That night we both went into a popular hangout of New York,Nirvana.As we sat down in our place to have dinner,two drunken white men came to our table and started abusing us.Apparently they had lost their job in the company where they worked.They thought we Indians were responsible for this as jobs were being outsourced to Indian engineers.First we took it in good humor as we had heard of such experiences from other expats living there.Then they took it a notch higher and this statement "Son of a snake charmer and a prostitute" really angered me.We dint know that such racist mindset and ignorant people still lived in the 21st century.
We saw that other white men there were not coming to our rescue,so we thought of just leaving that place and go.As we were leaving one of the men brazenly pulled Priya's arm and tried to manhandle her.I tried to talk them into leaving her.They got annoyed and both guys started punching me hurling abuses all the while.I was no Rajnikanth,but still tried to fight them but after 30 seconds had blackened out.When i regained consciousness Priya was looking over me.
As my hair was falling over the wound near the eye,she carefully caressed it away.I felt i was in 9th heaven.
Apparently the manager in Nirvana had called 911 and the public had come to her rescue.(Which ever country may it be,people come to rescue of women but men are meant to be battered).I had got some minor concussions with a minor cut on the face.I was put up in a small clinic.Apparently in America it was like i had returned from war.The grave expressions with which the doctor was talking exemplified this.I now understood how americans give importance to each life,whereas in India people react after a major blast only if the death toll is more than 50,else they ask "oh only 10,not big blast then".
The policeman who had come there was more concerned about my background than the profile of the thugs.He was virtually justifying this act.The contrast between the first world and third world was now blurring in my eyes.The glamorous lights of "AMERICA!!" were not that bright any more.The "BIG AMERICAN DREAM" was busted.The lax attitude of the police officer was because i was a brown man.The seniors with whom we had come,came visiting.I was advised rest that day.The next day one of our senior asked us to join them to one of his friend's place.
On the way he was telling how brilliant his friend Harish Kamkelkar was.He said that they were colleagues before and now Harish had shifted to New York to manage the company's division there.We reached Harish's place in downtown Manhattan with the taxi driver looking at me suspiciously throughout the route as though i was going to bring the next highrise down.
The door opened and i was left stunned.It was Divya's husband.I had known his name was Harish but had not known his full name and all.I looked around to see if Divya was there.Harish had not recognized me.How was he to remember one face among a 1000 random faces who came to his wedding?He warmly hugged my senior Girish which highlighted how thick they were.He later called his wife Cathreen!! an american. I was shocked.Had he left Divya?.It had not been even 5 months since they had wed.Girish interrupted me to say that Harish would be rejoining the San Jose division.
Harish asked me something but i was not listening.Priya slightly nudged me that Harish was asking something.On our ride back home Girish said that Harish had married against his parents' wishes.I was puzzled.To remove my doubts i called up to my uncle home in Kumta from an ISD line.The conversation was petering along and i quietly brought up the issue of Divya.Uncle said that she had not yet got visa even after 2 attempts and she was again going to Chennai after a couple of days for this.She would be soon joining Harish!.He asked whether to give the phone to Divya which i politely declined,as i dint have the heart to talk to her.
I had only heard of how some NRI boys used to cheat girls from India specially the rural ones,but this had happened to my dearest friend,no love!.Divya was a sensitive girl whom i knew had built castles about her life and all.She was wronged by not getting to marry her real love,me!!,but i had chickened out and left her in the cold.Now this,this would really shatter her(for that matter any girl).As i was lost in my thoughts Priya asked me what was on my mind.
Our relationship had grown from hate to friendship.We both were now able to understand each other's thoughts even without speaking.It had matured but my mind was still lost on Divya.We returned to San Jose.Varun had joined us there.
16th July 2010:
Our company had organised a party as part of the 50th anniversary of the founding of our company.After dinner there was a ball.Couples were picked on lot for the dance.Priya and me had got different people as partners,but she surprisingly came up to my partner and asked whether they could switch partners.The hot(I mean really hot,i dint want to change ;)) white girl agreed.The dance was a different experience for me.I had changed a lot,from the boy who used to go weak in the guts department when around girls had now learned to live life.Priya had taught that it was okay to have a bit of fun in life.Her exuberance had rubbed off on me.Having never held a girl before,it was embarrassing initially but after a while it seemed right.
After the ball, drinks was served.Rubens literally put the drink in my mouth as he himself was in high spirits.I now drank after coming to America.It was like i had found unlimited freedom.A new alter ego had developed within me.Sitting outside in the lawn looking at the black spotted moon,Priya and me talked a dime to a dozen.I told her everything,even my two brushes with love and also what i had learned about Divya.
This brought to the fore the feminist within Priya.She started abusing Harish and how he should be sent to jail for ruining a girl's life.As she was speaking my respect for her grew.Over the past 5 months i had come to like her many characteristics.Her face shining with the moon in the background made me forget all other things in my mind.As my feelings of love churned out of control in my stomach "I LOVE YOU",i blurted out.Its amazing how certain things which you plan to tell in a certain way come out in the most unplanned of moments.
She looked at me as though a candle was lit in her heart too.But she just walked away slowly from there.I was saddened.Had i lost her?As i was contemplating these various doubts she just turned back and ran towards me.We kissed!!(The second planned thing which just happened).It was so pure and seemed so right.She said that she had planned this run after a famous Spanish movie!!(Whoever said movies do not influence people!!)
I was so happy that day that i dint know what hit me after it...
JULY 23rd 2015:
As i opened the album..."Jatin!!" came a scream.As i looked up it was.... PRIYA.They were now married.I dint know how to react.The girl whom i had proposed to first was now married to my best friend.Memories of how i had come to hate Varun flashed.But now the hate was no longer there.I had come to terms with reality.I dint want to live with the bad memories forever.I decided i had to get on with my life.As i was leaving from there,i remembered something and.....