Recap: Inayat is getting married to a businessman in a few days. She is eagerly waiting for her college besties to join her. Two of them, Chandni and Paridhi arrive and three of them wait for remaining two.
“I am extremely hungry buddy. This aroma of home made dal rice is making me go mad. Why don’t you call up and check again.” Cried Paridhi and rested her head on Inayat’s shoulder.
“I called her 5 minutes back only and she’s on the way.” Inayat told her.
“Cum’on Pari! None of us used to eat anything in the canteen until all of us gathered. Remember!? So we can wait for our friend for another 15 mins… Can’t we?” Inayat tried to console Paridhi and stroke palm on her cheek to make her feel better.
Minutes later, came a younger cousin of Inayat who told her that her friend has reached. All three of them rushed outside and saw Yasmin coming from the lawn area dragging her suitcase. She waved her hand at them and they hugged Yasmin tightly.
“It’s been so long Yasmin! Whatsapp and Facebook can’t replace happiness that we get with the personal meets… isn’t it?” Chandni said and hugged her tightly.
“Absolutely” Yasmin said “It is these real moments that we always cherish.”
“Yeah.” Chandni said and looked at her friend from head to toe.
“You’re still the same girl… You have not put on any weight even after delivering a baby.” wondered Chandni.
“Yeah… I mean look at her. She was the slimmest amongst all of us and she still is… Babe, are u planning to set some fitness record or what” Paridhi joked and they all laughed went inside the house all the way talking.
5ft 4inches tall, wheatish complexion, slim figure. Yasmin had a great sense of humor and people around her would die laughing on her one liners and jokes. Within a span of 1 month in college, she had become famous for this unique quality in her. Paridhi and she would always be the first one to pull anyone’s leg and her laughter was contagious.
She is not much active on Social Media. In fact, she is the most dormant one in their Whatsapp group. Chandni and Inayat had forced her a lot to join them in Inayat’s marriage.
Currently, she works with a reputed Management Institute in Lucknow. She is an Associate Professor and teaches Human Resource Management. She always aspired to be into teaching line. Yasmin lives in a small joint family and has a 1 year old daughter Alia who is taken care of by her grandparents.
“Except the S member of our SPICY Gang, everybody is together.” Said Inayat sadly. She laid down her head in Chandni’s lap and Chandni moved her fingers in her hair which gave Inayat a lot of relief.
“There is no update from Saloni post the Whatsapp message. I guess none of us knows her flight details otherwise we could check her flight status and know that by what time she will reach. So all that we can do is just keep waiting for her.” Replied Chandni and everyone looked at her with a question in their eyes.
“Girls please don’t mind.” Paridhi yawned and changed the topic “my body is craving for a nap. So I’m going to the room and see you all in the evening.”
“I think it is a good idea to take a nap and then meet later.” Chandni said the same and looked at Yasmin for her reply but Yasmin was in some other world.
“Yasmin” Chandni called out her name again and she woke up from her dream.
“Let’s go, we’ll take some rest buddy!”
“Yeah… I m coming” Yasmin said and followed Chandni. They all said bye to Inayat and headed to the 2nd floor where all the guests were allotted rooms.
“You don’t look fine to me Yasmin… What’s the matter?” Asked Chandni while Paridhi looked on with a tired expression.
“I am absolutely fine dear” Yasmin answered with a fake smile but Chandni knew that Yasmin is certainly trying to hide something.
Throughout life, there are some close friends that you make and then there is a best friend that you earn. A close friend can bail you out of jail but a best friend will sit beside you in jail saying “Hey! This is awesome!” We do stupid crazy things with close friends, laugh and cry with them, share adventures with them and most importantly, trust and rely on them. But a close friend is only 90% of what a best friend is. The remaining 10% differentiates between a close friend and best friend. Because a best friend is the one who will stand by your side even when you’re wrong. Only a best friend will find out a way to pull you out of a problem…. And such is the bonding between Chandni and Yasmin.
Yasmin is the one who brought everyone together as a group and named the group as SPICY. She was the first person in the college who met Chandni and became friends with her. Therefore Chandni and Yasmin share a very deep bond. Things did change eventually between them because both were in a different stage of life but now that they were together again, Chandni could see that her best friend is going through something wrong in life and she could witness it.
Chandni and Paridhi were fast asleep because of their tiresome journey but Yasmin was awake with closed eyes. There was something on her mind that kept boggling her time and again and she did not want to share it with anyone, not at any cost.
It was twilight. Inayat and Yasmin were calling up on Saloni’s phone which was ringing but she wasn’t picking up. Inayat being a wimp was worried as there was no clue about Saloni’s whereabouts. Paridhi was fetching the flight details that had landed from London.
“There are more than 3 dozen flights that have already landed so it is really difficult to understand from which flight Saloni is coming and by what time she will reach.” Paridhi gave a helpless look.
“Leave it yaa!” said an annoyed Chandni “We all know she is a maverick and none of us can trace her as to where she is right now. So better we stop boggling our minds now. She’ll come here or contact us whenever she wants to.”
“Yeah I think Chandni is right.” Paridhi said closing the flight status app on her phone. “Saloni has friends across the world and so many of them are here in Delhi itself. So perhaps she must be meeting them before arriving here. So stop thinking about her and do some gossiping” Paridhi said with a twinkle in her eyes.
They talked, changed places, again talked, ate dinner and talked, went to their rooms, and talked. Each of them felt so lively right now because they were seeing each other after more than 7 years.
Inayat’s mother allowed her to stay with her friends for sleep and therefore they had full freedom to lock their room and talk, dance, sing and what not till wee hours.
It was around 3 am that they all slept.
Around 4:30 am Inayat’s phone buzzed.
“Hello!” She picked up the phone with a shaky voice without looking at whose call it is.
“Your security guard is asking me who the fu*k I am. Should I reveal to him that I am a contract killer and I am here to murder you?”
“You idiot! Where were you till now…?” Inayat came back in senses hearing those words.
“Wait I am coming outside” and she wore her slippers, rubbed Yasmin on shoulder and buzzed off saying “She’s here!!”
5ft 7 inches tall, dusky complexion, big round eyes and a sexy figure which made every man swoon. A bong bombshell- as she was popularly known. She is a maverick as Chandni described her. Extremely bold with a no-nonsense attitude. She lived life on her terms.
Unlike her friends, Saloni was raised by single parent – her father and this was a very strong reason behind her free spirited mind. Her mother had left her father when Saloni was only 3 years old and therefore she grew up staying away from committed relationships. She was living an uninhibited lifestyle and was quite happy being that way.
Her lifestyle and attitude may portray her as a rogue, but it is the only thing that she is not. She is bold but reliable. She loves her friends deeply. She would do a thing if she has given her word. A very strong mind who would accept her failure with the same pride as her success. She is someone Inayat always wanted to be like, but unfortunately could never be.
Saloni works with one of the best tax and consulting firm as a Financial Consultant in London.
Inayat slipped towards the main gate of her bungalow and told the guard to let Saloni in and also warned him that he must not inform Saloni’s arrival time to anyone in the family.
Inayat switched on the light upon reaching the room. Paridhi, Yasmin and Chandni – all were fast asleep. Before she could say or do anything, Saloni took out a 50 ml vodka bottle from her purse and threw some drops on their faces. They all woke up in a shock.
“Saloniiiii… my love! Why are you wasting these precious drops man!! And where were you?” Paridhi said while rubbing her eyes and hugged her tightly.
“So good to see you girl” Yasmin said and joined the hug.
Saloni hugged them both and walked towards Chandni.
“Hey! Good to see you!” Saloni said and hugged Chandni. Their hug lacked the warmth that close friends share and pretty soon they stood apart. Everybody noticed their gesture but ignored.
“So your flight got late beyond 24 hours” Yasmin asked and handed over a glass of water to Saloni.
“No babe. I arrived at Delhi Airport at 3 pm.” Saloni sipped her water and sat on the bed.
“So where were you then for the last 13 hrs?” Paridhi gaped at Saloni. Her expression clearly stated that she has a hint yet she was looking for a direct answer from Saloni.
Saloni didn’t reply and Paridhi asked her again “Was he cute?” and gave a sly smile.
“I’m too sexy for the cute ones babe.” Saloni winked at her and others just looked on.
Their topics kept changing and very soon they saw the sun rising.
8th April – The Mehendi Day
“I can see the happiness in your eyes to be with your friends after so long” Inayat’s mom told her when she was in her room.
“Yes Mamma, I am very happy that all of them are here.” Inayat replied
“So who is sharing room with whom?” Mom asked.
“Mom, Chandni and Yasmin are in one room and Saloni and Paridhi in the other… they decided to have rooms opposite to each other’s exactly like their hostel days” Inayat replied and smiled.
“Okay Saloni has arrived. She didn’t meet me. What time did she come?” Mom inquired.
“Ummm.. Mamma… Umm… She came around 12 am… actually her flight landed very late that’s why…!!” Inayat’s words stumbled.
“Oh! That’s okay… I thought it got late than that.” ‘Anyway, tell her to take proper sleep so that she can enjoy today’s Mehendi function.” Mama said and left.
“Babe, I haven’t brought any traditional outfit to wear on your marriage.” Saloni told Inayat while choosing her clothes before going for shower.
Inayat looked into her suitcase and found only crop tops, tank tops, a pair or two of jeans and shorts and mini dresses.
“It’s okay. You can buy a Salwar Kameez or lehenga or Saree from Delhi itself.” Inayat suggested.
“Yeah, that’s a great idea. All of us can go for shopping today as the mehendi function today will happen in evening no.” Paridhi said while applying eye liner.
“Sounds good to me! So we’ll go shopping after the breakfast.” Saloni replied.
“I am game for it…” Paridhi said cheerfully and shot her next question immediately “By the way, you haven’t yet told us who was the guy with whom you were yesterday.”
“Stop fu*king around babe” Saloni told Paridhi annoyingly and went inside the bathroom and shut the door.
Paridhi stared at the shut door; put her makeup kit in the bag and told Inayat “I’ll find it out from her.” Inayat laughed.
Chandni and Yasmin arrived in Paridhi and Saloni’s room and later all of them headed for breakfast.
“It was an Irish guy and he has come to India on a vacation and we fu*ked thrice in his hotel room. Now would you leave me for God’s sake.” Saloni yelled at Paridhi who had annoyed her by asking the same question.
Suddenly there was silence in the dining room. The clinking of plates and spoons got replaced with murmurs and chuckles. Inayat’s teenager cousins were whispering in each other’s ears and laughing where as her Grandfather and eldest uncle looked furious. Though they did not say anything to her there, but their angry eyes made Inayat timid.
She was sure that her strict family is now going to question her as to what cheap kind of friends she has got, such filthy language they use, how close Inayat is to them and blah blah? Chandni and Yasmin read her expressions but did not react there. Paridhi was the first one to finish breakfast as she did not look at anyone at all and left the dining table awkwardly.
“Saloni, it wasn’t right the way you behaved downstairs.” Chandni expressed her anger to Saloni.
“Yeah babe… I know it wasn’t right but it…”
“No wait! I haven’t yet finished” Chandni interrupted Saloni and continued “This is not London and most importantly this is Inayat’s house where all of us are standing and we all know how her family thinks. You’re aware about the strict rules that Inayat has followed all her life and still you behave like this.”
“Just let me explain once…”
“No babe. There is no explanation required now as you have already made a scene out there. Let me tell you one last thing, whatever you do or in whichever way you behave… it is not you who will suffer for this but others will. In this case, Inayat will have to face her family and answer them.” Chandni pointed her finger towards Inayat who was standing near the door looking down.
“Think before acting – this is the bottomline.” Chandni said her final word looking into Saloni’s eyes.
Saloni could read between the lines what Chandni meant in her final word. Actually everyone could but they did not interrupt.
Miffed Saloni replied “okay, so you won’t let me explain like before but can I say sorry to her” and she pointed towards Inayat.
“I am extremely sorry babe!” Saloni went up to Inayat to hug her. “I’ll say sorry to everyone in your family personally… please don’t be angry with me.”
“It’s okay!” Inayat inhaled a deep sigh “I know you never do such things intentionally. It’s just your aggressive nature.” And she briefly smiled.
“So what time do we go for shopping?” Paridhi raised this question deliberately.
“I think we should leave asap.” Saloni checked her wrist watch and said.
“just a small heads up girls, Mehandi function will start at 4:30 so make sure you all come back by 4:30” Inayat reminded them.
“Hey, please don’t mind girls but I can’t join you both as I have got some office work so I’ll stay back in my room only.” Chandni said. Saloni understood that Chandni has decided to not go to shopping because she wanted to avoid her but she did not say anything.
“Even I don’t feel like going for shopping so I think I’ll also remain with Inu and Chandu.” Yasmin’s answer disappointed Saloni and Paridhi but they did not force the duo too much and headed to the market.
to be continued….