Thank you for your immense love you showered on all of my short stories (Three till now), and NanoTales (Oops! Don’t even remember the count. They are posted every Wednesday and Sunday on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter). Humbled by your love. If you have missed any of the short stories, find the tab ‘Short Stories’ here. And don’t forget to leave a review.
Just two things before you dive into the Rishi-Mishi world. One- this maybe the last short story before my Novel is out.
And two- This time, I worked on your sweet complaint of finding my stories a little shorter.
Glad you wanna read more. So, grab some popcorn, tea/ coffee (if you like to :)) and let’s go. Let’s explore the world of Rishi & Mishika together.
Did you ever think of falling in love, twice? As for me, I never.
Did you ever think of falling in love, twice? As for me, I never.
Now what if I say, that too with the same person?
Well, in that case I wonder, should it be called ‘twice’? It’s like saying I was born twice.
I think, falling in love with the same person, again, simply means that the love was never gone. It was always there.
By the way, Hi! I am Mishika. Oops, you already know me. Umm.. So, you wanna know how we fell for each other????
Here. You. Go!
“Umm? Hello… Mishika?”
“Haan.. Rishi. Hi! When will you be reaching here tomorrow?” I asked yawning.
“Tomorrow? I am standing in front of your building’s elevator. What’s your flat number. And which floor?” Rishi asked with a surprised tone.
“But it’s night right now Rishi. You are supposed to come in the morning? Don’t bluff me. See you tomorroooow. Good nightttttttt,” I said sounding more sleepy than ever, turning London-Tokyo on my bed.
“Ooooo hello. Open your eyes stupid girl. It’ already seven in the morning. Tell me which floor is it?”
I struggled to open my eyes, another struggle was to find the cell phone now. I searched for it here and there only to realize it was on my ear. Eyes half open, I looked at the time.
“Oh! Shit. It’s seven. Welcome to Mumbaiiiiiiii. Seven,” I said getting up quickly.
“Yes. It’s seven O’clock. Which floor Mishikaaaa?” asked Rishi. I could hear him smile with an irritated tone.
“I said na, seven.” I shouted back.
“Oh! Yes, seventh floor it is, babe. Lift man, please take us to the seventh floor.”
“Lift man? When did they appoint a lift man here? Are you even in the right building?” I asked, surprised.
“Aree. I was talking to myself. Now hang up the phone, you stupid girl.” Rishi cut the phone, a beep sound bursting my ear followed.
I quickly started changing my shorts which was short. I mean, REALLY SHORT.
Phone again started dancing and chirping with Rishi’s name on it.
“Oh! Yes, it’s seven-O-five. Sorry, didn’t tell you earlier. Hihi.”
Bell rung as I giggled.
I ran for opening the door before he presses the bell again, waking up my roomies.
Rishi was in his cool, grey lower and a red Nike Tee with an army bag-pack on his shoulder. He looked like an improved version of what I saw of him last time. Like, I saw him as Rishi XP, now he was Rishi10.
We exchanged a formal handshake, as a hug to me seemed uninvited. And as his mentality was a bit old school, I didn’t want him to take any wrong signals. But then, this not-hugging thing seemed weird to me. He was staying at my flat, but we couldn’t even hug, which actually was a more than normal thing in a place like Mumbai. After a formal handshake, I pulled him to my side and gave a quicky two second hug. I asked him to come inside. He kept his bag and collected himself on the bean bag in our living room.
Actually, Rishi and I are college friends- in fact we used to be more than friends, ‘Girl friend-boy friend’, to be specific. But we broke up due to…. Forget it, It’s a loooooong story, and complicated too. Maybe I’ll jabber about it some other time.
Yesterday I had received his message for meeting me. I said okay to it. I came to know, while chatting, that he had an interview here, and had a flight back to Delhi the same night. He was about to book a hotel just for getting ready and stuff. I asked him to drop at my flat. This was the least I could do for my ex. By the way, ours was a 2-BHK flat and we were three girls in here.
“So, how was your flight?” I asked, leaning on the wall.
“It was good. Where are your flat mates, by the way?” Rishi asked.
“Ahan. No asking how am I, or anything like that- directly where are my flat mates? Good going, Mr. Bhardwaj,” I said, raising my eyebrow with a sarcastic smile. These boys are really like those Lalas of the old movies. Like ‘Lala, Maa ke kangan dede, lala’. Always ready for a new chick. Huh!
“Arey Miss J.. I was just concerned that I didn’t disturb you guys, na?”
“No, no. Don’t bother. Here, everyone is used to this.”
“Used to? Means, someone’s boy friend is a regular visitor here?”
This time he was grinning in a sarcastic tone, pointing towards me. Now who is sounding Mr.J, hmm? And after even having a break up, these boys still think we girls have all the rights reserved for them. C’mon dude, grow up.
“C’mon Rishi. I was talking about my flat mate’s boy friend.”
“Ohkay! So, tell….. how are you and how’s life here in Mumbai? It’s been really long we talked!” he asked, trying to sound nice.
“All’s well. Come, let’s make some morning tea first.” I signaled him to get up and follow me in the kitchen. He was sweet enough to do so. By the way, what option did he have, dude? He’s staying at my flat.
“You still need a tea first thing in the morning?” I asked.
“Yes, you remember?” he asked back. I didn’t care to reply.
“By the way, you single or committed?” He threw another question at me, peeking in the fridge, which I had opened to take out milk.
“Umm. Fifty fifty.”
“50-50, Means? Half boyfriend types?”
“Nope. Means he proposed me.”
“And?? You????” he asked instantly.
“I…. Actually I am confused.”
“What’s new in it? You always are, Mishi, I mean Mishika,” he said, smiling and juggling apples he took from the basket.
“Two spoons?” I asked, changing the topic. I mean why the hell is he so interested in my love life all of a sudden.
“Sugar? Now also two spoons?”
“Nope. One.” He said with a straight face constantly gazing at me. He smiled then to break the ice.
“Is someone making tea here?” VJ came out of her room. Rishi’s eyes came out of their sockets, checking out her curves, which were bursting out of the micro short and the sleeveless loose tee she wore as her night dress. By the way, VJ is my close friend- a real sweetheart by nature. Her full name is Vijay Laxmi. She works with me in our fashionista firm. She is a hawwty with a perfect figure, brown skin, and an amazing sense of fashion.
“Hi VJ! This is Rishi. Rishi, she is VJ, my roomie.” I formally introduced both of them.
“Hiiiii Rishi,” VJ said still rubbing her eyes.
“Aaa… Hi!” Rishi came back from his fantasy- of maybe holding VJ in his arms.
“Have heard about you, Rishi. You and Mishika were in.. Anyway, forget it. You are single now?” VJ said in a sexy voice- she was putting an extra effort trying to be sexy. If I were a boy, I don’t know how would I have controlled.
“Yes. Am single, ready to mingle.” See, I told you na, these boys become ‘Lala’ whenever they see any ‘Radha Rani’.
“Ahan! I like that,” VJ replied.
“Hey, you two! Stop flirting now. VJ, you go and brush your teeth. You don’t like to have anything before that na. I will call you when tea is ready.”
“Someone is jealous.” She almost sang that teasing me. I tilted my head looking towards her with my eyes gone big.
“Nothing like that. Just that we have to leave early,” I said gritting my teeth, my eyes raised.
“Ooooo. See you soon handsome.” She left turning on her toes waving towards Rishi.
After some formal chit chat, I asked Rishi to get ready. I had to reach the office by ten. Needless to say, I gave him a handful of strict instructions. Like to wipe the washroom clean- this is girl’s washroom, and not of some bachelor boys, not to talk much with my other flatmate if she comes out, to switch off lights when not in use and…. A handful more. He listened to them with a smile, looking at the floor just like a good obedient boy. He then told me that I haven’t changed even a bit- to which I didn’t know how to react.
Just before leaving, Miss rude Sonia also came out of her room. I made a formal introduction between the two. As expected, she didn’t care much. Neither did I. Sonia by the way, is an editor, or whatever at a leading newspaper. She suffers from intense superiority complex- as if she is the queen of Mumbai and rest all are her slaves. Needless to say, we don’t share a good rapport with each other.
Exactly at nine, we left the flat ready to have breakfast at the nearby Tapri.
Idli sambar with kadak Chai was what Rishi opted for, out of the choices I gave him. Apart from Idli Sambhar, the other choice was Pani puri. He said, who eats Pani puri in breakfast. Actually, I wanted to have Idli sambhar. So!
I then took a picture of the Idli sambhar and posted it on Instagram and Zomato with caption, ‘Idli in breafast means, Yum’.
“How are your mom-dad? And Ankit?” he asked.
“All are doing fine. Ankit is in B’lore now, working with a software firm. How’s everyone at your home?” I asked gulping down the Idli.
“Same here,” he said with his mouth full.
“Bhaiya, give me some more Sambhar.” I shouted and continued talking..
“So, what are you doing in the evening. I hope you are free after your interview.”
“Umm. I will be free from interview at around 3-4, I guess. Then, will meet an old friend from office.”
“Ahan. Girl friend?”
“Nope. Just a good friend.”
“Hmmmm!” I looked at his reaction from the corner of my eye. He was normal, and smiled looking at me. I smiled back.
We decided to meet in the evening at Marine drive by eight. Dropping him to the nearest Metro station on my Rim jhim- my Activa, I flew to the office.
Quarter past eight, I was at Marine drive. Taking the girls’ legacy forward, I made him wait and not vice versa. I hate waiting, you see. So I called Rishi from my office and gave him a soft warning to be there before me. And, to my surprise, he was already there. These exes sometimes behave in a manner you least expect them to.
I had called VJ and Ravin too to join us. They both would be there within an hour. Ravin, by the way, is VJ’s college buddy from her home town Banaras. He is a rich guy, struggling here for a break in movies. He’s the struggler who struggles in his Maruti Swift. And twice a week, he becomes our chauffer for night outs and parties. He’s a fun guy to be around. He is one of the guys who you would avoid calling at someone’s funeral. He can turn that too into a comedy show by his jokes and wit.
“So, how was your day, beautiful?” A familiar voice interrupted my search for Rishi. It was him. I was surprised to hear the word ‘beautiful’ from him. Did he really mean it or was he just buttering me up? These exes- I am telling you.
“It was good, Rishi,” I replied, throwing my million dollar smile. By the way, was he expecting me to call him handsome? Huh.
“Your smile, Mishika, is as usual making a lot of guy’s day. But Miss beautiful today looks exhausted. Was it a tough day at work, or just Mumbai traffic?” He said with concern in his voice.
“Umm. Both,” I said sighing.
“I am not liking my Mishi, I mean you… to be like this. Wanna feel fresh?” Did he say ‘my Mishi’? Really? Still?? I looked at him normally though.
“Yes yaar. But what can we do?”
“This guy you are with ma’am, has solution to every problem. C’mon, let’s go to Trident.” He took my hand in his and started walking. See? I told you na? He still feels I am his property.
“Wait, wait. What’s the catch here? I mean who is going to pay for this five star hotel bill?”
“The catch is, that there’s no catch. Nobody’s going to pay.” He guffawed saying.
“Means? We will just go there, use their washroom and come back?”
“Yes.” He said grinning. I made a poker face.
“I mean, I have been to five stars obviously, but only for lunch or dinner. Like Marriot, Taj land’s..” He sliced my word dragging me forward.
“That’s the fun. Now stop talking and move your butts out of here. Don’t worry, dear, when Rishi is near.” ‘That’s the thing to worry,’ I mumbled, moving my butts as asked.
“Just a tip for you, before entering there. Walk inside the hotel as if you own it.” He spoke with an authoritative tone- I nodded my head in agreement, having a mixed feeling of awkwardness and fun. I wondered- Was he an undercover R.A.W agent?
As instructed by Baba Rishiji Maharaj, we entered as if the hotel belongs of my father. Hey Dad, I bought you a new hotel, and that too without any money, I thought and smiled.
Rishi, after flaunting smiles to the receptionists, and lots of greetings here and there, took me straight to the washroom. It seemed just as if he’s a regular visitor of this place.
“Here’s the washroom, and I am sitting there at the sofa. Take your own time, but make this beautiful face refreshed. I want the bubbly, full of life Mishi now,” he said. I walked inside.
I put some make up on. My frowned face was now seeming at peace- as if a wrinkled cloth was ironed with precision. I came out to find Rishi taking selfies with some random guys. And there were lots of them. I started walking towards him. As I went near, I realized they were cricketers. Rishi explained later that they have come there for their IPL match.
“Hey Mishi! Come here,” he shouted as he saw me coming. I nodded, smiling with a ting. He smiled back, turning towards the guy standing close to him, and said something to him. They both waited for me.
Oh my God, the guy near him was this famous cricketer Gautam Gambhir of SRK’s sexy team! I liked this guy. I smiled, greeting him. He was sweet enough to let us take some selfies with him. During selfies, Rishi’s skin touched my bare hand and I realized that I still feel that spark when he touches me.
Telling you frankly, Rishi was looking more handsome than all the cricketers out there. His energy was making the atmosphere alive in that sophisticated five star hotel. His energy was contagious. I felt alive and full of energy. Rishi asked me if I wanted to have anything there, I refused. And we came out of my supposed-to-be father’s hotel with smile on our faces.
Couples were roaming, families were chilling, some chana-jor-garam sellers were shouting with refreshing scenic site. The atmosphere at marine drive was as usual full of life, yet soothing.
We started walking slowly towards Nariman point. Nariman point, by the way, is one of the costliest properties in India. A square feet, as Rishi told me around four-five years back, costed something close 5000, as I remember. I mean, the rental rates per year, not purchasing ones. Means 2000 bucks for a day if Rishi and I just stood there. And we call our country poor? Anyway, who cares?
“You know Mishi, this is what I miss in Delhi,” he said, as we walked slowly on the pathway around the circular ring called marine drive. Is he saying he misses talking to me, I wondered as I looked towards him.
“These natural places, I mean,” he said hesitatingly, explaining what he meant.
“Hmm. I understand,” I said, as some cool breeze touched my face.
“And, also, talking to you,” he said. The atmosphere around us shifted. Our bare hands touched again, causing a spark inside me. Both of us remained quiet for a while. He almost whispered, asking me looking on the footpath, “why didn’t you move on, Mishi?”
“Han? I am moving. You want me to walk fast?”
“I mean, in life?”
“Oh! In life.. You too don’t seem to do that either. Did you?”
“Umm. I will not say I didn’t try. But, in life, some things are what they are. You cannot help them out. It’s like you go for shopping and suddenly your eyes choose a shirt. No matter how many shirts you see after that, you want that one only.”
“I know it sounds weird. Moving on vs. shopping thing. But..”
I looked in his eyes. Our feet were moving, but our eyes were stuck. Seems as if he really haven’t moved on. And so didn’t I. Sweetheart you are corrupting my heart with your love. But, corrupting is such an ugly word. But ya, totally corrupting it.
Breaking our stupor, he almost fell on the couple sitting near the tree on footpath. We both laughed our asses out, saying ‘sorry’ to the couple.
We recalled and cherished lots of happy moments from our past. He was talking to me straight from his heart now. No doubt, I was feeling wonderful. I felt as if I had found a long lost friend again.
We discussed a lot of things. I told him about some of my future plans. He told me that he has two city options to choose from to shift in his job, Hyderabad and Mumbai.
VJ and Ravin joined us, as committed, on time. They knew how much I hate waiting for people. After all, that’s how true friends are. They know you more than even you know yourself. We had a yummilicious dinner together at a small restaurant that serve decent vegetarian food.
Post dinner, we went to Bandstand. Rishi wanted to see Shahrukh Khan’s bungalow. After looking at it for full five seconds, he turned around and ran towards the beach on it’s opposite side. No wonder I used to call him nature addict. He just loved nature. We all enjoyed roadside tea and coffees there, from the tea seller selling it on bicycle. That was the best option this late in night- at one a.m. Rishi asked him bunch of things about the actor, and to a surprise, the guy even knew SRK’s current status.
“Bhau, he just came home an hour ago. Right now he would be playing with his kids. He plays with his kids you know.”
“And? Does he eat food too, and breathe? This man qualifies to be in C.I.D.” Ravin said, and we all laughed like kids, including the Chai-wala.
“Rishi, TCS will still make Tata rich even if you don’t go to office for a day. Why don’t you stay for tonight?” Ravin said to Rishi as we headed towards the airport.
“Yes, we can go again for a long drive. Even we can plan for Alibagh or Lonavala now.” VJ supported Ravin.
“Nope yaar, I have some other works and commitments too.”
“Other commitments, what’s there more important than our friend here.” VJ guffawed, saying it in a teasing tone.
“Shut up yaar, VJ. He could be having some important work there!” I replied on Rishi’s behalf. VJ and Ravin kept their hands on their lips, laughing.
“Does he now want me to ask him the same?” I wondered. I too wanted him to stay, and the frustration of him leaving the city was evident through my body language. A strange feeling surrounded me. A feeling of loneliness, feeling as if this city is not going to be the same after he leaves. I just.. WISHED HE STAYS. And the car’s brake interrupted my thoughts.
He got out of the car, and my heart started beating faster than the usual. This one day had really changed my perspective towards him. Whatever little time we spent together, I totally got back in the mode I was some years back- as if we never parted ways, we never became strangers. I always loved him, and maybe will always do.
With him around, I am never uncomfortable. He has this unique quality, he makes everyone comfortable around him.
He took his bag in his hand and then hugged Ravin and VJ.
“So, guys. It was a wonderful evening. Hope to see you amazing people soon again,” Rishi said turning from them towards me.
I smiled looking at him trying to hide my feelings. He came forward- I wanted to move towards him but I don’t know why my legs very not obeying.
“What?” Rishi asked, hugging me.
VJ and Ravin started their fun of observing people again.
“Nothing,” I said, making a puppy face. Why can’t these boys understand what a girl feels? Does he think I become sad for every Tom, Dick and Harry.
“Then too. There’s something.”
“I said na, nothing.” I don’t know why my eyes were becoming wet, I blinked fast.
“Don’t go, Rishi,” I said in my cutest tone possible. He looked straight into my eyes, piercing, making way into my heart.
“Aww. My sweet Mishi. What happened, bachcha? I would have stayed if there had not been work tomorrow.” He patted softly on my cheek.
“Hmm. I understand. Happy journey Rishi, take care. Let me know as you collect the boarding pass.” I gave him a formal hug with a straight face, this time even shorter than before. Quickly I turned back on my heels.
“Take care Mishi,” he said, but I had already started walking, trying to hide my tears. I went to the car and started searching for Ravin and VJ. I was unable to find them with my wet eyes. I took out my cell phone amidst my angrily upset mood and called VJ, asking her to come to the car quickly.
“How stupid is this guy Rishi? I hate him, I just hate him.” As I was busy cursing Rishi, my phone rang.
“Now what?” I answered the phone without even looking at the screen expecting it to be VJ.
“Where are you?” It was Rishi.
“Oh Rishi! You collected the boarding pass?”
“Nope. Where are you? I am standing where you left me.”
“I am not going today.”
“What? Yay.. Yippi.” My yippi would have been heard from miles, I guess. Some people even turned towards me. I didn’t give a damn.
“No.. You leave,” I said.
“Arey. Come fast.”
“I am not. You go. I am not coming.”
“C’mon. Walk towards me as if you own me ma’am,” he said, I smiled with tears in my eyes.
I started walking with brisk steps, and then my legs bolted like Ussain Bolt. I ran, crossing all the traffic just to stop in front of him. He stood there making a cute face, exactly at the same spot. Our eyes met, I walked towards him. A car crossed almost touching my nose with a woof sound. I stood still.
Rishi ran towards me. He took my hand in his at the center of the road.
“What are you doing, did I say we own this road too?” He guffawed taking me towards the side of the road.
“I too didn’t want to leave, Mishi. And after your words, straight from the heart, how could I leave? Your sad face makes the whole world look sad to me. If I would have left like this, I would have been the stupidest person in the whole of India- in fact the whole of this fucking Universe.” His eyes and words were telling exactly the things my heart wanted to listen.
“Why?” I asked with tears in my eyes, I didn’t try to stop them.
“Because, you stupid Raipuriya girl, you know what? This idiot Rishi was and is.. Madly in love with you. I love you, Mishika. I love you.”
Every pore of my body was delighted. I blushed, and tears rolled down my cheeks. He brushed them softly. I smiled broadly and hugged him- this time squeezing him with immense passion. He crushed me back. We were so much lost into each other that we didn’t even hear the claps and whistles of Ravin and VJ.
I love him. He still rules my heart, in fact he always has. And I want him to rule it forever and ever. He’s my King, Rishi. And I am his queen, Mishika.
And after almost two and a half years, our bond has become stronger and stronger. Today we are having an amazing soulful walk on a Goa beach. By the way, did I tell you that after going back from here, Rishi is going to talk to his parents? He says they already have a hint of our relationship. But the thing that’s worrying me is, he will come to talk to my parents as well. Oh my God! What will happen when they will meet?????