I wasn’t going to give up.
No I wasn’t.
I contemplated sitting in the canteen and waiting for him to come back. But I had to sleep off my head ache.
With a heavy heart I walked back to the hostel.
But I was determined. I will talk to him. I have to talk to him.
In the evening Anitha came to my room and was discussing the case they saw in the morning. My headache was gone and I was trying to study.
I couldn’t concentrate. I was trying to figure out a way to contact Beautiful Eyes. Then I figured I will Phone him. I couldn’t do that from the campus, someone would hear me asking for him. I will call him from the corner shop near home. Anyway I had to go home to buy the textbooks. I will do it tomorrow. I felt good, because it was a brilliant plan.
“oh, I am late. The practice is supposed to start at 6PM” Anitha got up to go
“What practice?” Shylaja asked
“Christmas Choir” Anitha spoke
Christmas Choir? Artaban!
“Wait, I am coming with you”
“You are coming for the choir practice?” Anitha was staring at me
Yeah the practicing Atheist still has a use for the choir practice! I thought of telling her.
“I thought you were never interested in prayer meetings and choir practice. What changed you? Wait Don’t answer. I know the answer. God heard our prayer. We have been praying for you”
I had thousands of reasons I could use to argue and tell her there is no God. But it wasn’t the right time to do so.
There were so many students in the gallery,everyone except the one I was looking for.
One mallu junior was strumming the guitar. He was so off key. Someone would notice it, I was sure and would call the campus guitarist. I was hopeful.
I watched everyone trying to add their favourite carol song. Then someone asked me what is my favourite Christmas carol.
“Blue Christmas” I replied without hesitation. I didn’t want to forget. I didn’t want anyone to forget him. Perhaps I also hoped that when he hears that I voted for blue Christmas, he would remember.
“Blue Christmas?” Anitha stared at me.
I never understood why people associate Christmas with Jingle bells and silent night. But it wasn’t my place to argue or explain. I was a practicing Atheist.
Jomon had reluctantly given the Choir master post to one of his junior. He was writing the final year and probably didn’t have time. I watched the new guy acting as though he was God almighty. I promised myself that I would never be like that. I will never forget where I came from.
I waited and waited for the one person t arrive. he never came. I was disappointed. But I still had hope. I still had tomorrow and the day after.. and the day after…
I had so much to study.. I didn’t want to fail, so I took the book and started to read. I wasted so much of time already and I hated the thought.
In the morning, instead of going for the morning rounds, I went back home. I got off near the temple and walked to the corner shop. The mallu owner looked at me
“You owe 135 Rs” He spoke as soon as he saw me.
“What?” I asked him
“You owe 135 Rs. You have to pay”
“Are you crazy? How do i owe you 135 Rs? I don’t even buy anything from your shop”
“Your sister said you will pay”
“Huh? Which sister?”
“edei aa pennintey peru enna?” ( what is that girl’s name) The guy asked his sidekick
“She told you that I will pay?”
I was fuming. I wanted to ask him to ask my sister to pay. Nobody asked him to give her stuff on credit. he took that risk himself and why should I pay? I never promised anything.
But I was helpless. I hated my sister. I hated her for dragging my name in the mud. But she was still my sister and I will always have to clean up after her. I had enough money to buy text books. After paying this guy, I won’t.
I took the money from my wallet and paid.
“The next time you give her stuff on credit, you get her to pay. This is the last time I will pay. Do you understand that?” I asked him.
He nodded his head. But his facial expression looked as though he was looking at the meanest sister on planet earth.
“Can I make a local phone call?”
I didn’t wait for his response. I reached across the counter and took the phone from his desk. I dialled the Men’s hostel number and asked to speak to Beautiful Eyes.
A few minutes later I heard the sweetest “Hello” His voice sounded so calm and peaceful.
“Hi, this is Nina” I spoke.
There was absolutely no sound from the other side. then I heard the distinct sound of the phone being disconnected.
No it can’t be.
May be the connection was bad. After all this is India.
I dialled the number again.
It took a long time before someone answered.
“Can I speak to Beautiful Eyes?” I asked
“He is not here, Can I take a message?”
I got the message loud and clear.
I walked home.
The main door was open. I opened the gate and walked up the stairs. Amma was sitting by the door and she leaned across to see who was coming.
“What are you doing here?” Amma asked.
I noticed she was applying hair colour. She had an old torn towel on he shoulder to prevent any spillage from staining her old torn house coat.
“Tell your daughter that I won’t pay her bills anymore” I hissed.
“Ninakkenna vattu elakiyo, keri vannilla athinu mumbey chadan thudangiyo (Have you gone mad? You haven’t even stepped inside the house and already started yelling?”
“You tell your daughter that this was the last time I paid her bills” I repeated
“what are you talking about?”
“Your wonderful daughter convinced the corner shop guy to give her stuff on credit and told him that I will settle the bills”
“Lisa” I screamed
“Lisa? Why would she do that? That guy might have got it wrong. Must be some other Lisa”
“You keep living in your world of denial. One day you will realize that you destroyed all your children’s life”
“Bha! Amma spat on the ground Podi (get lost). She has come to give me advice. Kandavantey ellam purakey nanavillathey nadakkunna nee enikku upadesham tharan vannekkunno? ( A biitch like you trying to give me advice?”
There was nothing else to say. So I walked out. Hoping and hoping that this be the last time I come to this house. But I knew I wasn’t that lucky!