Two Zeroes and a Hyphen - Something UnforgettableDocument Transcript
Primitive World India Presents TWO ZEROES AND A HYPHEN a novel by Charanjit SinghLet’s read a few sample pages (www.primitiveworldindia.com)
Throughout my stay at the university I remained sitting at the backbenches. There waspeace there. When you sit at a backbench, you feel like God for there nobody can see youbut you can see everybody.My seat was reserved. I never shook hands with anybody. Sometimes some boys used tocome at the back, but there was never much dialogue between us.They were different boysMissed call type boysAlways editing or sending smsAlways fingering in the asses of their mobiles.Sometimes some bloody fool used to bring a mobile phone with camera and used to clickthe photographs of other fuckers. They would pose as if they were sons of a chief-minister.Almost everyday somebody’s used to ring in the middle of one or another lecture and allstarted looking into their pockets to see whether it was theirs. Sometimes they put themon vibration. It is nothing, just a game of switches. You can see everywhere everybody isdoing TuTuTuTuTuTuTu. Somebody must ask them what a big bloody Indo-Pak tradethey are running. Always TuTuTuTu.I don’t like these mobiles. See sometimes you are urinating somewhere and it startsringing in your pocket and with one hand you pull your zipper up and with the other yousay ‘Hello’. And you know what funny things they ask you, What are you doing?, andyou say I’m making a map of Pakistan here on this wall with my dick. Come and singNational Anthem.And sometimes the boys used to exchange their pants and shirts with one another.Someone would wear somebody’s pants for one day and the other would use somebody’sknickers for the other day. They were always making impressions by wearing cheapplastic goggles and setting girls. Even the biggest fool had a girl.Otherwise they knew nothing. If you had seen their answer-sheets, you would have saidwhat big duffers the authorities had admitted in the university. After exams they wouldcontact the postman to get their report cards before they could reach home in the hands oftheir fathers. Otherwise once I also gave fifty rupees to a postman to get my report cardbecause they failed me in all the papers except Phonetics. You see sometimes it is notyour fault. Sometimes marking is very strict.
There was one girl. She always sat at the front. It was her business to raise hand.Whenever the teacher said something, she raised her hand as if she knew all the answersand sometimes she raised hands even when there was no question. And there was anothergirl who used to sit in a corner, near the window. So long the teacher continued hislecture, she kept nodding her head up and down in a notable seriousness as if sheunderstood everything what he said. Sometimes it made me feel that perhaps I’m the onlyfool in their class who understands nothing. Otherwise everybody was understandingeverything.Asmita was a nice girl. She was a university topper. She secured I think 456 marks out of800. That was a big score for you know in literature you don’t score much. She used to sitin the middle of the front benches. There was something in that girl. Her presencebrought me in the class and when she was absent I felt the lectures boring and returnedhome after attending one or two. In a lecture of 45 minutes she used to turn back for atleast 30 times and this used to bounce me out, into the heights of the sky. I felt as if I wasGod. Throughout the session we had not shared even a single word. And when thesession was in its last days she changed her seat from the front to a bench, just before mein the second last row. Her handwriting was stunning and her speed was marvelous. Butwhenever the teacher dictated something, she turned back to copy it from my notebook.And sometimes she spoke to me for getting my notebook home. I knew very well that itis not the notebook that she wants. But I gave her just the notebook. And when she usedto return it to me the next day, I used to examine all its pages to see weather she hadwritten something somewhere.She never wrote anything anywhere.One day I hit her back with my register.And one other day she asked me whether I would be coming tomorrow.Another day she asked me when was my birthday.And when our class was going on a tour to Kasuli, she held the list three times in herhands to see whether my name was there or not.And on that last day when we were sitting for a group-photo, she came to me and askedfor a photograph with her. I scratched in my hairs and looked at my feet and said ‘okay’.She personally went to the girl with the camera and brought her under a tree. We stoodtogether. The whole class was looking at us. Some girls sitting on the pavement said‘oaihoi’. Boys whistled. Her dupatta fell on my face as she was adjusting it on hershoulders. She turned to me and said sorry. The girl with the camera asked us to lookstraight and smile. It was a rare moment in history.
But the camera couldn’t click us for the girl had mistakenly pressed a wrong button andthe entire roll was reversed.After we left the university, she rang me at home three times. Once she said that she waspreparing for GRE and want me to guide her. I said Asmita you are a university topperand I’m a university dropper.I said that just through mouth.I thought she would ring me after that.She was a brave girl.But you cannot keep showing your bravery forever.I don’t know where she is now. She never contacted me since.People say she is in Canada.She may be anywhere. We are dead for each other in this life www.primitiveworldindia.com