My heart was beating ferociously and almost avoiding bumping on a truck, skittered past Bhandarkar Road and I had a tough time finding a parking slot for the scooter near Sagar Arcade. I dashed like a crazy man like Kamal Hassan in Sadma only to see Anumrita sipping Strawberry milkshake and flashing her million dollar smile, showing her white teeth. She hugged me with a cheerful, “Hey, Baby..long time. I was dying to see you.” I almost sank on the busy pavement, wanted to hit her on the bum, thinking how I neared a heart attack, courting with danger for rush driving, anxious that she is in deep shit to see her smiling. The blood was boiling inside but mellowed when she gave me a peck on the lip.
We walked to Barista on FC Road and ordered coffee. I didn’t know where to start when she popped up, “Say something, na. Why so silent?” I replied with hmm and burst out laughing to vent out my frustration. “Well! I thought you were in deep shit and cops were after you after you look almost tortured me to death on phone and for one moment, I thought that you were speaking on gun point.”
Anumrita was giggling like a school kid. I asked, “Fuck! Do you even realize how many traffic signal I broke to be with you and almost run the risk of being rammed by a truck.”
She ordered cold coffees and ice cream and casually said, “Have it na, cool your heels.”
I took a sip and a spoonful of chocolate ice-cream to soothe the heart. It felt good as the liquid flow inside the heart and soothed my senses. At least. Anumrita had the sense to sent ripples of ice inside my system after braving the heat and pollution in the city.
“Listen,” she calmly said. “I know, I disappeared and didn’t take your calls or frantic message coz I wanted to give both of us our space. But, the thing is that I’ve been missing you like crazy. I know, it was a harmless fling and one night stand. But, it looks like I wanna be with not that I want to make babies with you to start a family.”
I feel mortified. “Is that the reason why you called me after days, weeks and months?”
“Listen carefully, okie. I am fed up of sharing a flat with six crazy women. Let’s take One BHK at Prabhat Road and move in.”
Wow!! She said it as if we say good morning and my mind was racing how she’s a unique package sent on earth. But, deep inside, I was getting fed up with hostel life and wanted to move in a proper flat with amenities, read kitchen, good food and not the usual, boring dal fry, raita, rice and potatoes.
I couldn’t help feel a jab piercing my heart. Anumrita was smiling and roaring with excitement as if I have agreed to it. She hugged me, “I am soo happy and we gonna stay together,” despite I was still mulling over the pros and cons. I feel jaded but couldn’t stop gushing at how she takes a confused answer for a yes and her beautiful smile mellows me in no time.
“Don’t worry,” she yells. “I already asked Dad for 40,000 rupees telling her it’s for an extra MBA module being thrust open our necks. I was in short of money but we somehow managed when I asked an extra 30,000 from home plus another 25,000 we had in our savings. Finally, we shifted together and paid for six months advance rent as Anumrita shouted to coax the owner that deposit is not needed. “Uncle! You look like my Dad.” That was it.
Emotional blackmail and Anumrita goes hand in hand. Doesn’t matter if she does it with me or some stranger to wade her way quite effortlessly inside the luxurious flat. One night, we were high on Old Monk Rum and we starting arguing relentlessly over painting the rooms .
Her body seems to swirl in the air, she raised her voice quite dramatically like the Saas-Bahu characters, “Nahin! Baby! I am telling you..I wanna paint the room pink with some cute Donald Duck..”
I protested, “Arre! Let the room stay as it is. What is the problem with the white color?”
“Chup chaap,” she said. “You will wake up the neighbors….Let’s add spice and romance to our life.
She was the one making a shrilling sound in the house that would scare the ghosts away, I wanted to tell but refrained. I lit a cigarette but somehow, she was blowing the light. I was getting pissed and finally went on the balcony to smoke. When I came inside, she already dozed off.
The next day, I left early for college and came back late in the evening. I opened the door and was in a rude shock, ‘Have I entered the wrong house?’ I gleaned outside and it’s number 406. The hall and kitchen were painted blue with decoration of red painted balloons. I enter the room, adorned in Pink with a a huge painting of Donald Duck. Anumrita seems to miraculously disappear out of the house and it got me thinking if she’s an illusion. I called her a couple of times but there’s no sign of life. It’s 11 p.m and I pour myself a large peg of whisky. I dozed off.
I was woken up by police siren and my ear was grated by frantic pressing of the bell. I spurted my way to open the door as the thoughts crossed my mind, ‘Has she robbed the bank or what?” Two cops were standing in front of the door and walked inside. They menacingly asked, ‘Where is Anumrita? There is a police complaint that you made her rent this place and conspired to make her disappear. I was shell shocked, “What the fuck?”
“Language, young man. We can get you arrested.”
I was in deep shit and had no choice but to comply with the cops.
To be continued..in Chapter 4