Monday, September 13, 2010

Malabar Beedi

(Hi Guys, I guess it’s time for a short sweet story. A big thank you to my friend Poorvaja, who has helped me edit this story. Happy reading folks and please do post you comments. They motivate story writers a lot!! :) )

I stood there all alone in the capacious restroom that could accommodate about twenty people, admiring my neatly combed hair looking at the mirror, humming my favorite song.. behka main behka hmmm..hmmm (whistle…). A few drops of the elixir of life onto my comb had done its job as good as any branded hair cream. Just as I was all set to leave, I heard the thumping footsteps of two gentlemen enter the heaven.

“She was so plastic man! She has no acting skills?” spoke one person to the other.

“Asin does act well alright! and much better than many other actresses” defended the other.

I clenched my fists and my eyes shot up red. How dare he speak about my goddess like that? I was about to have a go at my enemy when the protestor finally decided to accept the eventual fact. ASIN IS AWESOME!!! Oh! He better! Grrh!
---------------------------

“Machi, I hate the timings da” I loudly protested. My voice towered over the noise generated at the canteen.

“I know da… You will get adjusted in a week,” explained my friend, Karthick, trying to cool me down. I just wished my manager sitting only a few seats away had overheard our conversation.

But that was not to be. I was given orders to work during the second shift till 2 am due to lack of PCs in office. Damn!!

----------------------------

I eagerly read one review after the other. Each and every one of them had critical appreciation for my archangel’s acting skills in her first ever Hindi movie – Ghajini, which had been a blockbuster hit. Wow! My goddess was really going places!!

I treated 5 of my best friends for the movie of the year at the Satyam Cineplux a few days later, celebrating my Asin’s success.

“Machi, thanks a lot da. I never knew you were such a big fan of Asin,” quipped my friend, as I stared at the picture of Asin on the movie poster. Mesmerizing beauty… Man! She’s just so beautiful!

“I hope you get to meet her once”, he concluded. I just wished I could.

------------------------------

“Hi, this is Asin Thottumkal” read the ping on the popped up window.

Another imposter. I just crossed my hands at the top of my head and thought of how crazy this was.

Chatting anonymously on yahoo general chat at 12 am was the craziest thing I had ever done. But what else could I have done to kill my boredom. I had no project mates or friends around me. A ding on the chat screen disturbed my thoughts and brought me back to reality.

“You there?” pinged the so called Asin.

“Yeah. What is the proof that you are Asin?”, I questioned, getting back to the business of knowing the truth.

“Well… You just have to believe me. I usually chat anonymously late after my shoots. Ask me anything about my life and I will tell you.”

I weighed in the option but even being her greatest fan I hardly knew anything about her.

“Can we meet up?”, I pinged back trying the conversation to next level. I smirked.

“We can”.

My heart just skipped a few beats!

“But before that we need to chat a little more. I just need to know if our frequencies match up.”

Frequencies?!.. What the..

I regained my composure and replied back “Ok . We will catch up at 12 am everyday.”

“Done deal.” I just laughed at the idea that some imposter was taking me for a ride but it was a great idea to kill boredom in the middle of the night.

-----------------------------

“Macha…,” I lowered my voice. My best friend, Karthick, who had been keenly watching a table tennis match in front of him, turned towards me. Quizzically raising his eyebrows he bent closer to me.

“I have been chatting with Asin da”. Slowly he recovered from those high voltage words and let out a mock laugh at me.

A little angry and hurt for losing my friend’s trust, I spoke “I knew you wouldn’t believe me. That’s ok. I will be meeting her this Saturday.”

He slowly nodded, “Dude, I think somebody’s taking you for a ride. Just be careful. Do you want to me come with you?”

I shook my head, “I don’t need any support da. Even if it is not Asin, I want to meet the person with whom I have chatted for the last three months.”

“Cool da. All the best. Call me if you need any help.”

I thanked him for his offer to help. Finally! I was going to meet my goddess – my cute, adorable, divine, pure, splendiferous Malabar Beedi or some cheap imposter.
----------------------------------

I checked the watch for 21st time as I stood impatiently outside the Satyam Cineplex. The meeting time had been decided as 11am that Saturday. I walked to and fro as I waited for her. Excited and nervous at the same time…

My thoughts paced faster than the bikes that zoomed past me. Is she really Asin? How would she arrive here? She would be mobbed to death, if she were to come somewhere like here.

The behka behka ring tone woke me up from my thoughts. Strange, there was no number displayed. It was from a ‘private’ number.

“Hi, this is Asin”.

I nearly dropped my month old Nokia N72 on hearing the heavy Malayalam accented English. I quickly recovered, “Hi”

“I am actually stuck in traffic here. Could you please come up to Spencer Plaza?”

If we aren’t going to be able to meet at Satyam, then meeting at Spencer’s stood absolutely no chance! Setting aside my disappointment, I spoke. “I will be there in 5 minutes”. I hung up and raced my bike towards the new destination.

As I waited apprehensively outside Spencers parking lot, the ‘private’ number flashed again on my mobile display.

“Park your bike, wait outside and check for a silver Merc”

Before I could speak anything, she hung up. A small roadside stone bore the brunt of my frustration as it travelled hundred feet with my feet providing the necessary kinetic energy.

Let me see how far this goes. Determined to finish the game I started on a night three months ago, I parked my bike and stood patiently outside the parking lot.

To my surprise a huge Merc E-class sailed into the parking lot. The back-door swiftly opened, but no one came out. I cautiously walked up to it and peered inside. The huge black tinted glass had created a near night like atmosphere inside the huge car.

As my eyes slowly got adjusted to the darkness, I stood frozen to the ground. It was as if somebody had hit me at the back of my head with an iron rod.

“Come on in”

I nearly chocked with the saliva locked in my throat. Abruptly swallowing it, I gradually slipped inside the big Merc next to ASIN.

It actually was her! I couldn’t believe my eyes!

She looked drop-dead gorgeous in her ravishingly beautiful dark green collared chudidhar with a golden border. Her kohl-smoked eyes elaborated her already piercing, bulgy eyes. A few strands of hair fell on her oblong face blushed with pink rouge. She wore a golden bindhi, which accessorized her forehead. The platinum round danglers she wore blinked brilliantly. Her curvy pink glossed lips contrasted her silky wavy hair.. What a beauty…Oh my GOD!!! Is this real? I pinched myself twice to confirm that it was indeed real.

“I guess you didn’t expect me”, her honey laden voice soothed all my tensions and transported me beyond the farthest of planets known to human world.

“Go to Chamiyan’s” she ordered her chauffeur.

My world stopped still for the next 20 minutes as she talked about our chats and about herself as the huge ship weaved through the densest of traffic congestions to reach our destination.

As we got down, she looked at me quizzically, “Are you the person whom I chatted with?”

I let out a small laugh understanding her concern. “Am.. am so sorry. I am just too stunned and amazed by what has happened. I never dreamt that I would be having lunch with a person whom I adore ” I said, thanking God that I didn’t use the word ‘fancy’ instead of adore. Phew! Thank God for that!

She gently smiled and asked me to join her in to the restaurant. I was little amazed to find this small restaurant in the midst of a residential colony. I could hear the shouts of children playing cricket a few blocks away reminding me of my younger days.

“Please sit here”, offered the waiter not flustered even a bit by the star’s presence. Asin must be a frequent visitor here. I could see few people dining in there. Somehow, a restaurant feel seemed to escape this place.

As sumptuous feast of tasty egg biryani and shrimp masala was delivered to our table, I gently requested that I could eat the biryani only. She gently nodded and munched into the shrimp masala delightfully.

We spoke lots as we slowly devoured our tasty lunch. Through our conversation, I could see that she had such a plain beautiful heart. Her jokes, witty remarks, one-liners matched my frequency just too much. I just wished I had a girlfriend like that!!!

The conversation abruptly turned to how much problem she was facing in the industry. My eyes turned moist listening to her stories on how hard she had to work in her movies and how people take her work for granted. Guess that’s the price for stardom.

“I have never ever felt so happy in my life” she spoke as she finished off the last shrimp piece on her plate. I just wished that the lunch meeting got over fast so that I could tell Karthick what a great meeting it was.

Suddenly she took my hands in hers and gazed deep at me through her kajal laden eyes. “Sometimes it takes years to find the right person and sometimes he is sitting right in front of you and you don’t realize.”

“I really like you. Do you like me?”. A 20,000 watt shock ran through my brain to my feet. I nearly fainted and felt paralyzed from head to toe. I was blacking out and my system was slowly shutting down.

“Hello…”, I could hear her voice echo deep into my ear drums and I could see Asin waving her hand over my face.

Suddenly a lightning of energy spiked through me. Regaining my conscious, I stared indefinitely at her. Not only I am sitting next to my goddess, but she has also proposed to me.

“Asin.. I .. I really…”, damn the words, “I .. really like…” and suddenly there was a huge commotion and a huge screen peeled off with fifty people standing huddled together.

The huge camera glared directly at me and I could see that a fifty year old person walk up to me and put a cap on my head. I gently removed it off my head and read it “Bakra with a STAR”.

DAMN!! I should have guessed it. I could not believe that I had been cheated or I should say bakrafied.

I looked at Asin who let out a huge roar of laughter along with the rest of the crew of the show. I tried to join their laughter, but feeling deeply cheated, I chose to remain glum.

The director explained how they had chatted anonymously with five hundred people and narrowed down on me and how Asin had taken over the chat from them. That’s why she was not present for three weeks citing shooting commitments for the transfer from the person who had first made contact with me. Furthermore, they had set up a restaurant in the midst of a residential colony and that’s why most of the place seemed fake.

I was dejected, furious at being cheated so badly. I shot a cold stare at the director, the crew and finally at Asin.

I took Asin’s hands in to mine like she had done earlier. “Asin, I don’t know why you did this and I am deeply disappointed that you have been a part of this”

Asin started to speak up to defend herself, when I raised my hand to stop her. “However, through this bad experience I have learnt that I have a great frequency with you and I am deeply in love with you”

Asin’s jaws dropped and her eyes nearly popped out.

“I promise you that the next time I meet you, I will sweep you off your feet and we will be happily married”

As Asin shook her head in amazement, I slowly walked out of the place. The whole crew and the fake set-up people who had gathered there, stood rooted, shell shocked in total disbelief by the turn of events.

As I slowly walked out of the place, I heard Asin calling my name aloud and she along with the crew ran up to me.

“I am so sorry. I never knew that my words have affected you so much. Please.. please forgive me”, she spoke, breathing heavily.

I gently smiled at her and slid the bakra cap on her head. “I believe somebody got bakrafied. Welcome to Bakra with a Star”, stressing the last word heavily, pointing at myself. Asin and the whole crew let out a huge sigh of relief and there were huge roars of laughter.

Asin took a step forward, leaned on me and softly placed a kiss on my cheek and gave me a warm hearted hug. Now that’s a dream come true!!!