Friday, April 30, 2010

A loose end : An arranged love marriage

I cant believe this. I am actually unable to think of an ending to this story.Therefore I leave it to the readers to make their own endings. They can be anything they desire.And as Jeffrey Archer puts it : medium/well done/rare or burnt. Take your pick. And last but not the least, thanks are owed to Neelanjana , because a random conversation with her sparked off the idea.

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

An Arranged Love Marriage; Part 2

"Abhi",his mother called out to him from the kitchen
"Yes mom",Abhi answered even as he pulled up his socks and stood up stamping his feet to better adjust his shoes.
"What time will you be home dear?"
Abhi sighed.He knew why she was asking that question.Must be another proposal from "a relative who knows them well".She had been trying to get him married off for the past seven or eight months.But much to her chagrin,Abhi continously evaded all her efforts and always managed to find some or the other fault with the girl or her family.The issue was quite simple and straightforward according to Abhi.He wanted to have a love marriage and simply was not going to settle for a arranged one.His mother kept on getting one proposal after another and he kept on rejecting them.And he had not found any girl.
"Shall be a bit late mom",he said stepping into the kitchen.The delicious smell of freshly brewed coffee tickled his senses.
"Do try to come by 6.00.There is this girl whom I want you to meet."
Abhi sighed theatrically and slumped his shoulders,"" Mom,you know I.."
His protests trailed off as his mother stuffed a toast in his mouth.
"No excuses from you young man",she said,"She is from a good family."
"They always are.What's her name?"
Her answer was drowned out in the sound of a low flying jet and Abhi did not bother too ask her again.
"Ok.Shall try to be back on time."
He got into his car and backed out into the quiet street.The neighbourhood was not exactly swanky but was occupied by people who knew the meaning of old money.The family had moved into this place a year back after Abhi's father had passed away.Five years on the payroll of an MNC and the money that came with the upward climb in a corporate world had allowed Abhi the luxury of a house in that locality.Five years.Five years since he had heard from Meg.He had been way too busy in his job and hardly had any time to get in touch with her.Contacts had slowly died down purely to lack of time and then because of sheer laziness to pick up the phone or write a small e-mail.Four years of engineering seemed like a dream.A place of memories that Abhi visited often as he leafed through the photo albums.Every snap had some or the other memory attached to it.He like the ones that had been clicked in Shimla.He remembered Meg falling seriously ill because of the cold.He had sat at her bedside the whole night.He missed her.As much for her vivacity as for her practical take on life.He wondered where she was now,whether she had settled in happy matrimony or was still single.Lost in these thoughts he reached his office.
Work kept him busy till mid afternoon.The topic of marriage came up amongst the people as they crowded around the coffee machine and Abhi was suddenly reminded of the promise to his mother.Excusing himself from the conversation he went back to his office and wrapped up whatever was left and left.On the way he started thinking of excuses of not marrying the girl.Most of them he had used already and wanted something that looked genuine.He pulled into the driveway and parked his car.As he entered his house he caught the faint fragrance of jasmine.His mother's favourite perfume.She must be really looking forward to it he thought as he showered,shaved and put on a fresh change of clothes.His mother kept up a animated stream of gossip as he drove to the address she gave him.He responded to her questions with alternate affirmatives and negations hardly paying attention to the question being asked.A tweny minute drive found him parked outside a wrought iron gate that held behind it a two storey bunglow facing the sea.He honked twice and a servant opened the gate.
"Are you sure this is the address?",he asked his mother as his eyes took in the architecture.It had obviously been done by a professional who knew his way around the cement and mortar.He knocked on the door and was ushered in by a maid who said Mrs.- would be out in a moment.She asked them to be seated in the living room.Five minutes passed.Abhi kept himself engrossed in the numerous paintings that adorned the walls.The choice showed a fine refinement in the taste.Even the furniture looked as if it had been carefully chosen.
"Shyamal!So sorry to keep you waiting like this"
Abhi looked sharply towards the entrance as a well dressed lady of about fifty entered the room.He did not recognise her and was surprised when she called his mother by her first name.His mother got up and shook hands with her.
" Mrs.-.And dont be surprised by the first name basis.Me and Ashwini go back years.Busy schedule kept us from regular contact.But we have gotten in touch a month or so back."
Abhi groaned inwardly.A month of contact with a very old friend for a marriage proposal?!This was going to be very difficult to beat.
"Tea or coffee Abhi?",Mrs- was asking him.
"Coffee please."
Abhi was sipping the coffee when Mrs.- next words took the floor from beneath his feet and made him freeze in mid-sip,"There she is.Come Meghna.Come and sit here."

To Be continued....

Monday, August 3, 2009

An Arranged Love Marriage; Part 1

"Meg,wake up!",Abhi hissed beneath his breath and kicked her lightly in the ankle.
"Abhi,cant you see I am sleeping?I was busy the night before",Meg replied without even bothering to open her eyes.
"Busy?Her highness was busy!Doing what precisely?"
"As if that is any of your concern"
Abhi's reply died on his tongue as the prof's searchlight of a gaze fell on him.Of the thirty people in the class,you have to look at me,haven't you,Abhi fumed silently and sat still like a rabbit caught in the tiger's eye.He waited patiently for the blow to fall.Either it was the prof's good mood or maybe Meg decided to change the arm she was sleeping on,whatever be the case,Abhi could feel the gaze sliding from him onto his neighbour and dear friend,Meg.The tiger however lost his battle with his new prey even before it had started.How do you fight with a prey that chooses to ignore you and goes to sleep right under your nose?His shoulders slumped because he knew there was no point in waking up Meg.Irrespective of whether she slept in class or not,Meg would emerge trumps in his tests.He went back to his teaching and preaching to the poor souls who had to listen to his monotonous sermon because they either had no option or were too scared to wander off into Dreamland like Meg.Abhi let out a sigh of relief.Ten minutes later the class ended and the class let out a collective sigh of relief.
"The class has come to an end.Will her Highness please get up and bless her subjects with her undivided attention"
"Umm..Good morning..What time is it?"
"Time to get up and get your royal self to the canteen for some chow",said Abhi as Meg stretched like a cat and flexed her fingers.
Both picked up their bags and started walking towards the canteen.
Meg and Abhi.Or Meghna and Abhishek as their parents had christened them twenty years back were engineering students in their second year.A chance meeting in the college canteed some two years back had blossomed into a beautiful friendship that showed all the signs of developing like wine-the older it gets the better it tastes.Initially both had been wary of each other.Abhi was a the model specimen of a geek who believed that hard work gets one to the top while Meg was the exact opposite who believed that taking life easy is the only way to the top.While Abhi hacked and chopped away at the course work Meg preferred to waltz her way through it.Both emerged very quickly as tough contenders for the top spot and a healthy competition brewed between them.And instead of driving them apart from each other it pulled them towards each other.Hearts and minds go where they are appreciated and both of them found intellectual and emotional appreciation in each other's company.It amused the profs to see the contenders to be always together arguing about something or the other.Abhi would invariably throw his hands up in the air and raise his hands to the heavens when the realisation that his logic was utterly useless against Meg's combination of feminine instinct combined with her sharp wit.They argued on almost everything and anything.And the latest one under scrutiny was the question of a love marriage and a arranged marriage.Abhi vehemently held on the view that love marriages work best while Meg took the diagonally opposite stand and held on to the view that arranged marriages work best.
"How can you let your parents decide your life partner?!"
"Because they are more experienced and know what is best for their children",said Meg picking up a spring roll and inspecting it closely.
"Who is getting married?You or your parents?Dont you want to have the choice to deicde whom you want to come home to?",asked Abhi as he drove his fork into the plate of noodles.
"Love marriages make up for the major chunk of failed marriages.Look around and you will realize."
"That's because people fail to realize that being in love and being in holy matrimony because of the love are two different things.The relationship still needs the care and understanding that it needed some time back because now it's in a totally different context-of a husband a wife not two love struck individuals.They just assume things will work ."
"Thank god there are no such assumptions in arranged marriages.Here it's a fact that both have to work hard for the bond to stay."
"Tell me please,"asked Abhi keeping his fork down with a great show of pateince," because it escapes my sense of understaing that how can you marry a person you have known for a couple of weeks?Dont you want to understand your future life partner better?"
""And love marriage helps the situation?You might be in love with a girl and not know everything about her.For all you know she might be a total nutcase",said Meg over the rim of her orange juice.
"The same can happen in a arrange marriage.Might be worse too"
The duo argued endlessly over this and neither was ready to give up.They never came to any conclusion.
Two years of engineering flew past on the fast wings of time.Their frindship blossomed into a relationship that went beyond the boundaries of "just good friends".Neither however made a formal proposal.
And too soon it was time to bid adieu to each other.Abhi had landed a heavy package with a MNC while Meg had decided to go for higher education abroad.The call letter for Abhi and the acceptance letter for Meg arrived for the same time.Two months of hectic preperation followed.
The night before Meg was supposed to leave,Abhi was sitting in his room going through four years of frozen memories.The good times tinged by the lows, the dissapointments shadowed by jubilations.They had shared everything;except for one thing that Abhi had never come to face with.He felt a stinging feeling behind his eyes and snapped the album shut.Switching off his table lamp he fell into a deep sleep.
Half the town away Meg too was going through the same roller coaster ride of emotions.She kept wondering if there was something Abhi had not told her.And she kept on wondering if she should have him what was on her mind.
D-day dawned on two individuals who wished that they had just one more day.Just one more day to ask and say something.The ride to the airport was uneventful as both maintained an oddly self imposed silence.The security check and immigration check went off smoothly.
Just as she was about to go in,Meg turned towards Abhi and asked him,"One question.Will you give me a frank answer?"
"Actually I too have something to say to you",said Abhi.
"Ladies first."
Meg decided not to argue on this one.
"Abhi,tell me very frankly,did you ever think of me as somebody more than a friend?"
Abhi raised his eyebrows pretending not to understand.
"Oh come on!Dont act so naive..You know what I mean..Did you?"
Abhi smiled,"How does it matter now?Anyways you dont belive in love marriages.For you,you want to settle in holy matrimony with the boy chosen by your parents".
"Abhi,thats not the answer......",started Meg as Abhi propelled her towards the gate.Meg turned back as the glass doors hissed closed.Abhi was backing away.His shoulders squared and hands dug deep into his jacket.Meg had found the answer to her question and the question Abhi wanted to ask.She raised her hand to wave a goodbye.

Friday, June 26, 2009

The Bucket List

It was a Sunday afternoon and the lab was looking like a graveyard.People were off enjoying their Sunday and what was i doing in lab?Well...downloading a movie..Come on! It was a Sunday for goddaske!..There was this movie starring Morgan Freeman and Jack Nicholson called "The Bucket List".The movie is about a wish list which is made by two terminally ill cancer patients played by Freeman and Nicholson.They go on to fulfill all the wishes before cancer gets them.The movie got me thinking...Hmm...Should I make a "bucket list" too...Not that I am dying of any disease or anything like that(you can keep those tissue rolls down..assuming you had picked in the first place)..Just for the heck of it..To think of the ten things that i want to accomplish before I kick the bucket.So here goes...My "Bucket List":

1. Finish reading the books that are piling up on my humungously huge "MUST read these book" "Rise and fall of the Third Reich","War and Peace" to name a few.

2. Do something different from what I am doing just now.Dabble in english literature..I always wanted to take up law.

3. Learn a foreign language to enjoy literary classics from that get a peek into the culture and enjoy the cultural difference.

4. Help the people in a place struck by a natural calamity not by signing on the cheque and forgetting about it but by ACTUALLY being there and getting my hands "dirty " in the relief work.

5.Do my bit for the environment..Make sure that the future generations dont blame our generation for giving them a raw deal.

6.Go around the world to see some of the most beautiful sights with the person who means the most to me.

7.Say the three magic words to a girl to start a very beautiful and meaningful relationship. And to hold her hand as I walk into the sunset.

8.Take out some time for the people who dont demand for my time but have every right to parents..close friends..people for whom I haven't been able to spend much time thanks to some reason or the other.

9.See my name on a publication as the sole author in a high impact open access journal.

10.And last but by no means the least,write my name as Dr.Adwait A.Godbole ;PhD.

Well that my friends is my bucket list.Not in a order of importance.But some of the things that I want to finish.

Friday, February 27, 2009

Part5:Between friends...

27th December 2004;6.00 p.m.:
Five years back,hundred odd students had walked through the stone arches of one of the oldest institutes in the country known for its high quality of education.Eighty of the bright minds would walk with their heads held high with a degree that was going to throw open the doors of the best paid jobs anywhere in the world.The valedictorian was nearing the end of his speech.He was a bright student and had won the honour by the virtue of his academic track record.Eighty black robes rose as one,cheering and applauding the speaker.Flat topped hats were flung in the air as the batch of '98 celebrated its passing out.Nilima got up from her seat and gazed at Mac beside her.Both of them grinned sheepishly.They had made it through one hurdle and were determined to get through the rest of them together.The day before,Mac had proposed to her.And she had accepted.For a moment she thought what Adi would think of it.She wondered if he knew.Relations had soured between Adi and Mac to an extent where neither could stand the mere presence of the other.Adi and Nilima had become total strangers to each other.Once-upon-a-time best friends had turned their faces and minds away from each other.Adi was politely clapping along.The past three years had taken their toll on him physically and mentally.Academically he had emerged trumps.A wildcard entry that had proven itself.On the personal front however he had nothing worth envying.Enstrangement from Nilima had robbed him of his laughter and capacity to look at life with rose tinted glasses.Mac had stoked his insecurity.Sometimes he thought that the fault was his own.These thoughts hardly mattered now.Wish as hard as he could,nothing sort of magic was going to revert the status quo.Nilima had walked out of his life and he was left wondering whom to blame.She had asked him countless times what was the problem.He kept brushing off her questions because he would have to tell exactly how he felt about her.and for some reason he did not want to.Now he wished he had.Things would have been different.His distancing himself from Nilima had brought Mac closer to her.He had delivered the coup de grace three years back.Memories of that evening still made his eyes watery.To top the situation he was not a social animal and preferred spending his time either alone or with Nilima.With Nilima gone,he found it hard to socialise.Two years had already passed by and his batchmates had found people who shared similar tastes.In a sea of people who had drifted towards each other he was a misfit and suddenly found himself alone.He plunged headlong into his work and allowed it to occupy all his waking hours.Slowly but painfully,memories of the good times with Nilima faded away.News of Mac's proposal had reached his ears.He had frozen for a moment clenching and unclenching his jaw,his hands balled into fists.As the catatonia passed,five years of sweet and sour memories flooded his mind space.They were still running through his mind like a bad print of a movie as he made his way through the stone arch for the last time.Nilima watched the gaunt frame of Adi as it went into the setting sun framed by the imposing arch.Tears ran down her cheeks as she watched the straight back of her friend for the last time...
The End.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Part 4: Between friends...

The newcomers settled into a predictable routine,an orbit that took them from their rooms to the classrooms,to the library and then back into their rooms with occasssional forays into the canteen for piping hot cups of coffee and campus gossip.Graduates-in-the-making or anything else,campus gossip and the accompanying bottomless cups of coffee are a integral part of the student's life.Adi too,was no exception to the routine,albiet with a difference to break the monotony-Nilima's company.Her company was like a breath of fresh air to his otherwise unsocial existence in the institute.Every morning he got up with a smile on his face.The prospect of facing a day loaded with lectures followed by getting cooped up in the library did not faze him,Nilima never made him feel bored.The lectures were often punctuated by her comments regarding anything that moved-the lecturer,the students;she left nobody.She liked to pick up the idiosyncrasies of those around her and make a scathing comment on it which,Adi was sure,if that person heard it would make them wish they were dead.However so true was her observation and so sarcastic her comment,Adi had to do everything to control his laughter.The girl was pure magic.He always wondered what was so charming about her;was it poise,her way of speaking,the way she carried herself in the crowd?What exactly it was he never found out.She attracted him like no other girl ever had,yet she never did anything to grab his attention.Perhaps unknowing to Adi,that was what was so charming about Nilima-the fact that she never pulled on any feminine strings to attract him,but rather let him follow her of his own accord.Late night library sessions often terminated in a long walk across campus in the cool night air,listening to the crickets singing their night songs or some lone owl hooting somewhere far away in the distance.During these walks,topics changed track rapidly-school,friends,campus gossip,everything under the sun.Slowly without realising,they loosened up the knots on their personal lives and told each other things that you would tell only a trusted person.Past crushes,heartbreaks,ambitions,failures everything.Adi always felt a surge of jealousy when she mentioned her past crushes,always wondering if she still felt the same about it.But of course he dared to not ask her directly,fearing he would reveal himself to her sharp mind which never seemed to miss anything.Both of them had a unique way of telling anecdotes.Adi's sole aim being to get her to laugh her head off.Her unadulterated laughter brought a smile to his lips.The way she threw her head back when she laughed,the twinkle in her eyes and the dimple on one side of her cheek!All his worries seemed to evaporate in front of her laughter.They came to understand each other perfectly.Adi somehow felt Nilima understood him more than he understood her.She had a uncanny sense for things that he liked and things that could make him blow his lid off.And because she knew this,sometimes to pull his leg she would make a passing mention of a past crush just to see him fret and fume silently.She knew he would never make an open mention of his bad mood but would sulk all day long,answer her questions with monosyllabic answers and pay no heed to her comments.At the same time she knew how to pacify him.He was like butter in her hands.She adored him for all his eccentricities,for his ability to laugh at himself and his fierce devotion to her.He never made it known to her openly how much he liked her,but she knew how much Adi was attached to her,how much he enjoyed her company.Both of them had toyed with the idea of putting all the cards on the table-Adi with telling her and Nilima with popping the question outright.It never seemed to happen.Somehow or the other both found an excuse to not do it,the worry that it may jeopardise a budding friendship was always on the back of their minds.Looking back,Nilima would regret not doing it,regret not being frank and outspoken about it.Somehow she never seemed to realize that their friendship was too strong,strong enough to withstand the answer to the question that was buzzing in their heads.Perhaps both of them cared so much about the other that they did not want to loose the person,maybe that fear held both of them back.
It was a very boring lecture,even Nilima was too bored to make any witty remarks on her favourite targets and was taking advantge of the cool classroom and the relative quiet by catching a quick nap.Even Adi got bored of taking notes and was gazing into nothingness.His gaze swept once around the class and he espied the fellow on the first chair dozing off.He made a move to tell Nilima about it,both never missed a chance to have a good laugh at his expense.He stopped short when he saw her sleeping.She was looking so beautiful.Her face a canvas of serenity and pure innocence.How much he adored her.She was the centre around which his universe was revolving.No other girl had understood him so well.He admired her for ability to melt his usually frigid demeanour,to make him bend to her will,not by force but as if he himself wanted to.He wondered how she managed it.She knew how to bully him without actually bullying him,how to make him jealous,how to make him smile again.She knew him like the back of her hand.And for that he loved her.A lock of her hair was dangling carelessly and Adi had a mad urge to tuck it behind her ear,the way she did it quite frequently.Somehow,for some inexplicable reason he found that gesture very attractive.He wondered what she was dreaming about.Is it me,he thought.He was lost in his reverie and was startled as the class erupted into peals of laughter on a rare joke cracked by the lecturer.Nilima got up with a start and Adi looked away hastily.But,Nilima sharp as she was did not miss it.
She smiled inwardly to herself.Adi,she thought,you are so predicable.But he was not like the other guys.There was a rare sense of decency in him that most people mistook for aloofness and nonchalance .But she knew that he was neither.He was like a nut-a hard exterior that hid a soft heart.A pillar of ice that she had melted without realising it.He did not have too many close friends on campus although almost everyone knew him.She had a sense of possesiveness about him,because she knew that she knew him all too well and was the only person who did.She also knew that Adi would not care for any other girl as much as he cared for her.She had a slight suspicion that Adi thought of her as somebody beyond a friend,but she was waiting for him to make the first move.She pretended to go back to sleep but kept her eyes opened a bit,gazing absently at him as he scribbled in his notebook.She knew that he was least bit interested in the proceedings of the class but was thinking about her.How right she was!Because Adi was doing precisely doing that.His hands were scribbling away pure nonsense in his notebook as his mind relived the past few minutes.
Life would have gone on like this for some time,both would have plucked up enough courage one day to speak out their minds and found out that the other person was thinking nothing different.Adi would have gone down on one knee to propose to Nilima.Two hearts and minds would have met for a lifetime,met to never separate again.Everything would have been like a fairytale had it not been for the intrusion of Mac in their lives.Mac,who like a wedge drove them apart.It was not that Mac was the devil incarnate but Adi never saw him in any other light.From the day they met to the day he saw his back he came to loathe Mac.They never managed to see eye to eye about anything.Neither knew who drew first blood,but then it hardly mattered when both the fighters were determined to bleed each other to death,thankfully proverbially and not literally.They had locked their swords in a battle that would last for the better part of six years and whose reverberations would ring for the remainders of two lives.The joust was for a unspoken prize-Nilima.All three of them would remember that fateful day of their lives as if it were yesterday, when three lives had become intertwined.Two of them struggling madly against each other to break apart,hurting each other and themselves in the process.The three would never forget that stormy day,as if the gathering dark clouds were a harbringer of the storm that was to break open in full tempest in their lives.......

Friday, September 5, 2008

Part 3:Between friends

The words were looking like alien symbols and the figures like some child's angry slashes across paper as Adi plodded through the research article.It was 5 in the afternoon and his senses were crying for a breath of fresh air and a piping hot cup of coffee.He closed the journal and returned it to its rack.He had enough for the day.He was here for a doctorate and had no plans to finish it in one day by gobbling all the literature on his project in one afternoon.Picking up his satchel he trooped down to the canteen.Ordering a coffee and a sandwich he sat down in the shade of a towering gulmohar tree.The coffee kick-started his beaten senses.He was planning to rush headlong into the literature marathon and was just about to get up when he spotted Nilima walking in to the canteen and despite himself he waved her over.
"Hey,how are you?",he asked
"Dead and drowned in a ceaseless barrage of literature.Why do people write so much about the tiniest of details?And why in the name of god do we have to read all of it?It's so boring!I have had it!Done for the day.If I read one more paper I will be fit for The Lunatics Club.How about you?"
"Same here.Join the club...."
Both of them grinned.
"Coffee?",he asked
"Yes,what about you?I see you already have had your cup."
"The more the better...Wait I shall get them.."
The coffee flowed and so did the conversation.Light and jumping from one topic to another.Movies,books,idiosyncratic people,anecdotes from their school and college days.He felt comfortable in her presence.She had a personality unlike any girl he had ever met.There was something that captivated him,something that made him light headed and he felt his tiredness evaporating even as she laughed over his silliness.The sun set over the horizon and a cool gentle breeze was flowing.Conversation had trickled off.Nilima glanced at her watch and gave a yelp of surprise startling Adi,
"What happened?",he asked
"We have been here for the past two hours!!That's what has happened."
"Two hours have passed?Didn't realise it.Felt like got here two minutes time flows.
She looked at him quizically.
"Let's get going.",she said and got up.
Following her example Adi got up as well and both of hem started heading for their respective dorms.The campus looked beautiful in the twilight.A millions shades of green,red and orange coloured the campus.Adi had a mad urge to clasp her hands in his and wished the evening would go on like this forever.Yeah right,he said to himself,dream on idiot;look at her,and then look at yourself.The atmosphere was having its magical effect on Nilima as well.How perfect would it be to walk on this road hand in hand with someone..The perfect evening,Not a soul to disturb your walk..Does this guy have any streak of romanticism in him or is he going to walk like this silently lost in his own thoughts?If only he could say something romantic,a quote,an anecdote,anything.So lost was she in these thoughts that she failed to see the small depression in the road and stumbled and would have taken a nice bruising had it not been for a pair of hands that had held held at her forearm and her waist.She looked up to look into the Adi's coal black eyes and saw for an instant a window open into his mind.His thoughts becoming crystal clear.The eyes took on a life of their own and seemed to look straight through her and look at something only they could perceive.Something that was not physical but existed only in her thoughts.It was as if two streams of thought had violently clashed against each other and had become one smoothly flowing stream.Without saying anything to each other,in a moment when their eyes had met,everything seemed to have been said.Everything that had been on their minds ever they had stood in the queue admiring each other in their private secure mindspaces.
"Be careful".Adi said even as he helped her pick up her books.The spell was broken and both had landed on terra firma.Both thinking that their minds had taken on a flight of fancy,imagining things when there was nothing.Telling themselves that romantic the evening maybe it was no film going on and they were no heroes and heroines to fall into love and break into a song and dance sequence.This was life and here you did not run around trees singing silly songs and had a "feel good" feeling as the credits rolled.
"Sorry about that,didn't see that,"she replied.
Both of them walked the rest of the way in akward silence.Their minds in turmoil.Was what they perceived real or was it just a figment of their wishful thinking?
Mids still in turmoil they said their good night to each other and went their separate ways to their dorms still immersed in their speculations,wishful thinking and pessimistic opinions.