Thursday, September 29, 2011

... Phir na palat ke dekha dobara

Please read the first part of this story [Link] in order for this to make sense. Note: The author is in no way responsible if this does not make sense even after reading the first part.

This is a continuation of the true story.

Over the past three days, I have been flooded by fan-mails, tweets, SMSes and comments telling me that they’re dying to read the rest of the story. So here goes.

Ok fine - everything beyond this point is true.

We had formulated a plan. Now we’ve always been firm believers and proponents of planning. We always plan everything right down to the most minute of details. We hate people who leave scope for last minute glitches. Rohit and Manish went to McDonald’s, while Poonam and I went to Mall 21 so that we could inspect everything from the windows up there. (For the uninitiated, Mall 21 is opposite McDonald’s in MI Road).

Poonam and I reached Mall 21 and discovered that it didn’t have a single window which overlooked McDonalds. Please ignore whatever I had said about planning. Uma called to inform she was already there. I asked her what was she wearing. “An orange top”, came the reply. We called up Manish immediately, who had spotted someone in an orange top with another girl in red top. “Was this going to end in an orgy?” was my immediate thought.

We asked the soldiers on the ground to monitor their every movement and report back anything suspicious. Rohit and Manish got down to ordering burgers. Uma called up again. I asked her if she was alone and she replied in the affirmative. I told her I didn’t see her in McDonald’s. She said she was waiting outside the joint.

Poonam and I stepped out of the mall and across the road saw a girl waiting outside McDonald’s wearing an orange top. No one seemed to be around her. We couldn’t chicken out at that moment, and crossed the road. We went to the hawker selling lemonade outside Raj Mandir (about 15 metres from where she was standing) and ordered ourselves two glasses. We had the target locked, and she had no clue about it. Jason Bourne, I hope you are taking notes.

We spotted a muscular man at the take-away counter a few meters behind her. He was wearing a sleeveless shirt which showed off his muscles and revealed a tattoo stretched across his biceps. He was eating the burger he had ordered. “Why would anyone order from a take-away if he had to eat there only”, screamed our brains (please recall that we were being coached on logical thinking in those days). He walked closer to her. I chewed on my straw. The tattoo became clearer now – it revealed a mermaid. Duh. He crossed her and went on the other side of the outlet. Our fears were baseless. She was alone.

Poonam paid for the lemonade. We approached her, and then I saw it clearly. Her eyes! Brown like the Vegan Shake of CCD. Calm, yet oozing out like the sauce in Chocolate Bomb of Little Italy. Mysterious yet comforting like the sight of mom-cooked food. After staring at her for a couple of seconds, I just had one question: Kya aapke toothpaste mein namak hai? Who put the stars in your eyes? Her eyes said so much.

We confirmed if she was Uma and I confessed I was the one who messaged her. She asked, “Tum Mahesh ho?”. She looked disappointed.

Her entire life must have played back in front of her eyes – memories of all the times when some guy (probably named Mahesh) used to call and bother her, memories of her past troubled relationships; and she looked disappointed because it could have all been avoided if only she had met me before. As I had already mentioned, her eyes said everything.

I didn’t want to build any relationship on the foundations of falsehood so told her how I got her number. She was confused, because she had gone to the institute just once to enquire. I told her that it was all a joke and that I was sorry. She, and her eyes, simultaneously said, “Ye sab ek mazaak tha?”. Before I could get myself to say anything, she walked away from us.

When Manish and Rohit arrived at the scene, I had one arm stretched and was chanting her name loudly trying to call her. I phoned her but she wouldn’t receive my call. She never replied to my messages.

End of story, but there are some points I would like to make:
1) The lemonade sucked.
2) Uma, if you ever read this, I am still sorry. Agar jaane anjaane mein maine tumhara dil dukhaya hai, toh ho sake to mujhe maaf kar dena.
3) She probably would have never joined the coaching institute, so I am sorry to them as well.
4) Since I am in the mood: to all the people, who, for some reasons read this - hahaha.
5) Her eyes were really special. I don’t think I remember anything about her face, but I’ll definitely recognize those eyes if ever I see them again.

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Sunday, September 25, 2011

Milte hi jisne Uma tha mujhko...

This is a true story.

I had just come out from a two-hour session in the gym. I was marveling at my six-packs when the phone rang. It was Uma again and she was begging me to meet her.

Ok fine - everything beyond this point is true.

The year was 2007 when I was a student in Jaipur. It was the year of romance and love. Err, it was also the year when Kareena and Shahid Kapoor broke up, and it was the year when Rizwanur Rahman was honour-killed by his in-laws. But it was the year when “Aap Ka Suroor - The Real Love Story” was released. So FTW.

I’ve digressed. We (the famous “Hum Baraah”) were sitting in our CAT coaching classes. We had already helped Deepak (name changed) figure out how many upward steps he needed to take if he wanted to reach a higher storey in an escalator going down, when he could have just taken the escalator going up; and were on our way to helping a dog catch a thief who for some awesome reason chose to run in strange patterns (disclaimer: no real dogs were hurt in the whole process). In short, we were developing our logical thinking skills. It was the time when the free SMS pack was unleashed on pre-paid customers. We were yet to reach an era of Idea 3G when our phones would help us forget sex, but at least free messaging helped us forget our classes.

I’ve digressed again. A sheet was circulated for us to enter our names. We had just been taught to approach a problem from all angles. So, the ideal student in me immediately flipped the page, to find other names and phone numbers there. One of the entries was Uma (name not changed for its sheer classiness and impact) (number withheld – I won’t do what the Amitabh of KBC did).

Just to show I have no hard feelings towards KBC, and also since this blog is getting a little one-sided, let me ask you a quiz question. You can leave your responses in the comments section. What sound does Uma represent most closely, when said properly with the right emphasis on certain syllables? Is it
A) A slapping sound.
B) The sound produced when bat hits ball.
C) Sound produced while kissing.
D) Sound produced when Manmohan Singh makes a speech.

Ok we have a story to complete, so getting back to it. We exchanged three SMSes (‘Wats up’, ‘Who’s this’, ‘You Forgot?’ types) and everything was going according to the ‘Hitchhiker's Guide to the Most Boring Conversations’, when she called. I could only evade her questions about my identity for a while. In most situations, the name Manish is enough to get you out of trouble, so I told her I was Manish, immediately regretting it, in case she approached the coaching institute. “Mahesh?” she asked, throwing a rope at me. “Bhatt, of course” I responded, accepting it with glee. Then she bombarded me with a series of questions, even giving me multiple options on a couple of counts (<sigh, insert another KBC joke here>).

It made me uncomfortable when she asked me if I was the same person who used to call her earlier. I had once read a story where a person makes crank calls to random people and tells them he knows their ‘secret’ (Abhay Deol style in ZNMD). Then one day he ends up calling a gangster who manages to trace him and kills him. Now, I was never the types who are sure what exactly they wanted to do with life, but ending it was never a consideration.

Then she said she wanted to meet me. Immediately Don came to my mind. “Mujhe do tarah ki ladki pasand nahi. Ek wo, jo mere pass aane mein waqt lagade, aur doosri jo bahut jaldi aa jae”. I did not tell her this, though. We hung up without having arrived at any conclusion.

I had just had a heavy dinner and was lying flat on my stomach in my hostel room. I had just burped when the phone rang. It was Uma again and she was ordering me to meet her.

Over the next twelve hours, (over SMS and phone) she repeatedly asked me to meet her. Her tone ranged from threat to order to plea. She called me again the next afternoon, asking me to meet her near McDonald’s in MI Road. I suggested alternatives. I couldn’t have allowed her to start dictating terms so early in our relationship. She didn’t listen. It was at that moment when I felt ‘the spark’ for the first time.

I told her I won’t be coming. She said she would still wait and expected me to come. My friends and I discussed the various endings that this story could possibly take. Not many were pleasant. But one of them ended with me celebrating the golden jubilee of my marriage with her, in the company of our children and grandchildren. Taking risks was another thing I was taught.

We set out well before the scheduled hour. Rohit and Manish went in one bike, while Poonam rode me in his scooty.

To be continued... [here]

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