Sometimes when cupid doesn’t strike, you have to find the bow and the arrow, stand behind cupid, aim from above his shoulder and hit!!
At times love is arranged.
Destiny got Monica, koyal and Pikoo together to share the same hostel room while pursuing their studies at Pune. Monica is in the third year of law course while Koyal and Pikoo are in the second year of management. The three shared the hostel room last year and despite the glaring difference in personalities, became a family, each rendering endless support to the new fangled camaraderie.
Monica is a Punjabi damsel endowed with captivating loveliness and sharp features with shining black straight hair stretching till the waist. She was raised in Trivandrum and represents the spot on mélange of the North and the South. Her truly feminine mollycoddling have won a series of boyfriends. The girl is genuinely large hearted, leaving Koyal and Pikoo confused on her criterion of selecting the man of her life for six to eight months.
The current state of affairs is that she has moved to the second boyfriend and the first is left absolutely vindictive, hell-bent on chasing her wherever and whenever possible. The second boyfriend has an exciting family history (that undoubtedly gave Monica the confidence to move on). His father and the grandfather were well reputed lawyers in the country, known to defend the top notch criminals. Needless to say, Monica had the Don backing! The second boyfriend however was quite a disappointment to the family lineage, appearing like a puppy in love, wagging his tail more often than not, but sometimes reminded the lot of a macho man by publicly demonstrating his foul temper. Pikoo and Koyal have recently been spending a great deal of time in consoling weeping Monica and quieting the macho man. The cause of brawl being the first boyfriend.
Pikoo is a charming lovable lass, flaunting the haircut in vogue, with an average height and a very kind heart. The first year of management had been very tough for her for simple psychological reasons as partying from the family, coming for a relatively tough course, a failed crush in the first semester itself, a pretty face that did not get the attention from the wanted but received more than necessary from the unwanted. Refusing her doting classmates had depressive consequences, leaving the inflict or and inflicted totally affected. The first year offered quite a few surprises for her, a bouquet of flowers from an unidentified admirer and two cards from known identified classmates on the Valentine day. But as (Harry Porter would say) he who shall not be named (once a hero in her life but now a villain causing heart- ache) did not even turn up at the Institute. The fun of Valentine day was lost in delusion.
The existing scenario is that Pikoo has decided to focus on second year curriculum, inviting least distraction, with utter lack of interest in the class guys and a candid approach to just being friends. However occasionally, the sight of the object of affection, (Karan) undertaking another course in the same building, did inflict an intolerable pain in the heart. He seemed to be a fine chap in all the interactions, but had subtly hid the fact that he had a girlfriend. Damn! These guys!
Koyal is different, mature, confident and caring. She came to pursue her management course after four years of work experience. Her reactions are always seasoned, being perturbed by nothing at all, very clear in the head and blessed with a perfect sense of humour that compliments her cute face which flaunts a dimple when she smiles. Her curly cropped hair, above average height and clear glowing complexion make her personality even more attractive. One of the staff members in the management Institute has gone totally nuts on her, offering love unlimited. This is a recent revelation. The entire first year both Pikoo and Monica warned Koyal about his adoring heart, but our all encompassing, compassionate, generous and mature Koyal, ignored the warnings, till it was too late and he proposed to her towards the end of first year.
The present situation is complicated. The staff member-Spanish teacher, has become a relentless lover. There have been guileless conservations between Koyal and the Spanish teacher, but he refuses to concede, leaving Koyal absolutely speechless about the question Why not? Moreover the situation has led him to look more like a vagabond and less like a management teacher. Koyal is shaken that the fellow might be asked to leave.
There is another, more relevant problem for both Koyal and Pikoo-The finance paper. A grueling subject, convoluted and malicious, vindictive and reproachful, playing venomous number games, which offers no escape but to clear it. The day and night have lost their identity when attempting to comprehend it. The subject offeres the worst paradox because it is being taught by the most seasoned, learned, calm, courteous genius- Professor Limaye, a though rough gentleman, tender and unpretentious,. It is only the finance examination paper which brings out the devil in him . Otherwise he is the finest finance Professor any institute could have had. More than failing the paper, it is letting down Limaye Sir that kills the soul. Hostel room is the biggest obstacle in focusing on studies and therefore the three decide to shift at the beginning of next year session.
After an energetic search, Koyal, Pikoo and Monica find a new dwelling to focus on their respective resolutions. The place truly is an abode in the heaven offering two rooms and a kitchen in a secluded bungalow of a doctor, a huge garden surrounded by bamboo trees, the backyard plump with uneven growth rendering the feel of a puny jungle. The weather here adds spice to the milieu, cool and calm, with drizzle sometimes, wonderfully equipped to soothe the mind, except the two scorching months of April and May.
It was June when the three shifted to this paradise.
Life went smooth for sometime and then hiccupped. Professor Limaye had to go overseas for a month and requested one of his best students from a top management institute, a finance professional, who was working in Pune in a multinational company to come and teach the class. The evening he walked in was the day the girls in the class felt they were visiting Shalimar garden of Kashmir. Needless to say, he was handsome and single, very intelligent, to the point and ruthless when reacting to the advances of some expectant girls. He came for the class after work and therefore the students had to wait till the evening. To add fuel to fire, within first week of teaching the class, he took a surprise test. Five boys and one girl from a class of forty cleared the test. Koyal and Pikoo’s paper looked like a battleground, full red. Worse still Prof. Vinay befriended the Spanish teacher.
In no time the ruined love story between Koyal and Spanish teacher was revealed to Prof.Vinay. While he did not speak to Koyal directly, the Spanish teacher became more confident and even more persevering. The story did not end here. This very teacher, Vinay Naik, turned out to be the elder brother of Monica’s first boyfriend. Koyal and Pikoo were in his blacklist from day one. Stupid Monica!
It started as a Black Monday, the day of finance examination for the second year first semester. Sleep was disturbed at dawn with Monica’s first boyfriend entering the house and hitting at the door. Both Koyal and Pikoo had slept late and were woken early. Monica was made to hide in the second room and Koyal and Pikoo came outside the house to face him. Mr. first boyfriend looked pooped and drained rattling same question, what went wrong?
Koyal cleared her throat and a mature seasoned voice came out “You are such a great guy. Forget the past and please forget her as well. What is the point in pursuing someone who has moved on?”
He insisted” I want to speak to her once! I promise will not harm her.”
Monica was called out, but the other two girls insisted that they would stay with her. Monica madam told our man to forget her. He aggressively revolted, “I can’t forget you. I love you!” Monica responded “I loved you too, but”. He shrieked “Loved me? Let me see how much you loved me” and without any warning hit his head against the house wall. He bled, the doctor (house owner) came out and bandaged his head, the girls were warned, Professor Naik was summoned, and he came, took his brother back and gave such a dirty stare to all the three girls. The morning that had to be spent in revising for the finance paper, was spent in solving nonsense. Monica was asked to control her nerves and not go singing about the incident. As Koyal and Pikoo were walking to the institute for the examination, a man came in a bike, jerked it right in front of Pikoo, gave her a proper stare, right in the eye and sped away. He was none other than the object of her affection, Karan. His reaction was so much unexpected that Koyal blurted out “After ignoring you for over a year now don’t tell me he is interested in you! Listen, we have to clear the finance paper. Keep your focus. Anyhow the day began terribly. We can’t afford to fail”. Pikoo by then was totally lost. The guy’s reaction was coming in front of her eyes over and over again. She desperately tried focusing on the finance examination, but remained distracted till the question sheet was distributed. The paper itself got back all the attention. It was the toughest finance paper introduced thus far. The questions seemed alien and the route to answer could also not be comprehended. It was Professor Limaye who had set the paper before he left. Pikoo turned back to look at Koyal and the only reaction she got was thumbs down. Only angels could have come and helped them clear the paper. Professor Limaye’s word “I will see not only the answer but also doggedness in the solutions”. Maybe the demonstration of doggedness was only hope as solution to none of the questions was known, at least to Pikoo and the way it looked, even to Koyal. When it came to demonstrating doggedness, both time and answer sheet suffered scarcity. Soon the time was up and everyone surrendered the judgement page. Pikoo and Koyal walked till the canteen with heavy steps. The probability for clearing the paper was dim. Their depressed souls were calling “Please God no backlog.” The paper was to be assessed by Professor Vinay Naik, who anyhow was absolutely impressed with them, courtesy their great friend Monica.
That was not all. As they settled to have lunch, Karan surfaced yet again and stood near a pillar, sipping tea with his eyes trying to make an eye contact with Pikoo. Koyal attempted diverting her “I think the guy is possessed today. This time let him make the move, do not react. What do you like in him? He has such a huge bum!” Pikoo’s gaze was fixed to his and the only reply that came out was “His face!” Before Koyal could revert, a young woman came and lugged Karan away. Pikoo’s hopping heart received a twitching, burning sensation. In no time the memory of ruined finance paper came back to haunt her.
Professor Vinay Naik came to their house in the evening. He was infuriated and desired to register an official complaint in Monica’s Institute. It so happened that before she broke off with his brother, she was double timing for almost three months. Now his presence brought out two compelling issues, an official compliant about Monica’s and an official backlog in the finance paper. The three trembled and prayed to God. Guess he was listening. From nowhere a gush of wind blew followed by a heavy downpour. Prof. Naik had come on a bike. He tried to rush back home, when Monica thought of a game-plan. She requested Naik Sir, with all the graciousness in the world to stay back till the downpour was over. She insisted that it was not safe to ride a bike in such a violent weather. Both Pikoo and Monica were bowled over by such an altruistic gesture. This very man would make an official compliant on her. Vinay Naik came inside the house, little awkward and sat in the only sofa available in the room. The three girls ran in the kitchen and then the other two pushed Koyal out to chat with Sir. Mature and compassionate Koyal sat with him while Pikoo and Monica made tea in the Kitchen. Actually it was Monica’s way of pulling Pikoo out to explain the scheme. Before she could divulge her plot, she saw both Koyal and Professor intently discussing something.
The plan changed and she said “I had initially intended to retain him to convince him that we were damsels in distress. But now as it appears, we have to make the cupid strike!”
Pikoo responded candidly “Listen, I have had a pathetic track record in managing boys. You are our seasoned resource. Please suggest”
Monica continued “Ok, first and foremost, we have to retain Professor Naik for at least two to three hours. Intelligent men fall in love with the women they can mentally relate to. Now, while Koyal seems naturally adept to handle it, we have to look sillier, to get the glaring difference out. Then we have to react impromptu, as the scene progresses.”
Pikoo interrupted “We don’t even know that Prof. Naik has a girlfriend”.
Monica responded confidently “No he does not. His brother informed me that while a dozen were after him, he had none. Actually he found most of them flamboyant and foolish”
Pikoo gawked at Monica in disbelief “and we plan to make a guy like him fall in love in two hours. Wow! I hope we will not be terminated post our baseless endeavour”
Monica was irritated “Listen you have your finance exam to clear. Doggedness is a subjective call and as of now his subjectivity is skewed against you two. Don’t tell Koyal about this plan, she is bound to ruin it”
Both were glad that Professor Naik and Koyal continued their conversation without even realizing that Pikoo and Monica were missing from the scene for sometime. When Pikoo went to serve tea, she grasped that their conversation was purely based on a market research that was conducted by an FMCG company. This discussion went on for roughly forty five minutes, interrupted in between by Koyal calling for her two friends and Prof Naik checking whether the spell of rain was over. God was truly being supportive and it poured and poured.
Monica though was not pleased. “Enough of mental level matching. I have never heard a market research discussion making two people fall in love. Our Professor is not even looking at Koyal and is engrossed in the conversation. His focus as of now is on the market research and not Koyal. He should continue the talk for the interest in Koyal and not market research!!”
Pikoo divulged a solution “Ok, so we have to get Professors attention on Koyal’s cute face, somewhere near the dimple. Monica can you please make Pakora.”
Pakoras were made in no time and served. This time Koyal found something suspicious in her friend’s hospitality but construed it to be an attempt to pacify Professor to abstain from complaining about Monica. In the meantime, Pikoo subtly put a dot of sauce on Koyal’s cheek, while serving sauce to both of them. This was the very place where Koyal got a dimple when she smiled. The two rushed back to the kitchen after the mission was accomplished, patiently waiting for the repercussion. Yes, the plan was successful. While talking Professor Naik’s attention went on the dot of sauce on Koyal’s face. He kept looking at it and then just informed Koyal that there was sauce on her cheek. She obviously was taken aback and removed it from her face, with a smile. When she smiled, Professor Naik noticed her dimple. Then while talking his attention kept going to Koyal’s face.
Pikoo and Monica were peeping from the Kitchen and congratulated each other. But the two knew it was not enough. Monica added “I think we need to get the discussion going on the Spanish teacher now. We don’t know what he has confided in Professor Naik. Koyal has to give her side of the story and clear the air”.
Pikoo was clear on the action and simply called the Spanish teacher, asked him for an answer to a question in the language paper, and when he enquired about Koyal, Pikoo informed him on her fragile health and then when he seemed concerned, Pikoo walked out in the main room and spoke aloud “Sir, she is fine. You don’t worry and for God sake focus on your studies”.
Koyal immediately questioned “You are talking to whom?
Monica replied ” Our Spanish Teacher”
Why has he called?”
Pikoo replied as a matter of fact “ he feels you looked ill today”
Koyal’s immediate reaction, “O God, No!”
Professor Naik spontaneously asked her “You don’t like him at all?”
Koyal objected “No”
Professor Naik said “Yes, I know, did advice him but be is obsessed with you”
Koyal was irritated “He is obsessed with the idea not me”
Professor Naik said “You are not to be blamed. He does not seem to understand. That is all. It’s a phase, will pass.”
Professor Naik’s attention went outside the window where it had stopped raining. He said “Don’t worry” and got up to proceed towards the door. Both Pikoo and Monica sighed crestfallen on their failed attempt.
Prof. Naik smiled at the three of them and approached the door of the house. At last cupid finally decided to take charge. The Spanish teacher came in the house from nowhere.
He carried the familiar vague look with his eyes looking neither left nor right and gaping straight at Koyal. Then he commandingly questioned her “You are not well, right?”
Koyal was exasperated and tersely replied “No!”He leaped towards her, to maybe check her temperature or whatever, this infuriated Prof Naik, he jumped in between, his foot twisted and he fell straight on Koyal.
It seemed the scene paused for sometime, with both Professor and Koyal on the floor. Shameless Monica said “Should we click a photo? If not cupid, blackmail would help.” Pikoo snapped “Be quiet”. Professor Naik stood up without any assistance, but Koyal could not get up. She fell on her back and had injured her back and neck. She was assisted to sit up but was feeling dizzy. Spanish teacher glared, most traumatized. Professor Naik asked him to leave. He insisted on staying back but Professor strictly instructed him to go.He left. Koyal was given medication and a sedative to sleep.
Professor Naik left his mobile number with Monica and Pikoo to inform him on Koyal’s condition. The cupid did not strike then but Professor’s call the next day to enquire about Koyal’s health and with Pikoo and Monica’s continued effort to exaggerate her condition, resulted in his regular visits to see Koyal and eventually cupid struck.
Monica was spared from a compliant, both Koyal and Pikoo cleared the finance paper, but mind you, Professor Limaye checked it. He was back in two days after the incident.
Spanish teacher rose in love when he realized Koyal was seeing Vinay (no longer their Professor) and Cupid winked at the three and asked “Whose next?”
Author: Ilika Ranjan.
Tags – short story ideas, short love stories ideasShare