Dec 9, 2008

Episode E11VEN

If you are new to this story, do not start here. Go to the Index and Introduction page.
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'So... Warney...', began Preeti in a mischievous tone. When she started with 'Warney', it was a sure sign she was about to pull his leg.
'How was your date with the dream-girl yesterday?'
Warney gave an awkward smile, and paused for effect. 'Imagine all the stereotypes... Doon boarding school snob, fast Bombay girl, young working girl who doesn't wanna get married, and the college hottie who knows the effect she has on all the guys around her and treats them like worms'. He paused again for effect. 'Roll all those up into one person. That's who I met! How do you think it went?'
'Was she hot?'
'Yea-ah?!'
'So that's all that matters, right? When are you getting married.'
'P! You know me better than that.'
'You said so yourself!'
'I was kidding. Do I look or sound like I'm in a mood for jokes right now?'
'Ok. What happened?', she was serious now.
'It was... intriguing! We spoke quite freely about everything. We didn't get bored. But I'm not sure I liked her.'
'But this was your first meeting. Give it some time.'
'P, I really don't wanna talk about this now. I know its a hopeless case, and I'm still in a bit of shock since yesterday.'
'Ok. Beach in evening?'
'Hmmm... OK!'

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'So... what was the problem?'
'Well, she was a bit rude and very cold. She spoke like a page-3 snob. Basically, if I'd come across someone like that elsewhere, I'd conclude "not my type" within 5 minutes, and that'd be the end of that.'
'Hmmm... You don't sound convincing. I can still sense hope.'
'Well, yeah. I had a picture in my head - the ideal girl for me. This one seemd to fit all those criteria. But it just didn't work, so I'm quite shaken.'
'What is this "ideal profile"? Tell me!'
'Well, it's preferably Punjabi, though that's negotiable. Someone from an upper-middle, service class family like mine - so that we share common values. Someone who's intelligent and well-educated - from good colleges. You know - someone I can discuss anything with, who'd sustain my interest and earn my respect. Also, someone with a similar lifestyle - similar interests, and same plans and priorities for our life together! And, of course, HAWT!'
'Phew! That's some list.'
'She seemed to fit all of it.' Pause. Deep breath. 'So do you! But then you've already got Arjun.'

Preeti couldn't quite believe what she'd just heard. Was Deep finally making a move? This was surely an expression of interest. Kritika was right.
'Not any more.'

'Yeah, maybe. But you're not over him. Anyway, you're a friend. I wish you had a younger sister.'
'Preeti Khanna. Single and unavailable', she announced to the world at large. She paused. 'But for you, Deepesh Bhatia, the truth is this - single and available.'

Now, Warney was confused. Was she suggesting she was available to him, or just telling him - as a friend - that she was open to a new relationship in general. He wasn't going to take any chances.
'What - exactly - do you mean?'

'Oh god', she thought, 'this guy is slow.' 
A moment later: 'No, he can't be this slow. He never is. He's just playing dumb, coz he doesn't have the guts to make an open move. Is he expecting me to serve it to him on a platter? Dude, get a pair!'

'I'm just saying - I think I'm over Arjun now. Or almost there. And I'd like to take another shot at a relationship - and hope it goes "happily ever after" this time. I'm telling you, coz I trust you. For the rest of the world, it is still Preeti Khanna - single and unavailable. I don't want any random joker trying his luck.'

Warney was having a tough time keeping up with this. He was clearly being given a special place. She was openly telling him she was not available for just anyone, but available for the right person - and maybe she thought he was a 'right person'. Why couldn't she just say it straight? Damn these women!

Preeti's phone rang. It was Kritika, and she had to leave. So they left.

Back home, Warney continued thinking about the dicsussion with Preeti. She had given him leading signs - probably as much as she could without actually proposing a relationship. And this just a day after he met Prabha-with-a-vee, whom he had declared 'dream girl'. Was she really interested? He didn't know for sure.

After a few hours, several beers, and having run out of friends willing to humor his ponderings, Warney took a decision. 'She did say she was ready for a relationship. I am interested. Let me ask her. And then - que sera sera!'

He was by now too drunk to call, or even write something sensible. Besides, if she didn't say yes - it'd be very very awkward. But, he felt brave enough to do something at least. So he sent her a song by email.
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Preeti logged into GMail, and saw an email from Deepesh Bhatia. This was strange - they exchanged a lot of office email, but he rarely sent her anything on GMail. And all Deep's emails always had an appropriate subject. This was blank.

She opened it. The only thing there, was an mp3 attachment. She played it.

"Zaara naazar uthake dekho
Baithe hai hum yahi
Bekhabar mujhse kyon ho?
Itne boore bhi hum nahin

Zamane ki baaton mein uljho na
Hai yeh aasaan janana
Khud se jo agar tum poocho
Hai hum tumhare ke nahi
Teri aankhon ka jaadu
Poori duniya pe hai
Duniya ki iss bheed main
Sabse peeche hum khade"... (for those interested, listen here. Read complete lyrics here)

The song ended. She remained frozen for a minute. Then she smiled, as a solitary tear rolled down her cheek.

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'Hi, Deep.'

He looked up at her. He had a million questions popping up, and a dozen different scenarios playing out in his head, yet he managed to feign nonchalance. 'Hi.'

'You have something to say?' She was standing beside his desk, and staring at him. Fortunately, no one else was in yet.

Warney didn't want a scene here, and he knew it was one of the possibilities, so he tried to defuse the situation. He pretended not to understand, and just stared blankly at her for a minute.
'No, nothing particular to say, as such. Why?'
'About the song you sent me last night. You have something to say.'
'No. I was drunk, and I just though of you. You and Arjun, and all that. Just wanted to say I'm there for you, as your best friend.'

'Bullshit', thought Preeti. She knew better than to believe this. She continued to stand there, staring at him, thinking what to say next.

'I want to tell you a story.' 
Deep lowered his laptop screen, and turned to face her.

'In school, when I was in class 8, there was a boy in my class. He had a crush on me. I knew it. Hell, the whole school and the whole neighborhood knew it. I liked him too. We became friends. We often walked back together from school, and he'd offer to carry my bag. I used to take Brandy (her dog) out for a walk every evening around 6. While all the other boys continued playing cricket or whatever, he was somehow always heading back home around that time, and would join me and Brandy. One time, I was out with my friends for a movie - and he came to my house and took Brandy out for her walk all by himself.
For three years, I kept waiting for him to say he liked me. I wanted to go beyond this whole "running into each other" to meet, and to go out for movies and coffee and parties with him. But he never had the guts to say anything. At the end of class 10, his father got transferred and he left Delhi. And then it ended, without even ever beginning, really.'

'Nice story. Are you trying to make a point?'

'Yeah. If a guy likes me, and even if I like him, he will have to say it. No matter how much I'd ever want to start a relationship with some guy, I'm high-maintenance. And these are my terms and conditions.'
'Hmmm.'  Then, he was silent.

'I'm asking you one last time. Do you have anything to say?'
He thought about it for a few seconds. 'Beach... tomorrow evening?'
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Continues here

6 comments:

  1. 'fast' bombay girl... i so feel like giving this warney chap one punch on his face... lol...
    more later... after i read the rest of it...

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  2. hell! I don't know why but I can't stop laughing after having read this entire post!

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  3. Well, 1st comment - he did say it was a stereotype. Keep in mind he's from Delhi.
    2nd comment - I'm curious... this episode is a collection of true stories - couple of them my own, and the others involved some friends of mine. What exactly did u find so funny?

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  4. Moving along nicely. I love the song. But again, its beocoming a little predictable. Make K fall for Deep. Later the Hyundai Getz can call Deep just to apologise. All in the middle of Deep - Preeti thing. It will be fun. I could join Balaji ;)

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  5. @lom: damn right abt the balaji bit! That's wat ur ideas will make it. I might hv considered it earlier, but now the whole story is defined in my head, n it'll conclude in 2 more episodes

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  6. Boring!! Spice it up dude.

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