I raised my hands,
A handful of sand,
Time passes by.
‘NO… Please do not recite further’, she screamed. I was a bit confused. ‘What happened’, I asked. ‘Don’t tell me anything about time’, she screamed, ‘as such the wrinkles on the face, the dullness of my hair is enough to remind me of time’, she said.
I giggled. But Sheena has always been like that. For her being 22 is already old. Her original plan was to get married to a wealthy millionaire by 21. So she is running late according to her calculations.
‘Tell me, Madhu, why do you write all this. Now don’t give me a lecture on creative expressions etc. Aren’t you fed up of tending to all these sick people. Go have a party or best go date someone wealthy’.
‘No, thank you’, I said, ‘I am an intern and I am very happy with my choices’.
‘Whatever…How am I looking?’, she asked.
I looked at her made up face, her curled hair, her short red dress and made a face.
‘Huh whom am I asking…’, she muttered,
Sheena and me are diametrically opposites. But the fact is that we have always been friends. While my mother detests her saying that she is a bad influence on me, her mother adores me for the stability that I give Sheena.
Sheena meanwhile has toned down her make up and done something with her hair which makes her look better., at least to me.
The doorbell rings, ‘It must be Avinash’, she says with stars in her eyes. Avinash is the son of a local businessman. While Sheena had dreamed of marring a tycoon, she has scaled down her dreams and is now dating ‘local’ tycoons.
‘Hi Avi’, she says and they hug. I move my gaze away.
And then she says, ‘This is my friend Madhu, a doctor’.
‘An intern at present’, I add.
‘Doctor, wow’, he says, his gaze not leaving my face. ‘Why don’t you join us?’, he asks. And over my protests I am forced to join them.
And from then on I am always a part of their outings. I hate crowded places or loud music, so we roam elsewhere. eating at quaint joints, laughing at silly jokes and very often I find myself alone with Avi.
‘Madhu, I think he likes you’, Sheena says one day.
‘What? I say, ‘But I don’t have time for all these things, I have to do my MD and…’
‘Madhu don’t let your ambitions to come in the way of life, enjoy every single moment that life brings you’, she admonishes.
I mull over that. From then on I take care of my looks. I notice that Avi is gentle, not at all proud even though he has people at call and a wallet full of cards.
We move on to holding hands and locking eyes. His hands often linger for sometime on my back.
Sheena has moved on and found a Fashion designer, me and Avi now go out on our own.
I am back after a 48 hours call. Sometimes we have to do duties like that too. I barely have any energy to eat and lie on the couch and sleep.
‘Madhu, Madhu, ‘ It is Sheena,
‘I jump up’, visions of an unwanted pregnancy pop up in my mind when I see her appearance. Bloodshot eyes, hair all messed up, in her tights and tee,
‘How far have you gone out with Avi’, she demands,
Not able to understand her I just say ‘huh’
‘Woman, don’t you understand…. are you phyical with that slime’, she asks.
I flinch, ‘No’, I said.
Sheena flops down besides me in relief.
‘What happened?’, I asked my subconsious already understanding what was to be revealed.
‘I had been to the Cafe’, she said. There is a ‘happening’ cafe where in Sheena frequents.
‘And guess what’, she continues, ‘Avi was there with his gang. He was boasting about how he had made friends with a Doctor. He said he was fed up with dating all the society chicks and wanted to know how it felt to date a nerd. He said he was tired of talking romantic nonsense and walking on idle roads . He said he had a tough time breaking your icy reserve…That is why I was suspecting that you were physical with him.’
I was too tired to respond.
‘Are you fine’, she asked.
‘Yeah’, I said. ‘But why do you look so harried’, I asked.
She gave a devilish grin. ‘I gave him two solid slaps and then removed my shoes and gave his sidekicks two-two. How dare he take advantage of my innocent Madhu.’
We burst out laughing. Friends are precious, aren’t they.