“What does she have that I don’t?”- I asked in despair.

“She has everything desirable Peggy.”

I am not Peggy. My given name is Prajnaparamita. Naming me was an idea of my grandma – the terrible bong educated middle class lady who had spent her life in the dense security of Bandyopadhay realm dreaming of her grandchildren’s running behind perfection of wisdom! I hated her ideas – my hatred amplified with time as my friends in school, colleges and even office colleagues found a convenient alternative “Peggy” for my wordy name. I could not stop them – started cursing my grandma in my heart instead – I gained that right by birth, only had to be careful that pronouncing any of those swearwords in public could create a wrong impression about me. People’s impression about us is something we the middle class Bengalis value highest in life. Even a life is cheaper in comparison with that.

I reacted, “People don’t always expect answer to every question thrown!”

“She looks like a Bollywood heroin – as good as to Aishwarya Rai, you know.” Why did Avira believe that friends need to be absolutely frank to each other? What she told me was absolute truth which I could not deny. Compared to her flawless fair skin and attractively trimmed body and an adorable face, I look like a penguin.

“Look at your moustache and your hanging tummy!”She chuckled, “Also she is highly educated.”

I got angry, “You mean I am not!”

“Well, you studied History in Ramananda college of Arts and Science, while she studied Medicine in School of Clinical Medicine in Cambridge; a very small gap indeed!”

I felt an urge to kill her; hissed instead, “Shut up!”

“Both of them come from the same economic strata. Peggy” – She did not show any intension to stop.

“I thought you know the meaning of –Stop.” I knew I could not scream sitting in public place.

“And she is no cocky like you.” – She continued chuckling.

“Oh yes – I know I don’t have enough money to attract men – no ancestral palatial home, no high priced gadget at home, no big diamond jewelry, did not make a foreign trip…” I sounded melancholic to myself even if tried not to.

“And she knows good manners.” Avira grinned expressing she had more to tell.

“You mean mine is bad?” – I could not help raising my voice, attracting a few people’s attention from nearby tables.

“You know Peggy, you laugh so loud. You burp once in a while, behave aggressive at times. None of the nice, attractive boys will be able to tolerate you. Moreover you swear like an illegitimate child of a Captain Haddock and Donald Duck –  never had a female mother of human species.”

“No, I cannot imagine myself to be born out of their procreation act!” – I sighed.

Unfortunately I also knew that what my buddy told about my manners was correct. Riddhi knows how to hold a glass of finest wine sitting in a posh restaurant whereas I the habitual beer drinker don’t even know the names of different wines. I looked at the invitation card that I carried to the café to show Avira the bitch! Joy and Riddhi are really made for each other couple. Joy and I could be a real mismatch. Only once we thought it otherwise. We dreamt of being a perfect couple with each other. Wait! – What I perceived as ‘we’ was probably only ‘I’, right? For a moment I wanted to tell Avira about my new discovery about my ex-relationship; but did not. She would not mind making another funky comment. She had both wit and imagination which camouflaged the rude truth she uttered nicely. I didn’t want to listen to plain truth any longer.


To be cont.