With a quick surreptitious glance over the landscape making sure that there simply was no dignified way of making myself scarce- one of the brambled hedges lounging on the roadside looked promising but I daresay my Violet velvet jacket would not have taken too kindly to breaking bread with spiny what-nots - and squaring my shoulders for the assault ahead, I donned my "Ho there" face and beckoned the lost soul."Ho there! Ruddy nice morning we are 'aving, eh?", I said.
"I concur wholeheartedly , my friend. Not at all like the late November ones that makes you think you were serving time in a gulag winter camp and they had forgotten to issue you your regulation orange jumper suits."
"You are right! It does remind you of that song. Now how did it go. If i remember correctly , it starts from the fourth high tenor
tum tiddly tum sunshine tiddly tum
to the 5th scale in baritone
tiddly shining Sun toom toom
concluding with a flourish
toom Sun shines toom tiddly tum tum.
Excellent song, that. Eh? "
Canny objective observers as might be found buzzing around in the Hostel Quadrilateral when this exchange was going on , might have noticed an uncanny feature of our conversation. Even though ,I, for the sake of the greater good and all that, tend to collar any spoken interaction that I might be a party to, I do concede at least one word to the opponent for every four that I throw into the pot. But this was way beyond the not-so-fine line that separates a Dialogue from a Monologue. I half felt that I was rendering one of Shakespeare's soliloquys while the other contract actors on stage carried on with scarce regard for the literary merit of what I had to say on the subject of Sunshines, suns and mornings in general. Something, as they say, was afoot.
It was common knowledge that Billy had been very recently and equally unceremoniously dumped by that inexcusable piece of a girl that went by the name of Perry. But this diagnosis for his new found reticence failed to cover all symptoms . For break ups(and experience had taught his coterie well) usually gave a fillip to his usual prolixity and a dumping more often than not found our pal ready to recount his tales of woe at the drop of a hat, , to anyone who cared to listen with him(Billy,not the unsuspecting, hapless one lending his ears) invariably playing the Wronged Saint, the Mr. Nice Guy, the Chivalrous Knight and in one case, the Hunchback of Notredame. Long story that!
"Man U got their collective behinds kicked by Arsenal."
His eyebrows raised by a sixteenth of an inch.
"Oh. I see."
That was the last straw. Immediately grasping the urgency of the situation, I decided, prevailing over my better sense of self preservation , to get to the bottom of this mystery and calling for two restoratives from the canteen boy got down to brass tacks. I mean, what is a friend if not in need and as I saw it , if corrective actions were not taken with promptitude, things would deteriorate beyond redemption. I silently oversaw the proceedings as Billy downed the twins simultaneously and sighed. It was a deep resounding sigh, from the deepest darkest trenches of his heart, that proceeded from his lips, heard even, as is sometimes claimed to have been heard in the neighboring district, causing innumerable fatalities among a visiting flock of Pelicans that were caught smack in its wake .A sigh, in fact, that could make Karan Johar wallow in despair and in a frenzy of inspiration, go and shoot a black and white movie.
"Out with it, my man. You seem a tad off your game.", I bespoke.
Another sigh. A long brooding one.
"I hope you have learnt your lesson. Girls are nothing but trouble. You remember that TShirt PK was wearing the other day. Apparently , there is even a mathematical proof for the same. Very elegant one too. I must say, for all the tribulations that the fairer sex causes, there are times when I would rather pick A. Extinction of Human Species over B. Being manipulated by a piece of Rib. Toying around with human playthings, throwing scraps to the queue of slavering hoi polloi and when they finally leash one, teaching them tricks like Shopping, buying Shoes and causing general nauseousness all around. And for what? They rub their pets behind their ears and watch their tails go wag themselves crazy. Human rights violations, I say! And whats gone and whats past help should be past grief and all that."
I was just warming up on the general topic of "Why girls should be banned" , a topic on which I had had a treatise published in an international refereed journal brought out by free thinking men all around the globe, when Billy , still with that dreamy faraway look in his eyes said,
"Nice, one of yours?"
"Nah! Some bloke from the middle ages. Apparently he survived the Plague."
"Tell me JD, have you ever been in love?"
You know, one of those sitcoms where there is unsolicited laughter every 10 seconds on the most inane and sometimes non existent jokes. I could hear them over the crickets. Recovering my poise, I combusted.
"Is it still her? Does the heart still ache to hold her close to your bosom? Was not the dagger that she plunged through your heart enough ,when she snipped off your jugular when you weren't looking, tying that noose around your neck while tying the knots and so courteously fastening the anchor to your feet when you went swimming in the vast ocean of love, commitment, honor and chivalry? "
"Perry. Who else?"
"Ahh,Perry. That abominable atrocious pipsqueak. Speak not of her to me, for enough of her I have had. Truly fine a day it was when we parted rags for no longer could we have been together."
I could see that he was distressed at her name for he had slipped into Yoda tongue again but I was thankful that he had got over her. But then again , the droopy eyes, the lolling tongue.
"Already?How long has it been? 5 days?"
What followed was one of the squeamiest, disgusting bilious load of mush that ever were spouted from human lips. I have often heard of these modern day critics oozing praise for the exhortations of love that once flowed forth from protagonists of romantic poems authored by the Tennysons, Byrons and Wordsworths but I would bet my bottom penny if those chaps could even touch the heights that Billy surmounted that day when he unveiled his new Flavour of the Month. I am forced, keeping in mind that the readership of this column likes to keep its food in its rightful place, to snip off the more lyrical parts of the monologue and reproduce its paraphrased version below.
Billy gushed thus:
I called for a restorative ,on the ice and it was only after they had safely made the trek down the alimentary that I was able pull myself together.
"Billy, I hate to break this to you, but she already has a boyfriend."