Friday, 10 May 2019

KASH OS : Phir Le Aaya Dill

He lay awake in his bed for a few moments before his alarm went off.  This had become a thing of everyday now. He would lay in bed at night just staring at the ceiling or with closed eyes, thinking about random things, nothing in particular, waiting for sleep. And in the mornings, half asleep, half awake, waiting for his alarm to buzz so he could get up. He picked up his phone and re-read the text from his manager he received last night confirming today's photo shoot. He moved to his contacts next. "It will be really awkward If I don't call her and meet her today.." he murmured to himself, probably trying to convince with a reason to call her up. He had contemplated a lot last night but did not call her. Now however, he finally did. But she didn't pick it up. And honestly, he didn't wait for that long. He put the phone down after three-four rings. Come on! That was the most he could do. And if it was only about making things awkward, she could think about it too. Or not, for all he cared. He kicked the bed covers and got up. Inside the washroom, he thought for a minute about whether he should shave or not. He liked his face without the beard but if he did, would she think he did it to impress her? She might. She was always a self centred woman. And the producer for the photo shoot hadn't mentioned any look either. So screw it, when he hadn't shaved for two days,
another won't harm. He bathed and changed into a black t shirt and Capri. He was picking up his car keys and about to move out when the maid reminded him she had prepared breakfast. He refused first, thinking he would eat at the sets. And when he actually thought that, he had this vague flash of an image of them eating together. He didn't remember if it was from some past past time but it made him angry. Angry on himself for thinking about the fat woman who didn't pick up his call this morning, nor did she call him back. So he sat down for breakfast, had a stomach full, smoked two cigarettes on his way down to where his car was parked and then set of towards today's photo shoot location.

Phir le aaya dil majboor kya keeje
Raas na aaya rehna door kya keeje
Dil keh raha use maqammal kar bhi aao
Wo jo adhoori si baat baaki hai
Wo jo adhoori si yaad baaki hai
Wo jo adhoori si yaad baaki hai

To his own surprise, he wasn't late at all today, in fact, he was quite early. His costumes were ready but the set wasn't, nor had shilpa arrived till then. He gave out a rude chuckle at that. She used to be those people who would sit with her group of friends and everyone in the world and bitch about karan's unprofessionalism and arrogance, and today, for such a high paying important photo shoot, she was late! He sat in his make up room with a can of beer and his I-pad playing his favourite Need For Speed' when he heard a knock on the door. It must be some spotboy to tell him it was time to get ready so he shouted a yes and let the person in.  Her.

"Hey Karan!" she spoke in a cheery voice and he looked up from his I-pad. "Oh hi!" he left both his can and I-pad at the table and got up. An awkward moment. She was smiling like she always used to. With her extra big eyes and perfectly shaped lips. Karan was always sure she used some make up to shape them up like she did. He had seen girls more closely to believe in the natural kind of perfect beauty. His lips curved in a smile too and she took a step forward, with her hand offering a handshake. He would have probably gone for a light hug out of courtesy but handshake hi theek tha. But she in fact, put her other arm around his back and tip toed a little to give him a friendly meeting hug for a second before parting away. For an unknown reason, it made his lips curve a little more. "I'm so sorry I couldn't come for the earlier meetings here. I was in the US actually and landed only today! In fact, I'm directly coming from the airport. You tell me, how have you been? I thought I'd meet you once before they tell me to get ready. Your film did quite well, I heard." She sat down on the chair opposite to him and he sat back too. He couldn't really give her an answer while she spoke. She had always been an over speaking, over cheery, over friendly, leading-men-on chatterbox anyway. "Yeah, you watched it?" he asked politely and she made some rather cute fake expression. She was a pro at making expressions, had always been. "No! Didn't really get the time, but I will, maybe soon sometime." That's exactly how actors answer media interviewers, he thought. Her fake enthusiasm somehow always made him laugh, or smile like it did now. But can someone put on fake expressions, fake enthusiasm, fake cheer for like ten years? Not possible, he was right, she was indeed a weird creature, weird and on the lines of unreal. "haha, what's been keeping you busy? Erm, you look good by the way, shorts always suit you!" he really didn't know why he made the last comment smiling at her.
"oh thanks! But when did you see me in shorts before?" she asked as if in genuine confusion and he replied at once "Miss Anand we have worked together for a lot of time and as far as I remember you only wore shorts to shoot."

"Oh yeah, I didn't think you'll remember all of that." She said with a little smile like she was glad and sad at the same time. Probably she wasn't as pro at putting up expressions. Coz he couldn't understand why her lips were smiling and eyes weren't. Her eyes had always been much more expressive than her lips.

"You look good too by the way, this rough look suits you!" yeah, now the light in her eyes seemed genuine, and the smile too, which made him smile back.

"Thanks!" he replied politely and looked down. He could feel she was looking around the room randomly. And he didn't want her there anymore. The conversation they had had was more than enough and now she should be get going. He wanted a smoke right now. Not a Shilpa.

"Uhm, So I see you in a few minutes, we should be getting ready." She got up with that and he followed as a manner. "okay then!" she said again and turned to leave but then turned back again, "Oh did I bring anything here? My keys or phone..." she started looking around to find both while he just scrunched his nose. "what keys?"

"Oh the keys to my make up room, they gave it to me abhi but I came here first." Did she want him o notice how much of a noble person she was to come and greet him here before going in her own room? He rolled his eyes. Totally. "here" he found the keys on the floor near where she was sitting and handed them back to her.."Oh thanks! And my phone? Oh my god! Where's my phone? I don't remember where did I keep it." And he rolled his eyes again. Pretentious phone-losing loser for a woman.

"I don't think you brought your phone here." He answered simply and sat down on his chair taking out a cigarette. He couldn't wait more. He wanted a smoke and not a shilpa. She frantically touched the pockets of her shorts and that somehow made him look there too. On the sides and centre of her shorts. The small zip that could so easily be opened. And then he looked up at her face, she looked like a girl would if she was genuinely worried. She even looked like she would cry the next moment. So instead of lighting up his cigarette, he put it away and got up again, held her by her shoulders and looked into those big eyes. One thing this girl had worth praising were those naturally colored eye balls that made her look , what would he say, beautiful. "I called you up this morning, you didn't pick up, where was your phone? Had you landed by then? You're coming from the airport na?" he talked to her like one would to a small crying child and she looked somewhere on his nose or something, thinking, trying to remember..

"Oh yeah, I think I put it at in the back of my suitcase after calling up mummy."

"Where's your suitcase?" he asked with a little smile, she had pronounced mummy' fairly cutely.

"There.. outside your room." She looked in his eyes and said slowly..

"go on then!" they opened the door and there was a black suitcase that shilpa hurriedly opened the small back chain of and took out her white phone. "Oh thank you Karan!" she spoke karan' cutely too. He smiled and nodded a little, noticing her eyes and nose while she got busy on her phone..
"Oh is that your number?" she showed him a number from the logs and he peeped in her phone.. "yeah, you didn't have my number?" he asked tilting his neck but as he did, he realized their faces had been quite close, quite too close for his likeness. So he backed up and she answered " I had your old number, then we kind of lost touch, you know.." if her eyes were to be believed, she spoke like she was disappointed with the fact that they had lost touch and she didn't have his number just as much as he was. Not knowing what to say, he just nodded a little, "save it now!"

The assistant photographer told them to be ready in fifteen minutes with their first look and that they were about to start. Clothes were easy for the first look, a white Capri and a white plain vest, make up took five minutes and there was, outside, near the pool area where they were going to have their first set. When he went out, looked like shilpa had already stared. She was sitting with her back towards him on the edge of the pool with her legs dangling inside and hair clutched up for a decent messy look. Her back was bare. Not almost, except for two strings, one around her neck and one a little below, her back was totally bare. He gulped looking at her. She was surely wearing a bikini. He needed a smoke now. In fact, that reminded him that after shilpa went into her room to change and he came back to his, he had actually forgotten his cigarette with all the getting up ready stuff. Or lets say, smiling while thinking about her expressions, innocence, eyes, lips, words, face, nose, smile and everything else. And for a change, they were all positive thoughts. Like how she was innocent like a kid and genuine in this fake world, How she actually came to meet him before going into her own room, how loving she would be to call her mummy' just after landing and so much more. "karan!" Kabir, the photographer called him loud and he broke out of his reverie. Shilpa looked back at him and smiled. "hey! So the first one's here at the pool, the second in the kitchen and the third in the bedroom. Tomorrow we come for the front porch and stairs and drawing room and some stuff I am not clear about" shilpa told him as he sat beside and notices she hadn't done much make up. Also, that she was not wearing a swim suit bikini but a bikini top and shorts, shorts a little shorter than what she was wearing a while back and this one didn't have a zip. Why was noticing it though, he didn't know. Her shorts were white too, like his own, but her bikini top was colourful and made her breasts look sexy. "let's start!" Kabir shouted from a distance and went behind the still camera as he told them to make different poses. In one of the positions, shilpa sat just like she was and karan laid at the edge of the pool with his head in her lap and smiling up. Then karan sat beside her and they pretended as if he was showing her something far away and pointed at it and both smiled. In one photo, karan got inside the pool and kept his hands on her thighs like they were normally chatting or something. It was quite hot and the sun was bright, but Kabir said it would give him the perfect light. Next,shilpa joined him inside the pool and they splashed water at each other. All this while, talks had been less with lips and more with eyes. When she smiled for pictures,she wouldn't stop smiling even after when Kabir was not clicking, and when she looked into his eyes, it was like she enjoyed being there and doing this normal stuff. For once, karan had mentally cursed himself and his manager for taking up a Home Dcor Ad with this girl. Her wet clothes, wet body, wet waist, wet bkini, slender legs, shining eyes, cheerful laughters and friends like behaviour was surely making things awkward for him. He had done intimate scenes with her even before, not many but he had. And when he hadn't felt anything back then, why now? Why after all this time? Had he been so wrong all these years to consider her just another person who he could make fun of, with himself or friends? And then, why now? And what now?

Karte hain hum aaj qabool kya keeje
Ho gayi thi jo humse bhool kya keeje
Dil keh raha use mayassar kar bhi aao
Wo jo dabi si aas baaki hai
Wo jo dabi si aanch baaki hai
Wo jo dabi si aanch baaki hai
Wo jo dabi si... aanch baaki hai

One picture that he felt was the most awkward was where both of them were inside the pool and he had picked shilpa up from the waist with her legs up splashing water around and had almost took a round about himself both laughing and screaming like two teenage friends, or maybe a married couple. After all, that's what they were pretending to be in the photographs! And secretly, that was the pose he loved the most. He didn't remember the last time he had laughed so heartily.

"What's next?" an assistant asked Kabir as all of them sat by the pool side munching on pizzas.
"yeah so next we go shoot for the kitchen scenes, we will set up and you two go change and we meet inside in like ten minutes, okay?"

"Cool" shilpa got up while karan still sat there eating his last slice..

"pizza chor ab uth bhi jao!" shilpa called out to him in jest as she smiled at him and started to walk inside in the bathrobe she had put over her wet clothes..

Ten minutes later, when karan changed into a black shirt and jeans and waited leaning at the countertop for shilpa, he noticed how she didn't irritate him anymore. Not that she did earlier, but now, he didn't really feel like making fun of her.

The kitchen shoot was over in like less than ten minutes, less than the time the pool one had taken. Less positions, but karan liked them more. Like the one where they were both sitting on the shelf, with shilpa with her back against his front and settled between his legs, pretending to eat something from a bowl. Or the one where he had picked her up by her knees acting like she was taking out a jar from the upper cupboard. Oh, the scenes where he was told to behave like he had just entered the kitchen and his wife was working at dinner were good too. That pretending to nuzzle in her neck or laugh with her while tickling her. The tickling position was the best. And shilpa's dress, her black shorts and black shirt, unbuttoned  but tied above her waist over the red inner that she wore, made her look...erm, he didn't quite know how to describe what he felt.

"shilpa" he called out, walking behind her in the corridor as they walked back to change for the last time.

"yeah?" she smiled back and yet again, he didn't know what to say. He had called her out just like that, you don't need to have topic to discuss with friends for them calling them out.

"How have you been? All these years I mean" he asked inspite of himself.  He didn't know himself to be those genuinely polite gentlemen. He was an emotionless man.

"good... Life's been pretty fast-paced.." she smiled back.

"fast.. for some, extremely slow for some.." he muttered under his breath and although he was sure she heard his muffled voice, she didn't ask what he said..

"see you" she rather said and went in her room while he sighed and walked towards his.

The setting for the last scene kinda irritated him. He had changed his jeans to a blue tattered one and was bare above. He sat among boys setting up net around the master bed, in a dimly lit room, waiting for shilpa. And he didn't enjoy the shoot either. Whether it was the intimate poses with one of them over the other in every other photo or just himself that irritated him, he didn't know. But he was at that point again where he just wanted to get away from things. Only this time, no one suffocated him, in fact, her presence made him feel better.

"Now karan, sit against the headboard, shilpa in his lap, hold his face and look at his cheek as if you're about to kiss him. And karan hold that hand out with the remote and look at that wall as if there was a TV there.." Kabir didn't tell karan what to do with the other hand so he held shilpa's waist above her little pink nighty. In the next picture, shilpa kissed his cheek and he closed his eyes pretending to enjoy the kiss and smiling. No, he closed his eyes totally enjoying the brish of her lips on his cheeks and his dimple dig on their own accord.

"great work guys! Tomorrow we start a little late coz we have all indoors, so see you at 1 p.m? okay?"

"cool" karan shook kabir's hand and so did shilpa and kabir went in the opposite direction and both of them in the other.


"So?" shilpa asked amazed at his out of the blue so?'

"what next?" he played with the keys of his car as they moved towards the parking lot.

"for me? Oh I go home and sleep! Been jet lagged and then all this! I really need some sleep!"

And he felt like he needed a smoke. So he took out a cigarette while he gave his keys to the watchman to get his car. He expected shilpa to start the next topic but to his surprise, she looked like she was searching for something..

"Oh there!" she exclaimed and turned to him.. "so, see you tomorrow! My cab's right there!"

"cab? What happened to your car?"

"parked at home! This suitcase that I am dragging alone and the fact that I just said I am jet lagged make it logical for me to go in a car Mr. grover! If only you heard what I was saying.." but he didn't listen to what she was saying now. Instead, he went towards the cab, paid the driver a thousand bucks and told him they didn't need the cab anymore.

"I'll drop you home." He ordered, taking a puff and not caring for her answer. As karan's car came, shilpa quietly went and sat in the passenger seat while karan put her suitcase in the back.

"dekha jaaye toh it's been ten years." Karan spoke after a long intolerable silence in the car.

"To DMG? Yeah.."  she commented and went back to staring out.

"you still single." He half questioned-half commented- half made fun of her. She gave him a triumphant look and replied "you too!"

"haha! My case is different. You're someone who should fall in true love with her soulmate and live happily ever after!"

"yeah... I will live happily ever after with my soulmate.." she gave a little smile like she wasn't interested or comfortable with having this conversation with him. He had somewhere hoped for her to answer him back with a cheeky reply, but she hadn't.

"so? Not found your soulmate yet?"

"you know karan, I read this in some book the other day, that it's destined we will meet our soul mates once in our lifetime. For sure. Whether we spend the lifetime with them or not is not destined, but we will know when we meet them, or we will realize later, but we all are sure to recognize our soul mates. But just recognize. That's all that God will do, whether we stay with them, keep them or let them go is not in God's hand.. It's in ours."

"you made that up, didn't you?" he asked at once. First, he didn't believe in God and prayers and all of that and secondly, after all these years, he didn't believe in soul mates either. He once did, probably too long before to remember now.

"arre nahi yaar! Sachi! I read it in this book called Brida'

"Brida? What does that mean? Who has written this book? You na? khud likh ke khud his padha hoga!" he teased  her and she smacked his shoulder. "Paulo coehlo wrote it! Go blame him! Mera dimaag na khao!"

"dinner khaogi?" he suddenly asked. He was sure she noticed the fact how he made fun of her and ignored totally what she said about soulmates and he was sure for her answer for a dinner to be a No. he had asked her out once before as well, long long back. And what was a no then, would not be a yes now, he was sure.

"okay." She said in a low voice and smiled. He smiled back too and drove to his favourite restaurant.

Kismat ko hai yeh manzoor kya keeje
Milte rahe hum badastoor kya keeje
Dil keh raha hai use musalsal kar bhi aao
Wo jo ruki si raah baaki hai
Wo jo ruki si chaah baaki hai
Wo jo ruki si chaah baaki hai
Wo jo ruki si chaah baaki hai.

Before he started the car, she held his hand. "karan" he turned to face her and she smiled. "thank you for the lovely dinner" and before karan could respond, she placed her lips on his. Karan only realized this when he felt her almost chewing on his lips with such urgency as if this was the last time they were kissing each other. While in fact, it was the first. And that there could be so many more times to come, made him smile between the kiss as now he took charge, roaming his hands on her back and picking her up and placing her in his lap on his seat without breaking the contact. After the totally quiet and awkward dinner, this seemed perfect.


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