Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Love, Strategy and Antaragni

An exotic white designer kurta; jeans; leather boots and tonnes of deodorant, still there was something I was giving amiss.  I glanced at my shadow in the mirror and it clicked me immediately.
"Bose darwaza khol! Urgent hai." - I started banging my wingey's door. 

Hurriedly he opened the door with dopey eyes. "Kya hua Mato?"
"Yaar tere paas hair gel hai."
"Bas gel ke liye darwaza inte jor se peet raha tha! Nahi hai mere paas. Mattu ke paas hoga dekh."
He banged his door shut and resumed his lazy afternoon siesta.
I entered Mattu's room. Located Set-Wet. And started applying it on my hair. 
"Itna sajh dhaj ke kahan chala Mato?"
"Yaar aaj MUN ka delegate dance hai."
"What's MUN?"
"Yaar ek topic hota hai, ek country allot hota hai aur bas funde dene hote hai." - I added.
"Hmm.. What's your country?"
"What's the capital of Turkey?"
Sarcastically he started rolling-on-floor-laughing.
"What happened?"
"The delegate of Turkey doesn't even know that Ankara is the capital of his country. Doob maro."
"Abey competition ki kisko padi hai. Baat ko samjho .. Law School ki bandiya .. bandiya patane ki nayi strategy hai."
"Saala Thurkey Turkey!"

I reached LHC Foyer, the location of the delegate dance. Participants had already started pouring in. Hot chicks, cool guys - So this is how the law crowd appears.
A few moments later familiar dilapidated people joined me. "Hi Mato" -  Shubham, Gujjar and Bagadiya all three of them cried synchronously.
Neeraj plugged in the speakers and suddenly transformed from a coordinator into a DJ. We danced like hooligans. Waving our hands randomly. Resorting to Punjabi style when we had no moves in our mind. Who cares after all its Antaragni.

Suddenly my eyes fell on her.
She wore Blue Velvet,  
Bluer than velvet was the night.
Sparkling Brown Eyes,
And a mesmerising smile.

She was standing a few feets away from the dance floor.
"Oye Mato usko dance ke liye invite kar." - Shubham suggested.
"Nahi yaar. Kahin ched-chad ke maamle mein kantaap maar di toh."
"Bhai dekh yeh tera aakhiri Antaragni hai. Agle saal toh tum placement preparation karega. Yehi last chance hai. Dance pe chance maar de."
"Abey tension ho raha hai .. Mere se nahi hoga."
"Toh chullu bhar paani mein doob maro. Tum bond aadmi ho. Tum nahi himmat karoge toh kaun karega. Poore mech department ki dua tumhaare saath hai."
"Thik hai." I took a deep breathe, gathered the little courage I had inside me and moved outside the dance floor.
"Hello," she said softly.
I looked back at Shubham, who was beaming right now.
"You are the delegate of .. ," my voice faded out.
"Woh toh bagal mein hai!"
"I mean I'm the delegate Turkey. We're neighbours."  
She smiled. It looked as if finally I had struck a chord.
"How are the foreign relations between Iraq and Turkey?" -she enquired.
I shrugged my shoulders slightly and then I asserted - "We'll have ample time in the next two days to discuss our countries foreign policy."
"Yeah, you are right." She agreed. 
Winter was coming, but I could feel a strange warmth in her company. Meanwhile, Neeraj changed the track to 'Jhoom Barabar Jhoom'.
"Nice song. Would you like to join me on the dance floor?" 
For a few seconds I stood still as if I was expecting some subterfuge to avoid the dance.
Then I escorted her to the dance floor.
She started moving her hands through the air in graceful patterns. The rhythmic fluid movements of her body in tune with the music. The colourful swirling of her blue velvet along with the beat. My PE101 exercise inspired dance steps were nothing compared to her intricate foot movements.

"Ankit can you come with me for a second." - Shilpa interrupted. It was the perfect excuse to take a break and rethink my dancing strategy. I moved away from the floor.
"Haan Shilpa bolo?"
"You haven't submitted your position paper yet."
"Oops. I forgot."
"Aap bas bandi ke saath dance karte raho and maje lo. MUN mein jeetna hai ki nahi?"
I grinned.
"What's her name?"
"Oops. I forgot to ask her."
"Aap bhi hadd ho."
"I’ll submit it, pakka. Chalo, I got to join her back on the dance floor. Bye."
By the time I returned, the girl in blue velvet had already disappeared. I cursed my fate, silently strolling down the street back to my abode. Two hours of googling and I was ready with my position paper.

It was a beautiful morning. I suited up and headed towards L16 the venue of General Assembly. Shilpa was standing at the entrance.
"Hi Shilpa, did you get my position paper."
"Haan mil gaya."
"Is she inside?"
"Arrey Ankit aapka kismat utna accha nahi hai. She is in ECOSOC."
"Shit! Anyways I'll go and take my seat."
Soon the proceedings of the Council began. The delegates where quite experienced, enthusiastic and stupid at times.
"My country has the cure to the illness but not the technology to produce it." - said the delegate of USA.
I think he had gone nuts as how he could have produced the cure without the presence of required technology. Similar "diplomatic" statements followed where people reframed the same thing again and again and again. I had the perfect excuse to refrain from uttering even a word - it was my first MUN and like other first timers I was there to just listen and acquire these tactics of diplomacy.
"Okay delegates, we will now disperse for lunch. Use that time wisely to continue your discussions."

SAC parking lot was overflowing with energy after Khalsa College's Nukkad. And in that crowd I caught a glimpse of her with an I-Card hanging on her chest written "IRAQ, ECOSOC". 
"Excuse me." 
She turned - "Oh hi!" and gave me a dazzling smile.
"Sorry my teammates were heading back so I had to leave the dance abruptly yesterday."
"Chill hai. So how's your Council?" I asked.
"Well the people in ECOSOC are very experienced and this is my First MUN so things are going above my head."
"Well this is my first MUN too. Had you done any research work on the issue?" I further inquired.
"Actually I had no idea that we need to do so much research. I was simply amazed at the amount of material people carried along with them. How was your day?"
"The delegates of my council are quite cool. Also I did some research on the issue, so things are turning out to be on the positive side."
Well my definition of research was simple - Wikipedia entries on Turkey and its foreign policies.
We began strolling towards the Informals stage. 
"Any plans for tomorrow?"
"I will bunk tomorrow's session and enjoy Antaragni." She laughed. "This is the first time I am attending any cultural festival. It is so lively outside our boring council."
I nodded in agreement, wondering, whether I should make the first move and ask her out. Then suddenly from thin air a cupid appeared. Kaithal, the Informals coordinator, had a form in his hand. He waved at me and then started telling her about the Blind Date Competition where she need to just fill the form, go on a date, compete and win loads of prizes. She was quite enthusiastic and eagerly filled in for the competition. 
Lunch time was over and we had to go back for the next session. She left, promising to meet me again. Me too, but in the other direction, towards the Informals desk.
"Oye Kaithal yaar mereko uske saath date pe bhej de."
"Yeh lo Blind Date boy's form, isko bharo." 
"Yaar sahi mein bharna padega kya? Isme toh questionnaire hai. Uske form mein toh nahi tha."
"Mahato bhai dekho, baat yeh hai ki kareeb 200 ladke form bharte hai aur mushkil se 20 ladkiyan. Toh shortlist karne ke liye kuch basis chahiye na."
"Hmmm.. Kab tak form jama karna hai?"
"4 baje tak."
"But abhi toh mera MUN ka session hai."
"Blind Date ka mauka baar baar nahi aata hai, soch lo."
"Chal thik hai form bhar ke laata hoon."

I started rolling my eyes on the questionnaire. The first question - "If you have X-ray vision, first three things you would like to see?" My first reaction - Front View. 
And then I heard a voice from inside - "Bhak Budbak! Roadies nahi dekhte kya. Form mein koi ashleelta nahi."
Then I scribbled - "Firstly, I'll check whether she has some brains. Secondly, I'll check out her eyes, how deep they are. Lastly, I'll see whether her heart skips a beat when I am close to her."
Sounds romantic. The trend continued for other questions and after spending an hour I had a decent form in my hands.
"Kaithal, yeh le mera form."
"Form acche se bhare ho. Chance hai tumhara."
"Thankx bhai. Bas us bandi ke saath setting karwa de kal date ka."
"Dekhte hai." - He winked.
"Chalo session ke liye kaafi late ho gaya hoon. Chalta hoon. Bye"

You're my pumpkin pumpkin, hello honey bunny
I'm your dumpling dumpling, hello honey bunny.. 
My mobile exploded with honey bunny the next day. "Hello"
"Hi Mato, Kaithal bol raha hoon. 12 baje aa jaana desk pe blind date ke liye."
"Sahi. partner kaun hai."
"Abey beti$@#%, aake khud dekh lena."
"Chal thik hai."

An hour later, at the Informals desk, I was well seated waiting for my date. She arrived once again dressed in blue. It sat on her body as if it had been made for her. The satin folds hugged her figure following her curves and the deep blue was gorgeous against her white skin. It was embroidered with miniature dark flowers and finished, as along all the visible seams, with jet black lace to match her stilettoes, and its light skirt flowed out above her knees showing of her toned legs. Her black hair hung perfectly, its choppy layers framed her face and she finished it in style with a deep blue satin bow the same shade as her eye shadow, and same style as her ribbon necklace which held a small beautiful black glass flower. She looked stunning. 
"Hi" - Kaithal greeted her.
He pointed in my direction and continued - "He is your blind date for this event. Also keep in mind that you both need to perform a 30 second dance piece on-stage."
She was amazed by the coincidence.
"When did you decide to take part in it?" - She asked.
"I was just passing by the desk in the evening, when a thought crossed my mind to try out my luck as I have never been on a date."
"Well, it's my first one too. Same pinch." - She beamed.
"So how do you want to spend it?" - I asked.
"Let's know a bit more about each other over a cup of coffee."
We entered CCD and occupied a corner seat.
"Let's order something first," I insisted.
"Any suggestions?"
"How about Irish Coffee." I suggested.
"I haven't heard of it before."
"Don't worry. You'll like it."
I came back with the token number 42 and placed it.
"Hey, that's the answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything!"
"What answer?"
"Haven't you read The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy?"
"Nope." - Quick came my reply.
"In that novel there is a supercomputer called Deep Thought which after seven and a half million years of calculation, had announced that the Answer to Life, the Universe, and Everything was in fact 42."
"Oh, I haven't read the book, but I do have some idea about supercomputers. "
"Wow, you are a proper NERD. Are you from this college?"
"Oh we haven't formally introduced ourselves so far. Hi, I am Ankit and I am currently in my third year and yes I am a student of IIT K."
"Hi, I'm Aditi. I'm in second year pursuing a degree in Law from NLU, Raipur."
"How's life in law school?"
"Well we have loads of courses and strict attendance policy. Then we take part in MUNs and Moot Courts. What about life in IIT? You people study a lot na?"
"Nope. We just study a day before the exam as a lot of extra-curricular activities goes around in campus which enables people to pursue their passion. Like I am involved in Art, Programming and Creative Writing."
"You write?"
"What kind of stories?"
"Short Sci-Fi stories and love flicks."
"So NERDY. Typical IITian."
"Arrey what's NERDY in writing?"
"Kuch nahi." - She said with a polite smile.
Our order arrived.

"Hey it looks great. What are these layers in our coffee?" - She wondered.
"The bottom layer is of whiskey, a separate coffee layer in the middle, and a layer of cream on the top."
"What is your favourite TV series?"
"Same pinch. And what about cartoons?"
"I like Tom and Jerry. You?"
"Death Note"
"What is that?" - She inquired.
"It's one of the IMDb top rated anime series."
"Equal to cartoons in Japanese."
"Where are you from originally?" I asked.
"My hometown is Bhopal. Yours?"
"Have you done anything reckless after entering IIT?"
"Yeah. Let me recall. Aha I remember."
"When I was a sophomore, once in a chemistry course tutorial I was fed up of the instructor, so I left the class in between."
"So what's reckless in it?" She interrupted.
"Let me complete. Soon I realised that the instructor was following me shouting 'Hey boy, where are you going'. Then I started running and the instructor chased me until I crossed the academic area gate. When I turned back he was instructing the gatekeeper not to let me enter."
"Ha Ha .." she burst into laughter, "You have a good sense of humour."
"Thank you and you are also looking lovely today," I flirted.
"Thank you for the compliment," - She blushed.
For a brief moment I made an eye contact with her, held it for a bit and then I saw something deep inside, like they say -"Eyes never lie."

We finished our coffee and decided to practise for the dance piece. I browsed through the internet and downloaded Enrique's Bailamos on my mobile. It was her suggestion as it had a tinge of Salsa in it. She loves Salsa. 
After reaching LHC Foyer, our practise venue, I played the tune.
"Okay now hold my hands." - She said.
I bore a mixed expression of diffidence and astonishment.
"What? Are you scared?"
"No. It's just that I am feeling a bit awkward. My juniors standing over there are looking at us" - I hesitated
"Cummon nerd, itna sharmaane se nahi chalega. We have to perform it on stage." 
"Yeah! You are right." - and I joined her after giving an evil look to Rudra and Rahul who were spying us all along, grinning mischievously, as if something was about to happen on Facebook tonight.
She taught me a step and two - a bit of salsa, a bit of ball. Half an hour of practice and we were all set.
"Hey don't leave my hand while I turn. Hold it tightly. Our chances will increase if they can see our chemistry." I nodded in approval.
"Chalo, now I got to go. At what time is the event?"
"Then I'll see you at four. Our college contingent will leave this place at 6 after MUN gets over, hopefully it'll get over by then."
"Oh, it will hardly take an hour." - I smiled.

It was already six. The event had been postponed to seven. I informed her. She was disappointed, and I disheartened.
You're my pumpkin pumpkin, hello honey bunny
I'm your dumpling dumpling, hello honey bunny ... 
I felt like smashing my mobile, but I picked it up.
"Hi. We were about to leave. So I was wondering if we can meet."
"Yeah, sure. Where exactly are you?"
"I don't exactly know the address. But there is a park with a fountain, up the road. Can you come there?"
"See you in a couple of minutes," - and I ran.

She was standing there, waiting for me. I waved my hand and together we started strolling down the road, silently. I was trying to prevent a flow of emotions from running all over me. I wish I could keep this memory alive inside of me. This silence meant a lot. Her melancholic brown eyes conveyed the expression buried deep inside her heart.

Her friends were waiting and she got into the cab. I didn't hesitate to hold her hand and told her that in some parallel universe we would have won the contest. She gave a gentle smile. It was a smile for which anyone could die. Promising to keep in touch, her cab raced across the dusty street. And all I was left with was a blanket of loneliness sweeping in.

A few moments later.
You're my pumpkin pumpkin, hello honey bunny ..
"Are you busy these days. You haven't called me for quite some time."
"Haan yaar thoda busy chal raha hai."
"Your cult fest is going on na? Wish I could come. You might be busy checking out hot DU chicks, shayad isi liye tumhe meri yaad nahi aati."
"Yaad toh unhe kiya jaata hai jinhe hum bhool jaate hai. Tum toh sada humaare dil mein ho."
She started giggling at the other end. Maybe blushing too, who knows? 
"Aaj badi pyaari pyaari baatein kar rahe ho."  
"Bas aise hi. Char din toh khatam ho gaye ab baaki ke din bhi toh gujaarna hai."
"I didn't get you. Khair, what did you do in Antaragni this year?"
"Peacefully wrote tonnes of codes. It’s the best time for it." - I smilingly replied.

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