tut, the poor chap." he shook his head. "Hearts?" he added as the yelling continued. "Yeah, you know, the mushy pink and red hearts." I said. "I don't understand. I am sure it's just a coincidence. Just send her a You're Welcome card and leave it at that" "Right ho!" I reached home and decided to take his advice. It didn't make sense. Hearts. Surely it was a coincidence and nothing more. I guess we men tend to jump to conclusions rather quickly. It was true that I didn't have many female friends. I am more of the geeky types with not much success with the ladies. I quickly navigated through the website and picked a decent looking e-card. It had a section called 'Personal Message'. Personal message? Pshaw! I barely knew her. The mouse arrow hovered over the send button for a brief interval. Then my fingers began to move rapidly over the keyboard "You are most welcome" I typed under Personal Message. Something was missing. Then it struck me. I typed some more. The message now read "You are most welcome :-) " Perfect!

I was done with dinner. I remembered I had to send out an email and so I went back to my computer and lo! There was yet another e-card from her. I opened it. This was a new one, friendship and thanks formed the basic theme. But wait a minute. Did my eyes deceive me? For there were more hearts in this one. It cannot be a coincidence. I didn't know what to do. There also was an email from her. She had asked me for my mobile phone number. She had some more doubts and wanted to get them clarified. "You lucky dog" I smiled and replied with my phone number. The next morning, I awoke with a strange feeling of cheer. I put on my glasses and checked the time on my mobile phone. There was a message. It was from her. Some kind of a joke. Well, it certainly was funny. I smiled and replied 'Lol'. I continued feeling strangely exuberant, the reason I knew not, well at least consciously.

A couple of hours later I was sitting in class again next to Picasso who seemed to be occupied, busily drawing ice-tipped mountains this time. I narrated the occurrences of last night. He listened attentively but said nothing. I guess he didn't like being wrong, or maybe he didn't like me being smug. Over the next few days, the tone of the messages had changed from jokes to personal conversation. I began to realise that this girl was certainly a delight to talk to. We decided to speak over the phone as well. She had the sweetest voice. I loved listening to her all day. I was just stumped by her vocabulary. She knew how to use the most appropriate words in the context. My vocabulary isn't particularly good. I decided to keep my pocket dictionary close to me while talking to her just so that I could seem smarter than I actually was.

Eventually it happened. "I have something to tell you dear" she said. Dear? That word made feel like a deer... frozen in front of headlamps. "Yes? What's it?" I ventured. "I think you are the reason for the sudden release of endorphins in me" she said. "The sudden release of what?" She giggled - "Look it up". "Oh come on, don't make me thumb through the bally dictionary again" I protested. "Very well silly. I just said that I have fallen in love with you. Do you feel the same way about me?" I certainly adored her, but I was scared. If there was one thing that scared me more than seeming dumb, it was commitment. The only thing I have ever been committed to in life is being scared of commitment. "Umm..." I muttered. My mouth had gone dry. She seemed to sense my difficulty and decided to ease my troubles, the ones she was responsible for in the first place "It's alright, you don't have to answer right-away. Tell me tomorrow. Bye sweetheart" I couldn't sleep that night. My hands felt clammy and I had trouble breathing. The breathing problem was because I have asthma, well that's a different problem, sorry for bringing that up.

Anyway, Da Vincii seemed to have improved over the past few days. His drawings seemed neater and I could actually recognise most of what he drew. He patted me cheerfully and said "Well jolly good, you lucky dog! While the rest of us spread our feathers out and do the mating dance to woo the chicks, you seem to have been handed the prize on a silver platter." "A prize? I cannot go ahead with it, you know how scared I am". "Tut tut. Quite! But having a woman to profess her love for you is very rare. Highly irregular if I might add, for it is highly irregular indeed. This might, nay, will, never happen again. So why don't you seize it when you can?" he said. "You can't be bloody serious! Are you saying if not for this girl, I shall be damned to be single for the rest of my life?" He gave me a meaningful smile and said "I am not the one who's afraid of commitment my friend. Very well, it's your bally life and your damned decision to make. It's up to you to believe in whatever rot you want to"

That evening, I practised long and hard to sound as classy and suave as possible, for letting a woman know that her love was not reciprocated is the hardest thing in the world. Or so I had heard - I had no real experience of course. I decided to praise her as the greatest woman alive, then introduce my cowardice through euphemisms and then conclude the sugaring of the pill by saying that her beauty and intelligence would attract a long line of suitors at the moment of her will. I let it down gently, with the icing of 'We can continue to be friends' She took it rather well. At least that was how I felt. Over the next few days, she drastically reduced the amount of time we used to spend talking. It seemed like she was letting me go. And then she disappeared.

Raphael was quite disappointed with me. "You blew it old chap! You certainly blew it!" he shook his head as he continued drawing mushrooms. A few months later I was once again smug as I narrated the following to him. He was definitely tickled as he listened to the entire story. "By Jove! It's a pity you gave up on her!" he chortled after listening. The background? My cousin also knew this girl and told me that the girl was not of the best in character, for the same trick had been played on various boys before and after me. Her vocabulary was the biggest joke, for she used to pick some clever sounding words randomly from the dictionary just prior to our conversations and then deliberately introduce them in conversations. This little scheme, though hairbrained, was effectively used to deceive the lot. Many fell for the word games, none fell for her. Not even me (fortunately). It seems she had managed to trick one naive man and married him even, bore a child but had separated and divorced before the child was born. She was in a pitiable condition now, for her parents hadn't supported her for bringing infamy to the family and was left to fend for herself and her child. As for me, the doodler continues to poke fun at me insisting that I support her, for she was kind enough to put in a lot of effort and invest her time in me... He was right, nobody else has approached me till now. I am still single, though I am not looking to be in a relationship (at least, that's the official party line)

[ This is based on a true story and the real me is the Doodler :-) The protagonist, however, is still single]
[Language inspired by Wodehouse - First attempt, I aim to improve in subsequent posts]


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Comments from Facebook:

Aditya Kiran:
I guessed the doodler was you :D I have heard the story before, but you've put it nicely :D well done.

Nikhil Narayan:
There is only one guy I can think of based on seating configuration.... I second ak .... :) ...


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Comments from Twitter:
Lokesh Acharya
@Gulagulaananda nice1 sir..n it ws nice to kn tht u wr actualy a char in ths stry :) I cud notice more f lov stories in ur blogs recently :p

6 comments:

Gixxer said...

Good one "Swami Gulagulaagyani-Nikhil"!!

pali said...

Neat! I like these short ones :-)

Abhishek said...

Haha, awesome one.. But little saddening to know it's a real story and not fictional!
And your vocabulary did seem unusually heavy compared to your other blogs.! Are you in the process of impressing someone!? :P

Nikhil Baliga said...

Hehe, not trying to impress anyone :-) I was reading Wodehouse and just loved that style of writing. So I was just trying it out

Anish Bhandarkar said...

Good story !
But the girl seemed to be "young" in the beginning of the story. (joining college) and she turns out to be a single mother later on.
I know that the doodler is 25-ish and somehow, I couldnt digest the girl being older and married and the doodler not noticing it in the beginning :)

The brit style is nice, but whether it fits in today's times is a big question :)

Nikhil Baliga said...

The girl is still younger by 2 years and was just in the beginning of college when she became a single mother. She wasn't married while she was plotting, she got married shortly after that...

Yeah, the Brit style definitely sounds dated and that's what I felt was charming. To reintroduce that in the world of lousy American slang is what makes this post special to me :)