To help me out and assist, Ruby had involved everyone- from herself to her boyfriend. Sanjay had prepared my CV at his home Computer. The xerox of my 10th standard certificate was done at his place of work. It was a matter of co- incidence that only a 10th standard passing certificate copy was left with me. Remember, I had lost all my education certificates because of Blotch?
She had gifted me a pretty suit on my Birthday. A navy Blue Batik suit. It was a formal cotton suit. Sanjay’s parents had given me some cash in an envelope. needless to even mention that they had celebrated my birthday with great enthusiasm. That’s how it used to be on my birthdays.
I would often go to stay at her place. With Ruby and her sisters around, I would almost forget my problems. Her parents are as loving as they had been to their biological daughters. Since I didn’t use my dad’s name, she had lend me her father’s name there. “Prof. His name”. I was introduced as their cousin sister to their neighbors. Her father had almost thought that we were Primary school friends. We had become friends in our year of Boards.
The same girl, who had made me travel to Rohini from I.P. Extension had also made me travel my Life. Whatever I am, I owe it to Ruby- megatime. If she had not been around- I would have lost it much earlier. My name was changed on my CV- thanks Ruby. She had asked me that I declared, I want people to address me with a different name (Olivia).
After joining Jaypee Hotels, I had morphed into Olivia for good- very soon. Yes, I had joined in as my “earlier name” and become “my mom’s daughter”. I am sure; mom would have loved me more, watching that transition.
I had not given even a word out about that Blotch. I wonder how they would have reacted upon knowing about him. I wasn’t sure how they would have treated me, knowing about a 19 year old being in Live- In Relationship. 1997 was not a year when such staying In relationships were talked about. Actually, it still isn’t even in 2010.
That I had always wanted to be in such a relationship; is completely a different story. After having stayed with Blotch, the charm and my desire were both killed. I didn’t want any relationship to happen at all. Ruby and I had talked about Ralhan too. My opinion was as simple- if he could leave his wife for me; the chances are, he could leave me for some- one else. Moreover, he seemed to be a spineless oldie.
He couldn’t talk about his wife to me. He had started a friendship that was based on pretensions. How at all he could have taken it any further. The foundation was damaged the day it was formed. I don’t appreciate lies. Omission by selection is just that. I had wanted a commitment, involvement and a relationship and not a timepass date.
He had not been able to understand why I had kept quiet knowing about him. he had failed to notice my indifference. I had already stricken him out of my “close” friends. That’s right- there wasn’t anything whereby I could call it a relationship. We were far from it.
The last time Blotch had tried to talk to me was when I had just boarded a bus from ITO. I had worn my Govinda Yellow Tee- shirt and jeans- must have been a Saturday. I had not even looked at him. He had sat next to me. He had kept grumbling like a sadist- “Seems you have changed”, “your sense of dressing too has changed”, “you don’t even seem to notice me..”
Obviously, my Dad too had been nasty, if I could ignore him; I can anyone. I believe I master the art of becoming Indifferent. Moreoever, I always return in abundance. I give what I get- in multiples. I was bound to change. I had money to buy stuff and also no prude sitting on my head trying to instruct me what to wear. I had kept such a straight face, that I had pissed him off. He had felt so frustrated that he had got down at the next bus stop.
Sitting inside the bus, I had only noticed him a couple of days, looking at certain bus numbers, the ones that traveled that side.
The adjoining Hall that I had used while completing my College assignments; I had paid rent for that one too. The camera I had bought before going to Mussourie, had clicked beautiful pictures. Only that the reel was lost!! A few pics that were shot with the new reel, were developed. The studio guy had held out the pics in hesitation. Between my pics, there were some close snap- shots of Male Genital Organ.. OMG, for days together I had kept quiet about that. Gursharan had laughed his face off when I had shared that with him. Obviously, it was both funny and scary too. I had bought that reel from Mussourie itself.. Poor Me..
Not yet. Each succeeding experience had outdone the veracity of the previous one.
Babaji had one day wanted to speak with me. All he said was this- Meena, you seem to be an educated young girl. “Now that you have started earning too, you should move to a more respectable place. This village is not for you to stay..” His words were both bitter and sweet. I had to look for a new place. In the main town. Which meant higher rent; from 700/- to 2000/- maybe, if not more.
I had sought Ruby’s help. Ruby would personally go out and look for a place for me, taking offs from her work.
She had fixed me up to stay with Saloni. We were to share a floor in Janak Puri. Saloni was Ruby’s old contact and was elder to us. I had shifted out bags and baggage. While unloading the tempo, the landlord had become apprehensive. One, because Saloni was missing. Two, because my stuff wasn’t as light as of a single girl. Blame it on our mentality or culture; a single woman is considered as a street-walking nomad.
Ruby’s youngest sister had stepped in to talk it out with the landlord. Saloni had been gracefully missing. A couple of times that she had come, it was at around 10pm. Alongwith her boyfriend. Even though that he had never stayed, watching the two love- birds coochie- cooing was also out of my level of tolerance. Feeding each other, conversing in child- like lisp; I am sorry- I was not cut- up for all that.
We were eventually asked to vacate.
The day I had shifted, I was as if stepping into an unknown terrain. Seeing a single girl shifting out with so much stuff, he had stayed put outside the house till late. The almira I owned was a huge one. I had managed to load it on tempo stuffed with my clothes. Theflat I was to shift in had very narrow staircases. It was practically impossible to carry the almira through such corridors, what to talk of taking that upstairs packed with the clothings inside.
Standing on the street, in complete public view, it was emptied. The tempo owner was too pleased to be watching around. Reaching upstairs to my new house, but without the almira; I had lost it almost. I had sat in the middle of my stuff breaking down without realizing that the driver had quietly sneaked inside and watching me. The money was handed over to him, he had comeback to give that back.
For days together, he had kept calling my new landlords requesting them that he wanted to talk to me. Well, what else, taking pity on a homeless young girl; he had wanted to settle me down with him. WTF..!! How helpless I must have seemed that a Tempo Driver had outrightly wanted me to marry him. For all the foreign readers here, marrying a tempo/truck driver is as good as staying in a village. Uneducated, uncouth men without any set of mannerisms or literacy; one would have to lead a life of a villager belonging to the lowest strata. Wife- beating, man keeping himself drugged, uncountable children, no decent clothing or life- style; it would have been an exact life of a slum dweller. I had gone out at 10.30pm to locate a PCO and give him my mind. I had to threaten him of Police to discourage him.
Reaching office had become better. I didn’t have to travel as far. That comfort was only for a few days to last. I was soon to look for another place. I would have stayed there barely for 15 odd days. Ruby had decided I looked a place of accommodation in Vijay Nagar- North Delhi, Campus Area.
I had settling down for a very simple and almost shabby place. The landlords were super- sweet. The interior was not done up at all. Ruby and Sanjay had not appreciated that place a bit; they had failed to understand my haste in choosing that place as my home.
I had something else in my mind.
Sareeta didi had passed a consultant’s number who I had met on my week- off. I had met them at their Defence Colony office. Amongst the two guys- Rajesh and Rajat, it was the 2nd one who seemed to have picked up some liking towards me. I knew it wasn’t really let’s date and settle down affair that I was stepping into. But anyways, who had wanted any affair at all..? A few days after meeting him at his office, he had wanted to meet me. How Vineeta had laughed her guts off when I had asked my colleagues the way to Anupam, Saket- PVR now.
Next, that part of South Delhi was to become my Home. But before that, a lot of ugliness was to come too.
My level of tolerance was to be tested- hard enough to have broken me down. Into particles.