Bela is back again with the Shot 4 of Cocktail! I did it! I typed it and posted it on time! *Pats my back*
To all those who want a recap, type Cocktail in the searchbar of Tellyupdates and then click on whichever shot you want a recap of 😛
So, let us get started………………………………….
I sipped my hot coffee as I read the book in my hand. On a Saturday evening, with no work to do and no one to hang out with, I guess this is what was sane to do. Maa and Papa were in London for a conference, PSL was on her much awaited trip and even her parents, who I had full intention of troubling, had decided to spend a romantic evening somewhere outside the city. I spent a few hours gymming, then spent an hour bathing, tried out a new recipe(and ended up making a rubber cake) and then decided to sleep. To my sheer bad luck, I slept through the entire afternoon and ended up waking at exactly five in the evening. With nothing else to do, since all my meetings for today had been canceled, six o’ clock found me sitting on my couch, book in one hand and a cup of steaming hot coffee in the other. Way for a young man like me to live on a weekend!
But I am not complaining. I have always liked this quiet solitude and while men my age may be attending parties and hanging out with people, I have realized that the my bank balance and my name, along with the respect, awe and power it brings makes me almost ineligible for such ‘normal’ things. Moreover, my own nature isn’t one that allows me to socialize much. I like these precious moments, my ‘me-time’, I call them. It gives me time to relax, do stuff I like, and just breathe………………………………………
My phone rang. Keeping my book aside, I picked up the call. It was my PA Gaurav.
He: Sir, some people from MenXFashion India have come. The want me to fix an appointment with you.
MenXFashion India? Why would people working for a fashion magazine want an appointment with me? Sensing my confusion, Gaurav continued.
He: Sir, they are saying that they are keen to have you on their cover next month.
What?! MenXFashion India wanted ME on their cover? Like, seriously? Now, I was interested. I told Gaurav to fix an appointment within an hour.
To be sure, exactly an hour later, two men sat on the plush mustard chairs in my study, looking around appreciatively. I entered the room and both of them stood up. After shaking hands with them and offering them more tea and snacks, we sat down to work.
“Mr. Maheshwari, you must be wondering why we want you to grace our cover, right? Actually, it is our silver jubilee edition and our superiors insisted on bringing on board someone who was currently sensational. You are a rising name in the business industry and your fashion sense and style is impeccable. It would be an honour for us if you agree to this.” one of them said earnestly while the other nodded at me, wide-eyed. The one who spoke had introduced himself as Namit.
I guess they were right. I had recently been crowned the ‘Most Bankable Young Entrepreneur’ by a top magazine while another business journal claimed that I was ‘King of the Next Gen Bizmen’. I was quickly rising in the popularity charts, thanks to the various outlets of Lucky’s Caffe and my new chain of gyms and hotels. Adding to it the fact that I am to inherit the Maheshwari business, I guess I AM sensational. And to be fairly honest, an opportunity to feature on MenXFashion India’s twenty fifth cover is prestigious and something that I would be the first among my contemporaries to do. Meaning publicity. Meaning more coverage. Meaning more clients and customers. It was a really good deal.
“I totally agree that it would be an honour. But the honour would be mine, since being on your cover is a BIG thing. I thank you for this opportunity and I will gladly accept. When are we supposed to start shooting?” I asked. Both looked at each other nervously.
“By tomorrow!” the other man squeaked. He seemed to be new to the job and was visibly jittery and nervous. What was his name again? Something with a B. Billi? Billo? Bilal? Yes, Bilal.
Tomorrow? What. The. Hell? So soon……………………….
“Sir, we had been trying to contact you for two weeks and we reached your PA only a few days back. We are sorry if it is inconvenient to you, we totally understand that you are busy but the photoshoot will take just a few hours.” Namit said.
“What kind of a photoshoot do you guys have in mind?” I asked. I don’t know why but I was feeling damn excited.
“Something which doesn’t go with your typical image, sir. Like, even though you own a fast food cafe, you still have a lot of gyms and stuff. So we were planning something sporty, and casual, not the formal types. Like a beach.” Bilal, who was now more composed, post treating himself to the samosas, replied.
“But would that not require an on-location photoshoot? You don’t get beaches in Delhi!” I replied.
“We can create a location in our studio with graphics, Sir, if you are busy……..”
Graphics? No way! I didn’t want to become the laughing stock of the people by featuring on a fashion magazine cover with fake trees and sand behind me. I have a reputation!
“Look, I really am game for this, I am willing to give time as well, I am free for the next few days, but I just have one condition, the shoot should be awesome. I have an image of being a near perfectionist which is entirely true. Graphics will ruin the authenticity of the shoot and I don’t want a single glitch on the cover with me on it.” I told them in a stern tone.
“Sir, we can arrange an impromptu trip to a beach too, but it will take a day or two. We don’t have much time to spare, we need to complete the shoot before you get busy again.” Namit said.
“Okay, I get it. But I insist that we go to a real location. I am willing to help, if you require lodgings or permission, I can easily arrange for the crew’s stay in one of our hotels.” I said.
Both of them looked at each other. I could see that they were considering my proposal. They took a few minutes off to speak to their supervisor and then returned.
“We would be thankful for your help sir. We would pay, of course, and it would be great if you could arrange this before you get busy.” Namit said.
“Any location in mind?” I asked them.
“Umm…..Pondicherry, or Kerala, somewhere in India, not abroad. Since you have only the next few days.” Bilal suggested.
A sudden thought struck my mind. It was too perfect. Too damned perfect. I looked at the two men who were shoveling down the spring rolls in a manner similar to someone who I was thinking of.
“How about Goa?”
“Wake up. Ragz, baby doll, wake up. WAKE UP, GODDAMIT!” Twinkle screamed into my ear. My eyes flew open as I looked around me. The ride to the hotel from the airport was too boring, so I must have ended up sleeping. Apparently, we had reached.
Scrambling off the car and adjusting my tank top, which was in my possession courtesy a certain FFL, I looked at the huge cream coloured building in front of me. It was really beautiful. There were large glass windows which displayed the reception inside. The area was surrounded by lush greens and was bordered with pots containing multicolored flowers. The spot where I stood was a few feet away from the main entrance and between the door and me was a beautiful marble fountain. I looked around me and saw that the stone path from the gates leading to the door had streetlights around the corners while at one secluded corner, there stood a red telephone booth. It was rather cute. This place was freaking awesome.
I looked behind me and asked Kunj, “What place is this? I forgot the name again.”
Kunj replied, “Mélange. I have often stayed here when I came to Goa. You have never been here?”
I shook my head. “I came to Goa only once before with my parents and then, Dad had opened the company guesthouse for our stay. He was willing this time too, you know…….” I said to him, raising my eyebrows. Kunj chuckled.
“Sorry Ragz, but as much as I love your parents, I could not risk them knowing of our crazy activities. Come on, admit it, your staff would have gossiped!”
I gave him a small side smile as he laughed and ruffled my hair. Then, he sighed and went to pacify Twinkle, who was now trying to wake up ‘Snorey Sanskaar’.
After all the members had been duly woken up and been shouted at by one Twinkle Taneja, we all made our way inside. The place was as bomb inside as it was outside. Maple wood flooring with Kashmiri carpets, white and royal blue walls with one entire huge part having a glass aquarium, a big beautiful chandelier on the ceiling in the middle, with a classy lounge with leather couches, this place was IT. I smiled. I was waiting to know the rooms better!
Kabir was talking to the receptionist about our rooms. We all sat down in the lounge to wait. He came back a minute later and looked at me. “Rags, can you come with me for a second? Carry any ID proof with you too.” he asked. Everyone looked at us curiously while I stood up and took my Aadhaar Card and followed him. I was admittedly really confused. What was happening?
Kabir asked me on the way, “You have some setting with this hotel’s owner?” I looked at him, baffled. I shook my head to indicate a no and Kabir shrugged and frowned in reply.
We went up to the reception where Kabir took my card and gave it to the receptionist for verification. She looked at it and then smiled at us. “Thank you Ma’am, this is okay. Sir, here are the card keys to your penthouse. Have a good time!” she said, returning to me my card while handing the keys to Kabir.
We reached the others and then Kabir finally explained what happened. Turns out, the staff had instructions that if a party of about nine, having pre-booked rooms comes, in which there is a Ragini Gadodia, then they were to upgrade the rooms to a penthouse. This was why she wanted my ID proof, as a verification. And this was why Kabir asked me if I knew the owner or not.
Everyone looked at me with wide eyes, as if I was an alien. I looked at everyone weirdly. “Who owns this place?” I asked them. “The Maheshwari family.” Arjun replied.
Aha! This was why I was getting the royal treatment. Now I could recall that FFL had asked me the name of my hotel and I had shown him my booking. He must have done this. So sweet of him! But this meant that I would have to reveal my relationship with FFL. I took a deep breath and faced everyone,
“Mr. Maheshwari is my father’s best friend. And…….I am best friends with his son Lakshya!” I whispered.
A collective shout of ‘WHAT?’ came from my gang and I squeezed my eyes shut tightly. I opened them a second later to witness all of them looking at me with wide eyes and open mouths. I smiled sheepishly at everyone.
“What are you saying Rags?”
“When did this happen?”
“You know Lakshya Maheshwari?”
“Why didn’t you tell this to us?”
“Is something going on between you two?”
I looked at everyone in alarm as they shot off questions one after the other. Finally, they quietened down and grabbing the opportunity, I started speaking. “Okay guys, I know it is a shock, but trust me. My dad and Mr. Maheshwari know each other since childhood and have been best friends for years. I used to play with Lakshya when we were very young. We never really hit it off then and lost contact when they shifted to Mumbai. When they relocated to Delhi earlier this year, I came into contact with Lakshya again and this time, thankfully, we hit it off easily. We have become best buddies now. It totally skipped my mind that you all didn’t know. I was planning to tell you today after we freshened up.”
“It skipped your mind? IT SKIPPED YOUR FRIGGIN MIND?” Sanskaar yelled at me. A lot of people in the lobby stopped to look at us while I looked at Sanskaar pleadingly. Arjun came between us and turned to Sanskaar. “Not here Sanky. Let us go to our room………penthouse and then we will yell all we want.”
Radhika gave me a smile and Nisha winked at me. I smiled back sadly. Twinkle slapped my shoulder excitedly. “Is he hot?” she asked me. I shrugged while she grinned deviously. “First thing we do when we go back to Delhi would be to meet your new best friend!” She said. I nodded in reply and rolled my eyes.
I smiled as my head hit the pillow. It was decided. I would shoot for the cover the day after tomorrow in Goa. I am scheduled to reach tomorrow night. However, I have other plans. I would go there tomorrow morning and spend some fun time with PSL and boast about my photoshoot. I would make her eat dirt for saying that I was not handsome. She would regret it. She will plead and beg for forgiveness and I would laugh and dismiss her initially but then relent later. I am bad, not VERY bad, after all! And she is my best friend.
With a clench in my heart, I realized that she was my ONLY friend. I was not really popular as a kid, since I was quiet. Even in college, I had some acquaintances but not true friends. Maybe this was why I ran behind Kavya. Cause she was a friend, at least that is what I thought then. But now, with Ragini in my life, I have realized what it is like to really have a friend. Not a business associate who I meet for a drink later, not an ex classmate who I catch up with, not a colleague whose dinner party I attend. A true friend. Someone I talk to freely. Someone who I can be myself with. Someone in front of whom, I have zero shame. Someone I argue with, fight with, laugh with. Someone I have a nickname for. Someone like Ragini.
Imagining the sheer horror on her face when she comes to know of my photoshoot, I chuckled and closed my eyes. Tomorrow would be fun.
I yawned for what seemed to me to be the millionth time in the past few hours. I had NEVER, in my wildest dreams, thought that this trip would be BORING AF!
After the first adventure AKA my confrontation with my gang was over, I was being bored to death. No one said anything, in fact, they were all excited to meet him after the trip. Other than Sanskaar. He was busy being the jerk to me, taunting me time and again about my ‘irresponsible nature’! blo*dy hypocrite!
The penthouse was a square building with six bedrooms with attached bathrooms and all modern facilities, located at the back of the hotel. It had a modular kitchen, a pool, a big lawn, a basketball court, a really awesome and large living room with an attached studio. It was large enough for us to live and party in. The decor was as amazing as I had come to expect from anything owned by the Maheshwaris. There was a refrigerator in the kitchen which was well stocked with eggs, bread, jam, butter, sauces, meat, vegetables and fruits and the freezer contained many bottles of beer, vodka, wine and whiskey. Even Sanskaar had to admit, my new best friend was a really top class host, even without being physically present!
Right now, the morning after our arrival, we were all lazing around the pool. The couples were getting mushy-mushy, leaving me alone to suffer. I yawned again. Maybe I should go back to bed……………………
My phone beeped. It was FFL. I had dropped him a thank you message earlier. I opened my phone with a smile.
He: What thank you, shank you? Haven’t you watched Maine Pyaar Kiya?
I smiled. He was referring to the world famous cult dialogue of ‘Dosti mein No sorry, no thank you.’ I typed my reply.
Me: I did. Switched off the TV after that pigeon drama. It was seriously Lol!
He: I know right? I was ROFLing! But still, it is okay. I could do it for you, you are my bestie.
I smiled at that. Here was one best friend who was being so sweet while there was another who was currently swapping saliva with his girlfriend.
Me: Thanks man. I would treat you for this. My friends are super happy and damned excited to meet you, idk why.
He: Because I am hot, handsome, dashing, gorgeous, irresistible and much more 😉
Me: I laughed at this. Good one!
He: I was being perfectly serious. You are injuring my feelings.
Me: It is not called feelings, it is called ego!
He: You are really bad. RBPSL!
Me: And you are really pathetic. RPFFL!
He: I am crying. You broke my heart.
Me: If you continue with this fake drama, I would break your teeth too, Jerkovsky!
He: Jerkovsky? Hahahahahaha 😀 Okay fine. I have a flight to catch in an hour, I will talk to you later.
Me: Flight? Where to?
He: Unlike you baby, I am not a vela. I have work and for that, I am going somewhere. Top secret. But I promise, I am going to see you soon.
Me: I am not vela, okay? I am just on a break. So shut up! And message me as soon as you reach.
He: Why baby? Missing me? 😉
Me: I laughed at this one too. Your sense of humour is improving. Must be my effect 😀
He: Now, I laughed. Really hard. Harder than steel. Now shut up and enjoy your stupid trip and let me focus on my work. Bye.
Me: Okay fine. Bye.
“Ragini, come join us in the pool!” Kunj shouted. I kept my phone down and smilingly joined my gang in the vast pool, wondering why FFL evaded my question about his destination. I guess I am thinking too much. His work, his life, his business. He is right. I should be enjoying my trip.
“Amazing work man. This is awesome. This news is going to sell like hotcakes! Who would have guessed? The Gadodia heiress and the Maheshwari scion? This is the Power Couple! Now, let us wait for a few days. Let her come back from her trip and then, we will follow her. They will definitely meet. We need just one picture. And then, our paper would sell like fire!” Mark Singh told his young protege. He smiled at the young man. Kartik. He was very useful. He provided almost correct news of the entertainment world daily. Apparently, Kartik had some connections who provided him with the hot news. But nothing could beat this. Ragini Gadodia and Lakshya Maheshwari together? Nothing could best this. The world would go crazy. And more importantly, Mark’s paper, Entertainment Daily, would regain its lost glory. Mark smiled. His time was on………………………
Right, this may seem short, but I didn’t want to risk anything getting deleted again. Now comment quickly and tell me how you liked it.
One lucky reader gets to become my co-writer for the next shot. All you guys have to do is send me an idea regarding what all Lakshya and Ragini should do in Goa through either the comments or through private messaging. The one that I like best will be selected. Keep going guys!