Posted by: thetavernthoughts | August 3, 2016

The Haggle

The phone begins to ring at night. He can hear the rain pelt on the window sill. He knows it is not a normal call. It is an emergency. It’s weird how emergencies tend to happen at night. It was almost stereotypical. Rainy night and a damsel in distress. Rohit Mehta is smiling ear to ear. This is his moment and he knows it. He lets the phone ring for a while patiently. Eventually the phone stops ringing but he does not care because he knows she will call him again soon. Almost on cue the mobile starts ringing again.

“Hello” he says softly after a pause.

“Rohit!” She exclaimed relieved.

“Breath Meera. Take a deep breath” The sobbing begins.

Meera walks out of the gate her mobile clutched tightly in her hands. The rain pelting on her makes her skin glow despite the gloomy mood. Tears roll down her cheeks and merge with the pelting rain drops. Her eye are swollen and she is completely distraught.

“He is at it again” She screams into the phone.”He is at it again. My own father snatching my hard earned money. His drinking problems are drowning my life. I hate him. He forced me out on the streets in the middle of the night again. I have nowhere to go.”

“Don’t worry Meera. First things first. Call one of your girl pals to come pick you up. I am sure they will not mind you spending a night  at their place.”

“I just said I have no one to go to.”

“What about your friend Heena?”

“She will act all haughty and weird like she has done me a big favour. She disses about me behind my back.”

“Do you want me to come pick you?”

“Can you do that please? As a friend?”

He grins even more”I don’t…I was sleeping…I cannot bring you back here.”

“Please…I am sorry I am disturbing you.”

“Sure I will leave immediately.”

Rohit notices the golden hue of the street lights as he drives. The rain makes them look misty and gives them the beautiful hue. There is something special about the monsoon nights in Mumbai. The usually busy streets are almost desolate. Only people stirring are the cab drivers and late night tea vendors. He enjoyed the late night drive to Meera’s place. He had seen it only once before but he knew the route.  She keeps calling him the whole time to find out where he had reached.

She walks down the Juhu Tara road, feeling unsafe. Few Prostitutes are walking the streets. She walks towards the Juhu Beach. She sends him a text “Come to Juhu Beach.” She ensures that she steers clear of the “street walking crowd”. Walking down such a sensitive street she was scared that some one might approach her thinking she was one of the prostitutes. She would die of embarrassment. Presently she notices an empty corner of the street right opposite to the beach under the street light. Her clothes are completely wet and her harem pants are sticking to her calves. Her T-shirt is clinging to her body. She wraps her arms around her chest, feeling completely exposed.  A middle aged plump woman wearing a gaudy green sari comes and stands right beside her. The woman has tied her hair in a bow and she is wearing a bright red lip stick. She was clearly a prostitute. Both the women look at each other awkwardly. They both have contempt on their face.

“Did he beat you?” The prostitute asks.

“What do you mean?”

“Did your man beat you and throw you out?”

“No my father” Meera says. Meera is scared of the position she was in and the woman’s company makes her feel strangely safe.

“Alcoholic?”

Meera nods

“Where will you go?” The elder one asks.

“I have a friend.”

“I do things for money. To feed myself and my family. Good food and everything. Don’t judge me. Judge the men who do this to me.” The prostitute said suddenly with righteousness. “Shameless they all are, not beneath negotiating with middle aged whore. Or attacking Young girl’s chastity. You be careful”

Suddenly a cab stops right in front of the woman. She approaches the cab and starts talking and laughing. The rain seems to be slowly subsiding. Meera takes out her cell phone from the water proof pouch, she notices a message from Rohit.

“2 mins”

She looks up and looks at the prostitute, who is leaning into the taxi cab. Meera can hear the conversation very clearly.

“No, Sahib, Rs 700 will not do for an hour.”

Meera is disgusted by the whole thing. She feels even more depressed.

The prostitute laughs loudly “Fine! for you 15 mins for Rs 400”

Just then a car stops in front of Meera. The window rolls down, it is Rohit with a concerned look on his face. Meera looks at him and starts running towards the car, safe from the rain and weird crowd of the night. She is relived and her eyes are lit up.

“ohh! you actually came” she said hugging him.

“I had too. Any gentleman would!”

She looks ahead, away from his face, through the windshield at the golden lit street. The rain started pelting and the rhythmic sound of the car wiper  was the only sound they heard.

She noticed that he looked at her on and off through her peripheral vision. They were driving randomly through the streets.

“Wait, take a left from here, go straight till that junction and then take another left.” She instructed him. “Stop behind that parked van”

Rohit noticed that they were behind a large and old apartment complex. He could hear the crashing of the ocean waves near by and he realized they were near the sea. He looked to his right and he could see the dark Arabian sea looking back at him. He turned the engine off and the rain pelted on. He noticed the melodious cacophony of the rain and golden hue of the street lamp on her beautiful face, if only they were meeting under different circumstance, he thought.

A small tear drop formed on her face.

“Earlier men used to awkward and scared around a crying girls but now all we need to do  is scream selfie! and they start smiling.”

A small smile formed on her face as she looked at him imitate a selfie pose. She fondly punches him on his biceps.

“Hey, at least you don’t have to see my boss’s scowling face. Do you want to hear him snore at a meeting.” Rohit says fetching his mobile phone and shows her a clip. His boss is slowly passing out in middle of the presentation. Everyone is awkwardly stifling a smile. She burst out laughing.“Your presentation was so boring?”

He pretends to be offended “My boss is an idiot dude.” She keeps laughing and looking at his face. He keeps staring back with a silly smile. She stops laughing and looks away again blushing. The rain pelts on as he hold her hand. She suddenly leans into him.

“I really like you” she says.

“I like you too” he says.

“Will you come like this every time I call you?” She says looking at their intertwined fingers. A weird smile and a smirk forms on his face. He uses his other hand caress her forehead

“As long as I am here.”

“Why do you plan to leave soon?”

“Yes, MBA from London I guess”

“When?”

“We’ll see when it happens.”

“Do you love me?” she asks.

“I will if we keep doing this” he says

“If you love me, will you marry?”

“Don’t do this, this is not fair.”

“What do you mean?Unfair?” she asks.

“I have my career, you know and long road to settling down. Thinking about marriage is scary, I am million miles away, don’t make me feel guilty for being ambitious.”

She moves away and looks at him.

“You think I will come in the way of your ambition.”

“I am sorry” he backs down a little “I am sorry I am just being honest. I don’t want to make promises I am not sure about.”

“Let’s just be friends then.” she says.

“Sure.”

“You will come to take care of me as a friend.”

“Of course” he says with a smile.

She knew the “Of course” meant a ‘no’. She knew no one wants to marry a drunk’s daughter in the arrange marriage scenario. Love was her only hope. Love and Marriage.It seems both of them were not available to her at the same time. She would have to settle for love, or the pretense of it.

She slowly ties her hair into pony tail and then leans back in to Rohit. Their fingers intertwine and she leans on his chest. The weird smile forms on his face again. She closes her eyes as he kisses her exposed neck. He would take care of her now. At least for a while he would care for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Responses

  1. It like on true and a littel bit fiction, and I write only true.

  2. Youre story is finly to read, thank you.


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