Thursday, January 25, 2007

Unseen wonders

I had had enough if it. So I was relieved more than anything else when I was told that my onsite term had come to an end and I had to come back to India. I was getting sick of cooking after coming home tired after a hard day’s work. I was getting sick of burgers and the idea of having to wear shoes for going out even to throw trash. Though the charm of living in the world’s most powerful country did put a pride smile from time to time,it was fast being replaced by the yearning to get back home. I was missing the elliots beach, I was missing my scooty,I was missing my mom’s food and my dad’s jokes.
I was getting sick of professional smiles and emotionless greetings.

It was during one of the last days of my return,I got to know Hariharan. He had posted a query in one of the many technical forums crowded on the internet. I myself had logged into that site to find answers for one of the problems in my project plaguing us at that time. As luck would have it I knew the answer for his query as I had faced a similar problem before and unable to control my excitement on knowing that I actually knew some answer for a technical question, I posted the answer as a reply with my login name “Coding beauty”.
Soon I bumped into him a couple of times in two other websites where he easily recognized me by my unique display name “coding beauty” which I used everywhere.He genuinely commented to couple of my posts in my blog and even seemed to share a deep interest in chess.
I was in India by the time our friendship had become thick enough for us to share our email ids and we often had a quick greeting or two in instant messengers from time to time. Some of them during the weekends led to lengthy conversations. We chatted about world’s famous chess games,the players, deep blue and every other thing under the sun that can be remotely connected to these topics. Soon the long conversations were pretty regular with some adhoc ones sprouting up during the odd weekday. He used to stay up late night in US time to chat with me while I logged into the messenger first thing in the morning after coming to the office. My “alt+tab” skills grew faster as my fingers danced on the PC notwithstanding the occasional glare from the passing PM We discussed everything about women’s rights to philosophy. I was pleasantly surprised at his interesting viewpoints and thoroughly enjoyed the intelligent conversation which I knew I won’t get from many of my other friends.
It was during one of those long conversations, when he said that his room mate was teasing him.

Coding beauty: teasing for what ???

Hariharan: me spending too much time on meseenger

Coding beauty : mm

Hariharan: with you

I didn’t reply,I just didn’t know what to.He continued.

Hariharan:he is asking who is that girl with whom you are chatting day and night.

Coding beauty : tell him its his grandma!!!
Even I was a little surprised at myself for getting angry so much.
Hariharan:hey!!dont be so angry!! You know these guys!! They just tease for everything

Our conversation didn’t go on long on that day!! It did appear as if he was casually referring to his friends’ teasing him but I couldn’t help being upset. Suddenly, the giggles my room mates used to hide when I tell them that I am going to the browsing center seemed to hurt more. Its very common at this age for folks to tease a boy or a girl with someone else of the opposite sex. I had done it a lot myself,but I realized that there was something different in the way the folks were making fun of us. It was markedly restrained and it even seemed that they didn’t treat it as too much of a joke.
I had never seen Hariharan as anything more than a good friend with similar interests. He looked ok in some of his snaps I had seen in his Orkut profile. He had a decent mix of goofiness and seriousness that I wanted to see in a life partner.Many a times I had been convinced that I would probably never find someone who matches my tastes as perfectly as him.But…….
I was not sure.
The next time we chatted there wasn’t even a remnant of any of the self discussions in my mind.
As our relationship grew on, Haran (ya thas how I call him) suddenly told me one day ,that his project might most probably be scrapped. It didn’t mean anything to me until he said that the news could mean that he might be coming to Bangalore the next week.Though my home town was Chennai,I was staying and working in Bangalore.
“Wow” I said.”we will meet sometime”
“hmmmm ya!!” he replied.And after a short while he added “Why not”

I was hoping for him to share his mobile number once he came to India, but surprisingly he never did. I was waiting for him to give his number and was too proud to ask him myself. Infact our chat conversations got shorter ever since he came to India. He complained that he was busy and gave me reasons that at onsite there is very little to do other than work but back home its not the same.
It was when we were discussing about a chess puzzle that had come in the local newspaper ,he casually remarked”It would be interesting to play a game with you”
“For that you have to meet me first”I replied!
“Oh ya!! Sure why not!” he said.
“how about this weekend” I suggested.

After not so ready response we agreed to meet in a park nearby to my home.He didn’t even suggest where he stayed.
“Give me your mobile number” I said.
“give me yours,I will give you a missed call” he said.
I typed my mobile number in the chat window shortly after which I received a missed call. I saved the number in my mobile.
That Saturday , I got up around 9,the previous day I had reminded him about the meeting for which he acknowledged doubtfully. I wore a maroon chudi with mild make up and lipstick.
I thought of calling him several times but stopped myself!! I wanted the first call to come from him. I didn’t start from my home even when I had got ready by time. I was waiting for his call and wanted to leave only after that!! But the call never came. I dialed his number but changed my mind and cut the call before a connection can be made to his mobile. After dilly dallying for a minute I put on my chappals and walked to the park.

The park near my home was more like a playground encircled by pathway and benches for people to sit. There was a group of guys playing cricket and another group playing soccer.A bunch of friends were watching them in a bench and some there were a few other people sitting in the other benches.I chose a bench farther to all the actions all while looking around for him.
Haran had told me that he would wear a checked Tshirt and black jeans,I looked around trying to fit the face I had seen in the photo to the many men strewn in that place.I couldn’t find him!! I gave a missed call from my mobile to his number. By this time I was at verge of crying. After some five minutes I called him. The ring went on and on and he didn’t pick up. I felt utterly humiliated,tears started welling up in my eyes.
I went home and crashed on the bed. I told my room mates that I was not feeling well and skipped my lunch.
Evening I went to the browsing center, hoping that the fresh air along the way would make me feel good.
My eyes were all over the screen hoping to see him online when I logged into my machine. He was not.

There was a mail in my mailbox.It was from him.
I clicked on it in a flash.

I know you are angry on me. Words aren’t enough to express how sorry I am for having put you through this. But please hear me out before you decide the punishment you might want to give me.
I have had friendships before. People meet me, they admire, they respect, they talk and then slowly the admiration fades away. The smiles aren’t so deep and the words aren’t so forthcoming. The meetings aren’t so interesting and conversations don’t go so long. Its like they lose interest in me once they have seen me, once they have met me.
I met you very accidentally but yours was one of the enjoyable friendships I have ever had.This “virtual friendship” suited me just fine. There was an aura about me and the conversations we had were mutually enriching. We were looking for our next online meetings.
I believe there is always an optimal distance that needs to be maintained for a friendship to stay healthy and fruitful.But many a times we do the mistake of getting too close too fast. We burn out the friendship with this unwanted closeness. The earth can support life only because of the distance it maintains from the sun,there wont be life if it were any closer or farther. Ours is a friendship that will stay in its best shape if its maintained online. Meetings would complicate things.For all you know I might have bad body odour,or my voice might be funny,or I could be a stammerer or my teeth might be misshaped or there can be a million other things that would push me down from the position you have placed me in your mind.Iam perfectly enjoying the relationship that we are having right now and would like it to continue the way it is.

Whatever I am talking might sound like total bullshit to you but I would want you to give your thought and time. It’s totally your choice as to whether you want to continue our friendship or not.
Yours friendly,
The Unseen is the most wonderful”

I was staring at the monitor speechless.

“Got to admit, I had never expected our program would send out that email” remarked professor Gary as he nonchalantly sipped his French vanilla in the cafeteria of the world’s most advanced research lab.
“Mark of genius!!aint it??!! We always knew our artificial intelligence program was the best, that’s why we had set our traps on the internet with names from cultures all around the world.I couldn’t believe that the gal fell for it though” chuckled Dr Edwards.
“Takes a just a little bit of work with false profiles,phony mobile numbers and all that jazz and the trap is well set”Gary remarked.
After a brief moment he continued”How do you think the gal would react after seeing the mail?”

“She will probably think he is an idiot or a jerk and remove the name from her contacts” Edwards was beginning to laugh out loud.
“Suits us just fine!! We have already got enough inputs with this experiment. Our program is a grand success”.Gary joined him ,raining the cafeteria liberally with his loud laughter.

Meanwhile in the remote corner of Hong kong,18 year old Erwin typed gingerly on the keyboard with his heart pounding.
“Elissa! I think iam in love with you”

--The End


vikki said...

Good satire.

CVR said...

Thanks Vikki!! :-)

Dony said...

tht was too good.. i read it without taking breath.. gripping story..

CVR said...

Thanks Dony!!

Ram said...

good one CVR!

CVR said...

Thanks Thala!! :-)

pushkala said...

Absolute beauty!

Anonymous said...

i didnt expect this...unexpected twist in the story.i love it.a good story to read :))

CVR said...

Glad you liked it Durga! :-)

Deepthi said...

hey CVR nice one..:-) nice twist in the to read it commenting now..:-)

Srivats said...

//We burn out the friendship with this unwanted closeness. The earth can support life only because of the distance it maintains from the sun,there wont be life if it were any closer or farther//

What a thought! I think these were the best lines of advice I can get. Even if not for the twist at the end, this story would still sell itself. "Unnale Unnale" madhiri.

Please take my suggestion.You got to be a writer, blogs are small pond for you. And dont ever stop writing. Only few make the sound that can echo in others hearts.