Sunday, July 26, 2009


“Hey….Piyush!!!” Harshad replied.
“Hey Harshal!!!....hows you dude??!”
“We met in the morning dude!!…He he he he!!” Harshad laughed.

“Yeah…” I could see Piyush loosing. Buck up fucker.
“What happened??”
“Are you free tomorrow night?”
“Party dude!!....with all the stuff!!...come to the room”

There was a brief moment of silence on the phone. Piyush lost the nerve.

“Yeah I am here…”
“what dude??....coming na??”
“Umm…who all is there?”

Piyush and I look at each other. I give him a nod.

“You, Me, Dilip, Anshul, Samrat…our usual people man!!”
“And Anay?”
“Nope…Anany isn’t there yaar…”he said looking at me. “…He’s going home for some function” Dickhead turned out to be better than I expected.

“So what say??....kal pakka?” Piyush asked him nervously.

“That’s it man….see ya tomorrow then!!”
“Yup…see ya tomorrow!”

Piyush hung up. He looked at me. I looked back at him.

“He’s coming!” He said. I went ahead and shook his hand. He hugged me.

“You would be there na?”

“Yeah…I would!” I patted his back.

How couldn’t I be. This wasn’t just about Piyush. In fact it wasn’t at all about Piyush. He was just an aide. He was my general. And my army. And also my master. I was the purpose. And he was the mean. And he had to follow me. Because I was his path. He had a role. And yet he was negligible. Sidelined. Overshadowed. By me!

“Thanks so much dude!...Thanks a lot!” Piyush said patting my back.


5. c

“Brothers!!!…Party tomorrow!!” Piyush announces the moment we reach the room.

“Why?” Dilip asked.

“Special reasons!...You will know tomorrow!!!” Piyush said looking at me and smiling to himself.

Everybody in the room had by the time guessed what was the special reason from the blush on his face. The only point of curiosity that had left them clueless was the girl who had left the blush on Piyush’s tanned skin. And it had to be a surreptitious since it was contained within a rationale.

The looks turned towards me for a clarification. I smiled blatantly in return.

“Chal…” Piyush said turning towards me.
“Where?” I asked with a false surprise.
“Let’s call up others…”
“Okay” I say shrugging my shoulders.

Leaving the occupants in the room clueless, we move to the terrace.

“Harshad??” I ask Piyush fidgeting with the mobile phone in his hand.
“Yeah!” He replies.

“Switch on the speakers dude…”
“And…Don’t tell him I am there!”
“He won’t come…”
“Trust me dude!...don’t tell him!”

Piyush dialled the number and put the phone to his hand. He then quickly switched it to the speaker mode. We could hear Harshad’s phone ringing. We waited anxiously for him to pick up the phone. And the phone rang. And rang. And rang. And rang. And rang. And then stopped ringing.

Piyush scrolled through his contact list with an alarming urgency after the ringing died off.

“Call again…” I said in a shot of perplexity.
“Yeah…one sec!” He gave a stressed reply.
“What?!…call him again…what are you scrolling for?”
“Just a sec…”
“Whom are you calling??”
“What?!...What for?!”
“Maybe they are together…” He said with a slight stammer.

I immediately grasped the crisis in the situation.

“Wait!….wait!….I will call her…” I barked on him. “If they are together…Harshad would surely realise that you are trying to track him…” For a moment I felt ashamed of w+hat I w+as doing. I w+as exploiting his fear. I w+as bloating it up for him, to calm him dow+n. the irony struck me despite my sw+elling guilt.

“Yeah…you are right…You call up…” He stopped scrolling through his phone.

I dial Shamita’s number and switch on the speakers. I believe in transparency.

She answers the call instantly.

“Hello Shammy….”
“Hieeeee….” She shouts on phone.
“Where are you?”
“We are having an ice cream at the corner shop…wanna come?”
Piyush misses a beat at the word ‘We’.
“We means…who all?” I attempt to clear his doubt.
“Me, Preeti and Anita…why?”
“No nothing…okay you enjoy your ice-cream…will talk to you later..”
“Was it anything impo….” Beep…beep…beep! I cut the call!

“Call Harshad now…” I command Piyush.

Piyush dials Harshad’s number again. It rings on the speaker.

We wait eagerly again.

Harshad picks up the phone.


5. b

“But how will we test him?” We take a smoke break riding down the Expressway Bypass to the main city. It’s the best way we can entertain ourselves on weekends. Going to the city and walking aimlessly on its roads and through its lanes and by-lanes. A tea or a coffee somewhere and preferably dinner too. Then return to the room late at night. City is our only source of entertainment. It is our only hope to survival which stands against the exasperation of the life in the arsehole of the world. And everytime we visit the city, we secretly desire of finding a place there and settling down in one of its plush by-lanes at the end of the course. As a retribution for the days spent in the aspirant suburb of the city.

And the ride to the city is a pleasant one. A bypass to the Expressway. Then Expressway to the next bypass. And again a bypass to the city. There is another route too. The old highway which stood as the only mean of connection between the two cities, till the advent of the Expressway. But the road is grimily occupied by buildings and shops on both the sides.

I take a long puff.

“Tell me man…..” Piyush lights up his cigarette.
“How will we test him?”

I rest my butt on the tank of the standing motorbike. Take another deep drag of smoke into me. Piyush stands before me like a priest before an oracle awaiting the answer. And I answer.

“I have an idea…”
“What declaration?”
“Declare like him….”
“Like him…?”
“Yeah….Tell everybody that you like Shamita…especially him!”
“Do as I say….tomorrow we call Harshad for an overnight…and then….you declare…”
“You mean….tell him?” He said finding a way out of his confusion.
“Yeah….tell him that you love Shamita!....”
“And…” I could clearly see a question mark on his face. Further clarification was required.

“And then ask him if he would sacrifice…”
“Will that help?”
“What help you want??”
“I mean will he accept?”
“If he does…you are at a benefit…If he doesn’t….The test fails!...Got it?”
“I think so…”
“Ready then?”
“I think so…”
“Make up your mind…” I turned my leg and sat on the motorbike and kick-started it. “Sit!”

I had set the stage. The action was about to begin. Action! That was what I expected. That was what I wanted. I didn’t pray for Harshad to back out. Because I was sure he won’t.

After a kilometre or two of riding I felt a pat on my back.

“What??” I shouted to take my voice over the wind to him.

“You mean….” He shouted into my ear in return “……Do what he did??”

I felt like stopping the vehicle and hugging him for discovering the meaning of my statement. But I sidelined the temptation and kept on riding. Chutiya saalaa!

“Yessss” I replied loudly. The voice echoed through the hills along the road.