Monday, July 7

I wish she had just cheated on me!

It was late. The clock on my wall showed 11.00. I am not really a clock person, I don't keep time and I do cool things like that. But this clock was special, this was a gift from Ish, after our third official date. 'Because you're never on time, take this.' She gave me the clock she had in her room.

It was late and she hadn't called yet. She had gone to this night-club tonight to celebrate one of her friend's birthday. I was invited. I didn't want to go. Lots of homework to do. And last night I and Ish had gotten into this huge fight and she said I was stupid and she wanted nothing to do with me. I decided to ignore her for some time. I had to call home as well. My mom freaks out if I don't talk to her every once in a while. That is really sweet to be honest to have someone care for you without any pretense, but it also annoys me sometimes. It had been a week since I last spoke with her, the week that unfortunate incident happened. Ish had come over to my flat and was staying the night. Mom overheard her on the phone. Things got awkward because Mom didn't really anticipate a girl in my apartment singing love songs to me while making moaning sounds. I don't know. I sometimes fear she’s on the train already, to surprise me. I’d call her tonight to check up on that. About Ish’s staying in my apartment, before you start judging me, we have this ritual. When we'd argue, more often than not Ish would lose control and start with her fuck you’s and what an insecure little bitch I was. She’d tell me she was wasting her time with me. This all didn’t really feel nice and to be honest it hurt a lot in the beginning. But as I began to understand her a little better, I realised she never meant all those things. She said them to have the upper hand in our fights. Also, after having her share of regret of saying those hurtful things, she'd come over to my place to stay the night. All forgiven in the morning, justifiably so. I was willing to let fights go, if I kept on getting some action. A healthy bargain never hurt anybody. I’d not deny if you asked me whether I provoked her at times to say those mean things. And because Ish lost control over what she spoke last night as well, I was waiting for her to come over.



Half an hour had passed with me fighting with myself not to call her. The clock showed 11.30. She should have been back by this time. I decided to call her. There was no dial tone. I didn't understand Marathi, but it surely said something about unreachable. Maybe she was still inside the club. I concentrated on my work.

It was 12 o'clock now and I was getting restless. She should have at least dropped me a message. This is not fair. I tried calling her again but the phone was switched off.

It's time I should describe Ish to you. I met her few years ago at this book shop. She was with her boyfriend, persuading him to read a book. He ignored and said ‘you keep your boring books, I’ll stick to my bikes and cars’. After that brief encounter I also caught glimpse of her on the streets once. This time I couraged up and we talked, a lot was about books. She seemed intelligent and we had an instant connection. Her philosophy about life fascinated me. She was modern alright, but she also had this uncompromising faith in God. She had broken up with this jerk then. Some Jimmy or something. Ish also has a voluptuous figure. She is petite. She has these curves, you know, the curves teenage dreams are made of. She is just two inch shorter than me. 5'7. She is absolutely stunning. Her hair reaches till the mid of her back and they sway in whichever direction she tilts. Her eyes are shaped like almonds. Deep brown eyes. Always telling stories. I sometimes get lost in them. You should see her when she's in ethnic. My God, does she look like a goddess. But the thing with her is, she knows this. She knows what an absolute twat I am for her and how mercilessly she uses this to her advantage. And you’d not argue with her, you’d never argue. She kills you. She’s so mean when she wants to be. She’s also a bit weird with her opinions about god and ghosts, like she’d wake up in the middle of the night and tell me she’s sensing some paranormal energy around. I was an atheist, but it scared the pants out of me. But, hey our wedding photos would look so epic.

Anyway, I tried calling her again, but the phone was still switched off. I can't concentrate on anything. I should probably go and visit her flat. Maybe she came home drunk and slept right away. Maybe because of alcohol she forgot about the ritual. But there is a slight problem in this plan, her watchman isn’t really fond of me and I was in no mood of climbing all my way up to her flat.

I will just try get some sleep. We will see tomorrow what happens. She's really irresponsible. Plus, her ex boyfriend was there in that party, the giant asshole Jimmy. He has tried getting back with Ish since stone age and he's made a lot of efforts to make it known. If I was refused this many times by a girl, I'd just adorn saffron and go celibate. But he, he was this adamant self-acclaimed git who thought tattoos in the back and riding fast bikes were the coolest things ever and he out of selfish disdain towards honest people’s relationship would still try on my girlfriend. Maybe something clicked between them today. Who knows.

This is stupid. I should just sleep. But Ruckus has been under the weather since two days. He's not well and Ish was supposed to take him to a vet today but we fought. He had been acting up again. He was sleeping fine an hour earlier. He’s whimpering now. What the fuck. All of these things together. Plus Ish’s jabs at this paranormal energy. Scaring.  
It's 1 now. My eyes are heavy. I think I sobbed a little picturing Ish and Jimmy together doing things I had exclusive rights to do. I pictured Ish enjoying everything, the flirtatious glances and further encouraging him. Bad nightmare, I think. I looked at my phone, there was nothing. No sign. No one has called me. None of her friends, bloody a group orgy or what. I am sitting here like stupid. I am so breaking up tomorrow.

My table shakes with a wide thud, phone's vibration. Ish. Finally. Thank God. Why is the phone not ringing. Bloody, all the problems together.

'Hey!' she says.
Okay. I am not breaking up. I feel guilty even thinking about it. Shit.
'Hey!' I say. Only if Ruckus could stop whimpering now. I hush him away and go to the other room. He can manage a little cough and cold on his own.
'What are you doing, Vineet?' her voice is calm and casual. I’d not expect this from a person who should be drunk out of her mind right now.
'Umm, sleeping. Your call woke me up!'
'You weren't waiting for me?' I could imagine her frowning on the other side. Her voice was so distant and cold and lovely all of a sudden.
'I wasn't. I have things to do.'
'Okay. Cool.'
There was no sound for some time. Just an eerie unnatural silence.
'I'm sorry. I was waiting. I called you, your phone was switched off!'
'I know. My phone.’
There was that silence again. She was not herself today. But it was just alcohol I guess.
‘Where are others? What are they doing? Did you have fun?'
'They are all sleeping. They are comfortable Vineet. I am comfortable. We were driving a few minutes ago and now we are all sleeping.'
'Hahahaha, alcohol does that you know?'
'I know. I didn't drink much though. Jimmy did. And he was flirting with me again.'
'Hmm'
'Nothing happened but. He touched me and kissed me on the cheeks but just that.'
'What?'
'Nothing man, it's not big deal.'
'What did he do?'
'He was a little tipsy and I was a little tipsy. He just... I don't know'
'I will kill that motherfucker!'
'Chill Vineet, no need to do anything. It's not like it wasn't entirely his fault. I maybe lead him on. I was so wasted Vineet. We were so wasted. I don’t even know where half of my clothes are.’
‘What?’ It dawned upon me and it was worse than anything else. This feeling of being lied to, this feeling of being cheated upon. I cursed myself in my breath and I hated myself in those moments.
'What did you just say?'
'Nothing, Vineet. I am yours till I die and maybe beyond. Okay?'
'Not okay! Bye!'

I cut the call out of frustration. I knew Ish was a little too wide minded and she'd not consider this cheating, but I surely did. This was wrong. I was not going to forgive this. I had a rage built inside me. I couldn't control it. I had to vent it out. I called Ish. Strangely, the number was switched off again. I kept the phone on the table regretting the way I hung up on her and prayed she'd call me somehow. I went to have a check on Ruckus. He was sleeping. I heard the table thud in the other room. It was so loud it woke Ruckus up again and he started barking loudly, whimpering, wagging his tail  like crazy. This dog needs a doctor. He was old as well, maybe he was having some nightmares of his own or had started feeling paranormal energies around the house like Ish. I chuckled.

'Hey!' she was more distant now. Her voice sounded like she was in a different world altogether, with waves around her. It was serene and a little eerie.
'Hey! What is that sound in the background? Where are you?'
'Oh! So my dear boyfriend is spying on me now.'
'No. You just sound so different'
'I’m different'
‘Yeah, I know, alcohol makes you poetic and all. It's okay. Hey! I am sorry for hanging up on you.’
'No that's okay. Jimmy's an asshole Vineet. I would never choose him over my sweet love.'
I smiled a little but it made me sad as well, she even considered that option.
'But you know Vineet, sometimes we can't make all the choices we want to make. Like I want to be with you right now, I want to be, I really do.' I could hear her sobbing lightly on the phone. 'But look at my luck Vineet, I am here, stuck in this dead stinky hole with Jimmy. I just want to be with you.'
'Tonight is not one of those times, Ish. I will pick you up, tell me where you are.'
'Oh! That you'll have to do, since I have no other relative in this town. You'd have to see me in this bad shape. Arrghh, I wish you didn't have to. I was so drunk.’
‘So, where do I come?'
'Not now silly boy, sometime later. You'll be told.'
'Okay, Princess.'
There was that profound silence again. She spoke after a little while.
‘Vineet, will you sing for me? Your favorite song! I like how your voice fills up my whole body and for those moment, this new reality seems so much less painful. Let’s sing together.’

Sing me to sleep...Sing me to sleep...I’m tired and I want to go to bed...

'Jimmy is an asshole, Vineet. I am so sorry.' She started sobbing again. I knew she was hiding something terrible that happened tonight. They perhaps had got drunk and that led to other things. And I knew it was going to end us. I couldn't hold myself together anymore.
'You shouldn’t have gone.'
‘Why didn’t you stop me Vineet, why did you let me go? I was your girlfriend, you had exclusive rights to stop me. Why didn’t you stop me from hurting us like this?’

Her voice killed me. Her voice, I had never seen her like this, we have had fights in the past over many things but she had never sounded so regretful. I felt sick that she spent her night with Jimmy. But the thought of ending things with her was more terrible than this. Maybe Jimmy and she did something, but it's okay. It happens. I don't know. All I know is she is here and I’m here and in this moment, I love her.

Ruckus had started off again. His body was trembling in this hot night, he came to my bed and with him carried a photo of Ish and me. I took it from him. Maybe he understood. Maybe I should give it a try.

There was a silence on the phone. Stern silence. The sounds of wave had vanished, and there was numbness in the line. I thought it had dropped.

'Ish, you there?'
'I am sorry vineet, I am sorry. I should have not gone to that party without you.'
‘No it’s okay. We can sort it out. I promise we can go through this.’
‘There's nothing to sort out now.’ She sobbed a little. ‘I have to go now Vineet.’

Sing me to sleep...Sing me to sleep...I’m tired and I want to go to bed...
don’t try to wake me, in the morning, because I’ll be gone..

‘No, talk to me. I want to talk to you’

The whole atmosphere had suddenly changed around me. I felt a sudden chill as cold wind seeped through the windows and caressed me. I felt like something terrible was happening.   

‘I really have to go, there's no time. you'll come see me tomorrow, no?’
‘Yes. I will. First thing in the morning. But can’t you stay for some more time’.
Something told me that by the time sun rose up in its glory, my moon would stop shining. There was something going on here, that I couldn’t understand. The end didn’t feel right to me. There were thousand ways I could tell her to stay, but I couldn’t speak. I was too overwhelmed.  
‘Vineet I feel like the wind has been sucked out of me, I can’t speak for much longer. I don't want to go, Vineet.’ I could hear her crying softly into the phone. If she didn’t want it, I didn’t want it, then why did it have to be?
‘Hey! I am with you. Stay. Don't go, please.’
‘But I can't stay anymore. You'll come see me tomorrow, Vineet? I am in a bad shape Vineet. But you'll come tomorrow no?’ Her sobbing turned into weeping. My strong girl was crying on the phone and yet there was such serenity and purity in it all. She kept sobbing for an entire minute.
‘It is cold here, Vineet. I don’t want to go. I am scared Vineet. This is so dark. Tell them not to take me. Vineet. Stop them.’
‘What is going on love? Where are you? Who are taking you? Tell me.’
‘These doctors. Can't you hear the sound, Vineet.’

And as soon as she said this, loud siren of an ambulance blasted into my ear. The sound was not there a moment ago. Ruckus started whimpering like wolf and shook his tail vigorously. He jumped on the bed and for a moment I thought he was going to attack me. He sat down beside me and his whimpering slowed down. He put down the photo on the bed, torn apart now into thousand pieces.

I couldn't believe what was happening.

‘Ish’
‘Ish’
‘Ish’

There was no sound from the other side, only defying and deadly silence. I cut the call. I called back on Ish's number. The phone was switched off.
And suddenly it hit me, like the cold wind.

Jimmy is an asshole. We were driving some time back and now, we are lying comfortably. You will come see me tomorrow. I have no relative in town. I am in a bad shape. It is cold and dark. Jimmy is an asshole. He loves cars. He loves speed. I love books. I am in a bad shape. We were driving. I am lying. I am cold. I don't want to go. jimmy, asshole, driving, signs, cold, lying comfortably, taking me away, ambulance, silence.

I called on the number again. And just as I guessed it was switched off. I checked my call log for the last two hours. Except for the few calls I made to Ish's number, there was nothing.

The End


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Photograph by: Gaurav |In Picture: Naif Karim (Bhai, Gaurav ne jhute waade kiye hai!)

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