Chapter 3: The battle of dignity
Sonakshi lazily strolled in the balcony and intermittently tapped her forehead with a paper folded into a roll. Her mother dropped in with a cup of tea and released a sigh of worry seeing her daughter deep in thoughts.
“Sona beta, why are you still hung up with that job.” inquired a worried Asha.
“Let it go my bacha” saying so, she grabbed the roll of paper from her and passed her the cup.
“I am sure something good is waiting for you, after all my Sona is the best nutritionist in town. The board will realize that they have lost an asset.” said Asha with confidence.
Suddenly her face lit up with a thought.
“Pata hai kal paper mein, teri rashi bhavishwa mein kya tha? Kal tera bohot shubh din tha!! aur yeh pura week tere lie bohot hi mangal hone wala hai” exclaimed a delighted Asha.
All this while Sonakshi was just blankly looking at the cup of tea in her hand and was brought out of the trance with the last few words of her mother. She thrusted the cup onto the table and turned towards her mom in complete displeasure.
“Maa if this is what you call Mangal, then please spare me the trouble” Sona whinged folding her hands together.
Asha was taken aback by her daughter’s unforeseen outburst. She moved close to her and cupped her face with her palms.
“Eversince you returned with your stuffs from the hospital this morning, you are looking more tensed. Is there anything we should know Sona?” asked a concerned Asha
Sona could see the slowly emerging fear in her mother’s eyes. She gently put down her mother’s hand from her face.
“N,,,No maa, uuuhh… it is just that I loved my job and now that it is gone,,,, it would take some time to sink in” she replied bitting her lower lips turning her back to her mother.
Asha continued to look at her questioningly. She was quick to notice that something was bothering her child which she is trying to hide. She shook her head in disappointment and left.
Ishwari could hear Dev throwing things around in his room.
“Maa why is bhai so upset today?” asked Neha innocently feeding her mother the soup.
“I don’t know, even on way back home from the hospital he did not utter a word” Ishwari looked towards his door on hearing another thud.
“Did anything happen at the hospital Maa?” Neha asked again jerked with the noise.
“I wish I knew it! Neha ek kaam kar. Bunty ko call kar. Uske saathe bahar jaega to mood thik ho jaega iska” Ishwari ordered.
The brand new iphone rang continuously to alert its owner of the incoming call.
“Why does everyone remembers me when I am in the middle of something?” holding the heating iron while straightening the last few strands of the silky long tresses.
She dived into the bed to reach the phone before the call disconnects. A broad smile appeared seeing the number flashing on the screen.
“Hello Aunty! Long time, how have you been?” she answered the call exuberantly.
“I am good Natasha, How are you? Kabhi aunty ki yaad nehi aati?” replied Asha from the other end.
“How can I be fine aunty? Your daughter does not remember me anymore. She has not replied to my calls and texts since last Sunday” protested Natasha
Natasha has been friends with Sonakshi since her kindergarten days. They are the best of friends despite the huge gap in the social status between their families. While Sonakshi’s father is a retired government employee and their standard of living reflected the moderate economic class, Natasha’s father is a famous business magnet in the city and they reside in one of the posh neighbourhoods of Delhi. The class difference neither affected the relation between the girls not amongst the parents.
“Could you please come home beta? It’s about Sona and please get Tanya along as well”
Natasha could read the anxiety in Asha’s voice.
“Is everything alright aunty?” asked Natasha in a low breath
Asha briefed Natasha with the recent developments in Sona’s life
“Ok aunty, don’t worry we will be there in half an hour” ensured Natasha
“Jerk” is all Natasha could mutter in a disgusted tone after hearing her bestie’s ordeal.
She quickly grabbed her purse and walked out of her room. Clicking of her heels echoed back as she ran down the staircase.
“Mumma, driver ko bolo gari nikale, mein Sona ke ghar hoke aayi” she gave a yell to her mom while dialling Tanya’s number
“I will pick you up in five mins, be ready” Natasha ordered her.
“Please do something to cheer her up” Asha requested the girls who have turned up soon hearing their friend’s condition.
After hours of struggle, Natasha and Tanya has convinced Sonakshi to come out with them to the club to lighten her mood.
In the club, the girls had reserved a cosy corner for the night. This is the first time Sona has entered a club that too on her mother’s insistence. The plan was to let themselves loose for the evening.
“Babes, u need to get over this,” Tanya sighed. “Honestly, I would be thankful to this guy to have terminated you. At least for him we have managed to get you out here with us. Otherwise, you are always busy in work” she complained.
“Seriously Tanya?” You’re praising that sulk for firing me?” scolded Sona.
“Well, I partially agree with Tanya. Do you remember when was the last time we partied together?” defended Natasha.
“Ha bolo bolo?” the girls charged at Sonakshi
“Where is this going? I am jobless!!” cried Sona pouting her face “Do you girls even realise the situation?” Sona said burying her face into her palms.
“Aww…Sona” said Natasha giving her friend a side hug “we are kidding and this is not the end of the world, ek job gaya, dusra ayega” comforted Natasha rubbing Sona’s upper arm.
Sona looked up to see both the girls giving her a toothy smile.
Taking her hands into her’s, Tanya said “but for now you have to chill, let’s drink away all the worries.” The three pals closed in for a group hug.
Soon the waiter arrived with three glasses with vibrant coloured drinks. Sona looked at them suspiciously. “Don’t worry your one does not have alcohol” clarified Tanya passing her the glass with the bright orange drink and quickly winked at Natasha. Natasha giggled softly and sipped into her glass.
“Dude, get yourself a life” Bunty stated in disappointment, looking at Dev busy in his phone. He quickly plucked the device from his hand and advised,”I meant a life outside your work.”
Dev’s body jerked forward, “I was in the middle of typing an important email Bunty, give it back” scowled Dev trying to grab his phone which was been juggled from one hand to keep it out of his reach.
Seeing his friend’s face turning rigid, Bunty surrendered and returned him the cell phone.
“Could you please keep your work away for the evening? The least I can expect from you tonight, let alone getting drunk” criticized Bunty showing his extreme dissent of Dev’s unsociable behaviour.
They have been in the club for more than an hour and Dev was immersed in his phone most of the time.
“It’s high time that you need a girl in your life to distract you off these boring emails and indulge in some actions” chuckled Bunty giving high five to the guy next to him.
Dev was dumbstruck with the suggestion and turned red in embarrassment, but he softly responded “No, I am fine, thank you”. The group broke into a loud laughter.
“Anyways, boys are we ready for round two?” Bunty asked with a victorious beam
“I am good with this one, anyways I have an important meeting early tomorrow morning” Dev interfered giving an awkward smile before looking back into his whisky glass.
“Cmon Dev, ek to tu aata nehi kabhi bhi hamare sath. Aj itne dino baad aya hai woh bhi aunty ji ke kehne par, let’s enjoy”
After some futile efforts to convince his friend, Bunty ordered for the rest of the gang leaving Dev
“What’s the bruise on your face man?” noticed one of the guys
Dev groaned in a regretful tone, “don’t talk about it”
“How is Kunal doing?” asked Sonakshi
“He is in Bangalore for the weekend to finalise a deal. I was getting bored to death without him. Thanks for this much needed evening. Though he has to pay for his absence once he is back, by getting me a new pair of Jimmy Choo” replied Tanya with a naughty smirk
“Jimmy Choo!!” gasped Sonakshi “You will charge him Jimmy Choo as a consolation, you crazy woman?” Sonakshi punched the side of Tanya’s arm and then burst out laughing repeating “Jimmy Choo” in between chuckles.
Tanya and Natasha shared concerned glances realising their friend is already high. But they still love this smiling Sonakshi than the sad Sonakshi.
“Stop torturing him Tanya” frowned Natasha, ”Kunal is such a sweetheart. He always manages time out of his busy schedule for you” She gave away a blissful grin.
“Plus he never forgets to get us souvenirs from his business trips. Which guy does that for his gf’s pals?” Sonakshi’s lips curled into a thankful smile.
“I could not have agreed more. Remember last time he got us three the exact same key chains with our initials engraved from his Chennai trip?” Natasha’s eyes sparkled recalling the times.
“Yes, I made it my staple key holder. Look!” said Sonakshi with excited hurry to show her friends her keychain.
She kept digging her bag for her favourite key holder, but could not find it.
“Oh no, I think I dropped it last night while fighting with the,,,,” she stopped mid-sentence only to find her friends looking back at her wide-eyed. Sonakshi had decided to hide last night’s incident from everyone to avoid the unnecessary tension. She cursed herself in mind to have disclosed it in a rush.
“What!!” shouted Tanya “Whom did you fight with?” Tanya perplexed with Sonakshi’s slip of tongue
“Aa,,,,actually, it had happened that…” she stammered giving them a nervous stare
“Stop fumbling,,,,speak up” Natasha’s voice agitated
Sona explained the previous night’s encounter in one breath and sheepishly stole glances.
“Omg, omg so he fought with goons for you, Sona?” chirped an over enthusiastic Tanya
“Not funny Tanya!!” rebuked Natasha and then turning towards Sona “Who does walk on deserted streets in the middle of the night, that too in Delhi? What were you thinking? interrogated a traumatised Natasha unable to justify Sona’s immature actions.
“Are you hurt?” her eyes desperately searching for any injuries.
“I am fine, Nats” assured Sona. She was pulled into a tight hug “thank god you are alright” Natasha left a sigh of relief.
“Awww, Sona Is he handsome?” asked Tanya in a dreamy voice, still lost in the reverie.
“Come out miss Tanya, the fight is over, our Sona is safe” waved Natasha in front of her eyes.
Tanya’s behaviour made the girls snicker.
“But Sona, you should thank him for last night” Tanya said in a serious tone.
“It’s not that I did not think of it. But as soon as I made up my mind to thank him, he emerged with a new blunder” Sonakshi revealed taking a long sip to finish her drink.
“What has he done again? Did you meet him again?” Tanya gulped hard.
“Sona is this is thriller movie going on? Why don’t you come clean rather than giving us periodic shocks?” scolded Natasha
“Fine,, this morning,,,” Sona finally spoke and confessed what has been bothering her since morning.
Flashback: This morning at the hospital
“Yes!” Sonakshi answered the knock at the door only to find Dev standing
Sonakshi reverted back to her work totally ignoring him and started dumping the belongings into the carton aggressively conveying immense vexation of his presence.
“Dr Bose!” called Dev to get her attention.
He understood that he is not welcome at all. Hence, he entered without waiting for the permission.
“Dr Bose, I am talking to you” Dev lowered his head to get an eye contact with Sonakshi who seem to be ignorant to his calls.
“How does it feel when someone ignores your shout? It irks, isn’t it?” Sonakshi finally answered looking into his eyes with a sense of retribution and again continued collecting the stuffs.
“I think I already gave an explanation for my misbehaviour yesterday” defended Dev
Seeing her unperturbed Dev declared “I have a good news for you”.
He was expecting a reaction from her but was crushed by her unmoved behaviour.
“I want you to work as a full time personal nutritionist to my mother” Dev said in a dominating voice.
Sonakshi paused, alarmed by the order just passed on her and looked back at him with an arched eyebrow
Dev quickly recognised his wrong move. He rephrased.
“uuuhhh,,,I would like you to work for my mother” his voice softer this time
Sonakshi folded her arms across her chest and kept glaring at him with distaste.
“Ok,,I request you to work as my mother’s dietician for couple of months” said Dev carefully stressing on the word request.
The word came as a soothing balm over her oppressed soul. She felt that now the ball is in her court and was glad in mind to have been given the opportunity to make a decision for herself. She thought her last night’s lecture did not go waste. She was about to thank him when Dev said “I am offering you triple the package that you were getting here, Now you cannot say no.” Dev placed the offer letter on the table.
That triggered back again the fading anger in Sonakshi.
“I am not a consignment Mr Dixit that you can bet upon. This is about my career and reputation which you have successfully ruined” she exhaled in a disgusted tone.
“I refuse to live on your pity Mr Dixit. I reject your offer” Her voice echoed across the room.
“I promise to get you back your previous job at the hospital once your term is over with my mother’s treatment” trying to pacify her
“I think you are retarded Mr Dixit, you are not getting my point. Your attitude of not paying heeds to other’s say does not surprise me at all” Sonakshi spurted out her anger
“I think you do not understand unless someone demonstrates it on your face” she said before tearing the offer letter in pieces and throwing it in the air.
“Miss Bose” Dev clenched his fist to move towards Sona but braced himself at the back of the chair
“Now, you will come after me for this job” challenged Dev
“Will see” confronted Sona.
“Hold on! Hold on! Let me get this in order, first he fired you, then he saved you and now he offered you another job” uttered Natasha with a disbelieving tone. “He sounds a very complex character” her voice thoughtful this time.
“Stop over thinking into it Nats. It is a simple case of love at first sight, duh” Tanya smirked victoriously.
“He fell in her love with our Sona at first sight and is trying his chances now by offering her a job” explained Tanya. But when she saw both her girlfriends looking at her with their frowned eyebrows, she quickly said with an awkward grin “I am just trying to read his signals. I want Sona to get her Mr right. She deserves someone”
“But not with a heartless man Tanya. I want someone who is compassionate and caring. Not a money minded beast” Sonakshi said with a tone of disgust.
“Headlines for the day – The girl next door Dr Sonakshi is the love interest of business tycoon Mr rude” declared Tanya in a dramatic voice with her arms out swiping from left to right. “By the way, what’s his name Sona? Ya unka naam zabaan pe nehi laate” teased Tanya making her more angry.
“That’s it, I am done” yelled Sona with desperation. “Ek kaam karo tum log yahan meri mazak udao, I am leaving”
“Arey yaar she is kidding, Tanya sorry bol” Natasha ordered. To which Tanya pouted her face and apologised to Sona.
“I will get another of this orange drink, it is very tasty” Sonakshi smiled unknowingly and left
“Sona!!” shouted Natasha with concern but to no avail as she was already lost in the crowd.
“Can I get this orange drink, I already had two. It is pretty nice” Sona pointed the picture in her phone. The bartender was amused seeing her childish act.
As soon as she turned with the newly acquired glass of drink, she collided with what seemed to be a very good build physic, and the orange fluid plunged out of the glass straight into the shirt and immediately formed a dark stain.
No sooner did she realise that the shirt adorned the body of none other than the man who has turned her world upside down in the last twenty-four hours.
“Mr Dixit?” hitched Sona with her eyes popped out in shock. “I am sorry” she gasped in a rush.
“One should know to handle their liquor” grumbled Dev wiping off the unexpected shower of alcohol from his shirt.
“Excuse me!! What do you mean?” Crossing her hands “I don’t drink”
“Yes off course. This is orange juice, right?” Dev taunted
Sona realised that her friends has tricked her. “Tanya ki bachi!!” she muttered narrowing her eyes.
“Don’t tell me that someone spiked your drink and you were unaware of that. Anything is possible with you” Dev snickered rubbing in her vulnerability.
“Oh please, I know what I am doing,,,,I ,,I” trying hard to find a comeback. “Yes,,I was teliing that I am not drunk, just a bit tipsy” Sonakshi firmed a ground
“You say so? I am the one misbalancing myself and spilling drinks over strangers, hai na?” Dev mocked
“Listen, I already apologised for it, but now I take it back because you don’t deserve it” Sona gritted out in between teeth with her finger pointing at Dev.
Dev noticed how hard she was trying to stabilise herself.
“I am not even interested in y…” Dev stretched out his hands to hold falling Sona who took the support of the pillar to find her feet.
“I am fine” she shot back refusing his helping hand.
“Had you known your limits of drinking, you would not have needed support” Dev smirked trying to supress a chuckle.
“First who do you think you are to lecture me, secondly I am not intoxicated, thirdly ever since I met you nothing is going right with me, fourthly…”Sona kept pouring her frustration on the man behind all the miseries in her life.
Dev first tilted his head upwards to release a sigh and eventually looked away showing utter disinterest in her jabber while Sona went on and on with her list of complaints, some of which made no sense with the present context. Her facial expression became animated with the flow.
I met a boy and his name is anjaana
Anjaani raahon mein ek humsafar mili
I met a girl and her name is anjaani
Anjaana khwab tha, ban gaya zindagi
Dev tried to interrupt but in vain coz Sona was is no mood to shut her initially logical but eventually gibberish chatter. Finally when Sona miffed “I could have prescribed omega 3 fatty acids, but Sweta is allergic to it, why did you do this?” Dev’s lips tightened with annoyance and he held her by her arms to give her a jerk “Stop Dr Bose”
Yun hi hoti hai na, Sab ki kahaani
Shuru hogi kahan, Kisi ne na jaani
Itfaaqon mein, laakhon mein, milte hai ajnabi
Before he could give her a second jerk he felt a massive weight on his chest. He realised the massive weight was of the tiny figure Sonakshi who has fainted over him. “What the!!” He was left flabbergasted and looked down at the limp body to expresses an extreme irritation. “Why?” he damned himself for his doomed day while tossing her up onto his arms.
Anjaana aa aa, Anjaani ee ee
Mil gaye eh eh, Toh bani ee ee
Kahaani ee ee
The song in the chapter is anjaana anjaani from the movie of the same name. Here is the link to the song
I would like to thank everyone who took the time to read the fiction and comment. I request all the readers who have read the story to please comment in their reviews. This way I would know if my writings are entertaining enough. So please let me knwo how you feel abou this chapter.
Credit to: Raily