“Yes, yes!” Nandini squealed in a childlike voice, and jumped off from her seat, pulling me out of the pub with her. I had suggested on going to the beach since I had to execute the idea I had in mind, and Nandini had readily agreed. I know I sounds insane going to a beach at around midnight, but I had to do it, and I can’t afford to waste time at all.
“I am driving, get in,” I said as we reached the parking lot and held the passenger’s side door of my car open for her to get in. She was totally wasted, despite my efforts to stop her from drinking and I couldn’t possibly let her drive her own car in this state. Without protesting much, she got seated.
“I’ll be back after making a call. Wait here, don’t go anywhere,” I instructed her before walking away to a distance, and dialling a familiar number on my phone.
One. Two. Three. Fou—
“Did you ask her out?” Manik asked straightaway, answering the call on the fourth ring.
“Yeah. She rejected me,” I lied, “Manik can you please meet me? I’m completely shaken and I need you—your moral support.” I tried to sound as depressing and sad as I could, which surprisingly wasn’t that difficult.
“WHAT?” This was his immediate reaction. But he almost instantaneously added, “Okay uh…Where are you?” He seemed to be genuinely concerned for me. I was a good actor I suppose.
“I am headed to the beach right now,” I said.
“Okay. Be there in ten.”
“Thanks yaar(buddy).” No one else would have sacrificed so much for anyone. “Anyways, see you,” I said and hung up.
He really deserved some sort of award for his sacrifice for me. Not only had he sacrificed his love for me, but had also tried his level best to bring Nandini and me together. I don’t think I even deserve his friendship. He has always been the perfect best friend I could ever ask for, and I on the other hand, couldn’t even gauge his true inner feelings. With thoughts as these, I got into the car and drove away to the beach.
We stood on the sea shore, and Namdini got lost admiring nature’s beauty. What was there to admire, I couldn’t say. There was a lot of garbage dumped here and there on the beach, and this sure as hell didn’t fascinate me. Nandini, however, seemed to think otherwise.
I started to think of a plan to leave the place before Manik came, and suddenly, an idea struck me.
“Nandini, I think I’ve left my phone in the car. I’ll get it. You stay right here and don’t go anywhere, okay?” I told to Nandini. It was a risk leaving her alone here like this, but I expected Manik to be here in some time and he could control her.
She seemed so lost in her thoughts that she didn’t even reply, and I thought it best not to disturb her. After some time, she replied dreamily,
“Hmm Monster, you go. I’ll be waiting here for you,” and then again got lost in the world of her dreams. I didn’t even bother to point out that I was Dhrub, not Manik, or ‘Monster’ as she’d like to call. It hurt be bad enough to see her thinking about Manik right now.
I slowly walked away from her, casting a glance over my shoulder at her every now and then. I pulled my car out of the parking lot and drove away to God knows where. After I had covered some distance, I texted Manik—
Me: Where are u?
After about half a minute, I got back his reply.
Manik: In the parking lot. Coming in a minute.
Me: Ok, come on in. I’m near the shore.
I texted back the location where I’d left Nandini. I hope everything goes well and Nandini confesses to Manik like the way I’ve planned.
I took a look at my surroundings, once I reached the beach. I have been to Bamgalore several times before, but I’d never visited the beach, as impossible as it may sound. There are no beaches in Delhi and visiting a beach was a rare and beautiful experience for me.
It was around midnight and the sky was extremely dark. The half moon was surrounded by big fluffy clouds and hardly any stars were visible. A cool, soothing breeze was blowing, fanning me. The few lamp posts scattered here and there were illuminating the beach dimly, giving it a rather romantic look.
There were hardly any people on the beach at this time. At a distance, I could see some couples sitting on the sand and there were a handful of policemen patrolling near the shore, to prevent anyone from going near the water. The tide was rather strong now, I guess, as I could hear the waves lashing against each other.
I let my gaze move around the beach, exploring it, looking for Dhruv. He’s texted me he was near the shore, right near the entrance, but I could not see a single soul within a hundred metres radius of me…or no, wait. My eyes suddenly landed on the dark silhouette of a person standing at a distance. Even from this distance, I could figure out it’s a girl, and her back was turned towards me. I don’t know, but she reminded me of…Nandini? God! I need to stop thinking about her! She is not the only girl on this planet! And besides, how could she possibly be here? Dhruv had called me here, and I sure as hell know Nandini wouldn’t accompany him after rejecting him.
I don’t know why, but my legs automatically carried me towards this figure, just in case it was Nandini. It was almost as if my legs had a brain of their own. As I approached the figure, I was assured it was a girl. I got a closer view at her and studied her features. She was really skinny, though not too skinny, and was wearing a black dress—a really short one if I may add—which showed her perfect curves, and straight black hair was hanging loose. It didn’t take me another moment to realize it definitely was Nandini.
Though she stood with her back towards me, I knew her too well which enabled me to identify her. I didn’t know what she was doing there but I sure as hell didn’t want to face her and only deepen the wound in my heart which would never heal. I was about to turn away when she turned to face me.
“Manik! It’s you?” She said as a cute smile crossed her face. She was smiling? I had expected her to scold me, as I had actually been avoiding her as of late. Thank God, she was in a good mood.
I think I assumed it little too soon, cause in the very next moment, she said, “Oh! I’m so sorry!” I could see anger taking over her as she spoke, “You are no longer my Monster. You are ‘The Manik Malhotra’, right?” Before I say anything, she continued—
“Oops! I’m sorry again! You are Soha’s Manik, right?” She looked around and said, “You didn’t get your girlfriend along?”
By now, I was standing right in front of her, and as she spoke, a strong scent of alcohol drifted out from her mouth and the sudden realization hit me—
She was drunk. Another question struck me almost instantaneously—Where the hell was Dhruv? He had left Nandini in this drunken state, all alone? How could he be so careless? Does he really love her? This thought made my insides burn and I found the anger rising within me. This was beyond limits and I couldn’t take it.
Getting back to Nandini, I said,
“No.” I wanted to say something more but she interrupted me—
“Oh, no wonder you’re lost in her thoughts!” This was enough. I was already infuriated and she was going on bickering about Soha. I could not take it any longer and burst out,
“SHE IS NOT MY GIRLFRIEND!”
I think I took her by surprise by this sudden outburst of mine, as I saw a glint of shock in those deep black eyes of hers. But in a moment, she composed herself and shot back at me with equal vigour—
“Oh puh-lease! Don’t give me that bullshit! I have seen her clinging to—“
“What the hell happened to you, Nandini?” I cut her in. This was not the Nandini I knew.
“What the hell has happened to me? Are you seriously asking me that? You know what, I should be the one asking you that! I’m surprised you even remember my name! Tell me the last time we actually had a normal talk?”
“I was busy with the musicana and you know it!”
“That’s the point, Manik! You have time for everything, except me! As if this stupid music is your life!”
“Don’t you dare say anything about music! It shouldn’t matter to you if music is my life or not!” I said through gritted teeth.
“Of course it matters to me! What do you mean to say, I don’t have any place in your life?”
“No you don’t.” I don’t know what came over me, but the words just kind of automatically came out of my mouth. Shit. I shouldn’t have told that. I’m only making the matter worse than it already is.
“Wow. Now I had to see this day also. My best friend, my only friend, tells me that I have no place in his life! It’s all my fault, I should’ve never given you so much importance in my life! I should’ve never trusted you. All men are the same—First Aryaman broke my trust and left me, and you, you’re no different! I was so stupid to think I could trust you. God! Why the f**king–”
Before she could complete her speech, I crashed my lips on hers, muting her. The taste of her cherry chap stick mingled with that of alcohol stimulated my taste buds, and her warm breath fanned my face. This was the moment which I’d been waiting for, and I had never expected it would happen like this, in such a situation. And she wasn’t even reciprocating! I should’ve never tried it… Why the hell am I making so many mistakes in one day? She was staring at me with a surprised expression, obviously taken aback.
Wrong action, Manik, I thought to myself and was about to pull back when I saw her close her eyes. It was now my turn to be surprised—She stepped closer to me, ending the little gap between our bodies and smashed her lips on mine, kissing me back passionately. I couldn’t believe this was happening. But this was too precious a moment to ruin by thinking about rational things.
I wrapped my hand securely around the small of her back, pulling her still closer to me in the process. Her hands were tenderly caressing my cheeks as our lips moved in synchronisation. My heart was violently hammering against my rib cage, and her heart seemed to be in the same state. My stomach took a back flip as I smiled into the kiss. Electric sparks coursed through my body, sending chills down my spine. I think the creatures known as butterflies really did exist, as I felt them flutter around wildly in my stomach.
This was the best sensation ever. Now I didn’t want to lose her to anyone, not even Dhruv.
All of a sudden, out of nowhere, it started raining. Seriously? When does it rain in December? By now I was sure rain was our biggest enemy—always there to ruin my special moments. This was the third time rain was punishing me.
We instantly pulled back from the kiss and I hastily said,
“Let’s get outta here!” With that, I broke into a run, eager not to get drenched in this cold winter, assuming that Nandini would follow me. But I had hardly taken a couple of steps when I realized I was wrong. I looked back to find Nandini standing where I’d left her, with her hands stretched out and her face turned up towards the sky. She being a rain lover, was naturally enjoying it, like a peacock.
Though I wanted to stand there and admire her dancing in the rain, I compelled my legs to go to her and get her under some shelter. Her health was a first priority for me, and I didn’t want her to catch a cold.
“What are you doing? C’mon, you’ll catch a cold!” I said, approaching her. I walked towards her, taking out my blazer and once I reached there, I put it around her shoulders and grasped her wrist, pulling her along with me. I literally had to drag her with me, as she was walking as if she was half dead. Did she have to be drunk at such a moment?
When we were halfway through, she suddenly exclaimed,
“Ouch!” I turned back to see her sitting on the wet back in a rather weird position.
“Do you think this is the time to sit and relax?” I asked, slightly annoyed.
“I can’t walk!”
“What do you mean you can’t walk?”
“The heel of my sandal—it brrrr-roke!”
I looked at her feet now. Sure enough, the extra long pointed heel of one of her sandals was broken. Since when did she start wearing these high heels anyway? I realized she was also dressed in a different way. Her make-up and everything, it was so not… her.
Brushing aside these thoughts, I focused on the current situation. I knew I had no other option other than to carry Nandini to the car in my arms. She was already wasted and on top of that her heel was broken. I didn’t think she could walk on her own in this condition. So without saying another word, I lifted her up in bridal style and made my way through the sand, towards the parking lot. The intensity of the rain was going on increasing and I made my legs run the fastest I could, making sure at the same time Nandini was safe in my arms.
Her hands were tightly wrapped around my neck, and her big black eyes were luring me into a trance. She was staring at me and I couldn’t help staring back. Hey eyes were smeared with some black make-up, but that couldn’t stop me from admiring them. She was so beautiful…Everything about her was just flawless. As I looked at her, her eyelids seemed to get heavier each second, and I could tell she would pass out any moment. Just before her eyes closed shut, I heard her murmur softly, her voice barely above a whisper,
“I love you, Manik.” This was the last thing she said before completely passing out.
Was I dreaming? This couldn’t be happening! Did Nandini really say what I’d just heard? Does she really love me? No, Manik. She is drunk. She doesn’t know what she’s saying. She’d have forgotten everything she has said or done today by tomorrow. It’s just a pointless thing said by a drunken person. I shouldn’t be taking her words seriously.
By now, I’d reached my car and letting my mind free of all thoughts, I seated Nandini in the passenger’s seat, with a lot of difficulty if I might add, and drove away.
I had no idea where Nandini was staying so I got her to my Hotel room. It was already way past midnight and I didn’t want to wake her up and ask her where she was staying. Not that she would’ve woken up either way. From the car, I had to carry her all the way up to my Hotel room. Thank God there weren’t many people in the lobby so I didn’t have to worry about getting unwanted attention.
Once in my room, I switched on the lights, and first of all laid Nandini on my bed. I realized she was completely drenched but I couldn’t possibly do anything about it. I debated about waking her up but then eventually decided against it. Her dress was drying gradually and I was sure she would be warm in this room. I had turned on the room heater when I’d left.
I sat beside her on the bed for some time, looking at her. She was sleeping peacefully, and her chest was gently rising and falling. I knew she needed some rest, so I covered her with the warm sheets, and put off the lights of the room, and the only light came from the lamp shade on the bed sides. I softly kissed Nandini’s forehead and whispered a ‘Good night Nandini’, before making my way to the couch, where I was going to spend the night. I had hardly turned around when I felt my shirt being tugged at. I twirled to find Nandini grasping the hem of my shirt tightly, and was looking at me with half open eyes. She slowly whispered,
“Please don’t go Manik. Stay.”
This was my favourite episode!! What do you guys think? COMMENT
And btw it was a bonus one for y’all. I hope you liked it.
Credit to: Naisha