Being mature doesn’t make you old.
We get back to our hotel room. We don’t see Keerti and Naksh around. They must have gone out, I think. I haven’t shaved for the last four days and Naira has been complaining.
“Karthik ?!!” Naira asks and enters the washroom as I start to shave.
“Yes ?!!” I ask.
“Where are their bags ?!!” she asks.
“They aren’t here ?!! They must have gone out. The car was still outside.” I say.
“But where are the slippers ?!! Toothbrushes ?!! Everything ?!!” she asks again.
“Huh ?!!” I say, confused.
Before I can process anything, my phone rings. It’s Naksh. My hands are smeared with shaving foam, so Naira picks up the phone, holds it near my face and puts it on loudspeaker.
“Hey Karthik !! We had to leave, man.” he says.
“We hired a bike and we’re going somewhere. Keerti will decide in a while where we’re going. I’ve left the car for the two of you.” Naksh further adds.
“Going, as in ?!!” I ask.
“On a trip of our own.” He answers.
“What ?!! Why ?!!” I ask and try to turn the speaker off. But Naira doesn’t let me do that.
“Just like that.” He says.
“Just like that, Naksh ?!! You get Keerti along first. And now you abandon me ?!! This is your idea of a road trip ?!!” I ask.
As I say this I can hear Keerti woo-hoooing in the back seat of the motorcycle, through the speaker.
“Karthik, it’s just that Keerti and I wanted to spend some time alone. And with Naira around, umm, she isn’t that comfortable.” He says.
I see Naira’s face droop. I try to switch the speaker off again, but Naira slaps my hand away.
“Comfortable as in ?!!” I ask Naksh.
“Naira acts like her mom. Keerti is young. And free !! She wants to have a little fun, like get drunk and not be told what’s right and what’s not. Naira is a little … like us. Old.” Naksh says.
“f**k off, man.” I say.
“Whatever, Karthik. Anyway, I know you’ll have fun. It’s you and her alone. What else can you ask for ?!!” he says.
Naira keeps the phone on the washbasin and walks away.
“Oh yes. Thanks for that !! Why didn’t I think of that ?!! This should be nice.” I say loudly so that Naira hears and feels good about it. She doesn’t react.
“Bye.” Naksh says.
“BYE, KARTHIK !!” Keerti shouts from behind.
The call disconnects. Shit. Naira shouldn’t have heard that. She sits on the ledge of the balcony and looks outside. I go and sit next to her. She stands up.
“I will go take a shower.” she says.
“Should I join in ?!!” I ask mischievously.
“Don’t even think about it.” she says and looks at me with murderous eyes.
I take these looks seriously. She walks away. She shuts the washroom door behind her and I sit there imagining her under the shower. I know that’s not something I should be thinking about.
I should be thinking about damage control. And, c’mon, Naira is not old. She’s just twenty-three !! How can someone call her old ?!! Just because Keerti is younger and crazier doesn’t make Naira old, does it ?!!
I walk into the room and lie down on the bed. I look around to see Naira’s suitcases all around me. Twelve of them. Maybe something has changed. She has grown up a little.
I still remember the two days we spent in her classroom at her college. We had just started going out and both of us were big fans of cheap thrills. She had always wanted to make out in her college classroom.
So one day, after class, we had hidden inside the college and got ourselves locked in with a blanket and few packets of chips and water !! The next day, the college staff had gone on a strike. So we were locked in her classroom for two days with just a blanket and hardly any food. And lots of love, of course.
So now, seeing these suitcases around me. Yes, something has changed. She is not the crazy nineteen-year-old any more, but she is not a boring twenty-three-year-old either.
I can’t keep up with someone like Keerti, so I’m glad Naira has slowed down as have her crazy instincts. But then, how can Naksh cope with Keerti ?!! Oh crap. Am I getting old then ?!!
I wait for Naira to come out of the shower. I lie down and feel like sleeping. Maybe I am getting old. This doesn’t sound so good. Naira comes out of the shower, wet and gorgeous, though her face still wears a dead expression.
“So, we leave for Bhopal, right ?!!” I ask. Despite everything, I still can’t shake the diary off my head.
I know she’s sad and I should say something sweet, but the diary just keeps making me restless and I can’t make the journey alone. Bhopal is too long a drive from Haridwar and there’s no way I can do that alone.
“Home.” she says.
“But why ?!!” I ask.
“I have work.” she says and dries her hair.
“But we were going to Bhopal. We have to find this girl. You can’t just let it go.” I protest.
“You carry on. I just remembered I have some work to take care of.” She says.
“See, if it’s about what Naksh said….” I start to say but she cuts me off.
“It’s not.” she says.
She gets back to drying her hair, still pissed.
“It’s not his fault. I am getting old. You should go on this fun trip with Naksh and Keerti. I will go back .” she says.
“But, Naira….” I say but she cuts me off again.
“Just do what I say.” she says and gives me one of those dead serious looks and I don’t have a comeback for it.
It’s very hard to argue with her. She is breathtakingly beautiful and ruthlessly authoritative. It’s impossible to stand up to her. I watch her dress up and manage her suitcases. I pack my small bag and pretend to be busy.
I’m not sure whether she’s angry or sad, but whatever it is, I can’t do anything about it. I’m ready to leave. She stands there and puts on her lipstick. Naira always looks great in formals but I can’t tell her that today. Her movements are slow and deliberate. She looks worried.
It seems like she has taken Naksh very seriously. I don’t know how to set it right. What makes it worse is the f**king diary. I have no idea what I’ll do next. I don’t know if Naksh and Keerti would want to join me and I certainly can’t go back to Delhi. I have to go to Bhopal.
“Karthik.” Naira looks at me and says. “Go to the reception and ask the guy to carry these suitcases to the car.”
“I will take them.” I say and start to pick one of them.
“Karthik, leave it. Do as I say. Go, wait in the car. Send the guy up, I will come down in a while.” She says dryly but authoritatively.
I have no choice. I pick up my bag and head downstairs. On the way out, I pay the receptionist and ask the waiter to get the suitcases. My brain is a wreck and I have no idea how to put this trip back on track.
Fifteen minutes pass by and there is no sign of the waiter or Naira. I call her on her cell
phone but there is no reply. Is she crying ?!! Is it that big a deal ?!! I stick my eyes on the hotel door and wait for her to come out. I try to construct sentences in my head that I would say to console her and get her to accompany me to Bhopal. I wait endlessly.
There is no sign of her. Until………
I feel lost. Is this ?!! No way !!!
A girl walks out of the main door of the hotel who looks like Naira but starkly different. It takes me time to place the face that is staring back at me, but I now remember clearly — she is the one I have often seen in my dreams, intentionally and sometimes unintentionally.
The girl is in a dirt-grey vest tied above her navel baring her washboard-flat stomach, light-brown hot pants and a big buckled belt. Her long legs, perfectly shaped and toned, glisten in the morning sunlight. There is no sign of any fat on her body.
Her stomach, flat and shiny with a perfectly round navel, seems to be made out of granite. Her long, black hair is untied and blows in the direction of the wind. There is no make-up on her face, her eyes are hid partially behind yellow-tinted sunglasses and she is smiling wickedly.
As she walks closer to me, I feel threatened by her sheer s*xiness. Her smoldering eyes never lose eye contact with me, although I mentally strip off her skimpy clothes. There are very few times when a girl looks better with clothes on than naked and this is one of those moments.
She looks stunning. Like a model walking on a ramp. A showstopper in her last show ever. Half her s*xiness is in her walk, her flat stomach and her sultry legs, and the other half is in her eyes.
She comes near and steps into the car. She leans back on the passenger seat and rests her long, bare legs on the dashboard. It keeps getting better.
I am dazed, fascinated and shocked, all at the same time. I am whirling down an unending pit of mind-boggling hotness. Finally, I find the courage to speak.
“My girlfriend is in the hotel, but I am ready to dump her for you.” I say.
“Do you like me better ?!!” Naira asks.
“I think so, but I love her.” I say.
“You will learn to love me too. Now, stop staring and drive.” says Naira and puts her shades on her head.
“Your suitcases ?!!” I ask.
“What suitcases ?!!” She winks at me.
Precap : More notes from the diary.
So here is the 20th chapter of this FF. Hope you all liked it.
Firstly, I am trying to show these insecurities of Naira where she considers herself old just because Keerti is careless and more crazier. But then you can not always be the reckless teenager. You ought to grow up and become mature as time comes and learn from your mistakes and experiences. That’s what Naira will realize in the time to come.
I have been meaning to write about such realistic issues that are faced by individuals and couples and this FF has provided me this platform.
Secondly, I would like to thank you all as it is because of you that this FF has crossed a milestone of 20 Chapters. I still remember when I was on a break and some of you were constantly messaging me and posting on my wall to comeback and start writing. Well, frankly that was all that kept me going and be active again and write this FF. So a huge thank you and a big hug to all of you.
Do comment. Keep smiling. Keep watching Yrkkh !!