“Hi Buddy” I said with an apologetic smile. I was the first one to wish Rajat as we approached him.
Meera had not noticed him until then. She turned around and smiled at him and asked, “Hi Rajat. How are you? Had your lunch?”
Rajat was still staring at me. Meera’s smile softened his features a little bit. Still his voice was gruff when he spoke, “Yeah I had lunch. You two had lunch together?”
“No, not just us… Bharath had plans of having lunch with Meera. I went along with them.” I stressed on Bharath’s name and looked at Rajat meaningfully.
“Why would Bharath have lunch with Meera? He never invited any of us for lunch before.” Rajat was not getting the picture yet.
“I guess he is being friendly”, I said with an extra stress on ‘friendly’, and to drive home the point, I winked at Rajat without Meera noticing.
It finally dawned on Rajat. He said, “Oh. Ok. I see. Yeah, he is becoming very friendly nowadays.”
With that he walked back to his cubicle. Meera entered our cubicle and I was about to follow when I heard a low whistle.
I looked at Rajat, he mouthed, “Thank you”, gave me thumbs up and went into his cubicle.
I was in high spirits. My plans had worked extremely well until then. I had to get a little bit more close to Meera and then the culmination of my plans would arrive. I would propose. Meanwhile I would have to get Rajat out of the picture. That would be tricky. I didn’t want Rajat to know what my true intentions were all that while. I couldn’t come up with any ideas as I sat down in my place and logged in.
As expected, I found six new tickets in my queue and a mail from Bharath asking me to give an update the same day. I smiled, put the problem of Rajat out of my mind for the time being and started off with the tickets.
I left office very late that day. Rajat had taken an earlier bus. He was waiting for me when I reached home.
“Dude, you did well today. Thanks for not letting Meera go alone with that p****” Rajat must have been extremely agitated; else he would not have used an invective.
I was modest, “Yeah, I am just happy to help buddy”
“No. You are a true friend. One in a million”, Rajat was showering me with praises.
“Well I try”
“Ok, my friend. I am going to tell you something important. I have decided, dude. I am going to do it.”
Rajat had a very serious expression. His breathing was heavy. His whole demeanour was like that of a man who had taken a tough but inevitable decision; intensity emanated from all parts of his six foot frame.
I did not respond. I waited for Rajat to make his announcement.
“I am going to propose to Meera”, Rajat announced in a defiant tone.
He looked at me searching for any expression on my face.
All that he would have seen on my face would have been surprise. Not anger, not pity, just pure surprise. I was not imagining such a development. It was so soon. Rajat knew Meera for a little over 3 weeks and he was already contemplating professing his love to her. It was stupid and sure to result in failure.
I said, “Good. I think you should do that”
It was Rajat’s turn to be surprised, “Really? You are not going to ask me to wait?”
“No no. I think it has to be spontaneous and soon. Otherwise, Bharath or someone else might make a move on her. You are right in this case. You have to propose.”
In my mind I was playing out the outcome. Meera would obviously reject the proposal. There would be future awkwardness. So she would have to clear her doubts with me, opening up a route for me to be a bosom friend of hers, thereby making it impossible for her to reject me when I made my proposal. I was thankful to Rajat. He had solved the problem that was troubling me in the afternoon. Once he is rejected, I would be free to make a move on Meera and that too without the fear of Rajat’s ire.
“So when and how are you planning to do it, Rajat?”
“I am planning to send a message”
“Yeah, I don’t have the guts to go and tell her face to face. I cannot send the mail from office id. What if she escalates it to the HR? So I have decided to send it as a message in Orkut. How is my idea?”
It was a very bad idea. It removed any remaining doubts about Meera rejecting the proposal.
So I said, “Ok man. Draft the message and let me take a look at it before you send it.”
Rajat hurried to his laptop like a caged animal which found its cage door open. He immediately set to work on his love message.
Meanwhile I freshened up and I was already in a good mood. All the troubles of the office work were left behind. Rajat was digging his own grave and I didn’t have to move a muscle to goad him to do it.
When I came out from a cold shower, I found Rajat waiting for me.
“How is the love letter coming along, buddy? I have to say it is a bit old school but girls usually fall for such age old methods”, I was enjoying myself.
“That is the problem, dude. I don’t know what to write”
“Ok let me do it for you” I was at my helpful best.
I sat down at Rajat’s laptop and found a blank message window already open.
I began to write,
Roses are red, violets are blue,
Sugar is sweet, and so are you.
Meera, I have wanted to tell you how much I love you ever since I met you. I just didn’t find the courage. That is why I am professing my undying love and devotion to you by this message. I will take care of you till my last breath and will stand by you in the toughest of times.
I love you. If you feel the same about me, please wear a flower in your hair tomorrow to office.
With Lots of Love,
“Come on, Rajat. Read and learn from the master”, I told Rajat.
Rajat read the whole passage and said, “It is good, but isn’t the flower in the hair a little too much? It sounds very cheesy, like it is coming out of some very old movie”
“No no. That is how these things go. Romance is always a bit weird, dude”
“Ok. Alright, I will take your word for it. So here it goes”, Rajat took a deep breath and hit the send button.
There was a chill in the room after that. Neither of us spoke much that night. Even when we went to bed, we were lost in our own thoughts. I kept twisting and turning on my bed wondering what would happen next day and at some unknown late hour succumbed to sleep.