Raghu, whose ego was hurt more than Ranjini's, soon got his opportunity. Raghav and Raghu were group mates in lab, as they were adjacent roll numbers. Raghav, being the dumb guy that he is, had no clue about what was going on and left all the work to the ever sincere Raghu, who had no choice but to complete it as his grades would suffer if he didn't. Even though the coding was taken care of by Raghu, the viva was a oral one and Raghav had to face the music. When it was their turn, the teacher shot Raghu a question. Raghu, who was very well prepared, stood up, answered and sat down, as Raghav looked in awe. Now was Raghav's turn. Oh those vivas gave him a scare. Yes, vivas had potential to even scare huge creatures like Raghav. As he stood up, his legs were trembling, causing a minor quake underneath. "What is a Friend Function?" asked the teacher. 'wtf?' thought Raghav and looked down to Raghu for some help. Raghu sensed opportunity here and whispered "if a normal function doesn't perform its function, the friend function takes over and helps out the function.. just like how friends help other friends". For some reason, Raghav trusted his partner and reproduced the same words in a loud and confident manner. As soon as he completed the answer, everyone in class except 2 people was ROTFL. One of them was Raghav, who stood confused, and the other was the teacher who spoke some unsavory words which are best left censored before saying "GET OUT OF THE CLASS". The Kadala members gave a thumbs up sign to their leader and exchanged smiles with girls, as the Gethu members saw their leader walk out slowly like Rajnikanth in the film Muthu.
In the meantime, time flew and before they knew, it was final semester. It was time for the final year project. As luck would have it, Raghav was put in a group with Raghu, Ranjini, 3 other girls and 2 other Kadala members. Worse, he had to go out of campus and finish his project in a company with his group members. It was like Sachin Tendulkar forced to play cricket for Pakistan! It was just not possible. How would he live away from his friends for 4 months? How would he live with Raghu and other members? He felt so out of place that he even considered quitting Engineering, but sense prevailed and he found himself parting with his Gethu members for a 4 month stint with Kadala members. The kadala members, understanding his situation, had a hearty laugh and used every opportunity to bring down the mountain. He was cornered, he was helpless. He tried putting up a brave face but deep within, he knew he was like the character in the movie Chennai 28 where Jai cried inside the bathroom. How will he adjust? How will he get along with the girls? How will he laugh for lame jokes to impress girls? How will he act artificial to make girls laugh? All these questions haunted him. It was too embarrassing for him to handle but he didn't have a choice.
"Ranjini", he said as she turned. "I really don't know how to talk to you after what I did the other day. No amount of apologies would suffice. But as you know, I know absolutely nothing about what's going on in the project and what you are doing. I wont even understand it if I tried reading it myself. I would flunk the project big time if you don't help. Frankly, it's very embarrassing to sit idle all day. Please explain to me if you feel you should so that I can talk something during the viva..." he said, and walked away for lunch, without even waiting for a reply.
As he was eating alone in the food court, a familiar face came with a plate in hand to sit next to him. It was Ranjini. He was surprised but happy. He didn't know how to react. He struggled to keep himself normal. "Relax", said Ranjini. "I know what you did to me was wrong. I felt really hurt when you did it. But I got over it soon. I have no grudges against you. But I didn't talk to you the entire week because I too felt embarrassed, just like you. Nothing else. I realized how harsh I had been only when you came and spoke to me today. Do you remember what you said to me during the IV in the bus? I still think we can be good friends. I trust you will not hurt me again. I know you are a nice guy."
"I would've cried in happiness had I been a girl. Thanks so much Ranjini. And sorry once again", said Raghav.
The next day, he went to his system in a happier mood. "Ranjini.. please understand.. I cant come for lunch with everyone.. you know it.. I wont get along well with them..they don't like me either..it'll be embarrassing for everyone.. I feel comfortable eating alone.. or at max with you.. but its just not possible to eat with everyone..and I know it wont be nice if we ate together leaving the rest.. so please let me alone.."
"Shut up and come with us. Did you think you could ever be my friend? No right? So don't pass judgments before knowing people. I will talk to them and they will make you feel comfortable within the group. Don't worry. Shut up and sit now while I code." barked Ranjini.
Raghav's reactions can be divided into 3 parts:
Raghav's heart : ' *blushes*. Feels so nice when a girl takes so much rights in you to talk in this manner'
Raghav's mouth : "err.. okay...if you say so..".
Soon, it was time for lunch. Raghav went along with Ranjini to join the Kadala gang. He wondered what his gang's reaction would be if they saw this. He felt scared. He felt nervous. He dare not inform his friends about these developments. He had to put up with Raghu. He had to put up with the other Kadala members. He had to put up with girls. His only savior was Ranjini.As they started to eat, they started talking about the usual mokka(boring) stuff.
'hey .. ivan un aalu..' ...*giggles*.
' hey..ava un aalu..' * giggles giggles*
' hey Swetha, nee modhalla saaapdu', said one guy.
'inga modhala elaam kidaikkumaa saapda?', said Swetha as the whole group burst into laughter, leaving Raghav with a shocked expression which conveyed various meanings :
2. how could people laugh for this?
3. how could this be classified as a joke?
4. how could a guy laugh for this?
5. why don't girls have good sense of humor?
Ranjini, on her part tried her best to keep him involved in the conversation. After lunch, as they went back to their desks, she asked him "how was your experience with the 'kadala gang'?"
"haha.. I can understand..thats exactly what I like in you... but don't worry..you will get used to this..:P ;)"
All this, without his friends knowing of course!
Weeks flew and the project got over. It happened so that their module was chosen as the best one in the group. All credit to Ranjini, of course. She was elated and gave him a big hug! It took him by surprise and this is exactly when he knew it. He knew that he was in love! He wished he could tell her, but there was no way she was going to accept and he didn't want to lose a wonderful friend. More than that, he didn't want his gang members to ever know about all this! All these thoughts made him keep it to himself. But to his surprise, that night, he received a message on his mobile:
"Next Friday, on our farewell, I want to tell you something very important. It happens to be my birthday too!! And I am sure you will be happy. Now go back to your friends and keep guessing for a week!! :D. gnite. Sweet dreams! And oh..btw.. you were a wonderful partner to work with.. though you never worked ;) lol "
This is all he needed! He knew it! She felt the same too. With a million thoughts, he went to his house. One week felt like one year! He missed her badly. He wanted to hear from her. He messaged her a thousand times asking what it was about, but there was no way she was going to tell him! 'Damn it. These girls make even the hardest of persons go crazy!', he thought.
Friday came. Farewell day. The end of an era. The end of college life. So many fights, so many arguments, so many friends, so many ups, so many downs. In a way, college life was the biggest experience in life. It had everything. Friendship, love, enmity - he experienced it all! It was also the day he got back to his kadala gang after 4 months. He missed them, but he was more than happy with what he had got. There was no way his friends were going to understand if he told them about the developments. After all, he was the don of the class. He was their leader. He himself had insulted so many couples. He used to mock at the idea of falling in love. But now, he was facing it himself. How would the gang feel if he told them he loves Ranjini? He couldn't even imagine. They would feel the way Indians would feel if Sachin was accused of Match fixing. They would probably not even give it a thought. "Mokka podaadha da" , might be their reply!
He opened the one from Ranjini :
" Thanks. Thanks :D. no way. Come to the coffee shop at Besant Nagar after the farewell. I would like to see your reaction when I tell you. Till then, keep guessing :P"