"It's not cheating", Nikhil said as we walked out of the school gate, "at least not in my opinion. I mean, yes I did look at the paper of that girl but then again, I love her, and you know, there is so much sacrifice in love! Her sacrifice was the five marks that the teacher took away from her and my sacrifice is that I would never get to see her again."
"You were smiling when the teacher wrote minus five on her papers!" Rohit exclaimed.
"Well, if you can cry tears of joy then you can smile smiles of pain too, right?"
Rohit did not answer. They were talking about the day's exam. I did not pretty much care about it, apart from the fact that it was the last exam of my tenth standard. And the fact, that I had around three months to goof around with nothing to do.
We three walked out of the school gate. Nikhil and Rohit kept on talking. We were close friends. I did not talk much. I guess that's what balanced our trio. They two talked too much and I talked only when it was needed. We stood outside the school for a while, chatting up with some of our friends. Arjun Arora was the first one who came up to us. He was this crazy guy who did many outrageous things in school like taking pictures of teachers, shouting weird comments in the hallway, making faces at people he did not know, getting into fights and all. He was not evil or anything but just a little bit wicked or a bit retarded maybe.
"What's up, sluts!" he exclaimed and signaled for a high five. However, none of us reciprocated that. We had a personal bet going on. Whoever amongst us three would high five Arjun first would have to pay three hundred bucks to the rest.
"Nothing much man, hey is that a stud in your ear?!" Nikhil asked.
"Yeah baby! A pure stud for a stud!" he titled his head to show it to us. It was a stud, a small piercing thing he had done. I hated it as soon as I saw it. I mean, what kind of a guy gets his ear pierced?
"Why?" Rohit asked, straightforward guy that he was.
"Because it makes him looks more of a man", Nikhil added, "Nothing is more macho than a stud in the ear, isn't it, Risharbh?"
"Oh yeah", I replied, taking part in the impromptu sarcasm, "It's exactly what every little boy dreams of doing when he grows up."
Arjun kept on smiling. Maybe he did not get the sarcasm, or maybe he was just ignoring it. He was weird anyway.
The next person who talked to us was Vivek. He was also no less of a character. Vivek Ahuja was someone who would bring up the most humanly possible disgusting things into a conversation.
"Hey people", he said as he came to us, "You know, I think I found something about our geography teacher that you all will find very useful."
"What?" Nikhil asked, more out of boredom than curiosity.
"He does some serious up down action in the bathroom." He was smiling.
"Yeah, right", Rohit said, "You mean that he actually"
"Wait wait", Nikhil interrupted him, "How do you even know that he does that?"
"I know, my friend. I just know. In fact, you may find me very disturbing after you find out how I knew about it."
"We still find you very disturbing, Vivek." Rohit replied.
"Well, I find you three all very disturbing too. You know, the way you three always walk together and all, get a room sometime you know, a big large expensive room to do the stuff that you all fantasize about all the time."
After delivering this speech that was clearly demonstrating his intelligence, he left us. We three then talked amongst ourselves for a while. We were standing against this wall of our school. We were also wearing blazers and all, because of the cold. It was February, and Februaries are very cold in Dehra, the town where I live.
"So guys, we will be jamming in these upcoming months, right?" Rohit asked.
"No dear rabbit, we would just burn in the sun and evaporate and our little minute specs will jam. Get your head out of your ass!" Rabbit was the nickname Nikhil had for Rohit.
"I think we should write our own material", I said. We were talking about our band'. All three of us used to play instruments. Rohit and me used to play guitars and Nikhil was the bassist and the singer. Our houses were in the same neighborhood, so jamming was not much of a problem. And, it was fun too. We would do weird crazy covers of any song we liked. We would try to play a Pink Floyd song Red Hot Chili Peppers style. It was actually kind of amusing. Jamming was what got all three of us together, and also kind of screwed our studies.
"Our own material? Like what?" Nikhil asked.
"Like songs?" Rohit answered Nikhil question with a rhetorical question. I had to interrupt them or they would start arguing again.
"I mean, yes, write our own songs. Music, lyrics and all."
"Okay, we can try that. But we need to find a drummer first for god's sake", Nikhil said. We really did need to find a drummer and believe me when I say it, it isn't easy. Finding drummers is in fact, one of the hardest things that you can think about. It's right there on top alongside getting laid on every hardest things list that has ever been made.
We had tried to find a drummer. But there was some problem or the other with the drummer, always. Either he would be too loud or too snobby or his musical influence would be different than ours and then Nikhil and he would start fighting on whose musical influence was greater and then they would get into a fight, Nikhil would get his ass kicked and then we three would be thrown out of the house. Anyway, as I said, finding drummers is one of the hardest things that one can do.
"You know what we really need?" Rohit started, "We need to record something and put it up on the net."
"And then what? Wait I know! We will get a noble prize for the astonishing discovery of this magical thing called uploading?" This was Nikhil, of course.
"No, I mean, then people will start paying attention to us. I mean, think about it, won't it be awesome if we start getting like a fan base?"
"Rohit, frankly no one gives a shit about covers. We will only get fans if we make our own material, which is what I was saying anyway."
We talked for a while on this topic. They did most of the talking. I just nodded as they kept on speaking and replied occasionally. Again, talking was not really my kind of thing.
"Hey, look, there's your chick, Risharbh." Nikhil pointed to a girl who just walked out of the school gate.
She was Priya. Beautiful, gorgeous Priya. I had this huge crush on her since I saw her for the first time a few months ago. And again, as I am not a great talker, I never really even talked to her, forget about telling her what I thought about her.
"Looks like she's talking to a guy there", Rohit said. She was talking to a guy. "He's probably a senior. Eleventh I guess. Only those creeps go after the younger chicks."
"Why don't you just go and tell her?" Nikhil was looking at me.
"Tell her what? Look, just leave it, all right?" I didn't want him to start all over how I was being a coward and a fool and the whole "Time won't stop for love" thing. She walked away soon, with this senior freakishly tall dude beside her.
Nikhil nudged Rohit on the shoulder and spoke in this very show business kind of way. Basically, he made sure that I heard him, "Hey Rohit, do you think they are like doing it?!"
"Don't be an ass." Rohit replied.
"No I mean seriously," he started again, this time he also imported a bit of a British accent in his voice, "I think they would start it just as they get out the view. You know, of course nobody cares here. I mean, does anybody care?" He looked around, as if searching for someone. He was really a drama queen, "well, sadly, no one cares. The unfortunate tale of a lover who must not be heard. Such is the tragedy of life, my friends; such is the tragedy of life and love."
I did not say anything to him but I seriously wanted to punch him. However, I did not. Nikhil was always that kind of a guy you know whom you want to punch but then you realize that he is right, in some twisted way. And also that he would probably punch me back if I punched him. And I also knew that his punch would be much stronger and powerful than my punch, and the fight would be really fought over something that was stupid and I would regret it later. Such was the real tragedy of my insignificant life. Just as Nikhil stopped the show business type voice thing, a car pulled up next to us. Rohit's brother was the driver. He signaled us to get in the car and we followed.
Nikhil and I said hello to him. He was actually like our friend. He was in college and all, and he was above the legal age, but apart from that, there weren't many differences. He liked Floyd's music, we liked Floyd's music. He liked Dead Poets Society, we liked Dead Poets Society. This way, culturally we had a lot in common, so there wasn't really any awkwardness when he was around and all. In fact, it was kind of cool in a way. Even Nikhil did not seem to mind having him around.
After a quick drive, he dropped me at my place.
"And we shall be rocking tonight, alright?" Nikhil shouted from inside the car in his phony British voice, "Be there at my place by eight o clock or go somewhere and suck some cock!"
"Whatever man", I said as I got out of the car, "See you later."
"Later", Rohit said and his brother nodded. After the car had left, I walked a few steps and entered my home.