And I must thank everyone who thought about bhOndOO while iisc life was not getting updated. Specifically, thanks to Satish, Abhijit, Suneel and Eshwaran.
BenJi entered the computing lab to witness the gloomy environment: bhOndOO seated at a corner chair looking down, his computer screen at Shami’s facebook page and his face competing with Dilip Kumar’s tragedy king roles.
“Hmm… what’s the plan?”.
“I am not coming for dinner.”, bhOndOO without looking up and without any efforts of hiding his mental state from his best friend.
“I am not asking about dinner.”.
bhOndOO looked up.
BenJi looked at him without uttering a word, as if it was the most obvious thing in the universe, which required no explanation.
bhOndOO understood, shrugged and again looked down, “I don’t know.”.
“bhOndOO!”, BenJi was serious, “You can’t sit like this! This is the time to act. She submitted her thesis today and is leaving for home in a week.”.
BenJi struck the right chord. bhOndOO got up furiously and shouted, “I know, but what can I do! It’s all over!”.
“But why don’t you talk to her?”.
“She doesn’t like me. She… she likes Gullu.”.
“Have you talked to her?”.
“There is nothing to talk.”.
BenJi didn’t know what to say. bhOndOO was not in a state of listening. At this eventful juncture, someone entered the lab — no, not Shami.
“Hello Gullu.”, who else, of course, BenJi greeted.
“Looks like a tensed environment.”.
Nobody spoke a word.
“So, bhOndOO!”, Gullu attacked, “Shami will be leaving next week.”.
Several phrases came to bhOndOO’s mind at once: “Go to hell!”, “I don’t care!”, “Mind your own business!” and he kept mum.
“I have asked her to talk to her parents about marriage.”.
bhOndOO got furious, but he knew he was a loser, he could only utter, “Congratulations.”.
“Hmm… Well, you see, you need not congratulate me. I am not getting married to Shami.”.
In mind, “What?”, bhOndOO felt he misheard, then felt of dreaming. Without his knowledge, a faint smile appeared on his face, “Sorry?”.
“You heard it right. I am not getting married to Shami. In fact, I cannot get married to her.”.
bhOndOO thought of options, “Gullu loves someone else, Gullu is impotent, Gullu is gay, …”.
“We belong to the same gotra. And we don’t marry within a gotra.”.
bhOndOO in mind, “Gotra? In 21st century?”, but he felt happy that there are people in the world who believe in gotras.
“Oh! When did you come to know of this gotra business?”
“It was clear long ago, within the first month of meeting Shami.”.
“And she knows it too?”, bhOndOO was curious.
“Yes, all along.”.
“Oh!”, and bhOndOO started thinking about all the previous encounters with Shami in the new light. His profound thinking was disturbed by Gullu’s gotra-mantra.
“Since we belong to the same gotra”, Gullu continued, “I treat her like a sister…”.
bhOndOO could not stop smiling.
“… And I considered it to be my moral responsibility that she doesn’t fall for a bhOndOO like you.”.
bhOndOO’s smile stopped.
“I always wanted her to look for a person of intellect, maturity and status, and I told this to her umpteen number of times. But she doesn’t listen.”.
“And she likes you.”, BenJi stepped in.
bhOndOO, puzzled, “Likes whom?”.
“She like you.”.
“How do you know? She said it?”, then suddenly bhOndOO sensed the bigger picture, “Wait! BenJi, did you also know about this gotra episode all along?”.
“Yes, I did.”, BenJi smiled, wickedly.
“And I thought you were my best friend!”.
“Who else has been a part of this plan?”.
“Gullu, myself, Lili, Tingi, Mungi, actually, everyone knew of this, except you.”.
In Munna Bhai style, “Tum sab ne milke mujhe mamu banaya.” (you all played tricks with me).
Gullu was not interested in bhOndOO-BenJi friendship. He started preaching, “This is not the time to settle scores. This is the time to rise to the situation. Uttishthata, Jagrata, and stop not till the goal is reached.”.
“What do you mean?”, bhOndOO is a bhOndOO.
Gullu was serious, “It is time.”.