Sometimes I think it is ridiculous, the extent that people go to secure their homes. What’s the use? Even a mouse can bore its way into the most secure mansion.
Just as my brother did. Just as my seventeen boyfriends tried to do before I pushed them down the cliff.
But why did every shove hurt me more than it hurt them? They all regained their footing, I sank lower and lower.
And then my mother found for me a nice guy. Nice guy for a girl she herself had blamed for wanting in all that was nice and decent. Nice guy for a girl who aimed at dating every guy of her acquaintance. Nice guy for a girl whose favourite challenge had been to steal the love of her own best friend.
Well, he indeed was a nice guy. Your Lemon Girl might have found him a dream. But Nirvi didn’t. She had no use for nice guys. She had become much too adorned to suit his plain simplicity.
She had no use for marriage either. Marriage meant sacred vows. She had no use for anything sacred. And the sacred would not have wanted her anyway.
She would better use Sam instead. Sam, the best friend of her ex-boyfriend who had once been the boyfriend of her ex-best friend. Yes, she would use Sam instead. He was desperate to be used anyway.
Sam had found Nirvi as she was running away from his best friend’s room. In her trembling haste, she had tripped and hurt her ankle, right in front of Sam. Sam had had to help her and take her away to her own room. She had bathed his shoulder with her tears. And he had wiped them off her eyes. She told him what his best friend had tried to do, despite her refusal. He promised to give his friend a lesson in manly duty and to break his friendship with him forever. She wailed that every time she tried finding true love, she failed. He promised then and there that he would never treat her badly and would always be there to love her and protect her and take care of her.
Three weeks had passed away since Sam had won the pride to call Nirvi his girlfriend. Three comfortable and placid weeks. And then, the nice guy appeared and Nirvi decided it was time for Sam to prove true his promise.
She called Sam to report to her in their favourite mall in Gurgaon, two evenings before Ajay, the nice guy, was to come to claim her with a gold ring. Gurgaon was where Sam worked and lived. She too worked in a call centre there. It was a job one of her previous boyfriends had helped her to. It paid enough to let her stay in a PG, away from her home. Home no longer had any use for her. And she had no use for it.
‘Are you happy with me, Sam?’ she asked him.
‘What do you mean?’ Sam asked, without halting the game on his phone.
‘I asked if you are happy with me or not.’
‘Sure,’ he said.
‘You don’t think I am ugly and fat and uneducated?’
‘You ugly and fat? No way. But you should have completed your graduation. Why did you not?’ he said, looking up as the game on his phone got over.
‘I couldn’t. It was too boring. But it doesn’t matter. I got a job anyway. But do you really think I am good enough for you?’
Sure was just the right answer. He couldn’t have said he still hadn’t stopped congratulating himself for getting Nirvi. His friends, and perhaps he himself, had predicted a much bleaker prospect for him.
‘Would you miss me very much when I am gone?’ Nirvi continued.
‘Where are you going?’
‘My parents are getting me married.’
‘Yes, and I will have to do as they say unless…’
‘Unless I run away. But I can’t. I can change my PG, but they know where I work. And I can’t leave my job. How would I support myself without the job?’
‘Why don’t you tell your parents about us? I belong to a good and wealthy family. You know my family owns so much land in our village, and I am the only son. And we have so much respect there. And I have good education too and job and…’
‘You don’t belong to our community. They would never agree.’
‘We can get married in a court. Then they will have to agree,’ said Sam. ‘Of course, my parents would feel hurt if I take such a step. I’m their only son. And I have three sisters.’
‘Oh, I don’t want to hurt your parents. Never. And I don’t want to force myself upon you. I don’t want you to rush into marriage, just for my sake. You might regret it later. I don’t want to marry you until you are sure that you’d be happy spending your life with me and that your parents would like me too. If only we could spend more time together so we can know each other better. Like maybe live together for some time before marrying. We would know each other better then. But of course, that can’t be. Although you live all alone here…’
And 23 hours later, Nirvi had bored her way into Sam’s house.
The house demanded a heavy price. It cost Nirvi her job, and her freedom.
But Sam won all the liberties he desired.
And then, you came. And bored your way in too.
Before you proceed to the next chapter, here’s something extra!
Excerpt of Dream’s Sake