I plucked the wet dried yellow and green grass around me as I waited for my friend in the college lawns. All around me I could see college students, some carrying backpacks some jholas, some hurried some lolled about, a few rolled about in the grass. I sat about doing nothing but picking grass, strewing it about and making patterns out of it, my nails filled with mud.
Behind me two girls were talking and the eavesdropper-by-chance and the Bovarian in me tried picking up snippets of conversations each time hoping for a larger chunk, sewing the strewn phrases then sentences and then finally the full conversation together as I slyly kept moving closer to them. I tried picturing what they looked like or what they were wearing but I failed miserably. My insipid imagination limited by my inability to turn back to see who they were for fear of arousing any suspicion of eavesdropping I pretended to be busy at grass picking.
I heard intently.
-Yeah I know totally.
-So what do you think?
-Bad…terrible…gross…how could he?
-Do you know what will happen next?
-He kissed her unawares.
-See it totally depends on what you think.
-I’m not a prude either but unawares…not fair.
-By the way do you know there are some strands of masochism in her?
-How do you know?
-The way she left him and led that stoic kinda life. She kinda sees herself as this romanticized suffering soul.
–Haan. You’re actually right. So what are you doing tonight?
-I read all this in Susan Fraimans’s essay. Read it. It’s an important read. –No…not exactly. I was thinking more of alone time.
-But are you done with the text that you want to begin with criticisms? –Nah…I’m really not in the mood.
-Have you read any of Rushdie’s? –So where are you going?
-Same here…I gave read just those two. Man…our taste in books is so similar. –Anyway what you up to?
-You really think so? –Oh! That is fun.
At this moment my curiosity rose higher and higher and higher than my imagination. The strewed strands stopped making sense to me. I dropped the pretense of eavesdropper-by-chance and of the Bovarian and did a 360 degree flip, my thoughts in summersaults. My sudden turnaround did distract them but not enough for their conversations to digress. They continued…continued talking into their mobile phones. Of course they couldn’t hear my silent sighing. I got up to go. My friend had finally reached, her thumbs furiously hitting the keypad. She looked up.
“‘The sun shone, without any alternative, on the nothing new.’ Hey, don’t you think this is completely what college was like for us?”
“What do you mean?” My sister quizzically scrunching up her nose asked me. She always screwed and scrunched up her nose when she asked a question.
“Well what I really feel I cannot describe but vaguely speaking…Oh wait my coffee has boiled…yeah…what was I saying…Yeah…I was saying that don’t you think our college life was very boring. I mean think of it. Can you tell me of one interesting episode from college…?”
“Remember that one time when…”
“Oh please is that the only one episode which we are going to narrate to our grandchildren. We are going to be boring grandmothers, are sulky mothers and were invisible girls.”
“Yeah that and possibly one more…”
“Which one…I’m sure I’m not forgetting any. And that is because there isn’t any.”
“You remember that one time when…oh wait there is someone at the door…Yeah that one particular time when Missis Bannerjee, our English professor, fell off her chair, hit her head against the desk, her glasses shattered as she tumbled onto the ground…And then…”
“Woah…So that is your idea of an interesting episode worth to be retold our grandchildren.”
“Possibly one more time…”
“Remember that one time when we went to d-school and that really good looking Stephanian looked and noticed us for three long seconds.”
“Aki enough of your ‘possibly one more times’…”
“Oh! Remember that one time when class representative of ours…like do you remember that controversy around her and supposed boyfriend.”
“Akanksha what does that have to do with us? So my conclusion… our grandchildren are going without any tales…”
“Possibly another story…”
“I think I am going to hang up. My class has come. But I won’t call you back. You talk gibberish. Bye.”
“Possibly one more time…”