|Before and after Shaving|
Morning after Christmas Eve
She was sitting at the coffee shop, waiting for him to turn up. He was late, as usual and this wasn’t the first time either, she was accustomed to this annoying behavior of his. She was just about to get up when she heard the loud noise of music coming from outside and knew instantly that He had turned up finally. He always had the speakers on full volume all the time. She met him outside his car. He and his friends all smoked and despite her constant provoking he did not kick the habit. Not surprisingly, he believed in the philosophy of,
“A friend with weed is a friend indeed”
“Hi babe, how’s it going, missed me?” He said.
“I’m accustomed to it now. When are you going to learn? I can’t take this anymore now. You have to change now.” She said.
“I’ll note that down in my New Year Resolution list, it’ll look good on my FB timeline as well.” He said and laughed.
“Show me your hand.” He said.
“Just do it yaar, I won’t eat it.”
She gave him her hand and he took it close to his face and smelled it.
“Hmm, my favorite aroma” He said.
Then, suddenly, he started to brush and scratch her hands and arms with his prickly beard and laughed out loudly. She protested to free herself but he kept on doing it. Finally, he let go.
“Uggh, that’s so gross, I hate it. How many times do I have to tell to you that? I don’t like these pranks of your and for Heaven’s sake, please get rid of that beard. It doesn’t suit you.” She exclaimed.
“Don’t be stupid, it looks good on me. All the girls in the city are going gaga over it. You’re the only one who doesn’t like it. I got the Mr. Popular award for this you know.” He said.
“I know how you got that, it was all done through contacts. Listen to me, change before its too late. Get rid of that beard or whatever you call it, it’ll only land you in more trouble.” She said. “Anyways, I’m going, its useless talking sense to you.”
“Hey, keep your fundas to yourself. Don’t try to act like a preacher.” He said.
His friends called out to him, a pretty girl had just arrived in the parking lot on her two-wheeler. He went and joined them in hooting and whistling. She felt scared and ran inside the shop quickly.
“Atleast, give your number.” One of his friends called out.
She felt sick inside watching all this. Sad and depressed, she drove away. At home, throwing away her bag, she sat down on the couch. After sitting in silence for several minutes, she switched on her TV and browsed to the news channel. The news was full of reports about the Delhi Rape case. She watched the news reporter giving the details of the incident and the rising safety issues for women in Indian Society. She looked for the cellphone in her bag and dialed a number.
“Hi, hope you’re not busy right now? Can you help me out a bit? ”
New Year’s Eve
As usual, He had made plans with her but chose to go out with His friends instead, they fought about this over the phone in the evening. He and his friends went out to party and when the clock was about to strike 12, they took to the city streets which was jam packed with people celebrating the onset of the New Year. It was a night of merrymaking, loud music, high spirits and a lot of alcohol to go with it. Although, the police were on constant vigil and security arrangements were quite tight to prevent any untoward incidents happening on the roads.
He was dazed and dizzy with all the alcohol he had been consuming since evening, yet, the girl caught his attention. The girl was really pretty with a long and flowing mane. Adorned in a shimmering red short dress, the girl was looking like a model on a ramp. All this while his gaze was fixed on her. The girl was accompanied by three more female colleagues and this looked like the perfect opportunity for Him. Whistling and calling out names, he moved in closer to the girl and the group. He was joined in by his friends and they started eve teasing her. She didn’t bother about them and started moving the other way.
“Hey, you think you’re some celebrity. Where do you think you’re going?” He said.
Sensing the aroused interest for the girl’s group, another group of guys joined in the eve teasing. There were close to thirty guys now and suddenly they started pressing in and surrounded the group of girls. He and his friends were also being pushed in and before they knew it, suddenly, one of the hands try to grab one of girls. There was a loud scream and the gang of guys suddenly went for the girls. He had no clue what was happening around him as there were shouts and screams every where.
The ruckus was brought to a halt by the policemen who had to resort to Lathi-charge to bring order and peace. The aftermath of the incident revealed that a lot of the girls in the group were left in torn clothes, some had bruises on their faces, some were bleeding from their arms and face. The policemen gathered all the boys present on the scene and took them into custody.
Back at the Police Station, the girl in the red dress lodged an FIR case. The police inquired whether she could identify any culprits from the group.
“One of the guys had a black leather jacket on and had an unshaved beard.” The girl said. His heart sank as he was wearing a black leather jacket and he had that ugly looking beard on him. He could remember Her words of shaving his beard but it was too late now.
The Police rounded up 5 from the group and unfortunately, He was one of them. They took the suspects to a separate room for questioning and started one-by-one. First one was taken away and beaten up in the dark. They kept on asking who the culprit was and what the penalty was for such offences. The blood curdling screams could be heard throughout the station. They had been caught in an inebriated state, so a penalty was sure for them, maybe a night at the cell, too.
He had been crying all this while. He had never been in a jail before and right now, felt Her need more than ever. After two of the suspects, it was His turn and He didn’t want to get up, so they kicked him and brought him to his feet.
“So, you think you’re a Hero, you can do anything on the streets? You think all women are toys for enjoyment. Son, you need to taught some law and regulation because you are not the one who made them.” The Inspector said and slapped him hard on his cheek.
“Shame on youth like you, waste of talent and parents hard work.” The inspector said and slapped him more.
By now, He had completely broken down and was on his knees, it was too much for him now.
“I’m sorry, I’m sorry. Why didn’t I listen to you? You were right all this time, why didn’t I listen to you. I’m so sorry. If only I get one chance, I’ll prove myself to you. I’m sorry, I don’t want to be in this jail, please let me go. I beg you.” He said and broke down.
He clutched his face in his hands and kept on crying. No one stopped him and he was in a completely broken state of mind, oblivious of the passage of time. And then, he heard it, loud and clear,
“CUT! Ok, team, Pack-up!“
When he finally looked up, the set was being dismantled and there was a commotion of people moving things around. She was standing with the Director. He caught her eye and smiled and then he blacked out due to the heaviness of the events.
…..and the rest, as they say, is history. He never kept a beard after that day and always respected the women in his life.
I was lost, in this life,
but you have
changed me forever,
in this life.
Watch this video on what He has to say to Her in the form of a poem, for all that She has done for Him, for giving him a reason to shave.
[A big thanks to my good friend, Nirali, for helping me out with the painting and the overall storyline of the post.]