Kalyani and Swapna have been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time.
Kalyani had in fact been dreaming about it. It was something that she was going to do for the first time in her entire life. She was so excited .She did not reveal her excitement though, to anybody, not even to her sister, as she believed telling it to somebody is a bad omen and whatever she had planned might not happen at all. The mere thought of it made her uncomfortable.
Swapna on the other hand had mixed emotions. She did not know what to expect. She was happy and sad at the same time. She was not sure if this is what she wanted to do exactly. Whatever it is, she decided to face it this weekend. She felt her cell phone vibrating and took it out to read the message.
“Saturday 6:30? “
“Yeah will be there” She replied.
“Swapna, if you are not interested in my class, you might as well go out. “
Swapna’s parents were those kinds who spared the rod, and spoilt their child. She always got what she wanted in life. Well, almost.
“So you are going this Saturday?” Sridhar asked Kalyani.
“I am going finally. Sri, i’m so excited. I haven’t told anyone except you. I can’t wait for Saturday.”
“Happy for you. I have been there once”
“Really? How is it? Is it like.. no wait.. do not tell me. I don’t want to know until i go there myself."
Sridhar smiled. Kalyani was the love of his life. He has not told her yet. He thought to himself that he should tell her soon. Maybe after the Saturday excitement is over.
“What should i wear sri?”
He closed his eyes for a moment and waited for the same image that comes to his mind, whenever he thinks of her.
“that blue salwar you wore for rishi’s wedding”
“alright then blue it is. I will meet you on Sunday and tell you all about how Saturday was” the excitement in her voice never seemed to die out.
“Can’t wait “
Swapna headed straight towards the parlour from college. She wanted to look the best tomorrow. She always believed that spending quality time for grooming oneself was very important, no matter how much it costs. She spent 2 hours for the French pedicure and manicure, and then coloured her hair.
“2200rs ma’am cash or card?”
“tax will be extra ma’am”
She sped back home as it was already 9:30 which was late according to mom. She wondered why moms never understand their kids in these kinds of situations.
“what have you done to your hair?! Purple? Are you out of your mind? “
“please don’t make a big deal out of it mom. It is just temporary. And by the way it’s burgundy” swapna started walking upstairs to her room .
“What about dinner?”
She changed and looked at herself in the mirror. She loved the way she looked. She smiled to herself and fell flat on her bed. Tomorrow is Saturday. She let out a sigh and went to sleep.
Kalyani was sitting alone in the terrace that night. Staring at the moon less night sky studded with stars. She is a dreamer. She lives in a world known only to her. She tried to create her own constellations by drawing with her fingers in the air. She saw the hunter’s belt constellation and pictured a real hunter standing in the sky. For some reason the hunter resembled sri. She laughed out loud and then immediately became conscious of the silent neighbourhood.
Tomorrow is Saturday. She smiled to herself. She smiled at the hunter once more and then ran down to her room to sleep.
Saturday morning seemed to drag forever for both Kalyani and Swapna. The excitement of the evening started from lunch time. They had a very light lunch. Swapna almost ate nothing.
It was 5:00pm Swapna was dressed at her best. She got into the car and started driving towards the city mall. Typical of a Saturday evening, the mall was flooded with people all over the place. She always hated this mall. The crowd and lack of parking space drives her mad every single time. She almost stopped going to this mall for a long time until today. She couldn’t avoid it. One last time she thought. I’m not going to come here again. She made a decision in her mind. She got into the lift in the basement and pressed the number 5.
“Sir, which way to city mall? “ Kalyani enquired an elderly person in the signal.
“straight, 2nd signal take right”
“Thank you sir” Kalyani looked anxious.
“What time do you have to be there? “
“6:30 papa .. are we going to be late? It is already 6:10. I am so worried”
“Don’t worry jillu, it is right here. We will reach in no time”
Kalyani’s father always does this. No matter how bad the situation is, he always tells her something very re-assuring. He was everything to her. When he was with her, anything seemed possible. Maybe all fathers are like this. She thought. At least the fathers of all daughters in the world.
They reached the mall in 5 minutes just like how her dad promised. Kalyani has seen the mall from outside many times, but this was the first time she was going inside. Her jaw dropped down when she entered the mall. The huge atrium with a glass roof was something Kalyani had never seen before. So many people walking around here and there, eating, talking, laughing, shopping, it was like being in a whole new world for her. She saw young girls like her being dressed up so well keeping themselves in tune with the latest trend in fashion. She looked down at her blue salwar and remembered sri telling her how beautiful she looked at rishi’s wedding.
“If you are going to stand there and keep staring at people jillu, we will be late” She quickly ran behind her dad like a little kid. They spotted the lift and went inside along with a bunch of other people. Nobody spoke inside the lift.
“Which floor is the cinema hall?”
“5” somebody replied.
Kalyani pressed no.5 with a smile on her face. She was going to a theatre for the first time in her life.
“Hi. You are on time for a change” swapna waved at kishore who was waiting for her in the coffee shop at the 5th floor.
“You look stunningly beautiful “
“Kishore ,let me be honest with you. I came here to tell you that, we should stop seeing each other. I am sorry, but it is just not working out. “
“Please tell me you are kidding”
“No Kishore I am not”
“Swapna, i did not expect this. We could work things out; I mean is there any other way we could..?”
“I am afraid it is over Kishore, I know it is hard but I can’t help it”
“I had actually bought this gift for you. Will you atleast take this with you as a remembrance?”
“Oh.. I don’t think I should..”
“It is okay Swapna, please i can’t take this back.” He kept the gift box on the table and got up. He shook hands with her and shrugged his shoulders.
“I know what exactly you want Swapna, and i won’t be able to give you that. I am not rich. Goodbye” He walked off.
Swapna hesitated for a moment and then opened the gift box. It was a Nokia N series mobile phone. She got up and took her phone and speed dialled 1.
“Did you do it? “ aisha squeaked on the other end.
“Yes i did” “wohoo! Congrats babe. How did he react?”
“He was a little upset but whatever who cares! I just wanted to get rid of this relationship. Phew! I am so relieved now. He is a nice guy and all that but he is struggling so much in his career, how can i live the dream life that i want to live with him? “
“It’s ok, forget it. It is over”
It was interval. Kalyani still couldn’t believe she was watching a movie in the big screen. It was her dream since her childhood. Finally they have come to a position where her dad was able to afford tickets for two. Tickets were already booked by her uncle. She enjoyed each and every moment sitting in the theatre, the cushion seats, the air-conditioned hall, the digital surround effect, it was all new to her and she felt as if her heart was beating thousand times faster and louder. She felt like clapping and shouting every time her favourite hero appeared on the screen. Kalyani and her dad came out to the snacks counter. There was a long queue. She looked at the digital display of the menu card.
“what do you want jillu?”
“all these food items seem very expensive papa. I will just have a coffee”
“2 coffees please”
“What?!” kalyani shrieked. “papa one coffee is 75rs? I don’t want papa. Let us not get anything from here. Let us go papa. We can get ma’s radio fixed or buy you a book or something with that money. But just 2 coffees?”
“sshh.. jillu.. quiet.. These places are like this. Money does not have same value everywhere. People like us can do so many things with 150rs. But some people here can just buy 2 cups of coffees. That is the fact. It is okay my dear. It is your day.”
“whatever papa.. i am not liking spending so much money and i am not going to come here ever again.. i mean 150rs for 2 coffees?!”
“what?! He gave you a nokia N series” aisha laughed out loud
“yeah i know that is like just 10000 bucks or something . How cheap ! And you know what, i hate this crowded mall , im not going to come here ever again. I’ll call you later” Swapna hung up the call.