Wednesday, January 21, 2009
"I just called to say..."
It was just another day.
The sky seemed like a grey mesh- the vivacious clouds promised new beginnings, while the vicious smoke lurked in its altar with randomness that voiced derision. A red helium design traced its way down to a young boy next to him. He walked on in accord with the pedestrian-throng. There was no point in hurrying, he knew. He had planned this day scrupulously, just as he had devised every single day of his life. He would go over to his friends’ for the evening, he had decided; and hence, walked in the direction of Kirkal Vihar, House-24.
He had been given many labels – from a stiff, devouring businessman to a rat-faced-nibbling-jerk, but his card read- Rakesh Parikshit. He didn’t hold malice towards those who condemned him because he knew he was damn good, and it was their incompetence that spoke. For them, the only reminder of his possession of a heart was his long time girlfriend Reema. She had been his first crush, and he hadn’t looked at another woman since. She loved him, and he loved her for loving him.
His focus was interrupted when a sloppily dressed girl seized him for alms. It was just like any other day indeed, he mused and tipped her off with a two-rupee coin. He assumed an imaginary grin, almost wicked in nature, because yesterday he had declared to himself that today would be a momentous one. He felt as if the world was flowering and nobody, but him, had noticed…
‘- what?! Come again? Ask for her hand in marriage?’, exclaimed Dhruv.
He had expected it. He replied with a nod.
‘But… God! Parikshit! Do-you-realize-how-preposterous-that-sounds?
‘And she agreed? She agreed, and you didn’t care to tell.. me?
‘No.. not exactly. I was hoping to surprise her.’ He smiled.
‘Wowie! You’re kidding ha? You mean to say, she hasn’t the briefest knowledge that you’re gonna ask her Dad her hand in today’s party? Is that so?’
‘That is not appropriate?’
‘Dude! You’re so fuck’d up!’
‘Oh. I see. Well, I thought it ought to be the obvious next-step. She must be expecting it too. I know it.’
‘What lead you to this Prakki? Something wrong with your job? Or are you suddenly feeing lonely? Awh. Or watching too many stupid flicks? Retard. ‘Tis what they all expect. Marrying someone like you.’
‘Huh! Stop it now.’
‘Well, picture yourself in a party, flocked with three kiddos and a wife who harasses you for not giving enough time to the Family—’
‘You don’t even know her. And kids! Not so early!’
‘No? Well Prakki boy, don’t you know what else she must be expecting?’
‘C’mon. I don’t think it is going to be all that bad.. and….I love her…’
‘Sure, you do. Just that it’ll need a peg or two for you to say that post marriage.’
‘Ah! I have made up my mind.’
‘Very well, bro.’
‘Hm… now if you don’t mind my suggestion ..’ He pointed towards the phone. ‘..call her and ask first.. Please?’
‘Oh..well..’ he said, dubiously. But it was only for a moment. ‘Alright, I can do that..’
‘Bro.. is she.. is she the only girl you’ve ever dated?..’
‘Yes, she is.’ He confirmed, emphasizing every syllable.
‘Hahahahaha.. carry on.. hahahaha..’
He picked up the phone and dialed her number.
‘Hi Reema…. What!... which tender?... oh, oh, yes. of course I remember. Congratulations, dear… yeah, I know.. ah, how true.. yes it’ll add charm to the party.. I am coming.. What?.. Oh. I just called to… to say…. Huh? Ha ha, I love you too. Well dear.. I wanted to ask.. if I could.. discuss with your father today.. about..about our marriage.. ……. Yes Reema. …. You knew? That’s good…I know.. Shh, why are you screaming? Well, it doesn’t have to be so soon.. I can wait y’know.. and now you’ve this new project too.. oh?.. Tour Paris? Heh heh. Yes, nice. We have time.. What? Oh. I know you are excited…’
He could see Dhruv through the window pane, sniggering.
‘… yes, it’s great.. Shh Reema, quiet. Hold it. Hey, I need some time to brace up now.. Okay.. Alright, I said. Bye now..’
He inhaled all the air he could.
‘…even I cant’t wait, dear. Bye.’
Something was tapering his windpipe. He closed his eyes. He didn’t want to go to the party anymore. He didn’t want to face her, or her dad, or Dhruv.
He reached for a bottle of whiskey, chucked the glass, and held on to the bottle.