I dont remember his name. After all those years since the 11th grade, it doesnt even matter. He was a geeky, pesky boy who did all he could to make it apparent that he wanted to be a part of our clique. His jokes were anything but funny, and no matter how much we ignored him, tried to run away, he always managed to find us. From finding a place next to us in the class, to following us to the canteen, “Weirdo” -as we called him then, tried many irritating ways to join our gang of 9 girls and one boy.
Varun, the only boy, also the youngest, was our most pampered member. He was innocent. He was thoughtful. He was generous.
Also, he was a social butterfly. Being the extrovert he was, he could never stick to one group for more than 10 minutes. Midway through a conversation, he would let another ‘friend’ come, snatch him away.
Because of this rather annoying habit, we soon began to write him off as a ‘visiting member’ or the ‘special guest’ of our group. We would often taunt him about this, but he would always manage to win our hearts over, given his gift of the gab. However, we grew vary of his continued behaviour and soon began excluding him from our plans, conveniently assuming he would be busy with ‘other friends’.
One day, it was Varun, another friend Sonia and I, who were engaged in a conversation. Soon, Wierdo joined in, making us very uncomfortable. However, we continued to discuss our private joke about how Varun had planned a trip to the moon in his private spacecraft. Weirdo, of course had no clue.
Varun and I are great at cooking up imaginary stories and so we went on and on for many minutes. Weirdo, helplessly looked on from Varun to me and back, as if watching a tennis match. I felt pity for the guy. He was only wasting his time.
So to relieve him, I said “Hey, you anyway dont understand what we are talking about. Why dont you go away?”
I, of course, meant it in a jocular manner, and in no way intended to hurt him. However, the sudden change in expression on Varun’s face told me that I had just did.
Weirdo, laughed off the statement, but left soon after.
After he had gone, Varun took me aside and told me how my statement sounded rude. I explained that it was not my intention. He said nothing thereafter and we left for the day.
The next day, Weirdo walked up to me as soon as I entered college. He said, “Arwa, the sorry was really not neccessary.”
I kept staring at him, puzzled.
He went on, “Varun called me up soon after we left college yesterday. He said you’d asked him to apologise on your behalf.”
I still struggled to understand. “Uh, well, yes. You see, I didnt have your contact number. So I asked Varun to say sorry for me.” It was all I could manage then.
Weirdo shrugged, murmured something about it being OK, not taking things to heart….. I was no longer listening. I was trying to place what had just happened. VARUN HAD APOLOGISED ON MY BEHALF!
He soon left, and I looked around the class only to find Varun smiling at me. He had been watching. I didnt need to say anything.
He walked up to me and said, “Arwa, I know the person you are. You never mean to hurt anyone. Just that you got your tone wrong which made your ‘joke’ sound like an insult. Take care of that, next time.”
Before I could smile or even say Thank You, Varun let another friend come, snatch him away.