Sunday, August 7, 2016

Story for Friendship Day – BFF – Best Friend Forever

Story for Friendship Day 

BFF – Best Friend Forever
Short Fiction Story
By
VIKRAM KARVE

“Can you please come over…? I want to talk to you…”

“Okay – I will come in the evening – around 6:30…”

“No. I want you to come over right now…”

“Right now…?”

“Yes. I want to talk to you right now…”

“Can’t it wait till evening…?”

“Why…? What are you doing…?”

“Well – today is Derby Day – and – I was on my way to the racecourse…”

“Is it that important…?”

“You know how much I love going to the races. Last year – I missed the Derby as my ship was sailing. Next year – I don’t know whether I will be in Mumbai. And – this is one race that I do not want to miss…”

“Okay. I will come with you to the racecourse. I am feeling terrible – I don’t want to be all alone. Please – you are my only friend with whom I can talk…”

“Terrible…? You are feeling terrible…? Are you not feeling well…? What happened…? Why are you talking like this…?”

“He dumped me…”

“What…?”

“We broke up – my Boyfriend and Me – he dumped me…”

“He dumped you…? Did he dump you – or – did you dump him…?”

“Please – it’s over – and – I don’t want to talk about it – you just come here fast…”

“Okay – I will be there at your hostel gate in half an hour – at 11:30 – then we will take a local train to Mahalaxmi – the first race starts at 12:30…”

“Okay. I will be waiting at the hostel gate for you…”

I put the phone down.

The Officer of the Day (OOD) was making pretence of looking elsewhere – but – I was sure that the OOD was intently listening to my phone conversation – and – so was the gangway staff – the Duty Petty Officer and the Quartermaster.

“All set for the Derby…?” the OOD asked me.

“Yes…” I said.

The OOD took out a hundred rupee note from his pocket – then – he took out a one more – a total of 200 rupees – and – he said: “Please put some bets for me – 100 in the bookie ring for the Derby – on the same horse you are betting on – and – the rest in the tote – jackpot, tanala, treble – whatever combinations you are betting on…”

“I didn’t know you were a ‘punter’…” I said to the OOD.

“No. No. Not a regular like you – just been there once in a while…” he said.

I looked at the gangway clock – it was almost 1100 (11 AM) – time for me to leave – so – I went back to my cabin – collected my things – the Cole Race-Book where I had done all my calculations – my wallet – my binoculars – my hat – everything – and – soon – I had crossed the gangway onto the jetty – and – I was on my way to Churchgate to catch the suburban local train to Mahalaxmi – of course – I would have to briefly stop over at Charni Road to pick her up from her hostel.

Well – Dear Reader – in the interim – let me tell you a bit about ‘her’ – the girl who had frantically called me on the shore telephone.

‘She’ was my Professor’s daughter.

6 months ago – my Professor had written to me that his daughter had got a job in Mumbai and he was coming to drop her – and – he wanted me to help settle her down in the city.

Yes – my Professor had “written” a letter to me – this story happened almost 40 years ago in the late 1970’s – when the common mode of communication was sending letters by post (“snail mail”) – and – in case of urgent communications – telegrams and trunk-calls were used.

I helped the girl settle down – and – my Professor has appointed me as her “local guardian” – though the girl was almost my age – she was in her early 20’s – just a few years younger than me.

Whenever my ship was in harbour – on Sunday – I would go across to her working women’s hostel on Marine Drive near Chowpatty outside Charni Road Station.

If there was something urgent – she would call me on my ship’s shore telephone – and – I would go across to Churchgate where her Ad Agency Office was located.

Around 3 months ago – she had mentioned to me that she was “seeing” someone. 

She said to me: “I am telling you this because you are my ‘local guardian’ – but – please keep it to yourself. I don’t want my parents to know at this stage – I will tell them myself if things get serious...” 

That is all she told me – she never told me who her boyfriend was – and – neither did she ever introduce her boyfriend to me.

Maybe – he was someone in her office. 

I was curious.

But – since she was reticent – I did not ask her any questions.

However – our “Sunday Routine” continued whenever my ship was in harbour.

I would go to her working women’s hostel every Sunday – in the evening – at around 5 PM.

Then – I would walk with her on Marine Drive – sometimes to Chowpatty – sometimes towards Churchgate – and – maybe – we would see a movie – the evening show – or – have dinner together in a restaurant.

One evening, I asked her: “Now that you have a ‘Boyfriend’ – how come you are free on Sundays…?” 

“My Sundays are reserved for ‘Best Friend’ – that is ‘You’…” she said.

“Me…? ‘Best Friend’…?”

“Well – he may be my ‘Boyfriend’ – but – you are my ‘Best Friend’…”

“I won’t mind if you spend your Sundays with your ‘Boyfriend’…”

“Well – he goes to Pune every weekend…”

“Pune…?”

“Yes – he is from Pune – so he goes home every weekend to spend time with his parents and family…”

“Oh – so that is the reason you are free on Sundays…” I said.

She smiled.

Things continued as usual – and then – this phone call from her on Derby Day urgently summoning me to her hostel.

Instead of walking down to Churchgate – as I had planned – I took a taxi – caught a local train – disembarked at Charni Road – and – precisely at 11 AM – I reached the gate of her working women’s hostel on Marine Drive.

She was waiting for me.

I had already bought a train ticket for her – so – we boarded the local train at Charni Road – and – soon we were enjoying the races at RWITC Mahalaxmi.

The Derby Race was exhilarating – and – I had a good day at the races – and – she too won a bit of money on the tote.

Since I had won a lot of money – I indulged in the luxury of calling a taxi – and – I took her all the way to the US Club at Land’s End in Colaba – where we enjoyed a lovely evening by the sea-side – sitting in the cool sea-breeze and watching the lights of ships as they sailed out to sea.

When I dropped her back at her hostel – she said to me: “Thank you so much. I was feeling so depressed – and – you made me forget everything – I really enjoyed the day – thank you once again for the good time.”

“Me too – I really enjoyed your company – it was one of the best days of my life...” I said.

From then on – we met every evening – I would pick her up from her office in Churchgate – and – we would have a good time together.

The next few days passed in a haze of delight – it was the first time that I experienced the wonderful joy the right girl can bring in a man’s life.

It was the happiest time of my life.

This happy time lasted for a week – it was time for my ship to sail out – and – as we bid each other goodbye – I realized that I had fallen in love with her – because it was the first time that I felt “heartache” at being separated from her.

I missed her terribly – while our ship sailed on the high seas for many days.

It was nearly after a month that our ship returned to Mumbai.

We came alongside on Sunday afternoon.

I was so desperate to meet her that I did not wait for liberty to be announced – but – I told the OOD that I was going ashore for some important work – and – I stepped out of the ship in uniform.

I caught a taxi to her hostel.

At 4 PM – I was standing at the reception of the working women’s hostel on Marine Drive.

But – to my disappointment – I did not find her in her hostel.

“Well – her room key is here – she must have gone out…” the lady at the hostel reception counter said.

“Do you have any idea when she will be back…” I asked.

“Well – today is Sunday…”

“Can I wait in the visitors’ room…?”

“Sure – but – as I said – today is Sunday – and – the hostel gate closes after midnight…”

“Thanks. But – I will wait for her…” I said.

I sat in the visitors’ room of the working women’s hostel.

Time passed slowly – as I anxiously waited for her – wondering where she had gone.

(Remember – this happened 40 years ago – in the 1970’s – when there were no mobile phones – and there was no way I could contact her – so I had no option – but to wait patiently for her).

I saw that many girls were staring at me – since I was looking conspicuous in my uniform – and I started feeling a sense of irritation and embarrassment.

But – such was my desperation to meet her – that – I waited – it was an excruciating wait.

Believe it or not – I waited for 6 hours.

Twice – the receptionists asked me if I wanted to leave a message for the girl.

But – I told them that it was very important for me to meet her.

They seemed quite respectful towards me – maybe because I was in white navy uniform.

Otherwise – maybe – they would not have allowed a man to sit in the visitors’ room of a women’s hostel for so long.

Yes – I waited 6 long hours – from 4 in the evening till 10 at night.

She arrived at 10.

“Hey – what are doing here…?” she asked me.

“Where were you…?” I asked her angrily.

“I had gone out…”

“The whole day…?”

“I left in the afternoon – we saw a movie at Eros – then – in the evening we loafed around Churchgate – had dinner – and then we walked down Marine Drive…”

“WE…? What do mean ‘we’…? With whom had you gone out…?”

“With my ‘Boyfriend’…”

“Which ‘Boyfriend’…?”

“The same ‘Boyfriend’…”

“What...? The same ‘Boyfriend’…? The one who dumped you…? I thought you had broken up with him…”

“We made up…”

“Oh… That’s good. Where is he…?”

“He dropped me outside at the hostel gate – by now he must have gone to station to catch the train to Bandra…”

“Oh – so he lives in Bandra…?”

“Yes – he wants to meet you…”

“Your ‘Boyfriend’ wants to meet me…?”

“Yes – I also want you to meet him. If I had known that you were sitting here in the visitors’ room I would have called him inside to meet you…”

“But why…? Why do you want me to meet him…?”

“You are my ‘local guardian’ – aren’t you…? I will need your help…”

“My help…?”

“Well – we plan to take our relationship to the next level…”

“Next level...? Are you thinking of marrying this guy…?”

“Yes. And – you will have to convince my father…”

“Me…?”

“Yes. I know you will help me out. After all – you are my BFF…”

“BFF…?”

“‘Best Friend Forever’ – I know you will always be my best friend forever…”

In my mind – I thought to myself that – I would rather be her ‘Boyfriend’ than her ‘BFF’

But – there was no point indulging in ‘wishful thinking’.

It was best to revert to my role as ‘local guardian’.

My role as an ‘Interim Boyfriend’ was over.

Or – was it…?

Dear Reader – you will laugh – you will not believe it – but – 3 months later – she again broke up with her fiancé.

Yes – now her ‘Boyfriend’ had become her fiancé – thanks to a lot of help from me in convincing her father.

So – I was back in action – as her ‘Interim Boyfriend’.

Did I say “interim”…?

Yes – I did.

After her break-up with her fiancé – I was her ‘boyfriend’ for a few delightful days – till she made up with her fiancé.

Yes – sadly – she patched up with her fiancé.

And – once again – I reverted back to being her ‘local guardian’ – or ‘BFF’ – as she liked to call me.

Does the story end here…?

I wish it did.

But – there is more.

I know you want a happy ending.

So – let me tell you what happened.

No – No – she did not ‘dump’ her fiancé and marry me.

She married her fiancé.

Then – a few months later – one evening – she called.

I recognized her voice at once.

“Can you please come over…? I want to talk to you…” she said on the phone.

“Why…? What happened…?” I said.

We – my husband and I – we had a big fight – and – he has left the house and gone away…”

“Don’t worry – he will come back…”

“No, No – he said that he was going away permanently – and – he told me that he was seriously considering divorce…”

“But – what do you want me to do…?”

“I am feeling terrible. I want you to talk to you. Please come over right now…”

“How can I come over right now…?”

“Why can’t you come now…? You’ve got a bike – haven’t you …? Or – take a taxi…”

“It’s not that…”

“Then what is it…?”

“I am married now…”

“So what…?”

“Please try to understand…”

“You come – that’s all…”

“I can’t come – please call someone else…”

“Who can I call…? You are my only friend…”

“No. I cannot come now…” I said angrily – and – I slammed the phone down.

I saw that my newly-wedded wife was looking at me.

From the telephonic conversation – she must have guessed who had called me.

“Was it her…?” my wife asked me.

“Yes…” I answered.

“What’s the matter…?”

“She and her husband had a fight – and – her husband has walked off in a huff…”

“And…?”

“She seems quite upset – she wants me to come to her house right now…”

“So – why don’t you go…?”

“What…? I am married now. Why should I go…?”

“You may be married to me – but you are still her best friend, aren’t you…?”

“What are you trying to say…?”

“She needs you – so – you go – and – perform your duty as ‘Interim Boyfriend’…”

“Are you crazy…?” I said to my wife.

“She needs you – go to her – go now…” my wife said.

“Okay – but you come with me…” I said to my wife.

My wife put her hand on mine – and she said to me: “No – you go alone – she will be able to talk to you freely – and – don’t worry – I have full faith in you – I know that you will always come back to me…”

And so – once again – I became an Interim Boyfriend

After all – I was her BFF – her Best Friend Forever”...

VIKRAM KARVE
Copyright © Vikram Karve 
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Disclaimer:
1. This story is a spoof, satire, pure fiction, just for fun and humor, no offence is meant to anyone, so take it with a pinch of salt and have a laugh.
2. All Stories in this Blog are a work of fiction. Events, Places, Settings and Incidents narrated in the stories are a figment of my imagination. The characters do not exist and are purely imaginary. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

Copyright Notice:
No part of this Blog may be reproduced or utilized in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical including photocopying or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the Blog Author Vikram Karve who holds the copyright.

Copyright © Vikram Karve (all rights reserved) 

Repost of my story INTERIM BOYFRIEND posted online by me on June8, 2016 in my Academic and Creative Writing Journal Blog at url: http://karvediat.blogspot.in/2016/06/interim-boyfriend.html
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