November 20, 2014

But there is just one little problem... [Part 3]

Aakash shirked his head and focused on the road.

"You should think about what I just said Aakash. I can see hunger in your eyes. But you must learn to channel your energy. You deserve to get what you desire". Raashi said. 

Aakash took a few deep breaths, "I get you Raashi.. I..".

And there was silence. Aakash stopped his vehicle at the next traffic light. Aakash felt guilty inside. What was this girl doing to him. 

Two little kids came on Rashi's side and started asking for alms. Raashi immediately looked into her purse, but she didn't have any change. She looked at Aakash. Aakash took out a 100 Rs. note from his wallet and gave to her. 

"Are you sure?", Raashi said taking the note. Aakash nodded.  He didn't want to say 

"You are pretty kind-hearted Aakash", Raashi smiled as she opened the window pane and handed over the note to the elder one. 

She inquired about their names and ruffled their hair and let them go. The two kids ran away. 

"Well thank you". Raashi said closing the window pane. Aakash smiled. 

"There are so few givers in this world Aakash. Everyone wants to get something. Everyone is lusting about something or the other. Money, power, fame, sex, prestige. I liked that in you. I wish I had infinite powers, I would take away the pain of everyone in this world. Their loneliness.... "

She seemed so excited while talking. As if this was the first time she was allowed to talk. But Aakash wasn't much interested in her talks. He was looking how her eyebrows would move, how her nose would flare up and how she would pout in between the sentences. Her Adam's apple was suprisingly quite visible. It would move up and down as she spoke. All this mixed with her kind, loving nature overwhelmed him. He just wanted to bring her closer to himself, and kiss her. Just fill her face in his hands and... He moved his hands a little towards her... 

The traffic signal got green and the vehicles behind started honking. Aakash started his duster again. He hoped Raashi didn't notice his advances. 

Raashi switched on the music player, but there were only old 60s and 70s songs. She fibbled with the tracks for a few minutes and then she turned it off abruptly. 

"God... Aakash. What are you? Like 60 year old man? What do you listen to? How does your girlfriend even bear you?".

"I don't have a girlfriend."

"What!!", Raashi shouted as if Aakash had just confessed his homosexuality. 

"What happened". Aakash said, a little embarrassed.

"I am sure you aren't married yet. How come you don't have a girlfriend living in a metro like Mumbai. Do you have any.. uhhmm... problem?"

"What do you mean problem", Aakash shot back. 

"No I mean... ", Raashi smiled mischiveously. 

"I had a girlfriend 3 years back. We broke up for some reason. Didn't find another girl after that. Wasn't interested. End of story", Aakash said in a single breath. 

"Ohhh.. I am sorry. You still talk to your ex?". 

"No I don't. I haven't talked to her since. She must be married now. I am done with her.". 

"May I know what happened", Raashi was careful with her words. She didn't want to flare up old wounds unnecessarily. But she couldn't contain her curiosity either. 

Aakash didn't say anything.  

"It's OK, if you don't want to talk about it". 

There was silence for sometime.

"She liked me but didn't want to go against her parent's wishes. It's the same old story. I don't know why they hook up in the first place then. I don't want to talk about it Raashi.".

"That's OK. I understand. I understand". Raashi said trying to calm him down. 

The road was clear ahead, Aakash raised the speed of the car. Raashi looked the other side of the window. No one was talking now. 

"Aakash are you virgin?". 

Aakash hit the break hard. Car came to a halt in 3 seconds.

Raashi started laughing hysterically again. "Hahaha, oh, I am so sorry, I am so sorry. I didn't mean to startle you. Hahaha...". 

Aakash was expressionless. He was more than shocked this time. What was wrong with this girl?

"But you didn't answer my question!", she was just unable to stop giggling. 

"Do you want me to kick you out of the car?". 

"Oh, no no. Poor baby. OK, I will shut up now. Promise". She  put a finger on her lips. Silence ensued again. But she would keeping looking at Aakash every now and then. 

"No, I am not". Aakash said slowly after sometime. 

"Oh, really! So...". 

"And, no I don't want to discuss my sex life with you.", He cut her before she could finish her sentence. 

"Haha, alright. Keep your sex life with yourself. I won't tell mine either.", she patted his back. 

There was silence. Two strangers sitting next to each other inside a moving car,  talking about their sex life. The evening was getting weirder for Aakash. 

"For the record, I don't believe your answer", Rashi said. Aakash didn't answer. 

"Hey my stop came! Just drop me at the next red light". 

Aakash followed the orders. 

"Alright, Aakash. Thank you, thank you so much. You are such a sweetheart. I hope we crash again someday". Raashi opened the gates of the car. 



"Can we... Can we meet sometime this weekend for a cup of coffee?". 

Raashi smiled mixed with her typical mischief. 

"Yeah sure, we can meet.". 

"Great!". A sense of excitement was visible in Aakash's face.

"And then of course we can meet the next weekend for another cuppa coffee. And, then probably for dinner, a few movies, a few outings every now and then, whenever we can make time. I mean this is how it typically starts right?" . 

Aakash couldn't follow what she was saying. He remained silent. 

Raashi continued..."And soon enough we would be hooked. You would be sharing our pictures together on social networks, you would discuss me in your friend circle. And after a few months, if everything goes fine, you might even introduce me to your parents. It's all fine Aakash, it feels so exciting. Yay!"

She raised her fists in the air mocking excitement. 

"But there's just one little problem..." She stopped. 

"What?", Aakash said in a hushed tone.

She smiled and closed the gate of the car. She took her lips closer to Aakash's ears and whispered...  "I am a prostitute". 

Aakash kept staring at the windshield. He couldn't register what he heard. 

"People of your stature and background don't marry Call Girls. Do they Aakash?", Raashi smiled. 

Aakash didn't say a word. He didn't move his head. 

"I sat in your car to make money for the day. I saw how you were looking at me. But you didn't make a move. Clients recognize people like us from our Red umbrella or handkerchief. But you didn't. You haven't visited a prostitute before Aakash. Now, have you?". 

She leaned at Aakash again, and slowly kissed him on the cheeks. Then she slowly took out the handkerchief from her purse and cleaned the lipstick smudge from his face.  

"You are a nice guy Aakash. I hope one day God gives you what you are looking for. But I can't provide you that. " 

Aakash looked at Raashi, but didn't utter anything. 

She patted him on the cheeks. "You chose the wrong girl again Aakash. I am so sorry". 

Raashi got out of the car immediately. Outside, she opened her Red umbrella, probably and started walking away. 

It was still raining heavily. Aakash looked ahead through his car's windshield. A yellow figure with red on top, walking away slowly. Fading. And fading. And fading...

November 19, 2014

But there is just one little problem... [Part 2]

Before Aakash could react, the cars behind him started honking impatiently. He had a total stranger in the car, that too a lady; she could be anyone. But there was no time to argue with her right now. The honking of the cars was increasing as the seconds passed. The green light was less than a minute. Should he move? Should he stop?

"Go, Go, Go....", she touched his hand on the steering wheel. Aakash moved the car.

The duster crossed the red light and barely passed half a kilometer when it came to a stand still at the side of the road. 

Aakash stopped the engine, and moved sideways to observe the lady for the first time. And she was something to observe carefully. Curly black hair with blonde streaks in between, a red wavy sparkling bindi on the forehead, pinkish red make up on the cheeks, and a red hot glossy lipstick over the plump lips. The nose was straight and pointed, the eyes looked smokey under the makeup, but the eyeballs were sharp and oozing with confidence. The eyelids were so pointed that one could count them. 

She was wearing a bright yellow colored saree with silver coated border, and a sleeveless golden plated blouse to go with it. The saree was probably made of satin, and it had a transparent effect... 


Aakash realized he had been staring at her for almost a minute. He felt embarrassed. But then he suddenly remembered, that this was his car and this lady was a trespasser.  

"Who are you?", Aakash roared. Her skin was fair as milk, but she had a little pinkish tone at some places. Probably the effects of a hair remover or something.

"Oh, me? Just a pretty stranger sharing your car for sometime", She replied back smiling, with an unprecedented confidence. 

"What?", Aakash was shell shocked. 

The lady started laughing hysterically, as Aakash lumped his throat. 

"Oh, I am sorry. Hi, my name is Raashi. And what you would your name be?", she said extending her hand. 

Aakash hesitated for a second. 

"Oh, com'n. Shake hands, I don't bite. Trust me". 

Aakash extended his hand reluctantly. "My... my name is Aakash". He meowed. And he was roaring just a few seconds back. A high in confidence person always eclipses the other. 

"Well Aakash, I am so sorry I sat in your car without taking your permission. The rain was getting heavier every moment and this umbrella was proving useless". 

She waved her now-closed umbrella. It was as bright as her lipstick, minus the gloss. Aakash had never seen anyone using the red umbrella. Why would anyone keep a red umbrella with them. It's so glaring. You would be spotted from over a mile. Unless you want to be spotted. 

"I would get out as soon as it stops or at least slows down", she continued. 

"Well... OK. Where are you going? May be I can drop you. ", Aakash responded. 

The last sentence was said so slowly it was almost incomprehensible. But Raashi picked it up. She looked at him with a mischievous smile but didn't say anything. Aakash was just being a good Samaritan but the look on her face still embarrassed him. 

"What?!", he asked. Her silence was killing him. 

"Haha, no nothing. Well I have to go to Azad Nagar actually. I have some work there. But it doesn't fall over this route. You drop me somewhere in Bandra East and I will manage from there". 

"That's OK. I can drop you there. I am going to my home in Colaba. I can take an alternative route from there". 

"No, No Aakash. It's over ten kilometers from here. There is just no need. I can manage. I am already troubling you a lot". 

"No, that's fine. Now, that you have entered my car after all, I should drop you to your destination safely". 

"Safely! Hahaha". She started laughing loudly again. There was something infectious in her laughter. 

"Why? What happened? It's not safe for girls to roam around like this in the city, during evening", Aakash asked, confused. 

"No nothing", she said trying to control her laughter. 

"No tell me please". 

"Haha, nothing baba. OK, you can drop to Azad Nagar if you are so free, and you liked me so much!". Raashi said, tongue-in-cheek. 

Aakash didn't say a word after that. He immediately ignited the engine again, and took a U-turn from next Red Light. 

"You look a tad anxious Aakash. Is something bothering you, or is it my fragrance?", Raashi quipped after sometime.

"What?". This startled Aakash. Whatever she was wearing was definitely intoxicating, but Aakash had no idea that Raashi would be able spot that on his face. 

"Hahaha, no I mean you definitely don't look OK."

"Err... it's nothing. Just some office bullshit". Aakash tried to steer away from the real reason, although office was definitely on his mind. 

"Wanna share? I am pretty free for next half an hour or so". Raashi turned herself to his side, positioning herself expecting a long interesting story. She was all ears.

"No there's nothing interesting there."

"Oh, com'n tell!", she held his arms. Aakash twitched slightly. Raashi noticed that but took a second longer to remove her hands. 

"Well.. it's the usual hullabaloo. I have this idea for my company, and I have been working so hard at it, but my peers and bosses just don't get it. They think I am wasting my time and company's resources. Or may be they are all jealous of me. There is just  no support from anyone. I am just sick of it.". 

"So, why don't you quit?"

"Well I can't". 

"But why...".

"You don't understand. I have invested myself a lot in this company, in this career. If I quit now, I would have to start all over". 

"That's all excuses Aakash. You are just being a sissy girl. If you don't like something you either change it, or you get the hell out of its way". 

"I was also in your situation once, having to work for someone else. But now I work independently. When my clients don't fall in line, when they are unreasonable or don't pay on time, you know what I do?". She paused. 

Aakash looked at her for a second. That was Raashi's clue to continue. 

"I fire them. I don't care, if they are my oldest clients or if they are influential people. I know, I have the talent and capability, and so I won't go to sleep hungry any night."

Raashi must not have been more than 25, about 3 years younger to him. But she talked way more mature than her age. 

He noticed a black dot on her waist a few inches away from her navel on the right side. It was intriguing. It wasn't a mole of course. It was made of kajal or a color pen. A way to keep evil eyes away. Or may be to attract them. He wanted to put his fingers over it and see how the texture felt over her glistening skin. He hadn't touched a female body for years now... 

November 18, 2014

But there is just one little problem... [Part 1]

"Why me, why me!", he kicked his foot over the accelerator. The Duster had crossed the 100 threshold. Aakash was furious. So many thoughts were bursting in his head right now.  They were clouding his ability to think clearly.

But it was dangerous to drive at such high speeds on the dug up roads of Vile Parle. Mumbai wasn't known for its smooth and wide roads. And it was raining heavily as was typical in this part of India.

There was quite some traffic on the road but Aakash was maneuvering his way out of it. He wanted to beat everyone in this 'car race'. He wanted to win today, at least somewhere. He had been beaten once again. Once again, his boss had made him a scapegoat for his own inefficiencies. Once again, his colleagues had stabbed him in the back. And problem with Aakash was that he wouldn't retaliate. Fighting, back-bitching, wasn't his nature.

He had been working so hard on the latest project. He had been burning under the night lamps, cutting up his own family time, forgetting the difference between weekdays and weekends; to make something that he and his organization could be proud of. But of course, it was of no use. There were way more distractors and opposers than there were supporters. The bosses were more interested in compliance to their arbitrary rules and processes than caring if any actual innovation happened. Aakash felt like being a part of a troop of monkeys; if one monkey tried to do something new, others would beat him down and make him fall in the line.

So many times he had thought about quitting his crappy job. The leech infested bloody office environment. Everyone looking to suck up the blood of everyone else. But the job did pay good, and it wasn't easy to switch companies in his line. A few times he had also given a thought to switching careers itself; probably becoming a freelance architect or a web designer. But at his age of 28, it felt like too heavy a risk.

He had no idea who among those foxes in the skin of humans were his friends. One day he would see two office mates fighting, bitching about each other and the next day they would be sharing gossip about their common 'enemy'. He would fail to understand their psyche. Probably this is how all the office and his industry worked pan India. Probably all this was 'normal', but he had trouble getting in sync with this culture.

Aakash just wanted to come to office, do his work and get the hell of there. But office sometimes, like politics, becomes a deadly swamp in which once you enter, there is no way to get out of it. It changes you. Permanently.

It's almost always flood like situation in Mumbai every year. This year was no different. Even though, the wiper of Aakash's car was working overtime, he still had difficulty seeing the road ahead of him clearly. A lot of fellow travelers had started taking refuge under the shops or flyovers, but Aakash was in no mood to follow suit. He just wanted to reach home and gulp down 2 pegs of his favorite brand of whiskey, and retire for the day. He had enough of it for today. His head was hurting so much right now. How could his boss be so aloof to his aspirations and capabilities?

Aakash stopped his car at the red light near Vakola police station. There was no sign of rain stopping anytime soon. He looked at his watch. It was 5.30 pm. He should reach his home in Colaba in 40 mins, he thought. He would have dinner early and go to sleep. Tomorrow would be Saturday. Weekend was one time he would shut down everything and recluse into his own small palace, doing whatever the heck he felt like doing. If there wasn't this two days break for him to recharge, he would have died of exhaustion and stress a long time back.

A small teenager knocked at the glass, he made signals asking for money. Aakash refused. The boy persisted which infuriated Aakash even more. The boy ran away seeing the expressions on his face. On any other day, he might have probably given some money, but today he was in no mood for charity. Nobody could make him do anything today. The red light was still half a minute long. From his rear view mirror, he could see a long queue of vehicles getting formed. These were rush hours, nothing else could be expected.

At a distance, he saw a yellow figure with something of red color at the top coming from the front. It was difficult to see who or what it was through the undying water trickling over the windshield. The traffic light turned green and Aakash ignited his engine. But before he could hit the paddle, the doors of his side seat opened, and a red colored umbrella  with a person under it, entered his car.

"Hello!". Before Aakash could understand anything, an excited feminine voice greeted him.

"I am really sorry, but the rain outside is too much to bear".

Aakash looked at his adjacent seat, still stunned at what just happened. He always made sure to lock all the doors while driving. How was the door of his car even open?