Nandu, Tangi, Jani and myself (four IIT-M guys, class of 1996) went for a seminar (Ripples) at Vishakhapatnam. Nandu lives in Vizag, BTW. On our first day, we went in and registered, and couldn’t help noticing the gorgeous tall bespectacled dame who filled our forms. We thought no more of it until Nandu walked in to register, and coolly struck conversation with her for quite a while. It bothered me to no end.
We cornered him outside and got him to spill the beans. Her name was Sailaja (he nostalgically uttered) and she was his classmate. The conversation beat around the same bush long enough for us to draw conclusions. Apparantly, she wasn’t as good looking at school, but then, college changes people.
That evening we had dinner at Dolphin, a 3-star hotel. It looked rather like a 5-star one, though. In the midst of a rather hearty meal, I hear my name being shouted. I walked up and observer Sailaja surrounded by our gang. Nandu introduced me to her (generous of him) and I greeted her with a
“Yes, I’ve heard a lot about you.”
She was a bit taken aback. “From whom?”
“Nandu, of course!” I looked at Nandu, who’d turned red. I couldn’t figure out why, until (after some reshaping of my physical structure) he told me that it was almost identical to the response that Tangi gave her. One was bad enough, and here were two close friends of Nandu telling her how much he talked about her. Nandu’s kindof sensitive about this sort of thing. Hmmm…. Something had to be done about this.
The next day, we were having lunch, and Nandu appeared to be surrounded by a gang of girls. (I don’t know how he manages it. How, Nandu?) I guess they were taking lessons on the art of diplomacy while presenting seminars, or some such obstruse topic Nandu is famous for. I let out a shout:
“Nandu! Coming now, or do you want to freak out more with the girls?”
There was a pause in conversation, and a horrified look in my direction. I wasn’t to be put down. I shot back “Ok, freak out!” and walked out.
I came pretty close to death that night.
But what struck me as most intriguing about the whole thing was how his name and Sailaja’s were found written together on the walls of the temple as we were climbing down. I was the first to discover it as we were walking down, and I certainly didn’t have anything to do with it, did I?
Postscript: Nandu is happily married to Madhavi as of now. Sailaja’s whereabouts are unknown.