(Hi Guys, I guess it’s time for a short sweet story. Happy reading folks and please do post you comments. They motivate story writers a lot!! :) )
BASED ON A TRUE STORY!!
I let out a stifled yawn, stretched my back on the cushy chair and took a quick peek out of my window. I had the best view of the downtown from my 7th floor cubicle.
Damn! A snowfall so early in the winter was a pretty bad sign. I quickly checked out the hourly weather update and things seemed to get worse. I quickly made up my mind to escape out of office early afternoon.
I swiveled to my left and poked around in my I-Phone as my personal mails and chatting devices were switched off in my office desktop system. I swiftly dived into the useless FB updates scanning for any juicy videos. Diwali night!! I reminded myself as I failed to find any good videos posted by my Indian friends.
I quickly jumped onto my Fring app and looked at my list of friends. The usual list.. except.. an old friend, whom I had not met but had very friendly conversations with.
“Hey dude” I pinged, not really expecting a reply.
A few seconds later, “Hi dude” came a quick reply.
We exchanged a few pleasantries and I congratulated him for his new job. Getting a job in US nowadays was as close to India winning a Test match at Lord’s by an innings.
“I am getting married in December”, he dropped a bombshell.
“What the..” I trailed, trying to cope up with the new information. Damn, you are one year younger to me man.
“Congrats!!” I staggered back on track.
“Thank you. It’s a love marriage” he dropped the next big shell.
How is everybody able to get a girlfriend except me.
“Hmm.. So what’s the girl’s name?” I questioned.
“Niranjana” he pinged back. Niranjana.. I repeated in my head.
“Let me hear your story” I pinged again trying to extract a good story for my short story blog.
“Dude, it’s not even half as exciting as your love stories” he replied obviously not interested to divulge his story.
“No love story is boring” I pinged back. A few seconds of silence ensued. I understood that it was the end of our conversation.
And then suddenly he pinged. “It started six years back…” and there started the story of Mere Friend Ki Dulhan.
The Story in Friend's Words...
I checked my watch for one last time. She should have been here by now.
“Relax dude, she will come”, spoke my senior as he patted my back reassuringly. Sai was my guide, guru, brother and best friend.
She swept the dupatta of her red chudidhar over her left shoulder and walked towards me. I choked, with my saliva nearly locked in my mid-throat. What a beauty!!
Nira aka Niranjana, had been my silent sweet-heart right from the first time I saw her on the first day of my college when I had introduced myself to her.
I looked at her in near amazement as I had always wanted to ask God as how he could create a masterpiece and leave it right beside me. Her doe shaped eyes, thin pinkish lips, small golden bindi on her nearly perfect round face along with her wheatish complexion had made her the talk of the town and as expected the college guys made this fact well known to her.
“The best girls are like the apples which hang from the top of the tree. The ordinary guys don’t make an effort to reach for them and walk away with those lying on the ground. It takes men of strength and courage to rise and reach for the best apples in the tree.”
Had I not read this quote in some stupid magazine, I would have never thought about trying my luck with Nira. But she never gave one smallest hint or intention of liking anybody except her parents and her dog. I hated dogs.
She seemed quite frustrated and tired. I looked back at Sai anna and he gave me a cold stare. We had rehearsed my proposal so many times that we had covered every scenario except the ultimate one, a slap on the face.
I was lucky to have her as my classmate and as luck turned out, I soon became one of her good friends. She walked right towards me and opened her backpack and thrust an envelope into my hands.
I gingerly opened the envelope and it had a beautiful card inside it which read “Seven reasons I love U”
I looked up at the sky thanking all my stars for making Nira understand my feelings and propose to me.
“That bastard Arun…” she started and I immediately knew what had happened. Some random fella proposed to her and she was frustrated to no end now. I really could not fathom as to how she could not see it coming.
A fifteen minute one-sided conversation ended with me nodding attentively to her tale of devotion to her family and her dog.
“I am not going to accept any proposals from now on” she stamped her way to her bus.
I looked around to find Sai anna standing twenty meters away at a tea shop. I slowly walked to join Sai, completely deflated from the Sehwag styled slaughter.
“Anna.. I..” I paused to take in a deep breath, “She..” I stopped not able to continue further.
Sai ordered the Nayar sir to make a special chai for me and put a hand around my shoulders and spoke gently, “I listened to the conversation”. I abruptly turned my head to question how he overheard our conversation.
“She was shouting” he replied, understanding my mind-voice and continued, “Girls accepting proposal is like reaching Vishnu at Vaikuntam”. I looked at Sai with absolute confusion. First Nira’s monotonous blabberings and now Sai’s confusing advices. But some of them were worth it. I gingerly sipped my tea and he continued.
“As I said, a love proposal has seven doors to be opened like Vaikuntam and when each door opens you still have many more doors to open. So don’t give up buddy”.
Through the corner of my eyes, I could see Nira climbing the steps of a PTC bus and make her way through the crowded bus. I just should have proposed to her yesterday. I had lost her forever!!
I looked at watch and nearly froze. Damn!! Meeting time. I dropped my Table Tennis bat and ran towards the lift and kept on pressing the down button.
I had 90 seconds to be precise, to attend the boring weekly status call with my onsite counterpart. I looked around to find the guard snoring at the cafeteria desk. The whole place wore a deserted look as it was already 9 PM.
85 seconds.. The lift door opened and I quickly jumped in pressing the down button to the third floor. As the lift door was about to close, suddenly a beautiful hand with clinkering golden bangles shot right through the door. The lift door opened again to let her through.
NIRA.. The words choked in my mouth. My mind automatically recalled my favorite poet Barathiyaar’s poems Aasai mugam marandhu poche… (How I have forgotten my favorite person’s face..)
“Aasai mugam..” I spoke realizing I was blabbering. “Hi Nira..” I strung those words with great difficulty.
“Hey Kailash”, she spoke with her usual excitement of meeting somebody whom she liked.
“You disappeared man.. completely”, she spoke with a disappointed look. I had pulled myself out from her life as I could see how I would fit into her list of best friends as I like her way more than a friend.
“I didn’t know you work in this office”, I tried to steer the conversation away.
She crossed her hands as if she didn’t hear my words. She squarely looked at me in the eye and spoke, “I will give you one chance to make up for what you have done”.
I looked timidly at her and spoke up, “What?”
“Treat me for a hot cuppa coffee”, she finished.
The lift stopped at the third floor. I looked hesitatingly at my watch.. 10 seconds more.. I could just make it to the meeting if I ran a 100 meter world sprint. I took a deep sigh and pressed again for the fifth floor towards the cafeteria.
Random thoughts on providing a reason to my onsite counter part ran through my head.
Arjun, my grandpa was hospitalized suddenly.. My dad fell off his bike, I mean his TVS 50.. My mom’s best friend met with an accident..
As Nira’s soft hands brushed against mine, I floated on to the 9th floor of the heaven. I finally had a reason to give to my lead. I had got my girl back and I was with going to get her in my life. Damn you and your crap meetings..
(A year later)
Some relations are destined to come back in your life and make a huge difference. The last one year had been the best time of my life with me heading out to movies, parks, beaches with my sweet heart. Our relationship had grown from strength to strength and Nira confided in me her most guarded secrets and even cooked for me one day at her home. But today was different.
I looked disgustingly at the most distinctive purple lipstick that stuck glaringly in her beautiful face. I looked around to find the cafeteria very silent. A perfect time.
“I.. I want to say something”, I spoke up finally.
“I knew something was wrong. You are usually so talkative”, she replied.
I took a deep breath and then spoke, “See Nira, both of us have been good friends. Why not take it to the next level”. That was my best attempt at proposing to my sweetheart.
I expected some fiery eyes and few curses to fly at me. She stared at me with no hint of any emotion. “I cannot say anything right now”
I gulped some more tea. “Is there any particular reason?” I tried to find a logical reason.
“As I told you, I am in no position to tell you anything now”, she repeated her dialogue.
Damn! These girls are crazy. They want their husband to be their best friend but do not accept their best friend as their husband.
Perhaps time for a permanent separation had finally come. “I..”, the words were just lost in thin air like my love.
(Twenty Months Later)
Humans make a plan, God makes one and no guesses for finding out who wins. Nira had come back in my life only to go away. She was like a mirage, so close, yet so far. I was so frustrated with Nira, that I stopped talking with her completely after that day.
Ashai Mugam Marandhu Poche.. My ringtone buzzed with the latest Iyer sister’s song.
“Hello”, I screamed higher than the noise of the vehicles whizzing past me.
“Hi Kailash, This is Preity”, spoke a sweet voice. Preity was Nira’s best friend and mine too for some time we were roaming out together.
“I am at Velachery Office. Wanna catch up?” she suggested.
“Sure. I am on my way to the office. See ya in fifteen minutes” I finished the conversation and zoomed my bike to my office.
“Hey, long time” I spoke extending my hands for a handshake.
After a cordial handshake, things veered to a sweet discussion on life and movies as both of us were movie buffs.
“So I thought you guys were together”, she spoke sipping the last drops of the ginger tea.
“Who?” I questioned back knowing very well what she had asked.
“How sad that you don’t understand my question” she blinked mischievously. Girls can read guys minds to near perfection.
“We were never a pair yaar”, I tried to put up a brave face.
“You should know something”, she spoke as she inched forward and brought her face closer to mine.
“Nira had a cousin, Yashita, who was brought up in Nira’s home as her parents died when she was very young. The week before you proposed, Yashita eloped with a guy”
The diameter of my eyeballs increased proportionately with each sentence of hers.
“There was major fight in her home and her parents were very upset about having to go to a police station to report about Yashita. That was the reason, she didn’t tell you anything and hinted that she might think about it”, Preity finished.
Damn! I wanted to bang my head somewhere. I never listened to Sai’s words. Patience.. Patience..
“We are all going to Coorg. I want you join us in the trip. Nira will also come there. Speak to her and things will be fine. Atleast you guys will be friends again” she consoled me.
My last chance had landed right in my lap and I was not going to miss it!!
Temperature: 16 deg Cel)
I hated this cold climate. The warm or even hot climate of Chennai suited me much better than any hilly region on this planet. But I had come here for a reason - To get back my sweet-heart for one final time.
Throughout the hike that morning, Nira had not even spoken a single word to me. She was happily waving and joking with everybody except me. I stuck beside Preity, grudgingly trekking behind the group of eight.
The cold air drilled through my bones as the night progressed. I extended my hands around the camp fire that burned handsomely. I could see a person silently creeping behind my back.
“We are having the meeting inside. Please join us there”, spoke Nira in the most formal manner.
As I entered the huge hall, I could see everybody sitting in large circle with an empty coke bottle in the middle. I made my way to sit beside Preity, just opposite of where Nira sat.
Preity cleared her throat and spoke, “This game is called CONFESSIONS”. I knew her plan which fit my cause perfectly.
She spun the bottle hard and it made several turns before the bottle head rested opposite a fair, tall sardar.
“So Gurbinder, what’s your confession?” smiled Preity.
“I like Sidhu pa ji commenting”, he declared sheepishly.
“What’s the confession in that?”, spoke Preity, making a quirky face. She had expected more. “Tell us about your first love” she perked up the conversation.
She definitely had a plan for me.
“Love..” the sardar started and told us the most boring story of how he loved his father bullet bike and his adventures with that. “Completely lost”, Preity muttered under her breath.
She turned the bottle one more time. Please God, give me one chance. I will make it count.
The bottle slowly stopped rotating and rested upon a chocolate faced young fella sitting right next to Nira.
He looked at Nira once and spoke to the group, “I met a girl an year before and she changed my life altogether. Both of us have had the best time together and today I would like to ask that girl whether she likes me more than a friend”.
He turned towards Nira and took out a red rose from his jacket and handed it to her. Everybody in the group clapped and hooted as Preity and I sat completely paralyzed. Perhaps this was my punishment for not being patient enough. I had learnt the lesson, of course, the hard way.
I quietly sunk my head between my knees and was nearly about to cry. I mentally planned to quietly retire to my room and leave Coorg early tomorrow if Nira accepted his proposal. Something stuck me as odd, when Nira didn't reply for a few seconds. I looked up at Nira waiting for her decision with bated breath.
Nira was as much shocked as we were. She slowly regained her composure.
“Before I tell anything to Sanjeev, I must make a confession too”, she spoke gently. “On the first day of my college, a guy walked up to me and introduced himself. He went on to become my best friend, but suddenly disappeared after the end of 4th year of college for some reason. I liked him a lot for I could see the love in his eyes, but he never told me about his feelings at all. We met at a cafeteria a year later and I felt I had regained a part of my life back.”
My mind was completely blank, struggling to put together everything I was hearing.
“He proposed to me one fine day but some family reasons didn’t allow me to make any decision. However at that point of time, I just liked him as a friend and nothing more.”
My heart sank rapidly again. The match going down to the wire. There was palpable tension in the group as she started her conclusion.
“But when he disappeared again from my life, I suddenly realized how much I missed him. I wanted to call him, stand in front of him and cry out that I loved him as much as he loved me”
My hearing sense, mind, voice.. everything went blank as Nira got up from her place and came up to me.
“I love you Kailash, please don’t leave me ever” and hugged me. I could see Preity grinning from ear to ear and clapping along with the other people in the group. My love and life was complete!!
“Bro.. Howz my love story?”, pinged my friend.
I took a few seconds to recover from the impact of his love story. It was a very short and sweet one.
“Can I write a short story based on it?” I pinged.
“He he… some things never change.. do they?” he joked.
“He he..” I pinged back. “Wishing you all the best for a very happy married life” I pinged.
“Thanks mate” he replied back.
“And don’t leave her for god’s sake” I pulled his leg.
He replied with a smiley and pinged back, “So tell me your love story bro..”
I was taken aback for half a second and recovered slowly.
“It’s a long story bro… It will take another short story” I replied.
We both bade good byes to each other and stretched my back and looked out again. The snow storm had abated and as I opened a word document, I just wondered how many love stories existed in this world.
I took a deep sigh and started typing a beautiful love story of my Friend and his Dulhan!!