This short story became SPIXer (Most popular story) on 3 March 2012
[This short story love is selected for Love’2012 Story Writing Competition]
Memory is a way of holding onto the things you love, the things you are, the things you never want to lose. The morning, I saw today at my college has also become a memory to be remembered as the last morning of my college days. How strange are those old recollections that haunt us, without our being able to get rid of them!
Today, I feel lucky to have a plenty of good friends. In my engineering life, I solved friendship equations along with several mathematical equations to get a good job, and plenty of good friends. Mukul, a tall, pretty guy, and roommate of my hostel room took few months to be my best friend, and I miss him the most after completion of my B.Tech life. We both shared a great chemistry and did several things together at college, to be remembered by us and our friends forever. The initial months of my college days will always be special to me for endearing me with my college. I was introduced to a realm of code, where I learnt respect for my seniors, importance of friendship, and live life by your own with hurdles, often called ‘ragging’ surrounding you everywhere. Even today, I cannot understand how these initial days have clung so vividly and tenaciously to my college memories.
During our ragging period that was for 2 initial months of our 1st semester at our engg college, we had to follow certain rules and wear the dress code designed for us. Even, we were not allowed to look properly at girls of our batch of 450 students from different streams. Seniors used to come in our classes, and few pretty girls of our class had to answer the same boring question to many seniors every day. These girls used to show their stagnant horrible faces to us, as if they were in tatters after facing ‘ragging’ from our seniors. Though, these girls felt elated at their girl’s hostel for gaining popularity among batch mates and seniors; many guys of our batch, who had got feelings for these charming young ladies, prayed for the early exit of ragging period, and try their luck to get a girlfriend at college. Mukul was also attracted from pretty, charming Reah Sen. Reah was the most beautiful girl of our batch, born, as if through an error of destiny, into a poor farmer family of Bengal. After few days we got our freshers, and the door of enjoyment also opened its door for us to enjoy our college life along with seniors. Most of the 1st year guys changed their routine life to lead a casual life after the end of ragging period. They were all ready to dip inside the sea of love, and grab the most charming pearl to make it their soul mate for the rest of their college life. Mukul was a studious and serious student, who used to study and complete all the class assignments by his own, while I, along with my other roommates and other class mates used to talk and do fun in our hostel room. He was getting popular as a serious student in the class among all the students and girls do liked his looks, full of innocence. My hostel room was very popular among seniors of hostel, and here popularity was gained by my other roommate Prithesh, a rock star, and a guitarist. He had won the heart of all super seniors, and they used to come in our room to listen his guitar. Prithesh was a great guy with athletic body that has made several girls to run for him at his native place. He was in relationship with his 5th girlfriend and had no plans to look even at the college girls. Mukul had no choice except to hear the songs and talk with me, while Prithesh was busy in alluring the seniors. Prithesh’s guitar had not only heeled the wounds of broken heart seniors, but also helped me in sprouting the weeds of friendship with Sam and Mukul. Sam was from other nearby room, used to live in my room only due to a better bonding with me and my roommates. Mukul appointed me as his love guru, for helping him in getting Reah, as his girlfriend. Well, sorry to say so late, but yeah I was in relationship since my school days, and so was handed this responsibility to carry out. We started working on the project of Mukul’s love. Reah was now being observed by us, and I suggested Mukul to do friendship with Tanya. Tanya, a beautiful, graceful, and distinguished looking with large gray eyes was the best friend of Reah. We had a bad experience with Tanya. We including Mukul had an exchange of bad words with her for one of our friend Veer, who loved Tanya and she had ignored him. The word ‘sorry’ came in Mukul’s rescue, and we relished in excitement after he succeeded in making Tanya his 1st friend among girls of our college.
After few days, I was surprised on seeing a large no. of sms from Tanya on Mukul’s cell. He was going fast in forging a good friendship with Tanya. They had started talking with each other on phone, and the hours of conversation got enhanced day after day. I had concealed their friendly relationship from our friends and seniors. Tanya was simple, never talked with guys in class; but she was unhappy. Mukul was also her lab partner, and he had started helping her to come out from all her sorrows that haunted her. Soon, durga-pooja vacation came and we all went to our home to enjoy the season of festivals. I met shreya, my girlfriend at my hometown. She was studying medical, and had come home for pooja vacations. College was awaiting us with our first internal exams. Mukul was well prepared for the exams, and helped me to do a good preparation for the internals. The internals went good. Mukul and Tanya started their post vacation friendship bond with a fresh odor. I was feeling the essence of that odor containing microbes of love, but waited few more days to ask the truth from Mukul. “I don’t know Ryan, what it is exactly!! But yeah I am enjoying every moment with her. We are very close friends, and I don’t want to think about anything else.” said Mukul. I went up to him and said: “what about Reah??” “For now, I am not concerned of Reah. I think it was an infatuation. So it’s better to end it.” Without being surprised from the reply of Mukul, I was rather happy for him and wished that their friendship soon get converted to a great love story.
It is said that in a college, the news of friendship between a boy and a girl spread out like fire in a forest. The case of Mukul and Tanya was not different; all had started to predict a dalliance between them, attracting a lot of trouble for me and my friend Mukul. We all suddenly woke up at 2 am with the sound of large knocks made on our door. Nazim khan, 3rd year senior, entered our room. He was a broad- shouldered man, with a small red beard, a handsome man, a man whose name we had heard several times in the stories of college fights, a man whom some of my seniors respected, some of them feared, and some of my seniors hated. It was our first interaction with Nazim bhaiya, and we were shivering with fear. He cried loudly: “who is Mukul here??” Mukul replied gracefully: “I am Mukul.” Nazim bhaiya looked at Mukul with an irritated eye, and declared impatiently: “what do you suppose of doing with Tanya??Don’t you know that Ajit, my friend loves her? How did you dared of loving her? My friends were going to beat you in the day itself. But I thought of talking with you. So, I am here.” Mukul was full of fear after hearing those words and murmured in a shivering tone: “there is nothing like that between us bhaiya. We are just very good friends. Yesterday, I came to know about Ajit bhaiya that he loves her. She was very depressed today. So, we were wandering together and sat for few hours in the college canteen.” “Ok, so you both are good friends!! Will you be able to prove me that she will stand for you, whenever you will be in need? If it is so, then just tell Tanya to confess me about your friendship with her. Take my no. and come with her in the library at recess time. Call me if I am not there.” “Yeah bhaiya, I can do that. I will come with Tanya tomorrow, and she will confess you about our friendship.” “Ok fine. If she does that tomorrow, then I promise you today that none of my friends will hurt you or Tanya. Even, Ajit will not disturb her. It’s the word of Nazim khan, and you know that my words have got weight in this college.” Nazim bhaiya left the room after finishing his conversation with Mukul.
I was stagnant for few minutes along with Prithesh. We both were confused, after hearing the conversation between Mukul and Nazim bhaiya. We both looked stupefied, and then Prithesh stammered out: “hey what’s the matter dude? What you have done? Why you are getting yourself involved in this trouble? Do you love Tanya?” Then, unable to bear it any longer, Mukul replied in an exasperated voice: “Oh! Do leave me in peace; I am explaining the whole matter to both of you. As I told Nazim bhaiya, I really came to know about the case of Ajit bhaiya only yesterday. Tanya called me yesterday night and she started weeping loudly. She told me about Ajit bhaiya, who was behind her since the 1st day of our college life. She never liked him, and always ignored him. But he used to disturb her by getting her ragged from the senior girls, friends of Ajit bhaiya. Yesterday night, she was called by her seniors; they abused her, and warned for not talking with me. They even scared her of complain that they would lodge against her to the girls hostel warden, if she continues talking terms with me. She told me to forget her as she never wanted me to be in trouble from Ajit bhaiya and his group. I was broken in tatters after hearing her painful words, containing the essence of tears rolling off from her large, beautiful eyes. I realized for the first time that I had started adoring Tanya, and tears from her eyes do hurt me. She was depressed today too, so for the first time, I went to canteen with her and tried to give her a good time by spending few hours with her in the college campus. I saw Ajit bhaiya looking at us with his irritated eyes full of anger. The hatred against Ajit bhaiya which was fermenting in my veins suddenly roused me, but I controlled it just to keep Tanya away from more troubles. I have started caring her. I think I am in love bro!!….” I felt elated after hearing these words from Mukul. He had started loving Tanya from his pure heart, easily visible from the tears rolling off his eyes, spreading the essence of his unconditional love for her.
Next day, Sun shone warm and bright into the large courtyard near college library. Tanya, feeling awkward about the confession promise, finally confessed to Nazim bhaiya, and he promised Mukul to go by his words. His words were like flowers of joy for Tanya and Mukul, and they started wandering together in the college premises like a new couple, without any fear.
My room was appearing to other friends as a room of love birds, with all of the roommates busy with their love on phone during midnight. But soon Prithesh had a break up with his 5th girlfriend, and again, we were unable to find the reason of his break up. The dilemma of his love life was that every time a girl proposed him, and after remaining in relationship with him for few months, they ran with other guys. He had decided this time not to be in any further relationships. On the other side, Mukul was always surrounded with problems related to others, who wanted to shatter his love story. This time it was veer, who wanted to create misunderstandings between Mukul and Tanya. We had to intervene, and a clash was successfully avoided between Mukul and veer. Even, I was going on a rough patch with shreya during those days. Thanks to Diwali, which came at the right time, and we all went home to celebrate the festival of lights with the family. In this holiday, Mukul got a lucky chance to take Tanya to her home. He called me on Diwali and told me about his fabulous journey with Tanya, and told how much frightened he felt while meeting the parents of Tanya, who were very friendly to him. It was one of the best Diwali of his life, and I really felt happy for him. The festival of lights also helped me to clear the rough patch with my love shreya.
After Diwali, I insisted Mukul to propose Tanya, which I felt was the appropriate time to do. I already knew it, how hard it is when you are going to propose your best female friend. I had faced it in past, but after initial rejection by shreya; she accepted my offer, after noticing me for a long period. In case of Tanya, I was damn sure that she will accept Mukul’s proposal at once, but still knowing a girl completely is a task, failed by lots of sages of ancient times. We were keeping our fingers crossed and on a proper situation, when Tanya was feeling jealous while Mukul was busy talking with her roommate, he proposed Tanya and it took him almost three hours for murmuring “I love you Tanya” in a shivering tone. “I did it Ryan. I did it guys. I proposed Tanya today.” Mukul uttered a cry of joy. I responded, full of anxiety: “you are my brave brother. Proud of you! She told you na a big yes…?” “No man, she was stagnant and kept quiet for a few minutes, after I proposed her. She did not believe my words and was repeatedly saying that she had not thought anything about it. At last, she asked for some time and wants me to be continuing the friendship.” “Hey! It’s great. You are luckier than me. My friendship got affected, when shreya had initially said a big no to my proposal. She will very soon say you a big yes, when she gets convinced of accepting you as her soul mate. Don’t worry bro…it’s time for a big party…!” “Thanks Ryan, it all happened due to your support and confidence you showed on me.! It’s really a time for celebration.”
We celebrated the success of Mukul with a grand party, he threw to us. Mukul and Tanya became closer to each other after Mukul’s proposal, signaling a virtual yes to his offer by Tanya. Hurdles kept coming to their love story, and this time it was a guy named krish, who had claimed to be Tanya’s boyfriend since her schooldays. He had questioned the character of Tanya and even suggested Mukul, to be careful from her. Mukul completely believed Tanya, and he just took krish, a mad one sided lover, as told by Tanya to him. Semester exams came nearer and we all became busy with lab exams and in exam preparations. Due to Mukul, I and sham had also come close with reeti and keerti, roommates of Tanya. We all were class mates and used to go to canteen and library together. Sham had soft feelings for keerti, but he never thought of telling her. Reeti had also some soft feelings for Mukul, before she got committed with a guy from the nearby college. She liked Mukul and Tanya as a pair, and was helping Mukul to get a big yes from Tanya as soon as possible.
Finally our 1st semester exams started in cold December. First three papers went really good for us. After completion of 3rd paper, we had got a one day gap for the next exam. That evening, the college main building raised its colossal arch against the red sky, and the sun seemed to be sinking on to it, showering fiery dust on it from the sky. I had not seen Mukul after the exam but was not worried, as it was his regular habit to go out with Tanya and wander in the college premises. He returned after a few hours with a swollen face, red eyes, and shivering voice. He appeared to be broken in tatters. I thought that there must have been some misunderstandings between him and Tanya, and it will be sorted out very soon, like it happens in my case with shreya. He slept for few hours with eyes continuously rolling off tears, spreading the essence of hatred, betrayal all over the room. After few hours, unable to bear it any longer, Mukul woke up and said to me in an exasperated voice: “bhai, I got cheated. Tanya broke my heart. She had told me lie about everything. Today, krish called me after our exam and told me that he had a recording, containing his conversations with Tanya during their school days. He told me to listen the recording, and know about the real Tanya. Initially, I did not believe him, but again I thought of listening the recording for once, and clear out all my misunderstandings about Tanya. Well, really speaking I am cursing my soul for listening the recording, containing her sexual chats with krish, a mad one sided lover for me. The unconditional love that was fermenting in my veins has got converted to hatred for her. My brain has stopped working, and my heart is still not accepting the fact about which my ears sent the signal to my brain few hours ago. How can Tanya cheat me bro! How can she do this to me!! How can she tell me the bundle of lies?” I was really shocked after hearing these words from my best friend. He had been cheated from a girl, who appeared to me the most simple and pure hearted girl, I have ever encountered in my life, other than shreya. The situation at that moment was appearing to be a very critical one. I called Reeti, who was the closest friend of Mukul, after Tanya. I told her the whole incidents about recordings and krish. She was not shocked as much I had expected her to be. Then, she said me in a whisper: “well, first of all I want to ask sorry from you and Mukul. I knew about krish. He was her boyfriend since school days, and they broke up during our ragging period. Related to recording, I don’t know anything. That is really very shameful act by Tanya. She had told me not to tell the truth about krish to you people. After seeing the unconditional love in the eyes of Mukul for Tanya, I always asked her to tell the truth about krish. She hesitated to do so as she had already told him a lie about krish, and she never wanted to break the trust of Mukul. But, as it always happens; the house made of brick of mud falls very soon, similarly relationship built on several lies get shattered very soon. This recording thing is really unacceptable for me too. She never told us about this stuff. I can understand the feeling of Mukul, and the condition in which he might be going on now. Please lend your support to him and tell him that I am always with you people. He needs us the most now.” I was feeling cheated too by these girls, who were the best female friends of our friend group. How can they be so selfish and irresponsible in case of relationship, when a guy has given his everything to his unconditional love!!
Well, the night passed by and next day, I kept busy Mukul with me for studying maths, our next scheduled exam paper. Fortunately, our maths paper went good. After the exam, Tanya called Mukul as she wanted an urgent talk with him on the matter of recording and krish. We told him not to change his decision that was to do break up with Tanya. We knew that he may be emotionally tortured by Tanya, due to his innocence and pure heart that was graced to him by the almighty. Mukul came back after few hours, and uttering a deep sigh, as if after a first victory, went on in a calm voice: “I broke up with Tanya. She pleaded me with various explanations for not to do so. But, I did it finally. For some moments, after seeing tears rolling off from her eyes, I wanted to give her a chance, but could not do so due to her words, I had heard in that recording. So it’s ok for me now. I am finally relieved and will try to forget her as soon as possible.”
At night, I went to the college ground along with Mukul. He wanted to have a personal talk with me. He smiled with a proud and simple joy and said: “today, before going to Tanya, I went to reeti. She told me everything; she had kept hidden from me. Tanya never loved me. She was using me just to enjoy the status of having me as her boyfriend. I was her puppy, as I supported her and backed her in all her decisions. I protected her from abuses and ragging from our seniors. Today, I am telling you a bitter truth; she never called from her cell phone. She used to give me a miss call, when she needed to talk with me, and I immediately called her without slightly thinking of the money, I spent on my phone recharge. In the early days of college life, she had announced of getting a boyfriend, who was to be a handsome, good hearted, innocent guy, ready to do anything for her. Reeti even told me that Tanya will do anything to not let me go from her life. While talking with Tanya today, I wanted her to see her going for anything to not let me go from her life. And at last, when I was adamant with my decision, she pushed me near her face and told me to kiss her lips, a proof that she can do anything for not letting me go from her life. I went close to her, saw in her eyes, did not found a single trace of truth, touched her chins, vibrations leading me to love her unconditionally was also missing in that touch. I was getting uncontrolled in that situation and was about to kiss her when suddenly, I remembered the last words by reeti. Tanya had recorded my proposal words “I love you Tanya” in her mobile phone, and almost all the girls of our batch had heard the proposal words. She used to laugh after hearing my unconditional feelings for her. The hatred started fermenting in my veins, and I pushed her away. I went out hurriedly from the empty classroom, left her all alone to think for a new strategy for getting a new guy of her type.” Tears were constantly rolling off from the eyes of both of us. I knew that Mukul had to face consequences for leaving Tanya. But, he had gained a different kind of inner strength and was ready to face it all.