Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Pendulum

Time - 1 am.
Sunday night, 5 days before the majors exam
The location - Room no. xx, 'Arbit' Hostel, IIT Delhi.

Our protagonist, Mr. Anuj Modi had just turned off his laptop and he was endowed with an irritated look on his face.

Mr.Modi took his specs off, massaged his eyeballs with his courtesy-to-the-keyboard calloused fingertips and heaved a loud sigh. The loud machine gun noise owing its origin to a computer game called Counter Strike buzzed his ears, his irritation climbed the charts and he popped his head to have an 'annoyed' look at his roommate. His roommate was meditating at the screen in front of him, eyes wide open rather than being closed while meditation and the hands in synergy with the brain for executing the reflex. The machine gun voice continued to buzz the surroundings. Our protagonist's face was busy in climbing Mt. Annoyance; the summit seeming endless.

He saw his watch. It was 1:10 am, the date was 26th April and his irritation reached neared the summit. He looked around. For something. He was searching something. He unfurled his bedsheet but still he could not locate that thing. Peeved completely, he bent down and there it lay - his mobile phone - switched off. He switched it on, it had over two dozen missed calls of his girlfriend Isha.

He lay there wondering, "She might be asleep till now! Shit man, I wasted my last six hours over the internet...killing time...doing nothing."

He switched off the lights and shouted at his roommate, "Creepo! Put your headphones on. I am sleeping."

His voice, subdued by the machine-gun's noise, could not break that yogi's concentration spell. He screamed, "Bloody creepo! Shut down your speakers!"

This time, the scream made the difference, the amplification of machine gun's noise now went directly into creepo's ears through noise isolating headphones.

Mr. Modi 'tried' to sleep. 'Tried', but didn't quite succeed. He was feeling annoyed with himself. He twisted and turned over his small bed intermittently, the room was quite hot and he was feeling sultry. Thoughts started wandering. Not here and there, but only at one point i.e. academics. The insurmountable academic pressure struck his mind with a great force. He could not sleep. He opened his eyes. He realized that his closed eyes were giving him more torture than every other thing in this universe. He pressed a button on his mobile phone. The time had run, run quite rapidly, as it was 1:40 am then.

He checked his mobile-phone inbox, it contained her sweet messages, the first one saying, "I love you thiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiiis much, muahh! <3"

He went through the other messages, his heart could feel a tickle, he wanted to talk to her - desperately. The dilemma of not-to-disturb-her-while-sleeping and uncontrollable-desire-to-talk-to-her played simultaneously with his mind. Finally he gave in. He pressed the green button.

Rings went by. First, second, third...fourteenth...to finally, "The number you are trying to reach is not responding at the moment. Kindly try after sometime."

He was sad as well as happy. Sad because he could not talk despite his great urge, and happy because he was not guilty of disturbing her sleep.

He chose to give his insomniac mind yet another tryst with sleep. He shut his eyelids and took a deep breath in. With the deep breath in, the same stressing thoughts regarding academics knocked his mind again. He was irritated, much more this time. Suddenly, something tickled his ears and his eyes were amazed - it was his mobile-phone, with 'Isha Calling' flashing the blue-lighted screen.

"Hi bacha. How are you? I thought you were sleeping!" Anuj said.
"I was in the loo when you called. I could not sleep. I was worried about you. Are you OK? What happened to your mobile...I was trying it for the last three hours and it was switched off! Where were you?"
"Oh! Don't remind me of the past hours!" Anuj said, his expressions were seemingly anguished.
"What? Is there anything wrong?"
"My whole life is bloody wrong. The majors are just 5 days ahead and what am I doing? Sitting over net, chatting and posting random things around. My entire syllabus is yet to be touched, I have hardly attended a lecture in the last couple of weeks and bloody me, I am sitting for hours on the net!" Anuj reached the peak of annoyance, but it was no big achievement to celebrate.
"Baby, still you've ample time, you can repair every error. C'mon cheer up!"
"How can I cheer up? I want to throw my laptop out of my window!" Anuj said seeing his newly purchased laptop lying on his table.
"Discipline yourself rather breaking your laptop. Everything can be put back into place, just organize yourself. Go to sleep!" Isha said.
"I am not getting sleep! I am so irritated at myself. I am going nowhere. I am stagnating, doing nothing constructive, not even doing the primary job for which I came here i.e. studying. I don't know what pushes me to log in my facebook account and keep refreshing my wall without any reason. Tell you something, I am going to be a big failure in my life. You chose the wrong guy! I am warning you, leave me now, I would not like seeing you with a failure in your future." His tone became more and more disgusted and self-condescending.
"Hey baby, c'mon! This attitude won't help. And don't dare abusing yourself. You might not care about yourself but I care about you. It's just a phase, it will pass. Struggle always requires patience. C'mon, we'll just plan your coming week now and everything will seem easy to you." Isha said patiently.
"Nothing is easy, because I am taking it as too easy. I am going to fail in my exams."
"Shut up! Don't dare say a word! It had been 5 minutes listening to all your non-sense. Now listen to me. First, move out of your room. Get out JUST NOW! Get yourself some fresh air. C'mon, lazy bones, shed your laziness. Stand up or I'll cut the phone!" Isha said didactically.

Heaving a huge sigh, Anuj got up, went outside his room staring at his absorbed-in-counter-strike roommate with patronizing eyes.

"I have become like everyone else - idle with nothing to do. Academics is sucking big-time and there is nothing else to flaunt upon. I hate myself."
"Chill, c'mon tell me are you out of your hostel?" Isha asked patiently.
"Can you see the moon?" Isha asked.
"Yes, I can."
"Look at it carefully. Can you see two faintly-dark spots on the right side of the moon?" Isha asked. She was adept in lightening his mood.
"Yeah! There are a few more spots, but they seem merged to the original one. "
"Good, now try to locate the Big Dipper and the Orion!" Isha said.
"Just join the handle of the Big Dipper to the three collinear stars of Orion, what figure do you get?"
"Hmm, wait let me try it! Hmm...I can't get it...just a little hint, please?" Anuj asked, he was finding it difficult to figure out what was it.
"No hints! You're an IITian, the so-called cream of the nation, let me see how fast your mind works! Your real standard is going to be revealed!" Isha said.
"I got it...It is like a a coca-cola bottle with coke leaking towards a well."
"Nopes buddy, so this is the brain which you people flaunt? Can't even guess a single figure."
"Don't challenge my brain! This time I got it, it is like a Rhino with a spoon-like tail."
"Hmmmm." Isha said slowly.
"Bingo! I told you don't challenge my brain. Loser!"
"Hmm." Isha said in a contemplative tone.
"What 'hmm'?" Anuj said in wonder.
"I was just wondering how wonderfully you use your so-called sharp brain for manufacturing complex shapes out of no shapes at all." Isha said.
"What do you mean?"
"Dumbo! I mean, there was no shape, I gave it just for timepass. I made a fool out of you, in short!"
"Oh! I can see you smiling - that shrewd smile of yours." Anuj said. He was not annoyed with this little game which Isha played with him, rather he relished it. After all, his mood was rekindled.
"Hmm. Aren't you too smiling honey?" Isha said. She definitely rejuvenated his mood.
"Yes I am. Feeling much better after a smile." Anuj liked the free fall from the summit of Mt. Annoyance.
"Now, let us plan everything. Just see how easy things become when you work on a time-table."
"Cool. But first I should do something about internet. It has become an obsession for me." He was looking at his situation from a non-annoyed angle for the first time.
"Can I give you an advice?" Isha said with a genuineness in her voice.
"Yeah, sure. Say!"
"Discard your LAN-cable for the next two weeks. You give it to some friend of yours to lock it in his cupboard and then you'll never get a chance to pursue your obsession of internet."
"Hmm, sound advice! I will implement it."
"No 'will'. You are going to implement it 'now'. Go back to your hostel, c'mon."
"I am feeling nice out here, the breeze is so soothing, I'll go in sometime and do it. I promise." Anuj tried to sound convincing.
"Breaking promises is one of your hobbies."
"Not this time. I'll do it as soon as I enter my room. Happy? The weather is so romantic, leave all these things for a while, let us talk about something else baby." Anuj's happiness wanted to take some other course.
"Hmm, the lover back in action...all thanks to me!" Isha said.

The talk continued for yet another hour. The content of the talk became a bit more private and privacy is not the genre that I want to touch upon. After one hour, Anuj felt that the lover inside him was sagging and was desperate to give the fatigued backbone a relaxed sleep. He bid a bye to Isha with all kinds of buttering and polishing making him the most romantic guy of the hour. He disconnected his call just at the corner near his hostel and had a look at his mobile for time. It was 4 am, not quite surprising for him. Time flows like wind while talking to one's girlfriend. He was feeling happy, excited and his mood was calm rather a bit on the naughty side. He considered himself lucky to have Isha as his girlfriend.

He reached his hostel after strolling through the breezy IIT-D campus for the last two hours. He entered his room, his gaming-maniac roommate was sleeping, with the same concentration as he had about three hours back.

He turned on the lights. He could see the laptop on his table, with the LAN cable connecting his laptop to the mighty internet hub. The talk about discarding the LAN cable crossed his mind. He moved his right hand towards the LAN cable. Suddenly, his hand froze, something within him stopped him. "Let me check my mails and notifications for one last time", came the inner voice. It was like God speaking from within him.

He opened the lid of the laptop and pressed the power button. He logged into facebook as well as gmail account and checked his wall and mails. There was no increment in notifications, messages or mails still he kept refreshing those pages. Time passed, he forgot his backache and droopy eyes, 'the one last time' continued for the next three hours until he was transported to a dream state with his cheek getting the imprints of the keyboard below.

Our protagonist was awakened by his room-mate at 4 pm the next day, who despite feeding his fingers to the laptop last night for a longer time than Mr.Modi, attended all the lectures the next day, while our Mr.Modi was making rhino with spoon-like tails out of the stars scintillating in his dreams the whole day.

P.S. The LAN wire never got unplugged and the rest is history.

P.S. It's a true story.
P.S. I got an idea for a sci-fi short-story, the next one will be the one.


apoorv jain said...

who was he?
i see the protagonist as a mixture of few people.!

Buzz said...

He was an IITian. He carried in itself a trademark of every IITian(except some hardcore maggus).

Aditya Saxena said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Aditya Saxena said...

different people differnet inference...
Mine is, Its better to waste time On COUNTER STRIKE rather than Internet or girlfriend...:) :) :)