TITAN is my nickname. In Greek mythology, Titans were a race of powerful deities, descendants of Gaia and Uranus, that ruled during the legendary Golden Age. I am not so Titanic, though I believe some similarities have been percolated down the line......(LOL!!!) and it is my system... so I named it TITAN TANTRA...
The July has passed. We hardly met each other. No, it was not only due the heavy rains which was the record monsoon that year in Kolkata, but also various unavoidable circumstances. Been it my casual approach, or her idiotic apprehensions, we fought a lot that month, over phone, over chat and through networking sites (Orkut was gaining its popularity that time). And like every fighting couple, we wondered why we had ever started this relationship. Hey, hey, wait…….. was it a relationship at all? I mean till that time was it there? I cannot answer it now. What was there, what made us to fight in every conversation, I really cannot recollect. But we fought and fought like cats and dogs caught up in the same cage. Anyway, let me arrange my memories once again. After the then endless fight, we stopped calling each other, I mean I wanted to call, but something deep inside me restricted to dial her number. Why are you acting like a child? She’s not bothered at all, then why are you thinking of her? And I controlled my emotions. And then I mourned. A day, most probably in first week of August, Ishani called me. It was just seven o’clock in the morning, and I was sleeping very tight. Twice I rejected her calls, but for the third time I didn’t. “What’s wrong with you Ishani? Why are you calling me now? Am sleeping, bye.” “Hold on, Soham. It’s me.” The very known voice I wanted to hear for a long appeared on the other side. I couldn’t answer her. “Hello, are you there? Soham? You there?” She asked me twice. “Yes, I am. Tell me, what do you want?” Shit, shit shit!! What am I saying!! I didn’t want to answer her in such a fashion, but my ignorance has already risen before I could leave the bed. “Oh, are you still angry with me?” Her voice was shaking. “Yeah, a li’l bit.” I couldn’t find out where from these words were coming out, but I was happy that she was behaving differently. “I am sorry. I didn’t want to hurt you. I know I always fight with you for each and everything. It’s not fair, not at all for a relationship. But trust me, I never thought of losing you.” What is she saying!! When did I tell her that am leaving her, or so!! “Not an issue dear. I am not going anywhere.” Finally I could speak my mind. “Promise me, you won’t fight. Always you will be nice to me. Please don’t stop talking, I cannot take it.” “When did I stop talking to you? It was you who stopped everything. And I never started any arguments.” “Please Soham, you know you always do such things, which I cannot take for granted. And never talk to me like that.” She was getting her usual temper back. “See, you already have started it.” I laughed. She smiled, I could sense it. “No, I am not. I am just trying to fix it.” “Why are you calling from Ishani’s mobile?” “I lost mine.” “How?” “I banged it on the floors the day I last spoke to you, precisely fought with you.” She chuckled. “See, how costly is your fightings and all. Don’t do that again.” “I won’t, but you have to be much more responsible for it.” “I will be. Anyways, are you coming to college today?” “Sure. I will come with Ishani. I am at her place.” “Okay, 9:45, canteen.” “Done. And listen…I love you.” “It’s okay.” “Okay? Say it.” “What?” “That you do.” “I do…what?” “Forget it.” She hung the phone up. I enjoyed her anger after a long period of time. I couldn’t express how badly I missed her, how eager I was to her from her side, how much I was longing for. But she expressed her everything. And that made my day. I left my bed and rushed to bathroom. Mom was visibly astonished to watch her son brushing at 7:30 in the morning. “Is there anything special today?” Mom asked. “Nothing, today I have a special class at 9:45. Please make my breakfast fast.” She just nodded and entered kitchen. “And Maa…..” “Yes….dear?” “I love you.”
It was a day of July. A sunny morning bloomed after a long lasted rain. Usually everyone was happy to see cloudless blue sky that morning. I was happier that I was going to college after two days due to heavy downpour. We used to stay in a small flat, where I didn’t have much space to reign over. I was not allowed to talk over phone late in the night when I was in school, and don’t know why I continued that habit long after I left school. My friends used to tease me a lot as I didn’t take their calls after 11. I had two completely different identities, in my college and in my home. I was very much friendly, joyous, enthusiastic, talkative, and vibrant in college. My parents used to get my opposite image in home. Now I cannot understand why I hid my every emotion from them, but I just did. My father used to keep a distance from me, though he always said “after a certain age, father and son become friends”. But I never shared anything with him, he was not bothered too. My mother was not so indifferent, but she was not too cozy at the same time. I can remember, I was close to my Masi, my mother’s sister. I could share a lot with her, but not mom.
Anyways, I was happy that morning. As I was going to bathroom to get prepared for college, my father asked me to come with him that day. He used to go to office via ferry ghat at shibpur. He had to give me something from his office. I got irritated instantly. Why that day? “Because last two days were raining. I could not go to office. And day after tomorrow is the last day. You should fill it up today and post it. Understand?” “Why are you all trying to take me out from my college? It’s the best college in the state.” “Yes, I know. But the subject you are studying is not the best I presume!” “Who told you that? Do you know how many students got placed from IITs this year studying the same subject?” “They are from IITs. What do you think? You could get into IIT for your masters if you continue what you are doing now!” “If you don’t have that much faith in me, why are you wasting money filling another form for an exam which I know I cannot get through!!” “Because there you will be taught something which can make you someone in the society. And the exam!! If you try hard, you can obviously get through. Nothing is impossible.” “Why are you trying to fulfill your dreams by me, why? I don’t want to be an engineer, please, try to understand. I don’t want anyone to tell about me as ‘engineer’s son is another engineer’. Please…”
My father couldn’t tell anything. He just stared at me for a while, then took his towel and went into the bathroom. My mother gestured me like she would gobble me if I say a word more. I changed my clothes and silently moved out. I forgot to bring my wallet and I discovered it when I got into the bus. Luckily I had a twenty rupees note inside my jeans pocket which saved my prestige. I was so unmindful that I forgot when my stop passed. It was a lady sitting beside me awakened me. “You were about to go to Rabindra Sadan, isn’t it?” “Yes, why?” I was confused. “Rabindra Sadan just passed.”
Oh my God. I took out my cell phone from my pocket and something cold flowed inside my spine. She called me twenty times. I couldn’t realize as the phone was in silent mode. It vibrated also and even I could blame my father for my ignorance. But it was she!!!
Oh, oh… she’s calling again!! What should I do? If I pick the phone, she’ll blow me with her chosen adjectives; if I don’t she will definitely going to do it with higher intensity!!! What could be done, what…. I just jumped from the bus when it was reaching the next stop. The conductor and the driver were trying to abuse me like hell and I just smiled at them with a “Ta-Ta” hand gesture.
I ran towards the previous stop and it started raining. I almost got drenched when I reached the bus stop where she was waiting. I couldn’t find her standing at the stop. Definitely she must have gone to search for a shelter. It was raining heavily. I could get into the shade of the theatre and realized she was not there. Around fifty office and college goers were waiting there. I wiped my mobile with a borrowed hanky from an acquaintance (from my neighborhood) and called her. She was sounding very upset. “You could not pick the phone. What are you doing?” “Sorry, I was running.” “Running?? Don’t you understand value of time!! I was calling you since eight in the morning and now you are calling me back. It’s already 9:30.” “Sorry, tell me, where are you?” “Soham, I am not coming today…” “What!! But why?” “That’s why I was calling you. But you…” “ I didn’t go with my father, actually fought with him, didn’t take a shower, didn’t eat anything, and ran almost half a mile, got drenched…. And now you are saying you are not coming!!!!” I shouted as few ladies looked at me strangely. “Soham, that’s why I called you in the morning, but you didn’t pick up the phone.” Her voice was shaking, the very first time I felt that she is in a mood to apologize. Instantly my sufferings seemed little. A feeling deep within me told me to take the opportunity to teach her a lesson as she knew my land line number also. But another feeling from much deeper part restricted me from doing so. “Okay, leave it. I am going to college. Meet you tomorrow.” “Wait, wait. It doesn’t mean you will bunk your classes today and have a packet full of cigarettes to enjoy. I have many friends to follow you, you understand?”
The feeling from less depth within me cursed me like anything!!! I just hung the phone up.
It took 2 days, 30 minutes and 52 seconds to let her talk to me after that incident (or accident!!). She told me clearly that she doesn’t want her boyfriend to go through the same what her father is suffering from whenever she achieved her consciousness. Though I was not fully agreed, but could not express my preference in the fear of losing her. Now I understand it is all pre planned in the court of The Almighty, but at that time I was pretty sure that I can build my future life. I know questions will arise in your minds why am I saying so negative to my life!! Huh! My life…… I used to dream a lot about it, about us, but……..
Sorry guys, I was carried away by thoughts, thoughts pouring from endless avenue to past. The roadside trees are leaving leaves of memories on the pavements of sheer pain. Anyways, I am not here to deliver you a slurry of mixed emotions, I will try to offer you all what was faced, in to-to.
All changed after that incident. I never saw her becoming so serious about her life before. She was totally fun loving, cheerful, jolly girl who always used to hang around with her friends. But after that day she cut few chapters of fun from her life. She started spending more time with me, causing trouble to my “social life”. Yes, I hated this part of her activities.
It was midnight when I was sitting on the roof top of the college hostel situated beside our college campus. It was a very old hostel giving shelter not only to our college students but also few students from other Government colleges. There were five wards distributed in a three storied U-shaped building and the newest ward, ward six was a seven storied building totally separated from the existing old building. We didn’t like the new building because its rooms were very much isolated from each other. There was another reason to dislike it. It was dominated by the then ruling party of the students’ council whom we hated like anything. So, ward three was our favorite, for endless gossips, music, fun and much more else.
It was a night of such kind when we gathered on the roof top to have some ‘fun’. Das was preparing ‘reefers’ with taking out the tobaccos out of the cigarettes so efficiently that it seemed he was doing it from his childhood. He was singing while doing it. Anjan, Dipto, Mrinmoy, Kali, Debu and Sumit were around. Many of us would have the greatest ‘Prasad’ of Lord Shiva for the first time. So everyone was a bit nervous. Das explained, “Please don’t be nervous. You guys won’t feel any sort of nervousness after doing it. So, just chill.” He gestured like a Bollywood hero. “Is there any side effect of it?” Kali inquired. “You Kali, you!! If you do like this, please leave.” Disgusted Das scolded Kali a bit. “No no, it’s okay. I was just asking…” “No need. When Das says something about Prasad, please try to believe. I said, you won’t be able to feel your nerves, so where from this question comes?” Das stretched his hands wide and fixed those in a mudra like Lord Nataraj. “Okay, enough. Please proceed.” Irritated Anjan interfered to end the stupid discussion. Das passed three reefers amongst us and asked to enjoy while he held one reefer with his fingers high and shouted “Bom Bhole”……..
We joined him. Anjan with his practiced hands lit the lighter and within few moments of unknown fumes we reached a high. I could only figured out Das was sitting on the top of the water tank while Debu and Dipto were moving around the roof with help of their four limbs pretending they were just out of the jungle. I looked at the sky. I felt I was moving towards the sky and the sky with thousands of starts on it was coming to engulf me in a much faster speed. I was almost out when Anjan said my phone was ringing. Anjan was the only stable guy within us who helped me hold my phone, “Yes, speaking. Who are you? Ma Durga? How are you madam? When are you coming this year? Please come fast naa…” Anjan banged me on my head, “Soham, it’s her.” “I am talking to her, stupid!! Why did you bang me?” I was trying to punch his face but my feast took a round in the air and came back. “Soham, it’s not Ma Durga. It’s her.” Anjan shouted. It was like a spark flashed on the starry night and made me stand. I felt like my maths result has come out. I gripped the phone firmly and started speaking. “Hello, is that you?” “Who else do you expect to call you in the middle of the night? Is there anyone else?” Her voice was so calm that instantly I started stammering. “No… No… No one….What are you saying dear….” “Where are you?” “In the hostel.” “And what are you doing?” “Nothing, just chatting with friends….” “And with gods and goddesses….” “No, that was nothing, actually we were acting, no no, we were playing actually….” “Please don’t try to make me fool, Soham. Why are you doing this?” “Please don’t fight now, I am very tired. I won’t do it again, I promise. But please don’t stop talking to me like last time.” “Ohh, you can remember that. But cannot remember why I stopped talking to you.” Shit… What I was trying to escape has started already. And now on I won’t be able to control myself. “No, I cannot remember. And why should I remember always? Who are you to restrict me from my social life? Yes, I do love you, but that doesn’t mean you have power to interfere when I am with my friends. Why on earth girls are always so nagging, can you explain with a single minute of rational thinking? ….. Hello, hello?” “Fine. You have already thought so much. It’s my turn now. I think I should not interfere any more. Bye, bye for now, bye for life. Good night.”
And she hung the phone. Instantly I found me falling from a multi-storied building endlessly. All I could do was just to come back to my friends who were still running on the floor using four limbs, singing in a very peculiar tone and etc etc. Anjan grabbed me when I was falling, and asked, “What happened? Had a fight, naa?” I just started crying. Das came closer and started consoling me, “Vats!! It happens to everybody. After all, we all are mortal here. No one will escape the eyes of the Kaal…” He continued for a long while I slept there after a period of wiping.
"What were you doing there?" "Where?" "Inside the baddy court?" "Was playing......what you expect from me other than playing inside the baddy court!!! Huh!!" I pretended as I was the champ badminton player in the college! "Don't lie....you were smoking!!" It was like a bolt from blue sky! How could she figure it out!! There was not a single girl inside when we were smoking, and the guys I was with were all my friends, they didn't know her well...even some of them don't know any of our college students......they just come from outside to have "feel" of the ELITE COLLEGEHOOD of my college!! Then how she came to know! "Answer me." Her voice was calm but steady, low but much fierce. Instantly I felt like my mom has caught me stealing coins from my dad’s wallet. “I…I….” WTF!!! Why I always stammer in confrontation with her? Shit… this is so irritating that whenever I think this is going to worsen the situation, I ended up in the worst condition I ever felt. “What happened? You don’t have words, naa!! Fine, just tell me when you wish to talk to me…” She turned around and what did I do!! I stood as I was without a word to refrain her from going. She was thinking I would do it, she looked back and understanding the lack of presence of mind in me, she went away. I was stunned, tried to catch her, but that too mentally, physically I could do nothing but standing in front of a dozen fools laughing at me. They were very happy to have a free post lunch drama within the canteen area. A guy (I disliked most) approached me and tried to give me a short lecture on how to handle a girl and not to let her in a man’s private space. I was so disturbed that I could not tell anything to that big fat fellow and let him continue. He ordered two lemon teas and offering one of those he started his own triumph over the sedative world of Maya and how he was going to attain Moksha!!! Now it was going too far, so suddenly I remembered that my lecture is going to start in next five minutes and thanking him for the tea I departed.
As I was passing by the union room, I saw her sitting inside the room alone, she was not like sitting idle without any friends around. I figured it out that something’s very wrong with her but hesitated to enter the union room. In those days, the union was being ruled by the opponents and we used to avoid the union room. And what more, she was a silent supporter for the opponents. But what could I do that day without crossing the door to talk to her!! She was sitting on a table with resting her feet on a chair beside it. Her face was pinkish and what is it!!! I was shocked when I saw she was crying… her eyes were like filled ponds in the rains trying to hold the excess water but unable to restrict the flood of emotions. I just asked “What happened?” She kept mum. I wanted to get close to say her sorry, but she pushed me away with lots of anger in her eyes. “Don’t ever try to do it with me.” I felt so humiliated that I couldn’t control my temper. “What I was doing?” I shouted as few fools looked inside the room as the second part of the post lunch free drama was being enacted for their pleasure. “Don’t shout. Please leave me.” She told with biting lips with her teeth. It was enough for me to control myself and I shouted again. “Why? This room is not your property. Why should I leave?” “Fine!” Now she shouted, “Then I’m leaving. Have fun and please smoke inside the union room, it’s all yours.” “Why on Earth girls are so furious about his boyfriend’s smoking habit, would you please explain miss?” I placed my hand so efficiently that she couldn’t get her out of the room. “Why they are not bothered when their friends smoke, they rather enjoy talking to them, but when this friend changes into her boyfriend, she tries to be his mom. Why is it so?” “Because she tries to protect you, fool!” She was struggling with my hands to cross the door. “That could be done patiently, without an Oscar winning emotional drama.” Slowly I was gaining confidence to confront her without fumbling. “Yes, it could be done. But if your father is a patient of asthma and if you saw his gasping agony in the middle of the night with a single puff of cigarette and then if you have searched for a taxi like a mad girl running in the streets to reach the nearest hospital to let him breathe properly with oxygen musk, you could do nothing but what I have done.” She stopped. Her face was reddish, she was sweating heavily, I could hear her breathlessness. I found myself so guilty for everything that I could not even hold my hand across the door. She went away.
Slowly I moved, my self confidence what was growing like Mt. Everest few minutes back, has zeroed by this time. I came back to my department. Tried her number, it was switched off. I couldn’t concentrate in the next lectures; even one of my favorite prof scolded me a little. I was pretending that today she won’t be going to board the train with me. And when it turned out to be true, I was shattered. I wished if I could say her sorry and my gratitude to her for thinking only good for me, always being there for me. But I was helpless. Strained, lost I entered the station and without buying the ticket I was moving towards the electronic gates. “Who will buy your ticket, me? Do you expect me to do it for you after all this?” “I… I was…” I started stammering again. “Enough. Take it.” She gave me a ticket. “Now, let’s go, otherwise we’ll miss the train.” She started running. “Oii…. Am sorry. Really, I mean it.” I tried to make her understand that I am very sorry for it. “It’s okay. Now run.” She gestured. “I am really sorry that I did not know your father’s case and behaved very bad.” “It’s okay, I said.” The train entered the station and the door opened. “Believe me, I am really sorry for my misconduct… and not for the cigarette.” “You……..” She was trying to start the fight again but as people were pushing us from behind to get into the train, she couldn’t. We boarded the train.
It was almost 11 o’clock and I was waiting at a corner desk in the science library. Generally I got hell loads of work these times, including lemon-tea break at college ground, chatting at canteen with friends from other departments, cracking silly non-veg jokes…..“But today!!! What am I doing?” Sitting in the most boring place I have ever visited with two gigantic books I never read (though those were in my syllabus), I was sweating heavily. Whether the fan was slow or something cooking within me, devoid of the truth I was praying that “be everything goes well”. The librarian, Mrs. Jyotsna, a super slim lady with ultra powered glasses was staring at me as if I was a just-dropped ALIEN from a far fetched planet trying to understand what these two idiotic books mean to ALIENKIND!!! As long as possible I was trying to ignore all odds around me and concentrate. It took another ten minutes when she arrived like a jet-lagged passenger, carrying five heavy books. And what an expression……..
“Oh!! You are already here? I thought you had a class…I mean I saw your friends were going for the maths lecture.” “I didn’t go. I don’t like sitting idle in that boring class.” “Still you should attend.” “I have maths tuition and please I am not here to attend your lecture also. “Shit…what am I saying!!!” “Fine……. Do whatever you like. But I thought you have something to say, would you please?”
Again that crumpling feeling started growing within my stomach, something heavy in my throat. What all I did, just yawned, and that too because I was getting very bored sitting at the library. But she got it wrong. Instantly her face turned pinkish and raising her glasses with trembling fingers she told me “Look Soham, I was not the one following you for last seven days (I was not following, it was just an accident!!!), I am not the one sitting at canteen in the opposite bench and ogling at you (WTF!!! I was just trying to catch a glimpse of Ananya, heartthrob of college, not you madam…….). So now you have to tell me what for you are doing all these? Is there anything special or you do it with each and every girl in the college?” I have already answered her questions silently when she was accusing me but couldn’t tell her.
All I could say was “I like you.” “That I already know. But what kinda likeliness is this? Are you crazy enough to just hold this feeling within you or have you thought anything else?” “Yes, I thought.” I found my words back. “I like you and I am quite serious about it.” Oh… I am amazed with my oration and felt like I could address the nation………. “Good, but you should act like that. Not like silly Roadside Romeos, catching the same train which I commute.” She started smiling. “Then… what should I do?” “Do what is proper.” “Okay, Miss Chatterjee……. I love you, would you be mine?” I gestured like I would kneel if it was not in the library. “Okay, Mr. Mukherjee……. I can understand.” She mocked me. “And you know what, even I started liking you.” She burst with laughter as I joined her.
Instantly Mrs. Jyotsna jumped into our desk and shouted her favorite punch line “GET OUT……………”
Why the train is being so late today?? It is not done, after all it's Metro yaar!! Our pride, our city's unique thing...but who's listening!! It came at least 3 minutes late. And with an unknown feeling that I cannot describe now, I boarded the train. My eyes were searching someone. But my gesture was not correct, not at all to be done in public.. so few disturbed eyes tried to kill me with their tough looks!!! Huh...I was a college goer..."who cares" was the attitude used to be the dominating factor those days... So I continued to find out "someone". And you know something..if you try hard you are destined to be successful.
Yes, she was there...in a cotton salwar kameez I hated most,but it was its turn that day. She spotted me long back when I boarded the train but was trying to hide herself. And I found it.......instantly I was so angry that I couldn't express. It was like "kata poltu" harassing the first girl of local school!! But I couldn't do anything without giving her a "tough look"...
She was accompanied by her idiot friend who was shamelessly talking anything and everything so much aloud within the train. I thought "WTF"!!! She was ashamed of me because of looking at her, but not at all bothered what her friend was doing.....after all it is Metro, not a "south bound local train"...
I was so much amazed with my thoughts that when "Central" station came and when they got down from the other gate, didn't realize. It was a passenger behind me who literally pushed me and angrily told me "why are you standing in front of the gate if you don't have to get down here?"
If it was any other day, I would have answered him with similar fashion he talked to me, but not that day. I expressed my sorrow and ran after her. And what a coincidence!! Her friend was not her around, with heartbeat at its extreme, I started walking side be her........
She noticed me, but didn't say a word. Now a strange feeling started filling me. "Why she is being so ignorant!! She doesn't like me or what." But how can it be?? She talked to me so nicely just a day back!! I was confused like anything. Felt like run away, but I couldn't. Stopped at a stall near college gate to buy chewing gums. Staring at me she entered the Main gate.
At that point I realized what I had thought was nothing but just a casual "adda" and with a slight pain within left side of my chest and a fullness near my throat I crossed the gate. Often I used to go to canteen first whenever I felt "not okay", and it was a similar day. So turn right and what a amazement!!!
She was standing in front of me with a kinky smile. "Why were you following me?" "I...I...no...not at all........I was just coming...means...nothing at all..what are you saying!!!" What better dialogue I could write!! "No?? You were not following me?" "See...the point is..."......I collected words...."I catch the 9:30 Metro and as we chatted yesterday, thought you will be coming in the same...so was looking for you.....If you tag it 'following you', I cannot help it"..... "So, you don't like me?" "When did I say that?" "Answer me, I asked the question first" "Yeah...I mean, Yes, I like you" "So, what's the problem?" "About what?" "Forget it!!!"
What should I do now?? Should I kneel and propose her? Or should I take time?
"Okay, meet me after the first period at library. Bye for now..." She left instantly as she had her department in the main building. I had to walk long to reach mine. It was so sudden and so much unexpected, that it took at least five minutes to settle. With full of joy I went to canteen..."Pramod da!! One tea here..." Won't attend the first period today..after all it's the same Physics Pass class. What's the point going to the class among all boring girls of chemistry and mathematics department!! Today is different, will spend this hour with those who don't attend a single class but attend canteen routinely. Will take a lesson from them on what they did masters already and what I need badly...