Tuesday, April 28, 2015

180

"So, who's the girl?" Preethi asked Vikranth, sipping her drink.

"What girl?" Vikranth questioned, acting surprised.

"The girl that you like and want to show me. C'mon, you rarely attend your office parties. And on the rare occasions you do, you don't bring anyone. Unless you want them to know what a boring place you work at. You, the shabby guy, are neatly dressed, well groomed and dragged me to this party forcefully." Preethi smirked and said, "So, am asking you again, who's the girl?"

"Whoa! Stop reading my mind, Prof. X", Vikranth said and gave her a side hug. "See, this is why you are my best friend."

"Stop smooth talking me and show her to me", Preethi said.

"Ok, don't be very harsh with your criticisms. I kinda like this one." Vikranth said sternly.

"Fuckin' show her to me already", Preethi said, quite visibly irritated.

"Ok, there she is. In that black and blue dress. Talking to that bald guy." Vikranth told Preethi, pointing to a girl.

"Wow!! She looks beautiful. You have bettered yourself. I can't say this often about the girls you date, but, good choice." Preethi said.

"Thank you" Vikranth said and did a little bow.

"So what's the status?" Preethi asked.

"I think she knows I exist", Vikranth said and curled his lips.

"You haven't even spoken to her?" Preethi asked, surprised.

"I mean I have said 'hi' and 'bye', but that's it. She is from a different department. We don't bump into each other often. So..." Vikranth said.

"Then go talk to her now", Preethi said and gave Vikranth a little push.

"You mean, now?" Vikranth asked.

"Then when? Are you going to wait till she gets married to that bald guy? Go talk now." Preethi said.

"Hey! Pankaj is a good guy, and married. Also what if I go talk to her and she doesn't like me, or even worse, what if I don't like her?" Vikranth said, raising his brows.

"Stop guessing and go find out. Get your ass up there and talk to her. Or else I will go tell her that you love her." Preethi said.

"Ok, ok. I will go. But this one's on you. If something goes wrong, you're responsible." Vikranth said and started walking towards the girl, adjusting his clothes and hair.

Ten minutes later, Preethi stood there all alone, looking at Vikranth laughing and talking to that girl, being his charming self.

Six months later...

Preethi walked into the groom's dressing room. Vikranth was pacing around in the room quiet anxiously. He was wearing white silk shirt and veshti.

"Oh boy! You look like a million bucks." Preethi said.

"Only a million?" Vikranth said, smiled and hugged Preethi, "Thank god you are here."

"Why, whats the matter?" Preethi asked.

"I don't know. I don't know if I'm ready. Six months ago we didn't even know each other well and now we are here, going to be married. I know I love her, I do. But I'm not sure if I'm ready for this... marriage and responsibilities. This is so very stressful." Vikranth said and sighed.

"You will never be ready. No one is. You just take that leap of faith and let things fall into place. This is not an exam where you come prepared to answer a bunch of questions. You learn as you go, you live as you go." Preethi said.

"See? This is why I need you. What would I have done without you?" Vikranth said and hugged her.

"Ok, now stop being all sentimental and go to the dias. You have a bride to wed." Preethi said.

"Ok, be there on the dias beside me. I want someone to catch me if I faint", he said and smiled.

"I will be right behind you. You go now", she said.

Vikranth smiled and went to the door where his family members were waiting to take him to the dias.

Preethi went and stood among the crowd, some where behind. Preethi's elder sister came and stood beside her.

"So what next?" Preethi's sister asked.

"What, what next?" Preethi questioned, confused.

"Now that he is getting married to someone else, what are you going to do?" she asked.

"C'mon, don't talk rubbish. He's my best friend and that's it." Preethi said, looking miffed.

"Is that the lie you're telling yourself too?" her sister said and walked away while the wedding bells rang and Vikranth tied the knot. Once again, Preethi stood there, alone.

Six months later...

Preethi heard a knock on her door. It was almost half past ten. She opened the door and looked at Vikranth standing there, leaning against the doorpost. He looked shabby, tired and completely lost. Vikranth walked past Preethi and went into the house.

"It's all over", he said and slumped into the couch.

"What's over? Why do you look like this? What happened?" Preethi asked, with no idea about anything.

"She left me... We had a fight two nights back; a bit nasty than the previous ones. She walked out angrily with her things. I thought she will come back after few days, like the last time. But today she sent the divorce papers. She wants me to sign them and send back to her as soon as possible. I tried pacifying her, apologised to her, but she wasn't ready to listen. And I couldn't argue." Vikranth said with his head down.

"So much happened and you didn't bother to tell me? And why did you guys fight? You both seemed very happy last time I met. How did it come to this?" Preethi asked.

"It was all downhill from the moment we returned from our honeymoon. In the beginning it was for silly things and we would get back in few hours after apologising to each other. But after a point each and everything led to a fight. We put on our smiling faces when we met family and friends. Acting like two people madly in love. But it was just that, acting. And I guess it reached the tipping point day before yesterday." said Vikranth in a very low voice.

"I'm so sorry, Vik. I didn't have any idea about what you were going through. I should have. And I'm sorry for that. I'm here for you now." Preethi said, sat beside him and put her hand around his shoulders.

"When did all this go wrong? It was all perfect, or atleast I thought so. Now, everything's so blur. I don't have any idea of what to do next. I'm lost, Preethu, completely lost", he said and leaned over her shoulder. She gently stroked his head, comforting him.

Six months later...

Vikranth heard his door bell ring. He opened and looked at Preethi standing there. Dressed beautifully and with a smile.

"Hello, there! Still living in a cave? Do you know there's a thing called razor that helps you in getting rid your facial hair? There's also shower, soap and other things to make you get rid of the repulsive smell." Preethi said while looking around the house littered with cigarette butts, empty alcohol bottles and pizza boxes, and waste of every other kind.

"Are you here to make fun of me?" Vikranth asked.

"No, I'm here to take you out. Out of this stink hole you call house", she said.

"I'm not coming out anywhere. I have got company", he said and pointed to the alcohol bottle.

"Well, I will make sure that your company is present where we are going. Now go take a shower and get ready. We leave in half an hour", she said and pushed him towards the bathroom.

An hour later they were at their favorite bar, their dugout. Preethi was her usual chirpy self; talking and laughing and trying to have a good time. But Vikranth was not how he used to be. He just kept drinking. Other than the occasional smile for Preethi's jokes, he didn't speak much.

"What are you doing? I brought you here so that you can forget the past and start living again. But it's like you are still sitting in your house and drinking all alone. Yes, I understand that you got divorced, you're heartbroken. But that doesn't mean you have to drink yourself to oblivion. Come out of it. I want the old Vik back. Not this sorry looking, zombie like person, who I do not know." Preethi said and sat up straight.

"Old Vik. Ha! The fool who got married to a person he didn't completely know. I'm heartbroken, yes, but I'm more saddened by the fact how idiotic I was. All this would have never happened if I hadn't rushed into things. Or if I had known her better. But I have always been a fool." Vikranth said and gulped down the drink.

He signaled for another drink and then continued, "Yes, where I was... yeah, a fool. I was always a fool. But you were the sensible one. You always knew what was right, what was good for me. And even you didn't stop me from falling into this. Why?"

"I thought you were happy with her", she said, empathetically.

"I guess we both were wrong. You know what... no one should get married to a person they don't really know. You must first get to know them, become friends, completely understand each other, then think about marriage." Vikranth said, his words now slurring.

"Are you saying friends should get married?" Preethi asked, smiling.

"Yeah, friends should get married. Friends, like us. Us... us... you and me... Why didn't I think of that before?" Vikranth said, kinda lost in his words.

"Think of what?" Preethi asked.

"Us getting married", he said

"Ok, you had had enough. Now it's the alcohol talking." Preethi said, pulling the drink away from Vikranth.

"I know it's the alcohol talking, but it is true nonetheless. And I have never been more certain of anything else...", he said and got down from his seat. He then pulled the ring out of his left ring finger, got on his knees and said, "Preethu, my darling, will you take me as your husband?"

Preethi stood there, speechless, not able to move while all the other people looked at them, amused, and some cheering.

Six months later...

Vikranth knocked on the door. Preethi's sister came and answered it.

"You're not supposed to be here", she said and smiled.

"I'm here to talk to my best friend", he said and smiled back.

"Best friend?" she asked, raising her eyebrows.

"Always", he said.

"Ok. You guys make it quick. There's only little time left for the muhurtam", she said, let him in and left the room.

Preethi was sitting in front of the mirror, giving finishing touches to her makeup. She turned around and got up as soon as she saw Vikranth's reflection in the mirror.

"So, how do I look?" she asked, smiled, and winked at him.

"Like a billion bucks", he said.

She ran into his arms and they hugged.

"So, are you ready this time?" Preethi asked Vikranth, lifting up her head.

"I don't know. But if something goes wrong, I know I got my best friend beside me and she will always be there for me." Vikranth said and kissed her on the forehead.

"You know, you are supposed to act a little shy", he said, joking.

"Why should I? I'm getting married to my best friend", she said.

"Not even when we look at each other completely naked?" Vikranth said and winked.

"Shameless fellow." Preethi said and mock punched him on his chest.

They hugged and stood there, in the comfort of each other.

5 comments:

  1. nice story in many 6 months leaps! seems like a TV serial but is very interesting as it keeps the reader guessing! u r true, life with best friend can never be bland or bitter :)

    is the title related to 180* of circle?? as he Preethi completed his life after his first wife left him all alone, some thing like that ??

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    1. TV serial? :D

      I never thought of the title in that way. But it fits too. Thanks for reading, Ankita. :-)

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    2. that is because TV serials often show time leaps :)

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  2. You should write books Kanthu. I am serious.

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    Replies
    1. This is fun. If writing a book becomes fun will do that too. :-)

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