November 27, 2010

The Journey... Chapter 1: The Beginning (part 2)

‘You don’t belong here.’

“Excuse me?”

‘Said what I see.’

“I guess. I’d rather hang out with a group of friends.”

‘What else would you rather do?’

“Sing, act, model…”

Another glamour bug. That’s what he called the wannabes... Bugs around incandescent light… or flames. Just that they don’t know the difference, and flames burn. None would live to see the day anyway.

‘So you are a glamour bug.’

“Excuse me!”

‘You want to be famous… want the lights on you.’

More likely she would be consumed by a light.

“Haan, I want to be famous. And I’m sure I’ll be, with my talent and the hard work I’m willing to put in.”

Don’t they all, love! Of course, with a little extra sometimes.

“What about you?”

‘What about me?’

“Like, what do you do?”

He was losing interest. Looking around. Looked back at her.

Long hair, doe eyes, a cute stubby nose… orange juice, about to finish.

‘Let me get you a refill.’

A part of him said get it… a small part.

A year later, Ron would realise he’d better not have listened to it. About half a minute later, he put another glass of juice in her hand. They touched, barely.

The other, bigger, part had told him to get away.

‘I’m with the ABB Group. I look after marketing for their electronic media.’

ABB Group is the largest media conglomerate in Eastern India.

“Wow. You’ve studied management and all?”

How intuitive!

‘I’m Ron, by the way.’

“I’m Priya.”

I know. Abhishek told me.

“Priyanka Gupta.”

Abhishek, who must be somewhere with his drinking buddies. Made a note to call him before leaving. Priya didn’t seem to know anyone else in the party.

Time to say the last thing. He wasn’t sure he should, sure it will work though.

‘Hey, I’ve to leave now. But I really don’t want this to be the one time I’m seeing you. Why don’t you have lunch with me tomorrow?’

For lunch on a Sunday with a dumb glamour bug, he didn’t need to work a better line.


‘I’m glad we met, Priya. See you tomorrow.’

Glad he was, despite the uninteresting talk. Ron knew most of them at the party… Shook hands and moved on with his bottle of beer, until he met her.


A façade as he sweet-talked through work. A façade he’d developed over the 2 years at IIM Bangalore. No friends… Acquaintances, at best… Most would trample you for a quarter of a grade point, much less a coveted job on campus… May be any job.

A sense of clinical detachment had made him survive. Reinforced, with work.

He liked wearing clothes to office his peers in suits craved for, handling responsibilities people half a decade older were generally considered. And then… there was the cold underneath.

What was said wasn’t meant. What was meant wasn’t done. What was done wasn’t meaningful or desirable… Or both.

Appearances mattered more than anything. And ‘I would do anything to…’ was not a line anymore.

Or may be Ron was just a loner.


November 11, 2010

The Journey... Chapter 1: The Beginning

Ron and Priya

The Story of their Love

The title of the first MS PowerPoint presentation she made. He had shown her how to use the software. She was practicing.

Two people of different personalities.

Priya, a bubbly fun-loving girl. Ron, a typical IIM guy.

And now they’re together, enjoying every moment of life as it comes.

Ron saw the slide. Basic, she needs to work on fonts and background.

That’s what he would think if it read anything but this.

He just looked at the kid and smiled.

Priyanka Gupta… Priya… Khushi, as Ron called her...

She was always a kid to him. Starry eyed, with dreams to fulfill. Unpredictable, impulsive. All he had to do was take her in his arms for thoughts to melt away. But they kept coming back now. She was going through a rough phase. He tried to understand, help her work the way. He was so hopelessly in love with Priya though, might soon lose the objectivity that let him see through her fluctuations.

This was, of course, much after the beginning.


August 2009. Aqua, the pool-side bar at The Park in Kolkata.

A late afternoon party Ron went to chill out and drink beer.

‘Abhishek… It’s good to see you man… Been long!’, formality to a rather boring acquaintance.

‘Hey… Hi’, a couple of fleeting words to the girl. She didn’t seem to hear.

“Let’s go get a drink.”

She stayed back.

‘Are you seeing her?’

“Not really, Priya is a friend from where I stay.”

Priya… Hmm

“I wish she was my girl though. Isn’t she hot?”

Ron hadn’t noticed her enough to qualify. Turned around.

‘I’ll just join you back,’… and walked towards Priya.

Long hair, doe eyes, a cute stubby nose… orange juice.

to be contd...

November 05, 2010

The Journey... Prologue

“Of course I want you to go, it’s a great move!”

‘You’re more important…’

“I’ll try my best to come, I told you”

‘Yeah, Delhi should be better for you too. Work… Music… everything.’

They went to Dakshineshwar, a Kali temple near Kolkata. He prayed for togetherness. Thought she did the same. Her eyes said it… Sad eyes. He didn’t want to leave. But she’d be with him soon…

That night, Raunak Basu came to Delhi.


“You mean nothing to me”

Two weeks of trying to understand what that meant. She picked up her phone a few times, spoke in fewer words.

“I’m going to Patna for a while. Will speak to you tomorrow when I reach.”

Waited for it… Three days, four, maybe.

Hey number aata vyast aahe, thode nantar call kara (This number is presently busy. Please call after some time.)

She was in Mumbai… Why didn’t she tell him?

He called her more than a hundred times that day. She answered once…

“Ron, it’s none of your business. I don’t want to talk to you right now”

Didn’t see where this came from. Felt cheated and flawed, alternately.

More calls in vain… Vanity, expecting her to pick up…

“Must be cursing me for what I’m doing to you. Are you happy now that I’m crying here alone in misery?”

That one sms made Ron forget all his woes and think of hers.

“Look, it’s nothing. Said it just like that. I’m working with a production house here. I’ll call you tomorrow, low on balance!” And switched off her phone.