With the door shut softly behind her, Khanak took a moment to calm down her racing heart. Though her outward impression was one suggesting composure and control, we are well aware that in fact she was anything but in control.
Where should we start from? How many aspects of impulsive behaviour should we count? The hallucinations- or so-called hallucinations- in the kitchen. The snapping at Shaantanu. The mixed joy and surprise when she realized that Shaantanu possibly door-mailed his previous two letters. The chirpy kitchen talk with Shaantanu. The staircase chat with Shaantanu. The good night drama. The wink at Shaantanu. Oh Shaantanu! Shaantanu! Shaantanu! That's all her mind said and the thought of the impulsive wink took even her by surprise.
She walked to the dressing table and sat on the stool in front of it, looking at herself in the mirror. Thought we all know our Khanak was anything but vain, we should all remember she is a girl. A girl whose ideals of romance projected the epitome of love. A girls who dreamed during the day and prayed fervently during the night. A girl who wished to lead a simple life bathed by the luxurious comforts of her man's care and attention. In short, a girl who had high hopes from marriage. And this girl had just met someone who challenged her wit in a way so casual that it seemed both predictable and exciting.
Such a girl is hard to control. A delight to watch and a puzzle to understand. Though Shaantanu did not know in so much detail how much of an idealist Khanak was, he nonetheless accepted that the girl posed a challenge he was willing to accept.
"Have you lost it Shaan? I mean, tera dimaagh tou nai kharab ho gaya?!"
"Calm down Rahul. Tu overreact kar raha hai."
"Overreact aur mein? Dude, you've totally lost it. And mujeh tou shuru se hi pata tha ke you have indeed been bowled over-"
"Hey hey hey," Shaan cut it, "Relax kar tu. Pehle baat: ahista bol. Meine airplugs daalay huwey hein aur teri awaaz meray kaanoun ko lag rahi hai. And doosri baat: I am not bowled over samjha."
"Beta, Skype ne teri jaan bacha li hai aaj warna mujh se sach chupa ke tujhey meine araam se rehnay nai dena tha. Don't try to hide it Shaan. You've been lost in her thoughts. Meine khud dekha hai."
"Shut up yaar Rahul! Itna acha din guzra hai mera tu kharab na kar ab."
"Acha din guzra hai? Kis ke, Khanak ke saath? Or should I say Bhabhi jee ke saath?"
"Shut up Rahul! I mean it yaar. Tu jaanta hai mein aysa nai houn. I don't believe women can be faithful unconditionally, at least aaj kal ke zamanay mein."
The boy talk was set in motion. Shaan had a heavy mind to share, Rahul had insight.
"Jaanta houn tujhe issi liye tou I'm surprised. Shaan how could you agree to this whole thing?"
"I haven't agreed to the whole thing yaar. I've just told her ke I don't mind getting to know her."
"And are you serious?"
"About wanting to know her?"
"Er...haan yaar. Kya nuksaan hai iss mein. Kuch bhi tou nai."
"Shaan tu uss bechari ke saath khel tou nai raha na? Dekh whatever your perceptions about women but iss bandi ke saath tu risk mat le samjha. She's your dad's BFF's daughter. And even if you didn't know her through family Shaan kisi ko mislead karna waise hi ghalat baat hai."
"Tu mujh ziyada lecture vecture na de. Mislead kya tu tou kisi ko lead bhi nai karta beshak dono barbaad ho jaein!" miffed a frustrated Shaan- Why would no one trust his honest intentions?
"Don't go there Shaan. We've sealed this topic."
"Haan nai jaatay udhar. Tu ne khud tou zindagi mein kuch karna hai nai. Waise kya yaar Rahul ek baar-"
"Shaan! I think hum Khanak ki baat kar rahay thay."
Shaan sighed, defeated.
"Haan. Khanak. So yeah, yahi update hai ke I'm at her place. I've talk to it. She seems like an okay person. And I've told her ke agar ussey apnay Mom Dad ka itna hi khayal hai tou I'm fine with giving this thing a try."
"Shaan wo larki hai. What if she misreads your intentions? What if she gets her hopes high? Tera waise bhi aura kuch charming, attractive type sa hai."
"Tu bhi na Rahul, always the cautious one. Fikar na kar. De diya hai teri bhabhi ko disclaimer ke bhai I'm not committing to anything and hum itnay different hein ke koi future planning na hi karay tou behtar hai."
"Bhabhi? Meri bhabhi?" asked Rahul, emphasizing on the word bhabhi.
Shaan, of course, was caught in an uncomfortable position though he'd never admit it- neither to Rahul nor to himself.
"Haan tujhe uss ki itni chinta lagi huwi hai jaise rishtedaar hai koi teri. That's why bhabhi kaha."
"Acha tou bata agay ka kya plan hai. Are you interested in her? Aur ek second ek second, teri us theory ka kya huwa?"
"Kon si theory?"
"The Two Categories of Women Theory."
"It's still there man. That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"If it's still there to why are you still in London my friend? And don't say ke business ki waja se. Agar tera mood na hota tou tu mar jata but uncle ki insistence pe London na jaata."
Rahul had a point. A very valid one too. But heroes often overlook these subtle things when they are so driven to prove their indifference to the thing that most occupies their minds. So of course, Shaantanu tried to divert the conversation.
"I have to prove ke mein sirf party nai karta rehta Rahul. And well, Khanak seems different. I mean, she literally seems genuine and caring and soft and strong. All things at the same time. And tu hi bata kya aaj kal ke zamanay mein aysi larki ho sakti hai?"
"Mushkil hai aysi larki milna bhai. So you think you're lucky and that's why you're giving this a chance?"
"Oye nai yaar. Tu bas jump to conclusions kar le."
"Something tells me ke maybe she is like that. Naturally hi achi hai wo because in her interactions with her family and her general demeanour I've found her to be doing everything with ease. As if there is no pretence. No effort goes into being nice. But then Rahul, she is in London. She's been raised up here. How can anyone with a rational mind blindly accept ke wo aysi hi hai."
"Aur agar wo aysi nai hai tou?"
"Tou mera point stands: larkiyaan sirf do types ki hoti hein. Case closed. Everyone moves back to their normal lives," replied Shaan smugly.
"And agar wo genuinely achi hai?"
Rahul had struck the chord. Shaantanu was not expecting this question though he should have. Rahul had been aiming for this corner since the beginning of this conversation. His friend, Rahul felt, had been touched by the simplicity of this modern yet traditional London girl. It was a shame to know that his best friend thought so materialistically about most women and Rahul had only hoped that one day there would be someone who's make Shaan realize that not all women were the same. Not only that, but also that Shaan had also subconsciously started living a life he hated seeing others live.
Rahul cleared his throat to finish the awkward pause and bring Shaan back into the conversation.
"Bata Shaan. Agar wo sach much mein achi hai tou kya? Kya karay ga tu?"
"Tou mein ye accept kar loun ga ke meri theory ek theory hi hai. It's not a law of science."
"What do you want me to say?"
"Maybe that you'll start thinking about why she is so different?"
"Rahul meine Khanak Jadeja pe PhD nai karni."
"But Shaan, tu ne itney saal laga liye larkiyoun ke saath reh kar bhi door ho ke. Un ke baray mein skeptical ho ke. Kya ye Khanak tujhe zara sa bhi interest nai karay gi."
"Nai karay gi yaar. Agar wo sach mein aysi hai tou bohat boring hai."
"Then I guess teri zindagi mein kuch ziyada hi exictement hai. You'll need boring sooner than you think."
"Ek kaam kar. Tu Khanak ko bhabhi nai, behn bulaya kar. Baatoun se tou bilkul us ka bhai lagta hai. Philosophical and a believer in all this ideal romance and life partner stuff," huffed Shaan.
"Abhi ke liye bhai hi sahi, jab tak tu ussey bhabhi nai bana leta."
"Rahul do you have any idea tu kitni larkiyoun jaisi baat kar raha hai? All this shaadi type senti stuff."
"If that's what it takes for me to help you relieve yourself from isolation Shaan, then so be it."
"Well I am your friend." laughed Rahul and disconnected the videocall.
Edited by ABlank90 - 29 June 2012 at 4:22pm