Wednesday, April 8, 2015

F for ... Freedom


‘You’re getting hitched?!! You’re giving up your freedom, man! Why on earth would you marry? That’s it, you’re a dead man now! Ho ho ho! What a pity, another smart dude will cease to exist!’ yelled Sudhir, slapping Mihir on the back, his loud boisterous laughter carrying over the bar to the dining area. Mihir moved a little on the bar stool, swiveling around and ended up looking right into the eyes of a fellow patron, a female at that, who from the look on her face seemed to have heard it all. He cringed under her watchful gaze, almost apologetic, appalled that his friend would cast a doubt on the entire women species and invite their wrath, like maybe that of the one sitting next to him. He almost mouthed a silent ‘SORRY’ but then thought better of it and decided to let his friend bear the brunt instead. After all, Sudhir had gotten him into trouble on several occasions earlier. Picking up his glass of Blender’s Pride and sporting a smug smile, he leaned back on the stool, allowing the lady a clear line of sight at his friend. And the woman took the bait – hook, line and sinker.

‘Ahem ... I couldn’t help overhearing, Sudhir. Loss of freedom, you were saying?’ she enquired, a sickly sweet smile on her face. Mihir glanced at her, feeling something amiss but then his gaze settled on the way her eyes spoke, almost as if she were challenging Sudhir to war. He hoped Sudhir would just apologize for his misogynistic remark and step back but Sudhir, being the utter moron that he was, didn’t see the danger in her question.

‘Yeah, duh! What’d you think? He’s gonna be governed by the Home Secretary now – what times he comes home, who does he meet, who he calls! He won’t even able to go to a bar in peace. Look at me. Cricket, booze all terminated. That your idea of fun, lady?’’

Mihir downed his glass of whiskey and asked for a refill. This was going to be interesting. He wondered if he should just call an ambulance and have them on standup while the lady chewed him up.

‘I see. And what would you be doing in a bar then?’ She asked, her voice calm, but her eyes twinkling with a dare.

‘What’s it to you?’ Sudhir asked, his speech slightly slurred.

‘He just played a tournament. Cricket with the school team. Celebrating their victory.’ Mihir said softly, pitching in on behalf of his friend.

‘In a bar. After cricket. Of course. And so, what freedom have you lost, if I may ask? Aruna’s still home running the show while you bitch about losing your freedom, you ass.’ She remarked, her disgust apparent in the shake of her head.

And then suddenly it struck Mihir, what he had missed noticing.

‘How do you know their names … Who are you?’ He asked, looking at her like he was trying to place her from before, wondering where he might know her from.

She let herself smile. ‘I was wondering when you would ask. I thought you’d have recognized me by now! You should have made me when I called him Sudhir earlier!!’ She remarked, letting out a soft chuckle. ‘Rachna! …’ She said, continuing. ‘Aruna’s friend from work! Don’t you remember we’ve met once? At bowling?’ She asked.

‘Oh man, I’m so royally screwed, ain’t I?’ groaned Sudhir, from the other end of the table.

‘Not so easy, old man. Why would I lose my insurance so quick! That’s my trump card mister! I’m gonna wait for my moment of glory! You just wait, ha! ’ smirked Rachna, grinning devilishly.

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Monday, April 6, 2015

E for ... Engagement!


‘And, wait for it … wait for it … lookit here ya’ll! We’re engaged!!!’ shrieked Pia, holding up the rock on her finger. White light from the bulbs on the ceiling reflected off it, glimmering at a hundred different angles. Her eyes shone with excitement, a million dollar smile on her face. I could feel her happiness in the rise and fall of her voice, like the waves in the ocean. Her hand held on tight to mine, her affection evident in the way she looked at me and smiled.

I felt blessed, like I had won a major battle. Maybe we had. It had been an uphill battle all this while. Looking at her share snippets of the recent engagement, looking at her show around our pictures, it felt like life was good again. That maybe, just maybe, there were at least a few out there in the big bad world, people who would understand our reasons behind our decisions, who would live and let live, who would empathize with the fact that sometimes love really knows no boundaries.

As friends crowded us shouting out their congratulations, I felt free, like I could breathe again without worrying about suffocating to death. Looking at the strong woman standing beside me, it was tough to imagine that I had almost agreed to a life without her. She must have felt my gaze on her, and she turned and looked up at me, an inquisitive glance in her eyes. I just smiled at her.

She dropped to a whisper and spoke, just the way I always wanted her to, her precious words to be shared only with me.

‘I love you too, Janet.’

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Saturday, April 4, 2015

D for ... Dilemma!


‘Weddings are tough, man. I’m in such a dilemma right now, what am I gonna do? My old man will kill me, roast me alive!’ Vivek said, running his fingers through his hair, an exasperated look on his face.

‘Whoa! Backup a little bro’, what happened? All okay? You still like Nisha right?’ Rohit, Vivek’s best buddy from their school days, asked. Rohit had moved away when he had landed a job with a multinational drug pharmaceutical company and had returned to his home, his roots after fourteen years. But it was as if time stood still, nothing had changed. Even today, standing next to Vivek near the neighbourhood pond, it felt like he had never left. Vivek was always the one to get into trouble and Rohit had always been the one to bail him out. It seemed like déjà vu all over again.

‘I like Nisha, I really do ...’ Vivek started.

‘Well that’s an assurance, considering you’re gonna be marrying her in two days. Everything else can be handled.’ Rohit said, relieved that his friend’s penchant for getting into trouble concerning matters of the heart were not the problem here.

‘Yeah ... I still remember the first day I met Nisha. I had called her over to the pizza place, newly opened then. She came, right on time, with her sister in tow.’ He said, with a grin.

‘Yeah well, it was the first time she was meeting you. I doubt her folks would have let her go alone’.

‘Yeah. True that. We met several times after that. But every time her sister came along.’

‘That’s what’s worrying you? You think her sister will be an interference post marriage?’

‘Na. That’s not it. All those times she came, the three of us bonded really well.’ Vivek remarked.

Rohit was silent, listening, wondering what could be the problem then.

‘I talk to her a lot. The sister, I mean. Discussing the wedding, planning things around it, about Nisha, her folks … and … and throughout it all …’ Vivek paused, swallowing.

‘Vivek, No.’ Rohit said, the lightbulb in his head finally turning on, as he figured out what Vivek was going to spring on him.

‘Umm, yes. I know I know but … what was I supposed to do? I couldn't stop myself. Help me man. If not you, who else? ’ Vivek said, a sheepish look on his face.

‘You’re right. Your old man will kill you. If not him, Nisha will. And if they both happen to miss, I’ll help finish you off. How do you get yourself into such situations man?’ Rohit remarked, shaking his head, unsure of whether to get furious with Rohit or to laugh at yet another conundrum he had managed to get pulled into.

Vivek was silent, waiting for Rohit to complete his monologue, silently praying that Rohit would figure out a way to extricate him from this mess he had gotten himself into.

Rohit took a deep breath. It was going to be messy whichever way he went. No second guessing that.

‘So, let me get this straight. You start meeting Nisha in the hopes of getting married to her and you end up falling in love with her sister? And you wait till what, two days? Two days before the goddamn wedding?’ Rohit asked, a look of disbelief on his face.

Vivek just met his eye, silently pleading with his best friend to help him out. And Rohit couldn’t help but smile at the craziness of it all.

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Friday, April 3, 2015

C for ... Court Marriage

‘Four people, two garlands and two pens. That’s all I want at my wedding. A simple court marriage. Plain and simple’.

‘Bro, have you even discussed this with Nidhi once?’

‘What’s to discuss? She does want to marry me, right? And everything in those stupid wedding ceremonies are only about status and showoff. It’s what happens later that counts. No?’

‘Umm, I really think you should talk to her once, Anuj. She might not be OK with it!’

‘Chill man, I know her. I think she’ll be just fine!’



***

‘Oooh look! A palatial kinda wedding! Me likes! I want that! Complete with scented rose petals being showered from the air and orchids at every table and boy, it needs to be grand! I want the works, momma!’ Nidhi exclaimed, her eyes shining with excitement as she pored through the wedding planner’s catalog.

Nidhi’s mother looked across the room and caught her husband’s eye, a slight disapproval in her gaze. Shaking his head in amused disbelief at his daughter’s fantasies, he proceeded to slink down his chair and move away from being drawn into the discussion. Hiding behind the newspaper, he let out a soft chuckle. He couldn’t wait to see Anuj’s expressions on hearing Nidhi’s grand plans. Anuj was a fine man, but he was going to have his hands full with Nidhi. This was going to be fun!

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Thursday, April 2, 2015

B for ... Bride!

Part 2 of the 2015 blogging journey with April's Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
Click here to read more on the challenge! And if you're participating too, leave your blog site in the comments! I'd love to visit!
Image Copyright: edu-cdn.com
‘Nana, B for?’ asked little 3 year old Rhea. It failed her, how something could be both bus and butterfly. She loved butterflies. They were always coming back to her. But Momma confused her by saying B for banana. She hated bananas. And Rohit, from the neighbouring house, would complicate it further by saying B for bomb. Yesterday, the play school teacher had taught her that B stood for bee. B for B? What was a B? What did it even mean?

‘B for Bride’ Nana replied, settling herself in in the old wicker chair, rubbing her knees with her palm. ‘Like your mother’s gonna be. A beautiful bride.’

‘Momma …’ Annette’s breath caught in her throat. Standing across the room, she wished she could savour this picture forever. Three generations in a single click. Time hung on a moment. Would it feel so normal again? Would her baby be happy? Was she making the right decision?

‘I know you’re worried, Annie. Don’t be. You’re getting another go at life. Embrace it, my dear.’
Little Rhea scribbled purple all across Daisy Duck and scrunched up her nose. ‘B for Bride?’

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Wednesday, April 1, 2015

A for ... Album!

And thus, I kick-start my 2015 blogging journey with April's Blogging from A to Z Challenge!
Click here to read more on the challenge! And if you're participating too, leave your blog site in the comments! I'd love to visit!

Presenting the first post of the challenge, themed on Weddings!


***

‘You remember this one, Meera?’ Janet asked, holding up Meera’s ornate gold-and-wine wedding album. Meera stayed unmoving, her gaze drifting out the window, settling on something in the distance but not really seeing.

‘Look how dashing Abhinn looks in this one!’ Janet persisted, her index finger poised on a couple’s snap of Meera and her newly wedded groom smiling unabashedly at the cameras. The warmth from the picture carried over and permeated the chill in the room. For a second, Meera’s eyes misted over, memories spilling over.

‘I really fell for him, didn’t I? Such an emotional fool I was!’ She said, a wistful smile splaying across her lips. Shadows of hurt danced across her eyes and yet Janet could feel a glimmer of hope in there. Or maybe, it was just wishful thinking on her part.

‘He did too, babe. He did too.’ She whispered in the silence.

***

‘But Abhinn dada, why can’t you try and talk to her once?’ Arushi asked, meeting her brother’s eyes in the mirror. Squinting at her reflection, she finally pursed her lips acceding that her 8th attempt at applying the eyeliner was probably going to be the best she could do.

‘Stop making faces. It’s not a joke’. He said, reprimanding her lightly.

‘But dada …’ She whined, not willing to let go.

Abhinn took a deep breath. Some days he felt he could still smell her fragrance, lingering in the room days after she had left. Or maybe it was his mind playing tricks on him. Arushi stood facing him, an expectant look on her face and a thousand questions bothering her.

‘What if I’m too late, Arushi? What if I'm too late?’ He asked, the only question bothering him.

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