bhOndOO is very tensed — no, no, he is not proposing anyone. He is worried about tomorrow’s Holi celebrations. For a few obvious reasons, bhOndOO is a favorite victim of each one of his friends — after their non-corresponding girl-friends. The most obvious reason is: bhOndOO does not like to play Holi.
bhOndOO searches for alternatives:
- I will lock myself in the room for the whole day. But how will I mange to go to the restroom? In the room…? no, no!
- I will apply so much color to my own face that others will not recognize me. Well, I tried this last year. They recognize me very easily — even on Holi, no other student can beat me in shabbiness.
- I will go out of campus. Umm…
Lack of counter-argument to the thought leaves bhOndOO with the feeling that going out of campus is the best idea! I am proud of you, bhOndOO tells himself for coming up with such a wonderful solution.
But where should I go? I don’t even have any relatives to go to. If I simply roam around, some people or children may throw colors at me. bhOndOO goes deep in his thoughts. bhOndOO has the unique ability of going deep into thoughts and not coming up with a solution (That is why he does not think deep on his research work. His argument is: Why waste brain, when even after not thinking, I get the same result?).
“Hi bhOndOO.”, someone disturbs bhOndOO’s in-depth thinking.
“Hello Paresh.”, bhOndOO replies, and suddenly, bhOndOO starts looking at Paresh as if he is an angel sent by God.
“Paresh, you stay in married quarters?”.
“No, I stay outside — at Sanjay Nagar. I applied for a married quarter when I joined. My name was in queue at number 72. Now it is at 84.”.
“What? How come?”, bhOndOO is inquisitive.
“The list is sorted according to seniority in the institute. Thus, if some senior PhD student gets married and then he applies for the quarters, he will get priority over me. I am expecting that I will get the degree and the accommodation at the same time.”.
They both laugh and bhOndOO knows that this is the time to ask for favor.
“Paresh, is it okay if I come to your house tomorrow? Actually, I do not wish to play Holi and you know how the situation is in campus.”.
Paresh waits for a second and then “Yeah, sure. No problem. You remember my house, know?”.
“Yes, I do. Thanks Paresh. I will come early morning, so as not to get caught.”.
“No problem. Come any time.”.
bhOndOO feels very happy, starts checking his emails, then suddenly turns back to Paresh and asks, “But, you don’t play Holi at home, right?”.
Paresh starts laughing very loudly, “No, no. Don’t worry. My wife does not like to play Holi, like you.”.
bhOndOO feels that he has won the war. He remembers all his cruel friends who threw bhOndOO in a water tank last year and tells them (in mind): Now you all see!
Next day, bhOndOO’s alarm wakes him up at 06:00. He does not remember the reason for the alarm, but he casually wakes up, switches on the light with sleepy eyes and looks around in the room. He suddenly sees a black devil-like man standing beside him! “Aaaaa…”, bhOndOO shouts. After a second, bhOndOO curses himself for frightening him with his own face. It is only a mirror, man!, bhOndOO tells himself. He has applied a lot of oil to his face in the night and a good amount of dirt gets stuck to his face from his dirty bedsheet.
Losing all sleep, controlling his heartbeats, and coming to senses, bhOndOO realizes about his plan! I must hurry. bhOndOO opens the door, looks around in the corridor, feels happy to witness no one, gets freshed in the rest-room, picks up the bicycle key, locks his room and starts.
At every step, bhOndOO is frightened. He knows that even if one person sees him, all is lost! He cautiously reaches his bicycle and starts. He sees a couple of boys on the road, but looking at their plain faces, he realizes that they are also going outside campus to avoid Holi.
bhOndOO crosses the IISc gate. Good that Bangalorians don’t play Holi. He notices a few burnt wood pieces and a very few people, but nobody is interested in bhOndOO. bhOndOO knows that he has achieved it, he relaxes himself, and paddles slowly.
Bangalore weather is wonderful — more so at twilight. I should start morning walk — it will not only give me joy, but also help my belly… I hope, Paresh and his wife are not sleeping. But it is okay, he has asked me to come any time… What must everybody be thinking in the hostel? Gullu, BenJi, Surya, … everybody must be wondering about my whereabouts!…
bhOndOO smiles and pats himself.
I think this is the house. Yes, indeed; I remember the Hibiscus. bhOndOO parks his bicycle at the gate. He angles down over his bicycle to lock it. But suddenly, someone hits his back with a strong rod, and then his head. bhOndOO does not realize what is happening. When he comes to senses, he sees himself on the floor, with bicycle beneath him, but in horizontal plane. He finds himself bleeding and his attackers are shouting around to kill him. He knows that he is going to die.
When bhOndOO comes to the next level of senses, he looks up in the direction of the voices. He finds Paresh, Gullu, BenJi, Surya, and four other unrecognizable faces on the terrace with empty buckets.