More Than A Triangle

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Vrijendra and Rohit were friends. Music was their bond. Rohit was the best singer of the batch, and Vrijendra was a good drummer. On the first day in the Arts and Music class, when madam was taking introduction, Rohit told, “Singing is my hobby”, at once madam asked, “who can drum?” It didn’t take a moment to Vrijendra to raise his hand. And lo! The stage was set before all the pupil-teachers. They both rocked.

That day was the beginning of their friendship. Both shared numbers and increased their friend list by one on Facebook and Whatsapp. Now the campus was enjoying their friendship through music. They could start anywhere in leisure time. Rohit sang in a loud voice, while Vrijendra took any beatable object like chair or table as his drum. The audiences were often the rest of the  batchmates.

So, such was the life in the District Teachers Training Institute in Bahraich, full of joy and enjoyment. Batches were separated in accordance of their enrollment years. Vrijendra and Rohit were in 2012 batch. The duration of training was one year, after that they were going to be government teachers. Every batch has a hundred trainees.

Getting a government job is the greatest temptation in the eastern districts of Uttar Pradesh. These districts like Shrawasti, Bahraich, Gonda, Balrampur  are the most backward in literacy and industries. Big landlords and a few government employees and officers used to send their children Lucknow and Delhi for B. Tech, MBA and for other professional courses and if they don’t succeed there, when the vacancy of teachers is notified they call their children back to take admission in the Teachers’ training. According to those employed and rich parents, it is a better prospect to work as a teacher in your own village, get a wife of the same profession than working in Bengaluru or Gurugram as an engineer or salesman.

In the hundred pupil-teachers, girls and boys were fifty-fifty. A few of them were married but most of them were single. Marriage was another priority after the job for the would-be teachers. Their parents had also given them freedom to choose partners but within a certain barrier that is called Caste.

Vrijendra was working in a company in Chandigarh after MBA. Salary wasn’t equivalent to his ten hours duty. “Target” was the word drumming in his mind for more than a year. He was bogged down. Almost sixty percent batch-mates had the same story, only the names of the courses were changed- B.Tech, B.Pharma, BAMS, M.Tech, MCA etc. The other Fourty percents were some fortunate students who studied in his own villages and towns and came in fight of merit with these professional course holders, just being a B.A., B.Sc. etc.

Rohit was just a B.A. and before coming in the merit list of the institute, he was teaching English in a private school in his village. English was also another factor in developing the friendship with Vrijendra.

More than half unmarried boys have chosen their life-partner and their marriage plan was blooming in their imagination. Vrijendra  proposed Pragya Mishra- a tall and intelligent girl with elegant features. She accepted. Chatting on messages and calls started. Rohit couldn’t find his would-be wife because the only girl of his caste Deeksha Verma was married. He didn’t mind it much as he had not taken any oath to marry a girl in the same profession, or same caste.

 

The institute was in a rural area attached to suburban constituency. There were two ways to come to the institute, the first was from the highway that was convenient for those who came by bike or bus or train and  the other was a short-cut route, ran between the fields and it was convenient for those who had taken rooms near the institute. The short-cut route had almost no traffic, it took only fifteen or twenty minutes on foot to arrive in the campus. Rohit was a paying guest in the vicinity, so he often came by this route. Pragya too was a paying guest.

In the beginning, they didn’t come to the campus together as their time of leaving the room never coincided. It started when one day Vrijendra said,

“I think you should come with Pragya. I don’t want her to come alone or with the other boys. No girl except her is living here as a paying guest. She can’t come direct from home. You can understand how tiresome it would be to up and down from Lucknow everyday. And the most important thing- I trust you.”

Rohit asked, “Why don’t you come with her? She’s your girlfriend after all.”

“First thing, my timing is not certain to come in the campus. Second, I don’t wanna her to be trolled, this is not Chandigarh. You just have to accompany her from the beginning of the way to the sight of the campus, needn’t go to her room to call.”

“Oh! What will you pay me for this service? Asshole! You are saying this as if I were your servant. Why can’t I go to her room?”

“Please buddy, don’t be angry. Look, I am sorry for this. Okay, you can go to her room if she doesn’t mind.”

Thus, Rohit agreed to accompany Pragya.

Rohit and Pragya took that short-cut way together from the following day. They developed a friendship that was natural. For a few weeks, it was okay, but afterwards some batch-mates started to hoot them. The same happened what Vrijendra was afraid of. A slogan “one bud after two studs” hovered over the gossips of the campus. Rohit talked about this to Vrijrndra, he said, “nothing to worry much, this is within the campus.”

A month passed and the second was also passing and at last, one day, returning from the campus Rohit asked Pragya, “ Do you not feel irritated about all these gossips?”

“Which gossips”, she put the question on question.

“I mean – one bud after two studs”, Rohit clarified.

“Should I fight or yell? I don’t care about what they gossip. Small places have always such problems”, she said.

“But I care. I don’t like”

“And why so?”

“Because you love Vrijendra, not me.”

“Oh!” she exclaimed, “I can love more than one person at a time. You can also apply.”

“What?” Rohit got an unexpected shock, he said, “Are you kidding or you just out of mind?”

“Ok bye…see you the next day”, Pragya waved her hands.

“You’re just kidding, aren’t you? Ok……bye”, but Pragya didn’t confirm to Rohit.

That day, in the evening, Rohit tried to call Pragya, but the line was busy. He thought that she might be busy with Vrijendra. He couldn’t sleep that night.

 

A few days passed. A duel was going on in Rohit’s mind. He started developing an infatuation for Pragya, though he wasn’t unaware of the fact that she is already engaged. Such is the magic of girls.

“So you’re getting married after the training?”, Rohit threw a sudden question to Pragya while returning from the campus.

“Depends on parents”, Pragya replied the traditional answer that Indian girls often say on asking about marriage.

“I mean…with Vrijendra”, Rohit said. He just tried to know the depth of her commitment for his close friend.

“Haven’t decided yet…though he has told me about his plans.” Pragya seemed not willing to tell Rohit why she hadn’t decided yet.

At once she turned the mood of the conversation, and asked, “You tell, what about your prelims result in UPSC?”

“Now what made you interested in civil services….results aren’t declared yet”

“I was thinking that officers live a grand life.”

“Officers think the same about teachers.”

“May be that’s why officers don’t mind to marry with teachers.”

“Who won’t like to have a government employee wife”

“You think it’s all about money?”

“No, but your intention indicates. It’s also about safety and stability.”

“It’s too hard to guess a girl’s intention for a boy, so you don’t try please…”

“A universal misunderstanding of girls it is…” Rohit said as he wanted to win the discussion.

“Ok. Live in your fantasy… give me your notes on Child Psychology, I don’t like Shriwastava’s lectures in the class” she changed another time the topic.

They were about to reach the room, said bye-bye and parted away.

Girls manipulate boys’ mind- it’s an acknowledged universal fact. The same was going with Rohit. He was struggling with the growing attraction for Pragya , to propose her or not. He pondered over all the possibilities. Vrijendra wasn’t his childhood friend but the understanding between them was awesome. But Pragya hasn’t decided yet to marry him. The irresistible urge to get her laid led him to think what if he passes the prelims of UPSC, and suppose that he clears the Mains and the Interview too, what if he becomes an officer? Could he get Pragya as his better-half or at least as his girlfriend. Thoughts of this kind were rumbling in his mind.

Rohit was perplexed. At last he decided to call Pragya. He tried thrice, but the line was always busy. It must be Vrijendra, he thought. Just out of curiosity he called Vrijendra then.

Amazing! The bell rang. A. R. Rahman’s beat played for a while. Vrijendra picked up the call.

“Hello Rohit, wats up buddy”

“Nothing special, what are you doing?”

“Was calling Pragya, but the line is busy…sometimes she tortures me in this way. She will call me after 9PM and will say it was her Mom, it was her Dad blah blah… Bro, you are lucky being single.”

Who else could feel the irony of the last sentence better than Rohit?

He said, “ Ok bro, let me lick my luck. See you tomorrow, good night.” Rohit cut the phone off.

“What the fuck! I am lucky? Ugh!” Rohit muttered.

{Why shouldn’t I try my luck? Why shouldn’t I go to Pragya at once and propose, come what may.}

At once he stood up and decided to confess his love at the very instant to Pragya. Her room was just on a few furlongs. He set out visualizing the scene of his love-proposal. His plans were such as if he were going to be an officer on the next month. Logics have nothing to do with the emotions of a boy in his twenties.

Rohit had to cross a courtyard of that big house in which Pragya was a paying guest. Her room was separate. The door was open. He saw that she was busy on the phone.

Rohit knocked. Pragya turned and watched him in great surprise. At first she couldn’t speak. A few moments passed. Rohit initiated in a mild tone –

“What’s going on? I called you thrice. Couldn’t even you pick up the phone?”

“Papa was on the line…how could I?”, she explained and asked, “And so you came to me? What was so important?”

“Let’s not beat about the bush. I think I am in I love with you. I want to marry you. You see, I will be an officer in the next year. I am just waiting for the result and I am sure I will crack the exam. I will keep you very happy, I promise.” Rohit poured his heart in a breath.

“Hell! Are you drunk? How many canes you’ve taken of beer?” She reacted loud enough.

“I don’t drink. Believe me. I am just in love with you”

“Please go.” She emphasized on the “Go” more than on the “Please”.

“How can you turn me out so rudely, I came here just the first time, at least ask me for tea.”

“Fuck the tea! Yes, you came here just first time, and uttered the shit. Disgusting!”

“It was necessary, otherwise I might go mad.”

“Only mad could do such…. You just get out or I would shout?”

Rohit stepped out of the room. He was not ready to face such a threat of shouting. Pragya shut the door.

He returned to his room with a heavy heart, could neither eat nor sleep. With open eyes and a restless mind, he was dreaming of the next morning in the campus. {What will happen when Vrijendra comes to know about this. I must be ready for the worst}. He got asleep very late.

“God! I have done a great mistake”, he sighed after getting up. He was already late for the institute. He saw twelve missed calls on his mobile screen from Vrijendra, but couldn’t help himself to call him back. At first, he didn’t want to go to the campus, then he thought {sooner or later I’d have to face Vrijendra}

He was rather slow on his way. When the gate was about to come in his sight, he saw Vrijendra on his bike waiting under a tree. Rohit first pretended not to see him, but Vrijendra was staring at him with a stern face. Their eyes met at last. No hand-waving, no smile, Vrijendra didn’t and Rohit couldn’t.

As Rohit came nearer, Vrijendra got off and came in the middle of his way, glaring anger from his eyes, and then the anger came in the form of words. He barked,

“Shame on you snake! I believed on you and you betrayed! Stinged.”.

Rohit opened his mouth, “ Look Vriju…” but he couldn’t complete the sentence.

“Just shut up!” Vrijendra went on in his rage without giving him any chance to speak.

“How could you do this? You know she is my girlfriend. I wanna marry her…don’t you know? You think every girl who talks to you will be ready to give you a blowjob. Bloody primitives! Fuck you!” Vrijendra abused him.

“Let me speak and clear the things if you’ve abused me enough now….” Rohit spoke.

“What will you make clear? Haven’t you proposed her? Have you gone there to make her your sister?”

“Well, I admit that I had gone there drawn by an irresistible infatuation towards her, and yes, I proposed her, but I’m really sorry, I have realized my mistake now…I am ready to apologize to both of you.

“Mistake? You call it a mistake? You fucked our friendship and all the things between us. You should better keep a distance from me and Pragya. We both don’t wanna see your face. I’m not beating you just for the sake of not making it an issue throughout the campus.” Saying this and without giving a chance to Rohit to speak, Vrijendra got on his bike and went away.

Rohit plodded towards the campus, entered the gate, went in the class. He saw Pragya sitting there. Their eyes met once. She gave a contemptuous gesture. He seated himself beside a batchmate named Alok whose first question was not about being late but why he came alone today. Rohit  told him that he will come alone from now.

Rohit  and Vrijendra both tried not to open this matter to anyone in the campus, but Pragya couldn’t. She told one of her friends Saloni and thus everyone came to know about the triangle.

 

It was in the last days of January when this brawl happened between both the rock-stars of the campus.

Days were passing. Rohit often came alone in the campus now. If sometimes by chance, he met Pragya on the way, he couldn’t dare to speak and she always pretended not to see him. In the campus, and outside of the campus, at the tea stalls, Rohit often saw Vrijendra and Pragya  talking, eating, and laughing together and giving a squint to him. Other onlookers giggled and hooted seeing them indifferent to each other.

Four months passed, neither Vrijendra nor Rohit tried to talk to each other. Rohit was afraid of denial or another brawl while Vrijendra couldn’t be generous enough to forgive him.

It is said that if two people are destined to meet fate will create such chances that their encounter will be inevitable.

It was the farewell function of the batch. A grand program of singing, speech and drama was organized. Almost everyone who had a little courage and confidence to stand on the stage and to face the audience was participating. Erstwhile Rohit and Vrijendra used to participate together. Last time when it was the function of the Republic Day, they both rocked the stage on ‘Dam-Dam Diga-Diga’ song, but the ongoing occasion was different. When the lecturers asked Rohit why he was not participating with Vrijendra, he said, “Sir, if Vrijendra gets ready to participate with me, I have no problem then”. Then they asked Vrijendra, he said, “Sir, I want to do some different on this occasion, let me be the anchor at the stage”.

So, the awaited day came. It was Saturday. Preparations were going high, auditorium was decorated, a grand stage was set up and before the stage there were approx two hundred fifty chairs, leaving an aisle between to let pass the performers and audience. After the prayer to Goddess Saraswati, the program started. Sub District Magistrate, an elderly overweight personality of about fifty was the chief guest. A welcome song was sung for him by a group of girls. After the welcome song, a series of participants were to be presented by the stage-anchor. Rohit was on the second number after a comedian named Alok Pandey. Alok Pandey was as famous for his comedy and mimicry as Rohit was for his singing. Alok can mock all the teachers and some trainees too. He didn’t mock any teacher on that occasion as he used to do, but he mocked a love-triangle in the voice of Vrijendra, Rohit and a female voice.

When Alok’s feminine voice was saying, “ Hell! Are you drunk? Don’t you know I love your friend, how dare you transform a well-build angle in a triangle…”

Then again in Rohit’s voice, “Oh! I have drunk the love’s elixir, I tried hard not to come, but the intoxication of your beauty, you dark black eyes, dark brown hairs, rosy cheeks and winy lips…O God! It was killing me day and night, how can I live without you, my darling, my queen, my Aphrodite.”

It was evident that Alok was mocking the love-triangle of Vrijrndra, Rohit and Pragya. He went on for more than fifteen minutes. All were laughing except Rohit and Vrijendra and of course except Pragya. Vrijendra was furious. Since he was the anchor, he had to keep his calm, but his face was deteriorating by anger. Alok ended his comedy saying that in every love-triangle, hero and side hero suffer in equal amount.

Now it was the term of Rohit to perform. He too was angry, but it was a big gathering, so fighting or abusing would disturb the surrounding. Vrijendra announced, trying to his best, “ now I would like to call the multi-talented person of our campus, one and only rock-star of the institute Mr. Rohit Kumar Verma. Give a big hand for him.” Rohit understood that he wasn’t appraised really by Vrijendra, but it was just because he was doing his work as an anchor.

Rohit came to the mike. He tried to look confident. After greeting to everyone from chief guests to the friends, he said, “Friends, it is farewell party. It is evident to all of you that we wouldn’t be able to meet on regular basis after this day. Lucky will be those who gets appointment in the same school, but chances are less of such coincidence. Nevertheless, I believe our friendship will be eternal sans any prejudice. I feel about this period with all of you as golden pages of my life-book. I learned a lot, made friends got appreciated, built my self-confidence and overall it was rewarding. Believe me. Oh! I think I am here to sing , I have always been a terrible speaker…so no more speech. Now just enjoy the song.”

And he sang his favorite song that day, though he was disturbed by the previous act of Alok, but he came in flow as he started. It was a song from the movie, Dil Chahta Hai (2001)-

“Koi Kahe Kahta Rahe, Kitna Bhi Hamko Diwana.

 Ham Logo’n Ki Thokar Me Hai Jamana

 Jab Saaz Hai, Aawaz Hai, Fir Kisliye Hichkichana

 Ooo Gayenge Ham Apne Dilo’n  Tarana.”

“Let the world speak that we are mad, don’t worry

We kick this world

There’s music, voice, why should we hesitate

Let’s sing the song of our heart.”

Rohit rocked. All clapped for more than a minute when he stopped singing, even Vrijendra and Pragya clapped. Music defeats every ugliness.

The program went for more than an hour, many sang, many acted and many just made their joke on the stage.

After the program, everyone took lunch, shared gifts; hugging, kissing and gossiping were high. Only two persons were tense, Vrijendra and Pragya. Rohit too was included in Alok’s mimicry but he was behaving cool.

After everything was over everyone started to leave. Rohit had just arrived at the room when his phone rang. Sameer, another trainee of the campus, was calling. He told Rohit that Vrijendra had beaten Alok on the way. They both fought.

“Fuck! But why, for all these days when everyone was gossiping and hooting about this, he didn’t get angry, and now suddenly he became a macho. What the fuck is this?”

“I don’t know. Vrijendra was never like this.”, Sameer replied

“Let them fuck each other, I don’t care.” And he cut off the phone.

In the evening, when Rohit was going for a stroll, he saw Vrijendra coming riding on his bike. Vrijendra too saw him. Rohit had no intention to stop, but when Vrijendra called him, he stopped. Now both were on the road, staring at each other.

Vrijendra was struggling to say something, while Rohit was at peace. At last, he said,

“I am sorry.”

“For what?”

“For everything.”

“I have no problem with you.”

“O don’t behave coquettish, for gods’ sake.”

Rohit grinned, had the friendship were normal, as it was, he would have laughed.

Vrijendra said again, “let’s have a coffee. We can drink beer also, I just need company.”

“Well…Coffee is better.”, Rohit agreed.

After Vrijendra ordered the coffee, Rohit threw the first question,

“Why did you beat Alok? He was just entertaining and he didn’t take any real names during the act.”

“I was frustrated. Pragya dumped me this day and  that sonovabitch was hooting and giggling all the way and asked me ‘how was the act?’, I just got off the bike and kicked his ass, just then he held my collar and abused, and I gave him a tight fist on the nose, blood came out, I wanted to hit more but then the boys pulled me from him. It had become a show on the road. I was fucked up.”

“Hmm… Why did she dump you? Whereas I know you were going to marry her.”

“I had made up my mind, but she screwed up the whole thing.”

“How?”

“She was always double-crossing me, she had already a boyfriend in Lucknow, about that she never told me, and that’s why she never committed for marriage, she just procrastinated every time whenever I asked, and this day, when the program was over, she told me that her marriage has been fixed, I felt like my eyes are fallen on the ground and I can’t see, I was dumbfounded…”

“Oh!!!… Coffee is getting cold by the way.”

“All you can think about is the goddamn coffee, here my heart is broken into pieces.”

“No, I am listening…tell me what happened then?”

“I implored to her, to not to break my heart, but she said that her name is so much denigrated in the campus because of me that people are mocking every now and then, even publicly, and this, she can’t carry on throughout life, so she is quitting the campus-affair with the campus for good.”

“Now I am getting it, the Papa with whom she was talking that day when I went to propose her, wasn’t her Papa in fact, but the boyfriend in Lucknow. Well, it’s over now. Seek another chance.”

Rohit must be laughing in his heart.

~Ravi

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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9 comments

  1. This was a very interesting short story. The love triangle was quite interesting. Two friend vowing for the same woman to learn that she never wanted either one. The beauty of the story is that the friends were able to keep their friendship and the old saying for brotherhood goes, “Bros before Hoes.”

    There were a few words misused but I believe only due to language translation. I enjoyed the short story.

  2. An old fashioned story–a love triangle. Easy to read, easy to follow and not confused by the introduction of a lot of other characters except for the principals. The introduction of the comedian, however, was a stroke of genius because he brought the situation closer to a conclusion. Since this long-time friendship between the two males was almost destroyed by a deceitful female, it might be worthwhile to explain why she was so attractive to both of them. All that was said to describe her was that she was tall and elegant. Was she perhaps dazzlingly beautiful? Or extraordinarily intelligent? Rich, with a large dowry? Also I think the reader should be left with the promise of “another chance.” Not the image of Rohit laughing in his heart at his best friend whose own heart has just been broken.

    1. You made valid points. I too feel there’s something lacking in the background of the heroine. Thank you for your insights. I will do my best to make it perfect.

  3. Good story and we’ll written I couldn’t leave it before being completed. Alok has lots of strength ??. Rohit should first ask does she like him or not .. but it’s ok when feeling comes from the core.. pragya should not shout like she did.. she doesn’t know how to handle such cases.. she lost an allrounder Rohit..and yeah vrijendra shouldn’t break friendship with Rohit coz of what happened…but what he could do, he was very forcely asked by Pragya to not to speak with Rohit ?.. doesn’t matter finally vrijendra comes to rohit..aur agar subh ka nikla sham ko ghr wapas aa jaye to use bhula nhi khte… ?? Finally I just wanna say pragya was gamer and you guys rohit and vrijendra wer dump ?? but friendship wins Finally..and Alok is rock..?

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