Recap: Varnika visits Haris in his hotel for the first time and comes to know that he is unwell and she takes care of him but her regular latecoming activity places a doubt in Anna and Nakul’s mind. Anna confronts Varnika but since she is confused herself, she is not able to give a proper answer to Anna.
Varnika was in double mind the next day. She wanted to see Haris but was also timid as meeting him time and again was increasing closeness between them because of which Nakul was getting sidelined. Fortunately, her next three days were so packed up with work that she could neither meet Nakul nor Haris. Nakul had no issues with Varnika staying busy as he understood the importance of her work commitments but Haris, who believed in living life like a free bird kept calling and texting Varnika to meet and she hated saying No to him. Finally, Varnika took a sigh of relief on Friday and the three of us celebrated the weekend night in a nearby pub.
“Mom would give you a call tomorrow.” Nakul told Varnika.
“Ohkay… what is it about?” Varnika asked.
“Well, it’s Dad’s 60th birthday next week…” Nakul said.
“Oh yes! I had forgotten that… Thanks for reminding Honey.” Varnika interrupted him.
“Yeah… So Mom wants to organize a party at home and she wants you to help her and Hetal for shopping and other preparations.” Nakul completed his sentence.
“Wow! I’d love to be a part of all the arrangements.” Varnika exhilarated.
“Yeah… She also said that it’s been a long time you have not met anyone in the family.”
“Right honey. I visited your home last when you were away on the trip. It’s been over a month I guess…” Varnika expressed her guilt.
“It’s okay! I understand you have been very busy with work lately.” Nakul said and looked in other direction and sipped his beer. I looked at his face on this statement and failed to read whether he said this in a complaining way or an understanding way or neither.
“Hey Cum’on! Let’s take a selfie!” I said to divert the topic.
“Nay! I look so messed up today… you two can pose please!” Varnika showed reluctance for a picture and Nakul and I did not force her and took a selfie of us and instantly I uploaded it on my Insta feed.
Varnika and Nakul kept on talking while I was scrolling through my Instagram feed and I was surprised to see a new photo by “ohh_photography”. It had a curly haired woman who was standing at Tower Bridge and was looking at the humongous London Eye. The face of the woman was not visible as the shot was taken from behind and the cloudy weather enhanced the beauty of that picture. Needless to say, I “Liked” the picture.
“Hey! Is that your boyfriend?” I received this DM from ohh_photography on my photo with Nakul when we were on the way back home.
“Nope! He is family. 🙂” I replied.
“Are you in London?” I instantly sent another DM to him and much later in the night he replied “Yes. Wanna hang out some day? 🙂” and I was thrilled on this.
“Yes of course!” I replied.
“Great. Let’s plan a meet soon.” He replied.
“Sure.” I replied him and signed out.
Next morning as Nakul had mentioned, Varnika received his mother’s call and they decided to meet directly at Oxford Circus for shopping. In between their shopping, Varnika kept receiving calls and texts from Haris and though she refrained herself to reply or pick up his call, her constant attention to her phone got noticed by Nakul’s mother.
“Should you want to leave for something more important, you may Varnika.. there is no boundation from our side.” Nakul’s mom showed concern.
“Oh No. Everything is perfect…” Varnika hesitatingly said and put her phone on silent mode. Later they headed to Nakul’s home and had dinner together and Nakul dropped Varnika home after dinner.
She checked her phone only after reaching back home. “3 more missed calls from Haris. 12 messages.” Her lock screen showed. She was a bit irated now but opened Haris’s chat window.
“Itni bhi kya naraazgi… tum to jawab hi nahi de rahi? (What’s been so annoying babe? Why aren’t you responding to me?” Haris’s last message read and she was irated.
“whom to say yes, whom to say no… I don’t just get it.” She spoke to herself irritatingly.
“It’s your own fault….” Her mind told her “You should stop prioritizing wrong people in your life.” But her heart went upset on this reasonable advice from her brain and she decided to divert her attention from this topic. Before going to bed she texted Haris “Sorry to keep you waiting for a reply… I was busy throughout the day with Nakul’s family. Same schedule tomorrow too.” It was a tiring day so she kept her phone on silent and slept. The shopping schedule followed on Sunday as well and since Nakul was accompanying them, Varnika made sure that her phone does not get her into trouble again and kept it on silent the whole time but somewhere inside her heart, she was not pleased. She wanted to meet Haris badly as it had been more than 5 days but much to her surprise, there was not a single call or text from Haris on Sunday.
“Gosh! I’m so exhausted! Nakul’s mom has no limit when it comes to shopping.” Varnika came home in evening and complained.
“Every single cell of my legs is paining.” She whined and I couldn’t stop laughing on this.
“Get yourself prepared for this now. You’re going to become a part of her life very soon.” I said and she hid her face behind the cushion to take some rest.
“Want some coffee or tea Nik?” I asked Varnika.
“Naah.” She said and pointed at her feet. I understood her gesture and massaged her legs and feet to make her relaxed.
Monday arrived with usual work routine and Varnika messaged Haris “Hi” in the second half of the day. He did not reply back and she texted again “Let’s catch up in the evening?” and his reply came after an hour “Okay. My room?” and Varnika replied “Not room…I’ll see you in the hotel lobby.”
“Alright. From lobby we can go to the room ;)” Haris’s naughty reply brought a brief and coy smile on Varnika’s face but she didn’t reply him further.
Varnika reached the lobby area and informed Haris and sat down on a couch facing the elevators. After a few minutes, when the elevator opened she saw Haris with a very pretty woman wearing the peach-colored overcoat that she had seen in his room a few days back. Haris was holding her on the waist and they had a small kiss on lips before the lady departed. For one moment Varnika got shocked on this gesture but then she pretended to be normal as she saw Haris walking towards her.
“Who was the pretty lady?” Varnika concealed her shock behind a smile and Haris looked back at the exit and then looked at Varnika and chuckled “Trust me, you don’t wanna know that.” Haris’s sentence startled Varnika and gave a clear hint of his relation with that lady but she didn’t ask further.
Assuming things in mind and witnessing them in real are two different feelings altogether. A few days back when Varnika had seen that coat hanging in Haris’s restroom, it had given her a hint of what Haris must be doing in his private time but today watching him with a lady in front of her eyes had boggled her to a great extent. ‘Why am I here… when he has so many options to choose from?’ her heart shook on this question but she concealed her emotions and they sat down for a conversation.
“Don’t you get it… I will never let you leave in your first attempt.” Haris winked at Varnika and made her sit down for some more time after their chit chat of about half hour. She looked at him helplessly and kept her bag down on the couch and murmured “I wish I could teleport myself.” Haris heard her and giggled. She heard his giggling and giggled with him.
“Teleporting huh… Science lover.” Haris said.
“Magic lover..” Varnika corrected him and continued “You know what… I have always been in awe of fantasy world…. I mean in my childhood, I wanted to have Aladdin’s genie or a magical wand that could fulfill all my wishes.” Varnika told Haris and giggled.
“Whoa! Weird that is” Haris said and she stared at him and instantly asked “Why weird?”
“I have heard nobody having that type of fantasy ever?” he giggled and sipped his beer.
“That’s because you never interacted with me in our childhood?” Varnika said with a playful smile.
“Ah… And I regret that so much.” Haris instantly answered with mischief in his eyes to keep up the moment and Varnika laughed on this.
“But seriously, nobody ever has those kinds of fantasies. I mean what would you have done with a magical wand? Tease other kids or make it do your homework?” Haris wondered.
“Naah! I would never do anything nasty like teasing others… and homework and studies have never bothered me… But simply, I wanted a magical wand… Probably to fulfill those wishes which I was not courageous enough to fulfill and hence they could never become a reality.” Varnika dropped an unclear hint to Haris and then looked at her wine glass and spoke after a moment “As a matter of fact, I wanted to get admission in Hogwarts School to learn magic in my teenage days.” She said further and giggled.
“Oh fuck I can’t stop laughing on this” Haris said and bursted into a laughter.
“I was totally absorbed into porn in my teenage days and you were stuck at Harry Potter… Oh Man! Girls like you are so kiddish I never realized this.” Haris quipped and Varnika’s expressions instantly changed on his sentence. She had got reminded of the scene that she had witnessed half an hour back and thus spoke nothing.
“Ouch” he said looking at her brooding face.
“Well, I did not let puberty ruin my innocence.” Varnika replied after one second to cover up her annoyance.
“By the way, has there been any dream or fantasy in your life?” Varnika asked to divert her mind from that woman’s imagination.
“Well, I don’t see any dreams… I just live them.” Haris bragged.
“I see… After all, you are the H2O.” Varnika replied with a hint of sarcasm.
“But there is one thing that I can never get over with.” Haris said.
“Sex… I know.” Varnika instantly replied.
“Sex…. Oh come on! That’s more of a necessity than a fantasy or a dream.” Haris quipped again.
“You’ll come to know about my dream if you are the lucky one.” He said and looked outside. There was a big trail of super awesome cruiser bikes passing by. Haris kept looking at them with wide open eyes and Varnika guessed “Bikes… I see… So this is your fantasy?”
Haris brought his face near her and said “Yeah… I want to roam around the world on one such bike…. With a hot chick as my pillion….” He winked at her.
“Fascinating” Varnika quipped and slow clapped for Haris and her reaction pinched him.
“Well, a bookworm like Hermione Granger will never understand the thrill of flying on the broomstick and playing Quidditch. Will she?” now this counter attack by Haris had aroused anger in Varnika.
“Had Hermione Granger put her head in playing Quidditch instead of books, would any of them be successful in taking down Voldemort and his team?” Varnika said and looked outside the window. Her face looked serious.
“Ouch” he said again but realized that this time he has hurt Varnika in real.
“You know what Haris… All of us keep coming across one-liners like “Carpe Diem”, “One life – live it fully”, “Enjoy the moment” and blah blah in our daily routine and we try to make it our life’s reality but the fact is, life is not a cakewalk for every person on this earth. Some of us have more struggles in life.” She said and paused and again looked outside the window.
Haris remained silent and tried to figure out what made Varnika say this and there she started speaking again “I was only five n half years old when my mother passed away leaving behind our infant brother with us. Every day from school, we used to go to our grandma’s house where she would feed us and then make us sleep and after waking up in evening, we used to complete our homework while grandma used to cook dinner for us. Then Baba used to come and take us home with a packed lunchbox for dinner… this shuttling of everyday was not a pleasant experience you know… sometimes Baba used to get late in arriving at grandma’s house and I used to panic and ask my sister if he’ll really come or will go to the place where Maa has gone and she used to shush me with a frown on her forehead and then hug me to console me. This routine went on for more than five years and eventually with time I forgot that thought of Baba also leaving us… Later with a promotion, Baba hired a cook and a maid to look after us and things got eased up… But to sum it up, we did not have an army of servants who would bring us the thing we want in nick of time whenever and from wherever we wanted… I have seen struggles in life, a lot of them.” Varnika had a heavy breath after finishing her last sentence.
“Go easy on me lady! I didn’t intend to hurt your feelings at all.” Haris said and Varnika started looking in other direction.
“It’s okay! I don’t know why I lost my temper right now… This wasn’t required at all I know.” She said and took a deep breath. “I think I should go home now.” She said without looking at Haris and rose up from the chair and picked her handbag.
“Alright. So I’ll see you soon.” Haris didn’t stop her this time. He hugged her and pecked on her cheek at the exit and Varnika left. She called up Nakul on the way to home and felt relieved when he told her that he’ll not show up today. Dividing herself between two men, who seemed to be equally important, was giving her a tough time.
“Which is your favorite hangout place in London?” Varnika read Haris’s text lying in the bed.
“Hampstead Heath…Why?” she replied.
“How about a date there tomorrow?” pat came his next question.
“Doesn’t look possible. Tomorrow is another busy day in office.” She replied and waited for Haris’s text. He replied with 😡 and signed off. Varnika typed “okay I will try” and erased. She again typed “Sorry… some other day please” but erased again and kept her phone on the bedside table. She started feeling agitated after this small conversation with Haris.
“Why is it that when I am with Nakul I miss Haris? And when Haris is around I feel bad about Nakul?” her heart asked her mind an unresolved question.
to be continued…