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Two Zeroes and a Hyphen - Something Unforgettable


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Two Zeroes and a Hyphen - Something Unforgettable

  1. 1. Primitive World India Presents TWO ZEROES AND A HYPHEN a novel by Charanjit Singh Let’s read a few sample pages (
  2. 2. Throughout my stay at the university I remained sitting at the backbenches. There was peace there. When you sit at a backbench, you feel like God for there nobody can see you but you can see everybody. My seat was reserved. I never shook hands with anybody. Sometimes some boys used to come at the back, but there was never much dialogue between us. They were different boys Missed call type boys Always editing or sending sms Always fingering in the asses of their mobiles. Sometimes some bloody fool used to bring a mobile phone with camera and used to click the 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 all started looking into their pockets to see whether it was theirs. Sometimes they put them on vibration. It is nothing, just a game of switches. You can see everywhere everybody is doing TuTuTuTuTuTuTu. Somebody must ask them what a big bloody Indo-Pak trade they are running. Always TuTuTuTu. I don’t like these mobiles. See sometimes you are urinating somewhere and it starts ringing in your pocket and with one hand you pull your zipper up and with the other you say ‘Hello’. And you know what funny things they ask you, What are you doing?, and you say I’m making a map of Pakistan here on this wall with my dick. Come and sing National 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’s knickers for the other day. They were always making impressions by wearing cheap plastic 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 said what big duffers the authorities had admitted in the university. After exams they would contact the postman to get their report cards before they could reach home in the hands of their fathers. Otherwise once I also gave fifty rupees to a postman to get my report card because they failed me in all the papers except Phonetics. You see sometimes it is not your fault. Sometimes marking is very strict.
  3. 3. 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 answers and sometimes she raised hands even when there was no question. And there was another girl who used to sit in a corner, near the window. So long the teacher continued his lecture, she kept nodding her head up and down in a notable seriousness as if she understood everything what he said. Sometimes it made me feel that perhaps I’m the only fool in their class who understands nothing. Otherwise everybody was understanding everything. Asmita was a nice girl. She was a university topper. She secured I think 456 marks out of 800. That was a big score for you know in literature you don’t score much. She used to sit in the middle of the front benches. There was something in that girl. Her presence brought me in the class and when she was absent I felt the lectures boring and returned home after attending one or two. In a lecture of 45 minutes she used to turn back for at least 30 times and this used to bounce me out, into the heights of the sky. I felt as if I was God. Throughout the session we had not shared even a single word. And when the session was in its last days she changed her seat from the front to a bench, just before me in the second last row. Her handwriting was stunning and her speed was marvelous. But whenever 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 it is not the notebook that she wants. But I gave her just the notebook. And when she used to return it to me the next day, I used to examine all its pages to see weather she had written 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 her hands 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 asked for 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 stood together. 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 her shoulders. She turned to me and said sorry. The girl with the camera asked us to look straight and smile. It was a rare moment in history.
  4. 4. But the camera couldn’t click us for the girl had mistakenly pressed a wrong button and the entire roll was reversed. After we left the university, she rang me at home three times. Once she said that she was preparing for GRE and want me to guide her. I said Asmita you are a university topper and 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