‘You don’t belong here.’
‘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.’
‘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?”
‘I’m Ron, by the way.’
I know. Abhishek told me.
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.