Friend in Love: Freeloaders’ Paradise – Hilarious Short Story of College Reunion
“It’s over now… there is nothing left in my life… anymore…”
KK tried to dilute his single malt on the rocks by his unstoppable and inconsolable tears.
Raj picked handful of roasted spicy cashews and threw in his mouth one by one and then gulped more than half of 750 ml mug of “King of Good Times” as if he wanted to wash away all the cashews to his belly in single shot. With fake grief on his face, he offered his handkerchief,
“Yaar KK, I swear on my mother, she used to pay special attention to you. When you bunked class, we could see her eyes trying to search you desperately.”
Another gulp and the mug was over. He called waiter and repeated the order. He picked five hundred’s notes from KK’s wallet and handed them over to the waiter. In VD bar, payment used to be in advance especially when customers were students of only engineering college of that small town.
Now it was my turn to soothe the Devdas. I stirred the remaining whiskey in my glass letting melted ice cubes mix well with alcohol. A unique melodious tune surfaced while ice stroke the glass wall,
“KK, no worry yaar. I went to post office today. Everything is settled now.”
That evening was one of the typical evenings in VD bar when Raj and I, the freeloaders, for free beer and whiskey followed by delicious dinner in Mehmaan – the star restaurant, gave our service to our friend KK, the Devdas, by listening to his feeling coming out from his broken heart. His vulnerable heart was our lucky account that weekly gave us sumptuous dividend without any break – let it be semester beginning, Culturer program, fresher’s party, semester exam or even marriage in any friend’s family. Just we had to find a good looking girl and convince KK that she got attracted to him. In fact even that effort we hardly spent. KK was always an easy target for cupid. Not a single day I remembered when he had not been stroked hard by the cupid.
Like any software project, his love used to have three phases. First phase was initiation. The only difference with any other software project was that we never did estimation. Longer the project took, better the benefit returned to us – Raj and I, the freeloaders. More the risks, better the quality of wine because we could not make foolproof strategy to mitigate these risks in noisy hostel room. Second phase was execution in which we had almost alternate day something to celebrate…
“Oh KK… today she saw you dude”
“by god… cannot believe, she was wearing your favourite colour”
“Hey, today again she came to library… how she knows that same time you play cricket”
Third phase used to start when Devdas would propose the girl. We always accompanied him in his every such dangerous venture but maintained a safe distance. This phase literally used to be liquidation phase – tears for KK and free alcohol party for us.
That day we were enjoying liquidation phase, the final phase, of KK’s last love project in college. It started just before our final semester examination. By that time, we had used all possible girls for our projects and none was left in closed vicinity. Raj suggested to try our new lady teacher and we both smiled – wickedly, of course. That day was last examination and KK proposed her, moment she was going to scooter stand after examination. Even today I remembered the sound of slap when her soft hand crashed with full velocity at KK’s unshaven and bulging cheek. She ran to director office leaving KK on our mercy.
There was nothing new for us. We, the veteran, had already learnt the possible consequences of various violations. The proposal was not so sever offence. The consequence would maximum be a letter to KK’s family. Those days there were no email and written memorandum used to be the only way of working in government institutions.
First time in four years, that also on last day in college, I spent something for KK – hundred rupees note. It was fixed rate. Postman would never carry the post to main post office if we, in advance, stamp it with hundred rupees. I knew the letter from director will come to me next day instead reaching to KK’s father.
Seventeen years later, today we gathered in Taj Residency for our college reunion. It was TTMM (tu tera, mai mera) or split or Dutch whatever you say for “pay your own bill” party. Raj and I were enjoying our drinks while our spouses and children were busy with other guests. Somehow we were missing freeloading. Suddenly we saw our prey. KK was little away in his expensive suit with single malt on the rocks in his hand. We met with great affection.
After ten minutes, Raj tried to bait,
“Yaar, you see that sexy lady… kya maal hai yaar… I am observing that for last ten minutes, for one or another reason, she has been trying to get a good look of KK…”
“Abe kutto… Bast**ds… for god sake at least now stop freeloading… she is my wife.”
KK was smiling and Raj was rubbing his cheek in disbelieve. My mouth was wide opened and I was looking at KK and his beautiful wife – one after another.