Friday, February 15, 2008

Valentine's Day

Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. The most miserable day in the year for single people who helplessly watch the rest of the world having the time of their life! I belonged to the former category this year. So in the listlessness of despair, I decided to recall all of those instances in life when i had denied bestowing affection on the unfortunate souls who had made brave attempts at unbaring theirs.One of those several instances struck me as rather amusing but it must have been the cause of much heartache for he other person around whose feelings the story revolves.
It all happened three years ago. It was the last day of exams. The paper was pretty okay and I remember walking towards the exit along with a couple of friends when I heard my name being called out by a rather hesitant voice.I turned around to find the boy who I thought, always seemed to initiate weird conversations which usually ended with abrupt and uneasy exit speeches. But what was that?! Had he undergone a complete makeover?! The formal attire was now replaced by a rather funky shirt with designs and patterns which seemed rather inappropriate for the present generation, teamed up with an equally funky pair of jeans. But he still hadn't made significant strides in the fitness department!
For the first few seconds, he did nothing more than shuffle his feet as I looked on enquiringly.I figured the uneasiness had something to do with the pants.Its difficult to find a perfect fit!
"So....How were your exams?", he stuttered.
"Well...I goofed up in a couple of them but today's paper was pretty good", I replied impatiently.
"So what do you think about me,Priyanka?" was the question he thought appropriate to ask next. I was progressing in the general direction of mental fog. This was all rather mystic. I had seldom met a young man with such a gift for asking inconvenient questions. It seemed like a year for perhaps two seconds. I was scarcely in a frame of mind to sing hymns in the praise of the person who had his eyes fixed on me with overflowing anticipation. After giving the matter much thought, I could only say
"You're a pretty nice guy..." His face fell at this.
"You're a very nice guy..." His face grew more cheerul.
"What else do you think about me?", was the next 'appropriate' question to ask.A foolish question, perhaps, but a man's brain is never at its nimblest on these occassions. A part of me wanted to catch him by the shoulders and shake him violently saying "Will you stop drivelling?!" But better sense prevailed and I again gave the matter much thought and I framed the answer with the following well-chosen words.
"Nothing else.That's all".
"Priyanka,I love you...", came next.My mind was racing. A series of images flashed in my mind in succession...the shuffling of feet, the abrupt and uneasy exit speeches, the weird conversations, the shuffling of feet...did I already mention that? My thoughts were in a swirl. For some reason which has escaped my recollection, I thought it appropriate to ask
"So, you're taking the college bus?"
For a small bunch of moments after that, I found myself wondering why there was a bewildered look on thr poor boy's face?!I had asked a perfectly normal question...
"Priyanka,I want your answer..."This accounted for the seeming enigma regarding the bewilderment easily enough. Well, the answer was a big no but I couldn't say that! I imagined that he would be as sick as mud. He hadn't waited until the last day of college to hear that!No that would be too harsh!
"Oh?Well,its a...How shall I put it?..." I was desperately groping for words.
"Do you love me?", came the next question as I stood staring in disbelief. The boy must've summoned every iota of courage he had in him.After all, he was speaking up after a year of supressing his emotions!It took me a couple of crushing minutes to react. The answer, I felt, was in the negative.He had but a pretty obese chance.It did not strike me as even a remote possibility.Finally, the part of the brain that often aids in the artful formation of a tissue of lies, began to gain control. I drew in breath for the delivery of the nasty blow...
"Well..I'm sorry but I'm not single", I said as I watched his face contort, twitch and quiver involuntarily.Rather touching.
"Oh...okay...I have to go now", he uttered before dashing off at three miles per hour.With his departure, I remember there was a marked improvement in the atmosphere.Today, he must be counting me among the most disgraceful people he's met in a respectable world.
I sighed as I recalled this incident.Gazing morosely out of the window into the night I wondered if it would be wise to ever disclose your love for someone.Sometimes such feelings are the strongest when left within our hearts...