17 May 2015

The Thing Called: Bloody Ending

Chapter 9
The Thing Called: Bloody Ending
December 31, 2013: The day that changed my life. The memory of that night will remain etched in my mind forever. We decided to celebrate in a pub. Ganu was not very enthusiastic about being in a pub on 31st night, but we somehow convinced him.
When we entered the pub, we saw Yosha dancing with a few friends.  JT immediately turned to me.
JT: Sammy, it’s Yosha. Let’s get out of here; I don’t want to bump into her.
Me: Why? What’s wrong?
Rider heard us and signalled that we should leave.
Ganu: Guys, we can go to Club Indy. It’s also a nice pub.
Me: Ok, let’s go.
Club Indy was one of those clubs where the latest Bollywood songs kept many busy dancing.
JT: Yeah, this is a great pub. Ganu, you are awesome for bringing us here.
Me: JT, let’s dance.
JT: Yup, but let’s get drunk first.
He waved at a waitress who was serving tequila shots. All of us took one shot each.
JT: Now, let’s dance.
After dancing for almost two hours, we were exhausted, but exhilarated. We sat on a couch to catch our breaths. Just as we were getting comfortable, JT saw a boy who he thought was trying to act smart with a girl.
JT: Look at that boy. What do you think, can he get that girl?
The boy was standing close to her, they both looked at each other and the girl smiled at him. They started dancing together.
Me: JT, they are together.
JT: Nope, I don’t think so.
The boy then started touching the girl. She didn’t seem to mind initially, but after a while she resisted his advances. She began telling him to stop. JT got angry watching this whole episode.
JT: Look at him. Now he is crossing the line.
Me: Easy JT, they both know what they are doing.
The girl warned him again.
JT: He is definitely out of line. Let’s beat up that punk.
Me: Relax JT. It’s none of our business; you have not taken an oath to protect all the girls. Besides, she is his girlfriend.
JT: How can you be so sure?
Me: Trust me.
As I was about to explain how I knew, when we watched her warning him again to back off.
JT: You moron!
JT marched towards the boy and punched him in the face.
Rider was about to leave the couch, but I pulled him back.
Me: Wait, let’s see how many guys he has.
JT landed another punch on the boy’s face.
Four guys rushed towards the boy, while three more got up from their seats to enter the fight.
Me: Now it’s time to help JT.
JT: Hey dude, if a girl says no, then a man doesn’t force her. Don’t you understand it, or did your mommy not teach you  any manners?
Girl: Who the hell are you to interfere between us? Leave before he beats the hell out of you.
Before she could finish, JT was smacked in the middle of his face. His nose and lower lip began bleeding.
Boy: Didn’t you hear what she said? Now get the hell out of here before I kill you.
Me: Sorry man, we are just leaving. JT, I told you they were together.
As we were leaving, two bouncers literally lifted JT and threw him out of club. In the melee, I couldn’t pick up my phone which was constantly buzzing. I was shocked and surprised that she was calling me. Before I could speak, she started talking.
Her: Are you following me?
Me: Me? No.
Her: What’s the matter with you? Wherever you go, you create a scene. Why have you been acting so weird lately?
Me: Trust me, it wasn’t me.
Her: Then it must be your friend. I know how you boys are. Whatever you can’t do, you get your friends to do it. Just tell your friend to stop interfering in others’ lives, otherwise I will tell Surya. Once he gets to know this, nobody will be able to save you.
Me: What did you just say? We get things done, do we? Ok then, now I will show you how we really get things done. And by the way, who the hell is Surya?
As the bouncers bundled us downstairs, I grabbed JT’s hand and called out to Rider and told him that we would return in five minutes and asked him to get the bikes ready. I threw my bike keys to him. Doors closed and the lift started moving.
Me: I have some unfinished business upstairs.
JT: Whatever you say bro. Shall we beat them up?
Me: Just follow my lead.
We rushed inside the club.
Me: Just stay with me.
JT just nodded, while nursing his bleeding lower lip, as blood oozed out from it incessantly.
We approached the DJ and asked him to give us the mike. He refused, which made JT punch him so hard that he fell down. He switched off the music and gave me the mike.
I pointed to the boy.
Me: Hey you! It takes balls to fight with a man one on one. If you are man enough, I am waiting outside. You little punk!!! This is how we do things.
I saw him coming towards us. JT and I rushed out of the club from the back door. The bouncer at the door didn’t know what had happened earlier, so we decided to take him for a ride.
Me: That boy in the red T-shirt is acting like a hooligan. Please don’t allow such guys in the club again.
As soon as we got out of the building, JT and I hopped onto our bikes. We saw the boy and his gang come towards us even as we revved up our engines.
Me: You dogs!! Tell your mommy, Samrat insulted you!
And we exited from there.
That boy I guess, was Surya. They followed us in a Jeep and three bikes.
Me: JT, let’s go faster.
In 10 minutes we were near the university. Then we saw four guys on bikes talking to a passer-by. When they saw us, one of the guys pointed at JT. When JT saw the guys I could see that he looked troubled.
JT: Shit!
Me: What happened?
JT: It’s politics, stay out of it.
Me: JT, listen. Let’s deal with one problem at a time. I will lose the boy and his gang. We will meet you at college. Can you handle these guys till then?
JT: Sammy, stay out of this. It’s my mess.
Me: JT listen to me. We can get out of this as well. Just meet me at the college in 30 minutes.
JT: Ok.
Me: Rider, stay with him.
R: Ok.
I rode down to Hotel Sadhana and rushed to the reception.
Me: Where is Chota Bhai? Tell him it’s time to return the favour. Samrat Shirke is waiting outside.
I then called Nitin.
Me: Hello, Nitin?
N: Hi, Sammy sir.
Me: Where are you?
N: At JT Sir’s flat.
Me: How fast can you reach the college?
N: Sir, I don’t have a bike with me. It will take 15 minutes. What happened? Is it anything serious?
Me: Yes, kind of. Can you bring the bottle and one pack of cigarettes from Adi’s, and meet me at college in 30 minutes?
N: Ok sir. Your jacket is here. Shall I bring that too?
Me: Yes please. It’s my lucky jacket.
By then, Chota bhai had arrived.
CB: Shirke sahib kaisenba? Aaj itne ratike kaise yaadki ha? (How are you Mr. Shirke? What made you remember me at this time of night. What happened?)
Me: Bas aisa samazlo aaj tumhari, aur tumhare logo ki jarurat he. Tumhare logo ko le kar mere college me chalo abhi turant. (I need you and your men. Meet me at college immediately.)
C B: Jaisen tohar marzi. (As you say.)
And I took off from there ... When I reached the main road, I saw the boy and his gang on the main road. They took a U-turn and followed me.
Boy: Pakado haramiko. (Catch that bastard.)
They caught up with us quickly. Somebody from the jeep hit me with an iron bar. I lost my balance and fell off the bike. I got up immediately and took a U-turn. I had almost reached Hotel Sadhana when I spotted Chota Bhai and his gang.
Me: Ruko, woh log yahan aa rahehe. (Wait. They are coming here.)
I thought Chota Bhai and his gang would scare them away, but the fight went beyond a couple of punches and kicks. I even heard gun shots. Then I realized I entered into pretty serious shit. Only after three of the boy’s gang got seriously hurt, did they take off.
Me: Chalo abhi college me bhi jana he. (Let’s go to college now.)
C B: Sahab, tohar khun behta, gadi me bethja. (You are bleeding. You will ride with us.)
Me: Nahi, main thik huhoon. Jaldi chalo der ho rahi he. (I am ok. Let’s go, it’s getting late.)
On our way to college, I picked up Nitin from Adi’s. Soon, I got a call from JT.
JT: I am about to reach college. Where are you?
Me: I am reaching too.
When we reached college, I saw JT was being followed by two bikes. I signalled Chota Bhai to ride towards them. His gang took care of the bikers.
C B: Sahab aavathai. Kuch jarurat lage toh bataye. (It’s all been taken care of. Just give me a call if you need any help.)
I smiled at him and said, “Zaroor”. (Sure, I will)
Chota Bhai and his gang took off.
Me: Are you Ok JT? Oh shit, you are bleeding. it will now swell up like anything.
JT: So are you.
We both looked at each other and laughed.
Me: Thank you Ganu and Rider for sticking together.
JT: Nitin, how come you are here?
Me: I called him here.
N: Here Sir, take your jacket and get rid of that torn shirt.
Me: You leave for Gujarat tonight. I will send your stuff there as it’s not safe here.
JT: Yes, you are right. But tell me one thing. How did you manage to bring the gang?
Me: Have you heard of the Shirke Group of Industries? It turns out that I share my name with one of their heirs. Chota Bhai's gang is indebted to their family and I knew they wouldn't refuse me any favours if they thought it was my namesake calling. Luckily they have never met him and hence do not know what he looks like. All I had to do was make a call and here they were.
I was left marvelling at Sammy's resourcefulness and bravado. 'Here is a man of rare ingenuity and presence of mind,' i thought. There was no situation he couldn't think his way out of. He had been through a lot after all. The daily grunge of college life, as well as his girlfriend’s heartless choice to separate from him had resulted in transforming him entirely. Gone were the times of his innocent and gullible ways. This was a man who lived by his own rules.
By now, all of you are probably wondering who I am. I am Nitin, Sammy's best friend, and your humble narrator.
Rider and Ganu eventually left for their flat and it was just me and Sammy in the parking lot. That was where Sammy proceeded to narrate the entire story to me. I was now the only person besides Sammy and his girlfriend, who knew this story. This was where I had my first thoughts of penning the whole thing down one day.
It was close to 5:30 in the morning when two black Mercedes’ drove in. Yosha stepped out from one of them.
Y: How is he?
Me: Pretty damaged.
Sammy was leaning against his bike, one hand was busy with a bottle, the other held a cigarette.
She walked towards him and kissed him.
Me: Yosha, please leave him alone. He is pretty damaged.
Y: I only like damaged boys.
As she was saying this, Sammy took off his jacket, put it on the bike and walked towards the car. It was then that I noticed a tattoo on his back: a big “A”. He was holding a red handkerchief, which he dropped. I rushed towards him,
Me: Sammy, wait. Just tell me who she is. She is Alicia, isn’t she?
He looked at me and smiled.
Me: I knew it. She is Alicia Sethi!
He didn’t look at me but went straight to the car. A girl in a red dress stood near the car, holding a blazer. He went to her, took the blazer and wore it. I asked Yosha where she was taking him.
Y: Far away from this nonsense. He doesn’t belong here. Will you do one thing, please?
Me: What is it?
Y: Please repair Sammy’s bike and return it to his brother.
She handed me a bundle of cash.
Y: His number is inside.
Me: Anything for Sammy.
Sammy and Yosha stepped into the car and drove away.

The End

Please mention your valuable opinion about my story. Or mail me on nikhil.bhoskar@gmail.com

14 May 2015

The Thing Called: Solid Support

Chapter 8
The Thing Called: Solid Support
It was an unwritten rule that the three of us would sit together to prepare for every exam – internal or semester. But this semester, it was going to be different. This separation had left me in pretty bad shape. I didn’t know what hurt me more, the break up with my girlfriend or my falling out with Mourya. But as the saying goes, as god has given us a stomach, he has also procured food from somewhere.
Three days before the third semester exam, I was in a dilemma. I wasn’t sure if I should give the exam or not. It was 10:30 in the morning and I got a text. I didn’t know what was happening to me. but for every text I used to get, I always used to pray in my mind that this time it must be her, but this time unfortunately, the text wasn’t from her, it was from Monika, saying the hall tickets had been issued and asking me to collect mine. I thought, if I was not giving the exam; why the hell should I collect my hall ticket? As I threw my mobile phone on the bed, my mother found me. She looked worried and asked me what happened.
Me: Why do you want to know if I am ok or not?
Mom: I am just asking son. If you don’t want to tell me, it’s ok. But don’t get upset on such a beautiful morning.
Upset, yes that was the word I was searching for, the emotion I was struggling with. I was upset because I had been beset with all these incidents. I wasn’t able to compartmentalize my feelings.  I was restless, I felt suffocated. I was dying to get out of the situation, but didn’t know how. I was in desperate need of a friend who could guide and support me, pull me out of this quicksand. But the thing here was I couldn’t ask anyone to pull me out because I had promised her that I wouldn’t tell anybody about our relationship. I was stuck between quicksand and a desert storm. Where you can’t see anything, can't figure out where to go, neither can you call anyone for help. If I opened my mouth, everyone would come to know.
I decided I had to pull myself out of this situation on my own, I had to be strong. I needed to keep myself busy, surround myself with friends to forget about the ones gone by. So I decided to go to college where I knew I would find three or four of my friends at least.
When I reached college, I bumped into Jay. Almost 5.11”, slim fit shirt, tablet in one hand, black colour trousers, smile on the face. As I saw him, he waved to me, I gave him a smile. We called him JT. He was my classmate, but we were not close. Somehow I always felt I could not connect with him.
Me: How are you?
JT: I am fine. How are you?
Me: I am also fine.
JT: Are you? You don’t look fine. What’s the matter?
Me: Nah. I am fine. Believe me.
JT: Ok. We will discuss this later. Go and collect your hall ticket first.
Me: Did you collect yours?
JT: Nope. Fees not paid yet.
Me: Dude when are you going to do that? Just pay the damn fees, otherwise they will not allow you to sit for the exams.
JT: Well, that’s the fun part. They will have to allow me to sit for the exams. And I am not going to pay the fees till I get a placement from the college. See, this is my account balance.
He showed me his balance on his tablet, apart from the fee amount, he had Rs. 5,000 extra. That was the interest he had earned on depositing the fees with the bank.
Me: Well, you are one of a kind.
JT: I know that. Go and collect your hall ticket. I will collect mine on the day of the exam.
As I was stepping out after collecting it, I saw the notice board. My ex-girlfriend had been nominated for the sports scholarship. There were other nominees, but her chances were higher. I was excited and happy. I immediately called her to congratulate her.
Me: Hey, congrats.
Her: Congrats for what, Samrat? What is it this time? Please don’t irritate me. Our exams begin in three days. Please don’t disturb me.
Me: Sorry.
Her: Now, please go and study, or do whatever you want. But please, let me study.
She cut the call.
Though she was upset with me, I felt happy because I had got a chance to hear her voice. Everyone around me was busy, so I went to the library. Many students, especially juniors, were busy gathering notes. I was looking at them and smiling. It was amusing to think about student life. Many gather in the library for notes or books when exams are knocking at the door. But if you ask them to attend college regularly, half of them will start bunking lectures from that very day. Those who attend lectures daily are either studious or they have girlfriends who like to sit through lectures. As I was thinking about this, JT came and sat beside me. He was reading the newspaper and there were three huge books on his table.
Me: JT, what are these?
JT: Ganu is coming to college. He asked me to get these books.
Me: So, you are going to start studying from today.
JT: Nope, from tomorrow. Today, I am just going to look at books so that my eyes will get accustomed to the colour and size. Ganu will decide what to read. What about you? When you are going to start?
Me: Haven’t decided yet. I don’t want to study or give the exam. I have been thinking that I will sit for the re-exams after two months. I will clear all the subjects then.
JT: Dude, this attitude doesn’t suit you. Come, lets study together.
Me: Yes, let’s see.
When I stepped out, Ganu had come to take the books. I accidentally bumped into JT, Ganu, and Rider as they were about to leave the college. It was an awkward moment.
Me: Got the notes?
JT: Yup.
Me: So, what are you guys going to do now?
JT: We will make food and take a nap. Do you wish to join? You haven’t seen our flat, have you?
Me: Nope.
JT: Come with us. We can have lunch together.
I followed him. It was a 2-bedroom flat, little did I know then that I would be spending  some of the best moments of my life there.
I started spending more time with them. We developed a strong bond and an especially strong one with JT. I remember when JT landed a job, we celebrated by making sweets from scratch. He knew how to have fun. Any party was incomplete without him.
December 23, 2013. The booze kept flowing that night and we must have smoked innumerable packs of cigarettes. JT had invited around 30 people and everyone was punch drunk towards the end. By 1:30 am, most of them had left.
The party reminded me of the previous year’s party, “The Reunion” and how I had eventually proposed. I checked my mobile phone to see if there were any messages or calls. There was only one new message, it was from Monika. It said
'It's that time of the year again. A time to think of all your loved ones. A  time to forget and forgive, and give all your loved ones a second chance. May the coming Christmas fill your heart with warmth and love. Merry Christmas!'
This message reminded me of how Monika had missed the chance of asking me out by just two days last year. This year though she had remembered and texted me at the same time. Looking at the message I smiled. JT asked me who the lucky girl was. I looked at JT and told myself that this time, Monika had texted me at the right time.
Me: JT, have you experienced love?
JT immediately took out his tablet and showed me the wallpaper.
Me: Who is she?
JT: She is my girlfriend. We have been together for the past five years.
Me: What? Are you serious?
JT: Yes, I am serious. I am going to marry her. Her parents also know about us. That’s why getting a job was very important. I am very happy today and threw this party.
JT belonged to a rich family. They owned huge tracts of land and many of his family members were politicians.  
Me: Well JT, you are one lucky guy.
JT: Sammy, you must have noticed that most of the people who came here tonight were shocked to see you at the party.
Me: Why?
JT: Because they have never seen you hanging out at a friend’s apartment or drinking. They have always seen you getting involved in some college event or doing something else. And I know that many girls in our college are dying to go out with you. I have been watching you over the past few months and you seem lost. You haven’t been involved in any college activity also. What is the matter? You know some wise man had said “What could be tree should not die as a plant”. And I believe that you have the potential to grow into a tree. So what is the matter with you?
Me: I have been going through a rough phase.
JT: Was it the break up?
Me: What? No, no, no. Not at all. Who told you that?
I wanted to tell him the truth and scream out loud, 'Yes. It was my fucking break up that had turned me into a wreck'. But I could not say this because I had promised someone. But in my heart I thanked him for being there for me.
JT: Well I don’t know the reason but if it was because of a relationship, then remember – this is just my observation. Guys like you should not get involved in relationships because your breed is different. Guys like you are meant to do the great things. There will be thousands of girls lining up for you.
If what JT said was true, then why not her? I didn’t want thousands of girls, I only wanted her. If she had said yes to my proposal exactly a year ago, then why couldn’t I ask her again right now, because Monika didn’t forget she also had some hope left, so why not me? I called up to ask.
Me: Hi, still awake?
Caller: Are you ok?
Me: I am ok.
Caller: How drunk are you?
Me: How did you know?
Caller: I am your elder brother dear. I can sense that you are pretty drunk right now.
Me: You are right. I must have had one full bottle. I called to tell you that I am going to call her one last time. If she says no, I am not going to call her or talk to her ever again.
Bro: My dear little brother, always remember that we belong to a royal family. If that girl says she doesn’t want to be with you, then respect her decision. A gentleman never calls a woman at night and especially not in the condition that you are in. If you want to call her, get sober and ask her politely. Now, go to sleep.
The very next day, as soon as I woke up the next day, I called her. I had come to know from Monika that she had got a job in Chennai but I pretended I was hearing this news for the first time.
We spoke over the phone for almost an hour, but I did not bring up the topic of our relationship. To this day, I don’t know why.