Thursday, 24 August 2017

PART 1: Trace Your Dreams



I freshened up and went into kitchen..."mom, coffee!!"...mom shot a glare which i decoded as 'do it yourself'...okayyy, i'll try to make it...i said "try" bcoz cooking is one aspect of life i am weak at...infact very weak...not even tea/coffee...very bad, i know...my logic - i will learn when i really need to cook


i took out the bowl and poured water into it...kept it on stove and started searching for a way to turn it on...mom silently took the bowl n emptied almost 2/3rds of it and placed it back on the stove...i bit my tongue..with the realisation of my utter wrong estimate of water needed for just one cup of coffee...hmmm...my mom and her futile attempts to teach me cooking, by hook or crook...why doesnt she give up?...she will, eventually...want to know how? watch this!!

"where is the lighter?"..she passed it to me..."how much milk?" i asked..."1/2 cup"..."where's coffee powder?"...she pointed to the second shelf...i took a long route around her and took it..."how many spoons?"..."one"..."big or small?"..."GET OUT!! i'll bring the coffee!!"...BINGO!!! it worked!! i just knew it!!...who wouldnt get irritated if the same set of questions are asked everytime...haha...mom narrowed her eyes and smiled looking at my triumphant face...job done!!

i went out n sat on the couch beside my dad who was watching news....NEWS!!....the whole week i read, write, eat, drink and breathe news...not on weekend too!!...i frowned.."dad, change the channel na"...dad gave a naughty smile...i know wat it means...he is in a mood to irritate me...time for role-reversal...i m in the role my mom was playing a minute ago...grrrr...

"dad please!!"...nope, appeal didnt work...a threat will..."i m going" i said getting up..."ok ok, watch watever u want" dad gave the remote control...i won!!...i flipped to a music channel...

sipping my coffee i told them "i m going to meet muskaan"..."muskaan?? who's she?" dad asked..."my school friend"...dad nodded..."i dont remember her, how does she look?" mom asked..."she used to be slim, fair with curly brown hair, donno how she looks now...lost touch since many years"...."you must have seen her in dream, right?" mom said looking at me confidently...she knows me so well...i gave a sheepish smile..."will u be back by lunch time?"..."most probably..will call u if its otherwise"...

i switched on the computer and checked my mails and messengers...offline message from atul..."will call tonight, inform mom dad"...okayy, then i can tell anji about muskaan also...'anji' stands for 'anjali'....yeah, the same anjali who is my school friend...well, she was a friend but she is my bhabhi now...she and my brother atul got married 6 months ago...they both can be used as a very good example to explain the idiom "chalk and cheese"...totally different...anji is the loud boastful type and atul is the calm reserved type...after our school, anji joined college as his junior and being the hot-headed girl she is, used to jump into fights with everyone possible in the campus...becoz she is my friend, atul used to bail her out everytime with the help of his friends...amidst all those fights and settlements, the trouble-maker and the peace-maker fell in love...a typical case of opposites attract...they r working in UK now...

i passed on atul's message about the call to mom...

i took a shower and came out to make what i call the toughest decision of the day...not just today, everyday...and that is "what to wear?"... well, i look good in everything... i wont go into a detailed description about my figure and features but many people say i am pretty...which even i think i am...anyways, i m just going to meet muskaan, what big deal, anything will do...with this deciding factor, i took jeans and a blue kurta and wore them...

I wrapped my hair in the scarf, wore my helmet and drove off on my honda activa towards my school...i swam through the traffic and reached there after approximately 20mins...

its nice to be here after so many days...many things changed...the bakery, those small shops which sell different candies, the book stall, ice cream parlour, the cafe ...some are renovated...some look the same...

looking at cycle repairing shop infront of the school, i am remembering an incident...one day, anji n nikita...oh right, her name is nikita...who her? the girl i told u about today morning yaar...anji's rival and muskaan's friend...yeah, she is nikita...once she and anji had a fight here...by fight i mean real fight... in 8th standard i think...nikita's cycle was punctured and anjali had to get the handle straightened...they were fighting on whose cycle should be repaired first...the repairer left them to decide...wat started as an arguement turned into fight and we had to actually pull them away from each other to stop their hitting session...and in the end, anji kicked nikita's cycle hard making it fall and pedalled away on her cycle whose handle was still crooked and was inclining to the left..gosh!! anji was such a rowdy!!

i still remember nikita's fuming big eyes when she looked at anji and then at us who were in splits by then...i wonder how would they both react if they met now...i guess they would be happy to see each other...may be even laugh at themselves for those foolish fights...howmuch ever we hate people in those days, we end up loving all of them after the school is over...i smiled, feeling nostalgic...

i wonder what nikita must be doing now...will ask muskaan...Oh muskaan, i am here to meet her right...pchch!! i drifted away again, you guys better get used to it now,...i m not sorry this time, hehe...feels good to remember those happy-go-lucky days, carefree and cheerful...

now, back to Mission: Meet Muskaan, M3 for short...i need to search for her house...from here, straight and 2nd left, thats wat i remember...lets see...i entered the street and driving slowly i stopped at a house...i think this is the one...i parked my bike outside the gate and went in...

the door is open...an old man is sitting in the chair reading newspaper...i knocked the door to get his attention...he came towards me..i never met her parents...so, i asked hesitantly "is this muskaan's house?"...his face suddenly turned straight...a woman came from inside..he told her "she came for muskaan"...now she also turned serious..and probably sad also...huh?!! whats going on here? is this her house or not in the first place?...they r not saying anything, so i spoke "i am riddhima, me n muskaan were friends in school, i wanted to meet her"...the lady gave a painful smile and said "please come in"...okayy, so i am in the right house...

i went in n sat on the sofa...after drinking some water, i asked "where is muskaan?"...with tears in her eyes, she said "she is not here anymore"...wat does that mean now? and why is this lady so sad? something happened to muskaan or what? my dream is flashing in my eyes...she was crying and then the red colored water...was that an indication of a bad news? was she sick or met with accident or is she just not here?...i am an impatient soul...plz someone speak up...this silence is torturous...i carefully framed a positive sentence out of all the negative thoughts bombarding in my head and asked "u mean she doesnt stay here now?"..."she left us and this house and went away for a guy" the man said angrily...UHH!! thats it na...O God! these people scared me..."oh ok" i smiled in relief...so, muskaan is alive...good...i should get over this stupid habit of jumping into conclusions...but y r they looking at me angrily...oh shit!! now i realise, they were telling something serious, they were sad and i was smiling, infact i am still smiling...i quickly chopped the smile off my face...wat to do now? shall i ask them her phone number? no, i better leave now...will try to get her details from my classmates...i quickly got up and said "ok...thank you"...i came out of the house...

shit!! they must be so annoyed...she went against their wish, they must be so hurt and i rekindled their emotions...this parents-children conflict about love na...bollywood's most exploited theme...hmmm...but wat can we say to lovers...muskaan was a nice girl, she probably couldnt imagine her life without that guy...thats y she might have left...

as i approached the gate, i saw someone walking in...did i see her somewhere? she is also looking at me with the same confusion...we both slowed down..."u are?" she said slowly..."i m ridhima, muskaan's friend"..."oh right! u remember me? i m sapna, her sister"..."oh yes, how r u?"...she was our senior in school..."i m fine"...after a few seconds of silence she spoke "did anyone tell u abt her? she went away one month ago"..i nodded...i think i can ask her, siblings are a better choice than parents "do u have her phone number?"... "ya, but i think she's not using it anymore" i dialled the number as she told..."switched off" i shrugged...."she called me a week ago n asked me to come n meet her in shanti apartments, u know the new one near tv tower...she said she and her husband are staying there...she told flat 403 but it was locked when i went there...my dad was angry that i went to meet her, so i dint check again"...."oh ok, its been a long time, i just wanted to meet her" i said disappointedly..."if u contact her, can you tell her to call me?"..."ya sure" she said...i gave her my number and bid bye...

hmmmm....M3 unaccomplished...i generally dont leave any task half way...but there are bound to be exceptions na...this is one such case, i tried atleast...i sighed and started driving back to my home...

on my way...waiting for the traffic signal to turn green, an idea hit me...she said shanti apartments right? its near this place i m in right now...may be i can just check at the address she told...yes yes, i can do that!!...brilliant idea!! i m so intelligent!! with new roll of enthusiasm, i drove towards tv tower...

shanti apartments: i parked the bike in the basement...pressed 4 in the lift...u must be thinking i am crazy!! trying to track down muskaan with all the clues i have, just because i saw her in some weird dream...but i genuinely want to meet muskaan, she will be definitely surprised to see me...wow!! this is so exciting!!...i am feeling like a detective.. with james bond music playing in my head, i came out n walked towards flat 403...

door closed...no name plate...i hit the door bell...no sound...its either not installed or not working...i knocked the door...no response...is anyone in or not?!! hmmm, may be i should ask neighbours...i turned to leave, its then i saw a window...not open but not closed too..u know the ones which r drawn close but not clasped from inside...on an impulse, i opened it..."is anybody in?" i said in high volume...i waited for response...and peeped inside...

tucking my hair behind the left ear i noticed that someone is standing beside me...around 3feet away...i cringed...Oh no!! one more entry into the list of 'embarrassing moments of my life'...in my peripheral vision, i can see the person still standing there...shit!! wat day man!! i cant escape now, lets just face it!!

i braced myself and turned...to see...a guy...incredibly handsome...sharp features...hands crossed against his chest...his grey eyes quickly scanned me from head to toe and came back to my eyes...staring into them...and i stared back...one more crazy habit of mine, when someone stares at me, i stare at them...wat started in my teen years as a way to retaliate those uncomfortable gazes guys pass, soon became a habit...bcoz they wouldnt hold on my angry stare for a long time and would leave...like those 'who blinks first' kind of unspoken bets...my friends used to warn me that this staring sessions may lead to romantic feelings...i used to trash their warnings...'rubbish!!' was my word...but...now...i think...for the first time in my life...i kinda agree with them...bcoz...this guy standing infront of me...is arousing some strange feelings inside me...like a winamp player in shuffle mode, james bond music stopped and some romantic music started playing in my head...my knees are going weak..some weird sensation is filling my stomach...heart is beating fast....wats happening to me?!!... someone tell me wats going on here....its not that i've never seen a handsome guy...infact i saw filmstars, models, celebrities walking into my office and passing by my cubicle...for interviews or events at our channel...but this guy is different...no wait, actually its the way he is looking at me...his gaze is intense, infact more intense than anyone's i've ever seen...phew!! i cant bear it anymore...i give up...i looked away...i lost!! i wonder if its just the blinking bet i lost or anything more precious...

i spoke up "uhmm...i...i was searching for my friend"...."in the window?" he chuckled...O my my, he is making fun of me!!...gosh!! his voice is so sexy...and those dimples...someone hold me!!

okay, time to get a grip and do something for my ego...how dare he mocks me!!...as if he caught a theif..."no one was answering the knock and the window was open...sooo"i said justifying myself...."ohh! it was open?...whom do u want to meet?" he asked crossing by me to other side...is he her neigbour? i said "muskaan".... "ooo muskaan!! and you are?"...he knows her?!! who is he?!! "riddhima"..."riddhima?!! she never mentioned you"...who is he...i have to know...and know fast..."we were in same class in school" i said..."oh ok...she must be on the way...please come in"...he said taking out the key and moving towards the door... OH NO!! HE IS MUSKAAN'S HUSBAND!!! the romantic music in my head stopped abruptly with the sound of a breaking glass...i think the sound actually came from my heart...something inside it broke...

Harika

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