Whether or not Love is a commendable virtue remains one of the most debated issues in our popular movies. Much has been made of the necessity and the futility of love. But we, the young people of the middle class, still remain fascinated by it because of our necessity to define our individuality by the entertainment products we consume. That is why this is a love story.
I must make it clear at this point that the entire blame for this story does not lie with me. After many of my attempts at a more mature subject were repeatedly turned down by other members of this collaboration, I decided to write one of those dreadful love stories that we see so many blogs full of. I came up with this one. This also will record for posterity the compelling circumstances under which I was destined to be immortalised by my contributions towards the most unproductive and hence highly prized artistic occupation ever known to human mind since the invention of Chess, namely the Internet Blog.
However, this is not a typical love story. The Kuch Kuch Hota Hai kind of love is not fashionable anymore in India, not after Tum Bin became a hit. I am sure anybody who has seen Tum Bin will agree that it is better, or at least much more romantic and emotionally satisfying, to suffer and writhe and feel pity for ourselves than confront the unromantic (and usually unpleasant) truths about our romantic attachments. But since not everyone is wise enough to ascertain the nature of love, the futility of the attempt being due to the fact that it has nothing but itself to know itself with, the true story of the author has been presented in order to avoid the possible contradictory complications of unrealistic fabrication.
Nobody is quite sure of the precise moment when this story began. Many say that it must have been one of those trips to the IITs where Rangin fell in love with Kiran. Others think that it was some project that they were in together. Madhu, who still thinks that she was the first one to know about it, says that she always knew it would happen. Rangin would say, of course, that he had forever been destined to fall in love with her. I think this story is about what Kiran has to say about it, though I am not quite sure.
The fact is, I have never talked to Kiran, or should I say she has never talked to me? She was one of those insensible girls in the sea of cheapness and silliness determined to uphold the torch of middle class morality. Naturally she and I never talked. There have been a few sweet conflicts between us, of course, which she might describe without those adjectives, but none of those dramatic things that they show in soap operas happened. Since girls consider everything unsettled as their victory, and since I couldnt settle issues with a fist fight because of her being a girl, and since I have known no way of settling issues other than a fist fight, I had given up all hope of ever making her understand the more subtle points and aesthetic aspects of my arguments. Then one day, Rangin, whom I had thought of as one of my best friends for years, walks in to tell me that he is in love with her.
In spite of all my apparent interest, I must say I was indifferent. The choice of the girl was surprising, yes, but that was a random choice anyway. Rangin had always been convinced, of course, that he would never fall in love. I myself was convinced that he must have watched a lot of Bollywood movies to have incurred such a lasting damage to his emotional integrity to such an extent. Everybody else was convinced that he was a fool.
I did not have the least doubt about my responsibilities and my duties towards my friend – the sooner I got him out of the mess, the better.
I started by monitoring both Rangin and Kiran.
And I had come mighty close to falling for Sraddha, the constant and the only companion of Kiran, by having to look at her for long hours. Her brilliant display of dignity woven with insecurity had me spellbound for weeks. But she was too obvious to be taken seriously. She was charming sometimes, girls of her age usually are, but the foolishness of her youth that showed in her face undid it all.
Then there was a sublime revelation one day in the college canteen soon after I had finished offering my usual sacrifices to the Pesticide God. I saw Sraddha elbowing Kiran and breaking into fits of laughter after whispering something in her ears. To my amusement, Kiran giggled too. I followed their eyes and discovered a simpering Rangin. I was surprised!
That I was surprised would be an understatement. When the full significance of what I had seen dawned upon me, I was appalled thinking of the possible outcomes of this disaster in the making. It was not the existence, but the depth of the matter at hand which had been unimaginable to me all these times. Even though it sounds unlikely for someone as popular as me, I had no other matter to address at that moment of more importance than the private lives of an incorrigible introvert and an adolescent boy scout.
So before I could allow myself to comprehend the absurdity and inconsistency of the human nature, and that of Rangin and Kiran in particular, due effort had to be made to make the incident forgotten and in due time rendered insignificant by the absence of dramatic outcomes for the sake of our collective happiness.
If I have not made it sufficiently clear already, well, Kiran’s selfish and authoritative air of being right made her self-inflicted incipient introversion incur intolerable intrusion into my idiotic and whimsical world in the most insensitive manner. And if anybody ever thought that I would put up with a sarcastic and unsympathetic woman for my friend’s sake, he must think again and again till he thinks otherwise. Not being able to abuse her in near future and having my evening tea made by her in the longer course practically meant the end of the world as I knew it. I could not allow my dear friend lost in the futile world of indiscretion without temptation, in the pointless pursuance of impulse without purpose in spite of his undeniable claims to stupidity.
I decided to turn all that was left between Kiran and myself to look like an inchoate romantic series of quarrels into the battles of the middle earth.
Incidentally, I forgot to mention that you could stay in Rangin’s house and have an affair with his wife and daughter, and he is the sort of chap who won’t even suspect. So it was not very difficult to plot against the love of his life using his resources. A lesser soul would have definitely been carried away. But my impeccable sense of duty towards my friend helped me survive the wonderful seduction of success against enemy. Anything that happens, happens.
And Kiran happened to have no clue to the true identity of the offender. I always thought she should have been grateful, for I was rescuing her from a first rate dumbass. But since I was wise enough to realize that she might take a less scrupulous view, I let things look the way they looked, that is, all the requests made by me were from Rangin. Anything that is happening causes something else to happen, causes something else to happen.
I am sure the readers would like to know what exactly happened. However, since a lot of people don’t like the idea of being the means in a business whose end is not their business (i.e., being manipulated), I would refrain from publicly admitting all my spectacular achievements.
Eventually I was successful in securing the hostility of Kiran for my friend. Now all that remained was to do the reverse and bring things back to their previous peaceful harmony. But those who have known a love struck engineering student will tell you that it is not an easy thing to accomplish.
There are three broad categories of boys who fall in love. The first lot are the Tum Bin types, who will never tell anyone anything about their misfortune. They are merely pathetic self-pitying teenagers and don’t mean any harm. They are a pleasant lot to have around.
The second type start by telling the name of their crush first. This is where the innocent bystanders should get cautious, because a boy who tells you the name of his crush will tell you anything, and generally everything, even though you don’t want to hear it. Having told everything, they assume that you care for it as much as they do (it must be one of those prehistoric psychological tendencies we have inherited) and consider you as a close friend till they are out of love. They are just an unnecessary headache.
The third sort start by telling all about how they feel, or how they believe they feel, or how they would like to feel, or how they want others to believe they feel, or how they want others to believe that they believe they feel. They treat the name of the object of their affection with great secrecy because of some peculiar and interesting reasons. I have a great deal to say about it, but we’ll talk about that later.
Since Rangin happened to be a confused mixture of all three, I started by trying a few tricks from the movies and popular ads (ex-boyfriends, ex-pregnancy, unattractive underwear, no deodorants etc etc). I naturally failed. Anything that in happening causes itself to happen again, happens again.
They happened necessarily in the same order though.
The next trick was Freudian. I tried to describe Kiran in terms of her suppressed infantile sexualities in order to terrify him.
I was terrified myself.
Then I made him see ‘Titanic’ hoping that the cheap dialogues of the movie will make him realise the little worth of what are supposed to be the greatest assets of love. But he was full of all the follies of the youth, and none of the wisdom that innocence offered. Till this date, it eludes me how, he considers ‘Titanic’ to be one of the finest movies he ever saw. We have never been to another movie together since.
So far, the reader might have been led by their intuition to believe that I must have done something awfully clever to finally pull them apart. They have been led wisely. I simply directed Kiran towards a blog Rangin had started writing in one of those philosophical moods when a final year engineering student contemplates the futility of all love, and hence of all life, and ends up contemplating why this and why that and why not her? The ‘her’ happened to be Kiran.
Just like he had done a month before, Rangin again walked in another fine morning to tell me that he was out of love, and that he preferred writing blogs to dumb blondes anyway. The story ended as suddenly and as quietly as it had begun.
The awe with which this entire proceeding filled me with towards the great tradition of internet blogs made me realise the full potential of this idyllic occupation. And here I am finally – my first footstep in the greatest of all virtual worlds.
Dostoevsky might point out here that all good stories end in a marriage and that mine does not. But then, Sherlock Holmes didn’t exactly marry professor Moriarty, did he?
That is life.