*Dedicated to Roma di. Her words have helped me. And whatever she has done for me, is beyond words. I hope you know di, what i am talking about. this is for you. love you di, for ur words, help and for being there.*
He tried hanging on. But maybe that wasn’t enough. Maybe he needed more than that to come afloat. Maybe hanging on wasn’t enough to emerge victorious.
Whatever it was, he desperately needed to succeed. To enunciate his triumph.
Glad that he was himself at last, he felt that there was still something left. Every mess seemed to be cleared yet something pulled at his brain cells. f**king Lord, wasn’t it women who had these hunches? And he was sure straight as a steel rod. Then why in the name of Holy Mary was he getting paranoid?
Had someone done something to him? Put something in the red wine he just had had, a few hours ago at the party? Or had someone done magic on him? What if it was some wannabe trying to get him under his or her control? Voodoos weren’t pitiful, he had heard.
Lord! Was he really thinking all this?
Taking a deep breath, he looked around the club. Today had been tiring. And his success party had turned awfully boring. So here he was, at this club, along with his twin.
“Earth to, dude.” She snapped her fingers in front of his eyes.
He grinned sheepishly chugging down another tequila shot. The liquid burned down his throat and he squinted. Ah, long time.
“The Neil Malhotra can’t drown a tequila shot? What a shame!” She mocked and he glared.
“Shut up, Radha. It’s been a long time.” He replied gulping another shot.
“Oh, you shut up, Neilu.” She snapped. God! How she hated being called Radha. Their parents had given her a beautiful name, Radhika and her twin spoiled it. She had nothing against others with the name Radha, but God, why murder her sweet name. And that name made her feel like some mythological character from Indian history. Lord Krishna’s love interest’s name was Radha too.
“You just didn’t say that.” He enunciated each word, carefully placing the glass on the counter. She fumbled, getting up. This wasn’t good. Not at all. Like she hated being called Radha, he hated being called Neilu. And he hated it with a passion. No one was allowed to call him that. Not even she, his twin, his best friend. She was his life and he had proved it a numerous times but God forbid, she called him by that name, all hell would break lose.
“Uh. Uh. Sorry, Neilu.” Oops. Holy fudge! She did it again and that was all he needed to pounce on her. She dodged, and then ran for her dear life. It wasn’t that his first love called him Neilu, and when she betrayed him, he started hating that name with a passion. No it wasn’t like that, at all.
This guy had the ego of Mt. Everest and according to him, calling him by a girly name, would effect his manliness. Yeah, that he was an ego maniac.
“Dude, calm down. It was just a slip of tongue.” She shouted pushing her way through the drunk heads.
Finally! She was out of the club. She wondered where he was. Maybe paying the bill. But it seemed a less likely probability because as much as she knew him, he would be busy planning something gothic for her. And the bill, well that wasn’t needed, as it went straight to the house. They were owners of the club, after all.
Sighing, she walked towards her baby in the parking lot. A shriek left her lips when her eyes settled over her Alfa Romeo. Holy mother of fudging hell! She wasn’t going to forgive him for this.
“Neil.” She shouted frantically searching the lot for her brother. Finding him no where, she reached for her keys in her pant pocket. Unlocking her car, she grabbed a rough piece of cloth from the dashboard and rubbed her baby’s bonnet. That a-hole of her brother had covered the bonnet with spray paint. And guess what had he written?
‘Love you, sis.’ ?
Nah, you’re wrong.
‘You are awesome, Radhika.’ ?
Nah, wrong again.
He wrote, ‘My ugly ass burns when girls drool over my hunk of a brother.’
He freaking called HER ugly and himself, a HUNK.
When she realized, that the paint wasn’t going to be removed, she huffed before something sticky fell over her head. Gasping, she turned around and saw him. The smell of rotten eggs and soya sauce stopped her from killing him the very instant. When she realized that the smell was coming from the slimy thing that had fallen over her head and was now dripping down her face and hair, spoiling her brand new clothes, she lunged at him, shouting, “You bastard.”
“That’s what you get for calling me by that stupid nickname in front of hot girls” He said chuckling, as he caught both her wrists in his one hand. He had the advantage of height. He was 6’2 and she, just 5’11.
“So you decided to destroy your baby’s car and drown her in this sticky shit, just because she called you by a cute name she thought she could call you by? Do you even know that I had a bad day? And added to it, you think I am ugly.” She sulked stepping away, wiping a stray tear that rolled down her sticky cheek. When he saw her crying, his expression changed and he came towards her, apologizing, but she turned away and walked a few steps. Taking out her phone, she quietly opened the recorder and pressed record. She heard footsteps and she hastily wiped an imaginary tear.
“God, I’m sorry Chasni. I was a jerk to do that. Forgive me please.”
“No.” She sulked.
“Sorry baby, I’ll get you chocolate fudge. Or one of those huge teddy bears. I’ll accompany you to Disneyland.” He coaxed.
She let out a loud sulk, crying more bitterly, “You’re trying to bribe me. I never thought that your shrewdness would make in your personal life.”
“Hey, hey. Don’t cry, baby. I’ll do everything you want me to, I promise. Please don’t cry.” He pleaded standing in front of her, trying to hug his twin.
She smirked internally. Neil Malhotra, the shrewd businessman was a softie when it came to her, his twin. She had wanted this, him to promise that he would do anything for her. She knew he could deny it all later, that’s why she was recording all of it, so that if he later on denied everything, she could play this recording in front of their parents. And then, their mom would handle the rest. It was gonna be fun.
“Really?” She asked, trying to act innocent.
That dumb excuse of her brother couldn’t see through her act and smiled a li’l saying, “Yeah. Just stop crying. I don’t like to see you cry. You are my baby sister.”
Hey! She retorted internally. She was just five seconds younger to him and he called her his baby sister. That was the reason why Arjun, Neil’s best friend, too looked at her as if she was a li’l kid. And it irked her to no tomorrow.
“So, that means you’ll lemme me call you Neilu?” She asked wiping another pair of imaginary tears. Sniffing, she looked at him expectantly, trying to make a face that meant ‘I’ll cry hysterically if you don’t agree.’
When he didn’t reply, busy closing and opening his mouth like a fish, she faked a sob and turned around. “See, you won’t, though you promised. You don’t love me.” And fresh set of fake tears slid down her cheeks. She scolded herself. Her plan wasn’t working. And crying fake tears was harder than she thought.
“Alright, you can.” He said, sighing and ran his hand through his hair. She turned around and jumped on him, squealing. He staggered a bit and then smiling, wrapped his hands around her. A minute later, she pulled back and kissed his cheek.
“Thank you for letting me.”
“But, not in front of…” He started but she cut him off, “Hot girls. I get it, dude.” He didn’t even raise his brow. It wasn’t surprising. They both completed each other’s sentences by cutting off the other in between.
When they reached home, the butler escorted them to the living room, stating that Senior Malhotra wanted to meet them. They entered the living room and there they were, their parents sitting on a sofa, with smiling faces. He sensed trouble, right away. While she kept staring at the old man. He was in his early sixties. A few seconds later, he spoke, “Neil, we have been looking for a girl for you and here are photographs of the five we have shortlisted. See for yourself.”
Neil looked at his mother, Prerna, seeking for help but she was too engrossed in reading out bio-data of the girls to see him urging for help. Lost, he sat on a sofa while his twin glared the old man, huffed and sat near him, handing him a photograph of a girl. She was smiling at the camera. Her hair, a shade of burgundy, didn’t complement her. Fake, he thought as Prerna read her bio-data.
“Kriti Kapoor, Daughter of Arihant Kapoor, owner of Kapoor Enterprises. Aged 27. A chef.”
“Failed Chef, you might wanna add.” Radhika said when she glanced at the photograph.
“Not interested.” He replied. And Prerna handed Radhika another photograph which she passed on to him. A single look at the girl and he knew. Snotty.
“Not interested.” He cut Prerna, again. And then asked for the other photographs. He frowned looking at another bratty daddy’s princess. And another. He threw away all the photographs, not caring to glance at the rest. The photos flew away around the sofa and one of them landed on Radhika’s lap.
“All of them look like bratty, snotty and sucked up b*t*hes. None of them has her own identity. It always goes like, daughter of Mr. Blah Blah Blah.” He said looking at the astounded expressions of his parents.
“Bro, look at this one. They are trying to tie you up with two girls.” Radhika said, pushing the photograph that had fallen in her lap, towards him.
He sighed and took the photograph. There were two girls in the photograph. His brows raised and he looked at his mother who supplied, “Oh, that’s Manya Khanna and her sister. We couldn’t get a picture of hers, alone, so.”
He looked at the picture again. One of the girl, had dark brown hair and grey cat-like eyes. Her hair were falling on her face. Not naturally though, he noticed. She was wearing a deep red lipstick and her eyes her were filled with kohl. Her smile showed her perfectly white teeth peeping a bit from her lips. She was what he would call hot. The other one, had black hair and brown eyes, opposite to her sister’s. Her hair were pulled up in a pony and her lips turned upwards, in a small smile, which didn’t quite reach her eyes. She had the same slant of cheekbones as her sister. Her ears were devoid of any jewellery, unlike the diamond studded earrings hanging down her sister’s ears. The brunette was wearing an off shoulder red dress and the other one was wearing an old baggy shirt. The sisters, maybe similar in physical traits, but their mental level was worlds apart, and he was sure about that. He wasn’t a face reader or a psychologist, but years of friendship with a psychologist sometimes proved fruitful. His best friend, Arjun Mehra, was a famous and most commonly referred psychologist.
“What about her?” He asked his mom.
“She’s the finance head in her father’s company.”
He sighed. Seemed like Manya Khanna was another daddy’s princess. Why was he hoping that she would be different?
“What about her sister?” He asked feigning interest. He wanted to get out of there, any how.
“Oh, that’s Samaira Khanna. She’s adopted and works as a P.R. expert in our company.” Prerna supplied.
“She’s a nice girl. Hardworking and diligent. Has been working in our company since four years.” Ajay, their dad praised.
So, she wasn’t working at Khanna’s? Interesting. And adopted? Well, he wouldn’t have thought about it. She had same facial features though. But he hadn’t seen her at the office. Maybe ’cause he had joined just a few months ago. Yeah, that could be.
“I haven’t seen her around.” Neil mused. Radhika scooted closer. This conversation was turning interesting. First, he rejects every girl and then he’s suddenly interested in a plain one. She wasn’t derogating Samaira. But seemed like Samaira lived in a world of her own, not caring about other’s opinion of her. She was beautiful, though but not the one to go flaunting herself. And her brother went for the hotties, the one’s who were seductresses. Not the one’s who would slap and kick a guy if he just as even casted a lazy glance over her body.
“That’s because she was in Mussorie for a year. She’s coming back in a few days.” Ajay answered calmly, observing his son. If not anything else, he was amused at the turn of events. His son, asking about a decent girl.
“Hmm. I’m going to bed.” Neil replied getting up, taking the photograph along with him. He had not even crossed the threshold of the room when he heard his family gushing about him and the girl. Shaking his head, he glanced at the photograph again. It was clear now. The brunette, the hot one, was Manya and the one wearing the baggy tee was Samaira.
“Look who’s back. Ms. Adopted.” Sneered Bonnie, a senior employee in ‘Dazzle Dizzle Enterprises’. The other employees formed a circle around her and the so called victim. The victim was a girl of about twenty seven, black haired and tall enough to leer at her bully.
“I’m sorry but did I hear it right? You concerned about me?” The black haired girl retorted narrowing her brown eyes.
Inside the store room:
Neil sighed. Another cat fight. Seemed like Bonnie Shah was digging her own grave. Even though she was good at her work, it was the fifth time in three months that she picked up a fight. He had wanted to fire her the first time only, but she was still here, in his office because Samrat had wanted her to be. He was tired of letting her go every time with just a warning. And it looked like the other girl wasn’t new to Bonnie’s taunts. Though, he hadn’t seen her around. And then as if he suddenly recalled something, he stopped getting out of the store room. He had come here, along with Samrat, looking for some confidential file. Behind him, Samrat rose from his chair, and sauntered towards Neil, who was standing near the glass pane, looking at the scene unfold.
“That’s Samaira Khanna?” He asked, but he already knew the answer. He would have gone outside to disperse his employees, but now he wanted to see what that girl would do.
“Thank God, she’s here. Now, we don’t need to worry about Bonnie.” Samrat sighed and Neil seemed amused.
Outside the store room:
“Burn!” One of the girls oohed. And Bonnie blushed from embarrassment.
“You b*t*h, how dare you?” Bonnie asked, trying to slap Samaira.
Samaira caught her hand in the air and inched closer, not breaking eye contact, and then whispered, “You know just a single expletive, even after being with Mr. I’m-the-biggest-douche. Don’t you think it’s time you upgrade your vocabulary? If you want, I could help you, starting with synonyms for you.”
“You.. you..” Bonnie fumbled for words as Samaira left her hand and it fell limply by her side.
“I’m the epitome of awesomeness, I know. And you want to lick the earth I walk on, but you see, the world’s polluted by the presence of junk like you, so I believe, you’ll choke on your own shit if you just as wander a step away from my footsteps &
that’s very likely, since you’re not on a noose.” Samaira answered calmly. And then turning to others, she said, “Alright guys, enough show for today. You can go back to your work. And yeah, thanks for the best welcome. I guess, none of you has grown up some guts.” Then, without another glance at Bonnie or anyone around, she walked away, towards her cabin.
“Wow.” Neil said, turning around. “That was..”
“Awesome?” Samrat provided and Neil nodded, as they both headed out of the store room, with the file.
“You want me to work as your secretary? Have you grown two heads?” She asked, flailing her hands in the air while he watched her amused, sitting in his leather chair.
“I mean, I work as your ‘secretary’?” She asked again, emphasizing the word ‘secretary’.
“Why are you so worked up about it?” He questioned.
“Worked up? I’m riled up, right now. I know you’re the boss here, but have you lost your senses? Or did you keep your brain at home today, letting it rest?”
“Very funny, Ms. Samaira. But you see, this isn’t working. You won’t be able to do what you’re trying to. So, take these files and get to your work.” Neil couldn’t believe he was having this conversation with her. Or the fact that he hadn’t raised his voice or lost his cool even after her numerous tries to anger him. But he couldn’t get himself to maintain a serious expression when the girl in front of him was entertaining him like a clown.
“Do I look like a clown?” She asked, narrowing her eyes, when Neil chuckled. He sobered up immediately. But, when she kept her hands on her hips, trying to look intimidating, he fell into another round of chuckles.
“You do realize, it’s no fun doing it. I didn’t want you to be my secretary either. Heck, I don’t even need one. But, if you really want to do something about it, you should talk to dad. He’s the one who did it.” He said, watching her eyes widening. He had gotten her point long back but he couldn’t do a thing about it. Though he was the C.E.O. , Samrat was the owner of their business and he would have listened to Samrat anyway. He was the father, here.
“And now, shoo. Unlike you, I don’t like wasting my time.” He said, getting back into his ‘let-me-work-else…’ mode.
She huffed before getting out of his cabin.
Neil called her, “And Ms. Samaira?”
“Yeah?” She questioned.
“This attitude of yours won’t work around me. Tune it down.”
“You know,” She said turning around, “Working among these people has taught me something. That is, if I want to survive here, I have to keep my head and voice high.” And with that she left him alone.
Neil sighed. Why Samrat did what he did, was out of his thinking. The girl had a point. Her educational qualification was more than necessary for being a secretary. And it wasn’t as if there was a recession. Sometimes, his dad could be an unsolvable riddle.
so this is it. its just another spontaneous idea of mine.
do comment. alright?
tada bu bye.
silent readers, just type out a response, whether short or long, appreciative or not. it lets us know, that people are reading what we write.