strange destiny

Reads: 291  | Likes: 0  | Shelves: 0  | Comments: 0

More Details
Status: Finished  |  Genre: Flash Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic

Nothing happens without a reason, we don’t meet people by accident, they are meant to cross our path. Is it true?
The author has presented the bare facts and situations of the modern youth faces in the world of rat race and its unpredictable connection to the destiny. Modern society has become such a place where only the jungle law dominates. Here, the main character’s mission is mission impossible whether to survive or to face continuous struggle for mere existence.
The present book unfolds how the main character attains his zenith not only in career but also in love life after going through uncountable hindrances. A reader will find the writing style very lucid and appealing with the essence of heart touching emotional turmoil and unbelievable game of destiny. As the story unfolds, it leaves reader in continuous guess-what could be the possible end of the story? It is a story with a nail biting suspense up to the end. The author has really brought out the true picture of modern era.

Chapter 1 (v.1) - strange destiny

Submitted: November 18, 2013

Reads: 297

A A A | A A A

Submitted: November 18, 2013

A A A

A A A

 

STRANGE DESTINY

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Vipin Thapliyal

 

 

Copyright © 2013 Vipin Thapliyal

All rights reserved.

 

 

This novel is entirely a work of fiction. The names, characters, organizations and incidents portrayed in it are the work of the author's imagination. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or localities, is entirely coincidental.

All rights reserved by the author. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of the author.

The views expressed in this book are entirely those of the author. The printer/publisher, and distributors of this book are not in any way responsible for the views expressed by the author in this book.

 

 

 

ISBN: 978-93-83271-74-0

 

First Published: November 2013
 

 

Price:  150/-

 

 

Cover Design

Abira Das

 

 

Distributed by

purushottam-bookstore.com

power-publishers.com

www.flipkart.com

www.amazon.in

www.ebay.in

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Dedicated to my beloved grandfather, my actual inspiration:

Late- Ramprashad Thapliyal






















 

 

A short note to readers.

 

 

I have no words to extend my gratitude for picking up this novel. I welcome you to this heart-touching journey- carrying immense love, friendship, struggle, relationship, career and many more.

 

The purpose of this fiction is pretty vivid- to make you smile, to make you feel in love, to take you back to the indelible memory of your friends, to throw you into the river of unprecedented love story, to fill you with gamut of emotions, and more importantly, to make your reading experience memorable-till this earth continues revolving.

 

It took me more than a year just to pan out what I wanted. I sacrificed my sleep, my time, my comfort and my leisure. My all sacrifices look tiny when I see the final-outcome of this novel.

I want to give a special thank to my supportive and lovely family, My grandmother- Gyanmala, My father- Mr Hemraj Thapliyal, Mother- Mrs Shakuntala. My strength-my elder brothers, Pramod and Deepak, who supported me incalculably and encouraged me on and off. A grand thanks to Sipika, Poonam, Sapana, Anuj, Pahal, Rishav and Anshuman.

I would like to offer my thanks and gratitude to Mr Deepak Makhloga, Mr Jagjeet singh, Mr Lalit Bhadoria, komal Neha, Mr G. Kar, Ali Alam, Kavita Bhasin, Vijayram, Pankaj and Sampann for their valued support and motivation.

I sincerely thank to all my supportive relatives, treasured friends, lovely students, well-wishers and every single person who was connected to this novel-directly or indirectly.

 

 


 

 

Prelude

This is a fiction, yet this story brings the reader more and more closer to the realities they face in their various phases of life. the narrative, the events, the sequence, dramatic ups and downs, pathos of the characters are so real that one feels that the story is not a fiction but a REAL one.

In the present episode, the main character is totally immersed by his lady love which makes his life like a BATTLE-FIELD with the chance of winning plummeted every now and then. Time is the best healer, but in this case, the suspense remains up to the last, making readers in a continuous guess about the outcome. This is the story with a nail-biting suspense up to the end.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

1.

A day before Holi.

My cousin Arnav, who was visiting on a vacation, and I, were strolling at dusk. The sky was overcast and a gentle breeze was caressing our faces. There was a rush of people on the road because of the festive season. While having banter and chanter to Arnav, a young-couple suddenly flashed past me and caught my attention. The girl had clutched her boyfriend so tightly that not even air could pass through them. I stared at them in a fit of jealousy and ‘I-want-the-same-fun’ way until they disappeared from my sight.

 “See, that’s called savouring the moments of life, and we suck at it!” I jibed at my cousin.

“What’s a big deal in this? It’s just a waste of time and money. They have enough time for fun stuff, but we don’t,” My cousin tried to protest his ‘Being Single’ tag. I too didn’t pass up the chance to pour down my frustration on him, saying,

“That sounds like sour grapes because you don’t have a girlfriend. Come on! We have plenty of time brother, you talk as if you are monitoring Ambani’s group. Can’t you hunt a good girl’s number for me?” I retorted.

“Are you serious? Earlier you didn’t want a girlfriend, but now you want one. What made you change your mind?” he enquired in a surprising mood and gave a suspicious look at me.

I responded helplessly, “I have come to realize that ‘being single’ means you are NOT gutsy, grown-up, good-looking, or not any of those other desirable traits. You know that all of my friends are in relationships; I am the only freaking single in my group,”

Arnav gave a serious ear to my ‘Sad Story’ and rendered a supportive hand, “Okay, let me check my contacts,” he said while taking out his cell phone. I waited for the moment when he would finally get a number for me. Before he could ask me to jot down a number, I pulled out my cell phone and waited impatiently to enter a number.

Such wound up I was!

“Is Delhi OK?” he asked sideways, concentrating on his screen and scrolling down the contacts. I peeped at his contact directory.

“No, it’s too far, plus, expensive with a recharge.” I typed “9” on my screen, guessing the first digit of a contact number. I didn’t know why I became so impatient suddenly, maybe because of the lovebirds who made me feel jealous just five minutes back.

“Jot down a number fast,” he said. I hurriedly and happily entered the number on my screen and then confirmed the number to prevent any mistake; it was the first time when I found myself so SOLEMN.

“And her name is ...?” I asked with an intense inquisitiveness and poised in the contact’s name box, before he would come back with the first answer, I bombarded with the next question: “And additional information about her?”

“I myself don’t know where this number came from. Now it’s up to your talent that how you go about it,” he said as he deleted the number from his directory. I thought a bit then entered “FG” for the contact’s name-abbreviation for “FUTURE GIRLFRIEND.”

Strolling between the rows of the dense houses of the colony, I observed a naughty boy at one of the roofs, seeing us; his gesture could easily state that he was waiting for us. In addition, from his action, I could also guess that he was hiding something behind him, I didn’t know what…as we went closer to his house, and were about to cross his border, suddenly, he attacked us by throwing a color-filled balloon. Thank God! he was not good at throwing balloons! Otherwise, he would have spoiled my white t-shirt. Arnav shouted at him. But, it was of no use getting annoyed in such festival-as everybody has got right to make anyone smeared with color-filled balloons or dry colors as the famous slogan of this festival is- “Bura na mano Holi hai.”
 

It was late at night, after taking my supper, a novel approach to impress FG, came to my mind; lying in bed, I composed my opening text message to her.

“Hey! Get two bricks of ice cream, and- yes, chocolate for me, plzzzz.” I hit the message.

It’s rather good to break the ice with such phrases; saying “hi” or “hello” is very ordinary and lessens the chance of getting a reply. 

I waited impatiently for a reply; I couldn’t reroute my eyes from the phone. I stared at my phone as if that was going to give a birth to a ‘New Cell phone’. The message tone sounded harmonious for the very first time as a text popped onto my screen, after exactly two seconds. I opened it without seeing the “Sender” name. On being checked, I found, it was a bloody company’s message, and their timing was extremely annoying and disappointed. My inbox was crammed with such messages; in a huff, I erased all of them.

I waited for few more minutes but my inquisitiveness remained at its peak. I turned on the television to help distract my mind. News of Holi precautions and the theology about Holi were being shown on all the news channels. I stopped on a music channel. The current track was my favorite and made me feel up always, but, I couldn’t feel the same madness for the song because my mind was diverted elsewhere.

My cell phone buzzed for the second time. I turned the volume down to zero, though not talking; I wanted to pay full attention to the received message. This time it was FG’s message saying, “Who’s this?”

My heart beat like jungle drums, I felt an unusual sensation which quivered my entire body making me dazed and amazed, as if the time had stood still and sending me a silent message “You will be in love in the future, but, be careful, roses are RED but they have THORNS.”

The comic approach didn’t seem to work. A simple “hi” or “hello” text would get the same reply. However, I was packed down on my saying. I tried to think of a reply that would make the best impression on her, though, I was a novice in this arena of love.

“Don’t be silly! It’s me, Vinayak. Cmng hm in a ltl while?”

I presumed for two replies in my mind after sending the text:

First- “Vinayak??? I don’t know anybody by this name, so please, don’t text me again,”

Second- “I don’t remember if I know you.”

The next reply didn’t make me wait and was a surprise.

“Oh! Vinayak! r u at my place?” I threw a bouncer and she hit a six. She boggled my mind with her reply. Two things happened: one, she had known a person with the similar name; and second, she was out of her home. A hard-hitting game had begun.

Moreover, I carried the conversation further with the same confusion, “Yup, I hv,” I replied casually, trying to refrain from getting involved deeply into the conversation.  The next message was even more boggling.

“Has Mamaji (Maternal Uncle) granted to snd u on Holi?”

Heck. “Whom is she talking about? What answer to give now?” I was totally bewildered thinking what could be a plausible and convincing reply.

I was trapped in my own net and didn’t have a clue about how to tackle this problem. The moment I was thinking of ending this conversation, by sending, “I am sorry! I think, it is a text wreckage. I am sending texts to a wrong person,” I got another text by FG.

“M still in d market. I’ll be there in abt 1/2 hr. Anything else u want?”

I erased my composed message and wanted to say: “Yes, I want to be your boyfriend,” but, I couldn’t send such message. I reckoned that she was mistaking me for someone else.

I replied: “Nope, that’s enough,” what exactly I was feeling after all this chaos; it was really more than enough.
A complete hotchpotch.

I was sleepy. After sending the text, I put my cell phone aside, not expecting to receive any more messages as I knew after reaching her home, the truth would be revealed.

My cell phone rang when I was travelling among stars at midnight. I tried to read the caller’s name with half-opened eyes; it was FG. My heart beat went faster as I said my first “Hello.”

When we broke the ice, the “misunderstanding” was cleared. I handled the situation adroitly. We discovered that we had both attended a wedding nearly two years ago at Haridwar.

She was my cousin’s best friend, but she, Nidhi, couldn’t remember my face and I couldn’t remember hers. I couldn’t even figure out exactly who she was amongst all the girls I had stared at the wedding. I asked for her email id so that I could see her photograph.

I turned on my laptop and noticed 12:46 PM at the bottom right-hand corner of the screen. I logged into my Facebook account and, rather than checking notifications and messages, I searched for Nidhi. As I typed NIDHI, in the ‘search box’, the facebook threw up several results with the similar name.

I had many choices to make, but, I wanted to go for one I was searching for at the moment. It seemed a tedious task to pick one NIDHI, out of so many.

I typed Nidhi+Haridwar, thence, facebook got what I was searching for. I found one profile; I matched all the details she had told me about her. Luckily, I found her profile; unluckily, she hadn’t uploaded her photograph yet. Without wasting any time, I sent her a friend request. I read everything on her profile and thought if we could be a good match. I amazed seeing many of my facebook friends keeping their green signal ON. I didn’t want them to wonder why I was online. So, I shut down the laptop and went to sleep.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

2.

Holi celebration.

My snarky ringtone beeped early in the morning, after fumbling around with my utterly drowsy eyes, I spotted it under the pillow. It was Nidhi, I received the call sleepily.

Her first statement was: “You know, I couldn’t sleep a wink last night.”

My lethargic mood wasn’t in the condition of having a conversation. Frankly speaking, sleep was rather a better option at that time in the early morning than talking to Nidhi.

“Why?” I yawned; I took a turn to the right and then covered myself with the blanket from head to toe. Nobody would love being disturbed at this perfect time of sleeping; and I was no exception either.

“I am still not sure who you are, please, reveal some more about you. What had you worn on the wedding day?” I sensed her bewildered mental state.

It was a mild cold morning of March, my eyes were closed. I didn’t realize when and how my slumber ended that conversation- I dropped off.

In the morning, when I got up around 8 o’clock, buzzed by her thoughts, first of all, I checked the call details. Last call summary showed me- 24 minutes, 13 seconds duration, and the call was received at 03:11 AM. “We talked for 24 minutes! What? We talked for so long?” I tried to recollect the conversation. However, I failed to do so.

I was feeling as if on this very auspicious day, I was infused by the colors of love, which filled my heart like a rainbow even at the outset of the Holi.

Holi is the only festival which we celebrate with old, dingy, wear and tear clothes which are no more in use. I searched a Kurta, which had got a stain of tea on front. I colored that portion and wore the kurta and pajamas. I was looking like a politician in that attire; hence, I was noticed by several people.

We had a team of around twelve people. We were fully covered with colors, dogs were barking on our uncanny, colored and scary faces. We visited every single house of the colony, especially where girls resided. Gujiya, chips, snacks, grapes, oranges and many other eatable stuffs tempted us. Children welcomed us with bucket of colored water which made all of us completely wet. Undergarments got wet, which made me uncomfortable while walking.

At noon, after celebrating Holi with gaiety and pomp, I took a thorough bath to bring back my body’s original color. I checked my cell phone right after that, and I saw 2 missed calls from Nidhi, I regretted for not receiving the call, although, I didn’t call back as I wanted to take a siesta.

I felt deadly tired when I came alive from my sleep in the evening time. It felt like I had done some most tedious work of the world. I saw my mother serving me tea and gujiya.

“Get up fast, your father is calling you.” My mother graced me with her words, putting the cup and plate on the table and left. My father was a teacher, he used to teach Mathematics in a Government inter college, he was kind of aggressive and short-tempered by nature. He wanted everything to be perfect. He was golden-hearted, and was stressed about my career more than I was. He was the only person I was afraid to express my wish.

I finished the tea as it is served in India like some health drink. Ruminating over what Holi is all about; I went to my father’s room and sat on the bed.

“Now, Holi is over, I hope, as per your promise, you would have taken a decision,” He asked while taking the final sip of tea. Fortunately, I had come up with some answers.

“Yes, I have to settle in Delhi. We will have an interview on 15th of March.” I said it in a positive node as if I already got the job.

“Okay! So… where will you reside there?” he enquired showing a deep concern.

“I have three friends out there, I will live with them,” I answered.

“Don’t be in a bad company,” he suggested in a warned tone, he took a pause before completing his sentence and then added- “If they belong to good families then only be with them, otherwise...your wish. Anyway, how much money do you need?” he asked while checking his wallet. I didn’t calculate the expenditure.

“Heaven knows,” I felt a bit nervous.

My father would have already calculated, so, he counted the money and handed me over. I directly stuffed the bundle of notes into my pocket without even counting them.

“Count one more time; as far as money is concerned, don’t believe anyone,” he took his Kurta from the hanger and then delivered his final filmy dialogue- “Not even your father.” He wore his Kurta and left.

 My father should have joined the film industry.

There was a usual power cut in the evening, I was sitting in the dark room while pondering about my bright career. All my family members were outside, whereas, I was busy in my thoughts. I was trying to find answers of many questions like- How to find a job? How to make my career? How to live without family?

 My mind was about to explode. I showed some mercy on my mind and called Nidhi to lessen the stress.

“Hello! How was your Holi?” was my first question.

She replied in a murmuring voice, she didn’t sound like she enjoyed it, “Aaaahh, It was okay, I don’t celebrate this festival.”

“Why don’t you celebrate?” I wanted to make sure the reason. Although, I already knew that girls hardly like to celebrate this festival.

She responded with the well-understood problem of girls: “Because, I am very scrupulous about my skin.”

“How boring! Holi comes once a year, we must celebrate it,” I tried to impose my thoughts. But, I was not a dogmatic kind of a person.

“There are also other days, like- Mother’s day, Teacher’s day, Martyr’s day… but, we hardly celebrate those,” She set perfect examples. I couldn’t make further point. She made me mum.

I came to know a very strange thing about girls; they love colors but hate the colors of Holi.

I switched over the argumentative topic by asking: “By the way, my friend request is still in the offing for your approval. Why did you not accept my request yet?”

She replied gently, “I will accept your request when I next log into my account.”

“Hey! Please, upload your picture as well. I am very dead keen to see you,” I expressed my wish.

“No, I don’t believe in photos, they are fake and photo-shopped.” She disappointed me with her feeble excuse.

“But I do… Nidhi, else, I will keep on thinking about you,” I urged her. I didn’t know why I said “I will keep on thinking about you”, I found it true though.

Her prompt reply was: “That’s what I want…dear,” She laughed. I couldn’t understand the crux of her saying.

“Why does she want me to think about her?” I asked to nobody but me.

 

3.

Drifting away from home.

I had a lumber of B.sc and B.tech degrees, so, in order to get a job I had pre-planned to settle in Delhi. Three of my college friends had been waiting for me in Delhi for a month. Living without family was tricky for several reasons: I had never lived in any city other than my hometown, Dehradun. I had not even lived with anybody else except my family members. I was very simple, introvert, and bit of a timid person.

I was little nervous as it was the first time I had to live without my family. I got up a bit early; my mother helped me out in getting my one black colored airport  bag and a brown colored side bag packed. I made sure not to forget the essential stuffs. Somewhere, it looked as difficult as I was going on some mission and not going to come back.

My mother was in tears to see me going away from her sight which made me feel homesick right away. A sudden urge to get off from the hired auto came into my mind; but, somehow, I curbed my emotions for the sake of my bright career. I had never gone out of my home like this before and I could realize why it was so difficult to be away from home when you miss your parents and other relatives. When you feel how insecure and uncertain your future will be with the Delhi-friends whom I knew from the college days, all of a sudden appeared not to be very sincere, an intense desire not to be with them suddenly rose in me. But, right then, I knew that there were as no other options available. I felt like a fish out of water. I had to be away from my hearth and home to a much unknown place which seemed to be like fighting a battle when you cannot recognize the enemy.

I set off my journey.

While travelling, I was worried about my original documents more than my life. My father advised me to keep a hawk’s eye on my bags. Hence, I maintained a close watch as if I would have had diamonds in my bags.

On my way to Delhi, I was called over and again by my family members as if I was going to a fight at the ‘Kargil Borders’. Passengers gave me “Why-the-hell-are-you-getting-so-many-calls” look; they were looking at me as if I was a very gullible.

To kill my time, I kept myself busy in chitchat with Nidhi. An elderly person, sitting next to me, was trying to peep in my chat window but, I made it complicated by the tilting phone.

I sent my first message: “Hey! m on my way to Delhi.”

Nidhi replied, “wht??? y did u mk a hasty plan to stl dwn in Delhi?”

I struggled to compose a reply as the bus was moving on curves and checking my texting skills: “It ws nt all of a sudden,  pre-plnd yar. We ll hv interviews there, so, btr to mve in to Delhi.”

She came up with a next genuine question: “Won’t u feel homesick witht ur family?”

I replied: “To be candid, I cn manage everything bt can’t manage living far frm my family, but it’s part of life. Sm day one hs to tk painful choices.”

Her next message read: “True, lyf is ol abt struggle.”

I couldn’t get the word “lyf”, so, I typed my next message: “Lyf means???”

I tried to use my own intelligence to understand the full form of “lyf”. Just when I was waiting for the reply, I got another message.

Her next message was: “u knw it lks u r drifting away frm me,” She texted. Her last sentence cleared one thing that I had made some breathing space in her life. Just then she disclosed the full form of “lyf” when a text popped onto my screen. It disclosed: “lyf means life.” I started suspecting on my intellect. Anyway, I answered her previous question: “No, it’s not lyk dat, I ll kp u posted. Aftr ol, we’ve bcm gd frnz. Hvnt we?” I tried to ascertain.

I couldn’t receive texts quickly. The network was playing hide and seek with us. I saw outside the window, many trees appeared running in opposite direction of the bus. Finally, after waiting for around seven minutes the text travelled to my inbox: “Yes, we’ve. Hw ur gf is anyway?” she asked, perhaps she wanted to make sure if I was single or committed.

Asking about a girlfriend to me was just like - when you don’t have money and people ask for it.

“I don’t hv any gf” I answered the question which I wanted to be asked ever since we had initiated conversation. I wanted her to ask this question so that she could think of becoming my girlfriend. Although, I was not sure if she was single or committed. It’s not an easy task to analyze now a days. I wanted to get an instant reply of the last message which I had sent her; I was agog to get to know her reply.

“I can’t blv it, u must hv one. u hv brown eyes, spiky hair, chocolaty face, fair complexion, gd height and you are well built too. What else a girl wants idiot? J” Her text mystified and overwhelmed me at the same time. My mind worked faster than usual to understand the source of information. Was it an indication of a more serious relationship?

“Hey! Hv u accepted my request?” I questioned instantly. Her reply made me wait for 10 minutes, and I found myself unlocking the keypad lock at every 30 seconds interval.

“Yes, I hv. Actually r8 nw m onln. U r nw visible on d screen. u r wearing a blue t-shirt and goggles in ur DP,hmmm…looking cool dude! …besides this, ur fav. mve - 3 idiots, fav. sngr- Rahat Fateh ali khan, fav. dish- mamma ke hath ka…” she continued reading my profile details.

“I also want to admire you, plz” I pleaded again.

“How?” she asked.

“By seeing ur snaps.” I declared.

“Haste makes waste. Hv sm patience dear. nw, It’s tym to log out, gv me a buzz when u reach Delhi. C ya!” It was her last text. All over again, she made me curious about her; she evaded my request every time.
My helpless mind asked myself: “How does she look like?”, then, it answered with the spur of moment: “How would I know?”

“I wish I could spot her phone gallery, I would see all her clicks,” I thought.

“There may be two reasons for not showing her photograph: A. she looks ugly B. she looks ravishing.” I reckoned. Hit and miss thoughts kept on crossing my mind.

“Are you going to Delhi?” an elderly person, in his late forties, asked me.

“Yes, I am,” I replied to an irrational question.

“It’s your first time to Delhi, isn’t it?” he began probing.

“Yeah…you can say.” I didn’t show any interest. Before he could put up the next question, the bus stopped for refreshment outside a restaurant. I rushed out of the bus.

I went inside the resort and occupied my space, placed my bag on the next chair, and ordered for lunch. The same person appeared, coming towards me, and sat across me.

“So, you have placed your order. What shall I order?” he asked while looking at the menu.

People usually go through the whole menu course as if they would order something new, but, contradictory, mostly people offer the usual dish they would have had before. He was one of them.

I replied to his question after drinking few sips of water: “Yeah.”

“We should avoid junk foods. They are deleterious.” He put down the menu.

I wanted to say: “Don’t patronize me, I know very well.”

Instead, I replied, “Yes, it is so,”

I waited for food keenly.

“So, are you going there to join staff?” he asked.

He vowed not to stop that day!

“Yes. I have an interview there.” I admitted. I looked hither and thither to make realize that I was not interested answering his question.

“What have you done in your qualification?” he further irritated me with his non-relevant questions.

“B.tech,” I responded unwillingly. Simultaneously, I prayed to God to deliver food early.

“Good. You can have several options in Delhi. There are ample of jobs,” he reported.

Finally, the food arrived. I wanted to give him a ‘free advice’- “talking while having meal is also deleterious.”

Perhaps he knew this, so, he didn’t bother me further. I wanted to get rid of that “MR QUESTION BANK”, sitting across me. Therefore, I finished my lunch as fast as I could.

I reached at the counter to foot my bill.

“How much?” I asked while taking out my wallet.

“Your bill has been paid, sir.” He answered with an innocent smile on his face.

“What? Who paid?” I asked confoundedly.

“The person, who was sitting with you,” I saw him, still gobbling his lunch with immense interest.

“But, he hasn’t done with his meal. How come he paid my bill? And why?”

“He had paid in advance,” he announced. Flabbergasted! I proceeded for the bus trying to comprehend the motive behind Mr Question Bank for paying my bill. I even did not thank him for shelling out his money. But, I altered his name from “Mr question bank” to “Mr Kind”.

Mr Kind got on the bus, and took his reticent window seat.

“Why did you pay my bill?” I raised a question rather than thanking him.

“So what? it’s not a big deal,” he grinned showing his teeth-as white as pearl, and pretended as if he would be a millionaire. I wondered if he always paid like this.

“Thank you for that.” I finally gratified him.

“You’re welcome!” He again gave me his ‘million dollar’s smile’.

I was unable to figure out his behaviour. I plugged in my headphones into my ears, rested my head fully on the seat and engrossed in music.

The bus drove in Kashmiri Gate terminal, I stood to collect my bags.

“Do you have a change for 1000 rupees?” Mr Kind asked, taking a note in his hand.

I would have said “NO” if he would not have paid my bill.

“Yes, I have.” I took out my wallet and handed two crisp note of 500 rupees to him.

I got off the bus and asked around the way to the Metro Station.

 

4.

Delhi

New Delhi, the capital of India welcomed me with Metro trains, CNG buses; wide roads fly over and unprecedented huge crowd. Most of the people didn’t give the impression of being affable; they were hardly concerned and bothered about anybody. I waited for long in the wait-your-turn line to get a ticket to board in the Metro. I learned the way to use the coin when I observed some adept commuters. I saw route maps on the wall, which looked like a riddle to me to solve. I couldn’t understand -where to go, and which metro line to board in. A person helped me getting me board in the right metro.

Metro train looked quite cozy and luxurious. For the time being, I had literally forgotten that I was in India. “The door will open on the left, please, mind the gap.” was the line which kept on buzzing and irritating me throughout the way in two languages, first in “English” then in “Hindi.”.I felt pity for Delhi citizens for putting up with this torture every day. Nevertheless, I enjoyed it thoroughly and de-boarded at the right station.

After enquiring a lot, I reached the destination where my friend Brij had asked me to wait; I suddenly caught him waving his hand.

“Hey! Here I am, where have you been?” I gave him the boys’ famous half-hug, thumping on his back.

“Just got late,” he admitted.

“And where are the other friends?” I enquired.

“You know they all have gone bonkers,” He said while collecting one of my bags.

“Why? What happened to them?” I asked confoundedly looking at him.

“You know they have consumed Ganja, (The most commonly used illicit drug; considered a soft drug. It consists of dried leaves of the hemp plant; smoked or chewed for euphoric,)” he said as simply as if they had just overeaten.

I lingered, got tensed.

“Am I going to live with drug-addicts?” I exclaimed being worried about my spotless disposition.

He clutched my hand and dragged me forward.

“Don’t behave childishly. Initially, I reacted the same way as you did. But, after some days these things became accustomed.”

I recalled my father’s words: ‘It is far better to be alone than to be in a bad company.’ But, I preferred to be in the bad company at that point of time.

Sorry papa!

 I had known them since I was in college, but not closely enough. I called home on reaching safe and sound. My father again rang the bell to have meal on time and to be on my guard in Delhi.

I got dumb stuck when I checked my wallet. Guess what? Mr Kind was actually “Mr Fraud.” He exchanged a bogus 1000 rupee note. My father was right, ‘I should have been careful,’ I was annoyed at myself. I slapped myself imaginatively.

Brij took me to the fourth floor of a rented building, which was all made for tenants. He knocked at the door; I could smell out some drug’s reek. The door opened, it was David, he opened his arms wide enough to hug me and cheered as he saw me, “Hey buddy! Welcome to our nest.”

The room was nest-like indeed.

Smoke all around, scattered luggage, two dingy mattresses, which were lying on the floor, attached washroom, which was stinking badly like ISBT’s washroom, I put down my luggage and sat down at the corner of the mattress.

I turned a new leaf in my chapter.

“You have become very skinny, how? Don’t you have meal?” I chuckled to Aman.

David and Brij burst into laughter.

“It’s a matter of time. At present, you are looking in the pink, but, be with us for few days, you will be no more than bag of bones.” Brij retorted while slapping on Aman’s back.

This made me a bolt from the blue.

After having dinner, I called Nidhi, she rejected my call each time I attempted. “She must have fast asleep,” I thought. I went inside the room and made my space between Brij and David.

Initially, I couldn’t make myself at ease in the midst of both of them, but, I had to cope up with all this. Pondering about my career I waited for Nidhi’s response but dazed by sleeplessness, I didn’t realize when sleep engulfed me.

For three days, I was falling asleep early because Nidhi would wake me up at 4 o’clock. It was too early for me, I even couldn’t give it a damn thought about that. I used to get up at 8 o’clock whereas Nidhi was an early bird. Again, I was changing my habits for Nidhi. Was it a stepping-stone of the beginning of love? Maybe!

It was the crack of dawn, my alarm (Nidhi) woke me up by calling. I woke up and saw Aman acting as if to be into some serious work on the laptop…maybe a game or porn. I got out of the room.

I received the call groggily.

She welcomed my day with saying: “I am sulked. I don’t want to talk to you.”

I wondered at her saying: “Why? What mistake did I commit?”

She grumbled: "Didn’t you think it necessary to give me a call when you reached Delhi?”

I revived by her raised voice, I went to the roof, “I did, but you didn’t receive.”

I was on the roof, a very cold air was touching my cheek, many tenants were sleeping on the roof as on the platform waiting for their trains, and my right-to-be-heard woke up some of them. A person tumbled out his face out of blanket and gave me a disgusting ‘let-me-sleep’ look.

“That was too late itself and I was saddened, that’s why I didn’t take your call,” she unfolded in a grouchy mood.

“I am sorry dear! Actually, I was hectic in preparing for my interview.” A perfect defense stroke to my mind, it was not a lie either.

“Ok! When is it?” she didn’t blow her cool anymore.

“It’s tomorrow, 15th March,” I reported.

“Duffer, then it’s today,” she corrected me.

“Oh yes, it is,” I wondered.

She urged me to sing a song for her as a punishment. I tried to wheedle her not to sing but she threatened me not to be in conversation again.

“Marta kya na karta(When in deep crisis, one resorts to all means- fair or unfair)”

Eventually, I had to chant. I chose my song, which I could sing easily. And the song was ‘Ek din aap yun humko mil jayenge…’ I was singing in the best chord I could. Simultaneously, I made sure if nobody was seeing me or hearing me. Suddenly, a person turned up, he was wearing a pasty half sleeves undershirt, and carrying a hassock in one hand, may be for the yoga practice. It was wholly a tongue-tied situation for me. He looked at me as if I had done some heinous crime. Embarrassingly, I reduced the singing pitch from higher to lower and then finally stopped.

“Are you practicing for Indian idol?” he asked confoundedly in his husky voice, the call was not disconnected until then. And I could hear Nidhi muttering something. Maybe, admiring my song or alarming me not to sing anymore.

I had no answer rather than saying “Yes, I am, I have an audition in few days.” I used his given idea.

“What kind of an audition are you talking about?” I overheard Nidhi’s voice on the phone; however, I concentrated on the devil and demon standing up there.

“You give the impression of your determination, keep it up. You will certainly get a break through,” he touted, he seemed impressed without having any reason, the cell phone rang again, I hurriedly left the place and told about being exposed which made her laugh hysterically.

In order to impress someone, we can go up to any extent, especially, in the beginning of any relationship. We leave no stone unturned to make a special place for ourselves in the heart of our partner. I acted up the same.

For me, it was the first time ever when I sang for someone. I chose the perfect song as it fell into place in the approved manner.

I started falling for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

5.

Debut in interview.

It was our maiden interview; hence, we were more nervous and less excited. We dressed up smartly for the interview. The interview was supposed to be held at Connaught Place, New Delhi. We made sure to carry resume, mandatory documents and photographs. I didn’t forget to implore God.

Students generally call upon to God at the time of exams, at the time of results or when they go for any interview, so do parents  for their children’s success. However, ultimately, hard labor and luck work.

We accessed the interview location; saw our numerous competitors there, they were looking serious unlike us. We submitted our resume at the reception and waited for our turns. I had practiced few anticipated questions hundred times to impress the interviewers, like- describe yourself, why do you want to join this company? Why did you choose this field? Why should we hire you? Salary expectations, bla bla bla.

A thousand questions rose in my mind regarding the interview, I was taking my own interview. To divert my mind I tried to stare at the girl sitting right in front of me; however, the interview-phobia didn’t let me give her the due attention.

“Our life will patch up if we get this job,” Brij muffled.

“Hmmm…spot on, anyway, what will you do then?” I asked.

“We will have a grand party. Full of beers, liquors and ganja,” He riveted with joy.

“Oh, sounds like fun! Don’t expect it from me now; I will throw a party once I get the first pay.”

Candidates kept on going for their career’s fight against the interviewers; interviewed people were surrounded by many candidates. We had already waited for more than two hours. In the meantime, the receptionist called David’s name. We waved thumb, receiving our good luck he stepped inside the room. Then, we waited eagerly for him to come out so that we could take some idea about the interview. In about 10 minutes, he came out.

The receptionist called my first name; therefore, I had to rush inside without getting the information.

As I pushed the door inside, three interviewers stared at me as if I would have eloped with their daughters, they permitted me to sit. I parked myself in an armchair. I passed around 17 most difficult minutes of my life inside the room, the room appeared hell-like for me. My interview got over, which was fairly good according to me.

I came out of the room.

“Hey! What made you to take so much time?” David asked anxiously.

“I was playing ludo inside,” I chuckled; some candidates grinned at my joke.

“Don’t crack jokes, tell me seriously, did they ask difficult questions?” Brij requested pryingly.

“Neither difficult nor easy. But, those assholes just boggled my mind.” I whispered. “Maar ke rakh di yaar,” I added.

David jumped into our conversation, “Yes, they did the same with me,” he vituperated.

That day I realized that Interview is the most unpredictable exam to pass, you are asked such questions which are either not prepared or not expected.

After our dreadful experience, we directly headed to our room. On the way, I thought about the better response which I could have given at the time of interview.

We pass pondering most of the time in correcting the past situation. Whereas, time is a crack which once made can’t be repaired later.

We did not have anything since previous night, we were starving to death. Aman was at home and we had asked him to cook meal. It was around 3 o’clock when we reached our room. We first scurried to the kitchen. We found nothing to eat. Aman, did not cook anything which made us heated and disappointed.

“Why the hell didn’t you cook anything?” David busted angrily.

“Oh! Sorry. Actually, nobody woke me up so I didn’t realize the time,” he protested himself.

“You sluggish! Always ditch us,” Brij vexed.

“Don’t get bent out of shape, let’s go to a near by Dhaba and grab a bite,” He suggested as if nothing happened.

I threw my tie and the document file on the mattress.

“Who will dare to go out now?” David grumbled.

Nobody wanted to go out. So, we satisfied our appetite with some stale breads only. Other friends took a siesta whereas I wanted to share my day’s talks with Nidhi. I was surprised to see Nidhi in my “Whats app” messenger list.

I typed my first message to Nidhi: “Hi! Nice seeing you here. What’s up?”

Nidhi replied instantly: “I jst downloaded it. And I Just finished doing the dishes. Hv u had lunch?”

I lied feebly and typed: “I just had it, my roommate cooks vryyyyy delicious food.”

“Oh really? That’s coooool, otherwise u wud remain famished every day, as my darling dsnt knw hw to cook.”

Food and hungry words were fuelling my appetite; I didn’t want to talk about food.

I abstracted my mind off food and replied back: “Lemme tell u m a vry gd cook, my mother trained me in ckng.”

She continued teasing me: “Oh, then yr wife ll b really happy bcs u ll always cook for her.”

I replied with a normal text: “Oh hellooo…m nt gng to b a hen-pecked hsbnd, cook n me??? no way… I cn lend my hand in some other chores.”

She sneered: “In washing clothes?””

This time, I hit back her with my first BOLD reply: “Nope, in taking off her clothes, lolzzzz.JJJ” I sent this text without prior consideration.

She continued the topic: “She cn do it on her own.”

I replied back: “But, I cn do btr than her J”

I read my last sent message and made sure if the limit was not crossed. I went to the kitchen and drank a glass of water not to quench thirst but to quench my starvation.

I read her next message: “how can u say so? hv u taken exp.? Lol,”

Perhaps, she wanted to verify my virginity.

I thought for an answer, of course, I was not experienced in this arena.

I wrote: “Not yet, but, I ll hv it,” and sent it.

She came up with her prompt reply: “When???”

I didn’t have any specific date so I just wrote back: “Donno. God knowsJ”

We always used to talk candidly, hours used to pass like minutes. I used to enjoy every single exchanged word with her. We then talked about our past relationship. We discovered that it was a clean slate for both of us. She also told that she had no faith in boys, but found me a steadfast person.

Life was treating well, however, that’s not sufficient to survive on this earth, so what about the job?

 

6.

Life changed.

Next day, we went to Connaught Place to check our names in the final selection list.

A large number of other candidates, who were glued to the ‘Notice Board’ like bees around a honycomb. Taking the whole weight of my body on my toes, I combated to find my name.

David shouted from the other end, ‘Heck, My name is not in this list.’…I was still looking up for my name, before I could show empathy to him; he further remarked in a discourteous tone, “When my name is not there, how can you expect your name in this list?”

I didn’t believe him, I was aware of his habit of making fun on serious occasions as well. He stood behind me, put his hands on my shoulder, now, I could see the whole list clearly. David, resting his left hand on my shoulder he scrolled his right index finger on the final list. He was right. My name was missing in the list like luck in my life. We all had failed in our first interview. The mournful news of not clearing the interview made us darn distress.

Three days later, we gave another couple of interviews, we kept our fingers crossed.

Our daily routine was very weird. Aman, didn’t use to sleep at night. He would play games, watch porn, access the internet whole night and would snooze in the morning around eight-the time I would get up. Brij and David, used to get up after 11. And my weirdness was- I would first get up at 4 and after finishing my early mornings’ gossips I would complete the rest of the sleep.

We had filled our kitchen with all the necessary food items. But, we used to cook once in the blue moon. I started becoming homesick. Everyday my father used to talk to me regarding my career while mother would talk about food all the time.

We only get to know the value of home once we drift away from our family. The food which we generally shun at home makes us realize its value when we don’t get it.

We had many indoor games: like chess, ludo, carrom board, snake ladder and cards. We had enough stuff for amusement but apart from this there were no amusements in our real life.

We delegated individual responsibility to everyone. As per that, David had to cook vegetables, Aman had to do dishes, Brij had to knead the flour and I had to make chapattis.

First day, standing in the kitchen for an hour, my delicate hands made 46 chapattis for four of us, which we tucked in the twinkling of an eye. After all, we would have a kind of a fast all day long.

It was around 10 o’clock, four of us were lying on the rooftop. The sky was clear, hence, I could see stars clearly. I was gazing at the stars for a long time, wondering about their existence and trying to imagine the life there. I got out of my fascinated world when my cell phone rang. It was Nidhi. During conversation, we talked about the marriage party which we had attended together.

“You know, I was not supposed to attend that marriage because I was admitted in hospital, but, out of the blue, I recovered magically,” Nidhi told.

“The same thing actually happened to me, I had been suffering from a severe fever and cold before marriage. But, to my utter surprise, my fever suddenly vanished. Actually, I wanted to attend the marriage for another reason,” I unveiled.

“What was that?” she asked inquisitively. I took a turn and covered myself with the bed sheet.

“You know I had never been to Haridwar before, so I wanted to roam around the city,” I murmured.

Nidhi and I had some common grounds. Her likes, dislikes, habits, hobbies, activities, almost everything was alike.

After all, Birds of a feather flock together.

“Seriously, when you tell your story, I think you are telling my story only,” She agreed.

“That is why we have become yummy friends.” I gave a “Title” to our friendship. I knew the fact: that we should never give a title to our relationship as it brings expectations. And expectations always hurt.

“Hmm…Hey! Did you like any girl in that marriage?” Nidhi asked excitedly.

I poised and then answered: “Yes, two girls were appealing; I don’t know who they were. But, all boys were staring at them.”

“What were they putting on?” Nidhi asked.

“Boys barely notice all these possessions,” Was my response.

“What do you mean? So, what else do boys notice?” she asked with eagerness to her voice.

“It’s kind of secret. Why should I tell you?” I confronted the fact.

“Please tell na. I want to know,” She sounded curious.

“No, first you show me your picture, then I will reveal the secret,” I again pushed ahead my pending request.

“Why do you want to see me? I am not “Miss India” or “Miss Universe”,” she announced.

“I don’t know, but, now you matter more than that for me. And another reason is, I have got tired creating your image in my mind,” I replied.

“Vinu, don’t get tired now. Still, long way to go,” she suggested and laughed. Although, I couldn’t join her in her laugh, but, I smiled within and felt pleased.

Deep in my heart, knowingly or unknowingly, a keen desire arose and my sixth sense told me-maybe you shall be in love with the person you are talking to so often, it may be because she is equally responding to your mobile phone calls and messages which means there are positive signals from her side too. She hit it off with me pretty well.

It goes without saying, we were drawing closer after a daily chitchat. Although, we were very far in kilometers but a single call or message would bridge the gap between us. It was because absence makes the heart grow fonder.  I started feeling in deep for her. However, I did not share anything to her. I did not propose her yet, so, when and how did I propose her?

 

7.

Interview result.

The first interview made us doomed to failure as we weren’t selected, however, the second interview result brought a sigh of smile on David and my faces. Brij felt distraught when he didn’t get selected but we consoled him.

“Don’t lose hope dear, keep on trying. We will make a place for you once we get inside,” I consoled Brij. It was easier for us to console him.

“Exactly, we both are your jack. You will be working with us once we get to know the ins and outs of the company,” David encouraged.

Aman was the only person who was not trying for any job, he was a bone idle. He had said at his home that he was doing apprenticeship but he wasn’t actually. He was just wasting his father’s money in consuming drugs…what a big dork he was!

Seeing drug had become very accustomed to me, even I tried it a couple of times just for the sake of experience.

Attempting something wrong may not go wrong, provided you attempt for the sake of know-how only, going beyond the line of demarcation may cause dire consequences.

Our uphill struggle was continued in the second round too. Fortunately, luck seemed favoring us when we in the long run got job. I felt myself on cloud nine. Exultantly, I made a first well-deserved call to my father.

“I have got a job, papa,” I said joyfully.

“Such good news you gave me today, congratulation!” He seemed extremely delighted.

This is a real paramount moment of one’s life- when you are the reason for your parents smile, it was the best feeling I could have ever had.

“When are you joining the staff?” my father enquired further.

“Perhaps in two weeks,” I said self-assuredly.

“Did they tell about the salary package they will be offering?” Asked my father.

“Not yet. I guess that will be told to us once we start training,” I believed.

“Okay, take care of yourself,” He said and hung up the call. He was not used to talk about fruitless things.

After airing this news to my father-I unswervingly called Nidhi, I was raring to share this news bulletin with her.

“You know, Today I am so elated, can you guess the reason?” I spoke with a victorious tone.

She hit the fish’s eye without giving it a second thought, “Um, you must have got the job.”

My excitement level was still flowing: “I must say you are a good guesser, yes, I have got the job. I’ve to join in about two weeks.”

She accompanied my success saying: “Loads of congratulations, Baby! So, what will you do there till then? Come back to Haridwar…oh! I mean Dehradun.”

What?… Haridwar? Her wrong statement sounded like a right plan; maybe she had said that intentionally or maybe not. Moreover, head off to Haridwar hit upon like holidaying in Hungary.

“It sounds like a great plan, but… I need to sleep on it,” I demanded while thinking if it was feasible.

“We can meet if you come here,” she propelled my desire by showing a ‘Green Signal’ to me, and made me believe that what she suggested was viable.

“Really? Then let me plan it out. I haven’t seen you. Please, send me your photographs on whatsapp, how will I recognize you otherwise?” I repeated my denial request.

She laughed, laughed and laughed. I just stood up hearing the laughter.

“That is the real test, I want you to pass this assessment as well,”

Why the hell are there so many exams in life? Can’t we have a trouble-free living?’ I thought about harsh reality of life.

I wanted to go back to my home for several reasons, like- I was in Delhi for the last 20 days. I was missing my Mamma’s special dishes which nobody could make, and yes…. I wanted to face my family after getting break trough for the first time in my life. Riding bike at a high speed with friends and roaring out on the roads late night were missing in my life too. At last, the most compelling reason was to meet Nidhi.

It was the dusk, the Sun was about to bid a good-bye. The evening breeze was comforting us. Birds were flying in the sky. We stood on the roof, staring at some neighborhood girls. The breezy air was making us go crazy and wicked when a text popped onto my cell phone, it was from Nidhi.

“My net-pack validity is gng to get over today, n tmrw, market ll b closed at Haridwar. So, say smtng gd which ll cling to my mind for life long.”

I cut off myself from my friends’ erotic talk. I walked away from them, and bit my lower lip, thinking for something great. However, after using my natural processor mind, I composed a disaster message, “You are really a nice girl, I like talking to you.”

Before hitting the send option, I rethought a lot, but, it didn’t seem appealing or which could make an ever-lasting impression on her mind. I backspaced it all. I used my creative mind and composed a proposing message:

“I knw, alone u cn smile but together we ll laugh. I knw alone u cn celebrate but together we ll chillll. I knw alone u can b happy but together we ll enjoy to the fullest. First tym, in my whole lyf someone gave me such importance, whatever I shared with u, I nvr shared it with anybody else. Nidhi, I am falling for u…I love you…Yes it’s right …I have fallen in love with u, can we b together everlastingly?”

After attempting this gutsy act, my heart skipped a beat. I was afraid of my own cell phone; as it could bring any heartbreaking news at any point of time. I was a bundle of nerves.

‘What if she turns down it?’ this perplexed thought started degrading me like a slow poison.

I rejoined my friends to deflect my mind, who were cracking vulgar jokes and giggling with hoots of laughter, but none of them were able to catch my attention and shift my heed.

Almost 15 minutes passed, I didn’t receive any reply. I felt down in the dumps. In order to take this relationship at the next level, I lost what I had.

A stitch in time saves nine. Hence, I composed an apologetic message after some time: “Plzzzzz forgive and forget if u didn’t like my offer, we can b frnds only. Plzzzzz…say smthng, don’t b quiet… kill me with ur words but nt with ur silence,”

I was trying to find a secluded place; I went downstairs and got inside the room. The room was as dark as pitch, it was perfect according to my frame of mind though. I sat at the corner of the mattress, leaning against the wall and feeling a big pang of loneliness. I read the last sent message hundred times, cursed myself thousand times.

We read our sent messages when we don’t get an instant reply, we try to make sure if everything was fine. After all, in this 21st century love means getting a prompt reply. The more quick reply you get the more interested the person is in talking.

In the meantime, David took an unexpected entry. He fumbled for the switch in the dark and turned on the light.

“What the hell were you doing in this dark room? Why didn’t you turn on the light?” He made my problem even bigger; I refrained from telling the truth.

“Just like that, there was a power cut,” I made a foolish excuse.

He figured out my current mood, knelt down in front of me while putting a hand on my shoulder.

“Is everything okay at home?” He asked like a matured person.

I looked at him, passed a fake ‘everything-okay’ smile and spoke


© Copyright 2019 vipin thapliyal. All rights reserved.

Chapters

Add Your Comments: