(Please suggest me a better title if you have one...)
I was almost exhausted as I seated myself comfortably in an almost empty Passenger Train to Kollam. The day long work had had enough of me. My phone was ringing…it was my daughter…, “Papa, I’ve made it…I’ve got selected…!” she was almost shouting out of excitement. My joy knew no bounds on hearing that. My daughter had got selected in the campus interview…I found my energy surging back. I was jumping out of excitement. I forgot my age, designation, all…
I hadn’t noticed the young man who was my sole companion in the compartment.
“Yupp…not really…got hysterical…”
“I’ll make a guess, shall I?”
“Your child has done something special…something academic? Say…a selection in an interview..or so”
“You’ve got it right son“ , I explained to him about my daughter’s achievement…it was when I completed that I understood my ‘folly’…I had no idea who he was or what he was!!! Who cared…if something can go wrong it will!!! I am a firm believer of Murphy’s laws. Fortunately the ‘lad’ looked safe. He was neatly dressed. Not too fair. On looks…average…or a bit above that.
I asked him what he was doing.
“Uncle I am in the third year of my MBBS…”
“Wow that’s great…actually, son..I was one of the many parents who wished to see their child in white coat and stethoscope…any way my child didn’t disappoint me with her decision to take up engineering. She flourished…did a fabulous job in her studies…really made me a proud dad…
Oooo…I am sorry son. I just forgot myself…hope I didn’t bore you…”
“Uncle you are a bit too open minded right? ...and do you think this is within safe limits…? How safe do you think I am?”
“Hi hi…that’s a joke son. Dear, I have survived at least 25 years more than you…Experience has given me the power to tell apart who the wrong guy is and who the nice one is…”, I still don’t know if I was a bit overloaded with pride.
“Hmmm…that’s a challenge to the youth right? Hi hi….So what else uncle. Seems I’ve found a friend in you…hi hi…don’t mind about the 25 year gap…by the way I am 20…”
“Cool…Son. So how are your studies going? I know, MBBS, ain’t an easy course...”
“To be frank…I am almost fine in my college…but…perhaps it is because I am in a government college…I often take things for granted. I feel bad…of course… at times…But anyway…I have resolved to be a good Doctor… when I pass out”
“You sound great…and confident...make sure do that well”
I loved his attitude…the manner of his talk…really frank…If my looks didn’t fail…he was nearly studious…Unfortunately I am not good in face-reading. Perhaps I need another 25 years to learn that. We chatted for really a long time. About his college, hostel… after minutes… about his family…and everything. Anyway I didn’t spit myself out fully to him…21st century is not that reliable to speak things out.
“You are gonna take pretty long time to pass out right? Hi hi…by that time my girl will have a safe bank balance!!!”
“Ho…leave that…I don’t really care…no…uncle….at times I get bothered…almost all my ol’ pals have got placed somewhere or the other…Infosys, Wipro, Satyam, IBM and the list goes on. My inbox is almost flooded with messages notifying me of the salaries that are gonna fill their pockets.”
“Don’t worry. I was kidding.”
“I think in another way uncle. Do you know about another practical problem that a lad like me faces?”
“Yes uncle… I am restricted when it comes to being a lover.”
“Hey I didn’t get that?
“Uncle I won’t even be able to love someone in my age…”
“Is medical college suffering from such shortage…”
“No uncle…I prefer someone having nothing to do with medicine. Why take chances? Complexes don’t let me try my luck with MBBS gals”
“Uncle here is an example…suppose I fell for an engineering student…say…yupp…your daughter…by the time I pass out...she’ll be a house wife…married to some lucky creep!”
“By the time you pass out…there will still be other gals in engineering college…right?
“Hey that ain’t a fair joke? Hi Hi”
“Gals…gals…child... you were sent to learn or love?”
“Uncle …planning for the future ain’t such a bad thing right? After all, these things never meddle with my studies”
“Then carry on.”…my interests in that kid grew up. I didn’t show it out anyway. In the chats that followed we got closer. I forgot my age. I walked years behind into my college days. I wished the train slowed down...so we could have more time.
That thought seemed to bite my bosoms…the train came to a halt…for some crossing over or so.
“Patience…uncle…hi hi….atleast we can chat more right? So you have become a successful father right?”
“Ya…I am feeling great. Half my job is done. Now gotta get my girl into safe hands.”
“She should be really young right? Do you really wanna trap her now?
“Aha…that is my child right? Hmmmmmm…Son I am nearing retirement…”
“Don’t worry uncle…Gimme time to pass out and I’ll marry yer girl!!!”
“Ooops…was just kidding”
“Hey…I loved that joke”
By this time, the lad had really won my interests and attention. His speech was pretty charming. Except for some haughtiness (I won’t blame him for that…for as a lad of his age I was the same).
“Do you mind giving you your cell number?”
“I was starting to ask that”
I soon received his missed call and saved his number.
Minutes later we reached the home station.
“Had a really good time with you son. Best wishes for your studies…and of course…your love affair. Try hard and get yourself secured…before you ask for someone’s hands or hearts or so?”
“ Thanks uncle and say my hi to your family….Mrs. Ranganathan and…errr….Deepti Ranganathan….”
“What…how on earth do you know my daughter’s name”
“Yupp…oh lord I am too good in guessing things correct. Great.”
“Cool...and amazing…you guessed right…my daughter’s name is Deepti..hi hi…”
As I walked away I started to smell something. Were all these mere coincidence? Was he really guessing things? Had I made a fool of myself? But I enjoyed it anyway. I rushed home. Hugged my dear daughter. Congratulated her.
As she went to the kitchen to get me a glass of water…I hurriedly typed in the guy's number into her mobile…ya it was there….under the title “Radhu “.
I told the whole tale to my wife.
She said, grinning like the Cheshire cat, “HISTORY REPEATS ITSELF”
I burst out laughing…