A One Time

A One Time

Who says colleagues can’t be thick of friends? Certainly, Kabir and Naina have forged this belief. While Kabir was a happy-go-lucky young man, Naina was a sensible and very confident woman in her early twenties. They worked in the same organisation, and clicked instantly during their first official meeting. Her hands on sales, and his expertise in operations complimented, and benefited not only them, but the company too.

Within a period of two years, their equation was appreciated, though majorly misinterpreted. Their understanding was misunderstood for a sparkling chemistry. Kabir gave no heed to such speculations, and cherished Naina’s presence out of office every time. He depended on her for every bit of advice, and help. She never hesitated to turn down others for him.

One day they decided to party hard, and zeroed-in on a famous discotheque in western Mumbai. Gulping down a few Vodka shots, Kabir lost his control, and asked Naina for a dance. She was tipsy, and was reluctant to let go of the barstool. Understanding her concern, without pestering her further, he pulled up his socks instead, and decided to dance all by himself. A girl hit his buttocks accidentally. He turned around to her apology. Giving a smile to her, he moved closer to Naina, and continued swaying to the beats. Naina’s countenance made him question, ‘Can I ask you one thing?’ She nodded with a smile.

He asked, ‘Do you love me?’

She enquired suspiciously, ‘Why?’

He responded, ‘Just wanted to know. Though I keep telling everyone we are best friends, no one cares for my petition.’

She answered, ‘Of course, I do!’ The intensity in her words stunned him. Grinning from ear to ear, she continued, ‘Dumbo, that’s because we are greatest friends, now come, let’s dance.’

Regaining his composure, he joined her, and they danced till they were interrupted by the bouncers. Laughing their way back to their respective homes, they tried booking two different cabs. However, owing to the late night, he suggested her to stay-over at his house instead. She readily agreed, and was thankful to him for his concern. He gave her a pair of his shorts and a sleeveless t-shirt. After freshening up, he queried, ‘By the way, will you be comfortable in sharing the bed with me, or should I sleep outside?’

She replied, ‘Are you mad? Shut up and sleep here.’

He quickly replied, ‘Cool! I’m too tired to utter even a single more word.’ Keeping the French windows of his bedroom, and the curtains wide open for the street lights to peep in, he switched off the lights. ‘Naina, feel free to bother if you need anything, okay?’ Saying this, he lied on the bed facing his back to her.

She asked, ‘Can we switch on the AC?’

Though he had shared his bed with many women, the thought of sleeping with Naina was giving him shudders. Switching on the AC meant closing the windows, and the curtains, which he wanted to avoid in every possibility. Hiding his inhibitions, he conveyed, ‘Since, it’s raining, the room will be cooled in a while. I’m sure you would not want the AC then.’ However, before he could finish, she got up and said, ‘No, let’s switch it on. It’s too hot!’ She closed the windows, and drew the curtains to prohibit even the slightest of light to penetrate the room, and the ac was set at the lowest temperature, and laid back on the bed very close to him.

A couple of minutes later, she probed, ‘Kabir, what’s wrong with you? Why don’t you face me?’

Summing up his words, he said, ‘Actually, I am finding this side more relaxing.’

‘No way! It’s insulting. Turn this side.’ She ordered. Finally, facing the ceiling, he slept on his back, and kept his hands on his chest, and legs crossed. While he was adjusting his
posture, she requested, ‘Can you please stretch your hand? I want to rest my head on it.’ By now, his bulge had started giving him embarrassment. Butterflies in his stomach, and anxiety continued traumatizing him. She raised her hand and placed on his chest.

Losing control, he uttered, ‘Listen, this is uncomfortable for me.’

She enquired, ‘Why? What happened? And why is your hand so cold? Are you alright?’ His body had cooled down drastically, and was shivering.

‘Uh nothing, I am just feeling cold.” Came a meek reply. Deep down his thirst for physical attention had mutilated his mind.

She turned him towards her and wrapped her legs around his. His left palm rested firmly on the bed, while her grip on him tightened. He could feel her heavy and warm breath on his chest. While her right hand had pulled him towards her, her left arm laid straight beneath them lying near his bulge. The slow motion of her fingers near his excitement made his left hand raise from the bed to behind her neck. Slowly his hand slipped inch by inch towards the back. The tension was awkward yet tantalizing. The tips of the fingers were playing with whatever was coming on the way. Slowly, his fingers searched for the route to her strap through the sleeveless shirt, just like the rain water finding their own channel. Meanwhile her palm had cupped him.

His fingers forgetting all the boundaries, released the strap and played with the back in small and continuous circles. And then struck a moment, when her palm held him down there firmly, and his fingers stopped the light coiling. His palm held her strongly against him. Slowly, his hand paced from her back to front, along the lining of the bra, loosening it further. The thumb having done its job no better, pressed against her stiff nipple. The light moans releasing from her excited him further. His thumb had gotten to one of her most sensitive zones, and knew how to stimulate her all the more. It kept making the rings right around the nipple while the other fingers gradually engulfed her right breast.

With her stimulating groans his right hand pulled her hair behind slowly, and gave a peck on her forehead. Her moist breath brushed his lips and she pecked on his chin. Meanwhile their hands were giving best of services to their respective targets. He lowered and kissed her slowly, one by one, on both the eyes, nose, and both the cheeks. The touch of the two sets of the lips ceased their actions. Both could feel the heavy and warm breath. His pair of lips graciously veiled her upper lip. Her lower lip sheathed the lower of his. The gap slowly widened for his tongue to explore.

Going further down, he slid kissing every inch of her neck and making way till his lips found her firm nipple. His lips opened exhaling hot air onto it. Her breast leaned forward and pressed against his teeth. While his humid tongue was circling her, his left hand had found its way back to her butts through the shorts and pressed them amusingly. Within seconds, her shorts was pulled out swiftly, and he was on her. Throwing away his t-shirt, he bent forward again to caress the other breast this time. Wrapping her legs around his waist, they were into each other. While one of her breasts was exposed to one of his highly-skilled hands, the other one was being fed upon passionately. The temperature of the room had skipped their understanding as was their bond as colleagues. It was just a quest of mitigating their boiling blood.

His body partially slid over hers leisurely to give way for the other unused hand of his to move into her pantie. The hand reached to the already wet territory. His spirit had flown high thinking his charisma had worked. The middle and the ring finger of his started playing with her flaps, and circling her alternatively. The convulsive movements of her body was a clear indication of the excellency of his work. The two of his finger after teasing her for a while, slowly got into her. The slow and measured engagements of his fingers annoyed her. She wanted him in her altogether but he wanted to play some more. Unable to control the heat, she pushed him aside and reversed their positions pulling out his shorts. And in no time she was feeding on his, giving him the most pleasurable feeling of the world. He laid relaxed and wanted her to taste him more and to more of his length.

Bit by bit moving upwards, the tip of her tongue swayed from his bellybutton to his nipples and by the time it could reach his neck, one of her hands tucked him into her and both of them moaned loudly. She sat inaudibly and remained motionless for some time making sure he reached to the deeper levels. Eroticism was in its peak, and the moans were doing the talk. The slow humping, the clutches, and the vigorous breast awakened the beast in him, and in a fraction of second, he had pulled himself up and rolled over to be on her. The passionate stroking clubbed with the hangover and the rain occasioned in a mutual climax. He fell and rested on her arms, and finally slept cupping her behind.

Kabir had never thought of sleeping with Naina, and this thought was afflicting him from within the following morning. Still lying on bed, tugging a few strand of her hair behind her ear, he was unable to think of getting over the guilt. He prepared tea and moves to the balcony of his living room. While he was engrossed with thoughts, Naina joined him and sat next to him.

After an obnoxious silence of couple of minutes, she asked, “Are you alright?”

Clearing his throat, he replied, “Uh ya. I’m.”

She countered, “You don’t seem to be.” Seeing the discomfort, she resumed, “Look, just because we had sex, doesn’t imply we love each other romantically, or we will see each other. I hope you agree to that.” He looked straight into her eyes, and listened patiently. She got up and continued while walking towards the fences, “Like every need and desire, our bodily requirements are equally important. Sex is an integral part in keeping the mind unwavering, and most importantly happy”

He was easing out. She said, resting her back on the railings and looking at him, “Just tell me one thing, when you are hungry, you go out to eat. You relish the served food at the restaurant and leave. Do you really keep thinking about it? No right? So what’s this fuss about having sex. We are adults, and whatever happened was consensual. Just throw away your reserves. I have enjoyed it, and I would never let this hamper our bond. Therefore, just chill. This is no big a deal!”

Sitting next to him, she concluded, “Unlike most, who infer sex as love, people like me believe it’s a stress buster. Sports, Food, Shopping, Movies etcetera rejuvenates many, and sex does it for me. It isn’t cliché any more for girls to have sex just to de-stress themselves. So stop worrying and be back to the original you. It was a one-time thing, and let’s keep it as a memorable night rather than an embarrassment. Gotcha?”

Kabir was spellbound, and was impressed with Naina’s maturity. She made him understood the trivial things which happens in day-to-day life. They hugged each other and got ready for a road trip to Lonavala. Ever since then, they have entered that zone where there is no looking back.

The more conservative our minds will be, the lesser open will we be, to good and positive things. Understanding and respecting emotions are very important in leading a happy life today, along with keeping an open mind-set. Predefined and closed mind forbids from being considerate which will eventually make life a melancholic journey towards end.

Regards & Thanks,

Vikram Singh.
Please feel free to drop your views.

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Meeting the Superstar – SRK!

Amidst the busy daily routine, many a times, checking WhatsApp becomes difficult, let alone other social media including Instagram.

On one such fateful day, when I was given a free-of-charge massage in the world-famous Mumbai local, touching every possible part of my panda-lookalike body, while traveling to the most hated place, office, I received a call. Managing my hand through various hurdles like bags, sweaty torsos, big and tight bums clung together, and self induced bulges, I reached my phone. Passing through the same way up, I answered the call.

I was dismayed hearing an HDFC telecaller trying to paste an unwanted loan for her unachievable targets on my already doomed fortune. Grunting, I disconnected the call and wondered, is it necessary for my hand to go through the same pleasure it had gone a couple of minutes back. I shook thinking what if the bulges have got the juices spiled by now. Thought of fingering the phone instead. That’s when I saw a notification indicating a tag on Instagram by a dear friend, a make-up enthusiast.

On opening the post, I realised Nykaa in association with the movie Zero, was running a promotional activity. It was a contest wherein the participants were supposed to tag two movie-buffs, and put across three reasons for watching the movie. Without thinking twice, I did the same. Probably because, I genuinely wanted to see the movie for the plot, and not for the starcast alone. The winners would get a chance to meet the starcast of the movie, get goodies and free movie tickets.

A couple of days later, the same friend had bumped in to my home for dinner. While hopping on the food, she started a conversation over make-up with my sister. Uninterested in the topic, I checked my phone.

While scrolling through the notifications, I saw there were a few from Instagram of my debut book’s handle (@tiedhearts), and one from my personal id (@vickysingh_91). Ignoring the personal one, I jumped with ecstasy to see a few heart-warming reviews of my book. Overwhelmed, I gobbled 2-3 spoons of Soyabean Biryani (that my aunt had prepared with absolutely no faults and tasted divine), with next to no intervals.

I browsed through my personal id unhurriedly. I was tagged in a comment, again. I could not comprehend in the first read. Not that the words were used out of my basic-level dictionary, but I was hypnotized with the reviews. However, something struck my sight, “. . . @vickysingh_91 on winning the contest”. Quickly, I read the comment again. After all who wouldn’t like to win a contest. Especially me, when my luck shuts down the opportunities everytime I try to test it, like a marwari shopowner does with his customer who is trying his level best to bargain dropping all apprehensions and shame.

The 2nd, 3rd & every read thereafter filled my soul with more and more exuberance. I was meeting none other than “Shah Rukh Khan”. Yes, you read it right!

I was one of the 5 winners from across the multi-religious India who were meeting the Superstar. Unfortunately my friend, who tagged me in the contest, was not among the winners, which clearly means her face had hung down, and I was literally the male version of the beautiful Manisha Koirala from 1942 Love Story singing, “Aaj Main Upar”. The excitement on my face was loud enough to pave her to her den. The superficial me regretted her loss, but underneath, the unending ganges of happiness fuelled blood flow.

Instantly, I spied the profiles of other winners, and their answers as well. In no time, the highly trained and tamed inferiorities brought me to reality sighting their superior looks and the number of followers they had. I gave a cold shoulder to those complexes boosting one list in which I topped without any competition, and that was “Overweight”. Truly, when He was showering the extra pounds on earth, He found an easy prey and that’s me.

In next couple of days, the team of Nykaa interacted, and shared the details of the event. The date scheduled was 22nd December, 2018, a day I will remember forever. I was super excited to know, we would get a chance to click pics with Mr. Khan, get his autographs, and have a chance to converse with him. Isn’t it a dream of many Shahrukh-lovers. It indeed is!

During such an interaction I asked the representative of the Nykaa team, that I want my aunt to accompany me. She turned it down straight away. I requested again, saying my younger sister has her exam during that time, and I can not leave my aunt alone as she is physically challenged. After a lot of persuasion, she finally agreed to enquire with the management one last time, and hung up. Though my aunt is not differently-abled, but a lie to meet a star, oops sorry, a Superstar isn’t a big deal. A while later she called me back to inform my aunty was welcomed as well. I grabbed the glass of hot water kept in front of me, and drank it downright. I drink it everyday thinking, someday before I die, I will lose weight. Though I understand very well, that “Someday” has no existence in this life of mine.

The morning of 22nd saw different energy levels in us, my aunt and me. Both of us were thrilled equally. Looking at my aunt, one can only infer her to be a bundle of joy. She remains successful in hiding her sorrows always. That’s the beauty of her simplicity. Physically she has some of the deadly slow-poisons, namely diabetes, thyroid and arithritis. Nonetheless, her enthusiasm had not gone down a bit for meeting the King of Bollywood.

The meeting was scheduled at Taj Lands End, Bandstand, another item from my bucket list was ticked. We reported there around 1, and waited for the golden moment. However, my mood turned sour as soon as the representative cautioned me of no photography and autograph-taking. That was prohibited.

I was like what on Earth was I doing there if neither of them was allowed. As it is, it was a media promotion where many brands had rolled in winners from across the country, so there’s nothing special about me. Shahrukh’s movies had always occupied a bulky place in my mind but not he as a person. Technically, I was not a fan of him, yet I managed to meet him. Probably fate had something else in store.

In every 5 minutes, fury in my face was raising the bar further, making me look uglier than I already am. The fact that we had postponed an outstation travel because of the event, was triggering my anger incessantly. Around 2, we were asked to have lunch. That came as a surprise. Having a lunch buffet in Taj was never in my bucket list, thanks to my skinny wallet which is exactly the opposite to my body-type. The food reduced the rage by half with the first bite. By 2:30, I was all content thinking, a sea-view lunch in Taj, and that to for free-of-charge, was enough for me to travel from one farthest corner of Navi Mumbai to Bandstand.

After sometime, around quarter to 4, I walked up to the representative and informed her that my aunt and I would wait till 4:30, and then leave, as the wait for the Badshah seemed unending. Besides, I thought when a person does not value other’s time, why should he be valued. Her reaction made me believe I had asked her kidneys in return for the wait.

She claimed, “I cannot say anything, as you wish, but…”, her eyes rolling from one end to another, “…it’s…”, her hands making mudras of various dance forms, “…Shahrukh Khan dude!!!”. I wondered why didn’t she put her statement in one-go. Probably she was rehearsing her dance steps I concluded. The raised left eyebrows on my face gave her one response, Fuck You, Fuck Me!

Got back to my seat without straining my legs. While I was conversing with my aunt, a few men came and addressed us that we will be the first group to walk up to the Shahrukh Khan for an official group photo, without forgetting to reiterate about no photography session.

It was 4:12 p.m. when I stole the first glimpse of the King of Romance. I do not know where did all that annoyance fly. The state of mine was that of a feather, flying here and there as the wind drives it, except that I was in one place intact owing to hard-earned weight.

Shahrukh began his speech with an apology for being late. It kicked my ego out of my nerves altogether. It was very sweet of him to pay due to the wait of his fans. Soon after he thanked all the sponsors. I surfed through the hall to see many happy faces. I genuinely felt nice for those fans, and brands (Nano, Berger Paints, Amity University etcetera), for they have helped the former in having a closure view of their hero.

Shahrukh was his usual self, casual and witty. With his last word of gratitude, came our turn to step up to the stage. My aunt walked up first, and Shahrukh extended his hand for a handshake saying, “Hello ji!”. I was touched. The addition of “ji” while refering my aunt showed, he respects people. Aunt was not only nervous, but overwhelmed and confused as to how should she reciprocate.

Meanwhile she had cupped her own knees with her hands for the sharp pain she felt while climbing up. Shahrukh, at once, joined another hand of his, and wished her, “Namastey ji”. Probably, he felt she might not be comfortable in touching a man in public. I was flat for him by now, totally! His scintillating 6th sense of evaluating situations struck me.

I wished him with a handshake and a big smile. Usually, my eyes involuntarily check eyes and then lips of others in the said order. But with SRK, they could not move to his lips. He had worn goggles, yet the shape of his eyebrows, and eyes through the black glasses soothed my senses. I was awestruck.

While others were busy hugging and wishing him, I deliberately made aunt stand at a place next to the center, where I presumed no one can stand in between her and Shahrukh. My estimation worked. Soon Shahrukh stood next to aunty but facing others. I felt bad as his back was towards us. But as you say it, Shahrukh is incomprehensible. He lifted his left arm in a fraction of a second and placed it around aunt as an act of inclusion. That’s it!

I was smitten. My fist-sized heart gave birth to a ferrero-rocher-sized heart which chanted Shahrukh, you are the King!!! Since then, I have all my best wishes for him and his loved ones.

One last note, he might be good to some and bad to many, or vice versa. But isn’t that the case with a majority of us. He has risen from the ground to where he is today. A self-made man! I believe his arrogance justifies till the moment he doesn’t harm someone physically or emotionally. A good soul will be blessed by the universe, and his stature proves his righteousness.

In 2017, my aunt and I had seen Shahrukh perform live in a program. In 2018, we saw him in person. Probably next time, he will come over to my home for some mouth-watering food. Inshallah!

The Low-Key Mayhem of a Half-Romantic

The Low-Key Mayhem of a Half-Romantic

They were meeting for the very first time. Planning for days did not work out. It was an impulsive move to meet him on the evening of her colleague’s wedding.
He called her to apologize for another cancelling-out that day. Annoyed, she left him with only two options of meeting her, that day itself or never. Smitten, he zeroed in on “Bandra Reclamation”. She decided to ditch on the high-profile buffet, and booked a cab.
The first memory of him is inerasable, and cause her lips to curve even today. Right across the road, he stood piercing through every passer-by. His excitement seemed evident. He was tall, well-built, squared jaw with messy hair. Unable to spot her in the crowd, he wiped out his phone.
She answered the call saying, ‘Idiot, look at your left!’
Her Lehenga Choli, and traditional jewellery must have freaked him out downright. Shielding his amaze, he went running and helped her drop her apprehensions of an outfit, inappropriate for that place.
Confused between extending his hand for a shake, and a warm hug, he blurted out, ‘People might think I am running away with a bride!’ The stern look on her face made him ask, ‘What?’
‘Take me to a place where I can be comfortable.’ She demanded.
‘Shall we go to Candies?’ he asked.
Heaving a sigh, she said, ‘Oh yes! I want to get rid of this wedding outfit.’
Candies was closing down for the day. Though, they allowed her to use the restroom. She changed into a boyfriend jeans and an avocado green tee. Relieved, she enquired, ‘What’s next?’ and she smirked with excitement.
‘Umm, into drives?’
‘Yo, very much!’
‘Hop in!’
He drove by the Mount Mary Church. On the hair-pinned roads, by the windy shore, he took a right turn. Two blinks away, she could see the Church again. Her crooked eyebrows questioned him, ‘Hey, haven’t we crossed this a couple of minutes back?’
‘Yes, we did!’
‘Then, what are you doing?’
‘Trying to fit-in a long-drive in whatever limited time we have.’ His reply got her cheeks.
After a while, they walked along the sea, consciously trying their hands not to touch. It was breezy and the moon was lit, full of adoration. They sat by the beach. She was comfortable talking to him. She liked the happenings of the moment.
Looking at the distant lights, she opened her Notes app in the phone, and asked him to write his name in Hindi, just to tease him. From whatever little Hindi he knew, he surprised her by writing both, his and her name correctly using his finger tip. Though, he could not write or even enunciate her last name properly. However, he tried to convince her with all the cuteness that his pronunciation was right. She broke into laughter. In these slipping moments, he parked a kiss on her forehead. She did not want to go back home. Nevertheless, everything has an ending and their meeting was no exception.
Days Later…

Their work timings were different, and so was their calendar. They may not be in touch anymore, yet the meet will always remain a good memory to fondly recall.
With love,

Vikram Singh

(Also available on : https://www.facebook.com/thesilvertongued91/)

Joyless Ride


While entering the flight in Lucknow, I was in a state of utter confusion. The briefcase in the right hand, and the semi-folded blazer which was continuously falling off the left arm, troubled me to hold-on to the call. Yet, I could not disconnect it. It was Karan on the other side; one of the stake holders of my career. I was in a mess. The air-hostess gave a look of “How stupid!” instead of wishing “Good Evening!”

Ignoring her, I walked through the aisle to my seat, 20C. Keeping the bag in the overhead bin, I sat adjacent to a middle-aged man, who was around 35 to 40.

I said, ‘Karan, trust me, I will submit the story by tomorrow evening.’

He said, ‘How can you be this casual? Aren’t you aware, we’ll have to submit it at the earliest to be considered for the next round. Dude, for god’s sake, I have invested hugely on it. I just can’t let my money wash-off for no reason.’

I said, ‘Karan, I understand very well, the stress you are in for me. But I can’t write a story just for the sake of it, right? It’s kind of an audition, and we should present something which would touch the hearts of people, isn’t it?’ He was about to say something, when I interrupted, ‘I promise, in the next 24 hours, you will receive the material. Till then, no more calls, please, bye!’ I disconnected the call, and heaved a sigh of relief for having got another day to complete the work.

‘You seem to be a writer who is in a problem right now. Are you?’ The neighbour asked.

Looking at him, I said with a pity face, ‘Indeed, I am!’

He enquired, ‘What’s the problem?’

I replied, ‘Actually, I’m supposed to send a sample story to a publisher to lock a deal with him. This is looked after by my friend, Karan. However, I’m not convinced enough to send a piece of work from a very common genre i.e. Romance. I want to write something different this time. Something that would prove that being born as a human is not always a boon.’

‘Hmm, interesting. How about I help you with it?’ He suggested.

‘Oh! Really? How can you help me?’ I probed.

He said, ‘I will tell you my story. Hear it. In case you want to, you may use it.’

Giving him a look of suspicion, I nodded and said, ‘Cool! Let’s do it. You tell me your story. I’ll record it. In the end, if I am sure of it, I’ll make a story out of it.’

‘No! Do one thing, make pointers instead. I’m sceptical of getting my voice recorded.’


I did not want to hear his story because of his arrogance. However, I thought it would be better to have something in hand to present the following day. Besides, being a writer, I always have the leverage of adding contents to a spice-less story and present it to the world of readers. I took out my laptop, opened a MS Word file, and sat quietly, giving my neighbour a patient ear.

He began, ‘All my life, I have achieved things to get love from none.’ The introductory line was a powerful one. It reaped off the ego of a listener, and raised the interest of a writer.

He continued, ‘Born in a high-profiled family, I have never seen odds of life as far as material comforts are concerned. My father was in police, while my mother was a doctor. However, I lacked the care and affection with which a child is brought-up. Not that I had not received love from my mother, but it’s my father whom I’m referring to.’

The inflight announcement began. I requested him, ‘Please wait, let them get over. We’ll resume. Meanwhile, we can talk about something else.’ He nodded. I asked, ‘So are you from Lucknow, or did you visit this place for some reason?’

He answered, ‘This happens to be my birthplace. I had come here for some legal work. I’m flying back to Germany now. Since, it’s a connecting flight, it’ll fly via Mumbai. Probably, you’re getting down there?’ I nodded.

Once the announcements were done, he resumed, ‘Since the beginning, my father was always very special to me. He let me go anywhere I wanted to. He let me be with anyone I wanted to. He let me live the way I wanted to. Basically, he did not care about me. I felt a sense of relief from his side.

One day after returning from school, while I was entering the house, my father walked past me. The staleness of alcohol choked me, yet I liked him because he never bothered me. I kept my bag on the sofa, in the drawing room, and looked out for my mother. She laid subconscious on the floor, in the kitchen. I called her several times, but there was no response. I shook her a couple of times, yet there was no reaction. I got a glass of water and sprinkled few drops on her. She regained consciousness. She started breathing, though heavily. Meanwhile I noticed circular, dark red in colour bruises on the neck. I asked her slowly, “What happened Maa?”

She clarified, “It was a cardiac arrest.” She gathered some energy and walked towards her bedroom. She was a cardio-specialist. I believed her explanation. Besides, I was too young, around nine-year-old, to have understood the situation. I didn’t question her further, and I ­let her take some rest. The frequency of such incidents grew over weeks and months.

My mother wanted me to be a believer of God. However, I had told her that the only person whom I would follow, and be afraid of, is her and no one else. Yet, being a kid, I too had my share of wishes and expectations from God. I just had to write it in a chit of paper, and put it in one of the drawers of a special wardrobe. That drawer had a hidden chamber, of which only I was aware. Every time, I would drop a wish, it would be fulfilled within a day or two. It was years later I realised, that the wishes were fulfilled by none other than my mother.

Meera masi was my nanny. She was a divorcee with no children. She loved me, and took care of me like I was her own child. She would play with me, looked after my requirements, and loved my mother like a younger sister. I was very fond of her. With her around, I would feel content, happy and safe. After my mother, the women whom I loved the most was her. My mother was very happy with her. She gifted masi a beautiful anklet.

One afternoon, while playing hide-and-seek with her, I hid under the bed of the guest room. My mother was out for her work. It was only the two of us. While masi was looking out for me, someone rang the bell. The door was bolted with a thud. From under the bed, I saw two sets of feet approaching the bed. One set was marching aggressively while the other one was dragged. I saw the anklets which my mother had gifted. Before I could come out of the bed to help masi, she was pushed on to the bed, and the trousers of the man who pushed her dropped on the floor.

The continuous screaming terrified me in-and-out. I laid there shivering with no courage of running out of the room. As soon as the ordeal ended, masi sprinted out partly clothed. A couple of minutes later, the man got down from the bed to pick his trousers. I turned my head towards the wall, and shut my eyes praying I shouldn’t be seen. Yet, as fate had it, I was pulled out of the bed by my legs. He was none other than my father.

He held me by my neck, and lifted me above the floor, pushing me against the wall. He said, “I knew you were down there. But the urge in a man is beyond such obstacles. You’ll understand when you’ve your tool ready. Now listen you pig, it’ll be good for you and your mother if you keep this under wraps.” He dropped me on the ground and left the house. My senses were numbed. I remained froze till masi came. She hugged me, and cried her heart out.’

‘Excuse me sir, veg or non-veg?’ Interrupted the air hostess.

The story had taken over my mind. I replied weakly, ‘Non-veg.’ The air hostess handed over the meal to me, and asked the neighbour for his preference. Meanwhile, I laid my head back, and closed my eyes imagining the awful scene.

‘Are you alright?’ The neighbour enquired. I nodded, and gestured him to continue with the story.

He recommenced, ‘That incident had shaken me from within. I started losing confidence in myself. Though I excelled in studies, I became quiet over the years. It was a form of depression. It was only during the high school that I realised, the term used for the act which my father did with my mother and masi alternatively was “rape”. The hatred for him had grown in folds. My mother insisted me on pursuing higher studies out of Lucknow.

She had wanted me to settle in abroad after studying engineering. I had decided to fulfil her dream. I knew, her husband was a sheer disappointment in her life. At least, I should make her feel happy about this life, instead of adding on to the list of regrets. I gave more than what I could have, and ended up securing a place in a renowned college in Hyderabad.

During the four years of post-graduation, I met a beautiful girl, Ramya, during an outing to a nearby tourist spot. We fell in love with each other. Since, she was not from the same college, meeting her every day was quite a task. Classes with piles of projects and assignments took away most of the time and energy. However, just the thought of meeting her would charge me up again. I found her care and affection similar to my mother and Meera masi’s. That drew me towards her all the more.

I was placed in a company based out of Germany during the 8th semester. Finally, after completion of the studies, I married Ramya, and went abroad. I tried convincing my mother to shift with me. However, all the requests and pleas went in vain. Instead, she convinced me that leaving her patients mid-way, will be injustice to the mankind she had been serving all her life. Though she promised, that someday she would shift in with me.

After a few years, the inevitable had to happen. My mother was a heart patient. She had ordered Meera masi that the latter should not call out for help, till the time she had asked for, at the time of heart attack.

One evening, my mother was lying on the bed when she got a heart-attack. Wanting to end her life, she struggled through the pain till it reached a severe level. Finally, she pressed the bell, adjacent to her bed. Meera masi called out for help, and my mother was rushed to the hospital, where she was declared “DEAD ON ARRIVAL.” It was a planned suicide instead.’

By now, I had stopped taking notes. I was not in the present anymore. My hands were numbed with cold. I looked at my neighbour, and smiled.

He smiled back, and said, ‘I believe I should stop here.’ I shook my head.

He continued, ‘I didn’t come to India for the final rites of my mother. I could not. I could not have seen the house without her. I could not have withstood my father, who tortured her to make her life a living-hell.

However, after eight years of my mother’s death, I had to come to India this time, to settle some legal issues owing to the property. The property was sold-off. Before the final hearings, I went to the house to feel my mother’s presence for the very last time.’ Taking out a letter and handing over to me, he said, ‘This is what I found in that magical drawer. A letter, my mother had left for me years ago.’


I am happy for you for where you are today. I am happy that you lived out of this man’s inhumanity. My blessings and best wishes are always with you. I just have one request to make. Never return to this place, never…!


Love you,


While reading this letter, I could not hold back my tears, neither could my neighbour. It was a letter from a concerned mother to her son. It had to leave its effect. Meanwhile, the Captain made an announcement of descent of the flight.

Wanting to end the conversation on a lighter note, I said, ‘Probably, because of aunt’s service to the society, you’re gifted with a lovable family back in Germany.’

The plane landed. The Fasten Seat belt sign was turned off. The passengers alighting in Mumbai got up and collected their personal belongings before deplaning.

My neighbour looked at me. His eyes were moist and communicated in volumes. He managed to say, ‘I wish I could have said the same about my family, what you think, is true.’ My heart sank thinking about the introductory line of this man. All my life, I have achieved things to get love from none. He continued without waiting for me to ask, ‘Ramya married me because I was a jackpot in her life. She never loved me for who I am. However, she wanted me for what I am. We share a husband-wife bond for the world, but the reality is far beyond the truth of our relationship. My children aren’t fond of me either. Due to the differences Ramya and I have, I keep travelling for official work. She used these opportunities to influence my children against me.’

Frustrated, I asked, ‘Why don’t you give her a divorce?’

‘For what? To end up paying her 50% of my earnings every month till I die? That’s the policy there.’ His voice cracked finally, ‘I am used to this now. That’s the reason I said, all my life, I have achieved things to get love from none. My mother and Meera masi loved me, but I had to leave them to fulfil my mother’s dreams. My father never treasured me. My wife never prized me, and I am not sure, if my kids will ever respect me. I am living my life just because my Maa wanted it.’

Passengers had alighted the plane. I was called by the hostess. I signalled her a yes, and asked him, ‘What’s your name?’

‘Let it be with me. You may name my character anything you wish.’

Looked at him for few more seconds. My heart felt an unusual heaviness. I said, ‘I’ll name you Joy.’ I took out my visiting card and kept it on his table. ‘Take care Joy, let’s see if destiny makes us cross our path again. Bye.’

Looking at the visiting card, he said, ‘Vikram, this is just a coincidence. The name you’ve selected is a synonym of my name. Take care, bye!’ We smiled and I left towards the exit.

Just before exiting the plane, I looked at him for a last time. He gestured a “thank you” for the visiting card and put it in his shirt pocket. I dropped my belongings and ran towards him to give him a final hug. He got up to reciprocate.

‘Joy, feel free to reach out to me anytime you want. I’ll always lend you my ears. I am glad I met you. Try to keep in touch. Bye!’

He responded with the same warmth, ‘Thanks! Had never thought, I would ever share my story with anyone. I am feeling so better today. I’m glad too I met you. Bye!’

To feel the agony of someone else, one need not be related to him through blood or man-made bonds. Pain has its own way to reach an awakened heart.

Has your mind ever been tortured by the misery of someone else?

With love,

Vikram Singh

Run Away


Never in my imagination had I ever thought of helping a bride to run away from her wedding. On top of it, who was she fleeing with? The Mr. helper, that’s me!

I was busy arguing with a woman who forcefully entered the queue I was in. I waited for more than twenty minutes, and then suddenly out of nowhere this woman went ahead. Our fight had already drew attention, yet I was not moving back. I never help a woman just because she is one.

Just when she was about to surrender, I got a call. I answered tensed, ‘Hello’

‘Hi, how are you? What’s happening? You forgot me completely.’

I replied hurriedly, ‘Hey Divya, I will call you back. Little busy!”

She said disappointed, ‘Oh okay! Do call me! Something very important to say! Bye!’

‘Wait!’ After a pause of few seconds, I questioned apprehensively, ‘Are you getting married?’

‘Yes!’ she said silently. Having heard the loud conversation in my background, she disconnected the call saying, ‘Take care and call me ASAP, Bye!’

Keeping my phone in my pocket, I slowly told the woman, ‘Please go ahead!’ People behind me started accusing me of how could I let someone enter the queue in between. I gestured them to move ahead too. Everyone became silent. I took the trolley with the items picked to be bought quietly, kept it aside, and walked out of the shop without buying. I wanted peace, some silence to cope-up with what I had heard over the call.

In the evening, Divya and I had a good conversation regarding her wedding, her about-to-be husband, her in-laws, the venue and the date of her wedding. Throughout the talk, she was the subject while everything related to her had become the object. I was not even counted as a phrase. Nevertheless, the excitement was justified. After the call ended, as insisted by Divya, I booked my flight tickets to Chennai. I was requested to arrive three days prior to the wedding. She wanted me to witness each and every ritual. That was a cute-little white lie. She wanted me to click her pictures throughout in every attire she wears.

In every single moment in the next 297 days, I felt her presence. We did speak to each other a couple of times during those ten months. However, I kept thinking how would I see her walking down the aisle with someone else. The thought itself would crook my nose. Yet, apart from regretting over a past decision, nothing else could have been done. Had the proposal been accepted while we had hardly touched adulthood, the invitation card would have had my name instead of Divya’s would-be. Nonetheless, I was glad we had been maintaining our friendship for more than a decade, even after the dreamy proposal and the ambrosial refusal.

Finally, the day had come to meet her. With the flight descending to land, my heart palpitated wildly thinking just a few more minutes and I would see my girl, sorry, my best-friend going gaga about her wedding all over again. I was the 4th one to exit the flight. With the very first step outside the plane, the cold breeze made my hair stand on its end. It felt like the gust of wind whispered her name, Divya, in my ears sending a shiver down my spine. My eyelids shut, without waiting for it to happen involuntarily, to feel her. That plump face of the school days made me smile, while those trivial and funny fights took me through the memory lane. I opened my eyes and decided, that was it. I could not be a part of that wedding. She is meant to be mine and she will have to flee with me.

She had promised to come to the airport. However, she could not. A few relatives got her engaged in some work. Her younger sister, Komal had come instead. Everything had changed in those ten years. Komal had grown up to a beautiful young lady. Somewhere my mind convinced me, if the elder one does not run away with me, I will elope with the younger one.

On the way to the house, Komal briefed me about the entire agenda. I gladly lent her my ears for she represented a higher degree of verbosity than her sister. We entered the already-filled house. Not a single corner was left vacant by the family and their relatives. A series of smiles were exchanged. However, my eyes were looking out for that one person whom I had last seen a decade ago. And there she was, running towards me through the stairs. I could not take my eyes off from her. It was not my mistake at all. Yellow Kurti, Red Patiala and Dupatta with long silver Rajasthani jhumkas and loose hair made her look attractive, and even more. Beautiful would be an understatement. That cute fat girl with pony tail during school days would grow up to this was never expected.

I was insisted in having dinner without any further delay. It was already very late in the night. I sat down with the entire family. It was the beginning of an ice-breaking session. By the end of it, the conversations had made me comfortable. Post the dinner, Divya took my luggage and guided to one of the guest rooms. She closed the door behind, kept my suitcase aside and pulled me to sit on the bed. I was startled at her spontaneity. Tucking her legs under her, and putting a few strands of hair behind both her ears simultaneously, she said, ‘Listen, I am confused!’

I rolled my eyes and leaned my head backwards. I knew she was up to something. Her tactics were school-famous. She was one of a kind – an amazing mix of mischievousness yet lovability.

Tapping my forehead, she continued, ‘Listen, I am really confused. I don’t know if this guy…’

‘Which guy?’ Worried, I interrupted.

‘Ick, dumbo Palash, my would-be. I don’t know if he loves me.’

‘Why? What happened?’ Concerned, I asked.

‘We had a small argument two days back, and since then we are not in talking terms. He does not realise that in three days, we will be technically so called soul-mates for everyone in this world. God knows how will it be!’ She leaned back on the bed.

I asked, ‘Did you start the fight?’ She shook her head. How could have I told her that, it must be she who would have initiated the argument. In general, girls tend to become annoying and less patient listener, and their continuous questioning do agitate guys.

I asked, ‘Did you call him after the fight?’ She shook her head again.

Just then Komal entered the room and asked Divya to go with her. A few aunties were looking out for her for some important work. Divya got up from bed, and said, ‘You take rest now. We will talk tomorrow. You better help me in clearing the mess I am in. Bye, good night!’

I wished the girls good night and they left. I changed my clothes, and laid on the bed facing the ceiling. The lamp adjacent to the bed, spread dim-light across the room. I sleep after playing soft songs on my phone. They act like my lullabies. While I was lying listening to a soulful song, something got on to my mind. I got up and took my phone in my hand to send a message. Somewhere my mind was not with me in convincing Divya to flee with me. I decided, I will have to act like a best-friend and guide her do what is correct, instead of acting like a long-lost lover.

I wanted her to sort out her things with Palash. I wrote-

I am not a pro in a relationship as I never had any such experience. But I have understood few things from near and dear ones.

  1. Respect, Space and Trust are very important in a relationship. Understand their importance and implement them.
  2. Do compromise, but not always. Compromise is important as that will make you stronger, feasible and flexible.
  3. Patience is crucial to sustain a relationship. Abide by it.
  4. Try to keep ego away as much as POSSIBLE. Besides, do understand the difference between Ego and Self-Respect. Leave Ego, while if required, fight for self-respect.
  5. Lastly, rely on your loved ones for advices and suggestions, but don’t let them take decisions on your behalf. That will ruin your learning process.

Remember, you are a fish grown in one pond and you will be moving to another pond. This means, it’s obvious for you to find it uncomfortable in the beginning but gradually, you will be alright. Similarly, people will compliment you in your in-laws house (don’t fly high then). They will criticise too (don’t feel low then). Just believe your soul and do what you feel is right keeping all the five points mentioned above in mind.

After sending this message, I switched off the light, and slept listening to some more songs.

I woke up to the thunderous bangs on the door. Who else, but Divya. I opened the door with an expression of disgust. She said, ‘Get ready soon and come downstairs. We will have breakfast. Mum and dad are looking out for you. Okay?’ I nodded. She planted a kiss on my cheek and squeezing the other cheek of mine, she said, ‘Cute!’

I uttered, ‘Bye!’ and closed the door on her face.

I reached my bed dilly-dally. Sitting on it, I checked my phone. Divya had replied to my message,

Thank you Neil. Even today, you know how to make me understand. Even today, you comprehend me the way no one else does. Even today, you love me. Thank you once again!

The day started off with me being a part of the family rather being just a guest. The way that I am, loving and entertaining, I engaged myself in taking care of everyone – their needs and their requirements. Be it cracking jokes to entertain, or carrying stuffs from one place to another. Be it attending guests, or looking after the abrupt necessities during different rituals. I lent my helping-hand to one and all. The point had come where newer guests started assuming Divya and me to be cousins. She kept clarifying though. With every clarification, the level of furiousness increased. She did not like naming our bond to be a brother-sister one.

Out of the three days, two days flew like seconds. Divya kept giving angry looks and kept sending messages filled with anger. However, I could not revert every single time. Someone or the other called out my name for some or the other thing.

The night before the wedding, a twist to the story evolved out of nowhere. Someone banged the door of my bedroom. It was 2:30 a.m. Initially, I could not think of any options, who it might be at that hour of the day. I walked sluggishly to the door and unlatched it. Komal rushed in and closed the door. I was shocked. She was breathing heavily. I asked her to calm down first, and then tell the reason for her presence.

She said, ‘Neil, pack your stuffs fast and let’s go out from here!’

Stunned, I asked, ‘What?’

Collecting my stuffs from across the room, she said, ‘We can’t be here anymore. We will have to abscond, else it will be a big problem.’

Holding her left arm, I questioned angrily, ‘What are you doing here now? Will you please speak up?’

Divya entered the room abruptly, and saw me holding Komal’s left arm firmly. She looked at me heatedly. Without waiting for her to ask me anything, I blurted, ‘I have not asked Komal to come to my room now. She has come and started packing my stuffs. I don’t know what is she doing.’ Looking at Komal, I requested, ‘Please tell your sister that you have come here on your own.’

Divya came to me and snatched her sister’s hand from my hold and threw my hand in air. She told Komal, ‘Get my suitcase slowly so that no one wakes up.’ Komal nodded her head and left the room. She said, ‘Neil, she was packing your stuff because I am running away from the wedding with you.’ I could not understand a single thing. All the words Divya spoke, bounced over my head one after the other.

The confused look on my face further angered Divya. She asked, ‘Neil, just tell one thing. Do you still love me?’

After a few seconds, I nodded.

She continued, ‘Then what is the confusion about?’ Blank face was what I had at that time. ‘Look, my cousins and Komal think you very nice and you are the one with whom I can live happily unquestionably. Palash is a good guy too, but he certainly does not love me as much as you do. Every girl would want to marry that one person who would treat her like a queen. Am I being selfish? Am I being too demanding? Is asking for my happiness wrong?’ She asked holding my collar.

I took my phone, played the song “Stay A Little Longer” and threw it on the bed. Divya kept looking at me seamlessly. I pulled her towards me. Hugging her and stroking her hair, I said, ‘Yes, I love you, even today. You are neither being selfish, nor being demanding. You are not wrong. But we can’t run away like this.’ She removed herself from my embrace, and looked at me. I enfolded her in my arms again, ‘You are behaving absolutely normal. Sweetie, everyone overthinks the way you do before his nuptial. The only difference is, not all think of fleeing. This is nothing else but anxiety attack.’

She pushed me away, and accused, ‘Don’t trap me in your words Neil. I know you will somehow succeed in convincing me in not escaping. You are a coward who is still indecisive of your love for me. Come on, accept it. I know my parents would accept you the moment we come back after marrying each other. They love you as well. Besides, your family loves me, and you know that. Look, I was confused earlier whether I loved Palash or was he helping me in overcoming your absence. I think he loves me, and if he really does, he would understand my situation.’

I made her sit on the bed. I went down on my knees. Holding her hand, I said, ‘Divya, honestly saying I had come to your wedding to convince you to run away with me. But after seeing everything over here, I realised I cannot be this selfish to destroy my best-friend’s wedding. Now that you are willing to run away, I don’t need to wait for anything else. We can walk away without any inhibitions. However, just give me a little more time.’

‘Till when? We don’t…’

I interrupted, ‘You trust me right?’ She nodded. ‘Just do one thing. Go back to your room and sleep well. Perform the last few rituals as they are supposed to be. Let no one doubt anything. Before you are taken for the final ritual, I will take you and leave the venue. Okay?’


I shook my head and gestured her to have confidence in me. She got up and walked slowly towards the door. But before exiting the room, she ran towards me again. Hugging she said, ‘Do not betray me Neil. I know the only person who could help me in getting out of the mess is you and only you. I know whatever you will do will only be for my well-being.’ I kissed her forehead. She left.

I could not sleep the entire night. The anxiety that Divya was possessed with had affected my state of mind. I had to think of ways to elope with Divya. I had just twelve hours to frame the action-plan. I began the day with attending guests. Around 3 p.m. Divya was leaving for salon for her bridal make-up when she came and hugged me in front of all. We had become the centre of attraction. She whispered, ‘Neil, my belief in you is in its place. I am sure you will keep it intact.’ I moved her away affectionately and nodded with a smile. She went with Komal to the salon.

I had just five more hours and I had still not finalised an action plan.

I was walking from one place to another, when my eyes froze seeing Divya’s mother. She was glowing with happiness. Her relatives teased her for looking so beautiful. She was also complimented for Divya’s upbringing, and Divya’s choice of groom. The pride she carried on her face proved how content she was. I could not control but took a candid picture of her and left.

While I was helping a few guests, I accidently overheard Divya’s father boosting his happiness for Palash’s admirable conduct so far. Palash’s matured behaviour and his gratifying background had won over Uncle’s credence completely. He was convinced with Divya’s selection which was evident from the way he curled his moustache. A candid picture was captured yet again.

I accumulated as many sweet candid pictures from here and there as were possible. Around 7 p.m. I entered the venue where the last few rituals were supposed to be performed. While I was serving an elder aunty a glass of water, I heard someone called my name from behind. I turned around and froze. Divya stood in front of me in the bridal attire.

She looked stunning!

Na, she looked beautiful!

No, she looked gorgeous!

Not even this!

She looked like my future. She looked like the hope of my survival. She looked the most beautiful star on earth that day.

She asked, ‘Ready?’

I nodded, and said, ‘Wait in the bride’s room. I am coming in 15 minutes. I am asked to carry few garlands for Palash’s entry. As soon as that is done, I will be next to you.’ She smiled and left.

Carrying the garlands I walked towards the entry. The groom’s family and friends had arrived at the gate. I handed over the garlands to a few cousins of Divya, and stood in a place where I could see three people clearly, Divya’s parents and Palash.

In one of the rituals, the bride’s father and cousins lifted the groom on their shoulder to welcome him. Uncle’s teary-eyed and a fatherly smile was captured. Palash’s excited and amused grin too was clicked. He seemed to have waited for that moment since a long time.

In another such ritual, bride’s mother pulled the groom holding his nose. It was funny, but the motherly emotions overpowered when the groom kissed aunty’s forehead and hugged her. The peace that her daughter was in safe hands reassured aunty and a few drops of happiness rolled down her cheeks combined with her loving smile. This was photographed too.

After the groom and his side of guests entered the venue, they were served with drinks and food. I ignored everyone and went to the bride’s room. There she was, waiting for me anxiously. She stood up and ran towards me. Hugging me, she said, ‘Thank you Neil. Now let’s go!’

I said, ‘Hey, before leaving I want to show you something and then ask a few things. After that, we will leave from the back door. Okay?

‘You can ask me on our way. Now let’s leave!’ She requested.

I made her sit, and I sat beside her. I took out my phone and showed her the candid pictures I had taken throughout the day. I kept narrating the stories behind the pictures side-by-side. By the time the 6th picture was narrated, her eyes were filled with tears. I took out tissue papers from my blazer’s pocket and handed over to her. I told her, ‘I knew you would need this. So, I carried it from the counter while coming to you.’

She got up and slapped me. I was trying to figure out what had happened, she hugged me and sobbed, ‘Duffer, you truly love me and you are the only one who understands me. You understood, I would need the tissue paper. No one else in this world can replace you in my life. You are successful mister. You are successful. Your goodness has overpowered my demand. I am lucky to have you in my life.’

Who the hell has said a guy if sheds tears is not a guy. If this statement is true, I am happy being a girl then.

I could not hold back my tears and a few drops ran down my cheeks to her cheeks. She removed herself from my embrace, looked at me, and cleaned my face using one of the tissue papers. I realised her make-up was in trouble. I took one tissue paper to clean her face. But she said, ‘Do you want me to look like a maid on my big-day? If you clean my face my make-up would go away.’ Saying that we laughed holding each other again.

Finally the marriage was successfully solemnised. Smiles were on everyone’s face by the end of the function.

Bidding bye to all, I left for the airport the next morning. On the flight, back to Mumbai, I thought how coward I am. My father kidnapped my mother to marry her. My sister forced my brother-in-law to kidnap her and marry her. While I went to a wedding to elope with the bride who was also willing to flee with me, but I happily handed her hands to someone else just because her family and her would-be were happy.

Probably, my better-half is somewhere else waiting for to me dial her number so that our line gets connected…

With love,


Vikram Singh

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No! Not Again (Part 3)


Sandhya’s continuous call disturbed my peaceful sleep. I woke up to find Varun nowhere in the room. I answered crossed, ‘Idiot, what happened?’

‘Nothing! Just wanted to irritate you!’ She smirked and hung up the call.


After having brushed my teeth, I left the room looking out for her.


Varun entered the room. Tarun followed soon after. On seeing no one else, Tarun asked, ‘Varun, what’s up between you and Ambar?’


Varun replied, ‘What? Nothing serious!’


Tarun questioned, ‘What do you mean by that? I’ve been noticing both of you since the time he has come. His eyes express genuine feelings for you!’


‘Bro, chill! I’m just enjoying!’ Came a casual reply.


‘Enjoying? Enjoying what?’


‘Listen, just stay out of this!’ Looking straight in Tarun’s eyes, he confirmed, ‘I’m giving Ambar in his own coin. He had rejected me. I’m superior to him in every prospect yet he walked away. What does he think of himself? No one has ever dumped me, but he did. He has already fallen for me, a little more time and I’ll be done. I’ll be at ease after insulting his emotions.’


Tarun cautioned, ‘Stop it! Grow up! Flush out that arrogance! You won’t do that to him!’


‘Well, I’ll!’ Varun replied adamantly.


‘Well, you already have!’ Sandhya’s reply frightened the cousins. I stood near the door with her phone in hand.


Going back a couple of minutes:-


I thought of infuriating Sandhya the same way she had done. I called her several times. She disconnected the calls all the time except the last one. Exasperated, she kept her phone on Poonam’s bed. I kept my phone on the table leaving the call unabridged. I went to Poonam’s room and frightened Sandhya from behind. We laughed at the inanity. Poonam too joined in. Tarun’s question through the loudspeaker silenced the room. The entire conversation between the cousins was heard. Poonam hugged me compassionately while Sandhya pulled me to my room to confront Varun.


I handed over Sandhya’s phone to her and slowly walked passed Varun to get my phone. I took my clothes and headed to the washroom. Before entering, I turned around and said, ‘Thanks Tarun! Reasons needn’t be expressed, and Varun, sorry for Mumbai. Had not expected that would have such an effect on you!’ My voice conveyed the disappointment.


I went in and locked the door behind. Head ached, shoulders lowered, I stood holding the washbasin for a while. I decided to head-out alone to have some me-time, the only medicine that works for me.


Sandhya and Varun had left the room by the time I came out. I got readied. Tarun sat on the bed the whole time and looked at me apologetically. Without exchanging any words, I headed towards the exit, when Tarun got up and regretted, ‘Ambar, I’m sorry on behalf of Varun!’


I turned around and said, ‘You don’t have to!’ Holding his arm, I continued, ‘In fact, I should thank you for bringing me back to my senses. Thanks! See you soon!’


‘Where’re you going?’ He asked.


‘Where I can love and pamper myself!’ I chuckled.


‘Common, tell me, where’re you going? Shall I give you company?’ He enquired worried.


‘Nopes! I want to have some me-time and I need that. Sayonara!’ I left after exchanging smiles.
Varun obstructed my path near the exit of the hotel. I had booked a cab by then already. He questioned, ‘Where’re you going?’


I got into the cab instead. Varun opened the door and tried pulling me out of the cab. I countered, ‘Varun, stop! Be happy that you’ve won the game. There’s nothing more between us. I didn’t tell you anything because I understood, as a person, you wanted to be even, and I don’t keep a grudge for that. Now, please leave me!’


‘You can’t be this cool! You can’t walk away again! You can’t!’ He commanded.


‘Leave!’ My red-eyes and heavy-tone shocked him. ‘Don’t create a scene!’ He stood still. I ordered the driver to start the ride.


Gurudwara Shri Bangla Sahib soothed my broken heart. The playful and colourful fishes in the mansarovar helped my lips to spread slowly. A sudden thought forced my hand to take my phone out and open WhatsApp. I had exported Varun and Gagandeep’s chat to my number secretly while he had slept the night before. I had wanted to know who Gagandeep was.


The chat was a huge one and after reading a few lines, I decided to close it. Just then something struck my eyes. As for the little I could read before the striking series of messages, I comprehended, Varun and Gagandeep had dated each other.


Gagandeep, ‘What has happened to you Varun? Have I done anything wrong to deserve this?’


Varun, ‘Gagandeep, I’m rethinking!’


Gagandeep, ‘Rethinking about?’


Varun, ‘About us!’


Gagandeep requested, ‘What??? I’m calling you. Please answer it!’


Varun, ‘Can’t talk now! Bye!’

Varun’s mean replies provoked me further against him. Disgusted, I closed the chat. Just then Tarun called me. He enquired about my whereabouts. In an unappreciated flat tone, I answered all his questions.


He said reluctantly, ‘Ambar…’


I asked, ‘Yes…?’


He continued, ‘I want to tell you something but I am apprehensive. I am confused!’


‘Tarun, stop beating around the bush. Please speak up!’ I commanded.


He narrated without a single pause in between, ‘Ambar, Varun was with someone. But he left him for you. It’s just that he’s egocentric. It didn’t go down well with him when you walked over him. Till then he had never faced rejection and couldn’t digest the indirect-denial.’




Obstructing my speech, he resumed, ‘Ambar, he wanted to show you down. However, after that he would have proposed you too. You do one thing. Talk to the same guy Varun was dating. You’ll meet the reality without any doubts. He keeps calling me to mend his relationship. But I never wanted that to happen anyway!’




‘Varun justifies a much better partner than him. He needs a good guy. He deserves you Ambar!’ I blushed. ‘I’ll forward Gagandeep’s number. Talk to him!’


‘Whose number?’ I asked awed.


‘The guy Varun dated!’


‘What’s the name you took?’
‘Gagandeep!’ I couldn’t believe my ears. I asked him to be on-call while I opened the chat. Varun and I had met on 4th June and his mean replies and ignorance started post that. I told Tarun, I would give him a call back shortly and hung up the call.


I went back to the chat and read one of Varun’s message which stood out of all others. He said,


‘Gagandeep, I met you. We liked each other and decided to go around hand-in-hand. However, there was something that was missing. I could not understand it. Neither have I today!


Meanwhile, I met a guy a couple of days ago. It was a blind-date. It turned out to be a turning point in my life. We did not have sex. We did not kiss. We did touch each other. Yet, I have fallen for him. His simplicity, his love for “to-be-himself”, his straight-forwardness, flipped my heart downright.


Please do not misunderstand me. I was not in for a blind-date while dating you. It’s he who convinced me to try out one. He had clarified that it doesn’t have to be a sex-date. A date is supposed to know someone little more and not always in the perspective of love. However, today, my world is upside-down. Day-in, day-out his invisible-presence is killing me.


On one hand I don’t want to keep you hanging and on the other hand, I see no reason to keep you in dark. I apologize for breaking your trust.


With this I bid adieu. Bye forever!’


I closed the chat. A huge smile beamed. I rushed to the hotel immediately. Seeing me in the venue, Varun rushed to our bedroom. He confronted, ‘Ambar, I’ve something to say.’


With an attitude, I said, ‘Yes, go on!’


‘I’m sorry! I wanted…’


Interrupting him, I said, ‘It’s okay Varun. I’m hurt and I won’t deny that. However, I understand your situation too. Let’s start our friendship afresh!’
‘Friendship? Afresh? I apologized to you because I want you back in my life. Reset your heart and fall in love with me at once. Can’t wait again!’ He screamed.


‘In your dreams!’ I chuckled and left the room. The entire evening he kept on buttering but I did not fall for it. I had made my mind to start it from scratch else we might lose the companionship soon.


The wedding was indeed a game-changer for me. Met many people, had some of the best experiences and lastly, the endearing love-war game uplifted my life.


I woke early on Monday morning to board my flight. Varun had informed me the night before he would be going to the airport with me. We had our respective flights around the same time.


On the way to the airport, his sweet gestures made me blush again and again. While getting the boarding passes and depositing the check-in baggage, I asked him, ‘When’s your flight?’


He said casually, ‘Around 6:15 am!’


I was happy. My flight was at 6:30. The thought of having some me-time to check-out the airport made me happier which otherwise was impossible. Thanks to Varun!


Around 5:45, I said, ‘I believe you should go for boarding now!’


He checked his ticket, and said happily, ‘Hey I just realised. We’ll be boarding the same flight!’


His eyes expressed delight while mine showed exasperation. He could not make that out though. I counted on the fact the different seats would give some much-needed space to us.


We boarded the flight, while I walked through the aisle to take 28B seat, I bid him bye. He got busy in keeping his bag and I left content. Exactly after 5 minutes, he arrived empty handed and sat on 28C. My eyes questioned his.


He happily explained, ‘Yesterday, Poonam and Sandhya helped me in web-checking these two seats. That’s the reason they took your PNR number. I had to re-book my flight to be with you!’


I understood I was fooled again and covering my face, I said, ‘No! Not Again…’



“The story sees no end as the love-war game is a thrilling adventure. The ones who have experienced can relate, and the ones who are yet to fall in love, can get an idea of how electrifying the love is…❤️”




With love,

Vikram Singh

No! Not Again! (Part 2)


The sun-rays entering the room bothered my peaceful sleep. The warmth of the hand, stroking my hair gently, comforted me. I turned around and slept nestling the person beside me. Sandhya and Varun were discussing in whispers about the places which can be covered in Delhi. I woke up to the sight of my hand placed on Varun, and my head rested serenely on his hand. It jolted me into awkwardness.


I got up rubbing my eyes. He asked, ‘What happened?’


‘No, nothing! I’m sorry!’ I replied.


‘It’s okay! You can sleep on my arms. They are yours.’ He chuckled.


Sandhya’s smile added to my discomfiture. She was well-versed with our date. I had told her my story earlier. Varun shared his while I was asleep. Luckily, there was no one else in the room. Avoiding further eye-contact, I went to the washroom. I laved and wore a yellow Kurta for the Haldi. Without conversing with anyone, I sat in the hall arranged for the Haldi ceremony. One by one, everyone arrived dressed in outfits dominated with the yellow color.



The beauty of the bride enhanced in a yellow Saree. The ladies got busy with the rites. The songs in the local language boosted the authenticity of Punjabi customs. Applying Haldi on the feet, hands, cheeks and forehead using betel leaf was fascinating. In the end, bride took turns to put Haldi on her cousins and friends. Everyone danced merrily. Beautiful smiles and tears kept recurring.


After the bride dispersed for the next ritual, I left for my room to wash my face. Varun followed soon after. I came out of the washroom to see him sitting on the bed playing with a remote. He had changed from his traditional attire to a torn blue denims with a red t-shirt and a brown leather jacket. His handsomeness stole my complete attention.


Holding back his smile, he said, ‘I know I’m looking good, but your gaze is embarrassing me.’


After the realization of my inanity, adjusting my body-language, I walked towards the door. He obstructed my exit. He said, ‘Please change your clothes!’


I questioned, ‘Why?’


‘Because we are going out for our unfinished date!’


‘When was it decided?’




‘Why do you think I will go?’


‘Because you like me!’


‘Oh, please! I’m not going anywhere. I’ve come here to attend the wedding and that’s it!’ I tried finding a new route to exit. However, he blocked the entire passage.


Sandhya knocked the door. He did not open. She screamed from outside, ‘Duffer open the door. I’ve a good news for you!’ He opened it with a beam. She tapped his shoulder and said, ‘Listen, there are no major functions now. You guys leave after eating something and be back by 6 pm without fail. Mehendi would begin then.’ Looking at me, she came inside and asked, ‘Are you guys not going?’


Varun replied before I could voice my denial, ‘Yes, of course! We were discussing on something.’


She hugged me. Handing over a key to Varun, she said, ‘This is my brother’s bike. Have fun!’


She wished me luck and bade bye. He locked the door again after she left.


I said crossly, ‘Listen, you cannot force me. I don’t want to go.’


He looked straight in my eyes. Our eyes locked with each other for more than a few seconds. Taking a step backwards towards the door, he said, ‘In exactly 20 minutes, I’ll be waiting for you near the entry of the hotel. If you don’t turn up, the story of our date would spread like fire with a stamp of our selfie.’ Wearing the goggles, he opened the door and walked out of the room with a wicked grin. Had there been a pool with crocodiles, I would have thrown him into it. Irritated, I changed my clothes and went to the dining hall. His smile increased its width on sensing my presence. While all of us were eating, Shefali inquired, ‘Guys, let’s go out to explore Delhi.’


Sandhya replied, ‘Lokesh and I can’t come. We’ve been assigned few works. Disadvantage of being cousins you know. However, you guys can go out.’ Chewing a bite of a Parantha, she said, ‘Varun too can’t join you guys.’


Vikas probed, ‘Why?’


Sandhya responded, ‘He’s going out on a date!’ The honest reply startled me.


Surprised, Mina asked, ‘With whom?’


I got up to take a cup of tea to avoid the chat. Varun said, ‘Ambar!’ With the cup of tea in my hand, I stood still. I turned around to realize I had become the centre of attention.


Varun requested, ‘Ambar, a cup of tea for me too, please!’ Looking at Sandhya, he continued, ‘She is speaking rubbish. I’m not going on a date.’ Relieved, I sat on the table. He continued with his villainous smirk, ‘Ambar and I’ve a common friend here. He has invited us to his house. If we fail to meet him here, he’ll chop us back in Mumbai.’


Shefali said, ‘Okay! Others, let us plan then.’ All nodded in agreement.


Varun asked Tarun, ‘What’s the time now?’ That was pinpointed at me. I realized the time to leave had arrived. Bidding bye to all, we left.


Being a pillion, has always fascinated me. It gives me the freedom of checking out everything that is possible. It also gives me an opportunity to feel the air and the ride. Varun happily rode the bike till he enquired, ‘Where do you want to go Janeman?’


I answered, ‘Gurudwara Shri Bangla Sahib!’


The sudden application of brakes brought the bike to a halt with a loud screech. Luckily, it was not a busy road. I had to hold him strongly to maintain the balance. I shouted, ‘What are you trying to do?’


He countered, ‘I’m sorry, but we won’t go to any religious place. I’m a religious guy but not today, not for now. Dude, we aren’t brothers. We are a couple!’


I asked, ‘Couple? Who told you?’


‘We are on a date implies we are a couple.’ He reverted. ‘Now tell me where do you want to go?’




‘Oh, sorry! Can’t let you go alone and I’m too good to be there. Any other place?’


I closed my eyes, heaved a sigh of disgust and leaned my head backwards. The continuous honking finally ignited his tube-light to ride the bike. We went to Humayun’s Tomb ultimately. It is a place perfect for all age groups. The beautiful monument is gifted with scenic greenery.




There was a band of 3 arranging their instruments. 2 of them were on guitars while one was on a cajon. I could not resist and asked them, ‘Are you guys leaving now?’


One of them replied, ‘Yes!’


Disappointed, I uttered, ‘Oh!’


He asked, ‘Do you want to play something?’


I answered, ‘No! I wanted to sing. My bad-luck, we came late!’


Instantly, the three of them opened their respective instruments and sat prepared to give tune to my voice. We bonded well. Not only did we sing for two hours continuously, but we had gathered a huge audience also. The constant cheering helped us to continue performing. Few from the crowd danced to our music as well. This elated my energy and happiness. Varun was delighted seeing me overjoyed. Finally we left after exchanging numbers.


On the way back to the bike, Varun asked, ‘So, Humayun’s Tomb a better choice than Hell?’


I smiled and thanked him. I fell for him all over again. Technically, we were out on a date. However, I used few hours of it for my own merriment without thinking about him. Instead of being mad at me, he was on cloud nine. After sitting on the bike, I rubbed his back and thanked him once again.


He asked, ‘A kiss guaranteed?’




‘Nothing!’ He giggled.


I tapped on his head. We rode to a nearby restaurant to feed our starving stomachs. We ordered the famous Delhi Kulcha, Butter Naan, Paneer Makhani and Paneer Bhurji with two glasses of the famed Lassi. The first date had made us aware of each other’s taste. Both of us cried in excitement on seeing the Paneer Dishes laded with tempting ghee and gravies. After relishing our taste buds with supreme quality food in a roadside dhaba in addition to talk on countless topics, we headed back to the hotel.


Around 5 we entered our room. We were too tired to move a bit. Both of us fell on the bed; he slept on his back and I lied on my stomach. A while later, I took my phone and started checking out the pics. Each one of them was equally adorable. In some he made faces, and in some I looked funny. Some were of our jamming sessions while some were of the delicious food. However, one got stuck in my heart. The one taken while returning from Humayun’s Tomb. I was comfortable and so was he. Both the pairs of eyes exhibited affection, smiles seemed genuine, and the rest of his hand on my shoulder, and mine on his waist made it the pic-of-the-day.


While I was admiring the pic, he asked from behind, ‘How’s your boyfriend?’


I shut the phone off, and replied without turning towards him, ‘Alive and happy!’


Snatching my phone, he ordered, ‘I want to see his pic!’


I was not talking to him in the first place. I gave in to his sweetness eventually though. However, his pointless intrusion in my life annoyed me to the core. I insisted, ‘Pass my phone immediately!’ My expressions conveyed him that the situation would blow out-of-proportion if he did not surrender. My phone was thrown on the bed. Exasperated, I took it, changed clothes and left for the Mehendi.



As planned, Mehendi started around 6. Sangeet, on the other side of the hall, began with the wedding songs and the favoured tracks of the Punjabi music. The stage picked up the fire in no time. Everyone hummed and swung dropping their apprehensions. I was no different either. Soon, Varun joined the group. He danced next to me. The more distance I created, the more close he came. A point arrived, when I literally stood out of the stage. I became furious.


He came close, and expressed politely, ‘Hey, I know you are irritated.’ Looked into my eyes for a while. He continued whispering, ‘Trust me, I don’t care! I’m yours and you’re mine. After the Sangeet, we are heading out to a Pub. We as in, just the two of us!’ He hugged me firmly, and united with the group. I had anticipated a request for forgiveness. I stood motionless trying to understand was his utterance an apology or a command instead. I laughed at my own expectations. His demanding attitude dumped the anger in me in a sea of love. Keeping everything aside, I danced my heart-out with the group.


While all were busy with either food or music, he held my left hand and pulled me through the crowd to our room. He asked me to change clothes and got readied himself for the pub. I hated his selection of dress. His choice made me go on my knees always. A White V-Neck T-shirt with the same jeans he had worn during the day, topped with a Black Bomber Jacket upscaled his oomph factor. He chuckled, ‘You may close your mouth.’


I gave him an angry look and queried, ‘How are we going?’




I questioned, ‘Won’t you be drinking?’


‘Ya, I’ll! Won’t you?’


‘Of course, I’ll too! Let’s go in a cab instead.’


Having understood my concern, he booked a cab. We went to a prominent pub in Connaught Place. The perfect lighting, an out-and-out amazing dance floor with the foot tapping music charged both of us.


I requested, ‘Varun, do not force me to eat much here. I would eat a little to help me gulp down a few drinks. Since we are in Connaught Place, I would love to try the roadside take-away shop’s food.’ He agreed thankfully.


One after one, he swigged down 7 drinks including cocktails and a few shots. In less than an hour, he was high beyond his control. I kept myself to just two drinks deliberately; one each of a mocktail and a cocktail. I had predicted what his state would-be after witnessing the previous night’s scene. I was not proved wrong. Around 12, I said, ‘let’s move. It’s too late!’ Unable to raise his head, he requested me to be his walker. I paid the bill and we left the pub. Coming down to the street, he sat down on the footpath for a while.


I took out my phone to book a cab. However, his thoughtfulness bowled me over, again!


He shouted, ‘Do not book a cab right away! Let us go to the other side of the road. I want to have the Kababs and the Tandoori Chicken.’


I crouched and caressed his hair. I said, ‘You needn’t do this for me. We’ll have it some other time.’


Slowly the intoxication was lessening with the cool breeze gusting. He stood, and walked towards one of the food-joints. I followed him immediately. Meanwhile a Mercedes, carrying a group of 5 friends, parked near the food joint we were approaching. Varun sang Jag Ghoomeya on the way. His voice pierced through my heart. People noticed his coming. The buzzing street quietened. I made him stand near a bike and went to order. He continued singing. The group in the car lowered their window panes and heard him. One of the 3 girls in the group looked at me endlessly. I kept an eye on Varun throughout. Fearing he might lose his balance, I ran with a plate of Kababs to him. I ate, and fed him as well alternatively.


Unexpectedly, the group played Jag Ghoomeya with the maximum volume. Varun, drifting slowly to the center, started dancing to the tune looking at me. People formed a circle. The group joined him too. They wooed and clapped. Others swung in a left-to-right fashion slowly. Embarrassment witnessed new heights. A winter night, a romantic song and Kababs in hand in the midst of strangers. The exact feelings cannot be described.  I blush to confess, I liked it. The adventurous side in me gave a thumbs up for Varun. I booked a cab and paid for the Kababs.


The song ended. Everyone hugged Varun one by one. His eyes didn’t miss my sight for a single second. Cab arrived. I went near him to hold his hand and take him to the cab. However, before we could leave, everyone insisted on a group-selfie. We obliged and selfies of the entire crowd having 20-25 people were clicked back-to-back. Varun requested, ‘Tag me on Facebook. You may find me as Varun Thakkar’. Finally bidding bye to all, we left. He dozed off with his mouth open as soon the wheel of the cab rolled.


I sat with my legs tucked under each other and kept gaping at him. His hotness and innocence combined together to seize my attention ceaselessly. A while later, a series of notifications bombed his phone. To prevent him from getting bothered, I took out his phone to change the mode from general to silent. It was unlocked using his unconscious finger.


The notification bar showed a few friend requests and a few unread WhatsApp chats. I shifted the mode. A message popped up out of clear sky, Why are you avoiding me since 6/7 months? I wanted to read the chat but my principles came my way. I kept the phone back in his pocket. The thought of another notification tempted me to check the phone once more. I took the phone back and unlocked it. Meanwhile, another message popped up, How can you forget the good times we have shared? I said to myself, ‘To hell with my principles! I’m the ruler of my life and I can change the rules as and when required.’


I opened the chat. Read the name – Gagandeep. I heaved a deep sigh. Just then we reached our hotel. I planned to read the chat once I lie on the bed. I helped Varun sleep on the bed comfortably. I changed clothes, and restfully laid on the bed beside him to read the chat finally. However just then he placed his hand on me. I kept his phone next to his pillow abruptly. The introduction of another character saddened my frame of mind. He stammered, ‘Our date is unfinished yet. It’ll continue tomorrow too!’


I cried, ‘No! Not Again!’



To be continued…



With love,


Vikram Singh

No, Not Again! (Part 1)


Weddings in India are an enormous business. For some, evidencing the status becomes imperative while for some, looking out for prospects tops the priority. Some check the credibility of the so called loved ones while some just love to witness the extravaganza.

I fall in none of the above mentioned criteria. My notion of a nuptial is to eat the delicacies put up for grab and to while away my time observing and clicking pictures of the decorations, food, people and different rituals of various cultures across India. Be it a Bengali wedding or a Punjabi one, a Telugu espousals or a Gujarati wedlock, each one of them along with the unwritten wedding beliefs of India has its own USP which attracts my attention.

My life is sorted in a way that my near and dear ones are aware of my liking for the weddings. My mother never forgets to remind me to lookout for my fortuitous better-half though. I laugh them off thinking she is a normal mother like anyone else’s is, and her dreams are no different from others.

Poonam invited me for her wedding scheduled in the month of December. I have always liked a winter wedding more than a summer or a rainy one. Secondly, it was in Delhi, a place close to my hearts for various untold reasons. Wedding of an extremely dear friend of mine rocketed the excitement. Besides, it was a Punjabi wedding which has always been one of my favourites.

It was June and I had decided to lose at least 15 kilos before the wedding. Plump that I was, warm clothes would have only added to my waist line. I joined a gym, and a strict diet chart followed soon after. The last blind date too motivated me to go for a weight reduction. Not that I was rejected for being fat, but I refused to proceed sensing insecurity within myself owing to the glamour of the date.

My determination did work in my favour. Not only had the waist reduced from 34 to 32, but also the jaw line was evidently visible with my face glowing naturally. A flat tummy was what I had aimed for, and I had achieved it in 6 months’ time. 6 or 8 packs had never fascinated me in any case. At times, I used to get lured seeing my own eyes, lips and neck after the work out. Personality transformation had uplifted the already high confidence.

I was all pepped-up for Poonam’s Wedding. It was a three-night affair. After having worked the whole day, I left a little early on Friday to board the flight to Delhi. The flight got delayed from 8 in the evening to 11. Finally I reached the venue around 2 in the early morning of Saturday. Poonam came downstairs running to receive me. She was high with alcohol. Pleasantries were exchanged with smiles and hugs. She escorted me to the room booked for her and her friends. On entering the flat, I realised all of the dwellers were possessed. Alcohol and cigarettes were seen everywhere.

Poonam introduced everyone at a stretch. All were sitting in groups of 2 or 3 with blankets covering their legs. ‘Hey all, this is my best friend from Mumbai and dear, they are my best friends and cousins.’ From left to right, ‘Vikas, Anurag, Shefali, Sheetal, Mina, Tarun, Lokesh, Sandhya, Sharad. There was one more. He has disappeared. You come and sit next to me.’ She sat on the extreme right, next to Sharad. Hello from me met with the tipsy waves of all. I said, ‘Give me two minutes. I will change and join you guys.’

I took my luggage and went inside one of the rooms. I changed my clothes and tried opening the washroom. However, it was locked from inside. Uttering an apology, I went to use another restroom. In a couple of minutes, I sat next to Poonam. I was offered a drink and the setting made me go for it. The ambience and the situation were just meant to be lived without any apprehensions. All were drooling with the perfect lighting and background music.

Friday night was meant to be a bachelor’s night. Saturday would see the bride putting up Haldi in the morning and Mehendi in the evening clubbed with the Sangeet ceremony. The Shaadi, the Bidaai and a grand reception were on the cards of Sunday.

Poonam addressed the last person in the troop to sit next to me, the one who was in the washroom. I was unaware of his arrival. I was busy talking to Sandhya and Lokesh, the cousins I was known to. Poonam introduced him, ‘Hey, meet him. He is Varun from Mumbai, my best friend, Tarun’s cousin.’

I became deaf for a while on hearing the name. The moment paused. The name was a tantalizer. Gathering senses, I turned around. The meeting of our eyes blinded the surroundings. He became numb and I was no different either. The influence of alcohol gave him a boost and he took me in his arms and held me close till I freed myself. Yes, he was the one who motivated me to lose weight, the Mr. Blind Date.

A Flashback:-

Varun and I came across using a dating app. Neither of us disclosed anything to each other. We were discreet and wanted to play safe. However, the course of our chats convinced us to meet at least once. We decided a famous café and the date was 4th June.

I reached on time. However, he was not seen. Being a foodie that I am, I got a chocolate pastry and a cold coffee for myself. His no-show was not unexpected. Instead of waiting for him, I invested the time on myself. Meanwhile, the first rains of monsoon bloomed Mumbai. The soothing smell of the earth, the smiles on the faces and the water cooling down the temperature was heart-warming.

Breaking the sight of the rains, a tall and fair man drenched from head to toe stood in front of me. With a black blazer, a black pair of trouser and a baby pink shirt, he looked beautifully handsome. Water dripping from his hair, and the transparent shirt showing the perfectly fit body captivated not only my eyes, but also received the well-deserved attention from the rest of the crowd.

Almost an hour late, soaked to the skin and to top it, the pastry and the coffee were done, his face radiated disappointment. I stood and raised my hand for a handshake. However, he did not in the first time. Wiping his hand with a tissue paper, he extended his hand to return the gesture. He apologized for the delay. I shook my head and gesticulated him to take the seat.

Before stepping out for the date, I had prepared to be sophisticated and to maintain dignity throughout to make it work. In short, I had planned to present the articulated side of myself which never existed in reality. However, I chucked my plan. I prayed the date should not work. Yes, I did that!

My principle says two people in a relationship should be equal in all perspectives. Only then the relationship will last, else the fear of insecurity will lead to premature death of the association. The thought that Varun, a perfectly crafted gentleman would always have an upper hand on an average looking human being mutilated the hopes of getting into a relationship. I decided to be the real-me.

I enquired, ‘What would you like to have?’

He replied, ‘Wait, I will get. What would you like to have? Coffee?’

I answered, ‘First, I don’t like coffee. Second, you are wet. Let me get something for you.’  

He protested while getting up, ‘No, I am late and I should get it. So I will get…’

Interrupting him, I uttered expressionlessly, ‘Fine! A chocolate pastry would do. I love spinach-corn cheese sandwich as well.’

He gaped at me and noticed how off-the-cuff I had become. I avoided his eye contact. I took my phone and fondled with it. He smiled and turned around towards the reception. He placed an order, and walked towards the washroom. Meanwhile I observed his features. I was smitten with his perfectly round buttocks. The cautious yet audacious walk could not keep my eyes off from admiring his frame. The height which all the guys would dream for. Still, he was not my perfect match!

It was a precautionary step of not letting an uncertainty of losing love, every now and then, hurt me. Liking him would have meant raising expectations though subconsciously which would have made me miserable eventually, I thought! I believe I was being realistic, quite a little over-realistic!

He returned after drying his hair, bits of tissue paper still left on his head. I thought of helping him remove those. However, I did not. I presumed it might be taken as an act of desperation. I gestured him in its place. He understood and asked me to help him. He came forward and I obliged.

The waiter arrived with the order. Varun had ordered a cappuccino and a spicy paneer machurian in addition to what I had asked for. The weather demanded something spicy and the dish was apt to satisfy the taste buds and the mood. I mumbled, ‘Can I be myself?’

He asked, ‘What?’

I replied, ‘I mean can I be comfortable?’

He probed, ‘Why? Are you not?’

I said, ‘No, I am not!’ His eyes popped out questioning the reason of the discomfort. I clarified demonstrating simultaneously, ‘Actually, I am trying to be someone else instead of being my own self. I love sitting with one of my legs tucked under the other. Also, I love eating these paneer slices with fingers instead of a fork or a spoon and then, licking the fingers gives the ultimate satisfaction.’

Holding back his smile, he bade, ‘Oh yes, please be what you are. I will appreciate more. Do you want anything else?’ 

I shook my head. I knew I had made a fool of myself but I did not care either. I was sure of nothing fruitful happening. I enjoyed the weather, food and the temporary company instead. In no time we were so comfortable that we shared some of the most interesting and adventurous things we had done. He shared his stories of the planchet and supernatural experiences while I shared my stories of different trips across India.

We both were adventurous, entertaining and inane. The rapport was addictive. A point had arrived when we expressed to spend some more time together. He asked, ‘Coffee?’

I chuckled, ‘No, I repeat I don’t like coffee!’

Tapping his head, he grinned, ‘Sorry!’

I smiled and said, ‘I would go for a strawberry smoothie. You?’

‘I will have a smoothie too but a chocolate one.’

I ordered him to remain seated, and I went to order this time. One of the topics we had discussed brought us to a conclusion that we both love Paneer. I placed an order of what he had decided along with one paneer cheese balls.

The delight on his face on seeing the paneer was endearing. While conversation picked up the pace again, I noticed he used his fingers to eat the dish and never forgot to lick the fingers in the end. I liked it. The unspoken feelings were getting conveyed. It will be an absolute white lie if I say I did not like him. However, my principles have always stood firm taking the shape of self-esteem at times while that of ego at the other.

Sensing the development of an affinity, I decided to leave. I said, ‘Hey Varun, I will have to leave. I have a birthday party to attend.’

He enquired, ‘Oh! Just some more time please? We haven’t spoken properly yet!’ I wondered what else we were supposed to talk and for how long. I signalled a disfavour. He probed again, ‘Can I join you for the party?’

I cooked a story, ‘Hey no! I mean I am sorry, but that would be a problem. As in the party is of my friend who isn’t exactly my boyfriend but a little more than being just a friend. And if I tag you along he will not like it. I hope you understand!’

His disappointment was loud and clear yet he managed to ask, ‘It’s okay! So you are in a relationship?’

The toughest and the saddest part had come. I closed my eyes and said, ‘No, not exactly a relationship but ya kind of.’ Without giving him a moment to ask anything else, I opened my heart to him, ‘You are really nice and it was a wonderful date. You are funny and adorable. I hope you do not regret having spent time with me. Keep in touch.’

He uttered, ‘Feelings are unquestionably mutual. I wish we could have spent some more time, but it is okay. You already have prior commitments.’

I was feeling awfully bad and so was he. We both got up and bade bye. He insisted on clicking a selfie. I did not deny. We clicked one with happy and smiling faces and left for our respective paths.

We remained in touch for some time but gradually we moved further apart owing to our respective lives’ ups and downs. He was one of the most memorable dates ever and the fond memories were enough to tickle me up.

Present Day:-

Poonam shook me up and brought me back to my senses. Vodka shots were prepared for all the 12 of us and a total of 3 rounds were kept ready. In less than a minute, all the 36 shots were gulped down one after the other. It was fun. The already high on alcohol folks were all the more intoxicated. I was not much behind either.

Varun whispered in my ears, ‘The incomplete date will be concluded tomorrow.’ I did not want to experience the same anxiety all over again. I went blank. He continued, ‘After the haldi rasam is done, we both are going out…’

I said to myself, ‘No! Not Again!’

To be continued…

With love,

Vikram Singh

A Stroke Of? Part Two


The continuation…

Unlike any other day, there was excitement everywhere. After taking shower, I wore my newly stitched white patiala. The red dupatta was just the perfect match to it. I rushed to the kitchen and hugged my mum from behind. While eating an apple, I told her I was going to meet Riya, my childhood friend who was back in town after years. I would return after couple of hours. She turned around and ordered me to wear bangles and a bindi. I was not much into cosmetics and ornaments then. 

However, I quickly went back to my room. I wore the complimenting set of bangles and a bindi. I let my hair loose too. The eyeliner could not be overlooked either. After starring in the mirror for a while, I realised the feather earrings were missing. I took my mobile and carried two hundred rupees. I wore my rajasthani jooti and bidding bye to mumma I left.

Engrossed in the fond memories of Riya and my friendship, I was happily walking down the lane with Gulmohar trees all around. Two squirrels were playfully chasing each other and their hunt made the tree shower its love on me in the form of flowers. It was lovely. I stood with my hands wide open and requesting the tree, ‘Some more please!’ I closed my eyes and remained motionless for some time. The breeze blew my hair and dupatta. There wasn’t any shower for some time. I realized I was on a road, though there was not any passerby at that hour of early morning. I was about to open my eyes, when the shower of flowers shut my eyes again. Smiles bloomed with lips slowly departing each other’s touch. The sound of a branch moving in a continuous motion drew my attention. I opened my eyes to find out a guy sitting on the edge of a branch and rigorously motioning it. He smiled and dusted his head. His countenance was cute and attractive.

And that’s how our eyes met…

With love,

Vikram Singh

The Wait

After seven long years I was flying to Mumbai. Butterflies in the stomach had caused me to walk restlessly in the airport from one eatery to another. Though I could have booked the ticket to my native via Kolkata, I preferred to stay over in Mumbai for some time. After all, I had left for Canada from this very place. Had not SHE entered my life, I would not have ran away from India.
The indirect proposal, the ambiguous decline, the dreadful relationship of one-sided liking and the honest-to-goodness friendship from the other side flashed back one after the other. The frame in which our paths came across for the very first time is still alive with the minutest detailing. Nothing magical happened! Neither did she fall on me, nor did our books drop out of collision. Neither did the wind blow her fragrance to me nor did her loose hair touch my body even for a slightest second.
Immediately after joining the college, formation of groups began at an abnormal pace on the basis of culture, region, likings and worst of all, sense of humour. Being pathetic as I used to be, I stood helplessly in the middle of the road thinking which group to join as if my entry was in demand. However, connections from my mother’s side finally paved my way towards the Bengali aka Bong group.
The first meet showed no signs of any prospects of love blooming. She was an average looking girl while no scale in the universe existed then to judge my disfigured looks. A love story between unattractive couples has never been of any importance to the world anyway. So no wooing by friends could have ever ignited the love between her and me either. Only significance of the first meet was she had smiled at my introduction, ‘I am a hybrid with a non-Bengali father and a Bengali mother’. Her smile was hypnotizing. She came up to me and introduced, ‘You are funny! I am Sunain.’
Announcement for boarding the flight to Mumbai brought me back to the present scenario. I rushed to the security line check-in with my backpack hung on my right shoulder and a diary with a pen in my left hand. The diary and the pen were gifted by her. They had been the motivation and the source of my living all these years. A writer’s best friend is a notebook and a pen after all, and this diary was way more than being just a notebook for my writings. It had her presence. The paramountcy of the diary and the pen was evident from the fact that I threw my expensive phone on the security tray while I placed her gifts in it very cautiously. The looks of the fellow passengers did voice their confusion regarding the poor state of my phone.
After the check, I joined the queue standing near the allocated boarding gate for the flight to Mumbai. My thoughts went back to the days of college. After the first meet, we met and chatted almost every day. Over few weeks, her eyes and childishness attracted me. The not so beautiful girl was climbing the ladder of becoming a classy lass. It was bound to be after moving from a small town to a fast and modern city, Mumbai. First the magnetic smile, next the alluring eyes and lastly, the delightful innocence kept me on pins and needles in her absence.
I felt happy in her company. I felt like being with her 24/7. Everybody and everything had become Sunain. I looked out for her in every second of my life. Days passed, and with it my feelings for her multiplied with infinity.
Finally after three and a half years of college, I decided I would communicate my feelings to her. In the meanwhile, she went through two relationships and hardships as a consequence of the break-ups. My heart never stopped admiring her even when she was with someone else. We had become thickest of friends over the time. Close friends would see the love for her in my eyes but she could never understand, or maybe she chose to ignore it deliberately.
However, before I could confess my feelings, she dropped a message. May be she understood I was about to pitch my love for her. Her message made me realize the position I held in her life. It said, ‘Your friendship is one of the best thing that has happened to me. I will succumb to this barbarian world without you…’ Immediately, I applied the brakes of my vehicle, Heart and it came to halt with a screech audible to my ears only. I thought having her in my life as a good friend was much better than confessing my love and losing her forever. Her support and loyal friendship helped me to stabilize. It took almost three to four months to overcome my feelings.
A Bengali woman walked past me talking over phone when I took my seat in the flight. She wore a red saree and looked pretty. My mind immediately went back to the last meeting with Sunain. She had come to the airport to see me off. After college, I wanted to pursue higher studies outside India. It was mostly a step to run away from my past and start my life afresh. The four years of our friendship had seen her transforming from a small town girl to an absolute modern and beautiful chick. Also I had turned out to be an aspiring writer. She was the inspiration for me to pursue writing as a full-fledged job.
She asked handing over the diary and the pen to me, ‘I will get married within a year after Didi is married this year. My eyes will look out for you. You will come na?’
I kissed her forehead and turned down her request, ‘Sunain, first I cannot come if your wedding happens in between my semesters. Besides, I cannot confirm anything now as I am unaware of where and in what situation will I be at that point of time.’ How could have I told her about the intensity of pain I would bear on seeing her walking away from me holding someone else’s hands. I continued, ‘But no worries, I will try for sure. Anyway, you know I will always be there for you if you need me. By the way, will you keep something I ask you to?’
Her eyes queried, ‘What?’
‘On the day of your engagement, wear a red saree with your hair tied to a bun. Put on red lipstick with a touch of eye liner. Large screw back earrings and a big red bindi to end. Lastly, go for a backless blouse. You have a ravishing back. Do flaunt it!’
She embraced me and cried. My eyes filled with tears as well. The moment left its mark forever in my life. She managed her emotions, stood still for a while and said, looking straight into my eyes, ‘I am Sorry!’ Before I could ask the reason, she turned around and walked away without looking at me for the last time. That was the first time our hearts spoke to each other without using words. Mine proposed, and hers rejected, may be! She vanished in the crowd after a couple of seconds and I turned around to move towards a new life.
Before leaving from Canada, I had planned to leave for Marine Drive after I land in Mumbai. Not many close friends were living in Mumbai then. Still I knew the ones who lived were aware of my fondness for Marine Drive and would come to meet me there directly instead of waiting for me to have some me time. I checked-in on Facebook to notify these dear people. I was wanting to see these same known faces desperately anyway.
I fastened the buckle and started surfing through the old memories in my phone. In some time, my eye lids shut my sight and I dozed off. After flying for a few couple of hours, I landed in Mumbai. The city was the same, welcoming and friendly. The four years of stay, seven years ago came alive in front of my eyes. Nostalgia was in overdose. I took a cab and in an hour I was in the Nariman Point. I checked-in again on Facebook with a message, ‘The place which soothes my soul endlessly!’
After a while, I moved on to sit on the bench right opposite to the Oberoi Hotel. I sipped in my favourite drink, Boost and kept reliving the memories from the past. Around an hour later, a small boy around 4 years old called me from behind, ‘Hello Uncle, you are my maa’s friend right?’ It astounded me. I looked at the boy. He was a cute, healthy baby and his stammering words attracted everyone’s attention. I got up and lifted him. He pointed towards a lady wearing a red saree and a white shawl. She was at a distance and was walking with a man. My heart skipped multiple beats on realizing who the lady was. She was none other than my Sunain. She looked beautiful!
The man walked up to me and introduced, ‘Hi, I am Abir, Samay’s father.’ Samay got down from my arms and jumped on to his father. I smiled and shook hands with his. I looked at Sunain and the eyes were just not getting enough of her. She was dressed in the same way as I had requested her to be on her engagement. Had the meet been seven years ago, I would have hugged her. There was hesitation everywhere. She kept looking at me and I was no different either. She broke the silent stare, ‘How are you?’
I replied, ‘How do I look like?’
‘Hotter than ever before’ came a reply. I looked around to see Sunain’s sister, Ashrita standing right behind me. ‘Your looks have changed from a chubby guy to a perfectly fit and handsome man!’
I hugged her in ecstasy, and asked, ‘Hey, thank you! How have you been sexy?’
She replied, ‘Jhakas!’ The tuning between Ashrita and I had remained unaffected. Abir’s expression quizzed, whose friend was I? Sunain’s or Ashrita’s?
I asked, ‘How come all of you are here?’
Ashrita replied, ‘To welcome you. See there, even Maa has come.’ I saw Aunty walking slowly holding another guy. I understood, both the sisters are happily married.
I said, ‘Sunain, your son is really a very charming child. He is very cute!’
‘Samay is my son!’ Ashrita laughed holding Abir. I got confused.
Abir cleared the misunderstanding, ‘Samay finds it difficult to refer Sunain as Mashimaa. So he call hers simply as maa.’ I understood Abir and Ashrita were the parents of Samay. I looked at the man holding aunty, and comprehended, he must be Sunain’s husband. I touched Aunt’s feet and took her blessings. I put forward my hand for a handshake with the other man, and inquired, ‘Sunain’s better-half?’
He replied, ‘Nope! I am Samay’s paternal uncle’. Misunderstanding roared again.
Sunain said, ‘I haven’t married anyone. I could not! I have been waiting for you. Your exit taught me what your existence meant to me. I did not tell you anything about all this before because I wanted to tell you in person.’ I was stunned. Words evaporated before they could come out. Gradually some more friends of mine along with their families gathered as well.
Archita said, ‘Your family also is made aware of all these. They have given a green signal too. Engagement and wedding date has been fixed as well. Mum and I have wanted you to be Sunain’s husband ever since college days. Even she was aware of it. However, she never communicated our wishes to you.’
Sunain protested, ‘How could have I? He never proposed only. I knew he loved me but he never gathered courage to convey his feelings. Besides, I was confused too. He should have made me realize what I felt for him.’ I pulled Sunain and hugged her. There were whistles and clapping. I apologized and proposed her in front of all. I lifted her in my arms in ecstasy and her shawl dropped. Soon her backless blouse received unwanted attention. I roped her in the shawl again and locked her in my arms. Tears had not only crept in to my eyes, but Sunain, Archita and their mother as well. They were overwhelmed and could not hold back their tears. The wait finally ended with two hearts beating seamlessly for each other forever after…
With love,

Vikram Singh

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