I don’t know what happened to me that night. Why I agreed to that non-sense?
I agree that was the last night of my college-cum-hostel life. That was the last night with my friends; that was the last night with all those sour and sweet memories I lived there, and very well to say, that was also the last night to enjoy the liberty for a time, as very further, very practical world of my very practical father was ready to slaughter me.
Obviously, that was not the first time I was smoking; that was not the first time liquor was going inside my nerves but sitting in lingerie, in a group was as accidental as to ask someone to rape you hardly.
That was Shreya’s idea actually and when it was about her anything was possible. Be it a night out with any guy or to use expletives for the warden loudly in the middle of night, she was always charged with some kind of battery. It was really difficult to judge her moves. In fact, that was not unjust, why boys baptize her as a power-puff girl.
In spite of her last two sleepless nights, she was still up. Her body seemed strangely light, as if her butts barely touched the floor. Her thoughts were distinguished from the ones that had plagued her many times and her conversation was mainly a repetition of what had been said earlier.
“You damn-it! Just pass me the cigarette” her words were loud to me almost for the third time.
“I think you already had six, enough to ruin your lungs” I said, in disgust.
“Don’t try to act my mother figure please, especially today. You can’t instruct me what to do” she encountered again while snatching half emptied packet of cigarette and tossing back her plait of jet black hair.
So, this was Shreya - Stubborn, naughty and headstrong girl.
“I am what, I am” was the perfect quote to describe her.
“Hey, just chill yaar, don’t quarrel like street dogs?” Ridhi interrupted very sweetly.
“Dogs?” I and Shreya staggeringly gazed her.
“Oops! Sorry, I mean cats” As marks of ‘I-am-really-stupid’ were visible on her face, we all rolled in to heavy laughter.
Her articulation of words was sometimes too poor. And if were to tell the truth, I have no doubt that she will always remain like this. To be clear in one’s mind, one can find her anytime anywhere going through English dictionary, tenses, proverbs, synonyms, antonyms, modals but three years has passed and she was still there from where she had started.
“Okay okay, just stop making fun of me, and make another peg for me. I want to quench my alcoholic thrust. ” she countered back. Her hair bristled at the back of her neck.
“Ya, let’s drain the bottle as swiftly as possible in our belly, then we also have to start the game” Meghna responded positively with a naughty wink.
“Game?” The Word almost surprised me.
“Hey what’s the plan?” I enquired curiously.
“Just wait. You will get to know. Let’s cheers first” Shreya declared with a naughtiest smile she used to give at times, just like a bomb that is about to explode ‘BOOM’. I understood it was some sort of her plan and undeniably that will also be like some bang.
“Please tell na” I asked once more while raising my glass in the air.
“Cheers!!!” And it was then all voices excluding me banged in to my ears loudly.
I swear warden would kill us, if she could hear us, or she would die if she had seen all of us like this in the two-piece.
Although till afternoon, we all were sad, emotional about leaving each other, filling our biography in slam books, capturing colourful memories on each other’s shirts, saying goodbye to everyone. But now we were back in good mood. We were enjoying. We were laughing. Not that we really needed to; having decided the hour before that if we couldn’t avoid this separation then we might as well try to enjoy it. So, finally whole panorama turned in to any course of action. We started enjoying. We started laughing. Liquor started working very well in our brains.
In the meantime, all of it could get dissolved in our nerves; we were graced by heroic entry of darling Kriti who suddenly pushed the door.
Kriti lived two rooms next to ours. A hot girl with an attractive shape. She was among the ones who could make the boys do anything just for the thing, not to mention, boys always think of. She must have heard Shreya laughing and came eagerly across the room to meet her.
“OMG! What’s all this going?” Such a question was actually acceptable and understood at that time. Her half opened mouth could be noticed with no trouble.
“Shreya, you idiot, you were saying that door is closed. If it had been someone else, you know what could have happened” I said while thumping hard on back of her head and moved towards the door to close it.
“May I please know what all this drama is?” Kriti enquired shockingly while raising her brows to the highest. To my surprise, she stood motionless, empty water bottle in her hand, aware of the thudding of her heart.
Thank God, she didn’t shout.
“No you can’t?” Meghna said kiddingly while I bolted the door. I am sure Kriti had sensed her tipsiness.
“Hey, just wait I am going?” Kriti hold my hands in order to bolt down the door.
“No…No...No…No…wait...wait…” I don’t know what happened to Shreya suddenly. “You can’t ruin my preparation like this. After all, you are my best friend, and now you have come, you have to be a part of this please.” She ended while approaching swiftly towards Kriti.
“Uff… again drama queen started” My mind exclaimed. For sure, Shreya could be a super actress of any D-grade film. Nobody can beat her.
“What preparation! I can’t be a part of this. You know I don’t drink and smoke either and why the fuck you all are sitting like this in UGs. Where are your clothes?” Kriti enquired again with a sign of irritation this time. Marks of perplexity could easily be noticed on her temple.
“Ya. Ya. We know that you don’t smoke and drink. You just come and join us for a game. Nobody will ask you for drink or smoke.”
Kriti turned at that, perhaps trying to read Shreya’s face in that ambience.
“Game? What Game?” She questioned while Shreya shifted the chair and with a smile of the kind that quite openly invited, pushed her towards the only unoccupied corner of the room.
Our room was actually not so big like any other room. It was a typical hostel room with three beddings just few inches apart, three cupboards in a queue , three chairs engaged in each other arms, few paintings on wall, three buckets under the bed, small temple at corner which was currently hidden under the bed sheet because of the event going in the room and least, but not the last, a balcony: The balcony with a door indeed that lead to a balcony of sorts, like any other terrace or patio of red brick floor tiles and two small clay pots filled with water, overlooking a college ground and identical building on opposite side.
I don’t have much knowledge about vastu, but as per science everything has two sides, a good and a bad, and the same was with our room. Where it was having a balcony just facing boy’s hostel, it was also having a warden’s room in the opposite row. Another feature, washroom; that was just next to our room, which sometimes felt pleasant as it helps us blocking the bathing cabins while getting ready early morning, but another times when some drain or pipeline got blocked, it seemed we should better to be dead.
Well, in reality, it was mine, Ridhi and Meghna’s room. Shreya was Kriti’s room partner; but surely, one would find four of us together all the time and Kriti, she was free to visit us whenever she likes.
“I’ll tell. Don’t worry. Have patience. It will be good of you to stay” Finally on regular questions by Kriti, few more clarifications by our so called heroine calm her down but that’s not for a long time too.
“Look, I got to go” Kriti interrupted again, thinking that maybe she was outlining some trouble.
Where Meghna, Shreya and Ridhi were smiling, I was almost confused, and Kriti, she was not only confused but nervous too.
“Hey dear, you fear too much. We are not raping you. Just wait” Shreya said again. “Hey girls let’s empty your glass on the rocks. Shruti, you just increase the volume of radio to little so that nobody could hear our voice outside the room. Ridhi you, just switch off that tube light - I think, one is enough and let me take out the cards” She continued so strictly as if she was our boss and we were subordinates.
“Cards?” Kriti enquired confusingly. Impatience edged her firm strong voice.
“Wow! It means, at last day of the hostel life, instead of treasuring our memories we are going to play cards. At this time, when we should meet each other, we should strike out our gaps with all dear and near ones, you want to pass the time by fucking card game” She continued with little anger. Subsequently, her expressions automatically underwent a change, sardonic amusement momentarily entering the intensely piercing eyes. A murmur broke out and derisively she looked at us.
“And very truly, I came here to say you sorry” She continued further.
“Sorry? For what?” Shreya asked.
“You know the day, I used your towel and you yelled at me?” Kriti said pleasantly with marks of childish obstinacy, for a moment, it seemed like a sixteen year old girl eventually turned in to a baby girl. I just wanted to pull her cheeks the way she apologize and Shreya, she was in the same mood; I think.
“You Idiot, I have already forgotten that. You are really stupid. On such illogical and foolish topics, you want to strike out the gaps. Come and give me a hug.”
Wow I had never seen a scene like this. They both were looking beautiful. It’s very common two girls hugging but one in clothes and another in lingerie; I wanted to laugh.
“You all also, come here. Have a group hug! Come” Shreya stated without any qualm.
And lastly, five girls hugged each other as such, team INDIA was cheering after winning the match.
All excitement suddenly turned into emotional drama. Everyone got silent. These radio jockeys, they are also overwhelming. How they came to know, which song to play at what time. “Ye dosti hum nahi todenge” enhanced the atmosphere nearer to strong bonding we all had in last three years.
I hope I could catch that moment in camera but nobody would like to have recorded themselves dancing semi-naked, as in this era of digital world it barely takes anytime turning any video into MMS.
‘I love you all, I love you, and I love you all’ Kriti said enthusiastically. Her excitement could be felt from her voice. If you say it thrice it must be correct, I considered, but then silly tears came in to her eyes. ‘Try to remember only the happy times’ she always had said, but sometimes happy memories made her even sadder than the bad ones. She leaned against the wall, gripping the corner of bed tightly.
“So, I hope, now you are not going. Right?” Shreya hindered her emotional thoughts. I understood, she will miss all of us badly and for sure, me too. Too many memories had started coming back, too many old emotions stirred. She had walked out of our group most of the time, but she hadn’t stopped meeting us. And she knew now that she never would. Actually, we all knew that we never would and we have to learn to live with it. After this night everyone had to go their homes.
“Right” Kriti declared while blinking her tears away, staring unseeingly up through my shoulders, at the sheer sides of the balcony.
“Then remove your clothes” Shreya hammered for a second time. Her words struck Kriti at once.
“What?” Kriti surprisingly asked. Her sudden words swiftly turned our sentiments in to heavy laughter. “Hey, I already told you I can’t be a part of all this?” there appeared a shocking grin on her face.
“You just said that you cannot be a part of smoking and drinking, but no words regarding this” Meghna said.
“Ya” Ridhi and I joined in all the giggling. A wave of cheerfulness again appeared on everyone’s face.
“Hey Kriti, please yaar or you want us to rape you (hahaha…...) be bold, be a part of the game. After all its last time we are together and you can’t even agree with our words that’s truly not fair”
“But what the game has to do with my clothes. Please don’t try to play with my sentiments now.”
“Nothing. This is just for fun. Please dear or if you are shying, tell me, I can make you out of this very easily,” Shreya smilingly moved towards her.
“Okay Wait. Wait” Kriti finally turned up. Her face softened as she looked at us. “I hope you’ve been a good girl!”
Shreya grinned. “‘I’ am not a lesbian; otherwise you know you could be raped many times by now”
“Yes, I know” She said bashfully while unwinding her salwar. Her face brightened. I could feel a kind of shyness on her face. Her cheeks were almost blushing red. She was wearing a cream coloured silk suit that ended an inch or two above her knees with purple border, turning in to design of blossoming flowers.