Saturday, November 15, 2014

Best Friends... Lovers?

She was staring at the blank screen of the laptop waiting for her thoughts to unjumble themselves... waiting for the words in her mind, hiding in its deep recesses, to tumble forth onto her fingers and in front of her eyes. The more she stared the more deeper they hid. The determined stare at the white document made her eyes water but she kept staring, kept waiting.

The sudden chirp of her phone made her jump. She blinked, furiously. The water in her eyes made its way down her cheeks. Sniffing and wiping her face, she picked up the phone. The name flashing on the screen made her smile. She swiped the flashing green symbol.

Without any greeting, she began, "I got your wedding card. It's nice."
"Why are you crying?" He asked concerned.

"I am not crying... just frustrated. The writer's block is going to be the death of me!"
"Ahh.. why don't you write about me?"
"Puh-leaze... I would rather be blocked. Anyway, I can't believe you are getting married!"
"Neither can I."

She could sense the smile in his voice, the happiness in her words. She could even imagine him lounging back on his couch, lazy grin in place, with his feet dangling from the sides.

"I can't believe someone agreed to marry you!"
"Sour grapes, sweetheart... I know you are jealous," he said in his trademark teasing tone.
"Ha! As if! I pity the poor girl who has to spend her entire life with you," she snickered.
"She is very lucky that I am a part of her life and, unlike you, she knows it. Thank you very much."
"Come off your high horse, mister... there's still time for your baraat procession."
"I know and you have to come and dance in front of my ghodi. No reason, excuse, prior appointment will be accepted, understood?"

She mock-saluted him, "yes boss! And you don't even have to say that, silly, I will be there. After all it's my best friend's wedding."
"I love you."
"I love you too."

She hung up the phone with a smile on her face. She couldn't believe he was getting married. The silly goofy guy who ran from commitment and girls was finally ready to settle down.

'My boy is growing up,' she smiled, tenderly.

He was her best friend, her 3AM agony aunt, her patient ear... Her soulmate. They had known each other since school. Over a decade long friendship, they had shared their deepest fantasies, their darkest fears, their boundless dreams and their life. They were always together and their constant companionship had made people, including their friends and family, assume that they were in a relationship... that they were a 'couple'. They were a couple indeed... a couple of best friends who loved each other, unconditionally.

'Men and women can't be friends because the sex part always gets in the way.'

She remembered her girlfriends quoting Harry from When Harry Met Sally innumerable times. But sex never came between them. She was an attractive woman and he was a good-looking guy, but during all the time they had spent together, they had never, not even once, spoke about dating each other... There was never any awkward sexual tension, no unspoken words, no lingering touches, no uncomfortable hugs. They were as comfortable with each other as moon is with the stars. They talked about their crushes, their romances, their dates with abandon... But, people never understood that.

She remember when she got married, their common friends were 'consoling' him. They thought, he was crying because I had got married to someone else. She remembering laughing heartily when he had told her that someone hinted that he shouldn't turn into a Devdas. Nobody knew, he was crying because he was losing his best friend. He knew that with my marriage, things would change. Like I know that with his marriage, things would change further.

The calls would become less frequent, the meetings would be few and far between and might include two more people... their world which previously had a population of two would increase exponentially. She touched her baby bump with a tiny smile. 

'Change is the only constant,' she sighed.

She got up to get a glass of water. While walking back to her seat in front of the laptop, she remembered a quote she had read sometime back - '“A guy and a girl can be just friends, but at one point or another, they will fall for each other... Maybe temporarily, maybe at the wrong time, maybe too late, or maybe forever.”

'or maybe never. They might never fall in love with each other, but they will always love one another,' she smiled sipping her water. She had got an idea for her next post.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Shaadi ka Ladoo!

 My Little Writing Project

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

Chapter Twenty Two


“If you love someone, does a marriage license matter?”

8th October

Mukti woke up suddenly. She was sweating. She had a nightmare  . . . a horrible nightmare. She had seen that her novel had been published and she was at her book launch. Everyone was around her and she suddenly saw a lawyer with Priya, Mukti, Veer and her mother! All of them were looking at her with eyes full of hatred. The lawyer hands her a piece of paper on which only three words were written - You are sued! That’s when she woke up sweating profusely. Mukti was breathing heavily. She concentrated on what she had seen.

It was a dream. Obviously it was a dream. The paper would not say you are sued right? And what was mom doing there?!

She grabbed a bottle of water by her side and drank it. She finished almost the complete bottle in one gulp. She put the cap back on and put the bottle down. She took out her phone to check the time. It was eleven in the morning. She got out of bed and got dressed. She looked around the room. It looked almost empty. Everything was neatly packed in cardboard boxes. Today was the day when she was moving in with Veer. Her phone rang, it was her mom.

“Hey beta, all set?”
“Yes, almost.” She hated lying to her mother but she did want to stay with Veer.
“How is Sonali? She must be excited about this?”

No mom, she is not! She has not talked to me in the last thirteen days and if I don’t convince her soon, there is a possible chance that I can say good bye to my dream.

Instead she said, “Yes, mom she is.” She saw Veer from her window walking towards the house, “Listen, I have to go. I will call you back.” He rang the doorbell. Mukti opened the door and gave him a quick peck on the lips. He seemed really happy. Mukti for some reason did not share his excitement.

“Hey” said Veer. He looked around, “So, all packed?” he asked rubbing his hands.
“Yeah.” She said.
“You don’t sound as excited as before?”
“Veer, you know there are a lot of things going on in my mind.”

When Mukti had told Veer what happened. He was the one who had suggested putting the shift on hold. He had helped Mukti in trying to convince Priya and Sonali to get on board. For the next whole week, Mukti and Veer had done everything they could . . . calls, messages, Facebook messages, chat pings, Facebook posts . . . to get Priya and Sonali to talk to Mukti. They had gone to Priya’s and Sonali’s respective homes and offices but both had vehemently refused to talk to Mukti.

Veer had also suggested that they send the manuscript to them but the package had come back unopened and the mails got no response. Mukti was quite upset and she realized that Veer is more depressed than her. Slowly, it dawned on her that Veer’s depression is more so because of the fact that she has not moved in with him. It was then that she decided to go ahead with her previous plan. She will never forget the look on his face, he was so happy that he hugged her and spun her around the room.

That was three days back.

Now, she was all packed. Her parents had needed a little convincing.

 It is not safe to live in Delhi alone. So, many rapes and murders keep happening. That is why I am moving in with Sonali. Two is better than one.

Thinking only of their daughter’s safety, they too agreed. So, today she was moving in with Veer and somehow she was not as excited as she had hoped she would be.

This lack of excitement is only because of Priya and Sonali and nothing else.

“You okay, baby?” Veer asked again concerned.
“Yeah, I am fine.”

Both of them started wrapping up the rest of the stuff. Veer was telling her about the space he had made in his wardrobe for her stuff.
“I have also cleared up the bathroom cabinets, so you can put your toiletries there.”
“That’s so sweet Veer.”
“Mukti, I never asked you but do you know how to cook?”

“You sound like a typical mother-in-law!” Mukti started laughing, “will your mom ask this when she meets me, ‘bahu do you know how to cook’?”
“Why will she ask you that? Why will she call you bahu?” Veer stopped packing and looked at Mukti.

“Not right away stupid, sometime in the future.” Mukti was still packing and didn’t notice that Veer was looking at her with an expression resembling a ball has hit him and knocked him off completely. Veer got up and walked across the room to where Mukti was taping a box. He held her arms and looked into her eyes.

“There is not going to be that future Mukti.”
Mukti blinked, “what are you talking about?”
“About the future that you are picturing . . . it’s not going to happen.”

“Veer, I don’t understand. I don’t mean right away, maybe after a year, two years . . . let’s see how it goes.”
“This is as far as it will go. I thought I made it clear that I don’t believe in marriage.”

It was as if a rock had dropped in her stomach. Her mouth suddenly went dry, “Uh… what are you saying? That this is it?”
“I thought you knew.”
“How . . . How would I know? This is the first time you are saying it!”

“You know about my parents’ marriage. I think that a piece of paper or saat pheras might keep two people together but they don’t guarantee happiness.”
“So, you are saying you might never want to get married?”
“No. I will never get married.”
“But you wanted to marry Meera?” she asked confused.
“And it didn’t work out! As soon as we thought of marrying, we broke up. Marriage ruins everything!”

“That is so stupid!” Mukti was getting irritated now.
“Whatever Mukti. I don’t want to get married. I don’t believe in it.”
“I want to. I want to get married, have a home, and have children. I want all of it.”
“We can still have it.”

“No, we can’t,” she looked up with eyes full of tears, “we can’t. Marriage is not about just saat pheras, it is a celebration of your love. It is a declaration to everyone that you want to spend the rest of your life with the person standing next to you. It’s not a forced decision, it’s a promise made from the heart.”

“I can throw a party after that . . . we can tell everyone that we are moving in together.”
“It’s not funny.”
“Mukti, we’ll talk about this later. Let’s just get a move on.”
“Will you change your mind?”
“Will you change yours?” he asked her.
“I will neither.”

“Then, there is nothing left to talk about. I want more from the relationship than you are willing to give.”
“What do you mean? I am willing to give you everything. Home, togetherness, love, kids, everything . . . what more do you want? What will marriage change?” he asked irritably.

“If it is not such a big deal then why don’t you want to get married?”
“We can go on and on about this. Let’s move in together. We’ll talk about this in the future.”

“I am not moving in with you, Veer.” She said and as if a dam had burst, tears started falling down her cheeks.
Veer came and hugged her, “I love you. Don’t do this.”
“I am not doing anything, you are. I am sorry if your parents’ marriage didn’t work out but you can’t make it as a benchmark for your relationships believing that all marriages fail. I mean you are ready to live in with me, why not marry me?”

“You are also ready to live in with me, what difference does a marriage certificate make?”
“It makes a hell lot of a difference. It is important and I need to know that relationship is moving towards someplace.”

Veer said in a resigned tone, “I don’t know what to say, you take your time. Think about it, think about us.” With that he got up and left behind a crying Mukti.

Mukti had never felt so alone in her life. She had no one to talk to. Her friends were not talking to her and Veer was upset. The only other person she could think of was her mother. But what could she tell her? She couldn’t talk to her either because of the lie.

I have got caught in the whole web of lies I have created! 

 Whenever she had got upset earlier there had been either Priya or her mother to listen to her. But this time, there was no one. There was so much going on in her head that she was positive that it might explode anytime soon. Her eyes were swollen from crying but the tears just didn’t stop.

It’s all my fault. I should have explained to Priya and Sonali before writing the novel, now I don’t have friends or the novel.

She sniffed and started sobbing again.

I should have had a talk with Veer before making the impulsive decision of moving in with him together. Now, none of us is happy, not I, not he and I can’t even talk to ma!

She slumped down on the floor and curled into a ball. With silent tears streaming down her face, she kept lying down till the wee hours of the morning.

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