The freaked out Keerti.
“GET UP !!” Keerti has been shouting for quite some time now.
I was thinking it was a part of the dream but it isn’t. I get up to see Naksh asleep on the sofa and Naira on the floor. Slowly we all get up, groggy-eyed.
“WE NEED TO GO. IT’S EIGHT ALREADY.” she shouts repeatedly.
I guess we slept throughout the day.
“You guys go, I’m going to sleep for a little while.” I say and place the pillow over my head.
I was in the middle of an interesting dream where Anushka was in tears after we told her about Virat. Pretty moving it was. It’s a great story in my head.
“I will stay here with Karthik. Anyway, I don’t have any clothes to wear.” Naira says and closes her eyes again.
Naksh ignores everything around him and rolls over.
“You guys have got to be kidding me. Don’t be so boring. We had to go clubbing.” Keerti argues.
“Not we. YOU !!!” I say.
“I come along with you on your crazy chase across cities and you can’t do this much for me ?!!” Keerti sighs.
“Now that’s blackmail.” Naira says.
“Whatever.” Keerti says and shrugs.
She spends another half an hour telling us how insensitive we are and eventually we give in. We get up slowly. Naksh and I realize that it’s a little too late for train tickets, so we call up a travel agent and get ourselves four tickets on a fight leaving the next day
at six in the morning.
Naksh goes and get the printouts for our tickets and flashes them once he’s in the room, “So, no more back-breaking car drives or train journeys.”
“Losers. It’s supposed to be a road trip, not a train and flight trip.” Keerti mutters.
“What do you mean losers ?!! It’s tiring.” I protest as Naira smiles.
“That’s what. I can take it, you can’t. You are old and boring.” she says.
“Whatever.” Naksh, me and Naira say at the same time.
“Do we have to go ?!! There is still time to decide.” Keerti asks as she unmindfully packs her small bag.
“You’ll anyway have to come back to Mumbai. I am telling you, Anushka lives in Mumbai. Its my gut feeling.” she insists as we pay no heed to her.
We pack our bags and decide that we’ll return to the hotel by three in the night to reach the airport on time. Slowly and reluctantly, we get dressed and move out of the hotel.
Keerti had decided on a club in Bandra she had heard a lot about — Hawaiin Shack — probably for its cheap alcohol. Keerti will be a good girlfriend. She has a formidable grip on how to limit expenses. She makes us stop at the beer shop nearby and we pick up a bottle of vodka and some beers. By the time we reach the club, we’re pretty drunk but not enough.
“This is why you’re OLD !! No one gets drunk inside. That’s just a waste of money.” Keerti states as we get out of the taxi.
Hawaiin Shack. We stagger and stumble inside. Before we know it, we exhaust our cover charges and are drunk. The people around us become blobs and everything becomes hazy.
I don’t remember how long I danced for, but it seemed like ten minutes. It’d been long since Naira and I had done that. I’m thankful to Keerti for this.
“LET’S GO !!” a familiar voice shouts in my ear.
Naira and I are almost glued to each other. We ignore the voice near us. It shouts in our ear again, but the music drowns it out.
“IT’S TIME.” the voice says in our heads again.
We look around. It’s Keerti shouting her head off.
“What ?!!” Naira shouts back.
‘It’s TIME. It’s already four-thirty.” Keerti shouts again.
Suddenly, we are not drunk. We look at our watches and get a little freaked out. Though nowhere close to how freaked out Keerti looks. She is almost panicking and it’s funny to see her like that. Lately, she has been the definition of the word ‘cool’ to us.
“Oh, crap.” I say and stare at the watch, mentally calculating the time required to reach the airport.
“We should rush.” Naira exclaims.
Immediately, we finish the last of our drinks and head out of the door. We find Naksh outside the club, talking to a few stray dogs. He has not changed since his college days. We take an auto, huddle in and get back to our hotel. We are still struggling to find our way to our room’s door when we spot Keerti standing there with all our bags.
“What ?!!” she exclaims as Naksh pushes her aside, and we make our way to the beds and couches in the room.
“We need to sleep.” Naira says and flops on a couch.
“Me too.” I say and take the bed.
Naksh has already found a place on the floor and his eyes are closed.
“We have a flight in an hour !!” Keerti shouts.
“No, we don’t.” Naira says.
“What ?!! The flight’s at six, right ?!!” Keerti reminds us.
“It was at six. Oh ?!! No one told you ?!! The flight was delayed moments after we booked it. It’s at ten now.” I say.
Naira chuckles. So do I. And though it looks like Naksh is fast asleep, he’s not. His lips curve into a smile.
“But why didn’t you guys tell me ?!!” Keerti asks exasperated.
“You’re not the only one here who can be a pain in the ass.” Naira says and we all chuckle.
“You guys are so mean !!” Keerti cries out cutely.
Precap : Things that make life worth living for.