Shalu’s Reel life

SHALU

“You can do it,” said the old man. He had a strained voice from all the crying. He sounded like he meant it.

But I knew the truth!

I never cared when they laughed at me. I never cared when they pointed at me, stared at me or whispered bad things about me. I always found a way to not let their judgemental looks affect me. And when many acted cruel and cold towards me because of my poverty, I shrugged it off.

But when they comforted me, teared up for me and hugged me, I got offended. And I almost lost my cool.

Because I knew it was all a lie.

That’s odd. Isn’t that what I always wanted? Someone to care about me? Someone to support my actions, show faith in me, even pity me in a loving way inspite of my poor background? And didn’t I repeat to myself, when I was younger, that someday someone would care about me… And that they would make all my problems go away?

I stood in the center of it all, looking up their faces. They were staring back, some with comforting looks, others teary-eyed and pitiful. The light over my head shone so bright. It hurt my eyes, but I was adamant. I wanted to look back into their eyes. To see it all. To realize something I never thought I would have to face.

And despite everything, despite the burning inside my heart, despite my inner instincts and feelings, I smiled back.


AUDIENCE MEMBER #216

He was happy. Euphoric, even. One of his innermost dreams had been realized.

As he steadied his hand on the mouse, he re-read the email once again. It bore the crisp words:

‘You have been selected as an audience member for our show Rely Maro presents Music Gaana Superstar on the 2nd of Feb. You id number is 216. Please grace us with your presence at 10 in the morning at…’ followed by the address.

Mr 216 yelped in pleasure, fist-pumped the air, and danced around his apartment in his boxer shorts. He could hardly believe the email. He was going on his favourite music competition show!

The day arrived. Mr 216 woke up very early, as he wanted to be ready for the occasion. He texted his family on his WhatsApp group, telling them he was getting ready to go.

He reached the place specified in the email, completed the formalities, and finally plopped himself down in the hugely comfortable chair.

He craned his neck around, trying to breathe in the whole thing. The judges sat in the middle, right in front of the stage. Big blue spotlights flashed on them. They were currently surrounded by their make up artists and crew. The director of the show seemed to be giving them some instructions. The female judge seemed to be focused more on the mirror in front of her than the words of the director. The older male judge, a sharp man in his 60s, was checking his mic, but he seemed to be the only one listening. The third judge, another popular singer and a young man, was pretending to listen, but was more focused on waving at his fans in the audience. Mr 216, a fan himself, tried to catch his attention but the third judge was looking the other way.

Mr 216 felt elated. He was seeing celebrities up close. And he was going to be listening to music. To real life music. And perhaps also be on TV.

It took 2 more hours to set everything up, an hour after that to hand out clear instructions (a screen above the audience would display emotions and the audience had to emote them. For example, it the screen flashed ‘Sighs’, the audience had to dramatically, well, sigh. Then there were other cues like ‘Laugh’, ‘Silence’, ‘Commercial’ and ‘Applause’.)

The show began another hour after that as everyone took positions. The contestants were sitting on their benches, the judges were ready, the host – a beautiful anchor in a one piece – took the stage, and so it began.

The experience was something different. Mr 216 decided that it was better to watch the music show on TV than in real life, because the real life TV show shooting was harrowing. The judges took their time in beginning their practiced speeches, the singers would make mistakes which would have to be repeated, the anchor would sometimes fumble with her punchlines, which would result in reshoots as well…

And then came the music. Since he was sitting in the fifth row, Mr 216 could not really see the singers well. There were big screens behind the singers that showed the faces of the singers, but that, Mr 216 thought, could’ve easily been accomplished at home.

He sighed. He was halfway through the now boring music show, when the next singer climbed the stage.

She was an unusual contestant. Being a thin, slightly stooping woman who looked a lot older than the rest of the contestants, she still managed to walk with grace and stand with poise. Her face was sallow and sunken, her hair halfway between gray and black. Her spectacles were thick and round. Her smile revealed crooked teeth but it was a sweet smile nevertheless. On her face was hope and elation. Something told Mr 216 that this day was the happiest day of the woman’s life.

She smiled broadly as the audience clapped hard. The anchor hugged the woman and looked at the judges, and the camera.

“So after that marvelous break, we are back with a bang. Our next contestant is the aged, but beautiful singer from the small village of-” (Mr 216 didn’t catch the name as it was long and complicated) “- Shalu auntie….”

The audience cheered and clapped more fervently. Whistles, hoots and cheers filled the air, but it seemed voluminous, especially for such a small audience. This is when Mr 216 knew how fake the noises were.

Mr 216 waited for Shalu to sing, and Shalu seemed to be waiting for same, but the anchor continued “Shalu auntie is here today to sing in front of you for the first time ever, but not before going through hell. Yes, Shalu auntie has experienced a lot many ups and downs in her life to reach this point. Shalu auntie, we feel so strongly about your history. And welcome you to our stage!”

More claps. The audience cheered on. The anchor smiled gracefully, her face radiant on cue. Shalu looked at her, and smiled some more.

“Let’s take a look…” said the anchor, and the screen behind her transitioned from weird wavy patterns of colour to a montage of Shalu’s tough past.

Mr 216 watched as the narrator of the montage explained “Shalini Parikh was born 48 years back in a small village in Maharashtra. Born to a father of 3 girls and 2 boys, she was raised by her parents in a poor household. Her father worked as a rickshaw driver while her mother taught at the local school, earning only enough to feed half her children.

“So when Shalu, now 4 and underfed, was about to turn 5, her parents welcomed another son into their home. And as a result of this, Shalu found herself in an even poorer circumstance. At the age of 9, her father died of a heart attack and her mother had to now bear the burden of 7 children on a meagre teacher’s salary. Meanwhile, Shalu had begun taking care of her siblings, whilst also showing an interest in singing.

“Finally, tragedy struck at the Parikh household when her mother, now unable to bear the troubles of 7 children, killed herself, taking 2 of the eldest daughters with her. Shalu, now only left with 4 siblings, struggled all her life to make ends meet. Never married, Shalu left her passion for music behind as she fought against destiny to live… To survive. And today, we have given her a chance to regain her love for her passion…”

Mr 216 yawned. He actually yawned, as the montage ended. He had heard such sob stories a lot of times before. He didn’t care about them, because he knew that every reality show, and a music show at that, showed atleast one sad dramatic story to gain viewers. It sickened him.

But he had to applaud. Because that’s what the screen said. So he tried to finger in eyes into tearing up, dawned the most somber face he could muster, and clapped in false sorrow. The audience accompanied him. Even the judged were now crying openly, although artificially. And that too only because the camera was on them. Shalu shed a tear too, looking sad. She wiped it off. Even the anchor hugged her.

“You can do it,” said one of the judges in a fake brittle voice and Shalu smiled and nodded at them. The female judge got up, approached Shalu, spoke some words of kindness and hugged her too. She returned back to her seat just as the anchor left the stage. And Shalu began to sing.


SHALU

I finished the song, but I didn’t care anymore. Their faces has changed my perspective. I didn’t care about the prize money. I knew I wouldn’t win it anyways. Because reality was staring at my face.

When I had been selected to be a participant in this singing competition, I had thought it was my skill. I had believed it was my daily routing of stringent practicing singing that had won me this chance. But I knew better now. It had been my past, my colourful, pitiful past, that had grabbed their attention.

I screamed into the mic. My smile had vanished. I looked directly at the judges.

“So that’s why you chose me, isn’t it. Because of my father. Because of my mother. Because of my dead sisters. Because of my 4 siblings in this audience. Because you think it will garner sympathy. And that’s what will drive votes. Drive viewership.

“I had come here to sing for someone appreciates music. Who wants to give my music a try! But instead, I have come here for my story. For sympathy. I don’t want it. I don’t need it. Go to hell.”

I saw myself throwing the mic at the judges and walking off. Even though my hip was still weak, in my mind I could do anything.

But it wasn’t true. It was just something staged in my mind. Something I wanted to do, but definitely did not have the guts to. I felt sick in my stomach, because I knew I would have to comply. This was not a live show. And if I had said those things, I would be thrown out, the amount promised to me would be forgotten and everything would be over. I couldn’t let that happen.

And so, I did the most logical thing I could think of.


AUDIENCE MEMBER #216

Shalu finished singing, and was met with applause almost at once. Even Mr 216 had to admit that for an old frail lady like this one, Shalu was gifted.

And so, when the judges had given passed their judgements, praised Shalu’s voice, she smiled brightly. But this time, something was different. Her seemingly warm smile did not meet her cold eyes. It was wrong. It felt misplaced, the smile.

Mr 216 shook his head.


SHALU

I left the stage and the moment I did, I was handed the money and thrown out. I didn’t understand at first. Why was this happening to me? I had gotten great votes from the judges. Everyone had liked my performance, and yet, I was being forced out.

I yelled at them, but they didn’t care. They explained how this was a one time thing, and how the viewership had declined once they had eliminated Miss Roxanne Dhillon last week.

My short reel life was all they needed.


Dear Bleedsters,

This story is something I thought of while actually watching its real counterpart. At the moment of writing this, I am slightly sleep deprived because of which this may not be the best version of this story. I also do not claim to be an expert at knowing how these shows work behind the scenes. So excuse the inaccuracies there. Other than that, enjoy!

Love,

K


As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images, from my own personal collection or some other sources (which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise). Contact me if you want it removed.


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The Dream full of Magic

I sit on the edge of my seat, studying the man in front of me as I see him doing the impossible. But I know for a fact that in spite of the hovering man, and in spite of the minute, colorful sparkles that emanate from my fingers, making him hover, it is surely all just a big dream.

Let me explain.

As do most of my stories, why should this one start any different? It was a day like any other. December had come and gone, and half a month had withered away in cold. Mid-january had brought with it a confusing climate. Everyone was confounded with whether they needed a jacket or not. Wearing one would prove to be too hot but it’s absence would make them all shiver. Wintery winds were, at least for now, all but extinguished.

It was a day like any other, as I said before. Except for one tiny detail. I had suddenly started to do magic.

Crazy, I know. My normal routine was disturbed by my new found abilities. All I had to do was wake up, get ready, go to work in a cab that I would probably have to share with 8 other people, reach the office premises, work for 9 more hours and then come back home. But as I realised the magical skills within me, I took a long detour from my usual path.

It began something like this: I woke up with a small tingling sensation in my right arm’s fingers. At first, I thought it was just the excessive self-gratification* (just kidding!), but it turned out that tiny yellow and electric blue sparks were jetting out of them. It was a vaguely funny feeling. I almost KNEW what had to be done.

I slowly glanced at my roommate’s bed. It was empty. I knew for a fact that he had left early. I double checked the house nevertheless. It was empty. And so, I raised my right arm, pointed it at the ugly mirror on the wall opposite to my bed, and whispered “Crack, you piece of sh-!”… the mirror broke up into several pieces.

The floor below it was littered with jagged pieces of silvered glass. I marveled at the scene. Had that really happened? Had I really made that happen? Was it real?

I chuckled. Somewhere at the back of my mind, I knew it was a dream. And so I decided to humour my subconscience.

My smile turned upside down. Damn it. I would have to clear up the broken mirror now. But wait, I thought to myself. I could just clear up the pieces of broken mirror with magic!

The brilliant idea laid the foundation of my first big magic spell. I raised my right arm, pointed it at the floor and said “Clear up!”

As if on command, the pieces of mirror picked themselves up the floor and marched across the room to the dustbin in the next room. It was fascinating to see it unfold in front of my eyes. My subconscience was being really creative this morning.

I got dressed lightning fast, and jumped down the stairs. I reached the cab stand so fast, panting and out of breath. You see, magic does not increase one’s intelligence, or else I would’ve simply used magic again to go to office. But me, being silly old me, decided to not only run to the cab stand, but sit in one.

The cab system where I live is such that 9 or 10 people are squeezed into one small car as they are ferried to a common destination. I was one of them. Discomfort and fear mingled in my brains like a tonic. The discomfort was from me being squeezed by Mr Old Fat Man. The fear was from the silly realization that if I had magic, someone else did too. And what if an evil person had magic? Worse, what if they tried to kill me? And what if that made me wake up?

AND WHAT IF I DIDN’T WAKE UP AT ALL?

Stop being silly, it’s only a dream, I consoled myself. A plethora of fantasy TV shows and countless rereadings of Harry Potter had made me paranoid. I swallowed my fear as the cab began rushing through the traffic at top speed.

As the fear subsided, the discomfort did not. It only seemed to grow. And Mr Old Fat guy was being particularly hard to sit next to. So, I did the only thing I could.

No, not politely tell him to adjust in his seat. I gots magic now, bitch. I discreetly pointed my right arm at him and whispered “Comfort me!”

In all fairness, the words were nonsensical. But the magic didn’t need a sensible string of words. At my behest, the cab expanded from a small car into a large bus. I knew for a fact that from the outside the car looked the same. But the inside was a different matter.

Moreover, the other passengers seemed to not notice the new improvement I had made to the car. How strange. I was digging this dream.

The car sped on. As we reached a quarter of the way, the worse thing happened. The car broke down. I groaned in unison with the others. The driver looked apologetic. He tried to calm us down as some shouts erupted from the back seats, and rushed to fix the problem.

I would like to point out once more how stupid I am. The moment the car broke down, I should’ve used my magic to start it back up. But even in my dream, I was being utterly slow and brainless. It took me several moments, and the driver several failed attempts at starting the car, to jump start me into using magic.

I silently pointed at the steering wheel and whispered, together with the mini Rihanna that was dancing in my head in the morning, “Work work work work work!”

The car began to work. The engine began to hum melodiously. There were even some claps. The driver hopped back in and launched the car into a speeding frenzy. It weaved around the traffic smartly.

Did I say smartly? I meant rashly. And in so doing, the car collided with an oncoming truck.

It was a split second thing. I could see the scene unfold against my eyes. Panic rushed through my head faster than my mind could comprehend. The car swerved to its side, it’s door flying open (thank you old fat man for not locking the doors correctly!) and the driver and the passenger at the old fat man’s side flying off.

There was panic and confusion everywhere. People were screaming. I was groaning. My dream was slipping out of my control. It was turning for the worst. And I needed to stop.

The driver was clearly dead. His rash driving had cost him his life. I could do nothing more than gawk at his mangled body spread across the truck’s bottom. The passenger however was still flying across the road, apparently fast asleep.

I looked around at others. They were still craning their necks around slowly, at an agonisingly slow pace. Why were they so slow? And then it hit me – they weren’t slow… I was fast!

The magic, whatever it was, was making me see moments at lightspeed. I could see that the driver’s life was out of my hands but the passenger’s wasn’t. I immediately pointed my right arm at the flying man and said “Save him!”

Sparks flew out of my fingers enthusiastically. If others could see, they would think a light show was going in broad daylight. The sparks hit the man as he hovered inches from the ground. He was neither injured nor harmed. He was simply FLYING in the air like a balloon. He was still unconscious.

And then time sped up. Everyone was not staring at the deceased driver, or the hovering passenger. They were staring at me. And my still sparkling right arm.

Awestruck, they watched as I desperately tried to end this nightmare. They were staring at me out of fear and mystery. They were fascinated by me.

Wake up, wake up, wake up, I repeated under my breath. I pointed my arm at myself and said the same. Nothing happened. As one of the onlookers approached me slowly, I backed away into the wreckage of the car. The other passengers had either crawled out or were helping others. But their eyes were on me.

I mused at the situation. This dream was becoming weirder and weirder as time passed on. But it was definitely seeming like a memorable one. The onlooker was nearly at my side now. She had a queer look to her. Her eyes were wide, her arms broad and open. And I smiled to myself. Any moment now, I was going to wake up. And I would have to take the actual cab to actual work without anything remotely eventful happening.

And as I contemplated whether to write a blog post on this dream, and if I would remember it when I woke up, the onlooker leaned in. She grabbed one of my arms, smiled with her crooked, red stained teeth and pinched me.

A horrible, fleeting realization struck me harder than a kinky husband consensually** spanking his submissive wife. And before I knew it, I was confronting a horrible truth:

The dream full of magic… was not a dream. Fuck.

*I don’t know why I put this silly joke in, a crass attempt at humour I guess.

**Added the consensually to avoid controversy.

As always, if any of it made you smile, laugh, frown or giggle like a little baby, comment share and like! To be up-to-date with my other posts, give a like to my Facebook page and follow on Twitter if you use it! Any images used are either taken from Google Images, from my own personal collection or some other sources (which will be mentioned if and when, unless stated otherwise). Contact me if you want it removed.

The Cheating Couple #1

The Cheating Couple

1

Rassa-boy and Salami

Saloni stood on her toes, her feet digging into the sand. Her left hand covered her eyelids, shielding her obsidian-like black eyes from the sun. For a setting sun, she found it very harsh.

She glanced around, peeling her eyes away from the calming water. Few people dotted the beach, here and there. It seemed like a special day; the beach was usually never this empty. She craned her neck and tried to stand taller, balancing herself so that she could see afar. She couldn’t find whatever she was looking for.

So, she turned back to the thing that calmed her the most when she was anxious – the Arabian Sea.

Something about this particular sea turned her nerves obedient. The funny thing was, there was nothing about the sea that was special. There was nothing about this beach that was special. There was nothing about her that was special.

She pondered the facts for a moment. The beach was – well – a beach. Not just that but an Indian one. Littered, smelly, impure and ruined. Its crispness long gone, the seemingly endless sand was contrasted by sharp, ugly plastic. Bottles, plastic bags, garbage and filth was strewn casually about everywhere. People around her simply seemed to ignore the impurity. She was one of the people.

The water that was calmly receding was also similarly ghastly. The air reeked of shit and salt. Her nose was sensitive to it, but habit had made her accustomed to it.

“Fuck, he is late,” she said to herself. An old couple, who had been passing by behind her, looked around and shot her a dirty look. She caught their look and rolled her eyes. “Control yourself, Saloni! Don’t do it!” she muttered under her breath to herself.

She sighed and decided to take a seat. She plopped herself down on the sand, making sure that it did not enter her jeans. She covered her feet in sand, burying them in its warmth. It felt perfect, and the slightly humid but cool breeze complemented this feeling. Her hair was thankfully tied in a bun, so it did not fly around messily.

She waited five more minutes, expecting him. A dog barked in the distance, but it was so loud that she jumped.

“Stupid dogs,” she grumped, shooting an angry look at the dog, who was chasing a beggar in the distance.

She recognized a familiar face beyond the dog and the beggar, walking towards her while waving frantically. She smiled. The enthusiasm that Adhrit showed never failed to amuse her. She waved back, gesturing him to come faster. She had been waiting for nearly an hour now.

“Sorry, sorry!” he begged for her forgiveness as he approached her. “Mum had me run an errand at the last minute.”

“Auntie cha rassa?” she asked him mockingly.

He kneeled down, hugged her warmly and fell down beside her. Scoffing, he replied, “Funny, Salami. You are really funny, because my mom always sends me to buy rassa.

She chuckled. She remembered it had started a couple of years ago. They had been hanging out when Adhrit’s mother had sent him for an errand (not unlike today) to buy the famous ‘rassa’ from ‘Dadaji’s Corner’. At the time, it had been a simple and understandable request. After all, her own parents had done the same. Even she herself loved the gravy-like dish from Dadaji’s Corner. However, Adhrit’s mother liked the ‘rassa’ a bit too much. She made it at home a couple of times and frequently sent Adhrit to the café for it, when she would get bored of making it herself. Adhrit’s friends had all dubbed him as the ‘Rassa-boy’ of the colony. When Saloni had found this tit-bit out, she had teased him endlessly. This was when they were younger. Now, it was just an inside joke between them.

“She does,” Saloni argued. “Even today! I am sure of it… Auntie hasn’t changed one bit, I am positive!”

There was a pause. Something awkward hung between them. Silence turned the evening cold. The stupid dog had disappeared, so the barking had stopped as well. She turned to Adhrit, who looked at her with a sad smile. “It has been a long time, hasn’t it?” he said after a moment, breaking the silence.

“Let us just watch the sunset!” she said defensively, gesturing the slowly disappearing sun. It was getting darker. She hoped Adhrit couldn’t see her sad face.

“Oh! Come on, Salami. We need to talk about it, at least. We owe each other that much. My mom misses you too!”

“Ha, I am sure,” she replied sardonically. She had not been to Adhrit’s society for a while. Actually, it had been six or seven years since the last visit.

“No, seriously. She was actually a bit surprised when I told her I was going to see you…”

“Oh?”

“Yeah! Remember how your mom used to give us chocolates to eat? And how once my mom called your mom-”

“-of course, I remember. But that was a long time back! Wait-” Saloni paused. “You remember that?”

It had been a long time. Her mom had always collected chocolates from her kitty-party friends. She used to secretly give Saloni and Adhrit them. Saloni and Adhrit used to have them whenever they felt like. It was a privilege to have a lenient mother, Saloni realised. Once, Adhrit’s strict mother had caught him having these secret chocolates. She had phoned Saloni’s mother to demand an explanation. The incident made her smile with nostalgia. How the times had changed!

“Why wouldn’t I? Isn’t that the reason why you stopped showing up in my house?”

“No! I came plenty of times to your house after that!”

“When?”

“Diwali? Your birthday! When your friends didn’t show and I was the only one who did. Even for that dinner one time…”

“Oh, right…” Adhrit stopped. Suddenly, with a soft voice, he asked “What are we doing here? Why now? Why this place?”

Saloni raised her eyebrows. The sky had turned black. The clouds covered the moon. The stars twinkled here and there, dimly and faintly. Street lamps shone far behind them.

“Why? Shouldn’t we? Can’t we do this?”

Adhrit shook his head. “No, you certainly can. But why here? This beach… You know perfectly well why I-”

“-I do! But I like this place. Come on, it has been two years since your break up with that bitch. You can’t seriously still be affected by that! And even if you are, why should you let it affect this beautiful place.”

Whatever little light there was, it helped Saloni see Adhrit widen his eyes. “This beautiful place?!” He chuckled. “Did I hear that right? Are you okay, Saloni? I know I have been away for a while, but this place has not changed a bit. You might find it beautiful… for you own silly reasons… But the truth is, it’s dirty and unpleasant. Not just with garbage, but with bad memories. And not just for me; for you too, this place is hell.”

“Why? Because of him? That’s in the past!” Saloni cried out. “My ex-boyfriend was a stupid fuck. Cheating on me with yours was not the best idea, was it? Thank god I caught him. Wait,” she paused and looked around. She saw a group of carts on her left, selling beach-food. To her right, she saw a pile of rocks and behind them, a row of clean, handsome bungalows. Once upon a time, she had dreamed of living in one of those houses overlooking this beach. Once upon a time…

“There,” she finally said, pointing to the rocks. “Isn’t that where you found Dave kissing her?”

Haan,” Adhrit replied in a low voice.

Saloni slapped her forehead. “Sorry, baba. I forgot. You take your own sweet time in moving on.”

She ruffled Adhrit’s hair and chuckled once more. Adhrit was looking into the distance pensively, perhaps letting the sea bring back memories of his K…K…Kiran.

She felt guilty. She took her hand and entwined it with his. The sand was now covering both their hands and feet. The wind caressed their face. It had become chilly. They sat there, looking at the moon, which was crescent and now peeking – no, twinkling – from behind the grey clouds.

“I miss Kiran. But you know what? It has been two lovely years of self-doubting and loathing, but she did give me some memories…” Adhrit said after a while. “I don’t know how you do that, Saloni.”

Saloni took a deep breath. He never called her Saloni. “Do what?”

“How you got over him so quickly. I still think about Kiran, but you? I mean, I know that if it hadn’t been for Kiran and your Dave… we would never have…”

Saloni hesitated. “… I know, right?” she said and smiled. She leaned her head on Adhrit’s shoulder. “Sometimes, I think that if I hadn’t caught Dave, then we would be different. You and I…”

“Haha… You’re awesome, Saloni. Awesome at moving on… I have tried to learn that from you… But I haven’t, as they say, mastered the art just yet.” He was stroking her hair.

“No, I am not…” Saloni said softly. Her heart was beating fast. Her breathing had become deeper. This was it. She had to tell him now.

“What do you mean?” Adhrit asked her.

“The truth is, the reason we are meeting here today, and not the park is because… I saw him…”

She raised her head from Adhrit’s shoulder. Adhrit wore a blank face. Realization struck him.

“Dave? You saw Dave?”

She nodded. “Remember how I told you I was on duty today and tomorrow? Well, when I was going to work, I did something stupid. I saw him near the bus stop and followed him here… I want to confront him…”

“What the fuck, Salami?” Adhrit said, getting up. He looked around frantically, with fear in his eyes. “He is here?”

“Not just him. His wife, too…” Saloni said. She couldn’t believe it. She almost had tears in her eyes now.

“WHAT?” Adhrit yelled. His voice bounced off in every corner of the beach. Some heads turned, but they ignored them. “Kiran is here too? Oh no…”

“I am sorry! I just couldn’t resist…” she replied.

Adhrit shook her arm away and rubbed his face with his palm. “You are my best friend, Saloni. We have been the closest friends for two years now. I mean, come on. You know what they both did to us. She cheated on me with your Dave and your Dave cheated on you with my Kiran! And then they both got engaged. We swore never to talk to them or think about them. That was the foundation of our friendship. But you calling me here, trying to chase him after all this time…”

He was breathing heavily, his nostrils flared. Out of breath, he paused. Saloni got up too, raising her arms in defense. “I am sorry but I want to know. I was almost about to confront him. I wanted to stop, but I couldn’t! That is why I called you. Had you been a minute late, I would have rushed to that bhutta stall and asked him why he…”

She turned to her left and now could see Dave and Kiran at the stall. They were giggling and acting couple-y. It made her sick.

“YOU? I just can’t believe it… Salami, you are the strongest person I know! Or I thought I did. I was really happy that you had moved on from Dave. You just said it… You said I took time moving on. And here you are, still hung up on him!”

“Oh, but so are you! We can confront them together! Kiran is there too! We need answers, right? They cheated on us and when we confronted them, they just left the damn country!”

Adhrit growled at her. “Salami, they didn’t leave the country because of us! They eloped! And anyway, that doesn’t matter now! I am not hung up on Kiran, anymore. Today, I spoke about her only because of this stupid beach. That is how I remembered her. I had moved on, I really had. In fact, I don’t care. Neither should you… Let us just…”

The night had become colder than ever. The beach had become hauntingly unfamiliar. She knew what a big mistake this had been, chasing Dave and Kiran to the beach, stalking them for almost an hour and a half… But she needed it. After two years of pretending that the break up hadn’t affected her, that she was strong, the memories, the feelings, the pain… everything had resurfaced the moment she saw the happy couple.

“What? Leave? No! He ruined me, Adhrit. Why do you think I work at a call center? It is all because of him!” Saloni yelled. “He made the mess that is my life today. He cheated on me, he broke up with me, he left me and yet he had me fired! All and that too, without an explanation.”

“Look, Salami. I have known you since my childhood. Our families know each other. And I also know we weren’t that good friends before. And yes, I also know we are so good friends today because of them. And that is precisely why I won’t let you do this! Whatever they did, we have to forget…”

Saloni played with her hair, contemplating the friendly advice. She stared at Adhrit. Somewhere deep down, she knew Adhrit was right. But she wasn’t looking for right. She was looking for fair.

“No, I can’t…” Saloni said.

“Can’t what?” said two voices in unison behind her. All of a sudden, Adhrit’s face morphed into something else. Fear and anger turned his face red. Saloni turned on her heel, sending sand flying everywhere.

Standing behind her was the couple that she disliked the most in the world. Dave and Kiran smiled at them, but only officially, as they waited with hot, fresh corn in their hands.


Hello, Bleedsters!
This is a random story that popped into my head. Is it complete? No! Do I intend to complete it? Dunno! Let us just say that this is the first chapter of a potential story about two people. Depending on how you guys like it, I will continue. So if you want to read more, what happens next etc… PLEASE support me by sending me a message or commenting down below showing support and your interest. And share it with your friends…
Love,
Kunal.


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