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.
The incident sparked off yet another round of never ending arguments and fights between the two gangs, with the gethu gang emerging winners most of the time. The gethu gang members stopped talking to girls completely, and the only time they did was when they made prank calls before exams (somehow, everything else seems interesting before an exam!).
The kadala members participated in various extracurricular activities and continued to impress the girls.
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.
During the initial week, all the members were given modules and 2 of them had to share 1 system. To his dismay, Raghav had to share his system with the worst possible person in the group - not Raghu, it was Ranjini. He was a big zero when it came to programming, but there was no way he was going to ask her help after what he did to her a year back. He silently sat next to her as she did their work. It was too humiliating as she didn't even treat him like a stranger, she completely ignored his presence.
During lunch time, everyone in their gang would eat together. Raghav had no option but to eat alone. He would quickly eat and get back to his system.A week passed and they had to report their progress to their team lead. For the entire week, though he had sat next to her throughout the day, they didn't speak even a single word. Now, the need had come for him to talk to her. With a lot of hesitation, he spoke.
"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.
"No sorrys and Thank Yous between good friends. From tomorrow, join the gang for lunch. Don't say no. it's an order... and oh... I will teach you the module today after lunch", she said and walked away.
After the day, Raghav went back to his room with a multitude of thoughts. How could he have hurt such a nice girl? It felt nice to talk to a girl. He finally sympathized with Raghu. He had been a barren land for years. Now, he sensed a little bit of rain. But amongst these thoughts, he was suddenly reminded of a more important problem - how on earth was he going to have lunch with a group of guys and girls from the Kadala gang?????????
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."
Raghav's reactions can be divided into 3 parts:
Raghav's mind : 'wtf!! Mariyaadha rumba korayudhu?(no respect at all?). not even my best friends had spoken to me like this..not even when they were drunk!!'
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..'
' 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'?"
"err.. it was ok.. except that I found the jokes to be pretty lame..frankly, I can't get myself to be this artificial.."
"haha.. I can understand..thats exactly what I like in you... but don't worry..you will get used to this..:P ;)"
There is something about a girl's wink which makes you forget who you are. Raghav certainly forgot that he was head of the Gethu gang back in college. As days passed, he found himself completely attracted to Ranjini. He spent the entire day time with her at the desk and even went out with her a couple of times. He knew for sure that she didn't have any intentions but he was pulled towards her by a strong force - you can call it love or attraction or infatuation or whatever, but he just wanted to be with her. He even got along well with the Kadala members.
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!
Which one was a wrong choice? Falling in love? Or being in the gethu gang? So many questions came to his mind. Then he saw his angel walking into the hall in a saree. It was her birthday as well. There was no way he was going to talk to her directly in front of his friends. So he went to the restroom for some privacy and sent her a text message:
"You look gorgeous in saree. Happy birthday. What were you going to tell me?? Cant wait. Tell me now" 5 minutes after he sent the message, he got 2 messages in his inbox.
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"
Blushing, he saw the next Message. It was from his friend Pandirajan :
"Dey naaye.. we are going to get sarakku for party tonight.. farewell sarakku.. last time! Come to Arvind's terrace at the end of the mokka farewell party..varalenaa konnuduven.. some 35 guys are coming..vandhu seru..bye..".
and he was faced with the everlasting question to which no guy has found a proper answer -
" Friend ah?? Figure ah??"