Wednesday, March 22, 2017

3. The First Date

Previously...

The festivities continued for another couple days. It was either going to some temple or a big hoard of relatives coming up with rituals that made absolutely no sense to Sanjana.
Growing up in a nuclear family she never had the chance to see any elaborate marriage or so many rituals included in one. Marriages in her family was usually a two day function and the third day mostly the couple will be busy with their honeymoon or busy moving into a separate apartment. She has never even seen a family where the kids stayed with the parents after getting married.

And with her parents gone she really had nowhere to turn to for advice also now.

"Hey Krish..." she asked as he got into bed that night.
"Hmmm?"
"You are going back to work tomorrow right?"
"Yeah. Kanna already went. So it is only fair that I go by tomorrow at the least." He spoke and turned around to face her. "You have something in mind?"
"No... Without you I just don't have any idea what to do at home." she gave him a nervous smile.
"Ha ha.. That is for you to figure out. There's Veni. You have spoken to her. And Anni will be here only."
"I just..." she couldn't finish the sentence. She had no idea about the family's routine. She just knew that Krish's father ran multiple businesses and both Krish and his elder brother took care of it. Nothing more.

Sanju did not know if she was expected to do the cooking, or cleaning or everything now that she was the new daughter-in-law. She did see a couple of maids. But till now she hasn't seen them do any of the cooking.
"I really don't want to screw this up. I don't want to get a bad name. That is why I am being so paranoid." she spoke up.

"You won't. Just be yourself and you will end up winning everyone's hearts here. Don't worry." He placed a light kiss on her nose.

Krish's harmless action made Sanjana's heart flutter. For some reason she felt at peace and went to sleep.


She entered the coffee shop looking for the slightly familiar face. She actually did not remember how he looked. Choosing a table in the corner she sat down. Nervousness was obviously surging through her.
As she was lost in thoughts sipping her latte Krish sat in front of her apologising. 
“You did tell me you were going to be late…” she finished the caffeine drink and put down the empty cup. 
He just laughed and looked around. 
“This place sure is boring…” 
“Its a coffee shop. What did you expect?” 
“Have you gone bowling?” he asked with a slight grin. 

It was pretty much the most fun she had had in a long time. She figured it was because he wasn’t trying to impress her. She just gained a friend. 


Sanjana hesitantly entered the kitchen expecting women to be running across like chefs during busy hours. But she saw one of the maids chopping vegetables. She looked around expecting to run into at least one of her in-laws. Silently she made herself some coffee and went to sit by the dining table.
Sanju was a bit nervous. All fun and games were over and everyone was going back to their usual life. And it was time for her to take charge as a daughter-in-law. She just had no idea where to start or whom to ask. With so much in her mind she did not notice it when someone sat next to her by the dining table. She was a bit startled when a cup of fresh beverage was pushed towards her. 
“Oh I am sorry Ma… I was lost in thoughts…” 
Mythili just smiled a warm smile at the newly wed girl. 
“Is that for Krish?” she pointed at the new coffee mug. 
“He generally prefers bed coffee.” Sanjana had the strong urge to roll her eyes. 
“Let me deliver this to him and then maybe you will let me help you with breakfast?” 
“Sure…” The smile was still the same. 


She had a feeling that things were going to be just fine with her mother-in-law.  

###

I guess I don't have a title for this series.. Well lets see how it goes.. Hope I could keep it going and finish it! 

Monday, February 20, 2017

Hey Honey...

What happens when two people who have mutual interests go on a date? Well read and find out! 

@@@@


“So why are you two fighting again?” Jai asked as he sipped on the beer. It was their usual sports night. But unlike Jai his buddy Harish wasn’t that excited about it. He had been pretty silent since the match started.
It had to be a fight. Ever since he started dating that girl he met online, they have been fighting on and off. Most of the times it would be something really petty.
“We are not fighting.” Harish went back to scowling as the match went on.
“Dude just because you two disagreed on something doesn’t mean you have to let that ruin our sports night too.”

When he was still silent, Jai put his hands up in defeat.
“You are right.” Harish spoke up. “I shouldn’t be sitting silently and scowling.”
“Yeah so let’s go back to the game.”
Half his sentence was drowned by the enthusiastic Harish yelling “I will tell you what happened and you can tell me who was right…”

That was not exactly what the former was suggesting. But then he agreed just to get it over with. In hopes that once the story was over they could go back to the game.

“So, there was this new restaurant we both were hearing a lot about. It was a neat little place. We placed our order and were talking. The date was going well until the food arrived.
This woman frigging took out her DSLR camera and started taking pictures of the food. And the drinks. And the restaurant. She was taking pictures of everything.”

“She didn’t take any pictures of you?”

“No! She was taking all those photos for her blog. Since that was a new restaurant she thought she would blog about it. And decided that our date night would be a good time to do it.”

“Okay then?”


“The photo session went on for about 20 minutes. By which time the food had gone cold. So we had to ask them to reheat it up for us. This is the first time that I have ever had to send food back to the kitchen to get it reheated.
I had ordered a mutton briyani and she had gotten herself some cottage cheese steak. When I started eating she started making faces.”

“What did you do?”

“Nothing… I just ate my food. I was using my bare hand and that upset her. Apparently, that did not look decent to her and I must eat it using a spoon. I looked like some sort uncivilized fellow per her.”

“But this is briyani we are talking about…”

“Exactly my point!” He hi-fived his pal and went on.
“Oh it did not end there. The dessert was another story. They had my all time favorite rasamalai. I suggested that and she wanted to get a brownie based dessert on the menu. I mean you don’t get good rasamalai at a lot of places. Why can’t she just go along with me for once? I keep trying her experimental food all the time. What is the point of being a foodie if you can’t have your favorite dessert? And when I actually said that out loud she got all upset and put on a frown face. We did not have any dessert. I dropped her off and came home.”

Jai now got why these two were fighting. When they first met online it was all too good for them. Both loved food. That was a good base to start dating. They spoke about their favorite food joints, shared recipes, went around trying different cuisines.
But what they did not know was their love for food was very different. While Harish is the kind of person who lives to eat, his girlfriend sort of lives to blog about what she eats. They love everything gastronomical, but the way they express it was poles apart.

“So it was one bad date. It happens dude…”

They sat there sipping on their beers.

“You are right!” Harish suddenly said getting up. “I should do something to make it up to her.”

“You are going to do it now? When the game is on?” Jai spoke trying to salvage what was left of their game night. “What are you doing?”

Harish was intently scrolling through something on his phone. “Oh I am ordering some brownies for her. It should be delivered to her in 30 minutes.”

Not long after he finished his order the doorbell rang.
“You gave this address?”

“No.” Harish opened the door.

A delivery executive was standing with a small box. “Order for Harish.”

“But I gave a different name and address.”

“No sir. This is the address given. One plate Rasamalai. Order is placed in your name.”

That moment his phone rang.
“Thanks” he said. “And I am sorry…” He added.
“Oh you got it too?”
“You like it?”
“He he he…”

And there sat Jai with his face resting on his palm, cursing under his breathe for even coming over.


And they happily kept fighting over food. Read more here

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This post is written for the 'Love Theme' contest by The Chennai Bloggers Club in association with woodooz and Indian Superheroes

Saturday, July 16, 2016

The Day Dream

“Will you be my date?” he asked her holding her hand in his.
She was confused. “Did you get short term remembering loss? We have been dating for the past eight months.” Mandira went back to drinking her cold coffee.
Kiran laughed at her reply. “I was asking you to be my date for Sujay’s wedding.”
That stopped her slurping for a moment. “Won’t you be going with your buddies?”
“Well most of them are either married or engaged and would be accompanied by their significant other.”
“Oh…” she was fiddling with her ring. The ring with which Kiran had proposed to her last month.
“You don’t want to?”
“Not like that. It’s just…” she let the sentence trail. She really did not have a reason. She was just hesitant.
“This would be the best occasion. We can go public with our relationship.” He beamed for a moment.
She went down in her seat while mumbling “You can just change relationship status in facebook for that na.”

He started laughing at her embarrassment.
“Why are you scared? You know almost everyone in my group right?”
“That is exactly why I am not willing to go. They all knew very well how big of a crush I had on you back then. The entire school knew. Except you!” she almost covered her face knowing she was blushing.
Kiran sat next to Mandira. “Look… There is nothing to be embarrassed about. We have known each other since school. Have been dating for almost a year now. My mom adores you for god-knows-what reason and your family seems to be happy about our engagement. So let me flaunt you to my friends… Please?”
"I am not some iPhone to flaunt you know..." she raised her eyebrow.
"No.. You are not. You are not as good as an iPhone."
Now she got upset. "Is it?"
"No... You will never be... You are much more than a flimsy phone. You are my life. C'mon..."


"C'mon Mandy..." Mandira was shook back to reality by her friend. She hadn't realized that she had been staring at Kiran for so long and none of her friends actually noticed it. 
"Oh I am not coming. You guys go and dance." she encouraged them to leave her alone. 
That was a pretty elaborate day dream to have during a school reunion. She looked back again to find the hero of her dreams still talking on his iPhone. But that was when she saw that he had been looking at her the entire time. 

May be he too had the same dream as her. 



####

A really short story. And I got stuck with the ending part for quite a bit. Thanks to Kishor who helped me finish it well. And also made me sit and write it as well. 


Sunday, June 12, 2016

Late night delivery

Ramya sat in her room browsing through the restaurants that offered late night food delivery. It was around 1 am and she had the sudden craving for some briyani. Given that she hadn't eaten anything since brunch didn't help her much. 
Opening one such restaurant's site she quickly looked through the menu. They had briyani within the money she had at hand. Cursing her PMS that didn't let her go out all week she dialled the number. 

"Hello, Take out box." She heard the male voice on her phone. 
"Hi, I would like to place an order for delivery at Nobo nagar."
"Yes ma'am."
"Yeah... I want one chicken briyani."
"And?"
"That's it." she was hoping he would just take in that for an order.
"Ma'am it would be nice if there was a minimum order." 
She felt bad. It was rather late. The next ATM was a good kilometer away from her place. 
"Ma'am?" 
"I don't have any more money to order another dish. I have just enough for one." 
"We can't order without minimum order ma'am."
"Oh. Then alright. Please cancel the order." she spoke and hung up quickly. 
Looking at the maggi pack that was nearing expiry date she sighed. "Looks like briyani will have to wait till tomorrow."

She was startled when her phone started ringing. It was from the restaurant. 
"Hello?" 
"We are calling from Take out box." this time it was a different guy. 
"Yes?" 
"We will deliver it ma'am. Please give us your address."
She felt like she had just won the lottery. 
"Its No.10, 1st main road, Nobo nagar."
"Alright ma'am. Our delivery person will call you in a while." 
The line went dead. 

What better can she ask for? She was happy. 
When she heard the door bell she took out the last two hundred rupee notes left in her purse and skipped to the living room. 
The moment she opened the door colour drained from her face. She just stood there gaping at the person who was holding her food package. 

"Vishnu?" she uttered. 
"Aren't you gonna let me in?" he looked behind her to see that almost the whole house was dark. 
"What are you doing here?" she managed to ask. 
She was not about to let her ex-fiance inside her place late at night that easily. 
"Ah... I came to deliver your briyani?" he pointed to the bag in his hand. 
"But... You are not a delivery guy." 
"I can explain if you do let me in..." he spoke with pleading eyes. 

"You must be hungry. First eat rams..." 
Although she didn't want to eat in front of him, her grumbling tummy did not seem to agree with her pride. Opening the package she devoured the spicy rice. 
"Take out box is one of my ventures. I run it with a friend." Vishnu started speaking. "I heard your voice in speaker while he was taking your order. I knew how you get these midnight cravings. So I made them accept your order. Even offered to deliver it myself." 
When she gave him the is-that-all look he added "Plus I wanted to meet you." 
Within minutes she had finished eating and discarded the box. 
"Here" she handed him a bottle of water. 
"That still doesn't answer my question." 
"I just told you..." 
"No... You said how you came here. Not why you came..."
"I... I just thought I'll..." 
"You will what? See how pathetic I am? What sort of miserable life I am leading? Is that it?" 
"No..." 
"Then what Vishnu?" she felt all her emotions surfacing. She was struggling to keep them under check. She did not want him to see her vulnerable. 
"I just missed you. And wanted to see..." he couldn't continue. 
He knew he was at fault. His parents were the ones who broke the engagement. That too right after Ramya lost her parents in a freak accident. They saw it as a bad omen and did not want an unfortunate girl as their daughter-in-law. 
Vishnu didn't do much to fight. And that hurt her more. He did not defend her. 
"Well now that you have seen me, I suggest that you leave." 
"Please let me explain..." 
"What was there to explain? I understand your situation. Your parents were the ones who chose me for you. And when they decided that I was not fit for the role, they broke it off. After one year of courting I shouldn't have thought that maybe you did fall in love with me like I did with you. You were just following your mother's instructions right? No need to explain Vishnu..." Tears threatened to escape. She was shaking by then. The very memories she was trying to forget were flashing in her head. 
"Just... Please Ramya..."
"Please leave..." 
He did not want to create a scene. He walked towards the door. 
"One minute!" 
He almost smiled while turning around. His smile faltered when she thrust the money in his hand. 
"Thanks for the food." 
And a door slammed in front of him. He didn't stand there for long to listen the loud sobs that echoed through the doorway. 

***
Few months later

Ramya was looking at the menu. 
"Okay I will have the blueberry cheesecake..."
"How many pieces?" 
"The whole thing!" 
"That would be 8 pieces in total. Will that be it?" 
"Umm... yeah... I think!" She said in a doubtful manner. "When can you bring it here?" 
"I will be right home with your order ma'am." 
"Ma'am ah?" she giggled. 
"Yeah apparently my pregnant wife is craving for an entire cheese cake at 3 in the morning. So I have to rush." Vishnu spoke with a smirk on his face. 
"Just come home soon Vish!" she lovingly caressed the baby bump which had begun to show off. 

That one night her craving was what brought him back into her life. Why is she going to complain about her cravings ever again?

Wednesday, June 8, 2016

2. The Night

Previously...

'Why does my life feel like some cheesy tamil flick?' Sanju thought as the aunties in the room kept giggling for no apparent reason.
She did not understand why they were so shy and hush-hush about something like this. Its not like this is going to be her first time or her first time WITH Krish. She had to stifle her laughter as that thought crossed her mind. 
Krish's family knew that they dated briefly. But none knew that they were actually just friends with some extra benefits. 

Sanjana met Krish through a mutual friend at a party. They did go out on dates but more than romance they clicked in a different way. When things heated up between them, they decided to try out the novel idea of Friends With Benefits. Something everyone thought and still think is a myth. 
Well if not for this awkward marriage things were going pretty smooth between them as far as Sanjana was concerned. 

Moments later she found herself inside Krish's bedroom. She has never been here. Her earlier visits to his house was restricted to the first floor living room and kitchen. She noticed that her bags were lying in the corner of the room and started rummaging through them to find a good enough sleep wear. She was sure as hell not going to sleep in silk saree. 

"Looking for something?" Krish's voice startled her. 
"You scared me there idiot." she got up holding a set of pajamas. 
And then it was silent. Both of them just stood there not knowing what to do next. 
"Uh..." Krish broke the thick fog of stillness. "Why don't you get changed? The dressing room is over there." he pointed at the door behind Sanju. 
Nodding she hurriedly left. 
Once safely behind the door she thought 'Its not like he hasn't seen me naked. Why in the world am I changing in here?
By the time she came back he had switched off most lights leaving the night lamp. 
Sitting on the other side of the bed Sanjana spoke. "What now?" 
"You mean right now? Or as in what-happens-next-in-our-lives now?" 
"The latter obviously. I just want to sleep tonight mister." 
'And there I thought marriage would mean more sex from day one.' Krish sighed. 
"Sanz... Nothing changes according to me. You are just going to be living in a different house and share a roof with my family. That is all..." 
She was not convinced with his answer. But she knew they both did not have a better answer. 
"Oh! And don't bother to wake up soon tomorrow. Mom mentioned some temple trip later in the day. So save up your energy." He said pulling up the sheets. 

Awkward moment part two for Sanju came up now. She has never "slept" with anyone. Not after she turned 10. They have never been cuddle buddies or had the opportunity to sleep off after their rendezvous. 
Taking in a deep breathe she pulled the sheet over her and hoped she does not kick him off the bed.


###

Up Next- The First Date

Friday, May 20, 2016

Candy Crush

"Hey sweety...." She waved at her laptop monitor. It was around midnight and she was video conferencing with her boyfriend who happens to be studying at the NYU.
"Finally... I have to be pretty low. Or my flatmates are going to catch me to clean up the kitchen." he spoke as he sat down a bit flustered.

Working out a long distance relationship was a bit of a hard work for them. Given that they had been pretty inseparable throughout college and had taken up different paths at one point. What turned out even more challenging was the time difference between India and America.
By the time both of them got free enough it was usually midnight for one of them.

"Did you have your dinner?" he asked her as usual.
She smiled.
"Yeah. And you don't have work today?"
"Oh I have to go by 5. So we have about an hour?" he said calculating how much sleep she would get.
He was always worried about how she was missing out sleep for him.
"I don't have work until 11 am tomorrow. Don't worry." she smiled almost reading his mind.

Just then his phone rang.
"Oh its my professor. I gotta take this..." he said in an apologetic tone.
Giving him the go ahead, she sat there staring at him.
It had become another one their short duration calls again. They hardly get to spend time together. Another six months and she would have saved enough money to go visit him.
Thinking that staring might creep him out, she took her phone and started playing candy crush. The only game she plays to kill time like she had to now.


"I am back.." his voice made her look into the laptop again.
"What are you doing?"
"Oh! just playing this dumb game..." she showed her phone hoping he would get a clear visual of her phone screen.
"I think I stopped playing it after level 365 I think." he shrugged.
For a moment she was dumbfounded. "Dude... I have been stuck in this 105th level for weeks..."
He laughed now.
"And what is the matter with you? You happen to have the highest score in most of the levels... Geek!"
"Hey... what do you mean by most of the levels?"
"Well.. some of the levels had other high scorers. Like this one does not have you in the first position..." she said checking the name in the score list.
"Its my friend's aunt." she chuckled at that one.
"I am beat by an old lady?" he spoke with a dead pan look.
"Oh.. you are so cute.." she giggled. With that she saw him not looking at the camera but doing some other work on his laptop.
"What are you doing?"
"Candy crush... You said 105 right? Let me get to the first place in that level..."
He was seriously opening that game and scrolling down to get to that level.
"Its just a game man..." She didn't know how to react.
"No... I can't let an old lady beat me in front of you."
"Hey C'mon... we hardly get time to talk and you want to spend that playing a stupid game?"
"Well this is important for me. I gotta impress my girl."
"By playing a game and getting high score?" it was getting late. Another 20 minutes and he will have to leave.
"This is not fair. You just want to waste time like this."
She was angry now.
More disappointed than angry.
"And done..." he announced.
"This is not a waste of time. This is me impressing my girl." He grinned.
She couldn't help but smile at his gimmicks. He made her smile no matter what.


***

"Oye... Sent you a candy crush request. Need one of those tickets to go to the next level..." She told her friend while having lunch.
Her friend looked at her funnily. "You know there are better games to play... Instead of lame candy crush."
"I know... Its just a game to kill time for me."
After a prolonged silence  "It reminds you of him... Doesn't it?"
She just looked at her friend with surprise. "How?"
"You just had this dreamy look now. Not much of a surprise."
She smiled. That was all she could do.
"But I don't understand. He is gone. He has moved on. And you are still hanging on to him?"
"Well this game has some pleasant memories that makes me smile even now." She went back to her sandwich smiling at a certain



####

I did know someone who literally had high scores in every single level of candy crush. A grade A geek I suppose. 
A person I respect no matter what. Hope they read this and remember our memory over candy crush. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2016

The Red Saree



Annie was getting ready to meet her fiance at the art gallery. As she finished putting on the red lipstick she checked the time. She still had a good one hour to go. 
The sky was pretty dark already. 
"I better get a cab before it starts raining." she thought. 

***

Not wasting a minute Prakash fished out his phone and dialed Annie's number. It was busy. For a moment he relaxed. 
He cannot let anyone harm Annie. 
His senses were on high alert. The line was still busy. He was beginning to get worried. 

***
“Which route do you prefer madam?” she heard the driver ask.
“Oh you can take the fastest one. I don’t mind.”
She was a bit uncomfortable with the driver’s appearance. Something about him didn’t seem quite right apart from his shabby appearance. He sounded way too squeaky for a tall, dark guy.
Annie was thankful that he was not one of those chatterbox drivers who won’t shut up.
“Why are you turning here?” 
“This is just a shortcut madam. Don’t worry.” He assured her.
Not trusting him she tried locating herself on GPS only to realize she wasn’t getting signal enough for internet.
She did the next best thing she could in such a situation.
She called up her best friend.

***
“Don’t tell me you are going to buy this one!” The little girl exclaimed bringing him back to earth.
He hadn’t realized that she was next to him till then.
“Oh not really. I am just waiting for someone.” He hoped she would leave him be.
“Is it your wife?” Catherine pried not caring if she was being impolite.
“Huh... No… She is my fiancĂ©.” He then mentally smacked himself for answering her.
“Could you please stop bothering me miss?” he added. He was still trying to reach Annie.
To his horror now the number was not reachable. He was close to alerting the control room about his would-be.
Relief washed over him when he could hear the phone ring on the other side.
“Oh please pick up.”  He muttered under his breathe.

***

Next day:
“Have you gotten any identification?” Prakash spoke as he inspected the body, or what was left of it.
The body was horribly mutilated and the face was distorted beyond recognition. Her heart and intestines were missing from the disemboweled abdomen.
“Yes sir. Her name is Mary Sagayam. She lives with one more girl in this apartment. Her flat-mate came back home from her night shift and couldn’t open the door. They opened the front door using the landlord’s master key.”
This was getting way too similar to Jack the Ripper case now. 
As he was leaving the room he noticed something taped on the window.
Roses are red;
Violets are blue;
What’s red will be mine;
This is your next clue.
-Jack

With a sudden shiver Prakash flipped the paper to find a picture of himself from the previous evening holding hands with Annie who was wearing a bright red saree. 



####

This post is a part of the “Tagged” Contest by writer Kaarthika and The Chennai Bloggers Club. Kaarthika’s book is being released on May 29. Do pre-order it on Amazon.

I now tag Jenny to continue to story here.