Nitesh Kumar was a second year acting student while I was at the film institute. He has an identical twin brother Nilesh Kumar about whom quite a lot of them, on campus, knew. But some dint.
But this note is not exactly about these two lovely people. Its about another lovely friend, mostly lost in his own world, who did not know about Nilesh’s existence.
It must have been 4:00 am when this friend was walking back to the new hostel from the boy’s hostel after some good amount of alcohol and smoke. As he was nearing the Wisdom Tree, on his way back, he saw two people crossing the main theater, walking in from the main gate and assumed it must be some fellow students coming back from Nal Stop.* As he was nearing them and they nearing him he saw two similar looking faces! “Did I overshoot my limits while drinking and smoking?” were his immediate questions to himself as soon as he saw Nitesh and Nilesh, unable to come to terms with what he saw! He rubbed his eyes, shook his head and looked at the two again. His eye balls popped out of his eyes. As he was looking with utter disbelief Nitesh and Nilesh wished him with a warm smile. Their smile, to his frightened mind, looked frightful and a bit vicious too. He did not smile back. He couldn’t. He put his head down and continued to walk thinking the intake of intoxicants must have caused an illusion. But the ever curious mind wanted to look back and clarify if what he saw was actually true. By then Nitesh and Nilesh were wondering why this chap had not returned the smile. They were curious to see if our man was in his senses. So coincidentally when our man turned to look at Nitesh and Nilesh, the two also turned back to see our man. The two identical faces turning back at once and looking back at him scared the shit out of him. RUN, he told himself and his legs acted on the command of his mind. He ran towards the main gate and got back to his room, sweating and panting.
Next morning while we were having breakfast in the canteen Nitesh and Nilesh entered the canteen and our hero looked at them and asked me, “Sam, yeh dono sahi mein hai kya?” I did not understand what he meant. I asked him, “What?” and he rephrased his question, “Woh dono twins hai kya?” When I said, “Haan woh uska bhai hai Nilesh,” our man explained what had happened the previous night and said, “Meri toh gaand phat gayi thi. Mujhey ek pal ke liye laga mainey gaanja zyaada pee liya hai. Baad mein laga bhoot woot hoga.” I was literally rolling on the floor and laughing. “Aap hanso. Socho yaar aadhi raat mein khaali campus mein do chehra ek jaisa ek saath dikhe toh haalat kya hogi?”
(*There is a canteen at Nal Stop which opens at 3:00 am and serves good poha and upma. It used to be our savior when we would be a witness to the night handing over the baton to day in the relay of time.)