More at the D-Camp

Beside the neighbour sat the naked guy. Not that he was naked, of course. But the blogger always thought he seemed uncomfortable in clothes. Whenever the blogger looked, the naked guy was either adjusting his shirt in vain or fidgeting around with his pants. He had the air of someone who found clothing quite unnatural and even unnecessary. With a huge yawn, he stuck a hand down the back of his collar and scratched himself somewhere in the region of his kidney and gave a nod of recognition to the blogger. The blogger, in turn, hastily looked away and pretended to be immersed in his screen.

The tiny pencil rolled uncertainly. It failed to see what enjoyment the blogger drew out of blowing at it. If given a chance, it would give the blogger a piece of its mind. But fate wanted otherwise. The pencil continued to roll; the blogger continued to blow. It was only when the naked guy strode over to the blogger’s desk did the pencil finally cease its motion.

“You want to grab a coffee?” asked the naked guy. The blogger was unsure of how to react in such a situation. Even the pencil had somehow lurked out of sight. Unable to spot any escape route, the blogger slowly got up from his chair. The neighbour stole a glance at the duo and shook his head. If the world were to spin his way, the blogger would now be hanging upside down over the pit of hell and the naked guy would be wearing enough clothes to put an eskimo on a particularly chilly day to shame. But fate of course, wanted otherwise. The neighbour could do nothing more than dig his sparkling clean nails deeper into his keyboard and stare at the backs of the two figures that were now retreating towards the coffee area.

“I heard you know some coding.” said the naked guy to break the ice. The blogger chose not to reply. He wasn’t used to the naked guy’s jokes yet. He mumbled something that he prayed his project manager wouldn’t hear.

“What?” came the expected response. The blogger always wondered why people found truth so hard to believe. “You are from the computer science background, aren’t you?”, said the naked guy who had more or less come to a standstill.

The coffee machine sneaked a dark brown liquid into two cups and prayed that the blogger and his accomplise would mistake it for coffee. But fate of course, wanted otherwise. The blogger stared at the cup in his hand for a while before choosing to answer the question that the naked guy had thrown at him. Slowly, he lowered the cup; the coffee machine shivered with the suspense. The answer came at last, with a slight nod of the head and the unceremonious dumping of the coffee cup. The naked guy, it seemed, was still having trouble comprehending the truth.

“But even your neighbor has studied computer science and he manages just fine!” the neighbor exclaimed, cup in hand, its contents flying everywhere. The blogger merely looked back at him and shrugged. On the coffee machine he pressed a button that said ‘Hot milk’ and hoped that the naked guy would stop asking questions and that he would somehow get his work done in the future. Fate, of course, wanted otherwise.


The D-Camp

Back at the D-Camp, all is well. Well, almost. If you ignore the inability of the blogger to decode a single line of programming and the persistant unavailability of anybody who can help him do so, things do appear pretty rosy. Software, as they say, are works of art. They are melodies, strung together by a quartet of artists of the finest programming calibre. They are elaborate fabrics, woven by the the clearest and purest of minds. To such a field a novice and a tramp at trades, and the blogger certainly, did not belong; but was yet to find out. The person in question clicked lazily at the screen. In 2 hours he was expected to master the in-and-outs of the application – a task he considered a mere waste of time. Any kid with a straw in mouth and a mouse in hand would know how to login and browse a website. With one eye on the guy sitting next to him, he alt-tabbed out to a realm of his interest and that he believed made greater use of his intellectual abilities.

27 seconds. A new record for himself. He proudly typed in his name in the Statistics and grinned around at imaginary people who applauded his grand effort. With a sigh, he closed the window that read ‘Minesweeper’ and cared to glance at his neighbour again. The bespectacled guy continued to oggle at his screen. A sly sideways movement and an innocent-looking stretch to his right; the blogger could now stare into his neighbour’s screen. To his dismay, the neighbour was clicking away at the application they were supposed to be going through. ‘What a bore,’ thought the blogger to himself as he continued peeping. The neighbours lazy left hand rose to scratch the side of his head. He appeared to be making a meal of a certain feature. He might have wanted to lean over to ask the blogger, but he was rather unpleasantly surprised when he saw the blogger staring away at his screen. To this, the blogger merely stretched further out in his direction and pretended to yawn. The neighbour frowned.

“Do you know what I am supposed to do on this screen?” the neighbour asked in his raspy voice that the blogger attributed to a certain gene that usually prevailed in horses and wheezing old women. The chair under him gave a reluctant squeak as the blogger pushed it back to its place, giving the neighbour a whole-hearted shrug enroute. The neighbour continued to frown at him. Indifferently, the blogger gazed at his own application as if it had occupied his screen all along and just to annoy his neighbour further, began mumbling aloud each of the links that occupied the sidebar. The neighbour was unimpressed. “When will you decide to be of any use?” he rasped again. His question was, however, met with ‘Contact Us’ being mumbled back.

The blogger loved pissing off his neighbour, the next-cubicle guy noticed. He knew the blogger only as the blogger, just as the blogger knew him only as the next-cubicle guy (which was funny when you consider the fact that the next-cubicle guy never knew that the blogger blogged). Somehow, he felt sorry for the neighbour. The neighbour had landed here from an elite college and was considered one of the best in any programming language that had its name derived from a blend of coffee. It was his wretched luck that found him seated next to the blogger, who was, while the next-cubicle guy was following this train of thought, playing ping-pong with two pens and a tiny ball of paper. But at least the blogger seemed to have some credibility as a coder, considering the fact that he had gotten into the D-Camp, thought the next-cubicle guy as he looked back into his screen. How so little he knew.

He turned away, only to walk back again

When you look back on it, it was all too little too late.

He had already walked past; leaving a trail of nothingness behind. Her eyes followed him as far as they could, then unwillingly tore away from his receding silhouette. For a moment she thought she saw him look back. But she could have never have said for sure. Light plays strange tricks as it begins to fade away.

The setting sun last saw her standing on the cemented path all by herself. The wind flirted with her hair, hoping to draw her attention; she only felt it dry her tears. Three blocks away, her mattress beckoned and her sheets offered to keep her warm when he had left her stranded in the cold. But her blood had a strange warmth. Fury? Perhaps not. Anybody who knew her would know better.

In the silenced that followed, her ringing phone stuck out like a sore thumb. A squatting beggar looked across the road at the lady in the green salwar. The nearest street light outlined her features – the slim figure and the dropped shoulders. From where he could see, she looked beautiful. The gentleman who’d walked away was not a smart one, the beggar gathered. But what would he know.

She raised a quick but gentle hand to wipe the last bead off her cheek. The phone clutched in her hand continued to ring. It wasn’t who she wanted it to be. The thought of answering it did cross her mind, though only momentarily. Her cold fingers lightly touched the answer button and meandered innocently, but made no attempt to let her speak into the phone.

He was way past the corner now. There was no point of her standing there any longer. But she did not know why she stood and waited. This was no fairytale; she knew how he felt about her – she had known all along. She could have done nothing to change it, not that she hadn’t tried. For too many excuses and with too few reasons, he had clung on to the way he felt about her. She couldn’t blame him; just as she couldn’t stop him. Time and again she had reminded him of the days that once were the todays – of the days they could have been blissfully ignorant of what was to follow.

It was all too late now. She had seen it coming. She wanted to stop him, but she knew he wouldn’t listen to a word she would have had to say; she knew him better. She knew the day would come when he would hold her just the way he had done and then way away just the way he had. She felt the warmth inside her again. Fury? Definitely not. How was he to blame anyway? He couldn’t stop himself from falling in love all over again. And just by the way he had held her, standing on the cold cemented street, she knew it was what she had been waiting for – the day he confessed his love, not for another.

Her phone rang impatiently again. It was not who she wanted it to be. It was her lover.