Dew drop, Sunshine and a Blade of Grass..! (Episode -9)

Chapter 8

Strangers in car

(Haven’t read the previous episode? click here to read it)

(Click here to read the first episode)

Present

“I will explain everything, once I am back”, I said. All that I heard in return was the disconnect tone. Something similar had transpired a few minutes ago. Earlier, it was my mom and now it was Amit.

I had switched on my Bangalore number after more than a week. While my parents had tough time responding to queries from my relatives, Amit and my other business partners were unhappy about my absence during the business critical phase.

Company funds were about to exhaust, operation costs were increasing and we had hardly made any profits. We were yet to find any investor for the next round of funding.

“Is everything fine?” Anahita’s mom asked me, as soon as I returned to the lounge.

We were at the Kolkata airport and the check-in was due in few minutes.  Anahita and me were flying to Bangalore.

Her mom had agreed to send her along with me, but only after iterating through the following list of conditions, six times.

  1. She should stay at her aunt’s place.
  2. I should convince my parents about the marriage within one week.
  3. I must keep updating her mom about her health, twice a day.
  4. Anahita’s mom shall fly down to Bangalore during weekends and I mustn’t invade their privacy..!

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“So what did your dad say?” Anahita asked me after bringing down the window shutter. The flight had taken off.

“Nothing! They are mad at me. Cancelling the marriage is a big thing! My family has got a feeling that I have shamed them. ”, I paused to hand over the hygiene towel back to the air hostess.

“I haven’t spoken to my parents in last ten days. That has kept them worried and annoyed. And that girl Amulya, she is upset with her parents and has left home. Her parents in turn, are upset with mine. When my parents see you, it will only add to the chaos and madness”, I let out a helpless laugh.

“What do you want me to do?, she asked me, pressing my shoulder.

“I want you to just stay with me and make me feel strong”, I smiled.

“And your friends? Amit? Did you get to speak to them?” she enquired.

“Even they are mad at me and it’s understandable. We are going through a tough phase and I was not with them in those last ten days.”.

“What do you want me to do?”, she asked me again. She looked very worried.

“Stay with me and make me stronger”, I pulled her cheeks and smiled.

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There wasn’t any need for me to ring the doorbell, the door was wide open. On my way from airport to home, I had called my mom and told her that I will be bringing Anahita along with me.

The cast ensemble at our home was huge. There was my dad, mom, her three sisters with their husbands, my dad’s two sisters along with their husbands; half a dozen cousins, mom’s socialite friends and a couple of neighbours.

I assume that they had come over to lend their moral support. Surprisingly, they weren’t dressed for the occasion! Ladies were all dressed in their rich sarees and had glittering gold all around their neck and wrists.

“Ask him to leave”, said my Father and made an exit from the hall as soon as I reached the door. It was like those 20 seconds role of a junior artist in the movie. He waits for his moment and when it comes, he plays it to perfection and vanishes!

“This is Anahita”, I introduced her to the rest of them. Anahita raised her right hand to wave hi. I signalled her from the corner of my eye and she joined hands to do a Namaste.

“Because of you, that girl’s life is ruined. We are ashamed to make a public appearance”, scolded my mom. I was expecting the scene to be dramatic, but this was all cold serious.

“It’s not her fault mom”, I tried to shield Anahita from all the undue scolding.

“Now you don’t tell me whom to blame. Why did you bring this girl here, to shame us further?”, she spoke in tough voice and approached the door.

“Mom.. It’s j..”, I tried to explain her when she interrupted me again.

“No. None of us want to hear anything from you. You are not welcome here, unless you find Amulya, make an apology and convince her to go back home”, she said and shut the door.

The treatment was expected. I looked at Anahita with an apologizing look.

“Not a great welcome. My mom in law loses 500 points for this”, she winked. That was her way of telling me that she didn’t feel bad. I felt immensely proud for having chosen a girl who cared to stand by me, during my tough times.

“Next what?”, she asked.

” You must be tired. Let me drop you at your aunt’s place”.

” You were supposed meet your business pals right! Let me accompany you”, she said and walked towards the car.

“In that case, I think we should be geared up for one more round of humiliation”, I issued a statement of caution.

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I felt completely numb.

“Come on.! You can’t blame it on us now. We had tried calling you. Who’s fault is it, if you had chosen to keep your phone switched off”, Vinod yelled at me.

It was my idea and my company. I wasn’t expecting to be yelled at.

A day earlier my business partners had met Syndrone VCs, who had agreed to fund the company. In exchange they wanted 45% stake in the company. To my horror, these guys had agreed to it- without much thinking.

“We were under pressure Sid. You have to understand. What if our stakes are less, the investment that we will receive is still very huge. We will be rich anyway” – Nayana tried to explain with all her calmness.

“You guys don’t understand this. It was my idea to start this company. You cannot discount me when it comes to decisions like these. It’s as if I don’t exist”, I vented out my anger.

“Sid! The company was built on your idea, we agree. But we helped you build it. We have spent more than two years to bring it to this stage”, said Vinod and took a deep breath.

He continued with a cold voice. “Two years is quite a lot of time Sid. None of us had time to roam around with our girlfriends, none of us had time to get engaged to some random girl and definitely none of us had any time to cancel that engagement”.

He was effortlessly serving me the sarcasm sauce and I wasn’t able to swallow it with ease.

“You are trying to get into my personal space Vinod. You better watch your words”, I warned him.

“Of course Sid. I will watch my words. But you try to educate yourself. If you think idea alone helps you qualify as a major stakeholder, then you are definitely wrong. It’s about investing your time, thoughts and making sure of staying with the company when it matters”.

My conscious was silently agreeing to whatever he said, but I had to keep my dignity afloat.

“So.. what..! you want me to quit the board?”, I got fired up. The discussion was turning ugly.

“I think you guys have to cool down”, Amit tried to bring the situation under control.

However, Vinod had no intention of putting down the flame. “It’s your choice Sid. If you want to quit, you can. I will not stop you. You will still get your share of profit”.

It was unexpected and I wasn’t prepared to hear that answer. My anger saw a meltdown. I fell short of words.

It’s not the feel of getting ousted that made me emotional. It was the plain truth that he made me realize – I didn’t deserve to be in the board!

“Ah.. I am sorry. I think you are right!”, I said with a plain smile. “I think I am not the right person to run the company!”, I added.

****************************************************************************************

“What happened?”, she asked me.

The security guard opened the gate and I drove my car outside the company premises.

“This might sound crazy, but I am out of my own company”, I took almost five minutes before replying.

She didn’t speak. I stopped my car and looked at her. Her eyes had turned moist. There was a loud thunder outside and it started pouring all of a sudden.

“What’s the matter Anahita?” I asked her.

She lowered the window and looked away. “I am sorry Sid. This is all because of me. You have been forced into these personal and professional hardships because of me. I don’t know what to do.! I am feeling so guilty”.

She was feeling very sorry and I had to tell her that it wasn’t her fault. I wanted to tell her that I was feeling better after quitting the company. I wanted both of us to forget about all these things for a moment.

“Hey, do you want to play this little game ?”, I asked her.

“Sid.!”, she made a complaining face.

“Hey.! the game is really an interesting one. It’s called ‘strangers in car’. It was invented by this chancellor of zorpia, in the year 1726. It was a snowy winter. The volcano in the fifth mountain of Seramis mountain range had erupted..”, I started explaining.

“Sid.! The first ever car was manufactured in the year 1886”, she smirked.

This is the problem of dating a general knowledge whiz kid. They will be on their heels to show off their facts quotient.

“Sid.! I know that you have made this up just now. You invented the game while you spoke, didn’t you?”, she asked.

I nodded. She knew me inside out!

“Anahita..! There are few things that you shouldn’t question. It’s in the interest of the game”, I played a lame defence.

“So tell me about the game!”, she said with a smile. She was the only person who could digest all my idiotic thoughts.

“In this game, people are supposed to act like strangers in bus. Sitting next to each other, we should have a conversation and try to know about each other ”.

She badly wanted to tell me that the game would be as boring as the veg curry in a non veg meal.

“Excuse me.! Do I know you?”, she asked and winked.

She knew that the game was the stupidest game, one could ever play. However, both of us knew that it would help us forget our problems for a moment and that was all that we wanted.

“There you go.!”,  I said. “Hey ! You want to grab a cup of Hot coffee.? Spicy pakodas would be a lovely combination with the weather”.

“Yes sir! By the way, I am Anahita”, she held her hands towards me.

“That’s one of the most beautiful name that I have ever known. I have an equally wonderful name. They call me Sid.”, I shook hands with her and drove towards the MN Street.

She was the queen of drama and I was the guy who wrote them.

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Rain was pouring heavily and didn’t appear to stop. The mobile canteen guy had tied a blue tarpaulin under which we were standing and having our coffees in those tiny plastic cups. The soil smelt good and the steam of the coffee was helping the cold.

“Kyon aati hai bahaar
Kyon lutta hai karaar

Kyon hota hai pyaar

Na tum jano na hum
Na tum jano na hum..”

The canteen guy had tuned into the FM rainbow station. I stood amazed by the sight of his tiny pocket radio. For a moment, my childhood did a peek a boo and I grew nostalgic.

“This song, the coffee and these pakodas are making me fall in love with the rain”, she said.

“And the conversation with you is making me fall in love with this moment”, I replied. Well, I was trying to flirt with my beloved lady.

“So, Anahita. What do you do?”, I asked her. The game was still on.

“Well.. I was working as an Engineer, here in Bangalore. Then went back to Kolkata stayed there for some time. I had started growing a vineyard. I had named it sunshine and wanted to build an open air library inside it”.

Well, this was something that she had never told me.

“Why name it sunshine?”, I enquired.

“Well..! My dad had named our house dewdrops. Sunshine makes the dew drop look extremely beautiful. So, you know..!”, she explained.

“Sounds nice. So, what happened to your sunshine?”.

“Grapes were all ripe, but then I found this new job”, she added.

“Which job?”, I asked. I was genuinely curious.

“Well.. The job was to create a personal and professional trouble in the life of a person called Siddarth. And guess what..! I have been successful, so far.!”, she said.

I didn’t respond.

“What about you?” , she asked.

“Well..! I once aspired to be a cricketer. After passing out from college, I realized that cricket thing was never going to happen.

My next big dream was to build a crazy restaurant. But my dad wasn’t ready to invest on such a stupid project”.

I paused and asked the canteen guy to serve one more plate of pakodas.

“Since I badly wanted to build that restaurant and didn’t have enough money, I began a startup. And know what, I am out of the company now”, I paused again.

“Ah.! I am so sorry”, she sounded sorry.

“Ah. Don’t be sorry. A true businessman stays undeterred during tough times. I have two things to cheer about. I have my beloved lady with me and I am going to start a new business”, I announced my new plans.

Floating a business idea was turning into a routine of mine.

“What is the business about?”, her eyes twinkled in excitement.

The rain had stopped. Sun had slowly started peeping through the clouds.

“I am going to grow a vineyard, build an open air library and start a winery next to it. Readers would love to have some fresh wine while they read. I am going to call it- dewdrops, sunshine and a blade of grass”.

“Ah..! Looks like someone is stealing someone’s idea. But why that name?”, she asked.

Clearly, I had no intentions of growing creepers, building a reading place and opening a wine store. On the top of it, I seriously had no clue why this name crossed my mind.

“Looks like someone must give someone enough time to come up with a better and beautiful reason behind the name”, I smiled.

“Ah.! I grant you that, but it better be beautiful. By the way, you need money to build that winery don’t you?”, she asked. She had indeed believed that I was going to build that winery.!

My mobile phone beeped. I opened the message.

“What happened? All okay?”, she asked.

 

‘Heard about your startup fiasco.

You bring amulya back to her parents

And

I am going to finance your restaurant business.’

My dad had sent me the message just when I needed it. He once again proved that he had a good sense of perfect timing.

I wasn’t sure how to understand it – Either he wanted to help me out or he wanted to make the most of my situation, by forcing me to bring Amulya back to her home.

“Sid.! What happened?”, she asked me again.

“Looks like someone has got the money already”, I smiled and showed her the message.

She smiled and hugged me out of the excitement.

The coffee shop guy felt too shy seeing us hug.

The rain had stopped now.

“Watch there..! It’s a rainbow”, she said pointing at the sky, as we walked towards our car. It was a beautiful sight.

“I think, I am going to name my restaurant after it – The rainbow. Rainbow stands for variety and it also stands for beauty”, I said holding her hands.

“Ah.. Then the dew drops, sunshine a blade of grass is not going to happen, is it?”, she acted disappointed. As mentioned earlier, she was the queen of drama.

“Or shall we name the restaurant dewdrops, sunshine a blade of grass?”, I asked her.

“Not before you find a suitable explanation for that?”, she said in a complaining tone.

“And definitely not before I make an apology to Amulya and get some investment from my Dad”, I replied and laughed.

“Sid.!”, she said.

“What?”

She looked into my eyes – “When you apologize to her, I want you to really mean it. I don’t want you to think about the money that you will get from your dad”.

She was making me fall in love with her again and again.

“Got it”, I smiled.

The next thing I saw was her collapsing on the ground!!

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To be continued

Click here to read the next and final episode

Thank you for reading. I have one more episode to be published, before the series ends. I would love to hear from you, things that could be improved ( avoided) etc. It would only help me write better. 🙂

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