U N I

The following is a 10 part love story.



 I

They stood in the empty hall......looking around and then turned to look at each other.
" My o My! Finally....we are here!" She said breaking the silence.
They knew each other only for a month- no more, no less! This was one of those crazy silly impulsive decisions of his that he rarely ever took!

The work men were bringing in their stuff......not much of it though. They had no furniture! Just bags.... mostly full of clothes, the rest of the things had to be bought.

Krupal paid off the workmen and they left.

Juhi was still wide eyed, breathing fast and looking around........basically she looked very unstable, unsure......Krupal looked at her, " It's okay now...sit down!"

"We are actually going to start living in together!! Do you realize what that can be like? What if my parents find out? I've an uncle staying in Bengaluru you know? I mean...talking about it.......I always gave this a thought, so did all my girl friends....but all of them chose marriage...and I chose this! That too with a guy I don't even love......"
She stopped walking around and came and sat near him.

He did not have any less of issues on his mind.

All that they had been doing since they met 1 month back wasn't any less crazy.....but by far...this was too much!

Why did they do it?

Juhi was a MBA from a prestigious university...

And he was a doctor working for one of the top hospitals in Bengaluru!

They had everything they needed.....a good paying job, even lovers......

They met through a common friend, the day the common friend met with an accident, the common friend was his classmate in school and now her boss..

The only thing missing in their "Perfect Lives" was a bit of spice!

Their 1st date was in his consultancy, which had started off with him explaining how many cracks her boss has in his leg.

" How many months will he have to be on bed then?"

" 1 month for sure...it’s the leg so he better not put too much pressure!"

" Ohh.....that means I will have to be in charge of everything then!" She half said it to herself.

His phone rang and he turned his back on her,

She happily punched her fist in the air. Finally she would get the opportunity to showcase her capabilities.....Yuhuuu...another punch in the air....

" You seem very happy with the news!" He had finished his call!

" Ummm......." She tried to think quickly of an explanation but she knew her punches had very well given her away......so she smiled, " I know its mean of me to be happy about my Boss's broken leg , but I've been working so hard for the past 1 year to get an opportunity to really showcase my talent and if not his broken leg then I don't know what else would give me that opportunity!"

" Were you in any case responsible for breaking his leg?" He asked suspiciously and waited for her response, narrowing his eyes...

" Yes.....I prayed for it..." She replied keeping in tune with his tone,
and then," Hell No! I would never do anything like that....it was an accident!" She smiled naughtily.

He smiled back, " So is he a very difficult boss?"

" Don't ask!" She replied making a face.

" Does he still like get all sweaty and nervous when there are issues to be dealt with?"

" Totally! And I hate that! It's so like eww to see someone all sweaty in an air conditioned room!" She said all that and then she thought for a second, " Do you already know my boss by any chance?"

" He was my best buddy in school! Bench mates!"


She shook her head in disbelief! She had never fucked up so badly with anyone before. 1st the air punch and now this.....she just did not know how to get up and get lost from his clinic and this doctor....she decided she would keep it simple..., "Alright Doc! I think I've done enough damage for myself today, more damage than my boss's broken leg. I better be going now. Hope not to meet you again, this has been so embarrassing!" She got up, picked her purse and started walking to the door.

" What's your name?"

She turned ," I rather not tell you that."

" I can find out from your boss!"

" No.....Don't!........ I'm Juhi!"

He walked to her and extended his hand, " I am Dr. Krupal! Now may I ask your company for a cup of coffee?" She looked around in a gesture to turn down the offer, " And I would suggest you not to put this offer down else all your secrets will be out of the box!"

" This is blackmail!"

" I would call it a pick up line!"

" A pick up line with no room for a negative answer??"

" Isn't that like ultra smart?"

" Yeah! I don’t believe I actually believed all this time that all docs are lame!"

" Oooooh! That hurt!"

" Target achieved......now let's go...we are even!"

And that was how it began.

II
 
Location: Hospital Cafetaria

Krupal ordered for 2 coffees as they sat down in a dirty corner.

" There's a CCD across the street, you could have taken me out for a coffee there!"
Krupal looked around , " Why? What's wrong with this place?"
"Don't you have functional eyes and nose? Don't you see and smell?"
" I find it to be fine!"
" I find it dirty, unclean, unkept!"
" We could appoint you as some manager to look after the cleanliness of the hospital.... what's your qualification between?"
" I am a MBA..."
" Aha! Perfect!"
" In Finance!" She finished rolling her eyes, " What's up with you?"
He looked down at himself and looked back at her, " Guess...Nothing!"
She couldn't believe him....He was getting on to her nerves......he had blackmailed her, bossed over her and now he was grossing her out! And she had to put up with him just because her job was on the line,the golden opportunity was on the line.....the opportunity that she had been waiting for the past 1 year......She could not let that go, no.....no matter what happens, she wouldn't let that slip off from her hands... she kept telling herself these sentences repeatedly...he was enjoying looking at her....the coffees came!

He picked up his glass and sipped it, she did not move.

" Alright...what do you want from me?" She spoke out.
" I can't believe you are asking me this question after my last response!"
" What would you take to keep your fucking mouth shut?" She was angry but she kept her voice low.
" A date with you."
" Where? When? Just one date ...and we are done with this....okay?"
" One date and we are done with it!"
She picked up her coffee and sipped it.
" It's better than the one's in CCD, isn't it?" he asked.
" I am not going to a shady place for our date!"
" Where do you want to go?"
" Hmmm....." and before she could answer,
" No! I will decide that!" He had spoken again! Dominated again!
She opened her mouth to say something...
" I will decide...." He stressed his words...
" Fine!" She stressed hers!

They finished their coffee in silence. She was glad he did not say anything else, but she was extremely irritated and uncomfortable with his stare that was stuck on her the whole time.

As I've already mentioned in my comment, Krupal looks a bit like Virat Kohli....smart.....and more than his looks, its really that attitude of his that makes him.....what can I say... Impressive!!

and Juhi..... I can tell you what she looks like only if someone asks for it ;-)

She shot up the instant she finished her coffee.
" Your number ma'am!"
She instantly told it to him...no hassles, no more questions!
" I'll call you!" He said.
" Of course!" She replied with a fake smile.
She walked out angrily, like a tigress...like how models walk on international ramps, angry, sexy, and undoubtedly unmissable!

III
 
Juhi....


Don't get her wrong because she is happy about her Boss's broken leg!
And she openly bitched about his bad habits....

Juhi is ....well! She is not anything at all like Priyanks Chopra or any other Bollywood heroine.
Juhi is a bit like Meg Ryan actually! She is cute.
She is hard working, very sincere, frank .....and above all she has childlike innocence!
She is a bit short by height, she has short straight shiny hair - just above shoulders and she never wears jeans to work!

Surprised huh? Looking at her attitude she fits more to be in western clothes, but no....she wears well fitting , cotton or silk chudidaars - no dupattas! Her hair is tied in a pony, wears oxidized jewellery - long earrings, rings, and a plain snake chain without a pendant! shoes?? Flats! By the way she has well maintained pedicured feet....And yeah...Dr.Krupal did notice them...Of course he did!

Early morning, the next day. to be exact : 5 am!
Juhi received a text message , " Good Morning! Rise and Shine! Our date time and venue: 8 pm saturday at Fuga. I can come to pick you up. sms me your address!"

Juhi checked the message at 7.30 when she woke up. " Not ‘please sms me your address’........Just ‘sms me’- order...huh?"

It was a Friday. She sms'd the address promptly.

Fuga is quite a well known Pub cum Disc in Bangalore.
Dr. Krupal was at her doorstep in Kormangala 1st Block at sharp 8pm.
He was pleasantly surprised to see this Indian tigress in a slim fit black jeans and a silver off shoulder top.

" Don't you want to know why Fuga?" Krupal asked her in the car. His attitude and tone was quite sober today, but her attitude was the same.
" To get me drunk and get me into bed! What else?" She snapped back.

He suddenly became a bit conscious, as if someone had said something bad about his character.
“I’m sorry!” He said in a low tone.
She did not say anything. She sat there with crossed hands.

"I have never behaved so shamelessly with anybody before.....maybe it is something about you that made me behave like that!"

She turned to look at him, " You are actually blaming me for the way you behaved? Didn't anyone teach you to take any responsibility in life?"

" Of course I take responsibility. All my patients are my responsibility...including your boss!"
" You don't have to remind me that all the time."

They entered the pub and took a seat. When the waiter approaced them, Krupal turned to her, " I suppose you wont have drinks, mocktails perhaps?"
" Of course I will have drinks! Especially because you are paying......lets start with whatever is the costliest on the menu.....How about Long Island Ice Tea...I'll have that!"

Drinks in Bengaluru are costly, and drinks in discs especially are Damn costly!

The waiter started jotting down the order......Juhi pushed the menu to Krupal pointing at the price of her cocktail.....his eyes popped out... " This is just the 1st drink! You have no idea about my capacity!"

" And what can I get for you sir?" The waiter asked Krupal.
" Nothing for me...I don't drink!"
" Of course you do! Get him the same cocktail!" Juhi teased.
" I have to drive back home. I don't drink and drive. Responsible behaviour you know?"
"Really? Okay! But still make that 2, I'll have both of them."

Krupal felt Rs.1000 credited from his pocket in the 1st 5 minutes of their date!
Not a very pleasant feeling.

As the music caught on and the night progressed, Krupal felt his pockets going lighter with every drink going down Juhi's throat!

" Stop! That's enough!" He finally announced when she could barely stand.
" What do you think? Only you can test others patience? You think being a man you can outsmart us women? You are wrong Dr. Krupal!"
" Yes Tanker Lady! I am wrong! Now can you just put on your jacket, I need to get you home ....safely!"
" Hey Doc! What do you think......I had that coffee with you to save my fucking job? If I really did not want to come with you, I wouldnt have come. You think I love my job so much and I am so damn scared of my boss that I gave you my cell number and my address and I came here to get drunk with a smart ass doc like youself??"

Krupal took her purse and he put her jacket on her shoulders. He caught her hand and started walking towards the exit. Just when they stepped out , she turned to face him and put her hands around his neck.
" Do you really know how difficult it is in India to find smart confidant guys like  you?"
" Do you know it is even more difficult to find smart intelligent and beautiful girls like you for a company? Thank you Madam for a wonderful company and gotta tell you...you dance really well!" He said and took her hands in his and walked her to his car.
" Dr. Krupal.....why are you acting like a gentleman? It doesn't go on your personality! Be naughty...that makes you look sexy!"
" You are drunk Juhi...."
" Yes....And I want you to kiss me now."
" I don't kiss girls when they are drunk..."
" Why didn't you tell me this before I started drinking?"
" You never told me your intentions..."
" Okay....well! You don't kiss me....but I'm allowed to kiss you...." and she leaned in to kiss him and he moved back.
" What now?" She asked irritated.
" I've a girl friend. We are planning to get married in 8 months time."
She stood still for a while, not sure what to do next. " drop me home please."

They quietly got into the car and he drove her home. 
 
IV

Monday morning. Juhi's Office:




Juhi walked into the conference room, which was her work desk for the past 1 month due to the work load. Vyankat Swami was already there, reading the newspaper. Juhi did not say a word, she just kept her bag and took a seat opposite Vyankat. Vyankat too did not say a word, he only watched her.

They watched each other for a long time, their eyes had started arguing long before their mouths made an entry in the fighting scene.

" You don't look at me like that! I'm your senior here!" Juhi stood up and challenged Vyankat.

" Yeah I know that! But I need to know what the hell were you up to on Saturday night?"

" What was I upto? I should be asking you that question....what were you upto?? Your R & D sucks you asshole! The guy's got a girl friend he's planning to get married to."

" Well! Nobody in the hospital knows anything about that......that means the relationship is either under wraps or he just wanted to get rid of a drunkard stupid girl falling all over him! You passed 2 of those teas to me, how many did you have?"

" Two!"

" That means he thinks you were 4 Long Island ice teas down! Holy Cow! poor guy must be wondering how you were even standing there......and that stupid attempt at kissing?? J?? I really wanted to come and slap you out there...you have never done anything like that before."
She was thoughtful....she took a seat, " I've never been so attracted to anybody before! I've never ever felt like going and just kissing a guy out of the blue .......it was such a strong desire!"

" You do carry the pepper spray , don't you?" Vyankat was still in his spy man mode.

" Yes I do!" Juhi was lost in her thoughts.

Vyankat realized that. "I can try and find out everything you need to know about him. proper R & D! I did not get time this time......"

" Leave him alone...he's not good for me. Nothing has been even close to "good" when I am with him! Now get down to business…its all on us from now on and we have to put up a damn good show if we want to achieve our goals, get it Swamy?”
“Yes Sir!”


Vyankat Swami was a fresh grad just out of college a few months back. He was Juhi’s assistant. They made quite a team! Not only were they good players at work, but also outside their work circle. Both of them together had helped each other climb the ladders of their careers . Even if Juhi alone had to attend many of the company meetings in a restaurant or any other outside location, Vyankat would always hang around somewhere in the backdrop. They even played wing man for each other. Their partnership had helped so much that whenever Juhi wanted to do anything risky, she always told Vyankat her plans. And if he was free, he always volunteered.

After all it was Vyankat's secret desire to be 007! Whenever he went to the washroom, he would stand in front of the mirror and say aloud, " I am Swamy! Vyankat Swamy!"

And what a coincidence it was.......just like Bond, Swamy had a female Boss!

Bond called her 'M',

Swamy called her 'J'!

V
 
 Krupal had typed more than a dozen messages to Juhi by now...and had sent none.
He knew he had already insulted her by turning down the kiss. He repented his decision of not kissing her.
Not a day went by without thinking about her.......He had expected things to get easier as time passed by.........strangely they didn't. He wondered why this happened? Before he met Juhi everything was just fine. And now just knowing she existed in the same city as him, knowing he has all the means to get in touch with her, knowing she had liked him......made it a torture to live without meeting her.

Even in the presence of his GF Nidhi with whom he was in a relationship for 2 years, all he could think about was Juhi.
" Jaanu.....are you listening?" Nidhi waved a hand before him. They were seated at La Terraza, having their dinner on a weekend, " You seem to be so lost...is everything alright?"
"Lots of work...I am just tired!"
" Tired from work or tired of me Jaanu?" Nidhi asked hinting sharply.
" Look...can we please skip the Jaanu part? I am just not in a mood today."
" Then why didn't you tell me you wanted to be all by yourself?"
"Because if I had ,you would complain and nag and say I'm ignoring you and next day you would come to the hospital and disturb me there too."
She looked at him, hurt....." What is wrong with you?"
She picked her purse and got up and left the seat.
He caught his aching head with both his hands and put down his head on the table.
next second, she was back at the table, " I am just going to the washroom! don't leave!"
He looked after her, " Disappear stupid lady...whooosh ..( He sprinkled imaginary magic water in her direction).....just disappear.....Whoosh whoosh.....( More magic)......and don't come back...."

The waiter approached him looking at his behavior, " May I get you something sir?"
" Yes please....some magic potion!"
" Excuse me?"
" I meant vodka."
" Vodka with....?"
" Neat with 2 cubes of ice."

----------------------------------------

Juhi and Vyankat had decided to spend the weekend together. He did not have any special plans, nor did Juhi. They checked out a few malls, it was the sale season and finally ended up at La Terazza for dinner.


“ So Swamy, how was the date with Smitha?”
“ If it was good, I wouldn’t be sitting here with you on a Saturday night madam! How was Rahul? He’s been hunting you for over 3 months!”
“ I’m tired of hunting and being hunted Swamy. I never get the one I want and the one’s I don’t want to look at are always ready at my doorstep!”
“ They call this a society but if you look closely…it’s a jungle out there…..Don’t lose hope, you’ll  find your man some day. And he will sweep you off your feet and you will then believe that something called love exists and you will run into his arms…..” Swamy was getting melodramatic!
She took a sip of her cocktail.
“ Stop that nautanki! There is nothing called love here. People manipulate in advance about caste, status, profession and hook up and call it love! If there was love then it would be spontaneous, it would be unconditional…..it would  break our social structure…It would freak people out.”
She took another sip.
“ Look Swamy, There’s marriage….there is sex….and there is love……all 3 are totally separate issues, but in India we mix them up and expect it to somehow work out! Half of our society is caught up in this circus….juggling 3 needs, 3 desires into 1…… and then they...”
“ Hello Juhi….”
She was so deep in explaining  her philosophy, but she would never mistake that voice, she shot a look upward…he was standing by her table holding his glass of magic potion.
“ May I join you both?”
“ Of course….you are most welcome!” Chipped in Swamy.
“ 3 different needs to name….and so many others  un- named, untold…..that is why only 1 person fits in perfectly with the 1 made for him or her…its like a jigsaw puzzle….only the right pieces can complete the whole picture.” Krupal finished Juhi’s topic of discussion, looking at her the whole time…..she did not look away, nor did he!
---------------------------------------------------------------------
Nidhi came at their table from the washroom to find Krupal missing, she started looking around and asked the waiter.
----------------------
“ Someone is searching for you perhaps?” Swamy reminded Krupal.
Krupal did not look away from Juhi, “Can you take care of the lady at my table ….Mr…..?”
“Swamy….Vyankat Swamy!” In his 007 style!
“ Right Mr. Swamy….can you please?”
“ My pleasure!”  Vyankat fixed his shirt collar, got up from his seat and walked to Nidhi.
" We should probably move to some other place......" Krupal got up, caught Juhi by her arm and took her in a lonely corner, she wasn't able to say anything.
---------------------------------------
" Madam....Dr. Krupal had to attend an emergency operation at the hospital. he asked me to assist you and drop you home , if you would like."
Nidhi looked at Vyankat. Then picked up her cell phone, which rang, it was Krupal on the line.
" I had to go...Vyankat Swamy is a good friend of mine. He will drop you home. Bye!"
He hung up the phone without waiting for a response from Nidhi. Nidhi thought for a moment, " Thank you Mr. Swamy, but I'll find my way back."
She took her purse and left.
------------------------------------------

Krupal and Juhi looked at each other for a long time. She had not spoken a word since he appeared at her table. He realized he was still holding her arm……so he pulled her closer….she moved closer. There was absolutely no sign of hesitation or resistance. Krupal kept his glass on a table nearby and held her face……she did not move, did not twitch an inch………just when he leaned closer to kiss her, she blocked him with her palm.

“ I’ve a boy friend. We are planning to get married in 3 MONTHS.” There was an unnecessary stress on 3 months!

Krupal moved back a little and smiled…he did not know what to do.

He let go of her face and his hand moved back to pick up the glass…….a slow and a satisfactory, almost wicked smile appeared on Juhi’s face…………. but in a matter of half a second ,he had held her closer and kissed her without her knowing when to stop him!

 
VI 

Krupal and Juhi sat quietly besides each other for a long time after the workmen had left them with their luggage in the 1 bedroom flat. It was one of those stupid things wherein you shoot 1st and then aim like an idiot to see what damage you have done.
" I'll take the bedroom of course." Juhi picked up her bags and went inside.
" I'm hungry." All that Krupal had done over the last 2 days was to be a loll. He could not take any decision, he did whatever seemed right at a particular moment, without logic. Right now he was  way beyond understanding the situation.
" We don't have a functional kitchen......" Juhi stepped in the kitchen and looked around, " Let's go and shop for all the necessary things.....I won't get more than a day off from office, we've to settle down as quickly as possible."

----------------------------------
1 week earlier:

Nidhi paced around in her bedroom throughout the night.........it is not an easy feeling to deal with, the feeling that you are losing the love of your life.........it is not easy to face the truth, the truth that your guy is cheating on you, lying to you! After all Nidhi was a practicing lawyer in Bangalore. In the few years of her practice she had learnt a bit about human behavior, especially about lying, about disinterest and about faking.

She had known the entire week that Krupal had lost interest in her.....and the reason was not his work. It wasn't the first time he was into a stressful situation. Doctors are trained right from Med school to deal with stress. This was something else. she had understood over the years that the day Krupal would want to break up, he would never come straight. Confused soul as he was, he would make a mess out of the situation and leave her stranded in between nowhere.

Nidhi hated confusion of any sort. She was a focussed girl and knew how to get the things she wanted.

--------------------------------------

La Terraza: 2 weeks earlier :

" Marry me!"

For once in his lifetime he was sure of what he wanted...he wanted this girl, his instincts were so strong....He could not have been wrong about it!

Juhi, shocked - not by the kiss but by what followed after it, moved back a couple of steps, " What?"

"This thing that we have between us....its unmistakable!"
" Do you say this to every girl you kiss?"
" I've never felt so strongly about any girl before!"
" Then you can compliment me for being a good kisser.......a marriage proposal ain't the right thing to...."
" Please....Juhi.....Please don't say no!"
" This is madness.....you are insane!."
" Yes! Insane isn't it?? That means it is love!"
" It's lust you fool!"
" But Juhi......."
"Don't follow me and don't call me..........! I mean it!" She looked straight into his eyes. He felt like a roadside loafer.

Juhi stormed out of the restaurant the next second.

From the terrace, Swamy spotted Juhi getting out of the building and catching a rickshaw. 2 minutes after her, he spotted Niddhi getting out of the building........Swamy was confused, " Hadn't Nidhi left the restaurant around 20 minutes back?"

-----------------------------------------------------
Krupal's Clinic: (5 days before moving in)

Dr. Krupal entered his clinic from the regular rounds.
" Hi sweetheart!"
He almost jumped , " Niddhi! What are you doing here?"
"Waiting for you of course!"
She was sitting in his chair and watching him closely like a principal of a school dealing with a naughty kid!

" Uh? Okay! But why didn't you call me, sms me or something like that?"

She stood up from the chair and walked real close to him, he kicked the door to close, and gave a silly nervous grin, " This is my work place Nidhi.......... sweety!"

" Can we cut the sweety part please?? It looks fake!"
" Eh?"
(Why was she being so rude? Krupal could not understand the reason.)

" Do you love me Krupal?"

" Of course......of course!"
She moved even closer. Now there was no place left for him to move back.

" Do you love me enough to marry me?" She was making her moves, unexpected and real fast. There was no room to maneuver, it was almost a check mate!

" Why ...... ( he cleared his throat) why are you asking me this? Did you find someone else?"
( What a silly thing to say!)

"Did I find someone else? Krupal? Did you just indirectly say I'm having an affair?" She asked taunting him.

"No sweety of course not!"

" So sweety ( a bit more exaggerated  than Krupal)
 Marry me!
 We've waited for quite some time.....and now there is no point in waiting, we both have well paid jobs, your sister got married and has a kid already ......so what are we waiting for huh?"
He was speechless.
She moved back a little so that he could breathe and gave him a naughty smile.

" You think we women are stupid, don't you? ( still smiling, taunting!) Don't ever think of playing nasty games with women, you understand? When we are good, we are real good and when we are bad.......we are ...."
"Real Bad!" He finished the sentence for her......

She smiled.
"By the way,  I spoke to your mom, I mean  Maa ....I spoke to maa about this and she's fine with whatever we decide. I told her we want to get engaged in a week's time, small informal affair! And wedding in December...what say?"


 
 

VII

2.30 am 

There was a loud knock on Juhi's door. Juhi and her room mate Smitha jumped up in bed, scared, worried!
" What the hell was that?" Smitha almost screamed.
Were they dreaming?
But after a few seconds there was another one- louder!! It was a bang!
Juhi reached out for her mobile phone to call up the police, but just when she picked it up, she realized it had 17 missed calls from Dr. Krupal. Juhi always put her mobile on silent mode at night.

" What the hell is wrong with him?" Juhi said aloud,opening her inbox to read the 10 messages she had received from him.
" What the hell are you doing? Call the police....fast!" Smitha was almost crying.
Just then there was another call from Krupal. Juhi picked it up in a hurry ," Krupal, thank god you called! There's someone at my door at this hour, banging the door.......call the police and come here please!"
" Hmmmmmm? Okay! I am coming right away. I am starting........now.......I'm in my car. Okay? But Juhi...first....would you do me a favor?"
Juhi was worried as the banging was getting louder....," What? I can hardly hear you...can you hear it?"
" Yes! Clearly! It's almost making me deaf! Anyway....do me a favor Juhi......right now, till I call you again, don't do anything. Just be calm....relax...and breathe. Okay?"
" Yes...okay...yes!"
" Promise me you won't open your eyes until I call."
" Why?"
"Don't ask questions. You just breathe.....I am almost there...2 more minutes! Forget it...keep talking to me.......I won't hang up."
Another 2 loud bangs......
" Ohh please reach here...fast!"
" And Juhi......."
"What?"
" For all that I do for you tonight.......will you fulfill my 1 wish?"
"Wish what?"

"Who are you talking with? Is this a time to talk with  friends?" Smitha was totally confused!
" It's Krupal....he's on his way."
" Oh thank god! At least some guy is coming." Smitha started praying to all the 330 million gods!

" Juhi......promise me you will fulfill my wish!"
Another 2 loud bangs!

Smitha : Someone has been keeping a watch on us.......how else would they know our landlord is gone to his hometown just today?? My god! I did not know Bangalore was so unsafe....."
Krupal: Promise me now!

Juhi ( Confused) Till now she thought he was just acting crazy...now she was cent percent sure that he was a total mental case! Nobody talks about wishes and promises in times of crisis! But maybe he was trying to distract her...maybe he was.....

Krupal: Promise me Juhi.....
Juhi: I promise...I promise for whatever you say.....you just come here please....please!
Krupal: Okay then...open the door!
Juhi: What? You reached? You sure?
Krupal: Yeah! I'm here...Open the door.......I'm right here...

Juhi and Smitha holding each other, Juhi with her pepper spray and Smitha with a wooden stick approached the door slowly. Krupal called out to them, " He ran away! He saw my car come and he ran away...open the door."

Smitha rushed to the door and unlocked it, saw Krupal standing there and turned to look at Juhi.

Smitha: Is this your friend?
Juhi: yeah....Krupal ...this is.....

Smitha had hugged Krupal tightly....

Juhi: Smitha!  ( Juhi finished her introduction)

Smitha: Oh My God! Thank you soo much ! I was so shit scared! I thought this was the last day of my life....and I don't want to die...I really don't want to die! There is still so much to do...I want that pink dress for Diwali by Ritu Kumar, and I want to get back in shape and wear a bikini and walk on the virgin beaches of Bora Bora Islands!

Krupal and Juhi watched each other in a shock while Smitha blabbered! After a few seconds Smitha cooled down! She let go of Krupal and straightened her hair. Gave a nervous grin and turned to go in, " I need water" .
Juhi thought she knew Smitha well...but this blabbering had proved her wrong......After all Smitha too harbored secret desires and wouldn't be totally out of frequency with Swamy as Swamy thought....maybe they just needed to give each other some more time, maybe...they needed to open up!

Krupal realised that Juhi was lost in her thoughts, " I hope you remember the promise!"
Juhi looked at Krupal , and wondered, she had been so wrong about him. Just how she was wrong about Smitha. We draw conclusions about people so fast...the truth is....we think we know everything...but actually we know so little! Krupal had been such a savior! He had come for her in the middle of the night....., " I do not know how to thank you Krupal!"
" You don't have to ......you just do me the favour!"
" Anytime.....Tell me!"
" You are moving in with me tomorrow!"

*
*
*
*
*

Juhi was shocked to hear his request! "Move in what? Who? When?" She had said.
And he had tried to explain to her gently, convincingly...and when she acted too adamant, 2 promises came handy!
1st: Him knowing about her opinion of her boss. And Krupal's ability to influence her Boss's decision!
2nd: The new promise.

And if that was not enough, there was Smitha who was totally head over heels on Krupal. He was her new Hero!

" Not tomorrow. Give me a day to think about it......"
" It's just a matter of a week Juhi. We'll stay only for a week."
" I need a day to pack my stuff!"

Finally she had agreed and with the "Yes" from her, he returned to his car and sat inside and wondered, " If you really want something, the entire Universe conspires to make it happen!"

  The turn of events had aided him completely. He had called her that night to ask her to open that damn door, and she asked him for help instead, thinking someone else was at the door! With Smitha being slightly in a state of shock, Juhi had been completely ignorant of Krupal deleting his messages from her inbox!

But deep down he knew it wouldn't be long before Juhi thinks about the incident some day again and wonders, " Why did he call me 17 times that night?"
But till then he had to keep her busy and he had to make sure she did not get enough time to wonder....
 



VIII
 
" Why do you need 1 week holiday? That too just before our Engagement?? "
"I need it! I always wanted to visit New Zealand. I've a friend there.....I'll be staying with him....."
"We could go there for our honeymoon!"
"But you don't like adventurous stuff.....we are planning for all the water sports and stuff like that. This is going to be my last trip before I get married!"

Nidhi thought about it for a while, but before she could ask the next question he said," Please don't ask me to give you a call everyday.......I might not be able to!"

" But you'll be here on Monday right? It's our Engagement! Don't forget......and please don't put me down in front of my people!"
" I'll be standing in front of you at dot 4 pm. Okay?"
" So late? The ceremony starts at 5!"
" Yes I know. That's why I'm coming at 4....."

Nidhi looked at Krupal unconvincingly.....no matter what he was saying right now...she just couldn't trust his single word. She knew she could not cage him, could not say a no to his requests, she had tried...but he had told her his plan only after he had finalized it. She stood there with her hands on her hips. He kissed her on her cheek and left.

---------------------------------------------------

" I'm late! I'm late! Gosh I'm late!" Juhi was packing her stuff and getting ready for office. Krupal sat in the hall, doing nothing.
"What? You don't have to go to the Hospital?"
He said nothing.
" Hello......I'm talking to you."
Still no answer.
" What the ....."
" What am I doing with my life?" He said finally, " Why am I so confused? And so driven at the same time? Why don't I understand what I want for sure?"
"Are you plain stupid or is there more to it?"
"Juhi......please help me. Please don't go today, please don't leave me alone."
"Yes!There is much more to it!" Juhi finally came to a conclusion.

She kept aside her  bag and sat near him and put a hand on his shoulder.
" If you are not ready for the marriage....tell her straight that you need time. Why are you agreeing to everything that she is saying?"
" I'd promised her....I gave her my word. I told her we would get married...I can't break my promise!"
" Look...circumstances change okay? You are not breaking the promise, you are only asking for some more time."
" I've been asking for more time since 1 year now."
" Krupal you can't have your cake and eat it too.....you have to choose...you have to make the compromise.......that's life!"
" I want you!"
" That's ...........Lust!"
" Why do you always brush me off with that negative word??"
" Because I don't understand the positive "Love" sweetheart! I understand liking, I understand attachment, I understand Lust, but what I don't understand is Love! What is it? What are you talking about?"
" It's hard to explain......but it exists....."

" It's the same thing as saying Santa Claus exists....same as saying Mermaids exist......its just an emotion born out of human Imagination Krupal! It's the same as the belief and philosophy of the existence of god! When human beings want miracles to happen and want to believe there is something higher than them, they make up all these stories.......love is a by product of those stories. It's up to you how much you want to get entangled in them......Today you want me, 2 years back you wanted Nidhi, and 2 years after me, you might want someone else.....how many times are you going to fall in love?"

" Nidhi wasn't love......I just wanted someone that time...I was desperate to fall in love! But that wasn't love.....I was in love with the idea of love....I was...."
" Stop! Please! I can't take these confusing statements anymore."

They kept looking at each other for a long time, in total silence......Juhi could not deny the fact that Krupal looked very attractive when he was lost in his thoughts and all that she wanted to do was to kiss him....and she looked at his lips and he knew what she wanted, and when she leaned in, he sang softly,

"I lose control because of you babe........ ( She smiled)
I lose control when you look at me like this........
There's something in your eyes that is saying tonight.....
I'm not a child anymore, life has opened the door to a new exciting life!"

She giggled and they held each other close........and rocked gently with the song he sang for her,

" I lose control when I'm close to you babe
I lose control don't look at me like this....
there's something in your eyes, is this love at first sight  ( she shook her head to show a "No")
like a flower that grows, life just wants you to know
all the secrets of life!"

He said: It's all written down in your lifelines
She said: it's written down inside your heart

They both sang : "You and I ..........just have a dream
to find our love a place
where we can hide away"

He said: "you and I ....were just made
to love each other now
forever and a day!"

Krupal had never sung instinctively to anybody before....he wondered...why Juhi? She inspired him...she set him free!

Nobody had ever sung for Juhi, she had never swayed while the man in her arms sang exclusively for her......and though there was no music playing, their bodies moved to a slow rhythm they knew existed...and felt the whole room flowing with the music they made....It was a magical moment for Juhi....the moments she always thought only existed in fairy tales....the way she felt being in his arms soothed her, calmed her, put down her defenses and she felt like a child in his arms, where she did not have to fight, where she did not have to pretend....where she could cry, where she could expect, she could demand, .............she wanted to melt in his arms.....She looked up at his face, and for the 1st time she wasn't trying to judge him....looking into his eyes, she wanted to trust him, she wanted to believe him....she wanted to belong to him...something she had not felt for so long...something she had avoided.........some doors were opening within her, those she had locked long back, the hurt that was locked in them was getting lost somewhere....she felt lighter, she felt a lot of weight being lifted off her shoulders......

"I'm tired....I want to go to sleep."
The last 2 days had been frantic- packing, buying new stuff, arranging it, putting up the curtains, fixing the internet and other connections......and now these new emotions......it was a whole new experience!

He accompanied her till her bedroom door and waited there.
She got into her bed and coiled in like a child......and went to sleep immediately.....

IX

"Are you alright Madam?"
Nidhi was still looking at the photos she received.
She took a long moment to compose herself, to think straight and not to take a hasty decision...when she was ready, there was only one thing she wanted to know," Where are they staying?"

-------------------------------------

Location: CCD

He was looking at her....she was looking down at her hands the whole time.
He waited for her to look up, he waited for her to show up...to show herself...the way he knew her!
That was his 'J'!
As he had never seen her before......quiet and dull!

"So this is the reason you've been Working From Home all 5 days!"
Just a Nod from Juhi.

"If you have to go for a date, you ask me to accompany you...and you take such a huge decision...and you keep me uninformed??. ....J.....I need to know, what made a mature reasonable and responsible lady like you to take a decision like this? What was the need to move in with a man who already has an engagement planned in a week's time? Why did you enter a losing situation J? You of all the people ? I look up to you......You ,you were my hero J!"

Juhi had never seen Swamy get so upset. The stress on "You WERE my hero!" was unmistakable!

"I did not know Krupal was such a Bastard!" Swamy could only think of blaming Krupal for J's condition.
"Please........don't!" She spoke for the 1st time this evening. The rest of the information she had told him through an e mail in the morning.
"Do  you at least know that he is getting engaged on Monday and that is 2 days from now?"
" Yes......."
"Do you love him?"
"I don't know....."
"Does he love you?"
"He says he does...."
"What do you want to do now?"
"I don't know...."

Swamy was shocked and irritated with her indecisiveness...a quality he had never seen in Juhi before.
"Well.....Why did you call me here?"
"I want your help....."
"How?"
"In making a decision........that is right for me!" She looked up at him for the first time, eyes  full of tears and confusion," I can't make up my mind Swamy."

Swamy had seen 'J' take some of the most difficult business decisions- she was always composed and calm in the face of difficulty! She was always in control of herself and the situation. Even if everything was wrong, a single look at her, had given Swamy a sense of relief....."J Baby will take care of it all!" He would tell himself!

And here was his J.....not being able to understand her feelings for a man, not being able to understand what was happening to her.........This Business lady was being beaten and defeated........by nothing but just one emotion....."Love".

He looked at her a long time- when he 1st read the e mail he had been angry, when he saw her sitting like that with her head hung low, he was disappointed! When he heard her talk like an immature school girl, he felt cheated! And now looking in those eyes...all red and full of tears, he realized the simple beauty of life and the magic of falling in love as he had never seen before!

He got up from his seat and sat next to her. He put his hand on her shoulder...she was still crying!
He looked at her with a simple smile.
"What?" She asked, irritated! " What's so funny about this?"
" Madam........you are in love with Krupal!"
She looked away and shook her head in disbelief!
"No matter how much you hate this fact, no matter how much you wanted to avoid this fall........you have fallen in love with that man...as innocently as a child...just the way it should be! Love , they say, you don't understand when you fall in it....it cannot be planned.....it just happens....and all you can do is feel the magic and go with the flow...and thank god, for making you one of those few lucky people, who truly and deeply touch this emotion in all its purity!"

"Which is the latest Hindi film you watched? Dialogues are good!"

Swamy laughed out loud!
"I'm only surprised with your conviction that you have built all these years that there is nothing called love....and when life is telling you in the loudest of its ways that 'Lady, see I proved you wrong...you are in love!' you rather get confused and cry than accept your defeat and enjoy the feeling!"

"You are not helping me in any way Swamy!"

"You are not ready to accept the truth J! This is not something to cry about...its something to celebrate! J baby is finally in love.......gosh! Hats off to Dr.Krupal! Something he must have done....what is it Madam? You and him alone in that flat.....something must have happened..."

"Nothing happened Swamy!"
"Hmm....I believe you!"
"Are you taunting me?"
"Staying together, liking each other, being attracted to each other and yet nothing happens.....ideal situation for love to creep in! So now you know....it's not lust....now you know that its not just a physical need."

" Yes! Both of us could just talk and listen to songs and sing and dance and cook and get a bit romantic, yet give each other the space, respect and try to understand what is the connection between us really...." Juhi was lost in her thoughts...." 5 days Swamy! I was all alone with him for 5 days.......I had the most beautiful time of my life!Oh my god.....is this love?"

"Yes J it is! Now cheer up! Go tell him...and enjoy this feeling girl!"
"What are people in love supposed to do Swamy? Should I buy him flowers and cards and gifts and a cake or..."
" That's what films and business people tell you ,to sell their stuff.....think J..what do you really want to do? How do you want to express yourself?"
"You are right Swamy! I don't want to buy something that everybody can buy with money......I want to do something special for him...very special!"

-------------------------------------------------------------

Krupal was simply surfing through the channels when the door bell rang.
He checked the time, Juhi had told him she's on her way, so it must have been her!
He went in the kitchen and brought the cake that he had baked for her and then with a bang, he opened the door, " Dhen te ne!"

" Wow! Beautiful New Zealand , isn't it?" It was Nidhi, followed by her private detective.
"Nidhi...wha....what are you .....?"
"Doing here? Wherever you go, my network follows!" She pointed at the detective! She was smiling so much that Krupal felt intimidated. She just stood there in the door not saying a word.
Krupal wanted her to shout, to cry...say something at least....but the last thing he wanted her to do was to smile!

"Aren't you going to call me in?" She asked smiling.
" Of course...come in...not you!" He said to the private detective and closed the door on his face.
Nidhi handed over the packet she was carrying.
"What is it?"
"Your clothes for the Engagement!"
"Engagement?"
"You forgot?"
"But Niddhi....."
"I don't want to talk about it......I know what you are up to, you can run but you can't hide from me...understand?"
She turned to go and opened the door, Juhi had just reached the floor. Both the ladies faced each other.
Krupal's worst nightmare was about to begin!

X

FREEZE.....

That was Krupal's wishful order for everyone!

Juhi stood there facing Nidhi...a red rose in her hands and an envelope...She did not recognize Nidhi, she had never met her before.
Nidhi looked at Juhi and immediately recognized her......
Both the ladies turned expectantly to Krupal!

Krupal's wishful order seemed to have worked only on him.....he did not move, nor did his facial expression change, only his eyes moved from Juhi to Nidhi and back to Juhi and lastly to the Private Detective who stood in one corner enjoying the scene!
The detective realized this was an explosive situation, he would have loved to wait and watch but Krupal's look was too scary to take a chance so he ran downstairs.

The expectant expression on Juhi's face turned to realization. Who else can this girl be?
Nidhi turned to look at Juhi again, and with tears in her eyes, she stepped closer to Juhi and caught her hands.
"I've nothing against you Juhi.....But I love this man too much.....And he just lies to me and abandons me in the middle of nowhere...what am I to do? What would you have done?"

Krupal was shocked to see a sudden change in Nidhi's tone," Liar Liar" He muttered to himself!
"Pardon me?" Nidhi asked.
"She's a lawyer!" Krupal told Juhi in a "Introductory" Style.
Juhi looked in Krupal's eyes, longer than necessary.
She took a moment to think...Nidhi was still holding her hands.

"Krupal doesn't love you Nidhi. That is the truth!"
"We are getting Engaged on Monday Juhi....I just gave him his Engagement clothes and he took them. That is also the truth!"

"You can't force yourself on him......you might make things work temporarily, but in the long run, its going to break!"
"You can't assume to know him.......1 week isn't enough to know a man!"

What the hell was happening?
Here are two ladies, in love with the same man, arguing over who gets him?
For a moment Krupal felt proud......usually you get to hear stories of men fighting over a woman...but here, he had turned the tables!
But then, where was this leading? Both the ladies have strong personalities, and this can take an ugly turn!
What was Krupal to do?
Stop it? Let it carry on?
He chose to let it carry on.
It was like a tennis match......right now the ball was in Juhi's court!

"I am not assuming anything Nidhi! It's not a toy we are fighting on. He's a free person and he has to make this choice, we arguing here and playing with words means nothing at the end of it!"
"You talk like a sensible woman....but you definitely don't behave like one!"
"Excuse me?"
"Don't you have a conscience? Don't you care about your character and reputation that you just move in with any man who asks you to? Or was it your idea?"

Juhi did not answer, she just smiled,"Nidhi You can't chain and cage someone you love, you have to let them be free!"
"You please don't tell me about letting him be free! I let him be free enough to go and kiss you in that restaurant on our date, I let him be free enough to live with you and sleep with you just a week before our Engagement!"

Juhi looked at Krupal,"Is she even understanding what I'm talking about Krupal?"

"Monday 4 pm Krupal......you promised! I gave you your time, your space, your freedom! What more do you want? Tell me where I went wrong? Why are you doing this to me? We've known each other for so long Krupal! I cannot imagine a life without you......Please don't leave me...please don't let me down! I've woven too many dreams for both of us.....I've thought for too long about our house, about our family, our children....I'll be lost without you in my life Krupal! Please try to understand......tomorrow.....please come!"

Nidhi was about to leave, when Juhi stopped her.
"Why can't you two sit inside and talk and decide for today whatever it is. Why wait till tomorrow?"
"You don't interfere in between both of us please. So Krupal...4pm, you promised! I'll be waiting!"

"Nidhi, please come inside!" Krupal was finally speaking.
And Nidhi suddenly felt she was losing the battle.
"I don't want to talk with you in front of her!"
"Okay. We can sit inside the room!"
"No...Not there too."
Nidhi had started behaving like an adamant child fighting for a toy.

"Okay, you two can sit in the hall and I'll go out...fine with you?" Juhi offered.
"I want some water!" Nidhi had started crying...with every passing moment, passing sentence, she was getting the vibes of a loss. And she hated losing. University Topper she was...she had never failed in life.....She had always calculated in advance and everything had worked out her way!
Juhi got her water,"Can I get you some tea ,coffee or lime water perhaps?"
"Lime water".
"Okay!"

Krupal was a silent spectator in this world of female communication!He could not understand what exactly was happening at the moment? Were they fighting? Were they being friends? Colleagues? Who's helping whom? Is this really helping or is it making things worse? Should he be talking or letting the females handle it their way?

Again, he chose the later! He let them handle it their way!

Nidhi and Krupal sat on the sofa. Juhi went in the kitchen to make Lime water.
"I'm sorry Nidhi. But I don't think it will work."
"It's okay.....You've been giving me the signals for quite some time...but it is too difficult for me to let go of something I like so much!"
"I'm not some-thing Nidhi! I'm not your toy! I should have stopped you long back when you started dominating me....but I thought that stage would pass by! But it didn't, and our relationship did more harm than good!"
Nidhi: "Love always hurts Krupal, doesn't mean a relationship is failing!"
Krupal: " Love doesn't hurt Nidhi....Love heals!"


Nidhi sighed,"Hmm....That's well said! Krupal,You are in love with her...why couldn't you tell me when I told you about the Engagement?"
He laughed,"Do you know that you are a terror at times?"

She thought for a while,"How am I to manage without you?"
"Oh come on! You've always been on your own Nidhi...its just in our mind that someone else is there, has to be there.....but in reality, you've never been dependent on me as such..you are quite independent!"

"Are you dependent on her?" Nidhi asked.
Krupal put a hand on Nidhi's shoulder,"From the day I met her!"
"What about her?"
"She's useless without me!"
They both laughed a little.
And fell silent for a while.
"So....are we going to remain friends?"
"We could...do you want to?"
"I kind of liked her.....she's mature and composed! If she was some Bimbo I would have lost all respect for you!"
"Hehe! So you want to be friendly with me because you like her?"
"No....Nothing like that!"

They looked at each other," Krupal....I'm going to miss you!"
"What about me are you going to miss the most?", Krupal asked.
"Who am I going to boss over now?"
"Ohh! That part you are going to miss, is it?"
"What will you miss about me?" Nidhi asked innocently.
"Who will boss over me now? Nobody ever bossed on me the way you did- not my parents, not teachers..nobody!"
"Don't worry....I still retain the right to boss over you!"

"People...can I come in and disturb you please?" Juhi came with the tray of drinks and snacks.

Nidhi took a bite of a biscuit and asked Juhi,"How do you know it is love, when it happens?"
"I did not know.....I realized ..with time....Time brings all the answers!"
"How do you know whether this will last?"
"There's no way to tell actually...but it just feels right! I've no doubts.....and I'm sure he doesn't have too! It's not a chance that we are taking with each other.....we know we are in love!"
"And if it fails?"
"True love doesn't fail! It cannot fail!"
"Oh God! I'm going to cry!" Nidhi cupped her face with her palms and started crying. The tears were for the first failure of her life! The tears were for the realizations that this failure had brought to her, the lessons that she learnt from this experience!

Juhi put a hand around Nidhi's neck and tried to soothe her, and Nidhi turned to Juhi and hugged her!
"Oh my god...this is going to make me cry now....! Women....These things you do...my god!" Krupal joined them and hugged them both! He kissed both the ladies on their forehead," Oh god! I must have been God's favourite to deserve women like you two in my life...and there's another one.."
"Who?" Both Nidhi and Juhi shot up their heads to look at Krupal.
"Mom!" He said with wide eyes!
All three of them laughed, all three of them hugged and cried!

The next day, there was no Engagement! It was called off!

Juhi and Krupal wanted to take more time so they continued living in together for the rest of the year and got married the following year.

Krupal's mother was shocked to hear the turn of events and in the change of plans.....but then," These things these young confused people do now a days.....Let them handle it their way!" She said and stepped aside.

Initially it was a bit tough for Nidhi to deal with the whole loss..but Juhi and Krupal stood by her so that she could deal with the emotional side effects of a break up!
"This doesn't feel like a break up at all...maybe that's why I'm more confused about how to deal with it!" Nidhi often complained.
"Go start dating, meet new people, you'll be fine!" Juhi advised her.
"Do you know of any young eligible bachelors?"
"Actually .....I do!" 

Juhi introduced Nidhi to Swamy. 
It did not work...it was a disaster!

After that Swamy officially pledged not to date anybody recommended by J -1st Smitha, then Nidhi.....He would rather find someone by himself!

Nidhi is currently single, and ready to mingle.
If any of you young boys want a smart intelligent independent and nice girl, you could think about her.
And she's grown up now, she's no more controlling as she was once upon a time.

***************************** *******THE END*************************************

Your Feedback, suggestions and comments are most welcome!

Song in Part 8 : You and I performed by Scorpions.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DgUKG6w9CBM

Image at : http://2.bp.blogspot.com/_87WZMekwHoI/THu4-vUK4AI/AAAAAAAABMo/T7rdx7yyPYY/s1600

 

THE END

 


2 comments:

  1. Hey,
    I rememeber when I read this whole story first time, again forwarded to me by Kiran, and you won't believe it, this story just touched my heart and mind, this has one of the most intense touch to my soul, I mean, I can't describe much why and how is that so, but it was like that.

    Deepak

    ReplyDelete
  2. That's a beautiful feedback Deepak. Thank you so much :-)

    ReplyDelete

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