= meta name="alexaVerifyID" content="WM1lnOs2D06k0z6SYN0Gbi4yfuw"/> The Author of Bachelor's Marriage: 2015-06-21

Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Prologue of 'Bachelor'$ Marriage'

PROLOGUE



“Thank you, sir!“

“You have done well, Sujay! Your confidence level was good. I would just like to ask you where would you wish to join us?“

“In London.“

“Why so?“

“Because I have never been to a foreign country.“

“Hahaha! You have a nice sense of humour. Now tell me about these two platinum rings you wear.”

“Sir, my lovers gifted them to me when I turned 18.”

“Great coincidence!”

We talked a little more.

I am at a CITI Bank interview, exactly where I wanted to be, just like any other MBA graduate.

The interview goes well. They offer me a place in their bank but in New York instead of London. I don’t mind where they send me because I have not accepted the offer yet. All I wanted was an interview experience at a big bank like this.

When I walk into my dormitory, my friends greet me and ask about my job offer, but I do not tell them that I have my family business to look after rather than work at this job.

Being an IIM-A graduate doesn’t make it hard for me to be called in for an interview at large companies; after all, they do need fresh graduates each year.

I call my parents and explain that I hadn’t called them as I was in an interview. I am eager to see my city again. I just want to reach Pune as soon as possible. With my exams finally done with, I have packed my bags, ready to leave Ahmedabad tonight.

Rohan, Kush and Aditya are done with their exams too, albeit in IIM-B. None of us have taken any job offer seriously as we all come from business families, which means not one of us wants to be an employee.

I am quite eager to see them. God knows how I have survived without them. Before we left for college, we cried like children, promising each other that we shall be together again as soon as possible.

After the four of us cleared the entrance exam for IIM, we were mini-celebrities in Pune for a while. The local newspapers carried our pictures, our study plans, schedules and all the other things MBA aspirants would want to know. Strangely enough, none of us was a nerd or an engineer – we don’t even wear spectacles. When our pictures were published in the papers, we just looked like any other group of guys interested in things other than studies. Even we laughed at the irony.



Ahmedabad is a good enough city but I love Pune – a city that I have more memories with.

My juniors and my friends have organised a little lunch party for me. God knows what they found in me when I joined. I entered IIM-A as a BCom graduate who merely got lucky with his percentiles. None of my classmates were mere BCom graduates like me; I was fed up of seeing engineers everywhere. Even my roommate, Sanjay, is an IITian from Mumbai. I used to hate IITians but he changed my mind. Thank you, Sanjay.

Lunch was good. I bid goodbye to everyone and leave for the Ahmedabad Junction station. My father had given me the option to fly, but I like commuting by train.

I hire a cab. By now I have learned enough Gujarati to pass off as a local, so for the cab driver I am just another Gujarati.

Just being at the train station charges me up. I put away my luggage in the locker room so that I am free to roam; it is only 5 pm and the Duronto Express, my train to Pune, departs at 11:00 pm. I mill about the markets of the junction and settle at a table in Hotel Sunrise for dinner at 7:30 pm. I order some Punjabi dishes – my favourite cuisine since childhood. It turns out to be an unexpectedly heavy meal.

When I finish, I walk back to the station and retrieve my luggage from the locker room and proceed to the waiting room. It is air conditioned, thank goodness for that. It is a good place to relax for a while and to change into my nightclothes.

I plop my bags on to an empty seat. “Beta, will you keep a watch on my bags? I want to change, so please?“ I ask a little girl. She is 5-years-old, I think.

She nods happily. I go to the washroom and take a shower. When I come out, she is still there, dutifully looking after my bags.

I’ve pulled on a yellow neck t-shirt and yellow shorts; yellow is just another one of my obsessions.

“Thank you so much, beta!“ I beam at the little girl.

“Welcome, uncle!“ she responds enthusiastically. I just love children.

“What’s your name?“

“Uncle, tell me first what yours is. Only then will I tell you mine.”

I marvel at her stubbornness.

“I am Sujay,” I offer.

“And I am Gunjan!” she declares majestically. We shake hands.

“Gunjan? Nice name,” I say.

“And yours too!”

I laugh. Her parents come over and wish me a good evening. And then they notice my two platinum rings and ask about it.

When I finish conversing with them, I take out my copy of Totem and Taboo; I want to finish this book tonight. Back home I have more than 400 books and most of them are fiction. Soon, I will have my own library in the new bungalow my father bought after my first year in IIM-A. He wants the family to live together again. Everyone is excited about our new home.

At 10:45, I grab my bags and make my way to platform number 3. The train has arrived already. I board and look for my seat in the second tier AC car. It is the ideal way to travel when I want to read my book properly with no interruptions.

I shove my luggage under the seats. I look through the reservation charts to check if there would be any girl travelling with me. Unfortunately, all of them are oldies. I curse at my bad luck.

I wish I could call Jyoti. But in the last two years I was at IIM she did not reply to any of my messages, letters, so I put her out of my mind.

I climb up to my seat in the upper berth with my book and begin reading again. My phone keeps ringing with all the messages from my friends about our get-together. I reply to them one by one.

I am done with the iPhone series. I check the date. It is May 30, 2017. Tomorrow will be June 1, 2017. It will be four years tomorrow.

The train starts pulling out of the platform. The oldies have taken their places below. I am bored and I try to keep myself engaged in my book. But my attention wanders. I can’t focus. Something is bothering me. I switch off the lights. Gradually, the compartment is shrouded in darkness as my fellow passengers go to sleep. I shiver; the AC is set at 18 degrees. I cover myself with a blanket but I am unable to sleep. Thoughts swim incessantly in my mind.

Midnight. The calendar on my phone flips to June 1.

I wish I could talk to Gunjan. I am not talking about that little girl Gunjan. I am talking about my Gunjan.


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