Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 15

“So, now I will take you to the party hall I was telling you about, Prateek. This is where I have my parties, both personal and official. If we do finalize on this deal, this is where you would be managing most of my events”

“Sounds great, Nitin. I can’t wait to see it”
Swati hears Nitin’s and Prateek’s voices from the ground floor, advancing towards the stairs. She peeks from her hiding point, behind the kitchen island, and cannot see anyone. Good, everyone is in their spots and no one can be seen.

“Siddharth, Ramya, why don’t you guys join us too?” Nitin’s voice

“Sure” Simultaneous response from Siddharth and Rams. They will be here in a minute. Ah, there. I can hear footsteps now.. Now, guys, now!

“I don’t know why the lights are all turned off. Just a sec” Nitin says and walks towards the switchboard and turns a couple of switches on.

“Surprise!” shout everyone at the top of their lungs. Prateek looks at them and for a moment, doesn’t realize that the surprise was for him. He looks from Swati to Avi to Nisha, and then from Nitin to Siddharth. Everyone shrugs their shoulders. His gaze finally lands on Ramya, she smiles at him.

“This was for me?!” he asks in disbelief. Ramya walks up to him, gives him a long hug and a peck on the cheeks and says “Happy birthday!” and then adds “I know it isn’t 12 yet. But tomorrow being a working day, I had to take my chances”

“That doesn’t matter! What matters is you cared enough to pull this together for me. Thanks, Rams. You are the best and I love you” he says in a voice audible to everyone, and then bites his tongue. Ramya turns red in the face and starts biting her lips, unsure of what to do next. Swati comes to the rescue. “Enough of your lovey dovey drama, guys! We promised everyone a great party and that is what everyone is gonna get” and she takes the cake from behind the kitchen counter, and opens the box.

The most scrumptious looking white forest cake stares back at her; and simple words “Happy b’day to you” adorn the cake. Swati feels her mouth water for a second. She calls everyone closer, and asks Prateek to come behind the island to cut the cake. Everyone gathers around the island as Prateek takes a shining knife in his hands, when Ramya shouts “Wait! Wait! I forgot the candles!” and comes rushing towards Prateek, holding a candle in her hand. The candle is shaped like a flower and has a small candle in the center of it. Ramya keeps it in the center of the cake and lights it. The candle starts to make some sounds and then lights up in different alternating colors. Prateek smiles at Ramya, and then blows the candle out.

After the “cake-feeding” session, Swati turns the music on, and everybody starts swaying to the music. Jayanth grabs Swati and starts dancing with her. Is that a look of love I see in his eyes? No, I guess not. He just looks like he wants to have some fun with his friend. I should go along with it. How long can I keep brooding about his proposal? To hell with the brooding!

“Yaaaay” Swati cheers and starts her best dancing moves on the floor. Friends keep passing drinks to her and within no time, Swati gets heavily drunk and starts dancing like she has no care at all in the whole wide world. The breeze of air coming into the hall plays with Swati’s long hair making it twist and turn like her body. Her top lifts up and reveals her slender stomach and curves whenever she lifts her arms to do a dance step. Jayanth tries hard not to notice, but gives up eventually and falls for her all over again. After a while, it seems like Swati is the only one enjoying the music and dance, and the others leave a big space for her on the dance floor so she can enjoy more.

Swati hears someone come real close to her and say “Wow”. She ignores it at first, but then turns towards the voice with curiosity. She sees Siddharth staring at her. For some strange reason, I like it that he is staring at me! How can that be? How can I ever like such behavior, especially coming from HIM?! His smile, Gawd, that smile is…it just gets to you. He is either full of himself or so confident of himself. I am drunk! Again! Yuck!

Siddharth cuts into Jayanth who is dancing with Swati, and starts dancing next to her. His moves seem immature compared to hers; nevertheless, he is carefree dancing too! He picks her hand up and turns her around, and she does so in glee. Jayanth watches them from a distance, a little shocked to speak, wondering what would have happened if he had the audacity that Siddharth had. Would he be the one making those moves with Swati right now?

I am free, I feel awesome, I feel great…I can feel how close this guy is to me...I feel like….like puking on him. Oh My God!
Groggy. Foggy. Splitting headache. For a second, Swati doesn’t recognize where she is. It’s too difficult to open her eyes even. After many futile attempts, she manages to half-open her eyes, and sees the familiar green and blue circles on her curtains greeting her. Ok, I am at home. My place. How did I get here? I don’t remember a single thing from last night. She feels herself tucked up in a warm blanket. Her clothes from last night are still intact, with the exception of her shoes. She tries with great difficulty to reach the phone on her night stand, and does it after a couple of attempts. Switched-off. Damn. I will HAVE to get up now. This headache! Ouch!!

Swati finally gets up from her bed, and enters the bathroom with great difficulty, each inch of her body aching. She gets horrified looking at her image in the mirror. This is just what I needed. Everyone to see me like this! God, Swati! Why is it so difficult for you to stay in control? 

She suddenly remembers that the day is Monday and she has to be in office by now. What the hell time is it now anyway? Ah, my watch is here. 12 o clock! Shit! I am late for work. Oww, owww…no raising eyebrows. That hurts! I guess I’ll have to call in sick.

After freshening up, again with great difficulty, Swati makes herself a cup of coffee and puts her phone to charge. A plethora of messages and emails pour in. After browsing through all the messages, mostly from friends and a couple of them to indicate that her parents had been trying to reach her, she deletes most of them, and arrives at an email titled “Training: Travel Required”. Before she can see what the email says, Swati’s phone starts to ring. Of course, who else but Rams. Good ol’ encroaching Rams. Swati smiles to herself

“Hey, babes..wha…..” before Swati can complete her sentence, she hears a string of Kannada words at the other end, obviously not praising her. She waits for the angry young woman to cool down. Finally, Ramya goes silent for a second and Swati seizes the opportunity.

“I am sorry Rams! Look, don’t worry so much about me, okay? I am fine, and I can take care of myself”

“Ya ya, we all saw how well you can take care of yourself, last night. DUH, Swats! Why do you have to behave so damn independent when you have all of us?”

Maybe I like being independent you know. Maybe I don’t like people telling me what to do all the time. Maybe I don’t want people taking care of me all the time when I am fully capable of doing it myself. Gawd, Rams and Jayanth have so many things in common, I wonder why THEY aren’t the ones who fell in love with each other. Sheesh! But Swati doesn’t say any of this to Ramya. She just waits in silence. Tired of waiting for Swati to talk, Ramya starts talking again.
“If it weren’t for Sid and Jai yesterday, I don’t know what you would have done, miss. ‘So called I can take care of myself’”

“Why, what happened last night? I’m afraid I don’t remember much, Rams. As usual”

“I knew you would be waiting for me to tell the story. And that is what I am here for, aren’t I? Anyways, you were totally drunk….again….which reminds me, you need to slow down on your drinking, babes.” A pause

“Ya, you are totally right, Rams. I will keep that in mind”

“Good. So, then, at around 1, everyone said they wanted to leave coz it was a Monday today and everyone had work to get to. But you just wouldn’t budge from the dance floor. Jai tried to talk to you, but you didn’t hear him out. Sid kinda told Jai to let you be, and Jai got offended. But then, they both turned out mature enough not to fight about it. Instead, when Sid finally saw that you were looking quite sick, they both got together to get you back home safely. Sid came to the dance floor to get you and as soon as he turned you around, I don’t know what happened….but…you…” A long pause

“But I what? What Rams?”

“Hahaha…You puked on him! It was hilarious. Not for poor Sid, of course. He looked disgusted by it. He went straight to the restroom to clean himself up and by the time he came out, Jai had you seated in his car. But when he started the car, you began shouting. You said you didn’t want to leave” Some giggles

Wow! I had a total blackout. I don’t remember even a second of all this that happened! Damn!

“Cut out the giggling, Rams. And finish the story!”

“Ok ok. So then Sid had to again talk you into leaving from there. I don’t know what he told you but it sure worked. And you left the place like an obedient girl but you left with both the guys. The guys had called me later in the night. Seems they dropped ya home, tucked ya in and left. I had given them my spare key to your apartment”

Wtf? And what is this? I can’t even say the f word in my mind? DUH! More importantly, I was brought home by these 2 guys?! My gosh. If Amma and Appa were ever to hear of this, they would actually have a ….heart attack! Yes, that is what would happen!

“Unbelievable! I did all that? I don’t remember anything Rams. I swear!”

“But you did, sweetheart. And the boys were nice enough to take all your crap!”

“I know. It must have been awful for them. I better talk to them…NOW!”

“Ya, you should. Chal, I gotta go then. Bye, and call me when you are done talking to your boys” another giggle.

“Ya, bye Rams”

Let me check the email and call the guys. Or….I should at least talk to Jayanth and let him know I’m not gonna go to office today. He deserves my call!

So Swati calls Jayanth and he picks up at the first ring.

“Hey sleepyhead. How are you this morning?”

“I am doing okay, Jayanth. But Rams just told me what happened last night. I’m sorry I was such a….well, sorry I was so stubborn”

“That’s okay. I am kinda used to it by now”

Did he just chuckle after saying that? Argh! I hate know-it-alls!

“Haha. Very funny. Listen, thanks for everything last night. And I also called to say I won’t be in office today. Just got up and I’m really tired”

“I figured you wouldn’t be able to come. I’ve told the boss, no worries. You take rest and I’ll see you tomorrow, okay?”

“Thanks dude! I owe you one. See ya tomorrow!”

“Do you want me to stop over later and see how you are doing?”

No! I can take care of myself!! But I can’t say that to you loudly can I? People would think I am rude beyond compare!

“No Jayanth. I am fine. I’ll see you tomorrow. Bye and thanks again!”

Phew. That done, now lemme check that email I got. Swati opens her official email inbox on her cell phone and scrolls down to the one that talks about the training

Subject: Training: Travel Required

Hi Swati,
I have been asked by your manager, Mr. Rahul Verma, to arrange for your visa and travel tickets to Singapore, so you can attend a month long training session there in October.  In this regard, I would like you to provide me the following details and documents:
1.Duration of stay
2.Preferences for stay (if any):
3.Preferences for travel (if any):
4.Your passport, 3 recent photographs and a filled copy of the Visa form that I am attaching with this email.

Kindly get in touch with me if you need any help in filling the form. I look forward to these documents before Wednesday, so that we have ample time for your Visa to get processed

Srinivasan Murthy
Assistant Manager - Travel Desk

Wow, Singapore! Awesome! I cannot believe this! I am getting to go on a paid vacation. It seems almost like a dream to me!

Swati immediately calls her boss and confirms that she is ready to travel for the assignment. She then calls Jayanth back and asks him if he has been asked to travel too. He replies in the negative, and Swati feels a little upset. He should have been asked to go too. He is so keen to travel to new places, much more than me! Aww. I hope he didn’t feel bad when I told him I was going.
Swati gleefully starts getting all the documentation ready for her Singapore business-cum-vacation trip.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 14

At 9 in the night, Swati hears her phone ring. It is an unknown number.

“Hello?” she picks up the call, a little apprehensively.

“Hey there, girl-who-hates-me” The same confident tone, every single time. Boy, this guy must really like himself.

“Yes, guy-who-irritates-me?” This guy seems to bring out the worst yet the best in me

“Haha! Point taken! Listen, I have shopped for everything in Ramya’s list and I was wondering if I could drop of all the things at your place? You can get them on your way to the farmhouse tomorrow? I will be going with Rams and Prat, and it will be difficult for me to get all those things there”

“Oh, yeah, sure thing. You can drop them off at my place. Tomorrow morning sound good?”

“Not when I can get a chance to see you in this beautiful moonlight, lady! I am coming over now”

Before Swati can protest, Siddharth hangs up. I must be getting used to this guy’s antics! I am not as irritated as I thought I would be. Should I change from my shorts to something more appropriate? Nah, it should be okay, I guess. And I don’t even know if and when this guy’s gonna come.

Soon enough, Swati’s doorbell rings. She opens the door and sees Siddharth with dozens of shopping bags in his hands. She helps him with a few of the bags and lets him enter the house.

After placing all the bags on the floor, Siddharth turns towards Swati and first lays his eyes on her long, slender legs.
I should have changed my clothes, damn it.

“Ahem” she makes a sound to distract him

“You look awesome! I am glad I got to see you in the night, in these clothes” he winks

“You are trying very hard to get into the zone where I hated you!”

“Okay, okay, chill! You are very ordinary looking. I was just kidding. Is that fine?” he winks yet again

“Argh! I just can’t argue with you” Swati responds with murder written in her eyes

“Don’t get so worked up about everything, man! Listen, let me make it up to you” Siddharth picks up one of the bags he had laid down and offers it to Swati

Swati opens the bag in curiosity and sees packed dinner for 2, noodles, coke and cake. Her mouth breaks into a wide grin.

“Awesome dude! Thanks so much”

“Phew, for once, you are not irritated or angry with me. That’s a good start. I figured you wouldn’t have had your dinner yet. Now, go get us a couple of plates. I am famished!”

Not bad taste and judgment for a guy. And this means I don’t need to cook tonight. Yay!

Siddharth tells Swati that he is tired and wants to retire early so he would have a quick bite and leave. Just when I thought we had a chance to get to know each other and consider possibilities of a friendship.

Swati too finishes her dinner quickly, along with him and walks him to the door.

“You know, you are not all that bad” Swati tells him as a parting note

“Of course not, I am super awesome” Siddharth says confidently and leaves.
That guy can never turn sane. Sigh!
The next morning, Swati gets up, late again, and works on her weekly chores of washing her clothes, cleaning the house and finally finishes everything by afternoon. She takes a moment and lies down on the sofa.

Oh good, it’s still 1 and I have a lot of time to get ready and assemble everyone at 11. Kanakapura road. Hmm…We will need at least an hour and a half to just get there. So I need to have everyone ready latest by 9. Should be doable. That reminds me. I need to go the parlor too. God, I look like a mess.
At 3, Swati leaves her house to go to her regular parlor. Let me get a facial too, it’s been so long since I had one, and my face definitely looks like it needs one. And maybe a manipedi? The first time I heard that word – manipedi. Haha, that sounded so funny! Well, my nails look pretty clean. My feet…ugh, no, not as clean as I would want them to be. So a manipedi it is then!

Swati spends the next couple of hours in the parlor, as well as two thousand rupees on herself. At the end of it all, when she sees her face in the mirror, she feels it was worth every bit that she had spent on getting herself the beauty treatment. I feel so fresh. Like I’ve been reborn! Aaah!

Swati receives the list of people to be gathered for the party along with their phone numbers, from Ramya by the time she reaches home. While getting dressed, Swati calls everyone and confirms their availability. The last name on the list, Jayanth’s, scares Swati. Should I call him? After all that he said yesterday….even though he said things will be fine, I am not too sure. Oh what the heck, I need to stop being so narrow-minded. He is after all, one of my best friends! I need to call him and now.

“Hey Swati, what’s up?”

“Hey! I believe Ramya had spoken to you about a party for Prateek?”

“Yup, its tonight, isn’t it?”

“Ya. And I am kinda coordinating with everyone on the transport, time and the party and stuff coz as you know Ramya is gonna be there at the venue before us with Prat and she can’t plan anything”

“Oh, ok”

“So, you’ll be there, right?”

“Yup. I’m planning to get my car. It’ll be a nice long drive. Do you want a lift or something?”

That sounds tempting. All I need to do is reach till Jayanth’s place and I can go with him

“Ya, that would be great, Jayanth. I’ll come over to your place and we can go together. By the way, we would have to pick up a couple of people on our way too”

“Sure, that’s no problem. And hey, you need not come till my place. I’ll come and pick you up from yours.”

“Are you sure? I mean…your house is on the way to Kanakapura. You need not drive till here to pick me up, you know”

It would be weird. Him coming over her. Oh oh…but it would be good if he comes over, it would be easier to get all this stuff to the farmhouse.

“That’s alright, Swats. I’ll be there, no worries. Just got my car serviced too. Would be good for a long drive”

“Okay, then. Can you be here at 8? I’ll be ready by then, and that should give us enough time to shop for some last minute stuff, pick up a couple of Ramya’s friends and reach there on time”

“Sure, see ya then”

Hmmm, I need to be sure I am completely ready by the time he reaches here so we can leave as soon as he gets here. That way, there won’t be any awkward moments. Come to think of it, he is talking quite casually to me. I think he is over it. Good for me. I need to stop thinking about it and get on with my life too.

Swati gets ready, with 10 minutes to spare which she decides to use to catch up on some lost television time. As expected by Swati, Jayanth reaches her doorstep at exactly 8 o clock. Swati opens the door and sees Jayanth dressed in a green checks shirt, full arm, and light blue jeans. The deodorant he is wearing smells awesome to Swati, but before she can say anything, Jayanth says “You look amazing, Swats” in the sincerest voice possible.

Swati forces a smile in response to the compliment. She knew she looked good. Dressed in a sleeveless, black and green leopard- spotted top and loose flowing light green color skirt, she felt very comfortable in her clothes. Comfort, that’s what makes me feel so confident. Although I would like to know Siddharth’s secret of confidence sometime. This skirt’s fabric is so soft! The strapped black sandals that she wore went perfectly with her dress, and she had a black short jacket, in case she needed to brace a cold night.

“You look great too! And I was almost kicking myself for not reminding you of the dress code when I had called you. I am so glad you remembered!” she exclaims at Jayanth.

“Thanks, shall we?” he asks, holding his elbow out for Swati to hold on to.

“Haha, sure. Let me just get my keys”
Swati, Jayanth and two of Ramya’s friends, Ravi and Shreya, reach the farmhouse on time and they meet Avinash and Nisha there. Swati tries to reach Siddharth’s friend but gets  a “not reachable” message from the provider. She then tries Ramya’s number, but in vain; she receives the same response.

“Guys I am unable to reach both Ramya and Pavan. Pavan is Siddharth’s friend and the owner of this farmhouse by the way” Swati nervously tells everyone.

“Isn’t Siddharth in there too? Why don’t you call him?” Ravi suggests

“Oh, that’s right! I had totally forgotten about that” Swati bites her tongue and takes out the message that Ramya had sent which had everyone’s number. Scrolling down the list, she reaches Siddharth’s name and dials the number next to it. Thankfully, Swati hears a ringing tone this time. She hears Siddharth’s voice after a long time, just when she is about to hang up.


“Hi Siddharth, we are all here, outside, waiting for Pavan to let us in. But his phone’s not reachable” Swati explains.

“Oh. Let me come out to get you guys. Pavan is talking to Ramya and Prat right now, so I don’t know if he’ll be able to get out of it. See you in 2 minutes”

“Okay, bye”

Swati and others wait for 5 minutes with no sign of Siddharth. Swati gets frustrated. So much for believing in this guy, is he gonna come today or what?! So irritating! I can’t sit here, doing nothing. Lemme see where this door leads to. Swati sees a door near the backyard where they are all seated, and goes near it. The wooden door is heavy, so she puts in her full strength to push the door. One try, no luck. Second try, no luck. Third time, Swati collects all her strength and tries to push the door, but someone pulls it from the other end at the same time, and Swati loses her balance

“Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh” Swati shouts and lands into Siddharth’s arms. Siddharth blinks at Swati’s face, looking in disbelief of what just happened. Swati tries to compose herself and get up, when Siddharth lets out a wide grin. That irritating smile again! Why does this keep happening all the time!

Siddharth holds on to Swati’s top and makes sure she stays resting on his arms, bent backward, for some more time. Swati glares at him, mostly because of the helplessness and Siddharth snickers again.

“What a gift! Thank you babe, but it is Prat’s birthday we are celebrating, not mine” he looks into her eyes directly. Swati glares at him some more.

“Let go of me”

He finally lets go of her shirt and helps her stand straight.

“What did you find here, Swats?” Swati hears Jayanth’s voice from outside the farmhouse, getting closer

Before Swati can respond, Jayanth reaches the door and sees it for himself. He looks at a flustered Swati and a grinning Siddharth. He eyes Swati questioningly, which seem to ask “Who’s this guy?”

Swati clears her throat, and rushes to Jayanth’s side. He then introduces the two. “Jayanth, Siddharth. Siddharth, Jayanth - my colleague”

They exchange handshakes and pleasantries. “Sooo, your colleague at Prat’s birthday party? Am I missing something here?” Siddharth asks Swati with a mischievous tone, looking skeptical.

“What do you mean?!” Swati shouts at him angrily.

“Chill, chill, Swati! I think Siddharth here is just kidding. And to answer your question Siddharth, I’ve known Ramya and her friends for a long time now. Swati and I are not just colleagues, we are good friends too” Jayanth explains to Siddharth.

“I was just kidding man” Siddharth gives his best boyish smile and Jayanth looks convinced although Swati still glares at him, with murder written in her eyes. Siddharth then invites everyone inside, through the rear door, and takes them up to the 1st floor. They all look around the place in amazement. The extremely spacious hall was nothing short of a huge party hall, with a huge terrace overlooking the garden in the front and another terrace overlooking the garden in the back of the farmhouse. There was also an open kitchen with an island, and a bar unit in the hall. Swati instantly falls in love with the farmhouse. Wow, Rams sure chose the perfect place to celebrate Prat’s birthday! I think the crowd is going to be too less, though, for this big a place. Well, I guess all that matters is Rams’ and Prat’s friends are here and that Prat has a good time on his birthday.

“Listen, I need to get back now, or Prat will start wondering where I am. So, you guys have everything to set up for the party?” Siddharth goes towards Swati and asks her
“Ya, I have everything ready. You can leave now. Get him here at 11”

Siddharth leaves the rest of the friends to decorate the place and keep things ready for the party. At 10 minutes to 11, everyone waits eagerly for Prat to arrive and ready with their places to hide when Prat enters.

Jayanth comes towards Swati. “I’ve been noticing it since this afternoon when you called. You look a little awkward while talking to me. Everything fine, Swati?”

“Uh, ah, ya, of course Jayanth” No it’s not. But how can I tell you that? I don’t want to hurt you but whatever you said to me last week is still reeling in my mind. Maybe it is still there because I am still thinking of the idea of me and you? Am I so selfish?

“No, it isn’t, Swats. And I can see that. Listen, I told you this on Friday itself and I’m telling you again. Please try to get past whatever I told you. I am trying to too, but whenever I see you trying to avoid being closer to me, I remember everything. I really don’t want to lose you as a friend too”

“I know what you are saying, Jayanth. And I don’t want to lose a friend too. You know, I feel this always. We are past that age of making close or best friends. The farthest we can go to is to make acquaintances. I cannot feel that sort of bond with anyone you know?”

“I know the exact feeling! I feel the same way too. When I meet my school or college friends, I connect with them so well, even though we wouldn’t have met for months together. But I never have that sort of comfort with anyone new, any friends that I’ve made over the recent years. Heck, I can’t even call them friends; they are acquaintances mostly, as you rightly put it”
He gets me. He does get me some times. But then, it might not be just him, everyone my age must be feeling the same thing or must be going thru the same thing right? It would not be just him. Why can’t I give him credit for anything?!

“You were right. I was lying, Jayanth. I still feel a little weird talking to you, and that’s why you might feel that I am trying to avoid you. And to continue the truth, it will be like that for a few days. I request you to be patient with me till I shake away that feeling” Swati tells Jayanth earnestly

“I might keep coming and asking you what’s wrong now and then, but don’t mind me” Jayanth tries to bring in a slightly funnier tone into the conversation. Swati smiles and half-hugs him.

I hope I can make myself feel alright with this guy. Otherwise going to office would be such a pain if we aren’t comfortable with each other. Not just that, I really don’t want to not have a friend in office too.

Beep. Beep. Swati hears her cellphone beep to indicate the arrival of a new SMS. She sees it is from Siddharth.

“V r abt to come now. Take positions”

Swati responds with a quick “Ok” and shouts at everyone “Guys! They are about to enter. Take your positions, quickly! And Ravi, switch off the lights, now!”

Thursday, October 1, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 13


The tune of MTV’s Splitsvilla rings loudly next to Swati’s ears. She dismisses the sound and tries to go back to sleep, but the sound repeats in the next 5 seconds, and then yet again. She forces her eyes open, and sees Ramya’s phone ringing, and a happy picture of Prat on the screen.

Before she can decide what to do, Ramya gets up and picks up the call. “Good morning, sweetheart” she says into the phone.

How can she sound so chirpy after a long late night? I could never do that!

Some giggles. And some more. Swati turns towards Ramya and locks her eyebrows angrily. Ramya mouths a silent “Sorry” and gets up and goes out of the room. Swati drifts back to sleep, peacefully.

A couple of hours later, Swati is disturbed by Ramya’s loud giggle, and then she hears voices from the living room. She tries to ignore it for some time but the noise doesn’t subside. She picks her cellphone up lazily from the night stand, and checks the time. Its 12 already! Oh my God! Looks like I had a nice and really looong sleep. Wow, why is my head pounding so badly? This is what I hate the most about hangovers, yuck! And what is this I hear? Who is that with Rams? Ooooh, look, it’s raining! Wowww, Bangalore just looks so beeeaaauutiful when it rains. I could just stay in bed all day. Mmmmm…

Swati finally gets up, freshens up and enters the living room. She sees Ramya seated on the sofa, watching TV, and having a cup of some hot drink; pretty evident from the vapors rising from the mug that was in her hand. As she nears Ramya, she can smell the refreshing aroma of coffee. She sits next to Ramya on the sofa and within the next few seconds lies down, feeling tired.

“Let me get you some coffee, babes. You look cold, let me get your razai for you first and then make your coffee”

“Rams, you are the best, you know that, don’t you?” It does feel nice to be taken care of, though I run away from it all the time.

“Of course I do” Ramya laughs and gets a razai for Swati from her bedroom and wraps it around Swati’s long and slender frame. She then goes into the kitchen, and comes back with a cup of piping hot coffee for Swati.

Swati starts drinking the coffee, when she hears the doorbell ring. She looks up in surprise, as she wasn’t expecting anybody to visit her that day, and her eyes meet Ramya’s. Ramya confidently walks up to the door and opens it, only to reveal a smiling Siddharth’s face at the other side of the door.

Siddharth?!! What is he doing here? Oh my God. Last night. What do I tell him? How do I face him?!

Siddharth enters the house and waves a “hi” to Swati. Swati smiles, meekly.

Ramya starts small talk with Siddharth, and then asks him if he would like to have coffee. When he nods in agreement, she gets up and goes into the kitchen, leaving Swati and Siddharth alone in the living room.

I am soooo going to kill Rams! I am sure she is the one who invited him here. Argh! What do I do now? We are alone, and in my living room. I better say something. Anything will do.

Swati opens her mouth and nothing comes out. She uses it as an excuse to sip in some coffee, and makes a loud slurping sound, making it evident that she is feeling uncomfortable. She tries to have the longest gulp ever, to avoid conversation with Siddharth

“Heavy rains, right?” Siddharth starts the conversation. Finally! Thank God, I don’t know what I would have done next to avoid starting a conversation

“Ya” What the hell? Ya? Is that the only word I can come up with right now? Gosh!

“It’s been raining since 7 AM, you know. I had a tough time getting here; the roads are filled with rain water. I didn’t really remember the route to your place from the other night. It was good that Ramya gave me perfect directions and I didn’t have to call her even once to confirm the address”

“Oh, that’s nice”

“All I can think of right now is to go out and have a, tea and a smoke. Ahhhh, bliss!” Siddharth says with a hugely peaceful smile on his face.

“I would love to have some samosas and yes, some of that tea too! But with that, I would like to remain curled up under my razai, and listen to my favorite songs. Mmmmm” Swati adds with another slurp in her mouth, this time in enjoyment, her eyes twinkling with excitement thinking of her perfect relaxing weekend.

“Why don’t you add a massage to that? That would feel good too, right?”

“Oooh ya, man!”

Siddharth doesn’t say anything after that.

What the hell is taking Rams so long? She was back with my coffee in 2 minutes and now she is taking such a long time with Siddharth’s coffee. “Raaammsss, do you need help with the coffee?” she shouts.

“No, I’m good. I’ll be there in a couple of minutes” Ramya shouts back from the kitchen.

I know Rams is doing this deliberately. Oooh, I am so mad at her right now. Butttt, on second thought, I should probably apologize to this guy for my behavior last night.

“Ah….Siddharth…Listen….about last night….” Swati lets her voice trial off, unsure of how to say sorry

“I will make sure you never hear the end of it” Siddharth says nonchalantly and then starts to smile. The smile widens and turns into laughter. Swati joins in the laughter, unsure of what else to do.

Ramya finally returns with another cup of coffee and hands it to Siddharth, and notices both of them laughing loudly. She asks them the reason but both of them don’t respond. Finally the laughter subsides, and the three of them finish the rest of their coffee in silence.

This guy is not bad. At least not the way I thought he was when I first met him. He seems a little rude, and full of himself, but he is fun to be with. I almost wish I can be as confident of myself as he is.

“I invited Sid here to come and drop me home, Swats. You know, he is the one who dropped me here last night too.” Ramya explains, getting up to get her things to leave with Siddharth

Swati turns and glares at Siddharth. “You told me she gave you directions to my place this morning!” she accuses him, the red color of anger returning to her face.

Siddharth smiles, yet again, that confident and mischievous smile of his, and shrugs his shoulder, not offering any explanation and looking contended to have irritated Swati again.

Just when I was starting to like him a tad bit. Uff, this guy is just too much!

Ramya and Siddharth leave Swati’s house, with a promise to meet the following evening.

“Why tomorrow evening, Rams? Had we planned on anything?” Swati blinks and tries hard to remember.

“Just like I had thought. I told you everything last night, Swats. It’s Prat’s birthday day after tomorrow. On a Monday, how boring, right? But at least we have tomorrow night which is a weekend night and we can party and wish him at 12. But bases, please refrain from drinking tonight, or I’ll have a tough time keeping you and Siddharth away from each other” Ramya teases Swati.

“Oh, Prat’s birthday! Right! I remember talking something about this sometime back. So, where are we going, what’s the plan?”

“Now, I’ll have to repeat whatever I said last night. Every single bit! Ugh!! So, this friend of Sid owns a farmhouse on Kanakapura road. We’re gonna go there on the pretext of a business meeting. I’ve told Prat that Sid’s friend is a big entrepreneur who is looking at us to manage a grand business event for him. So, we will go there, and Sid will join us since it is his friend. At about 11, the rest of you come to the farmhouse and enter through the rear entrance. Sid’s friend will lead you to the first floor without Prat noticing you guys. You go there, decorate the place, and arrange the food and drinks. At 12, under some pretext, and I don’t know what it’s going to be right now, but, we will get Prat to the first floor and then we’ll all yell ‘Surprise!’ I will message you before we enter the first floor, so I will need your help in making sure everyone hides behind something, the lights are off and that everyone knows what to do as soon as we enter. Ok, babes?”

Swati lets out a small whistle after Ramya’s long speech. “Sure, Rams. Will do. So any dress theme for the party? I know you. You would have done something like that, I’m sure”

“Now why do you think we bought those skirts and that too in the same color shade, Swats?” Ramya asks innocently

“Ooooooohhh, yeaaaah! Sooo, the theme is green huh? How will you make sure Prat’s wearing green too?”

“When a guy has a girlfriend, Swats, remember this, he always wants her to select or pick up his clothes. Guys love that, they do” Ramya, the new girlfriend in town, starts her gyan session

“Ok, ok, madam. Anything else?”

“Yaaa…the guy also likes to kiss you all the time…in the weirdest of times, places and situations!”

Swati turns slightly red with embarrassment, having to listen to all this in front of Siddharth. In my defense, I am not used to such talk in front of guys, you know.

“I wasn’t asking about that, DUH, Rams! I was asking are there any other instructions for me or are you done?”

“Hmmmm….I guess that’s it. Of course, I’ll be calling or texting you all the while so you’ll know what’s happening. And don’t forget to wear that bracelet we got together last month, remember that new place that we saw had just opened? It will go great with your skirt!”

“Alright I will. Now, leave. I bet you have a lot of work to do!”

“Not me, Sid here has a lot of work. After he drops me home, he will be getting a long shopping list from me and he needs to keep everything ready for tomorrow Hehe. Meanwhile, I need to go to the parlor and get myself looking all pretty!” she bats her eyelids

Finally Ramya and Siddharth leave and Swati closes the door behind them. As soon as she does that, she hears a knock. I am sure this is Rams again! And she opens the door to a breathless Ramya.

“Babes, forgot to mention. I’d told Jai about this party too. Can you please coordinate with him? I hope it’s not too weird? And also, Avi, Nisha, and a couple of Prat’s friends will be joining us. I’ll SMS you all their numbers. Pleeeeassseee coordinate babes! You are the only one I can count on”

“Relax drama queen! You have a whole day ahead of you to coordinate everything! Why me?”

“Come on, Swats. I am already meeting Prat today and I wouldn’t really have the time. Please, pretty please!”

“Pah, ok, I’ll do it. Send me everyone’s numbers. Jai…Umm…I am not too sure, Rams. But I’ll call him any ways.” Swati adds a confident smile at the end of the sentence to reassure Ramya

This time, Ramya finally leaves, and Swati heads back to the sofa to laze around for some more time. A whole day alone, in this beautiful weather. I don’t think I am getting up from this sofa today at all. This is pure bliss. Ummmm.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 12

Friday, the day of the release arrives, and Jayanth and Swati put their personal matters aside to work together for a successful release. At the end of the day, after everything has been completed and everything seemed to be working smoothly, Jayanth comes to Swati’s desk. Swati’s pulse quickens.

What do I say? What do I say?

“Congrats on the successful release” he says before she can say anything, and extends his hand for a shake

“Thanks, wouldn’t have been possible if we hadn’t worked so hard. So congrats to you too!” Swati says, with a little guard in her tone, and completes the handshake

“Listen, Swats. I needed to say something. I thought a lot about it. I know things won’t remain the same between us after whatever happened yesterday. But I would still like us to pretend that we are friends, because, one, we work together and two, because I don’t want to lose a good friend” Jayanth says everything that he has felt, without beating around the bush

“I agree, Jayanth. I feel the same way too, you know. Thanks for saying this. I am a lot more relieved now” Swati finally smiles in a long time

“Good, I am glad! Wanna grab a drink when we head back from office tonight?”

“I guess. I have no other plans” Swati shrugs her shoulders

“Cool then, I have about an hour’s worth of work. Will finish that and come to get you, okay?”

“Sounds good, I should be done by then too”. Jayanth says bye and lets Swati get back to work.

Almost an hour later, Jayanth comes to Swati’s desk to get her and they go to a pub nearby, very close to their office premises.
2 beers down, and Jayanth starts slurring in his words. Swati too, feels the light headedness a little earlier than expected.

“So, you know, the other day, when I’d called you from home? Everyone was like, totally teasing me. They’ve never heard me talk to a girl before”


What was that? Jayanth sounds drunk. But then, so do I. This is fun, being able to hear him out without any inhibitions because we know everything will be forgotten by morning.

“That was what actually got me to thinking that I should talk to you about my feelings. You know, they’ve all been pestering me to find a girl and get married. And I have been in love with you since forever” More slurring

“I have known that, Jaiiiii…..But tell me the truth, you have known about how I feel too, right?” Alright, let’s get this over with

“I guess so. It would have been so great if this was our story…Namma Story,you know?”

Swati doubles up. Namma story! I had almost forgotten about my fascination with this theory. I think ever since Vishal ended things with me, I haven’t really given it any thought. This is so nostalgic and clichéd  too. Yikes. The one who completes my story is out there and he would be all set to make it our story…namma story! But how and why did Jayanth use the same phrase? I don’t remember telling him about it. Or did I? Whatever. And he might still be the one too. Who knows?

“Ya. You never know, it still might be” Swati says, now almost completely drunk

“Cheers to that” and Jayanth raises his beer mug in the air, to clash with Swati’s beer mug

“Cheers!” shouts Swati in a very loud voice, and the voice sounds louder to her in her own head. Why did I just shout so loudly?! Oh what the heck! It isn’t often I get drunk and do stupid things anyway. And good ol’ Jayanth is with me. So nothing can go wrong. Now, if it had been Siddharth, things would have been different. He would be sulking that he has to take care of me, blah blah. Speaking of who, how irritating can he be huh! God!! I hate him and his happy-go-lucky attitude!!

Swati doesn’t realize that she gets swayed away by the hate feeling so much that she actually types “I hate him” in a message screen and sends it to Ramya.

2 minutes later, Ramya calls Swati.

“What was that about?!”

“What was what about, sweetheart?” Swati says in slurred speech

“You hate whom? The message that you just sent me? Wait a minute! Are you drunk?”

“Hehahahohohoheehe…yet bet I am! And I hate that stupid friend of yours…what was his name again, oh yeah, Siddharth” I know his name but I cannot say it in one shot. Why? Why am I beating around the bush?

“Why don’t you tell him yourself?” Ramya challenges, and there is some silence for a few seconds

And then a voice comes on the phone. “Hey” Who is that? Such a confident voice? I am unable to place it.

“Ah, hi?”

“So I hear you hate me?” That know-it-all attitude again. It cannot be anyone other than Siddharth! Wtf?! What is wrong with Rams!

“Of course, with the type of introduction of yourself you have given me, I don’t have a choice” Swati says in a bitter tone

“Well, why don’t we change that? We can meet again and start over” The stupid guy is smiling on the other end, I am sure. I hate him more. I do, I soooo do!

“No thanks. I would prefer not meeting you ever again” Swati almost shouts again making Jayanth turn in her direction and listen in to the conversation, curious about whom Swati was talking to

“Suits me just fine. Here, talk to Ramya” Siddharth hands over the phone to Ramya

“Why the hell did you do that?! I thought I said I didn’t want to talk to him!” Swati gets mad at Ramya

“Chill babes. He was right next to me, what was I supposed to do? Now, forget about that. Tell me who are you with? Are you alright?”

“Yaa, yaa…Of course I am fine. How can I not be? I am with Jaaaiii and not that stupid idiotic friend of yours”

“And do you know why I am with that stupid idiotic friend of mine now? To collect your stupid earring! And what is this I hear? You and Jaaaiii alone in a pub? What’s up huh?”

“We are here to celebrate the fact that I said no to a proposal from a decent guy” Swati laughs and Jayanth laughs with her

“Huh? What?! What did you just say?! What did he say? I want all the details, Swats! I’ll tell you what; I’ll come to your place tonight after I am done with Sid here. You lemme know when you leave the pub and I’ll meet you at your place. Okay?”

“Sounds like fuuuuun…we’ll have a girlieeee’s night…yaaay” more giggling and laughing

“Babes, I am worried about you! Lemme know as soon as you reach. See ya”

Swati hangs up, and looks at Jayanth staring at her

“What are you lookin’ at?”

“You, getting so worked up! Whom were you talking to anyway? You look so funny and cute”

Swati blushes at the compliment, the blush turns to a smile and smile to laughter. What they say is true, people cannot control their emotions very well when they are drunk, or at least as drunk as I am right now!

The laughter subsides and then she turns angry, remembering Siddharth. She answers Jayanth’s question “Siddharth, Ramya’s friend. Oh, he was at the pub last week, right? You must have seen him”

Jayanth looks like he is pondering over that piece of information for some time before answering, but it is obvious he can’t seem to place anything, not in his present condition anyway. He just sighs and shrugs his shoulder “I don’t think I remember him”

“I am glad. You wouldn’t like him too. I just hate him, Jaaaiiii”

“I can see that! But how can he make him hate you in just a couple of hours? Whatever did the poor guy do?”

“Poor guy? Whose side are you on, anyway? What did he do? Well, he sounded rude, over smart, over confident and he always teases me!” Swati complains like a little kid

“Come on, you can’t hate a person for such silly reasons”

“You don’t know about him, so shut up!” Swati does an imaginary slap in the air, near Jayanth’s face

“Ok, ok, madam. I will stop talking about him. Shall we leave now? I feel like my head’s gonna explode in some time”

“Whoa! Its 12 already. I feel so awesome, I could stay here all night”

“Sadly that isn’t possible. Now, let’s go.”

Jayanth asks for the bill, pays it and they come to the parking lot. Jayanth decides to leave his bike there for the night and orders for a taxi instead. They wait in the cold night for a good 15 minutes before their taxi arrives. By the time the taxi arrives, Swati is almost asleep, resting her head on Jayanth’s shoulder and seated on the sidewalk.

Jayanth slowly nudges her, makes her stand up, still her head on his shoulder, and walks her to the taxi. He first then drops Swati to her place, makes sure she is inside the house, and then continues towards his place in the same taxi.
I need to call Rams. I think that is what she told me. I am so sleepy; will I be able to talk to her? I need to call her any way.

“Hey Rams. I reached home just now” Swati says, her voice totally strained

“I will be reaching your house in like 5 minutes, babe. See ya”

Before Swati can object, Ramya has invited herself and is on her way to Swati’s house. Trust Rams to find ways to encroach into my life! She can never let me be alone! Thank God for her!

As promised, Ramya reaches in the next 5 minutes, and knocks on Swati’s door. A drunken Swati struggles to get to her feet to walk to the door to open it, and after a few attempts, finally manages to get to the door.

“Wow, what happened to you babes?! You look like you’ve had a rough day” Ramya exclaims looking at Swati’s disheveled look, her hair totally out of place, eyes sunk in almost till her skull and dry lips; but she looked so much at peace that it was almost eerie.

“I did have a rough day, but my night was awesome! Jayanth & I went out for drinks, Rams. I think I am heavily drunk, weeehooo”

“I can see that! But you also look quite happy. What’s that about?” Ramya asks her as they both settle down on the sofa in Swati’s living room

“Lots happened, babes. But first I need to get out of this feeling. My head is pounding! And I feel very weak and dehydrated; I feel like I’m gonna puke now. Can you puhleez make me some lime juice?”

“Sure, gimme 5 minutes”

Ramya returns with 2 lime juices and hands one to Swati. After gulping down the whole drink, and then having a full glass of water, Swati starts to feel a little better. Ramya waits patiently till Swati starts talking on her own.

“So…Jai said he likes me” Talking about important things should be like taking off a band aid. So quick that you don’t feel the pain

“What?! When?! How?! Did he get down on one knee? Did he give you flowers? Did he get a ring?”

“Whoa, slow down. Nothing of that sort happened. Come to think of it, I am glad nothing like that happened! Firstly, I wouldn’t have liked it and secondly, it would have hurt him more after I said no”

“You said no?! What?! When?! How?!” Ramya’s eyes almost pop out of her head

“You know na, Rams. I’ve never fallen for him. I just like him you know, as a friend, as a conversationalist. I am not sure I want to spend my life with him or sleep with him. I am not that attracted to him”

“But Swats, he was perfect for you! I mean, of all the people I have known among our friends, he is the one who could put you to rest when you are all worked up, he is the one who you let take care of you, and he is the one who is smitten by you! You would have been so happy with him” Ramya protests

“Rams, I know you won’t get it. My feelings. I am not sure I get them either, but at that moment, I thought no and I said no. That’s it. He did say he would wait for me till my feelings changed, but I told him not to. I mean, it just wouldn’t be fair to him, you know?” Looking at Ramya’s puzzled expression Swati continues “I know you are unable to get this, Rams. It might be because you don’t have parents pestering you to get married. Well, it helps that you are much younger than me! Or it might be because you have Prat with you. And you are happy, so you just want everyone around you to be happy, to be with someone. But I don’t want to get married to the next guy that comes my way, Rams. I need to feel that. I don’t know if I ever will, or what is it that I am looking for in a guy, but believe me, you will be the first to know when that happens!”

Ramya stays quiet for some time before responding. She lets all the sentences sink in, and then she responds “You’re right, I don’t get it! But I am with you whatever you want, babes” and lets out a huge smile.

Swati’s eyes well up, and she hugs Ramya. What the hell did I do that for? What is the strange reason that I have tears in my eyes?! I never have such feelings…well, I do have feelings but I generally don’t emote in front of people. What is wrong with me today? Am I drunk? Am I having the worst hangover ever?

Ramya returns the hug with her full emotions, and doesn’t let go of Swati for a whole 2 minutes. After they retract from the hug, Ramya pulls out something from her purse and hands it to Swati. “Here is your red earring! Sid gave it to me”

Sid? Siddharth! Did I talk to him when I was in the pub? Did I tell him…wait…what did I tell him? What happened there? I remember talking to him, that’s for sure

“Rams, I spoke to Siddharth when I was in the pub, didn’t I?”

“You sure did” Ramya stops there, looking like she doesn’t want to reveal more

“What did I tell him, Rams? I have this feeling that the conversation I had with him wasn’t good. But I can’t seem to place what it was about”

“You just told him that you hate him”

“What? Ouch, that must have sounded bad?”

“If you had said it once, it might have sounded bad. But you told him repeatedly, maybe like 10 times!”

“Whaaaat?!!” Well, I do hate him, but what am I doing, going around telling someone I’ve met only once, that I hate them, and that too, repeatedly?! Have my manners gone on a hike?! Shucks, I shouldn’t have been so drunk

“At first, I thought you were just joking, but when you started saying it so many times, I was wondering what got into you. Oh by the way, when you said you hated him the first time, he turned the loudspeaker on for me to hear the rest of the conversation”

“Oh Goddddd!! What did I do, Rams?! I feel so bad right now. I mean, it’s true. I do hate him, but definitely did not want to tell him that! And not so many times too! What would he have thought of me? Not that I care, but still”

“Of course, you care and that’s why you are worried. Anyways, he is a cool guy. I don’t think he thought much of it really. Or even if he did, he definitely didn’t let it show”

“There isn’t much I can do about it, is there?”

“No, forget about it for now. And listen to how my morning with Prat was” Ramya starts narrating her story, not leaving out even a single piece of detail, with a gleam in her eyes so luminous that Swati gets compelled to listen to the whole story.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 11

Sunday passes by without much activity, except the long phone call from Ramya to Swati.

“I am in loooove, I am in loveeee!”

“Babes, one of these days, I’ll have to get my ears checked. I’m not sure I can hear right, with all the yelling you do!’ Swati complains

“Oh, puhleeeez! I know you will call me drama queen, but you are the drama queen here. Any anyways, I didn’t call you to fight with you. I called to tell you about last niggggghhtt”

“I thought so. Shoot”

And then Ramya starts the story of her date with how Prateek came to her house with flowers, and how they went out to the nicest restaurant in town, and how they held hands over the table, how he ordered the best champagne to celebrate, and how the night ended with a looooong lasting kiss.

“Sounds BORING” Swati almost puts her tongue out in frustration

“I keep asking myself, why am I friends with such a B-I-T-C-H, and I still don’t have the answer” Ramya angry on the other end

“Awwh, come on Rams! I loved the story, every bit of it. But wasn’t it too hmmmm, let me see what word to use here, ah..yes, filmy?! Wasn’t this too filmy to be romantic?”

“But I liked it!” Ramya defends

Ouch, point taken! Why am I bothered? If Rams and Prat like it, then they should have their dates the way they want.

“I am sure babes! And if you both liked it, then nothing like it, right?”

“Yeah” All excitement died down

I am such a loser! If I can’t be happy for someone, the least I can do is let them be happy! Argh!! When will I ever learn to respect others’ feelings?! Now look what I did! Rams was so happy and I punctured all her enthusiasm.

“Hey, I forgot to ask, what kind flowers did he give ya?” Trying to get back some of that lost enthusiasm

“Ummm, roses, why?”

“Wowwww, the red ones?”

“Yesss” At least some of the enthusiasm is back

“Wow that must have felt awesome!” Swati says in her sincerest voice

“It did, it did, Swats!” Finally!

“I can almost see your smile, you know” Swati takes the liberty to tease Ramya again

“Hahaha! Well, I gotta go babes. When are we meeting next?”

“Not anytime this week, I should think. I told you na, I have this big release coming up. That should be over this Friday, and then I will be free for a few days, don’t have anything to work on!”

“Wow! Why don’t you take a vacation then? It’s been so long since you’ve been on one!”

“You know what, Rams? I might just do that! Me thinks I am in a desperate need of a vacation too. Thanks for the suggestion!”

“You know I am always the one with great suggestions. Chalo, me gotta go now. My boyfriend is waiting for me”

“Oooo, alright Rams. Carry on! See ya sometime”

Jayanth doesn’t come to office on Monday and Tuesday next week, and Swati feels his absence more than she can admit, even to herself. She refrains from messaging or calling him, assuming he would be busy with family. The extra work of Jayanth’s team keeps her completely busy, and she doesn’t think much of anything else apart from work.

Wednesday morning, Jayanth calls her to inform that he would be off work for another day and he would return on Thursday

“Oh” Swati responds

“What happened? Are you missing me?” Jayanth asks mischievously

“No, no” Swati says suddenly, a little too quickly

“You know, I’d heard this from someone a long time back. Quicker the assertion, surer is the negation. Know what I mean?”

“Ya ya. But the negation is not true, don’t bet on it Mr. Jayanth”

“Haha. Caught you, Swati! Let’s finish this conversation tomorrow when I’m in office, gotta go now. Okay?”

“Sure thing. And hey, jokes apart, I’m glad you are getting back tomorrow. I’ve been bored to death, with no one to talk to, and yes, tired of doing your part of the work too!”

“Cool down, Swati. I’ll be there tomorrow and you can yell at me directly, alright? Ok, bye for now”

“I’ll be waiting! Bye”

Thursday when Jayanth returns of office, he gets swamped with work, and doesn’t get any time to talk to Swati. At lunch time, she messages him on the office messenger.
[1:09 PM] Swati.Murthy says “Dude, lunch?”
[1:09 PM] Jayanth.Kumar says “Sorry Swati, totally tied up today. Gonna have to skip lunch it looks like. U carry on. I’ll see u in the eve?”
[1:10 PM] Swati.Murthy says “:( come on!”
[1:10 PM] Jayanth.Kumar says “Really really sorry! But I promise I’ll meet you for coffee..@4?”
[1:10 PM] Swati.Murthy says “Alright, okay. See ya later”

Swati locks her machine, and decides to eat at the office cafeteria which was on the terrace. She reaches the terrace and doesn’t see many familiar faces, no one to share lunch with. She takes her lunch and sits alone at a table in the corner, far away from everyone’s eyes

What is wrong with Jayanth?! He was never so busy for me! In fact he used to pester me all the time, let’s go here let’s go there, and now it seems like he hardly has anytime. I agree he had family issues and he is just back today. Come on, Swati. Cut the poor guy some slack. He will be with you before you know it. But why am I suddenly bothered about how he isn’t there for me anymore? Do I actually like him and miss his company? Do I? Oh, that reminds me. He might try to continue and complete whatever he had to say the other day on the phone. What do I say to that, huh?! I am not ready for this. Yes, that’s what I’ll say. “I’m not ready for this”. And I’m sure he’ll understand. He’s a good guy, he always understands. But what about later? What do I tell him then? Hopefully, he won’t wait for long and move on with his life, which will make things much easier for me. How selfish can I be! After all that he has done for me, taking care of me when I needed him, giving me company and making me feel not lonely…but does that mean I need to reciprocate his feelings because of what he has done for me? I feel like Priety Zinta in Dil Chahta hai…Duh! Stop thinking….NOW!

At 4, Jayanth calls Swati instead of messaging her, and tells her to come to the terrace for coffee. Swati takes the stairs slowly, unsure of how to react to whatever Jayanth would say in the next few minutes. Finally she reaches the terrace and sees him making his cup of coffee. She joins him, prepares her own cup of coffee and they make small talk till they sit on a table

“So….” Swati lets her voice trail off

“So. I think someone has been missing me in office” The mischievous tone again

“Ya right!”

Jayanth suddenly places his hand on top of Swati’s, and looks into her eyes directly. Swati feels her cheeks getting redder and hotter by the minute, and she doesn’t return Jayanth’s stare. However, after a few seconds, sensing that Jayanth hasn’t spoken anything, she looks up and finds herself staring at his eyes staring back at her

“Swati, I’ve been meaning to tell you something. I think you know what I’ve been feeling for you since almost the time I met you. I really like you Swati, and I would like to spend the rest of my life with you, taking care of you”

Swati blinks for a few seconds. Gosh, even though I’d expected these words out of Jayanth someday, I had never imagined that the impact could be so huge. And this guy seems to be proposing marriage directly. What do I do now?! He is totally into me, but me? Am I? I don’t know, God, please help me! Put some words in my mouth, anything that will help retain my friendship with Jayanth but will still not make me commit to anything.

“Ah…mmm….well…I really like you too, Jayanth. But I am not sure what I want to do with that feeling for now. I mean, I am not ready to get married, if that is what you are getting at, when you say you want to spend the rest of your life with me”

“Yes, of course. But don’t think that my actual marriage proposal will be so dull. I have plans for that. This is the beginning, to let you know what I feel about you” Jayanth says confidently, undeterred by Swati’s words

“That’s sweet. I wish we can get to that place someday. Maybe someday, Jayanth. But not today. I am sorry” she makes the sorriest face possible

“For some reason, I knew you would say this. But I just didn’t want to regret not telling you about my feelings, so I went ahead and told you anyway. And the someday, whenever that happens, I hope and pray that I am still here with you, for you” Jayanth says, and Swati notices a tinge of sadness in his voice.

Oh God, no no. Please don’t be sad! I cannot see anyone like this. I have always run away from emotions, and I can’t face this now.

“I’m sure you’ll get a great girl soon. And then you wouldn’t have to wait for me and my someday!” Swati tries to bring in a small amount of enthusiasm in her voice.

“I think you’ve been watching a lot of movies. Couldn’t you have come up with a line better than that?” Jayanth’s normal voice begins to set in.

“Come on, dude. What else do you expect me to say?!”

“That you want me to wait for you till eternity and that you would then come running into my arms and then we would live happily ever after!”

“Oh, all that? And THAT isn’t filmy? Come on, you know me!”

“Yes, Swati. I do know you, and that’s why I think we’ll be good for each other you know. We wouldn’t have to spend time in getting to know each other. Imagine spending a few months after getting engaged to someone and then finding out that they are not right for you? This is a much easier option, don’t you think?”

“I agree, Jayanth. But think of it this way too. I don’t want to ruin whatever we have now, by taking this to the next level. I mean, what if we don’t like some aspects of each other when we start a relationship? We would lose our friendship too, you know, and frankly, you are one of my best friends right now. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize that”

“How will you know unless you take the risk, the plunge? How will we know if we are meant to be or not?”

“Look, I realize I don’t have all the answers, Jayanth. But give me some time, okay? Maybe I’ll figure it all out. Maybe my stupid mind will tell me tomorrow that you are not doing the right thing, you have to be with him. Maybe, just maybe. But unless I hear that voice inside me tell me to do it, I would have a hard time doing it”

“I’ll just sit tight and hope for the best then” Jayanth says and gets up and walks away.

Swati stares at him leaving the table, with nothing much left to say really, and remains seated on the chair, not wanting to get back to work.

Did I just blow away a perfectly good friendship and maybe more? Could something have happened between us if I hadn’t responded the way I did now? God, why can’t I trust relationships? I can’t run away from people forever. I need to learn to let people in, let them know me better, let them be a part of my feelings. But when? When will I ever do that? Let’s focus on Jayanth for a while. Whatever is the reason for me to not want him? Remember that little skip of a heartbeat that happened before we left for the pub that night? I mean, he has some real good looks. He is smart, funny, metrosexual…What is holding me back? I cannot let Vishal ruin my life forever. Maybe I just need some time. Maybe I will see me liking Jayanth enough to be with him forever, sometime soon. There really must be something wrong with me!

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 10

When Swati and Ramya meet at Central, they first go grab coffees and some sandwiches for brunch at Café Coffee Day in the mezzanine floor. As expected, Swati gets to hear the story of Ramya’s and Prateek’s kiss once more, and this time with expressions and gestures.

“And then we said goodnight to each other finally, reluctantly, on chat, and slept, Swats” Ramya ends her story

“Uh…huh….” Swati responds, sipping her coffee, with a huge smile on her face. This coffee is awesome. It feels great after last night’s physical stress and alcohol.

“So, Ms. Swati, I am officially dating Prateek!” she shrieks

“That’s great news, Rams. I pity him though. I wonder how long he can endure…YOU!” Swati teases her good friend

Ramya punches her in the arm and looks away, angrily.

After paying the bill, they get up and start their way to the ground floor to look at western wear, when Ramya stops mid-way to take a look at her cellphone that just buzzed. After reading the message, she has a puzzled look on her face, and taps on Swati’s shoulder. Swati turns.

“Babes, did you lose your earring last night?”

“Huh?! Oh yeah! How did you find out?”

“Sid…I mean Siddharth…you know? He messaged me just now that he found an earring on his bike last night and he thought it might be yours. So he asked me to find out from you”

“Oh! He found it! That’s such a relief! I was feeling bad about it”

“Lemme call him and thank him then”
Ramya calls Siddharth and he picks up almost immediately.

“That was a quick response, Ramya. How did you find out so soon that it was Swati’s earring?” he asks her amusedly

“Swati is right here with me, Sid. Here, talk to her” and hands over the phone to Swati. Swati glares at Ramya and mouths “Why?! What do I say?!”

Ramya ignores her and continues to look around the racks for clothes to take to the trial room.

“Ah…hi Siddharth”

“Hey, so you guys are out together huh?”

“Ya, Rams wanted to do some shopping and I accompanied her”

“2 girls on a shopping spree! Am I glad not to be stuck there with you right now!” Siddharth mocks

Where are this guy’s manners! Jayanth would have never said such a thing!

“Ha ha. Very funny”

“Anyways, listen, your earring is with me. I will give it to Ramya when I meet her next so you can take it from her, ok?”

“Ya, sure, that works. Thanks again”

“Again? When did you thank me the first time?” more amusement

Ooooh! I hate his confidence!

“Are you a little loose in the head?” Swati retorts this time

“I guess ever since I met you, I am” leveling answer

“Aaaaaaargh! Ok, ok, thanks for the first time. And thanks again, alright? Happy now?”

“You bet I am!”

Swati could almost imagine the guy grinning from ear to ear during this conversation while she was getting so worked up and turning red in the face

“Good! I am glad! Goodbye then!”

“No goodbyes, only byes. So bye!” Siddharth says and hangs up before Swati can respond to his last comment.

“What happened, babes? Why are you so worked up?!” Ramya asks Swati, looking at her flustered face

“This friend of yours! This Siddharth! Is just so irritating! Make that over confident AND irritating! I hate him, Rams. I do, I hate him!”

“Woah woah! Chill babes, he is not that bad” Ramya says in between giggles.

“Cut it out, ya. You are having fun at my expense!” Swati complains

“I am sorry…it’s just that…God, it’s so funny to see you all worked up! Hahahaha”

“I never want to see that guy again, Rams. I am telling you!”

“Ok, ok, fine! Let’s go and shop now!” Ramya takes Swati’s arm and pulls her into the trial room.

After a hectic day of shopping and spending a good ten thousand rupees on clothes, Swati and Ramya decide to call it a day.

“I need to go back and get ready for my night with Prat” Ramya complains, already tired

“I don’t know how you can do that! All I can think of right now, is to get home, heat a bucket full of water, put in some body salts, and soak my poor tired legs in it forever!”

“Don’t tempt me, Swats. I hardly have any time to even get ready. And look at this traffic! Will we ever reach my place on time?”

“Don’t worry babes. I’ve been driving in Bangalore traffic all my life” Swati assures her and zips past vehicles that aren’t going fast enough for her speed. They reach Ramya’s place in record time, and Swati drops her off and takes her leave immediately though Ramya pesters her to stay back and help her decide what to wear for her date with Prateek.

“Come on, Rams. Wear whatever you feel like!” Swati says, standing near the door of Ramya’s house, wearing her sandals and about to leave

“But I want him to like it, you know! What would he think, that I never thought of what to wear on our first date night and just slipped on something because I felt like it?!”

“Dude! You’ve been going out with him for so many days. Just because he kissed you last night, and now you two are a couple doesn’t mean things need to change! Keep things the way they were! Wear whatever you would have if you both were meeting friends, and go already! Prat would like whatever you wear. He’s just that kinda person”

Ramya seems to ponder over Swati’s speech for a minute, and nods and shakes her head in between, as if going through Swati’s long sentences, word by word. Eventually, she says “Na na. I think he would like it if I put some thought into what I wear tonight. He would want things to be special. And I do too! So, I am going to think hard now!”

Swati sighs, apparently feeling like fighting a lost battle. “Fine, suit yourself. Don’t involve me though! My hot water and the pedicure are calling me. Ta ta!” and she leaves before Ramya can say anything else.

During the drive back home, all Swati can think of is how people change for the ones they love or they are close to. Rams is gone. I can’t get her back anymore! I seriously don’t understand why she needs to think so much about tonight’s date. I mean, it’s not as if she’s meeting Prat for the first time. And even if she was, so what? Why couldn’t she just wear something that she likes instead of worrying about what the hen might like? God, if and when my time comes, please don’t make me do such stupid things. If I have to go down deep into myself and my thoughts, I think I’ll remain the same no matter who comes in my life. And with my luck, I am going to get married to the guy that my parents will choose for me, and I wouldn’t have to worry about these things at all. Speaking of marriage, why should I get married at all? I can easily take care of myself, I earn well, I am happy with myself, I don’t like anyone telling me what to do and how to lead my life, I’ve been independent all along. And kids?! OMG! Why should I add to the ever-increasing population? Did I just say OMG in my thoughts! God, I am addicted to instant messaging! No wonder I don’t have any personal touch in anything I do!

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Namma Story: Episode 9

A bright ray of sunlight falls on Swati’s face and her eyebrows lock into a frown. Mmmmm, why is it so bright. Awwh, did I forget to close those damn drapes again?! Nooooo…why do I forget to do these things? What time is it anyway? She checks the time on her cellphone. 8:23 AM. Too early to wake up on a Saturday. She gets up with a lot of effort, closes the drapes and returns to her bed.


Huh! What happened?! Where am I?! What is that?! Swati wakes up startled. She notices her phone vibrating and screaming at her to pick it up. The screen flashes Ramya’s name with a pretty picture of her.

It is 9:30. What the hell does Rams want this early on a Saturday morning? Swati picks up the phone, irritated

“What Rams? What do you want?!”

“I want to tell you all about last night!” Ramya says excitedly, from the other end

“What happened? And can’t it wait? This is so bloody early in the morning”

“Of course it can’t wait! Why do you think I called you now anyway?”

“Alright, gimme the details”

“We had the most amazing, long, lingering kiss last night, Swats. It was amazing! You know Prat and I left the party together, right? We reached my place, and I sooo wanted to invite him in, but it was so late and I knew Sowmya would be asleep….so…”

“Hey is Sowmya back from her training?” Swati asks Ramya about her sister, Sowmya, who occasionally stayed with her.

“Yeah, yeah. That’s not the point, Swats. Listen to my story na! And so, I couldn’t invite him inside. But there was this unmistakable passion in the air. He walked me to the front door, and then we kept making small talk, each of us unwilling to let the other go”

“And….come to the interesting part, idiot!” Swati shouts, not wanting to know each and every small detail that led to the big thing that Ramya wanted to tell her about

“And then he said something about me looking sexy while I danced last night. And then he stopped for a minute and gazed into my eyes. The stare was so powerful, Swats!” Ramya rambled on in spite of Swati’s warning. “And then he pulled me closer to him, and put his hand around my waist. I think I was blushing because I could feel my cheeks turning really warm. Or on second thought, that could have been the alcohol acting up too”

“Rams, you better get to the story quickly! Or else I am going to hang up!”

“Shee! Where is your sense of romance, Swats? Believe me, whenever you have a similar story to tell me in the future, I would hear the whole thing….and, with a lot of interest! You can at least pretend to be interested in my story” Ramya wails.

“I would never have something like this to tell you, believe me! Uff! Ok ok….I won’t interrupt again, go on”

“So then, his hands tightened around my waist, and he was so close to me, I could hear his heavy breathing and his pounding chest. I think he was as nervous and excited as I was. And then finally, his face came really close to mine. I closed my eyes, and after a moment, our lips touched. The feeling was so awesome, Swats! We started kissing, hungry for each other. Oh I wished it would go on forever. And then, well, then, I could hear Sowmya coughing in her sleep. And that broke the passion” Ramya adds in the end, with a tinge of sadness in her voice

“Oh! But hey, the kiss finally happened!”

“Yup! It was wonderful. And then we were messaging each other for a long time, I think till about 4 AM”

“You were up till 4 AM and you are awake already?” Swati asks her in disbelief

“That’s what happens when you are in loooove” Ramya coos into the phone

“Ugh!” Swati shudders at the thought

“So, listen. I am going shopping today. You know its Prat’s birthday next week, right?”

“Yeah, you’d told me about it” Swati lies, totally unaware of his birthday coming up

“I thought of hitting Central and Garuda malls. You’ll join me, won’t you?”

“Well….” Swati lets her voice trail off before responding. I don’t have anything to do today anyway. What the heck! It’s been a long time I shopped for myself too. This might be a good stress buster.

“Come on Swats! None of my other friends are going to be there, I promise! Just you and me, after a long time”

“Okay. I’ll come! I need to shop for clothes too, anyway”

“Super cool! I’ll get there on my own, but you’ll have to drop me on the way back. Get your car, we’ll need it for the aftermath of our shopping spree..heheheh”

“Okay, done! What time do you want me there?”

“How about 12? I think that should give us enough time to get ready and reach there, what say?”

“Okay! As you say. Meet you at Central at 12?”

“Yup! See you soon then, bye”


Swati looks at the time. I still have a lot of time. Should I have a small nap and then start getting ready? Probably not. Bangalore traffic is never predictable these days! I better get ready and leave soon.

As Swati waits for the water to heat up to take a bath, her phone rings again. This time it’s from her parents.

“Hi putti, hegidiya?” her dad’s pleasant voice at the other end

“I am fine, Appa. How about you and Amma?”

“We are fine too. How is your work? I hope you aren’t stressing yourself too much?”

“No, Appa. I am fine, and work’s fine too”

“Good, good. I saw your email last night. I tried calling you too, but you were busy, I guess? Well, actually, I saw your email and called my friend to tell him that you would like to meet his son. But my friend told me that he found out about his son having a girlfriend in Bangalore that he wanted to marry and so he is unavailable to meet you. Sorry about that, putti”

Well, that makes it easier for me. I can’t believe this. I am off the hook for a few more days!

“Oh. That’s okay, Appa. Tell me, how are things otherwise? How is Ajja?”

After talking to her parents for some more time, Swati finally hangs up, actually feeling good about her conversation with her parents after a really long time. That wasn’t bad. Not bad at all. I should talk to Amma and Appa more often than I do now. Am I turning out to be a really bad daughter? Or maybe I am already one. Not much I can do about it. This is how I have chosen my life to be. I don’t feel emotionally close to anyone anymore. Maybe I have tried to keep everyone away from myself. Even Rams, supposedly my best friend, doesn’t know the real me. Any how would she? It’s not that I open up to her too. Sigh.

After taking a bath, Swati opens her closet to see what to wear for the day. Looking at the cloudy sky outside, she settles on a pair of dark blue jeans, a simple plain black t-shirt and a pullover on top of the t-shirt. The pullover was Jayanth’s gift to her last birthday. Jayanth! Oh my God! I didn’t talk to him at all. I should do that right away. Oh, I am a terrible friend!

Swati dresses up and then dials Jayanth’s number. He picks up after a few rings.

“Hey Swati”

“Hi Jayanth. How are you doing? Everything okay at home?”

“Hmm, ya. Not bad. Most of my family and relatives are still here, and they are going to be here for a couple of more days. So I was occupied. Sorry I couldn’t call you back last night”

“Hey, that’s totally fine, I understand. Is there anything I can help you with?”

“Thanks for asking. There’s nothing really. Well, there is one thing. I might be taking off from office for a couple of days next week. Please manage my guys, won’t you?”

“Sure, dude, anything”


“Well, okay then. I am off to meet Ramya. We’re going shopping. So, I’ll see you sometime later?”

“Ya. You enjoy” A couple of seconds of silence. “Swati, the thing I wanted to say?”
Swati feels a lump form in her throat. I am not ready for this. Not now. Still, I need to respond to whatever he’s saying.

“Ah, yeah, yes?”

“I really li.. I…I….let’s talk when we meet. I have a full family here, staring at me” he whispers at the end of the sentence

Thank God! Missed it by a couple of letters.

“Sure, talk to you later then, bye” and Swati hangs up hurriedly

I really need to think about Jayanth and what I feel about him. I can’t keep going on like this, scared of what he might say every second. I need to ask myself, do I like him or not? Do I see a future with him? Why am I scared of him liking me?

Swati pushes these thoughts aside, and leaves her house, to go meet Ramya, and have a great shopping outing after a long time.