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“April Fool!!!!! Yaaaaaaaaaaay!!!” , he shouted into the phone… He waited for a response from the other side as he literally jumped on the hostel roof, laughing uncontrollably, so much that tears welled up in his eyes. He wondered if they were indeed from laughing :)…

Silence…no response yet, he wondered if she hung up. “Hello?… hello???”, he searched for her response.
“Its not funny, Navneet(he was yet to be christened as Navi…the name which will be his identity for many coming years, perhaps forever)”, she spoke softly and paused again.
He became serious now. No laughing, no jumping, no pretense, no more. He again said,”arrey it was just a prank re….watch the time :P”, and he looks into his cell time and said, “Its, past 12….today’s Fool’s day …ha ha ha ha”

Again silence…”Navneet, you’re so mean!!! I should have seen that coming. But again, when it comes to you, its not easy to guess”. He thought for a moment if she really believed him, then became sure by her tone. Still, there was something changed in her behaviour that made him suspicious. It had to be fool proof….Either this way, or no way….There can not be a middle way. “I can’t afford to be caught”, he thought to himself and tried changing the topic.

“So who are YOU gonna fool today?? Now that you have been already fooled 😛 ??”,he asked her, praying she doesn’t get any hint or clue about the reality…His eyes became moist, and he was sure it wasn’t from laughing this time…or ever… He controlled the emotions inside him..”This is not the time to think about it… I will think when I have time for myself… I will have plenty of it now…”, he said to himself, trying to console his aching heart, telling it that he knew this would happen, that there is nothing to be sad about…that she was never his…

“Navneet, were you seriously making me fool or…??”, the voice from other side cracked into the phone, and uttered the unsaid, the one which must not be said….the forbidden…or as he thought…

“Obviously, you really thought I would propose you?? :O lol… naah girl… It was a prank and just a prank!!! IT has nothing to do with reality.”, he recited the words he had been practicing for last four days, ever since he made this leak proof plan… April 1st was the perfect occasion to do it…. The three letters would either mean everything to her or he will turn it into a prank…. When he said them, she went silent and his greatest fears of the inevitable came true…so he had to switch to planB.. the prank thing…. he wondered what he would have said had she said yes…. “What if….”, he smiled to himself.

“Navneet…you there??”, the voice again brought him into reality, the harsh reality that meant she wasn’t least interested in him. He sobered up and braced himself.”Navneet, were you really joking??”, she asked again…”Ofcourse re !!! We are friends na..and its my duty to pull your leg every now and then!!! “, he said with the same deceptive smile and tone that would be his forte for coming years….”And besides, ki fark painda hai!!! Whether I was joking or not, you wouldn’t have accepted it anyways!!”,he blurted out….and cursed himself the very next moment for doing so….

“Navneet..??? Tell me please.. I need to know, coz I do not think you were just joking”
“Naah re…seriously… I swear!!!”, and he swore false things….something that he will do now all his life to hide things….perhaps he should tell her the truth….perhaps that’s the right thing to do….but as he said…”ki fark painda hai”

“Okay…as you wish….hmmmm… I thought…”, and she paused in between…

“What?? That I love you?? “

“hmmmm..dunno..you said it making it feel so real that I believed you”

“hmmm… imagine if I wasn’t bluffing, then what would you have done??”

“Navneet!! you know na..you know it all na??”

“Hmmmm…ryt…anyways…leave it…”

“Could you??”

“Yes…it was just a prank and let’s forget it here and now…”, he said with a sore throat…

“hmmmm..okkkk…”

“ok”

“okay chal have to hang up else someone would wake up and wonder what I am doing this late in the balcony”

“Okay…bbye…take care.. “

“Bye Navneet”

“Good night”

“good night”

He hangs up….and sits on the wall of hostel roof….thinking what he just did…. He proposed the girl he loved madly for last 4 years…and turned it into a prank…”It was the right thing to do….didn’t you know she would be shocked to know this??didn’t you understand it was foolish to do in first place???You saw na her reaction…she wasnt saying anything and once you convinced her that it was a prank, she was back to normal”

“But she was suspicious of your prank thing”, a faint voice spoke from within, the voice of his heart.

“Well, I think I convinced her pretty well”, the mind spoke.

He watched his mind and heart fight for something which they would never be able to understand….HIM….and smiled…. he knew this is just the beginning of a life long dispute…

He saw the screen saver in his cell…it read…

00:45 hours
April 01, 2004