Random Tales

Enchanté

The two had a lot in common and that was the problem. They fought over each thing tremendously as each had a strong opinion on each thing they had in common.

“I sometimes wish that we were different from each other. At least, we wouldn’t be fighting over everything,” Ishika said holding her head in frustration. They had been fighting for hours now and she was close to tears.

Karan’s eyes were also shining with the water in them. ‘Not again,’ his mind seemed to scream.

“Why do we fight so much? We are supposed to be perfect for each other!” He whispered, more to himself than her.

“Ha! Perfect,” Ishika said bitterly.

“Should we just break up?” Karan asked for what would be their tenth break up.

Ishika looked at her wide-eyed. She was already at the edge and this statement from Karan elicited a laughter and tears from her.

Karan looked at Ishika laughing and crying at the same time confused for a bit before it dawned on him. He swore.

He sat down on the bed, hands holding his head, and swore some more.

Ishika sat down on the floor, completely broken, tears flowing without pause and a grin on her face.

Karan dropped from the bed and sat beside her wiping her tears.

“We are screwed,” Karan said.

“Yes,” Ishika replied.

“Did we get married too quickly?”

“After five years of dating, forced by our parents. Yeah!”

“You look beautiful in this wedding dress. Red suits you.”

Ishika looked at Karan and smiled at him. They are gonna be fighting each other for life now.

“I love you,” Karan said.

“I love you too,” Ishika replied.

“Welcome to the first night of marriage.”

“Enchanté”

Random Tales

The Smile

Refika smiled. It was the same mischievous smile that her brother had – lopsided on one side, with a twinkle in the eyes telling that more was hidden behind that smile than visible, and genuine, from the heart. Jenna’s heart swelled with wistfulness. She was missing Kabir. Her face couldn’t hide her longing.

“What happened?” Refika whispered, holding Jenna’s hands. Janne shook her head and wiped the tears from her eyes. No! This wasn’t a moment to reminiscence about the past. This was about looking at the future. She swallowed and returned a smile back at Refika.

“You’re thinking about Kabir?” Refika asked, her voice a little higher than a whisper, audible to everyone around. Jenna nodded. She had never learned to lie to Refika, or Kabir for that matter.

Refika’s father, who was standing beside her put his hand on Jenna’s shoulder.

“We all miss him, Jenna. You don’t have to be ashamed of that.”

“Yes, dear. He’s not here but he’s still with us, all of us.” Kabir and Refika’s mother chimed in as well. She held Jenna’s arm and squeezed it gently.

“I’m sorry. I didn’t want the moment to go in this direction. It’s our special moment,” Jenna said looking at Refika.

Refika giggled nervously. “Our special moment can wait.”

“Everyone! We are taking a five-minute break. One of the brides is having a panic attack.”

The jovialness of her voice made everyone in the audience laugh. Even Jenna couldn’t help herself and smile. Refika helped Jenna on a chair and someone got her water. Jenna couldn’t believe that at this moment, she was being comforted by Kabir’s family when they might be in as much pain as her.

Jenna and Kabir met three years ago at a party. Kabir was the guest of honor, primarily because he had the knack to hijack any party within minutes of entering it. Jenna was immediately drawn to him, probably like all the other girls at that party. At that party, that was all Jenna knew about Kabir. It was the second time she met him that she found out the kind and free-spirited soul called Kabir in full flow. She had needed some legal help and Kabir was a lawyer. By the end of that meeting, she asked him out.

Kabir had looked at her with a lopsided grin.

“Okay! Let’s go,” Kabir said.

“What? Right now?”

“What are you waiting for?”

Kabir said and started walking. Jenna looked at him dumbfounded and then ran after him. Within 3 months, Jenna had moved in with Kabir and soon after, met his family. In Kabir’s world, everything happened instantaneously.

In their one year long relationship, Jenna experienced everything – the highs and the lows, the love and the pain, the beginning and the end. Her perfect relationship was ended by a freak accident two years ago.

For the next six months, Jenna had nightmares almost every night. She would call for Kabir and wake up in sweat and tears, alone in their house.

Kabir’s parents urged her to move in with them, even if for a brief period. She complied. Living with Kabir’s parents calmed her down considerably. They lived only a few blocks away from Kabir’s apartment but the difference was light-years in Jenna’s recovery. She even started calling them mom and dad. Refika’s presence helped too.

A lawyer as well, Refika was a much calmer version for Kabir. Where Kabir was a river at its origin – blazing, cutting through the mountains, eager to reach the ocean, Refika was the same river at the plains, meandering sometimes, caring, nurturing. Jenna and Refika came closer than ever. One day, without any hesitation, Refika asked Jenna.

“Hey! Do you want to have dinner tonight?”

Considering it a daily question, Jenna answered.

“Of course. I was planning on making some pasta.”

“I meant, do you want to go out and have dinner.”

“Even better. I’ll ask mom and dad as well.”

Refika rolled her eyes.

“What?”

“When was the last time someone asked you out?”

Jenna looked at Refika confused.

“I don’t know. I haven’t really dated anyone since Kabir.”

“I can see that. You clearly don’t recognize when someone asks you out.”

“Huh!”

“Yeah.”

“Oh!”

Jenna and Refika looked at each other, the tension and the awkwardness in the room increasing by the second. Jenna hoped Refika would say something and change the situation but Refika had clearly been prepping herself for this moment. She was waiting patiently for Jenna to respond. ‘Damn Refika’s lawyer patience,’ thought Jenna.

The two kept sitting in front of each other without saying anything for a century.

Jenna’s mind went from confusion to revolt to even more confusion to acceptance to horror at the acceptance to even further confusion. In front of her, Refika was sitting still, a somber look at her face, ready to accept any decision.

“I don’t want to say no but I don’t know how to say yes,” Jenna finally said.

“Okay. Then let this one be a friendly dinner. Nothing more,” Refika said, accepting the reply.

Jenna nodded.

“But no parents.”

Jenna laughed, tension releasing from her body.

That dinner was just dinner. But the next one turned into a date. And today, less than a year later, she was about to marry Refika. Her parents, Kabir’s parents have been so accepting of her that she couldn’t believe she could get so lucky. She was amazed at the stride in which they took Refika and Jenna’s relationship.

“Love is love,” dad had said. Mom had been even happier.

“Now, you stay in the family forever,” she had said joyously.

And now, in the midst of all this happiness, she was crying, remembering Kabir. Kabir, who made all this happen. Meeting whom changed her life forever. Jenna looked at Refika who was holding her hand.

“You good now,” she asked.

Jenna smiled.

“I love Kabir.”

Refika nodded.

“And I love you.”

Refika smiled.

“I love Kabir too. And I love you too.”

“Let’s get married,” Jenna said with a smile on her face.

Refika smiled. The same smile Kabir had given Jenna when she had asked him out.

Tales of a Clumsy Girl

#12 Wedding Wobbles

“I don’t want to get married.”

Mansi’s friends had heard these words a hundred times. Whenever she would watch a movie with a wedding scene, she would utter these words; whenever any of her friend would get married, she would utter these words; whenever the word ‘marriage’ would be uttered, she would utter these words. Her friends had heard these words so often that many had stopped registering them in the conversations anymore.

Yet, everyone was dumbstruck when they heard these words today. Her friends looked at each with a somber face which quickly turned to a shy and controlled grin. They looked at Mansi whose face was puffed, her makeup further radiated by the glow of her anger. Her bangles were shimmering and clunking as she flayed her hands wildly while the eyes turned more and more menacing.

“I don’t want to get married,” she said once more, her voice echoing in the hallway.

Her family looked at her worried. One of her friends dry-swallowed, came closer to Mansi and then with a soft and almost trembling voice whispered.

“But Mansi, you are already married. You just got married,” he said pointing at her bridal dress and makeup.

“So what?” Mansi huffed and sat down on a chair.

“I still don’t want to get married.”

Story Collection - Chaalbaaz

The New Marriage Counselling Method

“Ok. So let me go through this again. You killed him because he wore the wrong color of shirt?” Her lawyer asked her in disbelief.

“Umm.. Is it that unusual? I mean, have you seen the color. It looked horrible on him and he wanted to go out wearing that. I couldn’t have let him do that. What would the world think of him?”

“You could have asked him to change the shirt.”

“There was no time. He was almost through the door. It was lucky that I had the gun close by.” She said nodding to herself.

Fifth case in a week. Vikalp thought to himself and took a sip of water and checked his phone. His wife had sent a message to come home early. He wanted to say he was pleased seeing the increased number of cases he handled but his world view had gone so bleak that he almost wished he would get a heart attack.

Seventy-two years old, Vikalp was 45 when the company Infinite Life succeeded. For years there were rumors that death could be cheated and UMAR worked on this secretly. The results were less than targeted but way more than ever expected. Suddenly, there were two types of dying — Natural and Unnatural. Infinite Life’s program U.M.A.R. (Unnatural Mortality Always Removed) was able to create a serum and procedure that could restore a human body to its original shape after any unnatural death. This included car accidents, gun shots and even some diseases.

The only cause of deaths remaining were diseases like cancer, heart attacks or brain aneurysms. Some diseases like AIDS were still tricky as they affected human body in a different manner. Due to this, even if a person was raised back (now an official term), he would still have the disease and would die promptly.

Other than that, people easily lived till 100. In fact, at 72, Vikalp was still considered in middle age instead of old. The leading cause of death was now old age which came around 95. The process wasn’t cheap but very affordable by standards. Any middle class family could afford the procedure at least once a year. In fact, the new generation didn’t even understand the concept of unnatural death. Now, you weren’t dying because of a disease but because you were poor.

“Do you think he will file for divorce once he wakes up?” The woman in front of Vikalp asked him.

“I am not sure. He does have the right to do that. However, if you can make him understand that it was for his own good, he might accept it.” Vikalp explained it to her.

“Anyways, it is not a big enough reason for divorce if this was a one off incident.” Vikalp said looking at her sharply.

She was biting her lip. Not a good sign.

“How many times?”

“Not much, a couple of times before.”

“And has he shot you?”

“No.” The woman said.

This was another interesting turn of events due to this invention. Gun shootings went very high in the world in general. Suddenly, shooting someone became equivalent of a slap — especially for the people who could afford it. No, not a slap — more like a car accident. When it happened, no one felt very guilty but simply gave the person his insurance number.

Insurance companies of course started covering the damage. It was a money making opportunity. The laws too changed. Where once a murder put a person in jail forever — now, it was only if the other person reported that the case was event started. The punishments were also mostly monetary compensation with sometimes a jail of a few weeks.

“I will see what can be done.” Vikalp finally said to the woman and she left satisfied.

The most unexpected development to Vikalp was the increase in domestic shootings. It was dramatic and highly skewed. Overall, men were more prone to shooting than woman but in a domestic setting, women shot men far more than men shot women. And the reasons were also not due to some repressed anger — at least not on the surface. Most women loved their husbands and shot them for their own good — even the husbands accepted that. Vikalp didn’t understand why this was happening — were the women jumping to the most extreme measure immediately or was it some old suppression that was unwinding itself.

Whatever be the reason — his most cases nowadays were women coming to inform him that they have shot their husbands because they wore a shirt they didn’t like, ate unhealthy food or were watching too much sports and not spending enough time with the kids.

“Sigh! Wish people were less violent.” Vikalp finally decided that he had had enough for the day. He wanted to get home, rest a bit and watch the game.

Vikalp reached home and sank in the sofa.

“The world is going nuts honey. I am telling you, it is a good thing that we are from a different generation.”

“You didn’t say that when Joey had the accident.” His wife said smiling.

“Hmphh.. That is different. He had an accident. Now, people have just become more violent because they can and for flimsical of reasons.”

“Anyways, I have made some chicken today, your favorite. And talk to Joey! It is good to talk to your son sometimes you know.”

“I did talk to him last week. He is doing fine. Look, he event sent me this.” Vikalp said showing his wife Jennifer the new watch.

“Ahh yes. He mentioned. It is beautiful.” Jennifer said smiling. “He also sent me this necklace.”

“Amazing that kid is. I don’t know how he turned out so normal in this kind of world.”

“Well he had amazing parents. His mom and dad who found each other and then raised him so well.” Jennifer said smiling some more at Vikalp.

“True. Although it was more you than me to be honest.” Vikalp said smiling back.

The two started to eat the dinner. Jennifer gave Vikalp a few furtive glances tracing her hand on her new necklace.

“Listen! after the dinner, I will watch the game from afternoon. I have managed to not know the results. Shut down the data on my phone and everything. Couldn’t believe it was possible but I did it.” Vikalp said with a glint in his eyes after the dinner was over.

“Oh yes! Great work.” Jennifer said her smile drooping.

“You don’t have to watch the match with me love.” Vikalp said understandingly.

“No. Its fine. I will.. Its fine.” Jennifer said.

“I have to see the match love. You know that.” Vikalp said and moved towards the television.

“Yes! We won. We won.” Vikalp said loudly.

It just crossed 12 when the game ended. Jennifer came in the room from the bedroom.

“Oh shit! Did I wake you up honey?” Vikalp said

“No, I was up. Waiting.” Jennifer said angrily.

“Waiting, for what?” Vikalp asked.

Jennifer didn’t say anything. She raised her hand. She was holding a gun and before Vikalp could comprehend, she shot him in the chest. Pain flared up in Vikalp’s chest and then in his whole body.

“What? What? Why?” Vikalp asked. He felt betrayed. Accusing all those women when his own wife shot him for watching a match.

Jennifer was already calling the ambulance. She kept the phone down, came towards Vikalp and sat down face to face in front of him.

“Yesterday was 29th July.” Jennifer said, her voice shaking with anger.

“What! Oh, shit.” Vikalp said realizing it was his 40th anniversary yesterday. Suddenly the gifts from Joey made sense.

“Yup, deserve this.” Vikalp said as his eyes closed and his mind went blanked.