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Story Series 7: 3 Idiots and someone ...

Click here for Part 6

Vijay followed Marathe into the apartment # 309, Sehwag's highest score", Marathe indicated as he unlocked the door. As they entered Vijay saw a shoes popping out of stack onto the left and unwashed vessels overflowing from the sink on the right. Stinking socks smell compounded with stale smell from the sink had an fragrance that could make an empty stomach throw up. 24 hrs without a shower, and with hot and humid Chicago summer Vijay didn't smell any better. "Aage Sey Right", Marathe showed Vijay his room.

"Chay Peye Ga", Marathe asked him as Vijay was unpacking his stuffs, Vijay nodded his head for an yes, "Ek Cup Mere Liye Bhi Bana", Marathe replied. Vijay froze for a min with eyes wide open, "You are the first south Indian in my apartment so I will make TEA, don't worry", Marathe laughed loudly. "You south Indians drink only coffee right, we can get some coffee when we go to groceries this week", Marathe told him. "You were playing some game you said when I came in, which game?", Vijay broke the silence while dipping in ParleG biscuit into the tea. "CRICKET, what else a DESI plays in a tennis court". "That's one good thing the British did when they left INDIA, taught us CRICKET". Red Label tea with ParleG began to taste better as he heard the words CRICKET. "You play CRICKET right, that is an important condition in this apt", Marathe questioned him. "Yes I do", Vijay replied.

"'Chal', Lets go, they are waiting for me downstairs and you can meet all your south INDIAN friends there". Both finished their tea and walked towards the tennis court. "Tu Naseeb Wala Hai", you are lucky to be playing cricket right after you stepped into US; 'Sala' it took me a year and half to find a real man who played cricket. In last three years this is what I have created, he showed Vijay his team. "Dharmraj Patel, left arm medium" a fair slim guy introduced himself, "Vijay Arjuna, right arm fast medium" Vijay replied. One by one every introduced themselves, it looked like like a national team selection camp than grad students introducing themselves. They played cricket for the next one hr until the game was curtailed due to a fight over wide. Dharmraj Patel, Bhimrao Marathe, Vijay Arjuna walked towards their apartment complex, "wow we form the first of the three Pandavas in our apartment", Vijay spoke in excitement. "We had Karan Agrawal in this apartment before, now that 'drohi' dejected us for an old friend of his". "You know Karan right, the guy who picked you from the airport", Marathe replied.

While walking back Vijay suddenly realized that he had completely forgotten about Priya, neither had he taken her phone number nor her apartment number. The sight of lady in red top and blue jeans with long braided hair the entering the opposite building caught his attention; and with her luggage size one could say she was a grad student. From distance her body structure resembled Priya's and fading light and tired mind led into believing in it. Vijay desperately wanted to meet Priya and apologize for not meeting her after the flight had landed. It wasn't his his fault either, Claudia and the immigration had taken a toll on him. "You guys leave I will have to meet some", Vijay told both of them and headed towards the opposite building.

By the time he entered the main entrance she had just stepped into the elevator and doors closed before he could sneak a peek at her, 4th floor was what elevator showed. In INDIA stairs are close to the elevators, but in US stairs were far away from the elevators Vijay realized this when he had to walk a long way to the stairs. He then gathered strength and began climbing up the stairs, the fourth floor looked serene, no sign of any activity, neither Priya nor her luggage. Dejected Vijay walked back to elevator and headed down, just then apt 409 opened and the lady in red walked towards the elevator. She pressed the elevator button, Vijay got of the elevator and walked out of the apt complex kicked the stone with his right foot and walked into his apt complex. Lady in red walked out of the elevator and headed towards the car to pick her remaining stuffs and headed back.

`Mila` your friend, Marathe asked as he had his cheese pizza. "No I lost her before I could talk to her", Vijay replied as he sipped his sprite. "Her!", "saala you have a girl friend in US already," Marathe crushed his empty can of coke. "Friend! who happened to be a girl, she came along with me in the flight" Vijay replied. "In the last 3 years even the shadow of any female hasn't passed our apt", Marathe trashed his can in anger. "Girl friend for his creature!" Vijay spoke to himself as he smiled. "I don't know why girls run away when I talk to them" Dharmraj joined. "Stop chewing and spitting tobacco, someday your luck might turn around", Vijay replied. "`Abey chikne` stop giving me your advise," Dharmraj got furious. "Baccha hai, leave him"; "Your capital investments grader, whats up with her?" Marathe diverted his attention. "`Saale` stop rubbing on my wounds, if I don't focus on studies she will turn me into a disinvestment this semester, boss MBA is tough" Dharmraj replied as he drank his Pepsi. "As if knocking the mouse in the lab is easy!, one day I will get a cat and kill all the mouses", I don't know why I am doing a PhD, should have been an umpire or a cricket commentator", Marathe put all his frustration on the cheese pizza and finished it.

While laying on the bed random spark of thoughts began in Vijay's head, whether it was a good choice quitting his 5 figure salary for higher education, whether he would get an on campus job, whether it was the right apartment and whether he would meet Priya again. With the last spark he dozed off.

to be continued ...

Story Series 6: The Beginning

Click here for Part 5

The flight began its ascent, both the babes beside him were quite normal, completely contrast with Priya who was petrified. Vijay began to recollect how he had cooled down when flight first took off from Bangalore; how he had used Jai Kali Maa as an anxiety pill every time she was petrified. Priya was innocent at heart, and she appreciated his witty jokes and that had drawn him closer to her. She had responded sweetly to all his stupid and blatant jokes. He had done all the Ram Leela Nautankis and she had appreciated it like a devotee joining her hand. Sitting between the English Mam's he felt like performing drama behind the curtains. He realized that audience support is an integral part of any act. They say, 'if you are thinking about someone even after then have left, then you have a thing for that person'. Vijay had to figure out what that thing was, whether it was just an infatuation or a crush or whether he was in love with her. He had the whole 6 hrs to decipher that, provided he stayed focused and diverted his attention away from the two beauties.

"I am Claudia" the German miss introduced herself again after the flight had reached its designated height. "Vijay, I will be joining the CS dept at UIC for my Masters" he replied. "I am a Doctoral student at the dept of Psychology, UIC", she replied back as they both smiled. "Wow UIC, how long have you been in UIC", Vijay asked. "My third year now", she replied. 'Experienced psycho' he mumbled in his mind and had a sarcastic smile. "Psychologist not Psychiatrist, she asserted him, as if she had heard what he mumbled". 'Man she is a mind reader! I better be careful', 'Oh no she might have heard it as well', Vijay was very nervous.

Vijay was under the assumption that Psychologist were mind readers, initially he was in grief and was missing Priya but now he couldn't stop thinking about the German babe. Vijay had already been awed by the tall and fair GERMAN women at the Frankfurt Airport. He had seen a few tall GERMAN women volleyball players on TV, but in airport everyone seemed a national player. He was amongst the tallest in his class, but there he felt like a Lilliput amongst the Gulliver s. Germany and German women were taking his focus away from Priya. Attempting to focus on Priya and diverting away from the German babe seemed very hard. 'Focus Vijay focus, remember how Tendulkar focuses on the ball, concentrate, concentrate ', he told to himself as he fell asleep.

Up in the mid air somewhere close to Arctic Circle the air-hostess woke him up for meals. The Oberoi's meal no longer excited him; he had no one beside to listen to his stupid sarcastic jokes on food. Claudia was enjoying her cold sandwich, and that green thing called salad. “Healthy and tasty isn’t it” she asked him as she began enjoying her salad. Vijay stared at her tongue and wondered if people in this part of the world had something called taste buds. What was considered cook’s folly in INDIA, was tasty in this part of the world. ‘Strange he mumbled’ as he chewed his paneer cubes dipped in tomato sauce aka paneer butter masala. ‘Air India food gets bad to worse as we move from East to West’, this really is a smooth transition” he mumbled.

Finally flight landed at O'Hare at 4 pm, picked up his luggage and headed towards the gate. "See you later at the school he waved at Claudia". Was it the sleep or the Claudia effect, he had totally forgotten about Priya. He was greeted by a student from Indian Student Association holding a name tag VIJAY – U I C, Karan Agrawal he introduced. They reached the apartment and Karan picked up his phone and yelled “Marathe, your new roommate is here”. “No no his name is Bhimrao S M”, Vijay replied after conversation ended; “Yes Bhimrao Shivajirao Marathe” Karan asserted. “Dude, here we call people by their Surname or their state name”, he clarified. “What’s your Surname” he asked. “Arjun, but that’s my Dad’s name, please don’t call me that”, he replied in a low tone. “You don’t have a Surname, Where are you from?” he asked in a loud tone. “Karnataka”, Vijay replied. “Madrasi?”, “No no Kannadiga”, Vijay replied. “What’s the difference anyways?” Karan laughed. ‘Cauvery River’ Vijay wanted to say, by then a big dude swearing in marathi broke their conversation “KYA REY!, tumko match key beech mey aana tha, Ie Z*v*da”? “Anyways I am Marathe; he shook hands with Vijay, and picked his suitcase and then headed towards the apt”.

Keep reading … a new series coming up ... read the last paragraph carefully ...

Story Series 5: Chemical Locha

Click here for Part 4

Turbulent weather eased out but Priya didn't return to normalcy even though plane did; her pain was lot more than the turbulent weather. Priya and Vijay didn't speak for the next 2 hrs. Vijay began to ponder on the conversations he had it with Ravi and Priya, and was wondering what he had done. And what made him eliminate Ravi from the scene. Why were Ravi's sweet talks with Priya hurting him? Why was he behaving like a jack ass? What provoked him to take these extreme steps? Why was he being so possessive about Priya, she wasn't even his friend or classmate, forget about Girl Friend. A lot of short circuits took place in his mind, sparks of thoughts began to mess up his brain chemistry; or was there a chemical reaction developing for Priya in his head, he badly needed a catalyst. The flight landed at the Frankfurt International Airport, everyone boarded onto the bus that took them to the terminal.

It was 5 pm local time and SUN was at a position where it used to be at 1 pm in INDIA, "Something wrong with this country don't you think" Priya asked. “Why, what’s the matter?” Vijay asked. “First look at the SUN at this point of the day and second if SUN is so bright and shining why are we feeling so cold?, isn’t SUN the source of light and heat?”, Priya questioned. He looked at the heavens and then gave a cold stare. “When did u have your last meal”, Vijay asked curiously. “About three hrs ago”, she replied. “Your stomach is empty, so there is more blood flowing to your brain”. “Lets have something at the terminal so that there will be equilibrium”. Vijay replied. Priya was puzzled for a minute, and then gave a 45 degree angle stare and banged his head with her purse. “Now your head and stomach are both empty; in equilibrium”, she replied. “Are you sure the purse went through the metal detector?” he began rubbing his head and before she could reply he walked towards the food court and Priya chased him. He finally found a catalyst that would trigger their chemical reaction.

AI 127 was delayed by 3 hrs due to technical difficulties, Vijay thought this was the best time to fuel his chemical reaction; spend some more quality time with Priya. They had food coupons tagged with their boarding pass courtesy the 3 hr delay. They sat at a table and began munching at lively pace. “So what are your hobbies apart from cricket commentary and cracking poor jokes?” she asked. It is difficult when someone puts an answer as a question he wanted to say but instead he replied “Did someone tell you had beautiful eyes?” to divert her attention from the question. “Nine people have already told that, you are the 10th “, “but will still take it as a compliment any day”, she replied. Sometimes genuine appreciation of beauty works, women do like it, Vijay thought. "You didn't answer my question Vijay?" Priya brought back topic again. "Not this beauty" Vijay mumbled in his mind. "I blog a bit" Vijay defended. "Cricket and comic fundas I bet," Priya laughed, "no comments" he replied as his face grew red. "You are so chweet", Priya squeezed his cheeks, as if he was her puppy.

Whether it was the sandwich or the GERMAN air Vijay began talking in a nice and polite way totally orthogonal to his sarcastic, mean and chirpy ways, or may be it was the chemical reaction that was speaking. They chatted for the next two hours as if they were soul mates and Vijay got nice smacking on his shin from her leather shoes every time he was mean and sarcastic, he enjoyed every bit of it. They spoke from Bollywood to Sandalwood(Kannada Film Industry), from Amitabh to Hrithik, and from hated topics of Engineering Drawing to Computer Ethics. "You are not as bad as I though initially" Priya said. "I am like alcohol acquired taste, bitter taste wise but once you get a hang of me I am addiction", he stared into her eyes. "You and your PJ's" and rolled over her palm on his head and blushed. "Oh you have such smooth hair, didn't your female classmates tell you?" she asked. 'Only my barber complimented it, as he did not need to sprinkle water before the hair cut' he wanted to say but just smiled.

Boarding for the flight AI 127 heading Chicago began, Vijay saw his boarding pass it read 15B, Priya was behind him in the line. He went to seat 15, a gorgeous young lady was sitting in seat 15C. Vijay thanked his lucky stars, Priya on one side, English meam on other, he thought he must have done something really good in his last life. 5 minutes later 15A arrived to occupy her seat, she wore a jean, turtle neck sweater and had a pony tail, she was talking on the phone and sounded "zzzha zchu zheoo something something bye love you" and hung up the phone. Vijay figured out she was speaking in GERMAN and she wasn't his Priya and Priya had a different seat no allotted. Claudia Schweinsteiger she introduced herself and shook hands with Vijay after placing her bag in the shelf. He began pronouncing he last name in mind, and wondered why only south INDIANs were ridiculed for their long names.

He was feeling very uncomfortable sandwiched between two gorgeous women, and to add salt to injury neither of them were his Priya. They all fastened their seat belts and flight was all set for a take off. While the plane took an ascent Vijay began humming “Yeh Dooriyaaa, tadapati hai dooriaya ...

to be continued ...
comments suggestions abuses welcome

Story Series 4: Vijay Priya Ravi

Click for Part 3 here

“SO howz Uncle and Aunty doing Ravi”, Vijay asked. “They are fine, absolutely fine, couldn’t be much better” Ravi replied looking at Priya. “Lovely, what a lovely name”, Ravi asserted continuing his stare at Priya. “It’s a pleasure meeting you”, Priya replied. “Pleasure is MINE”, Ravi replied. Priya began staring at Ravi as he moved back to his seat. "So where does Ravi work?" Priya asked, "Don't know some s/w company is CHI KA GO" Vijay replied. "Which part of INDIA is he from?" she inquired. "He was a State level Cricketer, represented our state", "Now he plays for some league there". "That's really great na; working and playing in the US". "He was a deadly fast bowler; evident from his height and strong shoulders I guess", "I should definitely get in touch with him" Vijay replied. "Yes tall and strong MAN he is" Priya replied thinking of Ravi.

"You follow cricket right?" he asked positively. "Cricket chi, I hate that stupid game"; somebody keeps throwing the ball all day long, somebody keeps hitting them, no meaning to that junk game", she raised her voice. "As correctly described 22 idiots play and 22 million idiots watch it". "Wooh wooh back off young lady, back off; take back you words". "Don't you dare call it junk and stupid", Vijay got furious. "And that throwing and hitting all day long is called test cricket young lady" Vijay got defensive. "Do you even know how much patience, stamina and perseverance it takes to play for 5 days madam?" Vijay questioned in high tone.

“Well one has to have more patience, stamina and perseverance to watch it for 5 full days ha”, she replied sarcastically. “On top of that look at how much money those buggers make?”, “And the moment they become a bit famous they start dating with actresses”. “Hmm should I blame the cricketers or the actresses for that act? Vijay scratched his goti beard. “Could you please leave the cricketers and actresses alone for a while the bearded gentleman interrupted their fight. “Sorry” both replied together.

“Breakfast Sir” the airhostess placed a couple of well wrapped and sealed pouches on Vijay’s foldable table. “Oberoi’s !” he raised his voice when he saw the logo on his breakfast pouch. “Wow, it's in fact a 5 star catered airplane, how lucky we are?” Priya replied. Vijay was shocked when he opened his meal which contained, salt less pasty Upma, cold bread with butter, small can of orange juice and couple of slices of apple. Stuffed his mouth with Upma and lubricating it with orange juice, looking at Priya he asked "How is it?", "Not bad" she replied, "How about you" she asked, “Walls are well plastered, and these cold bread slices and butter will suffice for the RCC” Vijay replied. “Just look over the window, you might find some hot idly, vada and chetney vendors”, Priya pointed towards the window and began laughing. At this point Priya began to enjoy Vijay’s sense of humor. “I tell you, Lalu should be made the Airline Minister”, “atleast the food that is served will improve if nothing else”. Both had a big laugh, big enough to consume the whole cold bread.

“I guess you are a Foodie” Priya said. “Leave my CRICKET and my FOOD with me you will be good”, Vijay raised his right hand and pushed his hair back. “Priya was all silent suddenly”, probably the sense of humor went over board. “Excuse me” Priya stood up and walked towards the restroom. While walking back from the restroom she suddenly heard some familiar voice calling her, “Hey Priya” Ravi called her. “Hi Ravi, nice to see you again”, she replied. “I believe you would have made some arrangement for accommodation by now close to your campus”, Ravi asked casually. “Yes found it via the Indian Student Association”. “That’s good”, he replied. “So where do you live?” she asked, “Downtown close to office”, he replied. “So had good sleep and breakfast?” he asked. “So far so good” she replied. Both struck a good chord and began chatting as if they were old lost friends.

20 mins passed by and Priya wasn’t back at her seat, Vijay started walking towards the restroom where he found Ravi and Priya giggling. “Hi Guyz” Vijay interrupted. “Let’s walk towards the passage and talk”, they moved to the passage adjacent to the cafeteria. Ravi began sharing his student life experiences in US, he began boast about his cooking and his hospitality skills. Priya was all drawn into his sweet talks. Nodding her head, staring at his eyes and laughing at every sentence, she was a complete fan of Ravi by now, why wouldn’t she be. Vijay sensed that.

“So how is your fiancĂ© Ravi, is the marriage date fixed?” Vijay asked and that broke their conversation. “She is good”, Marriage next Jan, during Sankranti he replied. FiancĂ© and Marriage these 2 words struck a lightning in Priya’s head. Suddenly she closed her eyes and was about to lose balance when Vijay held her hand. She suddenly felt the plane tilting, shaking; Out came an announcement “We are experiencing turbulent weather, so I request all passengers to please return to their seats and fasten your seat belts”. Both reached their seat and fastened their seat belts. Weather went really bad and the plane was tossing and turning. The lightning called Ravi that struck Priya was bigger than the turbulent bad weather. She closed her eyes in remorse while Vijay began chanting ‘Jai Kali Ma, Jai Kali Ma’.

To be continued …

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