Monday, June 12, 2006

Kaavya: Episode IV


To talk about what happened that one night to someone who knew all the people concerned would be perhaps easy. They could know that Gandharav and Varun had been friends and foes forever. Yet the details and depth of both their affinity for each other and their animosity were known to no one, least to me who had become their apartment-mate only seven months back. I knew even lesser about Rishi, Mahadev and Videshi then. I tell this story many years after everything happened. Through conversations with many people, and observations over many years, I have formed my own interpretations. If Varun or Gandharav were to tell the tale, it would be quite different. If Kaavya were handed the pen, her story will be interspersed with tears that she would shed at the supposed cruelty of the world around her, a world full of men who cannot leave her alone. It is another matter that ever since she acquired her feminine form, no girl was able to become her close friend and it were men who entertained her and then lay heartbroken in her wake.

After Kaavya’s tears were cleared away, I sat on a chair, facing her, while she was lounging on the couch. She was still wearing the mini skirt and the light blue tank-top that she had worn for the dinner. A few hours back, when she was with Videshi, she must have made a few head turn as she wafted by, lost in her childlike joy. Videshi was a Jamaican of Indian descent, whose hair fell in splendor like Bob Marley, and all his conversation, the way he walked or ate or did anything, seemed to be done to the tune of Don’t Worry, Be Happy. I could picture them together, Kaavya laughing her high notes, and Videshi letting his hair and hands do as much talking as did his Reggae voice.

Ruchi had explained to me that Kaavya was trying to find some space for herself, some mechanism of having a few hours where she did not need to worry about all her suitors. I laughed at Kaavya’s reasoning and Ruchi’s approval of it. Firstly, because Kaavya’s such escape attempts added more people to the list, meaning extra trouble in the long run and secondly, because in this case, both absence and jealously worked to add more fuel to the fire. Of course, Kaavya wanted to believe otherwise, and Ruchi, I could bet on it on some days, had left her brain in her Automation laboratory. In stead of getting my point across, I managed to get a long lecture from Ruchi on how we guys chase skirts and how we only want one thing and all our love talk is just foreplay. As soon as she uttered foreplay, she surmised that she went too far, and suggested, “Many suitors leads to healthy competition, don’t you think?”

Since Kaavya refers to poetry, we called the suitors as feuding bards and one day had christened them all. Kaavya took particular interest in the christening. Since Varun was an identified poet, so we referred to him as Shakku in Love. I suggested Shakespeare, Ruchi shortened it to Shakku, as in one who always doubted. Kaavya said that Varun is sweet and understanding, unlike Rishi who always talks about one love, fidelity and betrayal, but since Shakku sounds so sweet, the title is accepted. Ruchi laughed at Kaavya’s comment, and clarified, by doubt, she meant he doubted himself. He doubted if he should make a move, if he was good enough and so on.

Rishi hardly ever wrote poetry, but had the presence, the melancholy of one, so we christened him as Shaaiyar Badnaam (the bard with a bad reputation). Kaavya managed to blush at both the names and then suggested the name Nautankibaaz (meaning dramatic) for Gandharava. Then suddenly Ruchi asked what name Mahadev could have, and giggled away as she herself found an apt name for him as Psychedelic Parodist (for he sang Dylan, Pink Floyd and several other bands in Hindi, strumming the Guitar perfect in tune and immaculate translations).

I was named the Bhrast Sutradhaar (the corrupt narrator, why must I be fated to be one, I do not know myself), who profits from both peace and war between all parties, and manipulates the role of actors and actresses to suit his fancy. No one mentioned Kulkarni and Vikrant, and in my head, I put them with other failed or future failures telling Kaavya that The Others are on a list called Dead Poet’s society. Then in am imaginary Swayambar, in a method by which the ancient Indian Princess would choose her prince, Kaavya acted out her part walking into the room with a Crown made out of ingeniously crafted tiara made with puffed polyethene bag. Then in her characteristic gaiety, she announced, “Interested Gentleman! I have looked at your resumes and read your verses and doggerels. I thank you all for your interest, though I must make it clear to you that I don’t like poetry, especially badly written one. But since you have worked hard at writing those, I give you credit for effort and even though it is hard for me, but for your sake only, I’ll accept all your compliments. If it were possible, I would marry each one of you, for no one possesses all that I seek in a man. But since a decision needs to be made, I give my hand to you.”

Saying this she walked towards me, I blushed as I saw her approach with her hand stretched forward. Her smile increased manifold on seeing me smile and blush at the same time, and within few steps it had broken into near hilarity. My heart was pounding louder than ever before, cheeks were strained by red heat of flushing and joy and my reaction added to her hilarity and vice versa. Kaavya’s outstretched hand was just a feet away now. I was about to raise my hand, when Ruchi who was standing next to me all this while, found her hands holding Kaavya. Kaavya was in splits with laughter, and was dancing away with Ruchi. I guess Ruchi did not notice what I had just gone through, for she was focused on Kaavya. Kaavya continued to laugh, swing arm in arm with Ruchi, and winked at me as I sat there shaking my head, feeling extremely embarrassed and simpering at my folly.

When the reminiscence broke as a smile in my eyes, Kaavya stirred. She said, “Ok! Before we talk about what happened, I need to eat something. I am starving. Videshi took me to a Japanese Sushi restaurant, and the food was so yucky. Vivek, could you please cook some Maggi and make some tea for us? I will go in and change, and I need a quick shower. I promise I will be out before your tea is ready.” I was relieved by the idea, as for the last ten minutes we were just sitting there in an uncomfortable silence. For what had seemed like a prolonged scene of tragedy, Kaavya was as still as a statue, only her breath fell and rose with heavy sighs, and to my questioning eyes, her response was an occasional movement of the head, as if saying, “Give me some time. Still can’t talk.” I knew nothing new so far, so had nothing to say to soothe her. Presently I stood near the stove, staring at the water in the tea-pot and the pot with Maggi noodles. I tried calling Ruchi, who did not take my call.

Then I noticed a few missed calls and voice messages, apparently from Varun. “Err! Vivek! Call me.” “Dost (Friend), where are you? Answer the damn phone”. “Dude, I know Ruchi isn’t with you, you aren’t in your laboratory, and you aren’t in any regular place. Pray why vanish toDaaaY? Call up, its urgent!” “Vivek dost, its two forty-five am and I am in my room. If I am asleep when you come back, wake me up. Phone call won’t do, meet me asap.” I saw now how the sugar that I added to water in the tea-pot, disappeared in a flash, while now that the bitter tea leaves were in boil, they were showing their agitation, and their true color. I waited for Kaavya to come out, put boiling leaves to rest and pour out the tea.

1 comment:

Vivek said...


Vivek Sharma
June 12, 2006
04:53 PM team has a great sense of humor:) Now since they have How to Write a Damn Good Novel : A Step-by-Step No Nonsense Guide to Dramatic Storytelling (How to Write a Damn Good Novel) and Writing Fiction: The Practical Guide from New York's Acclaimed Creative Writing School as two recommendations with my Novel posts, I am wondering if this is a suggestion to me or my readers:)

Maybe the editors are trying to tell me something;)

June 12, 2006
05:59 PM


am glad you have a sense of humour too:)

see what can happen if the writer does not provide the ASIN number himself?

and yes, this could be a good novel...the helpful hint is on making this a damn good novel:)