June 7,1996. 9.00AM.
‘See you in the evening at my place’ Madhu smiled and waved Mohit a warm goodbye walking down the stairs.
Giacomo Casanova himself, was probably less charming than Mohit Singh. Most girls in college would vouch for that statement. Yet that was the reason many wouldn’t even look at him or talk to him.
Deep down, their hearts fluttered every time the familiar YSL M7 fragrance drifted through the air announcing his presence in the room. It was not just that he looked good – it was more to do with the fact, that he knew ,he looked good. That made him more lethal and hard to resist.
Mohit Singh, the archetypal college stud, ran across the canteen to get another strategic glimpse of his new girlfriend in college. A sprint which he had done many times before.
“Tonight was going to be the night” he thought. – and punched his fist in the air – just like Roger Federer did after blasting an ace down the center court. He came running back and sat with the “Chai” gang at the “Chaitin” - the popular college canteen. A place, a set of friends, who he could relate to, and bare his soul. No pretense.
They were 3 couples – Suhel and Vibhuti , going steady for the last 2 years now, Sundar and Loveleen, a picture of serenity – the classical “made for each other couple”, and then there was Mohit, with Sunaina,Ritika,Simone,Neha,Damyanti,Jenny…and now Madhu.! He had really fallen in love with all these women. Truly. And then broken off. Truly. Permanency was not his forte.
‘Man – is she hot or what ?’ Mohit said like an excited puppy as the other 4 looked at him with a bored expression.
After sipping the remaining tea in the saucer, Suhel raised his eyebrows and said rather dryly -
‘get a life dude – this is this your 7th sprint in the final year of college – when will you ever get serious like us ?’
‘oh man really? Well thanks for counting budz - but life is about change and I like it that way’ retorted Mohit.
’hmm that’s what you said for the last 6 of them’ frowned Suhel’s fiancé Vibhuti.
‘I know , I know – but guys – each change is different from the other’ – Mohit winked at Rahul.
‘The only thing that changes is the place or the bed – rest is the same’ said Rahul animatedly.
‘Shame on you – how will you ever get married? I guess for your marriage you will have to pay dowry.” Loveleen joked, and everyone burst out laughing.
‘Too bad - you guys are stuck and am free’ Mohit said flatly.
Careful of not trying to show the slight frustration in his mind, Suhel said – ‘permanency is the best thing that could happen to any man or woman. There is a sense of belonging ,a sense of attachment, and guess what – we are not even hiding this from our parents –because we believe we are not doing anything wrong. It’s a great feeling.’
‘Yes, and in fact my parents were quite happy to hear that, my priorities were in order – first finish college, get a stable job and then get married.’ Vibhuti said with an air of confidence.
Sundar,who was sitting quietly all this while finally spoke. ‘Budz – you’ve got to get steady and develop a sense of permanency you know, otherwise you will never be happy.The chase for perfection never ends, somewhere you’ve got to say – hey this is what I have, and get on with it.’
Mohit looked at them with a solemn face, as if he was regretting his words and actions and said –
“ – A thing of beauty… is not for ever’ and burst out laughing.
June 7,2002. 9.00AM
‘This is the last and final boarding call for passenger Suhel Khan ,travelling to Mumbai, Jet airways flight 9W0408.Please proceed to security check.’ Announced the BOSE speakers overhead.
‘Is that you Suhel ….Suhel Khan ?’ Oh- my- mother-superior !’ Mohit’s eyes widened.
“It is you. Look at you dude – how time just flew by.”
Suhel looked at Mohit and for a moment forgot why he was at the airport that day.
‘hey Mohit – what a pleasant surprise – good to see you man’ said Suhel with a cosmetic smile.
‘you’ve got to cancel the flight and lets catch up’ said Mohit with genuine excitement.
‘err no budz – have to go – it is important.’ said Suhel flatly.
‘what do you mean you have to go– I’ve been trying to get in touch with you for some time now ,but nobody seems to know your whereabouts.'
Since I moved to Australia, on a short notice, it was difficult for me to fly down and meet with you guys personally’ Mohit justified his stance.
‘I mean what happened?’Where are you guys what are you doing?
’Where’s everyone else’… Mohit couldn’t hide his excitement while Suhel couldn’t hide is disappointment.
After a brief moment of pause – Suhel broke down and said – ‘Mohit – I am going to Mumbai to finalize my divorce with Vibhuti. It’s been tough, don’t know why – but we don’t seem to love each other anymore…maybe we fell out of love somewhere.
Mohit was stunned. The screaming jet broke his stupor.
‘What about Loveleen and Sundar?’ He asked resting his hand on Suhel’s shoulder.
'Don’t know, have been too caught up with my life, though I know that Sundar married Bhagyalakshmi, the college geek.’ Said Suhel gathering his composure.
'What ? Why? err I mean how ?'What happened to Loveleen?' Mohit pressed.
'Her parents got her engaged and married to some Toronto Jat.' Suhel said.
As Suhel saw the Jet Airways executive screaming his name across the lounge, as he picked up his bag getting ready to walk...he heard a shrieking baby.
“Paaaaaaaaapppaaaa” screamed the bundle of joy Mihika, and leapt on to her father’s open arms.
‘Hey Sunshine’ Mohit said. Why aren’t you with mommy?
“No, want to be with papa” babbled Mihika.
Suhel’s jaw dropped open when he saw Madhu behind Mohit’s shoulder walking towards them.
‘Suhel , meet my daughter Mihika, and my wife Madhu…since college.’ Smiled Mohit.
Gyanban Thoughts - 1. The names of the characters were a deliberate choice if you notice...Suhel Khan and Vibhuti - the underlying indication was to lead the reader to think of a potential conflict of religion coming in their way of marriage..but it was not,they broke off on personal incompatibility. Just like Loveleen and Sundar were carefully chosen to implant a similar thought of a TamBrahm with a Panjabi girl.
2. Life is pattern less, unique just like a fingerprint. Each relation has an unique path it travels. People change, circumstances change and therefore the end results can also change. So the next time, you chide someone or preach someone remember one day you will be tested.