Tuesday, January 31, 2006

Boy Meets Girl - Chapter 1

It was a Saturday evening. Varun's cell phone had been ringing continuously since 6.30. Various friends from his different friend groups were calling Varun to join them for a drink, a drive, a movie, and a party and everything that youth do on a weekend. But Varun lay still on his bed, uninterested in anything worldly and social. He was depressed at the turn of events. He longed to be alone and peace his mind of the turmoil that had been waging for the last few days.

Blip blip, the phone lights flickered in harmony. It was another call that Varun wanted to avoid. After about three or four rings, Varun answered.

"Hello dude, what's up?" said the impatient voice.

"Oh hi, Neeraj. What's up? How're you doing?" replied Varun.

"Where the hell are you, man? We're waiting at Queen's gate for you!" yelled Neeraj.

"Oh, I'm home man. Don't feel like going out tonight. You guys carry on..." said Varun in a low tone.

"What bullshit, man? Are you on one of your solitary trips again? I want to see your ass here in the next ten minutes." commanded Neeraj.

Varun chuckled. He liked the informality he shared with Neeraj and replied, "Alright man. I'll be there in ten minutes."

"That's more like you, come fast, bye!" Neeraj hung up.

Varun drove his car straight to Queen's gate to meet Neeraj and gang. After a brief round of catching up, they were all headed to Caspian Lounge, a local lounge bar that had a juke box and was frequented by young crowds. The scene at the bar was that of a typical Saturday evening. Groups of four or five cramped around a small table littered with beer bottles, cigarette packets, ashtrays, and chakna.

We will rock you! blared out of the four speakers placed at four corners of the room. A couple of guys with long hair, wearing black t-shirts crowded around an LCD monitor placed on the bar counter. Another group of four women sat on a table across the room, drinking pinacoladas, bloody maries, and screw drivers. Their incessant and loud laughter drowned in the noise and could be heard only at the change of a song.

Varun, Neeraj, Irfan, and Peter headed for the empty table in the center of the room. Neeraj waved to waiter and shook hands with him before settling on to his chair.

"Call for some chilled beer man! My system is thirsty for some lager flowing down my throat" blurted Peter.

Peter was the typical maka-pav guy, brought up in an environment where beer was considered an alternative to water. His short spiky haircut matched his lean, dark body. Wearing a rock-band tee, and a goatee growing on his chin, Peter was the typical representative of the youth working at a call center.

"Haha! Looks like someone's gonna get drunk tonight" said Neeraj. Peter replied with a smirk and a nudge.

The waiter came to the table to take the order with a tiny pad in one hand and a pen in another.

"Two Fosters, one Coke, a packet of Classic Milds... and err.. Varun what are you having?" asked Neeraj.

"I'll have beer too, man!" replied Varun.

"Okay, make that three Fosters, one coke, and a packet of Classic Milds, thank you."

The waiter repeated the order and was on his heel to attend to other tables. Soon enough, there were four goblets placed on the table and beer was poured into three of them. Irfan, being a teetotaler, didn't mind joining his friends to bars but abstained from all forms of alcohol. The waiter emptied the can of Coke into Irfan's goblet and went to get the cigarettes and the ash tray. Soon enough, all glasses were full and the music was blaring - this time, it was Turn the page.

The four boys raised their glasses and yelled in unison, "Cheers to health, wealth and happiness!"

"And to Neeraj's new job!" added Varun.

After sipping about one-fourth of the beer in one gulp, Varun flipped his phone to type an SMS.

Hi swthrt, out wid guys. I hate wats hapenin. Miss u!

"Ohh, look at Mr.Loverboy! He can't stay without his girl friend a single evening!" commented Neeraj.

Varun replied to him with a blank stare. He picked up a cigarette from the packet and flipped his zippo with one hand and used the other hand to cover the cigarette. He looked up at the ceiling taking a long drag and closed his eyes.

"Did you check out the new Lancer Cedia? It's super cool man!" said Peter, interrupting Varun's thoughts.

"Yea man, it looks cool. Finally a makeover for the Lancer after so many years" said Neeraj.

The noise levels at the bar made each one yell to speak to one another. Irfan got up from his chair and headed towards the LCD monitor on the bar counter.

"Play some Floyd, man" exclaimed Peter.

Soon enough, the song changed to She will be loved. This song reminded Varun of Priya. It was his favorite song when he fell in love with Priya. The beer in his goblet, smoke in his lungs, and Priya in his mind were a perfect combination for a perfect Saturday evening of soltitude and misery, even while being around his good friends and his favorite type of music.


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