My Scorpio ran across the sugarcane fields, as the eucalyptus trees rushed past, the blue sky escaped and the red sun started turning orange. My heart pumped at a speed that could beat the Scorpio, the head felt numb, the soul sank and the trembling hands could hardly hold the steering wheel. Nayan, my pillion, sat in his boxers, drenched, with a mix of the water I had used to wake him up and sweat that he could not avoid after what I had told him, murmuring all sorts of abuses. I checked the AC. It was working. We shouldn’t have switched it on, it was December anyway. But there were a lot of things that shouldn’t have happened. But, they were still happening.
30 MINUTES AGO
It was one of those beautiful Sunday mornings, a little dark and cold, but not chilly. I sat on the bare Australian lawn of my large garden, sipping some hot unknown herbal brew mom had prepared, reading the heavy 48 page Sunday Times and enjoying the scenic beauty in intervals.
‘Baby I like it!’ my phone rang, loud, disrupting my thoughts. It was Sunday, and so the swimming lessons were off, and besides, it was my duty to wake Nayan up every morning, that good for nothing lazy log would never ring me up. Who would it be? I kept the newspaper down, ran through the door facing garden that led into my room and switched the ringer off. Some solid smashing would have awaited me had dad woken up. It was Vivaan.
‘What man! How often do I need to tell you that stop buzzing me so early in the morning? What went wrong? A flat tyre? Or bumped into somebody? Challan?’
The only reply was silence.
‘What? At least say! Got too much of a recharge? Then spend on Samara man, not me.’
Somebody sobbed. Yes, it was Vivaan. The sobs became louder with every passing moment. He must have had a break up, I thought. Wasn’t a big deal, he had had half a dozen break-ups in the last seven months, and I was now used to handle his odd time calls and weeps.
And what made me confident that it was a break up was the fact that only last evening he had shown me this bottle of Romenov Orange Vodka which he was going to have with his month old girlfriend Samara early morning in the outskirts of the city.
‘Don’t drink too much, it’s a 200 ml, make sure that no more than 100 milliliters reach your body. And yes, make sure that one of you doesn’t drink, you got to drive back too!’ was all I had to say.
‘I can understand yaar, relax! Everything would be fine between you and Samara. Should I call her?’ I asked.
‘You are a son of a bitch man!’ he shouted over the phone, still crying ‘Why couldn’t you just stop me yesterday? She’s badly drunk and wants to go home, I don’t know what to do you bastard!’ his voice wasn’t being the normal himself, it trembled.
Wants to go home? In this condition? I thought. Yes, she must have been badly drunk. She shouldn’t have said this, given her family background. The family was super orthodox and the dad was Additional Superintendent of Police. Vivaan was dead if she reached home in this condition.
‘O’ stop prankster! A 100 ml cannot do so much.’
‘I took three bottles.’ He confessed ‘I drank one and she drank the other three.’
‘The other two!’ I said, barely realizing that it wasn’t the right time for mathematics lectures and that he was drunk too. ‘Give her the phone damn!’
‘I love you Akash!’ she said, her otherwise crisp voice fumbling today, in a rather oriental accent. Must be kidding, I thought.
‘I love you too Samara! Break up with your boyfriend and come into my arms sweetheart!’ I said, thinking this would help them get over the prank.
‘I want to too. Your friend is an impotent.’ Her tone was rather disgusting. Impotent- this couldn’t be a prank.
‘You’re drunk, bitch!’ I shouted.
‘Am I? I’ll well be your bitch, my master!’ she laughed.
‘Where are you guys? Give the phone to that asshole!’
‘It’s on the loudspeaker, you idiot! And you know what,…’, she said, when suddenly Vivaan’s voice cut her in.
‘What do you have to say? You’ve taken my girlfriend from me too! You are such a bad friend Akash.’
I didn’t have time for all this nonsense.
‘Where exactly are you guys? I’m coming to pick you up!’
Chandigarh wasn’t exactly a very safe city. The outskirts always had heavy patrolling and if they were found drunk, they were dead. In a country like India, seeing a big man’s daughter was inviting trouble, especially in case of Vivaan, whose family lived in Mumbai. I had to do something.
‘I don’t know, there are hills.’
‘Is it the same place where you always go?’
‘Yes silly! How can I find new places for every meet. God, you are just so stupid.’ He laughed, hysterically.
I didn’t have much time.
‘I’ll be back in a while mom. Got to rush to Nayan’s place. Some important project!’
I rushed as I took the keys of the Scorpio, picked up my wallet and my cellphone. The ringtone seemed so ironic.