Monday, August 25, 2014

From Prince Charming to Frog!



My Little Writing Project


To refresh your memory about previous chapters, or to know about My Little Writing Project, click here.

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Chapter Sixteen



‘Everyone falls in love with Mr. Wrong. He is the one who helps you appreciate your Mr. Right. Sometimes you have to go through numerous Mr. Wrong to finally find your Mr. Right. So, have you found your Mr. Wrong yet?’


5th September

After patiently waiting for Veer to make time for her for almost for a week, Mukti put her foot down.
“I don’t care! We are going out tonight. I will wait for you at Urban Pind. If you don’t come there by eight, I will never speak to you ever again. And I am not kidding this time.”
Veer had just laughed, proclaimed her adorable and promised to meet her there. He did keep his word and reached before Mukti. They were just walking up the stairs when Mukti saw someone familiar walking ahead.

“Oh, that’s Kshitij,” she said.
“Who is Kshitij?”
“He is my friend, Sonali’s boyfriend. I told you about him. He is the same guy from IIML, she met over the internet,” she explained trying to refresh Veer’s memory.
“What’s with you and your friends trying to find love on the internet?!” Veer joked.

Mukti glared at him, “For your information, everything is going fabulous between them, they are really happy together.”
“Wow! Your friend needs to get a wax more often!” Veer said. He was over 6ft tall and could see over Mukti’s head.
“Huh? That’s so rude,” Mukti exclaimed and stood on her tiptoes to get a better look. She saw Kshitij walking closely next to a short skinny guy wearing green plaid shorts, suspenders and loafers without socks and a trilby hat.

“That’s not Sonali, dumbo,” she said hitting Veer playfully on his arm, “Maybe he is out for dinner with some friend.”
Mukti and Veer walked to an empty booth by the stairs. Kshitij and the guy also sat down at another booth in a corner, diagonally opposite them. Mukti intentionally sat so as to have her back towards Kshitij.
I am so not in the mood to make small talk with Mr. IIML.
Veer, on the other hand, could see Kshitij and his friend perfectly. The guy was sitting next to Kshitij.

“Uh . . . sorry to burst your bubble, but that’s no friend,” Veer said after some time.
“What do you mean?” she asked suspiciously.
“Well, for starters, they are sitting too close together for guy friends. And I just saw Kshitij discreetly place his hand on the other guy’s skinny thigh,” he smiled at Mukti.
“Stop kidding around Veer. It is not funny,” Mukti said getting irritated.
“I am not joking,” he raised his eyebrows, “And now they are playing footsie under the table.”

Mukti turned to look and saw that Veer was indeed right. Kshitij was sitting next to the other guy laughing at something funny he might have said and gently stroking his arms. Mukti sat up straight wondering what she had seen. Priya’s statement – ‘I think he was staring at the waiter’ swam in front of her like a thought bubble.

Veer squinted a little and added, “Kshitij just whispered something naughty in his companion’s ear,” He let out a small whistle, “Someone is getting lucky tonight!” he said munching on some breadsticks.
Mukti stared at Veer scandalized with his observational skills, “how the hell do you know that he might get lucky? Can you read lips also?”
“Well, I do the same… hand on thigh, gentle caresses on the arm while whispering something naughty in the ear,” He said matter-of-factly and looked at Mukti.
Mukti raised her eyebrows.
“I meant I used to do that,” and added hastily, “with girls.”

Mukti continued staring at him.
“Now I don’t do all of that unless of course it is you, baby,” he winked.
“Very funny!” she turned her attention back to Kshitij and the girl. She saw the look on Kshitij’s face, the adoring way he was staring in that other guy’s eyes. Something she had not seen when he was with Sonali.

“Oh my God! What should I do? Should I tell Sonali?” and then muttered angrily, “I knew there was something different with that guy.”
“Sonali is your friend right?”
Mukti nodded.
“Then obviously you should tell her that her boyfriend is cheating on her with a guy. What are you waiting for?”
“What if she doesn’t believe me?”
“Then tell her to come here and see for herself,” he shrugged his shoulders casually.

Mukti called up Sonali and asked her to come to Urban Pind ASAP. As had become Sonali’s habit, she made some excuse. But when Mukti told her that Kshitij is here, Sonali picked up her bag and rushed out the door without even brushing her hair. She reached the restaurant in a record time. Mukti and Veer met her at the door only. They didn’t want Kshitij to leave before Sonali came. Mukti told Sonali everything and pointed in Kshitij’s direction. At first Sonali, didn’t believe her. She dismissed Mukti allegations as baseless but then when she saw Kshitij with the guy, her eyes welled up again. She saw the same dreamy look in his eyes when he held that guy that she had been dying to see for herself. But this time, they were not tears of disappointment or hurt. They were tears of anger. She wiped them and went towards Kshitij followed by Mukti and Veer.

Sonali tapped Kshitij on the shoulder. He looked up with a big smile on his face but as soon as he saw Sonali, the smile disappeared.
“Sonali” he whimpered.
“Hey Kshitij. How are you? Long time . . .”
“I am fine,” Kshitij didn’t know what to say, and then he added, “What are you doing here?”
“Kshitij have you forgotten your manners? No introductions?” she turned towards the guy and held her hand out, “Hi, I am Sonali. I am Kshitij’s girlfriend,” she said mustering her sweetest smile, stressing on the last word, “And you are…?” she kept smiling sweetly.

The guy looked at Sonali, then at Kshitij, “I don’t want to get into the middle of anything,” He got up to leave and then turned and said to Kshitij, “Call me when you have figured what do you want.” And with that he left.

“Sonali what is this? Why are you creating a scene here? He was just a friend?” he whispered urgently.
“Oh really? If he was just a friend, as you claim, why did your face turn white when you saw me? And why did your ‘friend’ leave when I said I am your girlfriend.” Sonali’s voice was getting louder with every word.

“We can talk about this in private.” He held her arm and try dragging her out.
Veer stepped in and put his hand on his shoulder, “I wouldn’t do that buddy.”
“Who is this guy?” he asked Sonali.
“He is a nice guy who respects women, unlike you!” she jerked off his hand from her arm.

“Will you stop shouting? What has got into you? What is the matter? I can’t have dinner with a friend anymore?”
“You have no time to return my calls and messages but you have time to have dinner with your so-called friends? And didn’t you say you were going on a business meeting?”
Kshitij started stammering, “Yeah . . . so that was a client only.”
“A couple of minutes back, he was a friend, now he is your client? Make up your mind!”
“Whoever he is, is none of your business!”
“It is my business, because he is with the father of my child!” Sonali yelled.

“What?!” Mukti and Kshitij asked simultaneously.
“Yes, I am pregnant damn it! I am pregnant. I have been trying to tell you for three weeks now, but you never have the time. You are always busy, but now you know. I am pregnant and it is yours!” she yelled at Kshitij. Mukti looked around. Everyone had stopped eating and was looking at the four of them.

Kshitij looked at Sonali like a lost puppy, but then his face hardened and he said, “It can’t be mine! We have never even had sex.” He said looking around making sure everybody heard him.
Sonali looked as if a bucket of cold water had fallen on her head.
“You don’t even remember? We did. Last month, at my house! After which you have been trying to avoid me and have stopped taking my calls.” She said shaking with anger.
“I am trying to avoid you because you don’t get a hint. Listen to me,” and he said slowly emphasizing every word, “I Am Not Interested in Sleeping with You! I am not attracted to you. Stop with your twisted attempts to get me into bed already.”

Sonali could feel a tear trickle down her cheek. She wiped it off, took a step toward Kshitij and whispered in his ears, “I know you remember everything and I know you are gay. What I don’t know is why are you are acting like a jerk instead of just coming out.” Sonali looked straight in his eyes, “Whatever be the reason, this sham that is your life is just pathetic.”

“You don’t know what it is like being me.” He said slowly, “You don’t know what it is like to be a homosexual in our society. I do. I know no one is going to accept me if I come out. I have to keep up this pretence. This is my curse.”

Sonali was astonished, “It’s not a curse. It’s natural. You are attracted to guys, plain and simple. What’s there to hide? Don’t you get tired of pretending?”
“What do you think? Of course I do. All the sneaking around and acting like I am attracted to girls is exhausting but I have no other option.”
“You do. Why don’t you come clean?”
“You have no idea what my life is, Okay?! So, stop pretending to care.”
“Why are you so defensive? I want to help you.”

“I don’t want your help. You were just one of the many countless girls I have to sleep with to keep up this charade. You mean nothing more to me than that.” He said arrogantly, “You can try and tell people that I am gay but no one is going to believe you.”
 Sonali was disgusted with his behaviour. She took another step towards him and slapped him right across the face as hard as she could.
“You are a pathetic,” and she walked off leaving behind a stunned Kshitij.
Mukti looked at Kshitij, “you should be ashamed of yourself, you asshole.” She rushed to follow Sonali. Veer accompanied her.
Mukti and Veer came running out of the restaurant. They looked around and saw Sonali sitting by the road with her head in her hands. Mukti went over and hugged her.
“I am not pregnant.” Sonali said.
“Oh thank god!” Mukti sighed with relief.
“Well, I don’t know. I might be.”
“What do you mean you don’t know? What the hell were you doing having sex without protection?!” She was glaring at Sonali.
Veer cleared his throat, “Mukti, we didn’t—“
Mukti stared fiercely at Veer and hissed, “Now is not the time.”

She turned her attention back to Sonali who had started crying silently.
Now is also not the time for a sermon.
She hugged Sonali and whispered softly, “Why don’t you get it checked?”
“I am scared, and now more so because I know what gender Mr. IIML prefers. How will I take care of a baby alone?!”
“Don’t worry. You are not alone. We are with you.” Mukti said stroking her hair gently.
Sonali hugged Mukti, “I want to go home.”
Mukti looked at Veer. ‘I’ll drop you guys.” He said, taking out his car keys.

Veer dropped them off at Sonali’s house and left the girls to figure out a plan of action together. Sonali, after changing into her shorts ordered for aloo parathas from the nearby dhaba. She gave Mukti a clean pair of pyjamas to change into as well. After settling comfortably, she told Mukti about the out-of-station trip and all that had happened since.

“Oh, now I get the conversation about men being dogs that we had. Why didn’t you tell me then?”
“I just didn’t want you to say, I told you so.”
“Oh Sonali, I wouldn’t have said that. I am sorry.”
“It’s ok.” She sobbed.
“Does Priya know?”
“No one knows. Apart from you, Veer, Kshitij,” and then added with a sad smile, “and the people at the restaurant.” She suddenly started laughing heartily. Mukti looked at her scared. She placed her hand on Sonali’s shoulder tentatively, “are you alright?”

Sonali wiped tears from her eyes, “That’s why he didn’t want to sleep with me? Because he is gay and I thought he is different from other guys and wants to know me better before having sex! I am such a moron. I did a strip tease for him and he fell asleep!” Sonali covered her face with her hands.

“No, you are not a moron. You are just a girl who fell in love with a wrong guy.” She said smiling, “We all have, haven’t we?”
 “I don’t know. What will I do if I am pregnant?”
“We’ll go tomorrow, pick out a home pregnancy test and you can find out. Okay?”

Sonali nodded. Then, after a few minutes added, “Call Priya. Tell her to come here.”
“Are you sure? If you don’t want to, we can tell her later.”
“No, I want to. I don’t want her to feel left out. Call her and ask her to come over.”

Mukti called up Priya three times but she never picked up. Mukti thought she might have fallen asleep and stopped trying. If she just knew, what Priya was up to, she might have never stopped calling.


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