By Ganesh Subramanian
The bell rang loud and clear. It signalled the end of the final semester exams. All the students heaved a sigh of relief. Vikranth rushed madly towards the college bus- Route No.6 which takes him to his house. Finding his favourite seat, he dumped his bag and slumped by the window seat, closing his eyes for a moment allowing his brain cells to relax which seemed to have worked overtime cramming up equations and formulae. There was a tap on his shoulder. Vikranth opened up his eyes to see Nidhi standing next to him. She sat beside him and asked, “How did it go?” Vikranth sighed and said, “Hoping to clear it. Surely not going to top the subject though”. Both of them laughed.
“You know what”, Nidhi continued, “Actually feel bad that we are gonna miss all this fun of college life”.
“Yeah. In a way.” replied Vikranth. “But equally excited looking forward to the corporate life”.
The next 45 mins of the bus journey passed in a jiffy with Vikranth and Nidhi reminiscing about the 4 years that they had spent in engineering. When Nidhi’s stop came, she waved good bye to her best friend Vikranth and promised to call him up soon.
Weeks passed. Vikranth and Nidhi are computer engineering students from a newly opened engineering college in the city. Vikranth and Nidhi opted for this college despite the college being a new one and despite the fact that the college may struggle to find campus placements for its students, simply because they could be at home during their graduation. So barring a few students who were willing to accept jobs in mediocre BPOs that visited the campus for placements, the college placement department couldn’t do much. As a result, students were left to seek their own avenues for jobs.
Nidhi called up Vikranth on one day. She seemed excited. “Hey Vikranth. I got placed in Czone solutions. Attended an aptitude test followed by an interview two weeks back. Looks like I did well. Got the offer letter from them today. I have to join in a month’s time from now.” replied Nidhi.
“Hey Congrats. So now this news calls for a treat. Isn’t it?” said Vikranth.
“Surely it does. But only after I get my first salary” Nidhi teased him.
“Hey that’s unfair. I need it soon. I can’t wait for two months till you get your salary” reasoned Vikranth.
“Ok. Ok. I will treat you soon” laughed Nidhi. “How’s your job search coming along?”
“In Czone, my application number is in 10000s. Not sure if and when will they call me. Other prospects not looking that promising at the moment” replied Vikranth.
“Don’t lose hope. It’s only a matter of time before you land on a new job”, Nidhi tried to pacify him. “Ok. I have to hang up now. Will catch up with you later. Bye”, said Nidhi
Two months passed. Vikranth was still jobless. Nidhi didn’t call Vikranth even once in the interim. Vikranth was also increasingly getting frustrated by the fact that another one of his classmates – Nitin – has been visiting Nidhi’s house often on weekends to work out aptitude questions with Nidhi’s help for his job search.
Nidhi ignoring him was killing Vikranth. He told another of his best buddies – Dinesh – that he’s got a bone to pick with Nidhi. Dinesh advised him not to do anything stupid. But Vikranth was determined to set things straight.
He finally called Nidhi. “Hello Vikranth. Nice to hear from you. It’s been a long time. You’ve forgotten me or what?” laughed Nidhi.
“I should be asking you that question. Madam seems to be very busy these days”, said Vikranth in a no-nonsense tone.
“Lots of work, Vikranth. No time to breathe” reasoned Nidhi.
“Oh, I see, You don’t have time for me. But you have time for Nitin. Isn’t it?” remarked Vikranth sarcastically.
“Nothing like that, Vikranth. Why are you comparing you and Nitin? What’s wrong with you?” asked Nidhi.
“What’s wrong with me??? Everything’s wrong with you only. Not even one call in 2 months, but you have time for that egg-head Nitin” thundered Vikranth.
“Stop that Vikranth”, growled Nidhi.
“What do you think of yourselves? Just because you are in a job, you think you are a demi-god or something?” Vikranth screamed. His joblessness feeling was getting the better of him and his emotions came in a torrent.
“If you are going to speak like this, don’t call me hereafterwards” Nidhi remarked angrily.
“Fine. So be it” thundered Vikranth and slammed the phone down.
Two years passed. Vikranth and Nidhi didn’t speak even once after that incident. Ironically, Vikranth was also now working in the same company as Nidhi’s. Vikranth found Nidhi’s mail id through the people search option in his mail folder. He mailed her apparently in an effort to mend things. No reply even after 4 hours. Vikranth called Anisha, another collegemate of Vikranth and Nidhi and a common friend to both of them and she also worked in the same company in Nidhi’s team. Anisha spoke to Nidhi and informed him that Nidhi will be sending him a reply shortly.
Ping. Vikranth’s mailbox beeped with the sound of arrival of a new mail 20 minutes after Vikranth spoke with Anisha. Vikranth opened the mail from Nidhi. The reply was short. It said:
“I don’t know what to say. You apparently feel that what you have done is wrong. But we can’t be the same friends anymore. We can just be hi-bye friends” replied Nidhi.
Vikranth realised that a rift has formed between them. He acknowledged the fact that he and Nidhi can never be the same good old best friends once again. He shook his head and closed the email from Nidhi.