“Truth or dare?” Cabir asked me when the bottle stopped spinning, pointing towards me. I, Manik, Maddy, Mukti, Abhi, Ayesha di, Soha and Nandini were now in Cabir’s house, playing this game: Truth or Dare. I’m glad Nandini could come as it was a Saturday and she had a holiday. I know, I know, I sound like a love struck teen… But I really am in love with her. Anyways, back to reality. It was my turn to answer now.
“Umm… truth,” I said. I actually found the truth option easier to take because I didn’t mind telling the truth and if the question asked is really such that you don’t want to answer, you can always not say the truth. After all, who can really look into your mind to see if you’re lying or not?
“Okay, now we’re going to extract your deepest secrets… Watch out!” Maddy warned me and everyone at once started discussing about what question they should ask me. I saw Mukti whisper something in Cabir’s ears to which he nodded excitedly.
“Okay Dhruv… Now tell us, if given a chance, who among all the girls present here would you date?” Cabir put forward his question.
“Nandini.” I blurted out, without a second thought and regretted it the moment I said it.
Everyone was like “Oooh,” giving me naughty smiles.
“This is unfair, Dhruv! Now what will happen to our poor Manik?” Aliya pouted.
“It’s nothing like that guys. I just said it like that only. You see, I couldn’t have said di’s name ‘cause she’s di and Abhi would have strangled me if I did. And Soha is my sister, how can I date her possibly?” I said quickly, making up for my reply. It was actually not a complete lie too.
“Hmm. Fair enough,” Maddy said.
“Hey, wait… Soha is your sister?” Nandini asked.
“I mean she’s like my sister,” I clarified myself.
“Oh…” Nandini trailed off when Cabir spun the bottle again. This time it pointed towards Nandini.
“Truth or dare?” Soha asked, and she replied with a “Truth.”
“Oh, I know the perfect question to ask—Do you love Manik?” Soha asked excitedly, flashing smiles at Manik.
“What a question is this Soha! Of course it’s a yes!” Maddy said, cheekily.
Ugh. Not again. I was sick of people teasing Nandini and Manik. Can they not really see that Nandini is not into Manik? And vice versa…?
“Please, Maddy. Don’t start again for god’s sake!” Said the fuming Nandini.
“Okay baba! Go on with your answer…” Maddy said, putting up his hands in surrender.
Of course she’ll say she doesn’t love Manik, I thought, but her answer seemed to be otherwise.
“Well… Of course I LOVE Manik! He’s my best friend after all… I love him the most, next to my dad.” No. She did not say that! She couldn’t—
“But I don’t love him in that way, guys. So please stop concluding anything.” Her words somehow made me feel a dozen times better.
“Yeah, yeah. Time will tell us everything… Right, guys?” Soha said. What is wrong with her? I never expected her to also participate in the teasing thing. She knew Manik much better than this. How could she not see that he has got nothing for Nandini?
“Yep! Anyways, let’s proceed. And here we go.” Cabir spun the bottle which now pointed towards Manik.
“Truth or dare?” Cabir asked him.
“Dare,” Manik replied, and I at once knew what I should dare him to do.
“Ohh I know what he should do… DANCE!” I cried out.
“Oh yesssss! On Gangnam Style!” Soha suggested, and everyone was now urging him to do the famous Gangnam dance.
“Fine!” Manik gave in and got up to perform. I played the song on my phone and Manik started swinging his hands in rhythm, doing the signature Gangnam step, for which he was quite famous. Once the music was over, he was presented with a big round of applause and he took his seat.
“That was some hilarious dancing, Monster!” Nandini exclaimed, but I think Manik couldn’t hear her, or at least it seemed like he couldn’t hear her. I don’t why, but Manik had been acting kind of weird that day, especially towards Nandini. It looked like he was avoiding her… Something was definitely not right, but I had no idea what. I assumed they’d had some conflict so I didn’t ask him anything as I wanted to give them their space.
“It’s Dhruv again!” Soha yelled, breaking me out of my thoughts. I saw the bottle was now lying in my direction. Again.
“Ugh… Okay I’d go for a dare,” I said, wanting a change.
“Let’s make him propose someone…” Abhi bhai suggested.
“Yeah… Propose…. MANIK!” Cabir suggested. Ew. Never.
“No guys, I have a better idea… Propose Nandiniiii!” Maddy cried out, much to my amazement.
“Oh yeah! Awesome idea!” Ayesha di agreed and eventually everyone convinced me to do it, in spite of opposition from me and Nandini.
I asked Nandini to stand up and took out a flower from the vase on the table. I knelt down in front of her in total filmy style and thrusting out the flower to her, I said—
“I don’t know how to start but, there was a time when I never believed in love at first sight. But after our first meeting, things have changed. I often find myself thinking about you and seeking excuses to meet you. Well, believe it or not, but the fact is I have fallen in love with you! When you are there, the whole world ceases to exist. You mean the world to me. Will you be mine forever?” I spoke aloud all the words which I’d always wanted to tell her. How much I loved her, I myself hadn’t realized it until then. I meant each word which I told her. But of course, it was an act for her.
Once I finished my mini-speech, I was greeted with a round of whistling and applause.
“That was so sweet Dhruv! You are one cheesy guy! I’m sure the girl you propose would readily say yes to you!” Nandini said, winking at me.
“You bet!” I said nonchalantly, hoping in my heart of hearts that what she’d just said was applicable for her too.
I then followed Nandini back to where we were seated and sat down as the bottle was spun again. This time it landed on Maddy.
“Truth or dare?” Abhi asked.
“Dare!” came Maddy’s reply.
“Now wait Maddy… Teri toh mai leke hi rahunga,” I said, referring to take revenge on him for giving me such a dare… Not that I minded proposing to Nandini, but I was really not ready for this sudden act.
“Yeah, yeah. Do whatever… I don’t fear anything!”
“Haan (Yes) that we’ll see…” I said, letting my thoughts wander about. Finally an idea struck me.
“I dare you to play a game of Rapid Fire.” I said, flashing a wicked smile, “I’ll be asking you ten questions and you need to answer them with the first thing that comes into your mind.”
“Good idea, dude!” Aliya said, and all the rest agreed.
“Okay, I’m ready. Shoot!” Maddy said.
“Okay, here I go. The first one is…
“Famil—Wait, what?!” I paused midway between my next question, registering what he’d just said. I cast a look at Soha, who was now looking at the ground, smiling. Are they a thing now? Why don’t I know about this?
“So it’s Soha, huh?” Abhi said.
“You never told us!” Cabir exclaimed.
“It’s nothing like that guys… When did I say anything?” Maddy said.
“Acha… So the first person who came to your mind when you heard the word ‘beautiful’ is Soha?” Aliya said.
“Arre, Soha is one of the few females I know,” Maddy clarified.
“Really? What happened to you One True Love—Kareena Kapoor?” Ayesha di pointed out.
“Yeah, that’s what! Someone’s crushing on someone her, I see,” I said, teasing him. I glanced at Manik, who seemed not to be interested a bit in what was going on. He seemed to be in his own little world, his thoughts surrounding him. A look at Nandini told me that she was also in the same state. Her gaze was fixed on Manik, while Manik was staring at the rose in Nandini’s hands. What was going on? Something was seriously wrong and I needed to know what.
“Ugh, you guys are sick! Just because I find Soha beautiful doesn’t mean I’m crushing on her! It’s just that my eyes fell on her when you asked that question and I said her name, unconsciously,” Maddy explained, exasperated.
“Okay, whatevs… Let’s proceed, guys,” Soha said, clearly wanting to turn the focus off her. The game continued for a while until it was finally time to leave.
“Hey, Dhruv… Can you please drop me home?” Nandini asked. I looked at her, surprised. She’d come her with Manik but was asking me for a lift while returning? Should I ask her what’s the matter? No, she’d tell me herself if something was wrong. I didn’t want to pressurize her or something. So I just simply said,
“Yeah, sure. Why not?” And made up my mind to call up Virat the first thing when I reached home. He has got some serious explaining to do.
I was sitting at my study table with my book open and was staring at the table clock. I was thinking of today’s events–about the truth and dare game and how Soha was sticking to my Manik. Well, actually her Manik. Anyways, the main point was that Manik was avoiding me. He used to talk with me from his side but today he didn’t even talk nicely when I tried to talk to him. Why would Manik avoid me? I had been thinking about this since when I had returned from Cabir’s house. Maybe Soha must have told him to stay away from me or maybe Manik himself must have thought not to give Soha a chance, like others, to think that we are together. Ugh… Why Manik has feelings for Soha? I didn’t at all like the idea of Manik and Soha ever being together. No, Dhruv had said that it was a long time ago and maybe Manik is now out of all these. Manik just can’t have anything for Soha. How does it matter to me anyways and why am I consoling myself? Why do I keep defending every action of Manik? Why can’t Manik just stop haunting my mind? Hell, why can’t I just concentrate in my work? Ugh… I looked down at my book and didn’t feel like working anymore, though I knew my presentation were less than a week away. I went to the kitchen to fetch some coffee for myself. As I was coming back to my room, I saw my dad sitting on the sofa and reading some book. The newspaper was lying in front of him. I picked up the paper and was about to leave when my Ams said—
“There’s a news about your boyfriend. Read it. It’s interesting…”
What? From when did Aryaman become so famous? No, he is not my boyfriend but about whom else was Ams talking about? I decided to find for myself and went back to my room. I took a sip from the coffee and placed it on the table. I flipped through the pages to see about whom Ams was talking and saw Manik’s picture in an article. Why does everyone think that I and Manik are together? I thought as I folded the paper to make it easy for me to read the article. I read the headlines—
—Manik Malhotra back with ex girlfriend Soha Khurana?—
–We were the first to tell you about Soha Khurana coming back to India a couple of weeks ago, for Manik’s birthday. Manik had back then said that they were not dating… “There’s nothing like that, we are just the best of friends. Soha was in India for a couple of days so she came over to meet me on my birthday,” the 25 year old rockstar had said. Soha and Manik are childhood friends and were rumoured to have been dating a few months ago, too. After that, Soha allegedly moved out of India and they seemed to have broken up. But now it seems that they are back together. Recently, an eye witness had spotted the two of them sitting together in a party thrown by Khurana. “The two of them seemed to be enjoying each other’s company. Soha was the host and yet she stuck to Manik most of the time,” the eye witness said. He also spotted Soha placing her hand on Manik’s hand. But of course, they are only ‘just’ best friends, right? Manik was unavailable for comment.—
“What the—“ I blurted out, as I finished reading it. Why do these paps have to create an issue of everything? I mean Soha does not even know about Manik’s feelings and Manik also must not be having such a thing for Soha now. I don’t know why but I felt angry. I threw the newspaper away and banged my table. The hot coffee, due to the tremble, fell on my hand.
“Ouch!” I cried out loud as I rubbed my hand out of pain. I wiped off the coffee and I laid down on my bed. Why did I react so much and hurt myself? In fact, why did I get angry by reading that article? Only because it was about Soha and Manik? I looked at my reflection which was in front of me. An absurd question was put in front of me by my stupid heart—
‘Do you love him?’
‘What! No, I mean he is just my best friend. I just reacted because I don’t like Soha much. It’s got nothing to do with Manik. Such a thing is just impossible.’ I immediately replied a long explanation.
‘Okay. But you could have just answered it with a no. The long explanation states that you love him and you are trying to hide your feelings. ‘ My heart was quick enough to fire back.
‘I said I don’t love him. Now just get lost.’ I said, disgusted.
I knew that for sure. I was not made for love. After what Aryaman did to me, I could never love anyone again…And Manik…He was my best friend, one of my only friends at the moment. I couldn’t afford to lose him either. Annoyed by the tussle raging within me and tired as hell, I put my headphones into my ears and soon enough, drifted into sleep. . .
This was our longest chapter till date… Comment your thoughts?
Nandini is a little confused about her feelings. And what do you have to say about Soha and Maddy? How would they hit as a couple?
Credit to: Naisha