Note: This is not a humor post. Some would read it as a story. Some would just ignore this. But for me, this is a very special post.



I quit consuming alcohol two years back. I started it back in college and then it continued in parties at workplace. But when I decided to call it quits, my decision was strong and I took it boldly. In the last two years, peer pressure had tried to pull me back to get back in touch with alcohol. But I was strong in my decision.

“What has happened to me today? Why am I feeling like drinking tonight?.” After two years I wanted to drink tonight. Why is my mind playing such a trick to restart a lost addiction? Was my mind reminding me to drink or was my mind reminding me of her…

I went to a Bar and bought two beer bottles. I did not want to drink at my place. So I went to a near-by football ground. It was 10 pm. The moon shone bright and the sky was very clear. There was a Phone-booth there and a small shop. No body else was around. It was a very calm place indeed. This was the same football ground where my friends and I have got drunk many a times. But tonight I was sitting all alone in the ground with the two beer bottles. The wind was blowing freely. The air around me was still though. The breeze ruffled my long hair and the teardrops dried.

I was crying all along. The guy in the Bar who sold me the two beer bottles even asked me the reason behind my tears. I didn’t answer him though. I opened the first bottle with my teeth. I took my first sip. It was sour. I hated beer but now I needed it.

It has been four years and I haven’t talked to her for four years. I first met her in the year 2000.We were in love for four and a half years. But why am I crying today? Why am I sad? Why have I bought these two beer bottles? Why am I sitting all alone? I did not lose anything. I have my family. I have my friends. I am having my fun for the last four years. But why am I crying today?

She was my junior in college. The first time our eyes met, I knew that she was born for me. "What is your name?”, my rough voice echoed through her eardrums. "Pooja", a soft voice soothed my eardrums. She was my favorite junior and my batch mates were not allowed to rag her (Strict instructions from me). She loved my voice and I started singing songs for her every day.

Chriz”, Do you smoke and drink? “ Yea, Not heavy though”. She did not talk to me for two weeks. Now I feel I should have left her that instance. But she met me again and asked me to promise that I would never drink or smoke again. I promised but still continued smoking and drinking.

*******
I looked at the beer bottle. It was still full. I have had just that one sip. It had lost its chillness. I looked around. There was a guy in the telephone booth, busy talking with someone

******

College day celebrations. She was sitting in the crowd. I was on stage with my band.I did not take my eyes off Pooja.She had her eyes fixed on mine too. The vacuum between us was so thick that I could actually cut it with a knife.Lady in Red. My friends knew that I dedicated the song to her.

That night my hostel warden came to my room and said: “ Phone for you chriz”. Nobody used to call me at my hostel number. Not even my parents. I was thinking who it would be.I picked up the phone.

“Chrissy Boy, Thanks for that song. I love you”

“What did you just say? Say that again”

“Golden words are not repeated”

“ I didn’t hear that clearly enough. Why don’t you say that again?”

“I will tell it to you tomorrow when we meet in college. Till then miss me” and she hung up the phone, I felt like I was the most beloved person in the world. We grew closer.

I am in my final year of engineering now. We now know each other for two years. Two years of togetherness. I took her to the beach. We were in love. Neither of us ever proposed to each other. But we knew in our hearts that we were in Love and we kept on telling,” I love you” every day. I finally popped the question, "Can I make you mine?"... A few minutes of silence.. Our eyes spoke the language of love. Our love finally blossomed in the beach.

The next year (2003), I was out of college. I had bought a mobile phone. That was the year mobile phones came to India in a bigger way. I presented her with a mobile phone on her birthday. We talked for hours together every day. The heavy mobile phone bills said it all.

The next year, I got admitted to an MBA program in Cochin. She got a job in a famous IT firm in Mumbai. We had not met in a long time. I decided to meet her and went all the way to Mumbai. We had a great time. I knew she missed me a lot. She was not the same girl, I once knew. She was a shy little girl in college. Now she is working and she had a matured way of looking at things in life. When I was about to leave, she asked me

"When will you marry me?"

"Wait till I finish my MBA"

"But my parents are looking for a guy for me. It is very hard to convince them. You are Tamil. I am a Sindhi. You are a Christian. I am a Hindu. Do you think that it will work out?"

" Why such a doubt after four years? That too on a special day?"

"Just wanted to ask you! Do you think that we could make it?"

"Whatever happens, I am sure that we will make it through"

Our daily phone calls became once in week phone calls. Whenever we talked, she kept on telling me the different proposals that are coming her way. “Chriz! I think we should break this. I don’t think this will work out” I was left behind. She couldn’t hear me. She couldn’t sense the shudders I silently broke into whenever she talked that way. Why aren’t men allowed to cry aloud?

It’s unfair. I was a man. I could not cry.
I could not hate her.
I was not cracking my usual jokes these days.
I had forgotten to smile.
I could not joke which had been my trademark symbol.
I could not Sing.

She stopped talking to me. She stopped attending my calls. I would get a text message saying " I am busy in a meeting. I’ll call you later”. But I would never get a callback. I even thought of begging to her to talk to me. But, Can a man beg? I have heard people say the phrase “Act like a man. Do not beg”. Women can cry. Women can beg. The world accepts these emotions as natural outcomes of feelings. But why are men not allowed to do all these? What are men supposed to do? I never found out.

The two beer bottles were still full. One bottle was open and the other one was still not open. I looked at my watch. It was midnight. I turned around and I could still see the young boy in the phone-booth. He was still talking on the phone. I could hear his voice clearly. He was listening intently for several seconds. Then he spoke in a shivering voice, "Please Minu ... Don’t leave me like this. I feel like dying ... ". I left the bottles in the football ground and started walking. As I walked, I observed his face. I saw a glitter of wetness in his eyes.

and I thought ... "Men don’t cry".

-Chronicwriter