THE SWEET REJECTION

“what are you looking at”, Mridul asked.

I didn’t respond. I didn’t have the time for the stupid question. I guess, he was attracting the

foolishness from his newly made girlfriend. As everyone knows what does one see while looking at

the mirror. Certainly, not a movie.

“do I look like a bastard”, I asked him, after a few moments.

“of course not”, he said quickly.

I had the breath of relief.

“indeed, you are one”, he uttered while opening the packet of chips.

“don’t forget I was the one who helped you get Lavina”, I uttered, “or you would be the same like

old time, wanking all day long.” I had to back fire.

He frowned. I was expecting him to drop the packet and leave the room. But he turned down my

expectations.

“and why the hell you asked that”, he questioned, in order to avoid the fight.

“asked what?”

“that bastard thing”, he said calmly.

“never mind”, I said and shook myself off the mirror. Still my hands on my face figuring out the

defect. I guess he noticed that. He came forward and offered me the chips. Unabashedly, I took the

whole packet.

“who’s the one this time”, Mridul asked. Deeply looking into my eyes.

“Akansha”, her name came out reflexively.

“and what’s the story”, Lavina came from no where.

I turned my eyes to Mridul that why the fuck is she in our room? He tried to maintain the facade

while facing his girl.

“princess”, he uttered, “you need a beer? It’s over there in the refrigerator, in the kitchen.”

“beer? Kitchen? And what the hell is princess?”, I shouted at him.

He persuaded me to keep my voice down. But having a girl in the house was just not acceptable.

The awesomeness gets tarnished.

“dude”, he said, “I don’t want the fastest breakup in the history. It’s just been two days”. He was

pleading, asshole.

“that’s the point, idiot. It’s just been two days and she’s in the house. You are breaking the rule, my

friend”, I said.

“but I couldn’t deny her.”

“did you two have sex”, I asked him.

“how’s that relevant”, he inquired.

“just answer”, I said with on a louder note.

“what do you guys need”, Lavina intruded from the kitchen.

“no..nothing princess”, Mridul fumbled.

“I’m not letting that creature consume free liquor. I had to rub my ass for the alcohol”, I freaked out.

“calm down, brother, please. I’ll take her out right now”, he said scratching his head.

“aren’t you forgetting something?”

“now what?”

I let the silence spoke for myself.

“fine, I’ll bring the beer”, he said and stood up.

And the work was done. It was a kid’s stuff to control Mridul. It was clear that Lavina would end up

ditching him. He’s too easy to play. Even the street beggars have him, every single time.

Within a few moments, he was out with her lady. And that was the sign of relief. But, not all the

stress was gone. And for that I had to use the obvious tool. Undoubtedly, marijuana.

Don’t think it’s illicit. Of course, it is. But, the more you ban something, the more you produce fan

for that thing.

Well, life teaches us everything we need to learn, but not in the way we expect it. If you gotta learn

to follow the traffic rules, an accident is the only way. If you gotta study for the examination, apart

from the futile fear of future, failure is the only way. And if you gotta learn about life, well, that’s

what everyone is figuring out till date.

But right now, the problem I was facing was a girl. Actually, all the time, I face only one problem

but the only minor difference is that the girls change, every fucking time. It’s been a lot that I have

stopped even counting. Algebra was never on the cards. Only the geometry. The smoother her

curve, the gentler my serve.

Akansha, Akansha Sharma, the girl that shook me off. It would be a cliché to say that I haven’t seen

more beautiful girls than her. Of course, I had seen. Far better than her. That’s what the Facebook is

all about.

And when I approached her, I was damn sure she isn’t that hard to get. All I needed to do was get in

her vulnerable area. But I was wrong.

Last week only, she added me on her Facebook account and today in the college, I finally planned to

execute my move.

“hey, there, Akansha”, I said, pretending not to recognize her fully.

She was ordering something at the canteen.

“as if you don’t know”, she said.

“strange”, I said, “I actually didn’t know.”

“madam,your order and bill”, the order guy intruded.

“put that in my account”, I said to the man.

“why so”, she asked.

“because we are friends, right”, I said with a cheesy smile.

“friends? Moments ago you were pretending to not even recognize me and now friends?”

“you’re funny. I like it”, I said.

She didn’t speak. Her attitude was kicking my balls.

“why are we standing? Let’s get comfortable. Why not sit? See, there’s an empty space, I guess you

are lucky today”, I uttered, pointing at an empty table.

She took her order and I walked her to the table. Like a gentleman, I pulled the chair for her. She sat

and then right in front of her, I placed myself.

Taking some inspiration from the movies, I decided not to speak, just look at her with a pretty smile

on my face till the time she fills her stomach.

“so”, she said, after ten minutes.

“so?”, I replied back.

“what do you want?”, she raised her eyebrows.

“did I ask for something?”

“but, you gonna”, she uttered.

“and why you feel so?”

“fine, I have a class to attend, gotta go”, she said.

“wait..wait..”, I said haphazardly.

“continue”, she said.

“see, I was thinking of putting it the other way but now..”

“just get to the point”, she intruded.

“I wanna take you out on a date”, and that was an involuntary response.

“you and me, on a date?”

“why? Is that a problem? You don’t date guys?”

“that’s the only problem”, she said, I only date guys.”

“what the fuck that was supposed to mean? Am I not a guy? Do I need to open my pants, even

before a date?”, I thought in my head.

“listen, don’t waste your time. Better try at anyone else”, she uttered.

“but what’s the problem with you. I haven’t done…”

“just because I accepted your friend request on a social media website, you thought you had a

chance? Grow up, dude”, her voice raging up.

“but just by accepting a friend request, no one becomes a friend”, I actually felt proud when I said

that.

“fine, will undo the friend request. This is the exactly what you want”, she furiously said that.

“what the hell is your problem”, I put down my guards.

“first, go and look at yourself in the mirror, bloody bastard”, she screamed at the top of her decibel

volume. It was morning time, so, not many students were there at the canteen premises.

She stood up fiercely. Even her chair fell down as she stood up. She went straight to the order point

and called the order guy for the bill. Came back to me, opened her wallet, paid hundred bucks

instead of ninety and left like a hailstorm.

“you made ten bucks, buddy”, the waiter winked.

“yeah, I made ten bucks. I made ten bucks and ruined my chances of having a girl. What a genius

stroke. It was more like a girl paid me for not following her. Surreal. And a great business idea, too.

What do you say”, I said.

“I say, shut up”, mridul shouted.

“come on dude, we all need money to survive. And I guess, I have figured it out. Or else, let’s try

this. We search a girl whose father is a billionaire or we can compromise with a millionaire. And

then we put all of our efforts to entice this girl.”

“and then you will spend the rest of your life like their pet in law”, mridul said.

“what? Are you mad? When did I say that?”

“then what else did you say, Einstein”, he uttered. He didn’t seem in a good mood. Must have been

this because of his lady. Never mind. The ones in the relationship can never be happy.

“I said, we need to entice just the girl. Not the whole family”, I winked.

“and what’s the difference?”

“if except the girl everyone hates us, our work is done. The father of the girl will confront us and

give us a blank check to get out from his daughter’s life. And that’s our only motive. We get the

money and at the same time, we are free from the girl. Like a perfect crime. Come on, gimme a high

five?”. I had this huge smile on the face.

He didn’t say anything.

“dude”, I said, “if you can’t marry the one you love, just marry the one who is rich. That makes it

even.”

“but what if the girl’s family liked us”, he asked.

“then what? You still get the money. It’s a win-win for us.”

“are you high”, he asked.

“no, am not”, I said with a straight face.

“dude, you are fucking high. That’s why you are bullshitting me and I don’t even know why I’m

listening to all this crap?”, his tone raging up.

“what do you mean by bullshitting you? Don’t say you have feelings for that chick. She’s fucking

not your type”, I said.

He turned his face back without saying anything.

“great. Turning on your back to your friend and that too for a girl”, I uttered, “you are just doing it

the right way. Awesome.”

I went and grabbed a bottle of bear. I did bring one for him. No fun in drinking alone.

“have it”, I said and handed him the bottle.

He didn’t take it.

“you are refusing the beer?”, I asked.

Still no response.

“what the fuck do you want?”, I screamed at him.

“I know what you did today at the canteen with Akansha”, he said.

“what the fuck do you know and how the fuck do you?”

“Akansha is Lavina’s room-mate”, he said.

“what are the odds? Damn”, I grieved in my head.

“don’t you respect any girl?”, he questioned.

And that was the low point I could ever expect of him. I met Mridul during my under graduation.

It’s been more than five years, we had been together and it was the first fucking time, he said

something to me like that.

“on what basis you saying that”, I asked him.

“your cheap act of paying her bill and then asking her out. On that basis, Sir”, he uttered.

“Is this really happening? Just tell me. Is this for real?”

“what do you mean?”

“what do I mean? Fine. If you wanna do it, let’s do it.”, I knuckled my neck.

“do what?”

“you little piece of shit, remember the time when you were about to get beaten up because you

purposely betrayed Gunjan knowing the fact that she had feeling for you. I was the one who saved

you from his brother.”

“where is this coming from?”, he intruded, but I ignored his call.

“and next, I was the one who delivered your love message to Malika in front of the whole college

and ended up getting one month’s suspension because Malika was the daughter of our Head of

Department.”

“you alone weren’t suspended.”

“shut up and …”

“and..?”

“forget that. Here’s the deal. You are going to fix a date for me with Akansha.”

“and why I’m gonna do that?”

“because Lavina is her room-mate and what a coincidence she’s your girlfriend, too.”

“so?”

“so, if you want her as your girlfriend, then you must fix this…or else..”

“or else?”

“or else..I will go to Lavina and tell her you little secret.”

“you can’t do that”, he shouted.

“yes, I can and I will. You heard me, mister.”

Finally, the last sip of beer went down the throat. And it was the best beer, ever, for me, atleast.

“that’s against the bro-code”, he said after cooking something in his head.

“what bro-code? Do you realize that now it doesn’t even sound cool to have a bro-code with you.”

“and why so”, he asked.

“because you aren’t worth it.”

“what the fuck have I done?”

“oh! Great. Listen, dude, you must stay away from that chick. She’s harming you.”

“that’s the same thing she said to me about you”, he confessed.

“your girl?”

“No. your girl, Akansha.”

“you fucking met her?”

“dude, I told you, she’s the room-mate of my girlfriend. When you were pissed off because Lavina

came here, she took me to her place. And Akansha happened to be there. And there, she asked me

about my room-mate. And then Akansha narrated the incident that happened in the morning. And

dude, she was seriously pissed off.”

“but you just say, what the fucking mistake I made”, I asked him.

“I also don’t know that. There wasn’t anything wrong in what you did.”

“exactly”, I said.

“I mean, you didn’t flirt with her. You played it neatly. And for the first time, you didn’t crack any

double meaning jokes or anything of your cheap stuff”, he uttered.

That time I wasn’t getting what Mridul wanted to say. In real, I didn’t do any of that stuff. Because I

didn’t feel like. He was comparing this meeting with all the other girls I made out.

“do you think that she’s angry because I didn’t do any of that stuff”, I asked him.

“might be possible”, he uttered.

“but then you said, he found my actions cheap. And in reality, I didn’t do anything cheap.”

Since the dawn of the recorded history, billions of human beings have been born and dead. Some of

the greatest minds have changed this world with their theories, discoveries and inventions. And yet,

none of them had the courage to explore the mind of a woman.

And we weren’t those of the greatest minds. So, we did what was in our hands. We grabbed some

more bottles of beer.

TWO DAYS LATER

“The lord works in mysterious ways and here is the proof.”

“what crap?”, Mridul said, “are you working as a priest somewhere?”

“obviously, no”, I uttered, “but it sounded much cool. It was kind of serious.”

“it was nothing else but only bullshit.”

“okay, fine”, I said with a low voice. Few minutes later I bounced again.

“how about this”, I spoke with an excitement, “seems like we turned down a cliché today, dreams

do come true.”

“dude”, mridul shouted, “do you even realize how desperate you sound? You want her to run away

as soon as you open up your mouth?”

“well, a lot of amazing stuff can be done with human mouth. Why waste it by talking?”

He was all shut. No reaction. Just his brutal eyes staring at me.

“dude, that was a classic one. I just made that up”, I said in order to save myself.

“go on with that and your meeting will…”

“it’s a date”, I intruded.

“fine. Let’s make a bet out of it. You ready, man?”

“another bet? Looking at your track record, I don’t see any good coming to your way, mister”, I

smirked, “you shall put up your terms.”

“sounds fun”, he portrayed a fake manly laugh, “maximum five minutes and she’ll cut you off and if

she didn’t I’ll go reveal that trivial secret to Lavina, myself.”

Now that was a serious one. He was ready to dig his own grave. But few moments later I founded it

a bit tricky. His words were clearly indicating that all this as if it was a part of some plan. And this

pinched my head, a little. But my mind was more focused on the meeting.

Less than 24 hours and I was all set to meet the girl I admired. Nervousness was wetting my pants

every time I thought about the date. Booze was consumed more like water. A bottle in every two

hours or so. It made me impatient. Waiting for someone is quiet frustrating, but when the waiting is

for someone special, that waiting period is priceless.

And finally, the sun rose. The meeting was at the moon time. And all I was surrounded by was

stress. Every passing minute my confidence belittled. Would I, be able to pull it or not? Would she

be the one I was hoping for? Would she and I, be ending up together?

Well, all these questions that consumed my head, were clear the moment I met her. And for the date,

I was all suited up. Indeed, I pulled out my black brazer. It all skipped my mind that it was my third

encounter with her, yet I was keen on creating a first impression.

“so, you are up”, Akansha said, “right well on time.”

I guess these words only came out of her mouth. Because it was hard to get anything in my ears. Not

because I was all mesmerized by her beauty, but it was the loud music beats destructing the whole

game.

I just passed a smile and nodded my head. It would had been better if we moved out from that place.

For the next ten to fifteen minutes nothing went the way I wanted. For one moment I thought that

Mridul would win the bet for the very first time. But, that also didn’t motivate me to make any

move. I didn’t want to ruin it as the last time, my moves earned me ten bucks and a prestigious title

of ‘bastard’.

We were unable to communicate, so, the only thing we did was tilt our heads to the obnoxious

beats. Apart from that, anything that I could take out from the memory was her rolling the tissue

paper to me on which she wrote, “do you wanna move out?”

And the very next moment we were out from the junk.

“I’m glad you made the right decision”, I said to break the ice as soon as we moved out.

“and I’m glad you came to meet me”, she didn’t say that. It was all in my head. Since, the time I met

her I had been imagining stuff but the reality was much more different.

She didn’t open her mouth for once. Just by going according to her body language and gesture, it

seemed like she was just tolerating me. And I couldn’t tolerate that. Eventually, the balloon had to

burst.

“okay, fine that’s it”, I shouted in my head, but the words didn’t come out loud.

“what do you wanna have”, she asked, “can or bottle?”

I was so consumed in my thoughts that I didn’t realize we walked half a mile and were standing at a

liquor store.

“sorry”, I said.

“bottle or can?”

“bottle”, I uttered.

“nice choice”, she reverted back with a smile.

She grabbed the bottles and looked at me.

“yeah, right”, I said and took out my wallet.

“no, stupid, hold these”, she said, “it’s on me. I was the one who insisted for this meeting.”

Yeah, she did say that.

“well, thanks, I guess.”

Beside that liquor store there was an empty cottage. It was in grimy state. And the entrance gate was

locked too. The height of the gate was about five feet.

“you mind giving me a hand”, she asked me.

“hand for what?”, I was bewildered.

“right now, I guess for trespassing.”

“but isn’t it a crime?”, I said, “this isn’t an appropriate place. It’s late night and being at this kind of

place is not at all appealing.”

“dude”, she uttered with a loud tone, “just do as I say.”

She hopped onto the gate. Half way of her climb, she turned her eyes to me. I kept the bottles down,

placed my hands on her back and pushed her a little up. She successfully reached the other side. I

handed her the bottles and committed my first crime of trespassing.

“don’t worry, mister”, she said, “no one comes here except me and my friends. It’s totally safe and

cool.”

“I hope it is”, I reverted back with not so good face.

“just follow my lead”, she said and I did the same.

She walked by the lane beside the main building and made me stood at a rusted piece of staircase. I

followed her firmly and we reached the terrace.

And the terrace was really cool. Already there were some wooden chairs and a table and some

broken pieces of furniture which only made the terrace look alive. Plus, the wide open sky made it

magnificent and hard to resist.

“welcome abode”, she uttered.

“is this your place to hangout”, I questioned her.

“sometimes but mostly it’s for the hideout.”

“hideout? From whom?”

“from life, I suppose. Whenever I feel delighted or I feel depressed, I hang up here.”

“and what’s the occasion tonight, lady?”

“let’s see”, she said and opened the bottles.

“look, let’s just cut the crap and get to the point”, I uttered eagerly.

“what point”, she asked with full uncertainty.

“after screwing me at the canteen, why did you want to meet me again?”

“I didn’t want to meet you. Your friend was the one to call my room-mate and ask for it.”

“swear to this beer and say this again. I’ll believe it indubitably.”

“I can’t swear to the beer”, her words pondering the innocence.

“I know, lady”, I said with a smirk.

“okay. Here’s the deal. If you pulled it right, I’ll tell you the truth, but if not, then you won’t ask this

ever. Deal?”, she uttered.

“go for it. It’s a deal.”

“what the most regretting thing you faced till now?”

“to not be able to smoke while having tea with your family, because..”

“because tea and cigarette are inseparable”, she intruded and hit it all at once.

“next one”, she said, “what’s the most complicated thing about the world?”

I surely wanted to say ‘Girls’, but that was a cliché and the girl I was sitting next was way more

above the trivial cliché level.

“it’s complicated and hard to understand that why one needs to stick to porn when he/she is in a

committed relationship?”

“dude”, she said with an excitement, “you just stole my words. I like it.”

“well, yeah, it wasn’t hard but now I guess you need to stop with this interrogate thing.”

“why? Don’t you see a connection building?”, she purposely made a sad face.

“go on, but this one is last.”

“fine, will try”, she pulled out her tongue, “and what if you got ditched by the girl you were dating

without any explanation. According to you, what could be the reason she was with you?”

“well, obviously she didn’t like me but no one hates free food”, I winked at her.

“awesome”, she said and burst into laughter, “a real experience?”

“indeed”, I confessed and we bumped the bottles.

For a while we did talk about each others lives and during that conversation I realized that I was all

wrong about Akansha. I felt different about her. I wished there could be some other road to the same

destination.

“you know what, I have a confession to make”, Akansha said, out of nowhere.

It did put us both in a tense moment but I guess that was the time for it, according to her.

“out there in Amritsar”, she said, “lives my family. Mom, dad and a brother. A twin brother,

Aakash. And he’s in a serious condition. His liver got some infection because of the unhygienic food

at his hostel.

His body started gaining enormous weight and now he just stays in bed.

When I came here. I needed more money to survive here. And I didn’t want to ask dad for more

money. And here I met Chetan, my colleague and boyfriend. He set me up at the bar and it was

good because there was good money.

But that night when you visited the bar, I was struck. You had that glimpse of Aakash. That moment

was weird as I felt the time stopped and made me realize to go over my decisions. And the very next

moment what I did was more stupid. I quit my job and dumped Chetan.”

“this is incomplete”, I said, “what’s the connection of us sitting here.”

“then I saw you at college and I was little embarrassed, may be because of the encounter at the bar.

And I shouted at you for no reason. But later I realized my mistake and when your friend called, it

was like I was waiting for this meeting.”

And there was the dramatic silence. She confessed and I didn’t know what to say.

“but there’s is one thing which I don’t understand”, she said, “why did your friend called and asked

for a meeting and why didn’t you call?’

“there’s a weird story behind this.”

“seems like there’s another confession time”, she said.

“that day when you screwed me up at the canteen, Mridul and I put all of our heads but didn’t find

out why you yelled at me. And next thing we did was going drunk. And something crazy hit me and

I asked him to call Lavina and the rest you know.”

“If I would have been at his place I wouldn’t had made that call.”

“me too, but he was under a bet. So, he had to.”

“what bet”, she asked.

“dude, it’s a secret and it’s not a girl stuff”, I felt like I knocked her off.

“dude, you are under confession”, she said.

And I was wrong, totally.

“say it weird or stupid or cheap, but I had been with a lot of girls. And whenever I see a girl, I try to

read her by her body language and there are other points, too, and I can tell what type of guy she

might need.

Mridul liked Lavina a lot but was afraid that she would reject him and he asked me for help. I told

him go to her and sneakingly tell her this. And it worked and they both became a couple.

And then I threatened Mridul to make that call for not broadcasting his secret or else get ready to

lose his girl.”

“and what’s the secret?”

“that’s a lot of stuff you are asking for. You gotta drop it”, I said.

“I just have to make a call to Lavina and tell her all this. Should I do it?”

“you are an evil devil”, I said.

“just tell the secret”, she shouted really hard.

“Mridul told Lavina that his shoe size is 7”.

“this doesn’t make sense at all. You are lying.”

“it makes sense if you know that I’m not talking about the shoe size”, I winked at her.

I thought she would take minutes to understand that but it was just a few seconds work for her.

“nice job, dude”, she said, “it really worked on Lavina. And now it makes sense that why Mridul

ignores when Lavina asks him for the foreplay. I get it totally.”

“well, thanks for this set of information.”

“your welcome”, she said, “and dude, you too are an evil devil.”

We bumped the bottles again.

“can I say something”, I asked.

“sure, absolutely”.

“earlier I wanted you to be my girlfriend. But now, I don’t feel that way. I feel that not every time

when a guy and a girl meet, there has to be the same story. I like you, a lot and I really want to be

with you. Is that possible, Akansha?”

And then, she kissed me. It wasn’t on the cards, but I did get a kiss.

All those questions that were running in my head, I certainly got the answers.

Yes, I pulled it very well. Yes, she was the one I was hoping for. And yes, she and I ended up

together.

The kiss from her on my forehead was the answer to all my questions.

Love isn’t just of one kind. Indeed, love is universal. So, what if I ended up being her friend-cum-brother?

I was glad to walk in that direction. For me it was my perfection, nothing regretful in that

sweet rejection.

— raman thukral

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