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Click on the below links to read my previous stories..

Bus#126W       My Family and I       Games we play       All Roads Lead Home       As Good As It Gets       Whodunit?      

The Reunion       A Dog's World      My Sister's Daughter

Sunday, July 11, 2010

As Good As It Gets - 8 - The Second Chance

I turned around dejected and made my way home. I had never felt more foolish and unimportant in my whole life. I started getting calls at night from the girls asking me how the date. I didn’t answer anyone’s call. I locked myself in my room and cried myself to sleep. I couldn’t believe Aditya could be so cruel and mean.

The next day, I didn’t want to go to college. I felt humiliated and angry. What was I to tell my friends? That I got stood up?
My mum didn’t believe me when I feigned illness and wanted to stay at home. She probably thought I wanted to skip a test or something.

I held my head high and walked into class that day, refusing to meet anyone’s eye. I settled down in my place and kept my eyes on my books. Ann came in immediately after me.
“Heyyyy.. You never replied to my message!” She placed her bag next to me. “So, tell me all about it!” She looked at me excitedly.
“He didn’t show up.” I smiled bravely.
“You’re kidding me right?” She put an arm around my shoulder. I shrugged it off. I didn’t need any sympathy. Especially while we were in class. Later, in private, my tears would be shed, where they didn’t become a spectacle for everyone to comment on.
“Who does he think he is!” Ann glared at Aditya’s friends. “Where the hell is he?” Aditya wasn’t in class. Probably didn’t have the guts to face me.
Sure enough, there was no sign of him throughout the day. I made my way over to the lab. Vikram followed at close distance.
“You don’t have to do this Vikram,” I rolled my eyes at him. “I’m perfectly fine.”
Just as I said that, I turned around a corner and walked straight into Aditya. Vikram stepped in beside me and glared at Aditya.
Aditya smiled awkwardly at me, his eyes moving warily from my face to Vikram’s.
“I’m so sorry about yesterday Anagha.” He apologized.

Some people stopped in their tracks. They could sense the friction between Aditya and me.
“It’s no big deal.” I said curtly. I wasn’t one to create a scene. 

I walked away, aware of the crowd staring at me. I was glad to have Vikram around.
“Bunk lab today?” He said with a sympathetic smile on his face.
“Don’t do that.” I snapped.
“Do what?” Vikram looked confused.
“Smile at me like that. I don’t need your pity. And why should I bunk lab? He’s the one who should be running away, not me.”
“Hey, hey hey..” He put up his hands defensively. “I just thought you might want to watch this movie. It features Rahul Bose.” He winked at me, he knew I adored Rahul Bose. I laughed despite myself.
“Anagha,” Aditya had followed us out of the lab.
Vikram stood in front of me protectively. I smiled at his little gesture. I touched his arm gently.
“That’s okay Vikram.”
“You sure?” He asked.
 I almost laughed. What was he going to do? Fight Aditya?
“Yes, I’m sure.” 
Vikram shrugged and walked away.

“What’s up with him??” Aditya pointed at Vikram. I felt my temper rise.
“What do you want Aditya?”
“I wanted to say I’m sorry, something came up. I tried to call you, but I think I have the wrong number.”
I looked at him warily. It was plausible right? I mean, I had deleted his number. It was possible that he had the wrong number.
I smiled hesitantly, I wasn’t sure whether I was ready to forgive him. He saw me smiling and suddenly his face relaxed into a grin.
“I knew you’d understand. So we’ll meet today? I swear, I’ll be on time.”
I looked into his eyes and saw sincerity and I nodded. “Ok.. But its your last chance ok?” I was being serious, but I guess he thought I was kidding. 

He laughed. “Yes, I’ll be on my best behavior.” He looked beyond me and nodded, “Now run along, your friend is waiting.”
I turned around to see Vikram standing at a distance shaking his head negatively. I ignored him. I could give Aditya a second chance without Vikram’s permission.

As Good As It Gets - 7 - The Birthday Present

 stared at the lock. Was this a joke? I looked around, I could see no sign that anyone had come there today. I tunred away a little disturbed. Why had he lied to me? I pulled out my phone and then stopped. Confront him now? Or face to face? I put my phone back. I didn’t have the guts to hear his justifications. I wondered  where he was.
I stopped at the entrance of the building and asked the guard about my husband.
“Woh.. Sahib toh kissi madam ke saath nikal gaye.”
Be calm, I told myself. It didn’t mean anything. Maybe his client was a woman. Yeah, that was it. He wouldn’t cheat on me. Would he?

I went back home, lost in my thoughts. I waited for my husband to call me, but he didn’t. I dressed for the evening. I was supposed to look happy, being the birthday girl and all. I was supposed to have him by my side, but I wasn’t going to. I sighed deeply as I got ready. Nothing was going according to plan. Not my life, not my career, not my marriage not even my birthday.

The doorbell rang as I was slipping on my pumps. I carefully put my foot in when the doorbell rang again. I cursed under my breath and limped my way over to the door with one pump on my hand. I swung the door open angrily.
“Why do you have to ring the bell so many..” I stopped as I saw who was outside.
“Hey..” Anurag stood at my door with an amused look on his face. “Is this how you answer the door every time?”
I followed his gaze to the shoe I held in my hand.
“No..” I laughed. “This is just for people like you who don’t have the patience to wait.”
He pulled out the shoe from my hand and walked inside. I followed awkwardly. He didn’t even try to control his laughter as I struggled to walk with one pump on.
“Ha Ha!” I said sarcastically, “You’ve hand your laugh, now can I have my shoe back?”
I settled down on the couch and put out my hand expectantly. He tossed the shoe at me and settled down opposite me.
“So what brings you here?” I asked, struggling to put my foot in through the shoe.
“I forgot something.” He said watching me stamp the floor trying to put the shoe on. “Are you sure that’s your size?” He asked.
“Of course it is, see the other one fit.” I turned the other ankle.
“Gently Anagha, gently.” He smiled, shook his head and got down one knee near the couch.

I was so taken aback by his gesture, I froze for a moment.
“And this is how you do it.” He held out the shoe for me and gently slipped my foot in, holding it by the heel.
“Thanks,” Awkwardly I moved my legs away from him.
“So,” He got up, all businesslike again, “The reason I am here, is because I have something for you.”
“You do?” I was genuinely surprised. Through out the time that I had known him, we had never got a gift for each other. “What’d you get?” I asked, suddenly excited.
He laughed “You remember that song that you used to keep humming all the time?”
“I hum all the time, which one are you talking about?” He got me a CD??
“You know, that billionaire one..” Now I remembered, when we were starting out, I had become addicted to this song whose lyrics made a whole lot of sense to me.
I wanna be a billionaire so fricking bad
Buy all of the things I never had
Uh, I wanna be on the cover of Forbes magazine
Smiling next to Oprah and the Queen

Oh every time I close my eyes
I see my name in shining lights
A different city every night oh
I swear the world better prepare
For when I’m a billionaire
“What about it?” I was totally confused, it was an old song, I hadn’t heard it for ages.
“Well, I can’t make you a billionaire,” He inched a little closer. “I can’t buy you all the things you want, I can’t get you on the cover of Forbes magazine and I can’t take you to a different city every night but..” He pulled out a small box. “I can do one thing.”
I took the little box from his hand and opened it.
It was my name in lights.