Joined: 17 September 2010
Joined: 09 May 2006
Manita darling.....just read all the 3 parts that I missed in one go adn have to say loved it...loed it loved it....
Joined: 01 October 2010
Joined: 25 April 2007
Joined: 18 November 2010
"Tum itni mehnat jo kar rahi ho, thoda aaram bhi toh jaroori hai," he grinned, and before she could think of something, he bent down and kissed her neck.
"Bas kijiye….darwaza khula hai, koi aa jayega."
"Oh toh tum yeh kahna chahti ho ki haemin darwaza band kar lena chahiye……kitni acchi patni ho tum yaar…….mujhe kuch kahna hi nahin padta." He teased her.
this para is awesome
Joined: 17 September 2010
Gaurav threw in some basic stuff in a small bag and was ready in about half an hour.
Abhi was surprised to see him pack so fast but avoided commenting.
Since Gaurav said yes to coming to Goa, he was just praying that the plan doesn't change at any cost and so he avoided talking much.
It was quite late by the time they discussed, planned and decided to go.
Sharda made coffee for them and advised them to start early in the morning instead of driving in the late night.
They spent 2 more hours and finally at around 4.30 am they got up to leave for Goa.
They both said their goodbye to Sharda and came down to the parking lot. Abhi arranged the luggage in his black SUV.
"Scorpio !!" Gauarav was impressed.He had a fascination for cars and somehow he couldn't resist but always judged a persona with the car that individual used.
"Yaa….dad bought me one after I bagged an international deal based on my presentation." Abhi said softly, trying not to appear proud.
"Oye, tujhe jo humne sikhaya, tere bada kaam aa raha hai, hahaha" Gaurav teased him and was himself surprised at his use of the word 'humne' because he and Shaan used to be good at computers and presentations and they used to tease him of his weak hold on gadgets but also taught him a lot of things. He was reminded of Shaan but he preferred to discard the thought immediately without discussing it further with Abhi.
Little did he realise that he was going for a college friend's wedding who was in Mumbai all these years and Shantanu Khandelwal was invited in that very same wedding.
Abhi and Gaurav finally settled on the front seats of the SUV. Abhi drove for about ten minutes when he received a call on his mobile phone.
Gaurav laughed at his ring tone – Ankhiyan milaun kabhi ankhiyan churaun….kya tune kiya jadoo……" it amused him no end.
Abhi was embarrassed and parked his car to one side to answer the phone. He gave a stern look to Gaurav who was still making fun of him and asked him to keep quiet while he answered the phone.
Gaurav could make out a female voice on the other side.
Abhi was repeating few lines back with his own two cents that gave Gaurav a picture that the lady had missed her flight to Goa.
"Did Roshani ask you to carry that stuff with you? I am so sorry to hear that. No, I still haven't left Mumbai…I was on my way." He looked at Gaurav.
"What happened?" asked Gaurav, interrupting him.
Abhi put the phone on hold and said slowly, "one of my friends has missed her flight to Goa."
"Tell her to come with us, nah…" said Gaurav.
"Are you sure?" confirmed Abhi, "you wouldn't mind, will you?"
"Why would I mind yaar? It's your car and you can give a lift to whoever you please. Moreover, if a friend has missed her flight, you should definitely go ahead and ask her if she is comfortable to join us. I definitely do not have any problems at all"
"Hey, you can accompany me if you are ok with that," said Abhi, "but I have a friend with me, would you be comfortable?"
The lady is definitely a close friend of Abhi, Gaurav thought as she agreed to accompany them to Goa. It was very unusual of a girl to trust two boys and to go to Goa with them, driving all the way.
They changed their route to pick up the caller.
Gaurav observed Abhi sweating.
"Tu a/c mein sweat kyu kar raha hai…..bhoot dekh liya kya?" Gaurav laughed.
"Dekha nahin hai, par lagta hai ki dikhne waala hai," muttered Abhi.
Gaurav couldn't understand but was surprised at little change in Abhi's behaviour.
Abhi knew that if he told the identity of each to his friends, one of them would back out……in fact both. But he didn't know why, he wanted them to meet, at least once.
He had never tried that in last few years, though he was in touch with both but now that the circumstances themselves were such that they were on the verge of a meeting, Abhi couldn't interfere. He simply avoided further discussion and was now praying to God for his soul.
"I think Paridhi will refuse to come along and slam the door on my face once she sees him, and my friendship with her is over. And may be Gaurav will throw me out of my own car and drive it over me……Oh God….I should have been more specific and told them that they are meeting each other." Thought Abhi.
"Kya hua tujhe…..aise kyu behave kar raha hai?" Gaurav asked.
"Nothing, I just remembered that I have left my videocamera charger at home. I must have it yaar." This was all Abhi could think of at that moment.
"Tu paagal hai kya? Hum wahan shaadi todne jaa rahe hain, na ki baaraat ke photo nikalne, chupchaap baithe raho," ordered Gaurav.
"Nahin yaar, you forgot it….I am going on a holiday….remember? phir pata nahin kab Goa jane milega….mujhe mere camera ka charger lekar aana hai." Abhi thought of a perfect way to escape.
He always took the same route since his college days. First he invited a problem and then ran away from it. Again today, he had arranged for a perfect hungama but now wanted to avoid it completely.
But Gaurav did not allow him to make any excuses and told him to buy a new charger in Goa. Abhi was irritated with Gaurav.
"If I am not wrong, you have always hated weddings…..right?" probed Abhi.
"It's not just about weddings, actually I don't believe in the concept of marriage at all. So wedding being a celebration of such a stupid concept becomes silly in itself," Gaurav explained, "People over react when they fall in love, over react when they plan to get married and the result is this nonsense and wastage of time, energy and money in form of a wedding celebration."
"But why do you think that it is a wastage?" Abhi was baffled.
"I think that eventually the couple realises that the whole marriage scenario was a huge mistake. They ultimately end up fighting at little things and in due course of time start despising each other."
"Not all marriages end in the same way," reasoned Abhi.
"Trust me…..it's the case with all. Some tolerate each other in the pretext of making a compromise while others separate…….but the final outcome is the same…….ie. failure to live upto the promises and wedding vows and inability to live with someone you claimed to be in love with."
"I don't think that I understand you."
"You will…..when you get married. Show me one couple who is still in love even after marriage."
"That reminds me of Shaan," Abhi started testing waters, taking Shaan's name as next in his line was Paridhi, who Gaurav was about to meet.
"What about Shaan?"
"You know he got married around six months back and the news is that he did not marry Natasha." Abhi spoke as if he was telling a'breaking news'.
"I know that," replied Gaurav dryly.
"How do you know that?" Abhi was shocked at his revelation.
Gaurav was reminded of Khanak and his meetings with her. He started to speak but dismissed it and said, " Oh it's a long story…..will tell you on our way to Goa…..it's a long route and we have loads to catch up."
"Yeah……." Replied Abhi thinking about Paridhi.
"So what were you telling about Shaan," Gaurav was inquisitive, "actually I know he did not marry Natasha, but who did he marry finally?"
"I am not very regularly in touch with him. Just talked to him a few times in last few months and a few times to Natasha…..but didn't have courage to ask any of them. It doesn't look nice na…" justified Abhi.
"What nice…..he's your friend, isn't he?"
"Yeah, but it was different previously. Ours was a group which separated 5 years back. We don't share the same warmth now…. as if there is some hitch in between. And he didn't even invite any of us friends on his wedding."
"Really? But Shaan was never like that. It still surprises me that he is not with Natasha. They were a couple for more than 8 years and now I feel terrible for Tashu. I hope she is fine." Gaurav had a heart for everone.
"She is fine. I had talked to her before she left for Europe." Said Abhi., "and she told me that Shaan really loves his wife and is very happy."
"He is a fool to think so. How can you love someone you barely know? It is simply an illusion like I told you and will end up as all marriages do."
"No, I don't think so…….how can you think like that? You haven't even met his wife." Abhi was positive for everything by nature.
"There is no need to meet. It is not rocket science to guess that she must be some hi-fi, brainless blonde to have swept Shaan off his feet and make him fall for her. I am shocked at his irresponsibility and how he dumped Tashu. I still can't believe that I was once friends with this jerk."
"Why are you saying like that? Maybe she is very nice, very pretty and very caring and Shaan liked her a lot."
"Does that justify his causing pain to Tashu? I mean is it enough for someone to be nice? Anyways, I don't believe that someone more nice, more pretty and more caring than Tashu met him and he fell for her and married her too. You wanna bet, marriages are insane……. totally insane !!"
They finally reached the spot, from where they had to pick up Paridhi.
Abhi parked the car on one side of the road, got down and looked around for Paridhi.
"I think she will take some time to reach here," he lowered himself to look inside through the window, from where he was standing. Gaurav lifted his gaze from his phone where he was reading a text message.
Gaurav did not reply and simply smiled. He gave a look at his watch. It was already 5.00 am. Abhi was behaving rather odd and restless. This made Gaurav come out and stand next to him.
"Why don't you call her?" asked Gaurav.
"Yeah, I think I should….," muttered Abhi fidgeting with his phone.
Shantanu had a tough time bringing Khanak out of the house as she was busy taking everybody's blessings, touching their feet and hugging everyone. Till she came out, she was busy giving instructions to Harilal for kitchen, asking Dadi to take her medicines and saying her byes to Khushboo, Sunil and Madhavi.
Akshay had come down to see them off. He hugged Shaan and wished them a happy journey.
On the driving seat, Shaan adjusted himself and started the engine. Before accelerating, he gave a fleeting glance to Khanak. She looked pristine in a light purple chiffon salwar suit with minimal embroidery in same coloured thread on the margins. Her mangalsutra was the only accessory adorning her. She looked like an angel sitting still with eyes closed, hands folded and muttering a prayer to her Thakurji. He immediately felt like embracing her but gestured a 'no' to himself and gave a helpless sigh at his desperation. He couldn't help but smiled and started the car.
It was early morning and roads were almost empty with very few people going for their morning walks and few cars passing slowly through theirs.
Khanak opened her eyes after her ritual and saw him laughing to himself.
"Akele Akele muskuraa rahe hain….kya ho gaya?" she asked.
"Kuch nahin," he didn't answer but looked at her lovingly.
She loved him looking at her like this. She felt like the most special person on this earth with just one look from him. This one look made her feel complete and she felt she did not need anything more from her destiny. She impulsively raised her hand and touched his cheek lightly. But his secretive smile bothered her and she demanded an answer again.
"Bataiye na……mujh par hans rahe hain nah," she asked.
"Arrey wah, badi samajhdaar ho gayi ho," he teased her.
"Mat bataiye, mujhe pata hai ki aapko lagta hai ki main ganwaar hoon," she said in an irritated tone.
Shaan became a little serious as he did not want to spoil her mood.
"Tumhe meri kis baat se aisa laga Khanak?" he asked softly, while keeping his eyes on the road while driving cautiously.
"Aap hans rahe the nah……isliye mujhe laga…." She said slowly. She didn't want to spoil his mood now but she couldn't keep things from sharing with him.
"Main tum par nahi hans raha tha stupid, main muskuraa raha tha kyunki main jab bhi tumhaare saath hota hu, khush rahta hu…."
"Accha…..yeh baat hai, phir aap hans sakte hain….…." she said blandly.
"Thanks Khanak……..hansne ki permission dene ke liye……" he bursted out again.
"Shantanu….mujhe toh pata hi nahi lagta ki aap kab gussa hai, kab khush hain aur kab mujh par hans rahe hain…." Khanak was frustrated now.
"Agar tumhe abhi tak yehi nahi pata chalta, toh mujhe lagta hai ki humein abhi aur mehnat karni hogi ek doosre ko samajhne ke liye," he became more serious for a moment, but then immediately changed his tone, "…..sirf pyaar hone se kuch nahi hota begum…."
"Mehnat?......kisi ke kareeb aane ke liye kya mehnat karni padti hai?….yeh toh apne aap aa jaata hai…..mujhe na aapki baatein bhi samajh nahi aati kabhi kabhi…."
"Chalo chorho…..sab ko itna kya bye bye kar rahi thi?"
"Arrey….pahli baar itne dino ke liye jaa rahe hain…..thik se bye to karna padega nah…" she argued.
"Itna hug kar rahi thi sabko, ki mera man hua ki main bhi yahin ruk jaata hu….kam se kam hug toh milega"
"Shantanu, aap bhi nah….," she was embarrassed, "koi mouka nahi chorhte mujhe chidaane ka…."
The car was running smoothly on the empty roads and left the city boundaries for the highway.
She turned to him and sat on her side facing him. And tucked her legs beneath her to sit comfortably on her seat.
"Tum kya kar rahi ho?" he looked at her totally in awe.
"Maine toh kuch bhi nahi kiya,"
"Matlab…..tum kaise baithi ho yaar?" he was surprised more because he had never seen any of the ladies around him sit like that.
"Kaise baithi hu?......aaram se baithi hu…....aur kya? Aap ne hi toh kaha tha ki lamba safar hai……ab kya main pure raste akad kar baithoo aur saamne khaali raasta dekhu?"
"Oh………..Thank you yaar…..toh yeh posture pure raaste mujhe dekhne ke liye hai," he laughed.
"Bilkul jahanpanah….." she added in the same tone as he had said 'begum' streesing on each word and lifted her finger to trace a line down from his forehead to his cheek.
Immediately, the car came down to a screeching halt.
Khanak was startled at this with a sudden, "Kya hua?"
"Agar tum chahti ho ki main thik se car chalaoon, toh please Goa aane tak apna haath mujhse duur rakho."
The words, the look on his face and the fake pleading tone made her feel embarrassed once again.
"Aap bhi nah……sudhrenge nahin." was all she could say.
The car started again. It was fun for him to see her blushing every time he spoke of something naughty.
"Kaise sudhar sakta hu…..Tum harkatein hi aisi karti ho….." he laughed and continued to tease her.
"Accha, main aisi harkatein karti hu aur jaise aap toh kuch karte hi nahi? Dekhiye, main kuch kahti nahi hu iska matlab yeh nahi hai ki aap bade samajhdaar hain…."
"Woh toh main hun…..samajhdaar………shaandaar aur……," he paused and searching for words, continued, " aur jaaykedaar………"
"Kya bola aapne?.............jaaykedaar?" and Khanak bursted into a bubbly laughter.
She kept laughing for two minutes and Shaan was highly amused at what he spoke......
He deviated his attention from driving for a second and looked at her. She looked divine and giggled like a small kid. She laughed and laughed till she had tears in her eyes.
Shantanu felt like kicking himself for his decision to turn down Sunil's suggestion of taking a driver along with them. Sunil had worried about them, as the route was too long and it would be tiring for Shaan to drive all the way. But Shaan was adamant that he would take the car and drive himself as wanted to be alone with Khanak on this long journey. Now while driving, he wanted to look at her, touch her, feel her, hold her and be close to her but she seemed too far like a glittering star which can be admired, but can't be touched.
Focus Shaan…..Focus on driving…..I should be more careful.
Khanak controlled her laughter when she saw him lost in his thoughts and put her hand on his left arm and shook him a little. He was startled and looked at her. She didn't say anything but used her hand to gesture a question asking him where he was lost.
He recollected his thoughts and smiled at himself.
"tumhaare saath haste haste is safar ka pata hi nahi chalega………aur shaayad ……….aage zindagi ki musibaton ka bhi….."
"Aap toh shayari karne lage…." Khanak said teasingly.
"Sab tumhaara kusoor hai…..," he frowned and then raising his one eyebrow, added softly, " pata nahin aur kya kya sikhaogi tum?"
"Chaliye….aapne yeh toh maana ki maine aapko bahut kuch sikhaya hai."
"Aur maine bhi tumhe bahut kuch sikhaya hai."
"Accha…..aapne mujhe kya sikhaya hai?"
Gaurav and Abhi stood next to each other while waiting. It was early morning and the visibility was somewhat poor. Paridhi had given the landmark of a bus stop near her house and it looked completely deserted in the morning hours. The morning wind was slightly cold.
She must be a brave lady. Firstly she is coming with us to Goa and then secondly she is coming out of her house at this spot, all by herself. Thinking of this, Gaurav slightly shrugged.
A few minutes later, Gaurav spotted a lady coming with some luggage…..a trolley and a hand bag. She was quite far and he couldn't see clearly.
Gaurav nudged Abhi, "Idhar dekh, woh toh nahi hai…"
Abhi saw in that direction and froze. She was Paridhi. He pretended to look at some place else and said, " ek second, shayad us taraf hogi…"
"Arrey, udhar nahi idhar dekh," insisted Gaurav.
"Gaurav, tu yahin ruk, main paani laana bhool gaya hu….," Abhi quickly came up with this and rushed towards a twenty-four hour utility store across the road.
"Arrey……Abhi…." Gaurav could simply call him back but he was quick enough to disappear. He was perplexed at Abhi's behaviour.
He turned back to pay attention to the lady who was coming closer while inspecting the make and the number of Abhi's vehicle.
By this time she had come closer. Till now, Gaurav had just given a casual glance at her…. but as she came closer, he looked at her paying a little more attention.
She looked familiar to him……and he looked at her from top to bottom. She was clad in a cream floral short dress and dark brown svede jacket. Her attire, her knee- high boots, her hair and her bags spoke of her affluent lifestyle and her stride was a testimony to her confidence. She walked elegantly and as she came closer, Gaurav looked at her with almost an open mouth.
Paridhi………..Oh My God….his heart skipped one…..two……exactly three beats.
As Paridhi came closer to the SUV, she looked at the figure standing beside it.
He is definitely not Abhi…..she thought. Abhi is tall but not straight and confident. Abhi is cute but his dressing is not so formal.
She recollected Abhi telling her that one of his friends will be accompanying him. She had imagined someone in his T-shirts, ruffled hair and shorts or Capri …..as it was so early in the morning. But she immediately admired the stranger who wore smart ironed trousers and a neat full sleeved shirt even if it was as early as 5.00 in the morning. She had always been very particular about style and dressing and always took great care in dressing up elegantly, smartly yet stylishly.
The figure was not clearly visible due to poor light but she felt a little uneasiness as she came closer, as if she expected the unexpected….She shrugged whatever thoughts came to her mind as Gaurav being there was impossible. She cursed herself for thinking about him at an odd hour, odd place.
Gaurav stood leaning on one of the walls of the car with his elbow resting casually at the roof. He straightened slowly as she came closer.
She looked at him and her eyes opened wide enough to make her eyeballs look popping out. She felt her legs freezing as she came closer and saw him looking at her as if he had seen some ghost.
She came nearer and stood right in front of him and for a moment both of them were…………………………speechless.
to be continued...............
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