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“Hello, hello,” Rajeev called again.
Nothing is said from the other side. Or does it sound like something out of the ordinary? All the phones in the phone booth are like this. If necessary, he will not be able to listen to what is being said.
Now he has nothing essential. But I wish I had heard that voice.
Rajeev cut off the call and deposited the last single rupee coin in his hand in the top slot of the phone. This is going to be the fifth single rupee of today. It was enough to hear that voice at least this time.
When he heard the ringtone, he dialed Peruvarathappan and dialed the number. The result is Thayiva. Can’t hear anything. He put the receiver back on. What to do next? All the monotonous pieces in hand are done.
Rajeev was very angry. ‘This is a damn phone!’ He said in his mind. He clenched his fists and slammed into the phone to quell the anger that had accumulated in his heart. Charapara heard the sound of ‘Kalapila’. When I looked, there were some lumpy pieces sticking out of the phone. He picked it all up.
What a mess! Although God did not help you to hear the voice on the phone, He still has the means to make many calls. Rajeev decided not to try his luck in this booth anymore and walked to the hostel.
It was a time of famine. Rajeev once tried it when he was told that if he boarded a bus in Madras, he would get retail even if he paid a ten rupee note. Ten rupees was paid for a ticket of one and a half rupees. The conductor looked at his face sharply. Then he took a heap of eights and fours from the bag for the remaining eight and a half rupees. Then a smirk passed and he moved forward.
After that Rajeev does not get on the bus without retail.
It was at a time when everyone was scrambling for a one-rupee tutu to make a phone call that the Telugu Krishnarajalu started collecting a single tutu to give to his uncle’s wedding. Whoever finds the coin in his hand, he will take it and say ‘atheniyik’. When they saw the spot, everyone started hiding their money.
When the Telugu finally got enough rags, he sent it home. With that, everyone else was at peace.
During the search, Rajeev asked him if he had sent the pieces in a parcel. Then came Krishnarajalu’s reply. “I sent the money order thinking that I should not just send the parcel and cash it.”
Rajeev had to fight hard to avoid being beaten by his friends.
Rajeev went to his room in the hostel and read Geeta’s writing again. Even if you can’t speak or read the text, you can rest assured.
This time the text ends with ‘FLASK’. In previous letters, the words ‘TOL’ and ‘LOL’ have been used to describe the man. I do not know what to say. If you ask your friends, then the whole college will be a song. It does not matter.
The beauty is in asking and understanding when you see it in person. The girls now know the difficulty of not being able to write in English.
He is scheduled to meet on Saturday.
The address of Geeta’s house in Meenambakkam is written in the letter. She was asked to go to introduce her father and mother. Feeling we have ‘Run out of gas’ emotionally. I do not know how to deal with them.
‘Let’s go,’ he said to himself.
It is better not to think about it much anymore.
With the arrival of Saturday, joy flooded Rajeev’s mind. Some panic in the crowd. He ordered both and boarded the Pallavan transport bus to Meenambakkam from in front of the college gate. The required coin was in hand. Or hang the pants pocket with the retailer that the conductor gives you. There is no need to dress up as a clown in Geeta’s house.
He got off at the stop in front of the airport. Geeta’s home dress is a sight to behold. And so on. Nice sun. It would be a wonder if people did not laugh at the sight of a man walking in Madras at noon in May. Luckily there weren’t too many people on the way.
After a few walks I found the way number. Now you have to find a house this way.
Gita’s house is thirty-three. Thirty-two years later, the road was over. What to do next? If anyone can ask, who should I see on the way this afternoon?
It was then that a passage between two houses in the opposite row came to attention. Quickly walked into it. The road ended in a large house. It was written ’33’ on the gate itself so we entered without much difficulty.
Geeta had said that her father worked for the Airport Authority. Given the size of the house, it looks like a large house.
Calling into the veranda, the bell rang. I wondered who would open the door.
Rajeev was shocked to hear his friend Murali’s loud voice. He had to think a little to figure out where he was. I remember coming back from Meenambakkam and entering the room. He is sitting in a chair and is asleep.
Murali was on his way to dinner when he came to call him too. The two also walked to the mess hall.
Rajeev tried to think about the events of the afternoon. But it is not possible to think with a structure during Murali’s speech.
It felt like something was lying in his pocket. He put his left hand in his pocket and touched it. Then he remembered. The package that Geeta’s father gave her in time to leave Koshyangil. Any advice on just going to the hostel and looking. Its matter was forgotten. You can come to the room after lunch to open the package.
Even at lunch, Rajeev’s thoughts were on Meenambakkam during Murali’s speech.
It was Geeta who opened the door. The limbs that had been there till then stopped. Little did I know then that it would come again in a little while.
They both sat in opposite chairs in the banquet room. The song was eloquent. All the news of the college and the country were narrated in detail. While listening to it, Rajeev had in his mind the whole whereabouts of Geeta’s parents. When Geeta finally stopped talking, he got a chance to speak.
“Where are his parents?” He did not say that they would.
“They are out. That’s what told Rajeev to come at this time. We can both talk for a while. “
The earlier immobile limb trembled back. “It simply came to our notice then. But when there is no one like this …? ” Rajeev somehow agreed.
” Who said no? Aren’t we two? Two people are not enough to tell the story? ” Geetha was talking nonsense.
Rajeev regained his composure and started talking about the upcoming Mardigra Festival at the college next month to change the subject. Gita was invited to come and see it. So they talked for a long time.
That’s when I heard the sound of a car outside. ‘They have arrived,’ said Geeta, jumping up. Rajeev’s limbs trembled when he heard that Geeta’s parents had arrived.
Koshyangil came up with Aunty and asked, “Has it been a long time since Rajeev arrived?”
On hearing this, Rajeev was at peace again. Gita did not lie. He has been told about himself at home.
Then everyone said something interesting too. In the meantime, we had lunch. Rajeev’s mind was full of joy when he said goodbye to them at 4 pm.
At the time of landing, Koshyangil handed him a small package and said, “Do not give up the phone call even if you do not hear any noise from the other side. Just go to the hostel and open this package. “
After lunch, he escaped from Murali and returned to the room. He slammed the door shut and pulled the package out of his pocket.
It was a one-size-fits-all touch. But there was something special about it. A hole is drilled in one end. A thick thread is threaded through that hole.
Rajeev did not understand why Koshyangil had given it to him. He gave it and remembered what he had said. He knew in that look that he had not given up on the phone, even though he had not heard from him.
During the conversation with Geeta, he said that LOL is Lot’s of Love and TOL is Tons of Love. But they arrived before they knew what FLASK was. Then you have to spend a penny.
Rajeev looked at the one-piece piece given to him by Koshyangil. Rajeev burst out laughing when he realized the use of a single piece of cloth hanging on a thread.
The pride of this one-piece piece will end with this!
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Last Updated May 31, 2022, 5:31 PM IST