It was the beginning of rainy season, the season of romance and happiness. People in the college were in euphoria as their college had to host the Inter College Fest that year. Everyone was happy so was Sanjay. He’s an average student of 3rd year in Computer Sciences of beautiful college Gitam in more beautiful city Visakhapatanam. He’s in class seated in his favorite last bench with his best friend Sujeeth.
‘Sanju, you know what, our Principal wants you to sing in the upcoming Fest’ said excited Sujeeth.
‘What the heck Suji! I’m not a good singer’ said Sanjay. To be honest he’s a reasonable singer and we can count on him in special occasions like cultural fests.
‘Man, our college’s sending 4 participants and this is lowest for a host’
‘I can’t embarrass our college in front of thousand odd people!’ shrieked Sanjay gaining enough attention. The class in charge shot an ugly look at him and signaled him to be silent for which Sanjay apologetically smiled.
‘Sanju, this is a golden opportunity to bunk the college for the next two weeks in the name of preparation’ hissed Sujeeth.
This seemed reasonable for Sanjay as he needs a break badly. He had been attending college every day since the last 3 months and it’s better to take a week or two off.
‘I’ll think about it’ said Sanjay and shifted his attention towards the class.
After an afternoon full of classes Sanjay reached his home in college bus. He climbed the stairs to the third floor, where his house is situated. He knocked the door, his father, a spectacled man, who wore his old white shirt and faded black trousers welcomed him in. The hall was furnished with old sofa and cushioned chair set with a teapot in the middle. The door was knocked again and this time it’s Sanjay’s brother Nikhil, who completed his degree and was in search of job.
Nikhil collapsed into the sofa while Sanjay was relaxing on the chair.
‘How’s the interview?’ asked the father.
‘This is my last dad, I can’t attend another, its 12th already and I’m done’ said frustrated Nikhil.
‘This is not fair babu, you should be trying day in day out’ said the father.
‘It’s impossible dad, I am selected and how can I appear for another interview?’ said Nikhil in a singing tone.
The room atmosphere was now happy and his mother came rushing into the room. Nikhil declared gifts for his family.
‘Dad and mom let’s go shopping, Sanju buy whatever you want and Shyam buy whichever book you want’ said Nikhil happily. Shyam’s the last in three brothers.
‘I don’t want book annaya, I want you to join me in a coaching institute’ said Shyam.
‘No need of coaching centers, they’re of no use’ snapped Sanjay.
Two weeks passed in a quick manner. Everyone in the college was in party mood. The students from nearby colleges were entering the campus of Gitam. The auditorium of GITAM had to host the dance, sing a song and mime competitions. The other competitions like debate, jam and so on were in classrooms. The first performance of the day was dance act by Gayatri Vidya Parishad College of Engineering for Women. Crowd was becoming rowdier with every passing moment. The host announced – The pretty girls of GVPC Engineering College for Women to perform Dholna of Pyar Ke Geet. There’s a huge applause from the crowd filled with boys whose testosterone levels were high. All of sudden seven girls with similar creamy white tops, loose hairs and different colored long skirts entered onto the stage with their backs facing the crowd.
Rangeelo maaro dholna dholnaaa vee
Rangeelo maaro dholna dholnaaa vee
The girls started dancing in well synchronized moves. Sujeeth was shocked to see the petite, curvy figures dancing in skirts in front of him. One by one every girl in the group of seven started to turn back with every A ra ra in the song. Then the girl in the middle turned back. Sanjay knew her.
‘Hey Sujeeth, she’s Lavanya Sastri, my Lavanya Sastri’ said Sanjay.
‘Where?’ said Sujeeth, who’s involved in the excitement of the crowd ‘Who?’
‘My Lavanya Sastri, she protected me from this cruel world but left me in this hell’ said Sanjay looking towards the middle girl with affection in his eyes, to Sujeeth, who to the contrary looking with a puzzled expression on his face.
‘I’ve told you man don’t you remember? She’s looking good, looking very good now’
Sujeeth was still confused. But Sanjay continued ‘But she’s not the girl I had known, she was a little girl then’
‘Sanju, if she was a little girl then you were a little boy!’ shrieked Sujeeth.
‘I didn’t mean that. The girl who’s looking like an angel now was a kid then, was my best friend then’ said Sanju to Sujeeth who was not listening to him.
‘Suji, everything in this auditorium is in slow motion now’
‘You’re annoying me now, everyone around us are enjoying to the peak, you’re the only one who’s in slow motion’
‘I can see every minute detail in HD clarity. She turned her gaze to left side, now towards right side, she blinked now, and can’t you see that?’ Sanju asked Sujeeth again.
‘Even I can see that but I have a small doubt, who’s your Lavanya here?’ asked Sujeeth for which Sanjay casted an ugly look.
‘Try guessing’ said Sanjay
‘I can’t mate, please say or f**k—’ Sanjay interrupted Sujeeth saying ‘See, she’s smiling now, the smile started in left side is now crawling to the eyes’
‘Is it a lizard to Crawl!’ said annoyed Sujeeth.
‘See, she’s searching, she’s searching for my eyes’ said Sanjay completely ignoring the comment of Sujeeth.
‘Donate you’re f**king eyes to her’ said Sujeeth and the dance performance was completed. The crowd again applauded with a roar.
‘Awesome performance man, they nailed it’ said Sujeeth ‘Lavanyaaa, Laavanyaaa’
‘Man, are you crazy?’ Sanjay pulled Sujeeth down.
After four performances in dance it was time for singing competition. It’s time for Gitam College to perform and luckily it’s Sanjay’s. He, at first was reluctant to sing but after Lavanya’s appearance he decided to dedicate a song for her. He didn’t prepare, he didn’t rehearse and he had no idea what to do there, on the stage.
He was introduced onto the stage by the host as if he’s a celebrity. The crowd applauded, but his eyes searched for one pair of eyes, the eyes of Lavanya. He was standing with no expression on his face. His team members were staring at him with disgust. He took the mic from the host and started singing.
Priyathama Neevachata Kusalama
The crowd started applauding wildly. Everyone was roaring loudly, the crowd became rowdy, Sanjay found Lavanya casting a glance at him in awe. His purpose was served so he started singing with more excitement as he knew everyone will like this super hit song from Guna,
Oohalanni Paatale Kanula Totalo
Toli Kalala Kavithale Maata Maatalo
Ooho Kammani Ee Prema Lekhane Rasindi Hridayame
Priyathama Neevachata Kusalama
Lavanya was smiling now. The music team with Sanjay was now smiling with admiration. Everyone in the auditorium was humming to the song as it was very familiar to them.
Gundello gaayam edo challanga maanipoye,
Maayachese aa maye premaaye…..
Entha gaayamaina gaani naa menikemigaadu,
Puvvu soki nee soku kandhene…
Veliki raani verri prema kaneeti dhaara lona karugutunnadhi….
Naadu sokamopaleka nee gunde baadha padite taalanannadi…
Mamoolu prema kaadu,
Agni kante swachchamainadi…
Mamakaarame ee laali paatagaa raasedhi hrudayamaa…
umaadevi gaa Sivuni ardha bhaagamai naa lona niluvumaa..
Subha lali laali jo
laali laali jo…
umaa devi laali jo..
lali laali jo
mamakaarame….ee laali paata gaa
By the end of this song Lavanya was smiling to herself and Sanjay fell in love with Lavanya. He was very happy.
After the completion of this competition Sanjay and Sujeeth left the auditorium following Lavanya.
‘Man, you are f**king awesome, how the hell you chose that beautiful song to sing? We were amazed at your selection. It was awesomely sung by you. It was as if you rehearsed it for years’ Sujeeth was admiring Sanjay’s performance. Everyone had to admire him; he made people remember the beauty of Ilayaraja.
Sanjay pulled Sujeeth into a classroom where debate, just a minute and other literary competitions were happening.
As they were hosting the fest, Sanjay and Sujeeth were allowed to enter the classroom for free else they had to pay one thousand bucks. They started observing the room when Lavanya and her friends spotted Sanjay. Not only Lavanya but also her friends knew Sanjay as they studied in same school till 12th standard. Her friend, a seriously healthy girl (I don’t want to call her fat) came running towards Sanjay.
‘Oh my god Sanju!’ said Keerthi.
‘Hey Keerthi, how’s you? Never saw you after school. By the way he’s my mate Sujeeth’ said Sanjay.
‘Sanju, let’s talk about your ‘friend’ later, you sang very well, I never knew you can sing this well’
Even before Sanjay could thank her, she continued ‘You were so mean, you never tried to contact me or Lavi, but we were still best of friends and we’re studying in same college. Of course we’re of different departments, she’s in psychology, yuck’
Lavanya looked Keerthi as if she called her a cheap slut; she looked adorable in that expression though. Sanjay couldn’t stop himself from looking at her. Sanjay was about to occupy seat next to Lavanya when Keerthi sat there.
Sujeeth pulled Sanjay away from them and they sat in last row as usual. Lavanya was called by the host and she started debating about ‘Forgive and Forget’. The topic she chose was definitely not well rehearsed and Sanjay was sure it was spontaneous. Sujeeth started cursing Sanjay for pulling him into a boring debate thing. ‘Don’t start dreaming man, she might’ve chosen the topic a year ago’
Sanjay ignored Sujeeth as always and looked admiringly at Lavanya, his Lavanya.
The debate competition was completed and Sanjay came out of the classroom and was staring at Lavanya from a distance. His eyes full of love and heart reminiscing their childhood. Sujeeth interrupted him.
‘Man, stop staring at her, go and talk’
‘What I will have to talk?’
‘Go and greet her first and complete the monologue with let’s marry’ said Sujeeth,
Sanjay walked towards Lavanya, his Lavanya and stared at her. Lavanya kissed goodbye to her friends and stared at Sanjay with equal fervor.
The bond they shared, the love they had for each other and the days they spent together flashed in his mind. He missed her, she too and he could bet his heart that she did miss him.
(TO BE CONTINUED)