Love in the time of Kargil


I had been chatting on the Internet since the past one week. I loved every minute of it. I simply loved it when my screen read-

quasi_concave is now online.(That was my chatID, you see)

Every day introduced me to new people, new nationalities, new religions, and new strains of thought. It was an experience for the mind of the highest order. An experience so very ethereal, too good to be taken as true.

Well reader, it is not my intention to bog you down with mundane, meaningless rhetoric. I claim to be more an entertainer than a mere storyteller, and will try to live up to my name. Let’s cut the crap, as they say, and get into the crux of the matter….

I had, in that first week of my initiation to the wonderful world of chat, tried to make as many friends as possible. Tried to get intimate with an army of people. However, all that materialized were the His and the Hellos.

Frustration was creeping on me, when I hit upon a mine of gold. Quite naturally, I didn’t want to let it go at any cost.

Hey reader, interested? Well then, read on…….

The screen read— dewdrops_00 is online.

Dewdrops_00 must be a female’s ID, I thought. I decided to take a chance.

"I am 22/male/Indian".

"What’s your ASL?", I asked. (Incidentally, ASL stands for Age, Sex, Location)

"20,female, Pak",came reply.

"Does Pak mean Pakistan? ", I asked.

"Yes. Still interested? ".

Wow, so I was chatting to a Pakistani girl. Lucky me!

"Why do you ask that ", I tried to prevent the conversation from breaking down.

"Nahin, you Indians hate Pakistanis, that’s why."

"We are originally children of the same soil, aren’t we?", I made a frantic attempt

to save the day.

She seemed satisfied at hearing that, and typed in a smiley face to let me know that all was "quiet" on the "western front".

I heaved a sigh of relief. We chatted for some more time that day, and promised to chat with each other the next day as well.

I returned back to the hostel, a satisfied man. Quite naturally, I couldn’t sleep in the night. Thus ended Day1 of my "story".

I readied myself for the PC lab the next day. Believe me reader, it was as if I was going to meet her in person. I was so enthusiastic! I reached the lab rather ahead of the promised time. Logged into the chat site with bated breath.

The message read—

dewdrops_00 is offline.

"She’ll surely come. She promised yaar."I tried to pacify myself. My heart was beating twice as fast than the normal rate.

A prompt popped up-

dewdrops_00 is online.

My joy knew no bounds.

"Hi! Missed you.", I said.

"Sorry, had a traffic holdup."

"Never mind", I was quick to add.

"What is your real name, quasi?", she asked of me.

So this girl wants my real name. No one ever asked for that before. I murmured to myself.

"Ladies first, dewey", I typed in with a tone of naughty affection.

"Zeba Suleiman".

"Subrata Bose", quoth I.

"Hey, I have to go now", she said.

"But you just logged in….".

"Will talk to you again tomorrow, Ok?"

"Ok’, I said.

And folks, that was Day2 .She had barely logged in and disclosed her name, when she had to log off again."Shit!", I mumbled.

"Why does it always happen with me?".

All the same, I felt satisfied that she had kept her promise.

The third day proved worthwile.We had a nice 2 hour-long chat. She told me that she was a resident of Lahore.That she was doing her graduation in Fine Arts from the Habibuddin Institute of Higher Studies.That her father was an established surgeon at the Lahore Centre of Pediatrics.That her mother was a "homemaker". She categorically told me that she hated to call her just a housewife. That her Zodiac signs was Pisces, same as mine. That her hobbies were collecting rare coins, playing Table Tennis, swimming and reading books from her father’s shelves, specially the ones on Pharmacotherapeutics. Gee, I said to myself. This girl sure comes from a very good background.

God must have made this girl for me.

"Can we be friends", I asked her one day.

"We are already the best of friends, I suppose."

I told all my classmates and my family about Zeba.Everyone congratulated me.

Two weeks thus passed. Our friendship gradually bore fruits of love. Every day offered something new to me. The summer sun seemed no longer harsh. The birds seemed to chirp sweeter than ever before. I would shout with childlike glee whenever large drops of rain fell on my cheeks. Flowers blossomed in myriads of hues, leaves rustled as if inviting me to dance with them. Omingosh, I started off all over again…. Ha Ha Ha.

Ok, Ok, I am back to business.

We used to chat to each other whenever we were both online, and that was more the rule than the exception!

I promised Zeba to come over to Lahore some day and meet her.

"Purey pagal ho tum", she would say.

One fine morning, I went to the PC lab, all geared up to chat online with Zeba.

One of my classmates was already at the PC room, chatting away as well. He looked at me and smiled. I couldn’t quite comprehend that smile.

I logged in into the chat site. The screen read-

dewdrops_00 is online.

I was surprised. Zeba doesn’t normally log-in so early in the day. Suspicion got the better of me. I tiptoed up to where my classmate was sitting, and peeped at his monitor.

My worst suspicions were confirmed.

Zeba Suleiman was not a Pakistani babe as I had come to believe. It was one of my classmates fooling me all along.

For a moment, I felt like I had been orphaned. It took me some time to realise what had transpired.

We had a nice laugh that day back at the hostel, although at my cost!

And believe me my friends, I have never again logged into any Internet Chat sites since that day.

………………………………..Laughing out loud.