Vantage point

Wednesday, February 26, 2003


The next day, Amar rushed home from college after the first lecture. It was half past eleven when he reached home.

"Is it two yet, Mom?" he asked as he threw his bag on the couch and picked up the phone.

"No, it is not even noon yet. Is your watch broken or something?" she said, surprised.

"OK, just a couple of hours to go before it is two" he said with a big smile on his face.

"Why? What is there at two?" his mother asked.

"Oh nothing. Never mind" he rushed to his room.

He decided he would study till two o clock. His GRE was just 3 months away and he had not even touched his books yet. He opened the Barron's guide and started doing the N word list. He kept reading until he felt it was too much and now it must surely be the time to call Nitya up. He put the book down and picked up the phone. As he was dialing her number, he glanced at his watch.

"Five minutes past noon!!!! That is impossible!" he shouted to himself. "My watch is broken, or too slow".

he went to the next room, and the clock there corroborated what his watch had told him. Making room for the possibility that wo watched might slow down at the same time, he dialed 174, the time facility.

"The time at the next beep is 12 hours 6 minutes and 30 seconds..."

Amar wondered what the matter with time was. He studied for some more time, and glanced at the watch, but it was not even 1. He finally started grasping what he had read about Einstein's relativity theory. Time is relative, he told himself, even if our velocity is not too much.

After about an hour full of restless moments and inane thoughts, finally it was 2 p.m. Amar rushed to the phone and dialled the number which was by now etched on his brain.

"Hello" he heard Nitya's voice say in a lilting tone.

"Hi Nitya, this is Amar..." he stopped talking as Nitya's voice went on

"...we can not take your call right now. Please leave your message after a beep."

Amar slammed the phone down with exasperation. She was not yet home. How could she do this to him? She had said she would be home after 2. As he was thinking about this, he suddenly stopped. A voice inside his head said,

"Look at yourself. You have become completely desparate for that girl's attention.Be a little reasonable. She hasn't done anything yet and you are already irritated to the core. If you are so restive, will you ever be able to have a happy relationship with any girl? Think about your studies too. Don't treat those wordlists like some dog eared magazine you read in the waiting room before the Doctor is ready to meet you. Concentrate on them, and call her later."

Amar listened to this voice of reason, and picked up the wordlists with a renewed determination to finish at least 4 before making the call. By the time he had finished with them, it was 6 in the evening. He dialled Nitya's number,

"Hello" a man's voice answered.

"Hello, may I speak to Nitya?"

"Nitya just left. May I know who's calling?"

"This is her friend, Amar."

"Amar, she has gone to Kamla Nehru Park with Sandeep. You can go there and talk to her if you want." said the man who Amar assumed was her father. "I suppose you know Sandeep."

"Yes yes" Amar lied "Thank you."

Now Amar was in a fix. What should he do? He did not know Sandeep. It could be anyone. It could be her younger brother whom she had taken to the park. It could be her boyfriend. He had no idea what to do now. He felt jealous at the possibility that Sandeep might be her boyfriend.

"Should I go the the park? What if she gets angry? What if she thinks I am being too intrusive? But then she told her father where she was going with him, so I guess it would be OK to go there. But then again, I hardly know her and......"

The Amar vs Amar dbeate went on for about five more minutes and finally a compromise was reached. He would go to the park, but wait in a shop near it. He would see if this Sandeep was indeed a boyfriend. If not, he would go talk to her. If it was some tall strapping guy who seemed to be her boyfriend, he would just leave and never call her again.

Amar had never driven his motorcycle as fast as he did that evening. He screeched to a halt near the park and entered a restaurant closeby. He ordered a coffee and sat at a table near the door which gave a clear view of the park entrance.

He drank 3 cups of coffee, and was about to order his fourth when he saw Nitya come out. Her arm was locked in a guy's arm and they were both smiling. Sandeep was certainly tall and strapping, but still Amar was happy on seeing him. He did not feel proud for being happy, but he was.

He paid for the coffee and ran out to meet Nitya and Sandeep.
to be continued....