Monday, September 8, 2014

LOVEly Tales


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 Eighteen
 

“Can you fall in love with two people at the same time? If yes, is the intensity of feelings for both of them is the same? And if you don’t feel the same passion for both of them, then obviously you feel strongly for one than the other. Then how can you be in love with two people?”

6th September

“She is not picking up,” Mukti told Sonali.
“That’s strange. It’s two in the afternoon; I hope she is all right?” Sonali asked concerned at this recent aberration in Priya’s temperament.
“She’ll be fine, I am sure she is just busy somewhere, maybe in some meeting.”

Mukti turned her attention to Sonali, “To more important matters now.”
She came and sat down next to Sonali, “So, you ready? All set to find out the truth?”
Sonali nodded.

Mukti and Sonali were sitting on Sonali’s bed. Mukti had gone in the morning and purchased a home pregnancy test from the neighbourhood chemist amidst disapproving glances from him as well as his other customers. An old aunty pointedly stared at her from head to toes and shook her head as if stating her apparent disapproval. Mukti was sure she heard her mutter, ‘today’s generation’ under her breath. Mukti was so annoyed with this blatant display of bigotry that she stared back at the aunty daring her to say anything to her face. The chemist handed her the pregnancy test and Mukti walked out with her head held high.

Such hypocrisy! If I was married these same people would have been after my life to procreate citing the hormonal clock and now just because I am not married, I am not fit to be a mother! And how do they know that I am unmarried? Just because I don’t have that ‘chutki bhar sindoor’!
She had marched back muttering to herself.

The pregnancy test was now lying on the mattress in front of the two girls just waiting to be used. Sonali was staring at it with such dread like it was some monster that might swallow her whole. Mukti was looking exasperatedly at Sonali waiting for her to get up and get tested. The suspense was killing her. Finally she picked up the pregnancy test and put it in Sonali’s hand, “Go. Let the truth prevail,” she said smiling.

Sonali held the test in the palm of her hand and kept staring at it for a while. She took a deep breath and walked with determination towards the bathroom.
“Hey,” Mukti called out, “All the best. And no matter what I am always here with you.”
“I know.”
Sonali went inside nodding her head.

Mukti started pacing the living room as an expecting father paces the hallway outside his wife’s OT. After a wait of almost twenty minutes, Sonali came out with tears streaming down her face.
“What happened? Is it positive?”
“No,” she said crying.
Thank God!

Mukti rushed over and hugged her, “Then why are you crying idiot?!”
“I don’t know,” Sonali cried even harder.
“Let me get you a glass of water.” Mukti came back with one. Sonali drank it all in one go.
“Now tell me, why were you crying?”
“It’s just that for the last three weeks I have been thinking that I am pregnant. And now when I have realized I am not, I don’t know why but I just miss it. I know it is stupid, but I can’t help it. I guess, subconsciously I was looking forward to it.”

“That’s your body and your hormones wanting to fulfil its purpose! But rational reasons apart Sonali, it is good that you are not pregnant. The baby needs the love of both the parents and you know how that ass feels about it. When your time comes to become a mother, it has to be positive and wholesome.”

“I guess so.” Sonali replied weakly. After another glass of water she added, “But I am so relieved I am not pregnant! How will I manage a baby all alone?!”
“And you are back.” She kissed Sonali on the cheek.
Sonali laughed out loud and asked Mukti to call up Priya, “Let’s go out to celebrate.”

At that instant, Veer called up Mukti. “Just a sec,” she said to Sonali and went outside, “Hey you . . . calling in the afternoon? What’s wrong?!”
“Ha Ha,” Veer laughed, “Nothing’s wrong. It’s just that I have been missing you terribly. Are you free? Can you come over to the hotel for lunch?”

“Uh . . . I am at Sonali’s place…” She said glancing back at Sonali sitting on the floor and looking pensively at the pregnancy test still in her hand.
“Oh, yeah. I forgot. So, what happened? Is she . . .?”
“No, she is not. False alarm. We were just planning to go out.”
“Great. OK. So, I’ll see you later then.” He said a little disappointed.
“Yeah,” Mukti looked at Sonali and decided to try her luck, “Just a sec, I’ll be right back.”
She went inside, “Sonali! Sonali!”

Sonali had thrown the test in the bin and was making her bed. She didn’t look up.
“There you are. Uh . . . that was Veer. He is generally never free during the day . . .” she began but Sonali cut her midway.
“Go.”
“What?”
“I said go,” She looked up. Mukti saw she was smiling, “Your last night was also ruined because of me. Go, spend some time with your loving boyfriend before I get jealous and forbid you.” She winked.
“You will be fine right?” Mukti asked making sure she was not being selfish leaving a friend in need.
“Yeah, yeah . . . I’ll catch up on some sleep. Go. Have fun.”
Mukti put the phone back at her ear, “listen—“
“I know, I heard. Come quickly. I am waiting for you. See ya.”
Mukti smiled and was about to rush out the door before Sonali stopped her.
“You are going to meet him in my old faded pair of pyjamas?”
“Oops!” Mukti rushed back inside. Sonali went into her cupboard and came out with a flowery skirt and a matching tee. She threw it at Mukti who caught it in midair. “I can’t wear this. I’ll go home and change.”
“Don’t be silly. Rajveer’s hotel is closer from here.” She got busy rummaging in her shoe closet for a matching pair, “and you have borrowed my clothes many times. No big deal. Got it!” she pulled her hand out which was clutching a pair of flats. “Best for monsoons.”
Mukti thanked her and rushed inside the bathroom to change. When she came out, Sonali inspected her make-up and handed her an umbrella. She stood at the doorway waving at Mukti like a proud mother.

Mukti reached Veer’s hotel in flat twenty minutes. After the long walk across the lawns, where she waved and nodded to the various members of his staff who had taken to calling her ma’am, she finally reached the lobby. Geeta was, as usual, behind the front desk interacting with a lady dressed in a silk sari and cradling a cat in her arms. She had a massive suitcase beside her.

“Mrs. Ayer, you don’t to bring your own towels and sheets. We have everything.” Geeta was saying.
“Geeta, you know na last time how she had developed that rash. I don’t want that to happen again. Kindly adjust na?”
“Ma’am Veer sir is completely against it.”
“Then call him here. I’ll talk to him myself.”
Geeta nodded and picked up the phone.

Mukti ducked into the nearby restroom and fixed her hair and re-applied kajal and lip gloss. After looking at herself from every angle she rang Veer.
“Hi. I have reached.”
“I know. I saw you rush into the rest room.” He said chuckling.
“Umm . . . yeah, well a girl’s got to do what a girl’s got to do.” said Mukti; her cheeks flushed in a healthy blush “So, where are you?”
“I am at the restaurant.”
“We are eating dog food?” she asked innocently.
“We do have a proper restaurant. You know for people when they come to drop off their pets and who might get hungry.”

“Why have I never seen it before?”
“It must have slipped my mind. Anyway, there is a buffet today and I know how much you like them. Come up to the second floor; ask anyone they’ll direct you here.”
“I don’t like buffets, I love them! An economical, eat all you want, smorgasbord of delectable yummies! What’s not to love?!”

“Ok, ok . . . come up. I am waiting and I am very hungry.”
“Coming.” And she hung up. She climbed up the stairs and saw Veer. Her stomach settled in waves of discomfort. He was standing with a woman whose arm was gently resting on his forearm, while they shared a mutual hearty laugh. Her other arm held onto a miniature poodle patiently sitting by her side, panting a little. Mukti just stood there looking at both of them. Then, Veer led her to the buffet table and handed her a plate, excused himself and came towards Mukti.

“Hey.”
“Hi. You saw me?”
“Yes, I did. I saw you watching me like a vulture stares at its prey.” He said jokingly.
“Who is she?” Mukti tried to be nonchalant.
“She is some guest, or like we call it here some guest’s person. No big deal,” he guided her to a table, “Let’s sit here.”

Mukti sat down and put her bag next to the table.
“So what will you have?”
“We are not having from the buffet?” Mukti said looking around.
Veer smiled. “Of course we are, let it clear out a bit then we’ll go.”
Mukti picked up the glass of water and had a sip.

“Hi Veer. I was looking for you yesterday night . . . where did you go?” came a voice from behind Mukti.
A long slender arm shot off from Mukti’s side with perfect manicured red painted finger nails. She looked up at the face that belonged to the arm. It was heavenly to say the least. Oval face, grey eyes, perfectly shaped red lips matching the shade of the nails, long straight hair and an hourglass figure . . . Mukti gulped down her water and looked at Veer. Veer was smiling broadly and had that woman’s hand in his’.

“Oh, I am so sorry Lavina. I had to go, some work problems. You understand right?” he said smiling.
Lavina?
Mukti cleared her throat to get some attention.
“Lavina, this is Mukti,” He hesitated a little and added, “My friend. And Mukti, this is Lavina, one of our most prestigious clients. She is one of our first patrons. In fact, she has a huge role to play in our success. If it was not for her word-of-mouth publicity, we wouldn’t have got so much business.”
Mukti stood up and smiled politely.
“I am more than just a client or a PR agent, aren’t I?” She smiled staring at Veer.
“Of course. Is Duchess comfortable in her suite?” he asked still smiling broadly and holding Lavina’s hand.

“You know Duchess loves it here. Apart from that unfortunate incident when that guy forcefully tried to put a leash on her, her stay has been very relaxing as usual.”  Lavina said seductively.
“I am very sorry. I have instructed the staff that duchess doesn’t like to be leashed.”
“She is not an animal you know.”
Those two went on for another fifteen minutes.

Have I turned invisible or maybe transparent? It’s as if I don’t exist.
Mukti sat down and started nibbling on the bread sticks.
Finally she heard Veer saying, “Let’s get something to eat.”
“Oh, Lavina left? Why didn’t you ask her to join us?” Mukti said sarcastically.
Veer answered, “I did but she had to rush. Maybe next time.”

Mukti glared at him. Veer started laughing, “Chill. She is just a client who gives me a lot of business. She is a typical high-flying socialite. Not only does Duchess, that’s her Chihuahua, stay here for almost three months of a year, Lavina even makes her friends and family leave their pets in our care whenever they are flying out of town. That, what you just saw, was part of my work. So you don’t have to get jealous, baby.”

“Ha! Me and jealous? I was not jealous, I was just asking.”
“Yeah yeah I know. Can we eat please, I am really hungry.”
They went to the buffet table and started filling up their plates. Mukti was quite impressed with the scrumptious spread on display, considering it was a pet hotel after all. Suddenly Mukti remembered something, “Why did you tell Lavina that I was just a friend?”

“Huh?” asked Veer who was busy deciding what to eat.
“I asked why you told Lavina that I was just a friend?” she looked Veer in the eye.
“Oh, that. Well, she is basically a client and we are not on terms wherein I tell her whom I date and whom I don’t. It doesn’t matter. The important people know.”
“Important people? Like who? Your parents? Your friends? Family? Who?” Mukti asked turning in Veer’s direction.

“I will tell everyone when the right time comes, Mukti, everyone.”
Mukti opened her mouth to say something, but Veer cut her off, “Let’s eat.”
They went back and sat down at their table, when Mukti saw someone familiar from the corner of her eye. Even though she hadn’t met him ever, she had obviously seen his profile on Facebook. There was no mistake, it was him.

“Oh my God! That’s him.” Mukti grabbed Veer’s arm and whispered.
“Who?”
“That guy, over there, next to the centre piece, he is Shantanu, Priya’s boyfriend . . . I think? What is he doing here?”
“This is not happening, again!” he said exasperatedly, “Please tell me he is sitting with Priya?”
“No. I am sure that is Shivani. I have seen their pictures of Facebook.”
“Who is Shivani?”

Mukti was staring at them trying to get a good look. Shantanu was sitting, a few tables away with a girl who was comparatively better looking, was wearing a conservative salwaar kameez and was nervously looking around. They both were sitting quietly, but they had an air of comfort around them. Shivani said something and Shantanu looked up from his plate. She laughed and reached out to wipe his lower lip. They both looked into each other’s eyes and Shantanu reached out to hold Shivani's hand.
“Who is Shivani?” Veer asked again.
Mukti looked at Veer and said, “Shivani is Shantanu’s fiancé.”
Veer got confused, “But I thought Shantanu was Priya’s boyfriend?”
“He is.” Priya said matter-of-factly.
“You have a messed up circle of friends.” he started eating.
“No, I don’t. They have just been unfortunate with men, that’s it.”
“Okay. Can we eat? Or do you have to call Priya and she will come here and we will have another scene?”
“What is he doing here, at a pet hotel?” Mukti began chewing her nails.

Veer, who had his back towards them, turned in his seat and stared at the guy, “That balding guy?” he asked pointing a fork in his direction. Mukti glowered and lowered down the fork and hissed, “don’t point.”
“well, your friend’s boyfriend just dropped off a puppy, a birthday gift from his fiance. They are planning to go out for a couple of days and they want him to stay here.” He ate some rice, “I ask again, do you need to call Priya?”

“No. I am sure she knows.”
“Okay, let me get this straight . . . she knows that her boyfriend has a fiance and they are going out for a romantic weekend together and she has no problem? Wow, that’s progressive.”
“it is not progressive. She is scared of losing him that’s why she agrees to whatever he says.”
“Where does a man like him find two women? I mean look at him?! he is no Brad Pitt. In addition, one woman knows about the existence of another woman in his life and still hangs around! Maybe I should take tuition from this guy!” Veer joked.
“What?”
“nothing.” He said hastily, “So why is she so scared of losing him?”

Mukti explained him the whole story.
“Hmm . . . that’s quite messed up.”
“Ok. She is my best friend. I won’t listen to anything negative about her.”
“Ok, OK. My dear, you need to talk to her. She can’t live her life like this. Right now, this guy is engaged. sometime later he will get married. I hope she in not thinking of having an extra marital affair with this guy?”

“No, no. I won’t let her. Anyway, you relax. Let’s eat.”
They ate in silence.
“How is your novel going?”
“Uh . . . it’s almost done.”
“Do I figure in it?”
“Yes, in bits and pieces.”
“Shouldn’t you have asked me before writing something about me?” he asked mischievously.
And with that Veer touched upon a sore spot. This issue was continuously bothering her. She had started working on the novel but still had not gathered enough courage to tell anyone what the novel was about.

 I know no one will have any problem except Priya. She is the one who might create a ruckus. Plus there has never been a good time to talk to her calmly about it as well. And now with Shivani in town, I don’t know whether I should bother her with my trivial matters.
She tried to soothe herself.
 “Where are you lost?”
“Nowhere,” she smiled.
“How is your family? It always amazes me how close you are to them.”

“Yeah. They are fine. Ma and Pa are trying to get busy. Ma is missing her social circle. She has started giving yoga lessons to the colony’s aunties!”
“Your ma knows yoga? Terrific! Why don’t you learn from her and then teach me too?”
“I know the basics, but have lost touch. Next time when I will go, I will get back to it.”
“What about your dad? What does he do all day?”

“He is getting used to not working. He has got this new habit of gardening and cooking. So ma is very happy. And Pankaj, my brother, is as usual busy with his work.” She beamed with pride.
“Good.”
“What about your fam—“Before Mukti could complete his sentence, he spoke again, “how is your content writing going?”

He never talks about his family. I don’t even know the names of his immediate family members. 

“It’s slow. I have told them I am not well so they don’t bother me too much.  I do need to keep doing them till I don’t get the book published. There are no guarantees that it will get published, so I don’t want them to forget about me.”

“understandable. But what do you think? The publishing house must have given you some signs?”
“Yeah, Nita was helping me in the beginning but then she got some other assignments so she got busy with it, and technically she is not supposed to give me any concrete suggestions before the contract is signed. I have another month to go before I submit the book. I am almost finished. I just wish someone could read and tell me if it is good or not.” She looked at Veer pointedly.

Veer just nodded his head and continued eating.
“That was a subtle hint.” Mukti said exasperatedly.
“What? You want me to read it?” he asked.
No! I want you to want to read it.”
“Oh . . . I want to but I don’t have the time.” He took a sip from his glass and added, “Why don’t you ask Priya or Sonali? I am sure they’ll be happy to help.”
It’s not that this had not occurred to Mukti, in fact Priya had, in the past, many times offered to read and give suggestions, but now Mukti was scared of showing it to her because of obvious reasons.
“Yeah. I’ll see.” Mukti shrugged non-committal.

They resumed their lunch chatting about this and that but whenever Mukti tried to steer the conversation towards Veer’s family life, he would change the topic. Finally after finishing off their respective meals and Mukti having two different kinds of desserts, she left and Veer got back to his work.
Mukti was standing outside waiting for an auto when she heard footsteps behind her. she turned and saw Shantanu talking on the phone. She hid behind a perfectly trimmed bush and started eavesdropping.

“I told you a million times that till the time Shivani is in town I can’t meet or talk on the phone. How difficult is that to understand?” Shantanu was saying.
After a pause he said, “Look, she is leaving town in a couple of days, can we talk then?”
Another pause.
“Please stop crying. I will try and come but I can’t promise anything. Ok? Now go and eat something. Yes . . . ok . . . I said I will try . . . yeah . . . I love you too. Bye.” He disconnected.
He looked worried. He sighed heavily, looked into the sky, closed his eyes for a moment and made his way back inside, walking briskly, faking a smile.
Not wanting to, but Mukti felt bad for Shantanu.

Maybe he is in love with Priya. Maybe he seriously can’t do anything. But, I just saw him with that other girl and they looked so compatible and comfortable with each other. I need to talk to Priya.
She took out her phone and called up Priya. This time Priya picked up after a single ring.
“Hello.” She sounded sleepy.
“Priya? You ok?”
“Yeah. I am fine.”
“Where are you?”
“At home.”
“Ok. I am coming over.”

Mukti hung up and hailed an auto. On her way, she called up Sonali and asked her to come over to Priya’s place as well. She reached Priya’s house and rang the bell. Priya came and opened the door. She looked awful. Her unwashed hair was hanging down limply down her face. She was wearing old pyjamas and looked like she hadn’t eaten in a long time. Priya walked slowly back into the house. Mukti closed the door behind her. She looked at the house and doubled up. Priya’s conscientious house was in a mess. She had to squint slightly to see anything as it was very gloomy inside. After a while her eyes got used to the darkness and Mukti realized that the whole house was topsy-turvy, as if hit by a tornado. Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.
There were broken glass shards lying on the ground, the sheets of the house were rumpled up and half dangling from the bed exposing a torn mattress underneath, the cushions were on the floor, there were books lying open on the table with ring marks left by coffee mugs or beer bottles on their pages, the television was turned on and was playing some silent random movie. The whole house stank of stale air. Mukti wrinkled up her nose at the strong lingering odour of alcohol.

Just like Priya hasn’t taken a bath in God knows how many days, similarly she hasn’t cleaned her house!
Mukti went and opened the windows.  She breathed in the fresh air with some relief and started tidying up without saying anything.

“What are you doing?” Priya asked, “Leave it. I’ve called the maid to come in tomorrow. She will do it.”
“Priya, what are you doing? What the hell has happened to you in three days? Have you eaten anything?

When Priya didn’t say anything, Mukti went into the kitchen and saw that the fridge was empty. There was only a carton of milk and some eggs. She made scrambled eggs, and a cup of coffee. She handed the coffee mug to Priya and put the plate in front of her. After making Priya eat her food, Mukti guided her into the bathroom and ordered her to take a shower. Meanwhile she cleared up the house and found three bottles of scotch under the bed.

That’s what she has been doing! When Priya came out, Mukti asked her, “So what have you been doing home? It looks like you haven’t gone to work for a couple of days.”
“I have not been feeling well.”
Mukti decided there was no point beating around the bush. “I saw Shantanu today.”
Priya looked up at her, “Did you look him up again on Facebook? Did u find a picture of him with his fiancé this time? Is that why you are here? To tell me the results of your snoop assignment?”

“I am here because I saw Shantanu with his fiancé having lunch. I was there with Veer. So, I know that she is in town. I also heard him talking to you on the phone. So, I knew that something is wrong. I am here not to rub anything in but to be a friend. I also found these under the bed,” she said holding up the bottles and added, “I guess you have a lot of explaining to do.”
Priya sat down on the bed with her head in her hands.

“I am sorry. I have been very irritable these last couple of days.”
“Tell me what’s bothering you.”
Priya looked at her.
“I mean I know what’s bothering you but you have always known that she is there right?”
“Yes I did. I have always known she is there . . . tucked away in Sikandrabad. But now, she is right here in Delhi. She is with him and I am not. He won’t even talk to me when he is with her. I haven’t spoken to him properly for the last three days.” Then added softly, “I just miss him so much.” Priya started crying. Mukti sat down beside her and hugged her.

“It’s ok. I am sure he misses you too.”
“I know he does and that’s what hurts the most. He wants to be with me and I want to be with him but we can’t. And this visit of Shivani is just a prelude of what's going to happen. Like she has come into town, she will come back into his life and he will be forced to forget me.”
She started crying harder. Mukti didn’t know what to say.

Should I tell her about his impending romantic getaway? She took a deep breath. She was about to tell her about what she had seen when Priya hugged her tightly, “This can’t happen again! He is the first guy after Mudit who had shown any interest in me. Nothing can go wrong like it did last time. It can’t Mukti. Don’t I deserve love?” Mukti hugged her back just as tightly and decided it wasn’t the right time to tell Priya to forget Shantanu and move on. So, she did the next best thing. She just listened.

“I love him Mukti. And everything was so perfect. He is a great guy and a great boss. Then, Shivani comes into town to surprise him. I found out that he has taken a whole week off to show her around. I can’t go to office and not see him there. It’s so hard. I have taken a sick leave. I just keep waiting for him to call but he doesn’t. And whenever he does, he is with her so he can’t talk properly. I have been dying here.” She said in between sobs.

“Ssshhh . . . it’s ok. Everything will work out.” Said Mukti not believing it to be true herself. Priya went on for about an hour and then she finally went off to sleep. Mukti was making a cup of tea for herself when the bell rang. She rushed to open it lest it woke up Priya. It was Sonali. Mukti added more water, milk and sugar to the already brewing tea. They sat down in the living room and Mukti explained everything to Sonali.

“You saw him? with Shivani? How did they look? Strained? Distant?” asked Sonali.
“At first I thought they were not talking to each other, but then something really sweet happened and I realized that they don’t need to talk to each other to have a conversation.”
“How is that possible? You just said, that Priya is hundred percent positive that he is in love with her?”

“I don’t know because I saw him later talking to Priya and he looked genuinely worried. He was stressed out.”
“This is really confusing.”
“That’s what Veer said.”
“I can’t help but imagine what Veer must think of you . . . and us!”
“I know. Anyway, I just wish that everything works out for the best.”

That night, Sonali offered to stay with Priya and Mukti headed home. When she finally reached home, she decided to start working on her novel but even after repeated attempts couldn’t. The events of last night, today afternoon and evening kept playing in her head. She opened her blog page and started typing.

‘Can someone be in love with two people at once? And I don’t mean love like a friend? Or like a brotherly / sisterly affection . . . I mean the love that is supposed to happen once in a lifetime! The Raj-Simran kinds, the Romeo Juliet kinds . . . that kind of love that makes you see everything through rose tinted glasses, when you can spend hours talking to the other person about everything and anything, when you can lose yourself in him and forget the world and its troubles . . . I am talking about the diamonds and the red roses, the champagnes and the cakes kind of love. So is it possible to be in love with two people simultaneously? It is possible that you are in love with someone and you are quite happy and then someone else walks into your life and you feel yourself attracted to that person as well. And this attraction is not only at physical level but on an emotional plane too. His happiness makes you smile and his sorrows bring tears to your eyes. Is it possible that a person can fall in love when he is already in love? Or maybe the first love (I mean the current love) has lost its charm and he is looking for some lost spark? Or maybe they have known each other for so long that sometimes you feel the need to talk to a stranger and let her define you all over again? Or maybe you can’t help yourself? I know a love triangle, where a guy is in love with two women. One woman loves his passionately in spite of knowing he is already engaged and the other one has no clue whatsoever.

Mukti stopped typing and read the post again. She wondered if she ought to upload it when her phone suddenly rang making her jump.
“Veer! You scared me.”
“Oh . . . I am sorry. What were you doing?”
“Just writing a post.”
“You had dinner?”
“Yes.”
“You sound different. What’s the problem?”
Mukti thought whether to tell him or not but then decided to take his opinion.
“Do you believe that a person can fall in love with two people at the same time?”
“Why are you asking? Are you seeing someone else?”
“No, you idiot. I am not. I am just asking you because of Priya and Shantanu.”
 “I think that instead of wasting your time on figuring out if he loves her or not, you should tell your friend to get herself together. I mean either she should ask him to talk to his fiancé or she should just forget about him and move on.”
“It’s not so easy to move on.”
“I know it’s not easy but it’s not impossible. I have done it and I am sure you must have done something like this too in your past.”
“You have done it?!” Mukti’s heart missed a beat.
“Yeah, haven’t I told you?” he said casually.
“Did my response not tell you that I don’t know anything?”
Veer took a deep breath, “Ok, ideally it should have been done face-to-face but since I know you and I know you will not rest till I tell you, so here goes.”

Oh My God! This sounds serious!
“When I was working in a hotel, I had met a girl. She was my colleague. We became friends and then we fell in love. We wanted to get married but couldn’t.”
“What?! You were so serious with a girl that you wanted to marry her? And I didn’t know anything about it till now?!”
“This was way back in my past. It’s been more than two years that I have even talked to her.”

This is not good!
“Then? What happened? Why didn’t you marry her? You found out she has a fiancé too?” she said sarcastically.
“Actually her parents were very superstitious and big believers of kundli-matching. They matched our kundlis and as luck would have it, they didn’t match. The pundit scared them further by making some weird comment about either one of us dying or some such shit.”
“Oh my God!”

“Yeah. She tried to persuade her parents but then eventually cracked under pressure, broke up with me and got engaged to someone else . . . all within a span of a couple of weeks.” He sighed.
Oh thank god!
“Oh, how sad. So, she is married now?”
“Yeah, she got married six months after that. Ironically, she even invited me for her wedding.”

He said chuckling.
“So, did you go?”
“Obviously not! I was still in love with her. Anyway, she got married and moved to a different city. I have had no contact with her ever since.”
Mukti heaved a sigh of relief.
“But as I was saying, I have also been a victim of circumstance. I loved her, she loved me but the situations were not ideal for our match and we broke up. It was very painful at first. I thought that I might never get married, that I won’t even look at another girl. I believed that I’ll never fall in love again but look at me now . . . I am in love and I am very happy.” He said matter-of-factly.

Mukti’s heart skipped a beat once again but this time, it was the good kind. Veer had never said that he was in love with her.
“You are in love?” she asked him.
Silence.
“Uh, so as I was saying, there is always a  . . .” Veer continued as if he had not heard Mukti.
“You didn’t answer my question?” she said smiling.
“All in good time Mukti, all in good time.” He answered.

He is in love with me!
Mukti couldn’t believe he has said it, well almost. She did a little jig. He will say it. One day, he will say it!
“So, coming back to the topic of Priya and her boyfriend or whatever he is, tell her this is not the end of the world. Even if it doesn’t work out, there is someone better waiting for her. And I am not quoting some self-help guru, I am talking from experience.”
Awww . . .
“Aww . . .” Mukti said smiling.
Veer laughed and said, “Now since you have become very pleased with yourself, try and cheer up your friend.”
“I am trying to, but it will be difficult. I just hope she is able to handle this.” You don’t know her like I do.
“She will. You are with her right?”
“Yes, of course. I am always with her.”
She glanced at her post. I am always with her. She saved her post as a draft and went offline.


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