It Rains Diamonds On Neptune
It Rains Diamonds On Neptune
-‘You know what! It rains diamonds on Neptune’.
-’Now which movie is that line from?’
-’Ah no! It’s not from a movie or something. Don’t go into metaphors and similes. It’s what it means. It literally rains diamonds on Neptune. You know what Shreya, when I look around and see people flaunting bits and pieces of stones, all I see is dumpsters chasing vacuum. There’s a whole planet where you can have diamonds raining. In fact, Saturn, Uranus, Jupiter, all of them have diamonds raining. I don’t know why people always have to chase something so unworthy just for the look of it. I mean, what would these stones mean for the blind? So except eye-candies, these are good-for-nothing. I don’t even know if we are even meant to do something.'
-’There, you see! That’s where the Rick inside you comes out, Akhil. Always complaining about stuff you can’t control. Why this philosophy all of a sudden, by the way?’
-’Tell me you’re impressed. Well, I’m gonna write something about it coz it sounds so poetic, doesn’t it? Just read it, ‘It rains Diamonds on Neptune’. Boom! Straight out of a Walt Whitman poem!’
You would have read about posts on Instagram stating what it is like to have someone with whom you can talk anything and everything you feel like. This ‘anything’ can have a really long range.
It was around 5 PM, a calm Dehradun evening, with a nice breeze in the month of June, and it was like any other day for Shreya and me, when we would just roam around the campus, sit down near the Palti lake which was a few minutes walk away from her hostel, and just talk.
Shreya -’Can’t say about Walt Whitman, but you need to stop being Walter White, being all ambitious’.
Akhil -’Nice try, but do you really think roasting me is this easy?’
S -’Haha okay! A few more days and I won’t get a chance to roast you, or to try to roast you, for I don’t know how many days.’
A -’Yeah, sitting here on this green grass, with a mild breeze brushing through our hair, while we just sit down on the banks of this lake, talking about ‘n’ number of random things in life.’
S -’Sometimes I just wish the inception world was real so we could live in dreams under dreams where we would have done what we wanted in our real lives, with complete control.’
A -’Yes, but surely avoiding getting killed.’
S - ‘Haha, or just building a simulation where we would dive right in, and program our own reality.’
A -’Enough of references! What if the person reading this doesn’t get them?’
S -‘Even if you don’t get the references, you would get the vibe of talking to your favourite person, without giving a damn about the whole world.’
A -’I can’t believe we are running out of time Shreya. All this while, we would never think of what would happen when the college ends, and now we are here, just a few days away from the end of everything. Like most people, I don’t really give a damn about the college, but what about the memories?’
S -’Yes, what about them? We all feed on memories, Akhil. It’s a basic human nature to collect instances from the past, string it together, and keep them with us. It’s what keeps us alive. We left our friends at school, which seemed like the end of everything, but we found people like us at our campus, made such good bonds which we never thought we would end up with.’
A -’You never know what’s on the other side, Shreya. There won’t be people willing to build bonds just to build bonds. There will be a competition. There will be casual mates, colleagues, but there won’t be people to bunk classes with. There won’t be friends with whom we would lie down in the middle of the night and enjoy doing absolutely nothing. We might no longer have the freedom to not mince our words when we are roasting our mates.’
Shreya kept listening to me as calmly as she was doing it for the past four years, and it’s hard to get over with a habit. Our final semester of B.tech was over, and it was only a matter of time that we left the college campus. In fact, most of the people had already left the campus and we were some of the few who stayed back, just to let a few final moments pass.
A- ‘Have you packed your bags? You’ve got a train to catch early in the morning.’
S-’Yeah, I just wish I could catch a train from platform 9^¾ and get to Hogwarts.’
A- ‘I’m reminding you for one last time that I’m not a Potterhead, and for that matter, Dehradun station doesn’t even have 9 platforms. You have to settle with 4-4^½ if that helps your cause.’
S- ’Thanks for stating the obvious, but you know nothing, Jon Snow.’
A- ‘I think I should buy that T-shirt which says, “I'm not good at advice. Can I interest you in a sarcastic comment?”
S- ‘Okay Mr. Bing. I gotta rush to my hostel.’
A- ‘Why? It’s only 7.’
S-’Yes, and I haven’t packed my bags yet.’
A-’You know what! You can do one thing. Go pack your bags quickly and come over to my flat. We can stay up all night and you’ll catch your train tomorrow morning, sharp at 6:00 AM. Wait, I'll schedule a cab right away.’
S-’Umm, fair enough!’
Shreya went back to her hostel, while I went to Gappu bhaiya for a plate of momo to get it packed for dinner. Gappu bhaiya was the constant go-to-shop which you find at every other college, sometimes in the form of a Xerox shop, sometimes a chaiwala, pakode wala, and anything else. Their shops get flocked by students, especially in the exams season. Just the names change, their role remains the same. They are the hotspot of gossips.
A- ’Gappu bhaiya, pack a plate of momo please!’
Gappu- ‘I thought that the semester was over and all of you had gone.’
A-’Haha. A few more hours to go. I have a bus tomorrow morning to Delhi.’
‘Ahil Sir, how about staying a few more days till the new chicks arrive for admissions?’, one of my juniors flocking at the momo stall said.
A-’My time’s over kiddos. Now I leave it to you. Give them a warm welcome.’
I took the plate of momo and came back to my flat. Shreya, as usual, came in without knocking. At this point, in fact, at any point, my flat looked like shit, like that of most other guys. She was now into the habit of seeing such a mess around my place, and hence kept her luggage in a corner and sat on the sofa.
’You too went to Gappu bhaiya for momos?’, I said as I saw a packet of momos wrapped in an aluminium foil peeping from her bag.
S-‘Yes, and he did tell me you stopped by too. So you wanna eat it here or go to the terrace?’
A-’No second thoughts on that. Terrace it is,’ and we took the stairs to the terrace.
We had a couple of bean bags placed on the terrace for times like these when we liked chilling out. A countless number of times we were found sleeping on these bags with only sunlight breaking our sleep streak. So we started our last momo-treat.
A- ’Painting and sex go hand in hand. The better the strokes, the deeper it gets.’
The momos stuffed into her mouth flushed out as she burst into laughter.
S-’Yes, yes, Oh my God! How can I forget that line! Such an out of the box way to woo a girl’
A-’Hold on! It did make sense, as she was into painting, and you don’t have to doubt my flirting skills...and for your kind information, I did get laid.’
S-’Yes you did. Poor girl. In the end, she was so in love with you she would have ended up marrying you,’ and she continued laughing.
A-’Cut the crap out. You already know I’m never going to get married.’
S-’Ahan! That escalated quickly. What’s this, your hatred for marriage? Or your oath for the night's watch? Even Stark got married to Pepper pots, and you’re no stark, neither the king in the north nor the genius billionaire playboy philanthropist.’
A-’The genius billionaire playboy philanthropist got married and died in the next movie. The king in the north died in the rains of Castamere after getting married. You want more reasons not to get married? Ross got divorced 3 times, and God knows whether Rachel would have let him live happily ever after. Berlin’s sole reason for the depression was one of his marriages. Such an overrated thing! Sometimes I feel the pseudo-writers on Instagram are right, love does hurt, but I don’t subscribe to them because they are cringe.’
S-’Hold on Mr. Rant Man. Pop culture references aside, what do you really think is marriage?’
A-’I don’t know. I don’t know what’s so special in putting so much effort to get two people tagged to each other for their lifetime.’
S-’Answer me. What is marriage to you?’
A-’Can’t say. Don’t expect me to answer your questions like ‘the union of two souls’ or something like that. I don’t follow the crap.’
S-’So you think I’m gonna give you that crap?’
A-’No, you’re much better than that. So tell me Shreya Beniwal, Btech, Computer Science Graduate, what are your views on marriage?’
S-’Okay, let’s have this discussion. Look around all religions and their marriage rituals and practices. What commonality do you find in all of them?’
A-’Stupidity? Irrelevant gathering? Some pope/Maulvi/Pandit involved?’
S-’Dig deeper. If you’re good at observing, find the most basic thing that’s common between them.’
A-’You got me thinking. Wait…. Nah… You tell me. Go ahead. Tell me.’
S-’It’s the ‘promise’ which is common. No matter whether you stand before a pope, a maulvi, or a pandit, a ‘promise’ is the most basic thing that couples exchange during a wedding. Be it ‘I do’, ‘Qubool hai’, or ‘Mai vachan deta hoon’, all of them are just promises. So marriage, in a nutshell, is a promise. Now, behind the rituals and beliefs, there is society. Today, we have courts to maintain the social order, so marriages are registered with the government. Before a couple decides to break apart, they have to go through legal procedures. So, there’s ‘control’ within society. The only thing which could bring social control in the old times was ‘religion’, so it was a custom to associate every social norm with religion, to establish ‘control’ within the society. So a ‘promise’ was considered to be ‘official’ and ‘pious’ when the ‘God’ witnessed it, and thus control was established. So, for me, marriage is a promise.’
A-’Though it’s not the first time, but you amazed me. Why didn’t I think of such a simple thing? A promise is all that is! Nothing more, nothing less. Well, now I need to reconsider my opinions.’
S-’See, you did think.’
A-’Well, I still think I won’t marry. Although I have understood this concept of ‘promise is all that is’, the society clearly hasn’t.’
S-’Such a tough nut you are, and not everyone has to be Ross and get divorced 3 times. You can be the Chandler and live happily with your twin kids and Monica.’
We continued talking. We reached a stage where we didn’t even realize what we were talking about. Add to that the calmness of the night. No matter how many writers put in their effort to describe the joy of counting stars and feeling the breeze in the night, it’s better felt live than read. Even better when you’re in Dehradun. When there’s heat blazing in most parts of the country, Dehradun stands with its head held high, giving breezy showers every now and then, keeping the weather nice. You wake up in your hostel room and take a sneak out of your window seeing all the beautiful mountain ranges necklacing around. Best place to spend your college life. I’m not saying that because I’ve been here, but because it’s true.
‘Wake up Akhil, it’s 5 AM, I have a train to catch at 6’, Shreya shook me out of sleep as I was almost on the verge of falling out of my bean bag.
‘Hmm, yeah, let’s go. I’ll accompany you to the station with my luggage, as I’ve got a bus to catch shortly after your train leaves’, I said. The morning was a bit cold as usual, and there was a soon-to-be-created void.
‘Yeah, let’s leave, else we’ll get late,’ She said.
I had packed my luggage, or I should say my roommates had helped pack my luggage before they left. Even they knew I was too lazy to do so. All I had to do was take the luggage, lock the room, give the key to the owner and leave, which was the hardest part. Although I have a practical approach to life, leaving a place has its own void, especially when you know you are never coming back to the same place, and life will never be the same.
Our flat owner aunty bid us farewell as we got into the cab that I had scheduled last night. We reached the station and were waiting for her train to arrive.
‘12688 Down, Dehradun-Madurai Superfast express, from Dehradun to Madurai, Via Saharanpur, Agra Cantt, Bhopal, Warangal, is arriving shortly on Platform number 3.’, the announcement echoed into our ears.
‘Poha is waiting for you Shreya, here comes Bhopal,’ I tried to be funny, failing miserably.
‘Don’t overtry. We’ve already had a lot of interesting conversations’, she calmed me down, as the train arrived at the platform.
-‘You know what Shreya, I think we’ve had enough talks to write a book over it’, I said while I moved her luggage into her compartment.
-’Watch your ambition, Mr White. Well, that’s a good idea, though. I’m sure there’ll be many like us who would talk about such random stuff and get entertained.’
We were now well into her compartment, as the train was about to leave in the next 10 minutes. As it came close, we were running out of words to talk. I could see her trying not to cry and so was I, trying. I asked her some routine travel questions as to what she would eat mid-way, how she would spend so much of time.
I heard the train siren and went numb. I walked my way outside the train, on the door, and stood there, watching the train slowly move away. We were no Raj-Simran. We were more of Harry-Hermoine, redefining friendship for ages. Now that there was nothing except silence, I broke it:
-’But what should I name the book?’
-’I guess it was yesterday when someone was telling me to write something called ‘It rains diamonds on Neptune’. Doesn’t it sound appealing to you now?’