Warning: Long post ahead
If you have read my last post, you might have known that I worked in a browsing center a few years back. The browsing center was situated in a complex which had six or seven shops in it. One Xerox shop, One tailoring and then my (where I worked) center. The browsing center hardly got any customers so most of the time was spent in chatting with neighbors. The tailor shop was run by brothers. We used to call him periyappa and chitappa. And all my jobless friends would be there for free browsing :).
Always, Feb and March were busy months for us as we will be working in college projects. A guy from gents college was killing me with his requirements when a middle-aged man and a girl entered the center.
“Do you undertake project works here?”
“You could have seen that in the board itself. It will take some time”
“The submission date is next month only”
“Then what, give me and come back after 2 days”, I got back to my work.
“No, this is something urgent and I need to see it”
She waited when I took the printout of the guy who was pestering me but it was impossible to deal the middle-aged man.
“Have you heard about this Tamil Protection movement?”
“Sorry sir, I am telugu”
“I am in that movement, I got a meeting now.”
“Oh! Ok now give me the paper. I will see what I can do”
It was then I got that 1000 watts shock. It was a list of around 100 authors right from Shakespeare era to present. She wanted to collect the biography and the works of this authors.
“He he! you misunderstood this actually. Project work in the sense, we just do the typing thing here and I can even bind it for you. But this is impossible”
“Please! Every other center says the same thing.” she was pleading
Being a kind-hearted naturally, I decided to help her out (ahem!).
“On a condition! I will charge you for the internet usage also”
She said ok and said she will come in the evening to see the proceedings.Didnt see her face and all. I was in full tension. I thought this middle-aged guy will come. I had a late lunch that day. Chitappa came to me.
“It seems Prabaharan came today” he said.
“Yeah! Some project, he talked about tamil protection and all. The project will bring some money I hope”
“He is a lawyer but he will stand front in all unlawful activities. Finish the project soon and get the money. Problem with him” chitappa warned me.
It urged me to speed up the project. Worked all afternoon only to finish 30 pages. Eventually it bored me. And also I was skeptical about the money. I had a habit then. Every evening at 7 I would go and have a lemon soda. When I was coming back, I saw a cute girl with long hair walking in front of me. I thought somebody had come to stitch chudi in Chitappa’s shop.
We had a dealing. If any girl comes to his shop, Chitappa would come and ask for water, indicating a girl is there. I would go and stand there. Some girls notice, some don’t. But as I am basically shameless, this was continuing. But I saw this girl enter my center. My replacement was Bala. I saw she was talking to Bala about the project when I entered.
It was then I noticed her. She was cute. I mean she had long hair, her eyebrows nicely trimmed. Applied kajal aptly complimenting her eyes. It was in the shape of fish, small one which you can find in the country ponds. And I saw it grew wider when she spotted me. Neatly dressed. And what was interrupting in the middle was a big black leather thingy.. and it introduced itself to me then.
“Hello, I am Prabhaharan her father.” uff! why fathers have to be this gigantic.. err manly.
“He doesn’t even know my name, I am Sharmili” she said in the sweetest voice I have heard recently then.
“Prasanna! I thought the man who came with you in the morning is your father” I said.
“He is my uncle”
I wondered how two guys in same house can be named in a same name.
“Ok, can I see what you have done till now?”
“Oh Yes!” She was seeing it in the system. She didn’t even talk one word in Tamil. Full Peter. However, I answered in Tamil anyway. If she had kept on giving that eyes-wide-look for every page she turned then I bet I would have forgotten tamil also. And hiccups started for her suddenly.
Bala ran to Chitappa’s shop to fetch water. Basically, a lazy fellow I don’t fetch water for the center. It was not that crowded anyway. And Chitappa was coming all smiles.. And she was still hicking up (right?!)
“Chitappa, Where is the water?”
“”Man, Did you forget our codeword?”
Realizing the mess, Bala ran and brought her water. And she was OK. She was happy with the project proceedings. And then they left.
Chitappa came to me in closing time.
“The girl seems nice, you have any idea?” he asked.
“If Owner knows this he will kill me and I am not the guy who mix business with pleasure”
“Tell this to someone who doesn’t know your history”
“Anyway, her father would be with her and he is not even blinking when I talk to her”
“I can handle that” Chitappa said and left.
The next day was saturday and Sharmili came by evening 3. Chitappa came and took her dad somewhere with random topic.
Today also, not one word came in tamil.
“Its ok if you do, English literature, but should you always talk in English coz of that. I mean, I am having hard time following you. I am an English illiterate” I said.
And my friends know the perfect time to mess things up and I got a call from a consultancy regarding a job in Chennai arranged by my friend. I had to speak in English.
“Somebody said that they are English Illiterate” she was smiling. I thought she was impressed. (It was easy to impress girls in Tirunelveli. Most of the schools are tamil medium).
“Yeah, but we both know tamil well, so why English?”
“Do you know my full name?”
“You didn’t tell me yet”
“It is Sharmila Priyawardena”
“What are you doing here?” was my immediate question.
“Why? shouldnt we live in India?”
“Lets start from the beginning. Your uncle says tamil protection and things. Your father is clearly Tamil and you have the last name of Sinhala. I mean it’s so confusing”
“Understandable” she said and there was a brief, awkward silence. I was looking at her.
“The man who has come with me is not my father, but my mother’s husband. He lost all our money in Sri Lanka and we are in our uncle’s house here. He is taking care of me and my sister’s studies. Mom stitches chudis and things”
I didn’t want to dig deep. But I felt something for her. She asked me to treat her normally if I can. I tried my best. And before her father come back, we talked a lot. I introduced my friends. Her father came by 6.00
“Sharmila, Is it over?”
“No dad, It seems it will take another two days it seems.” she said.
“Why do you bother travelling. Let me finish this off my own” I said.
“Do you have any problem of me coming here?
“No!! Of Course not”
“Then lets meet on Monday!” I noticed her she looked at the direction of our browsing center when she went home. I was happy and my friends got the treat that day 🙂
I got a call on Monday.
“This is me Sharmi(!). What happened to my project?”
“I thought you were coming in the evening”
“So, Shouldnt I call you?” I could hear girls giggling. I understood she was showing off.
“Hey, your voice is breaking, can you call me after 5 mins?” and I borrowed the bike from Chitappa and was in front of her college in less than 5 minutes. As expected she was with her gang of girls, and then she called me.
“It seems your friends are having great fun out of you?”
“Oh! you thought I would call you with my friends around?”
“Forget it, By the way, your chudi suits you well today?”
“Thanks, Haiyo! Where are you?” It would require another big blog post to explain her reaction.
And as said, the project was finished. She gave me the money and I gave her the bill. But I knew I will miss something and I can’t be the same again.
As everybody, I was moody. Chitappa and Bala found out easily.
“What Prasanna! You want to talk to her?”
“I don’t know her number, forget it”
“I know her father’s number and its the only phone for the house”
“Ok! But I don’t want any problem”
“We have Stella for that” Chitappa led me to the PCO shop in the complex. It was always flocked with guys, because of stella. Not that she was beautiful, but she can bring your girlfriend on phone, however bad the situation in the other side. You know! guys had a real tough time in the era of landline phones. 😦
“So finally, Prasanna also ah?”
“Shut up and Dial”
I didn’t know what she talked and all, but she handed me the receiver and said, “She will be on the line”
When I heard some sound in the other end, in excitement “I am Prasanna, How are you?”
The fact is her mother was still on the other end and there it was a problem. After few unpublishable words “Why did you call my daughter?” I was totally upset.
After three days, sharmila called me.
“I want to talk to you. Can you come to the Vijaya Gardens?”
I was there in the next 14th minute (Punctuality). She was there with her sister. Her sister was little grown up than she had said to me.
“Why did you call me?” was the first question.
“I am sorry, The project thing is over and I didn’t know when I can meet you. so.. ”
“Why should you meet me?” I had no answer for this.
“This will not be appreciated in my house. Dont try this ever again” She said and left. I cannot speak a word. To tell the truth a tear was fighting to come out. No girl had talked to me like that. Her sister was still there not knowing whether to follow her sister or finish the ice cream.
“Prasanna!” she called
“You know my name?” I was surprised.
“She used to talk day and night about you.”
“I don’t know this will cause problem. Tell her that I am sorry for what happened.”
“No, My uncle came to know that you called her and he beat her like anything. She was not able to walk for two days”
“Didnt your father say anything?”
“Nope. You know, situations. That’s why she talked to you like that”
“Its ok! I was not fully aware of the situation. I liked her but that doesn’t mean she should also like me right?”
“She liked you”
I was terribly unlucky with love and also infatuations. I would like to make a series out of it. What do you guys say??