[Editor’s Note : When we called for submissions for the third edition of Gaysi Zine we received a lot of short stories from writers all over the world – unfortunately, far more than we are able to feature in the zine. Therefore, we are delighted to be able to publish the best of those stories here on the blog.]
It had been raining non-stop for the last 24 hours. It was 8 PM on a Friday, and Naina was stuck at work. Making commercials was tough business and the client facing side of it was extremely competitive and stressful. Her mind was racing with a million thoughts. The sound of Shraddha Kapoor singing got Naina thinking, as Teri Galliyan started playing for the nth time that evening. Yahin doobe din mere, yahin hote hain savere… The opening words of the song somehow seemed apt for Naina’s current work situation.
Unanswered, the phone registered yet another missed call. She had no space in her mind to deal with the calls or messages at this moment. She took a long drag of her cigarette and sighed, watching the heavy downpour on the window. Most people loved the monsoons but not Naina, she hated the humidity and dirty feel the city had when it poured continuously.
The phone rang with that familiar song again. This time she had to answer. “Heyyy Baby, how you doing? I have been so busy at work. Can’t wait to see you.
“This city is unbearable without you.” Her insides melting at Naina’s words, Rhea happily answered “Honestly, I am done with all the travel. I am exhausted and love-sick, what with being away from you.”
“I am exhausted too darling. And fed up of the rain in this city, not to mention the maids here. Our maid hasn’t come for the last two weeks and I don’t have any more clean clothes left to wear”, complained Naina.
“Awww. Don’t worry baby, I am on my way home and will be there in 45 minutes. You come home as soon as you finish work. I will have the house in order by the time you get back. You just focus on the hot bubble bath that awaits you and the biting that will follow”, said Rhea lovingly.
“Hmmm..that’s exactly what I need. Okay, Bye then. Am not talking anymore. Love you, Mwaaaaah”. The phone call brightened Naina’s mood immediately. She could hardly wait to be home to a clean apartment.
Rhea got out of the airport terminal and put her suitcase into the car. It was pouring and the city had never looked more green and beautiful. The radio was playing her current favourite number, Teri Galliyan. She was reminded of Naina and their relationship every time she heard the song. She had even downloaded the ringtone on their phones, when they were together in Bangalore, earlier in the week.
Somewhere in an office in Nariman Point, Shraddha Kapoor’s voice crooned again. “Hmmm….this song is getting on my nerves”, thought Naina. She checked and had to take the call this time. Good thing she was in a better mood. “Heyyy Baby, how you doing? I have been so busy at work, so couldn’t take your calls. I am missing you already. Last weekend, feels like a month ago”.
“I could drop in tonight”, Pooja murmured into the phone.
“Hmmm… that sounds delicious. But one can’t afford such luxuries this weekend. Have a lot of work piled up and tons of laundry to wash back home. Would have loved to spend the weekend with you otherwise. Am literally down to my last clean undies today. Things should be in control by Monday so come home then.”
“Okay, no worries. I understand. Monday sounds marvellous”, said Pooja.
“Okay, Bye then. Am not talking anymore. Love you, Mwaaaaah”, said Naina blowing a few more long kisses into the phone to Pooja.
“I love you too”, said a doting Pooja. Pooja couldn’t help worrying about Naina. The past month had been very hectic for Naina. Tough client deadlines, coupled with a lot of travelling had kept her very busy. She decided to surprise Naina by taking care of the house, clothes and the cooking and planned a special evening for the two of them.
Luckily, she knew the security doorman of Naina’s building well to open the door of the apartment. They had been seeing each other for almost three months by now despite Naina’s erratic schedule and late night work calls, which Pooja had made her peace with.
Fifteen minutes later, Pooja walked into the apartment. The house was clearly a mess with clothes thrown all over the living room. She picked up the clothes and headed to the bathroom, only to discover more clothes piled there. Pooja noticed Naina’s hot pink lingerie set lying on top of the pile. Images of her passionately stripping them off Naina just the previous week, flooded her mind. Thoughts of that night began to play in her mind. It was so easy to lose focus, when she thought of the two of them and forced herself to return to the present moment. She had a lot to do before Naina returned.
Pooja cleared the living room first, then scattered the jasmine flowers and candles all over. Naina loved the smell of jasmine and loved watching the flickering shadows made by the candlelight. Pooja then set out to prepare dinner and dessert. The table was set with Naina’s favourite wine glasses, plates and cutlery. Lights turned off, the living room bathed in the glow of the light of the candles along with heady waft of the jasmine. The whole atmosphere was heavenly in comparison to the mess it was when she had entered. Everything, except the laundry, was in place at the apartment. It was a beautiful romantic setting. Just the way Naina would have liked it.
Preparing to go take care of the laundry, Pooja was about to step into the bathroom, when she heard the familiar ring tone of the phone at the door. Naina was clearly back home. She ran to the door with a huge smile, ready to surprise and greet her baby.
Naina was also very excited as she entered her building. It was still continuing to pour but she was no longer cranky or irritated by the wetness or dirt outside. She was happy to come home and was just about to turn the keys to unlock her apartment, when the phone buzzed again. No one was calling this time. Shraddha Kapoor’s Teri Galliyan alerted her to two messages received. They both said “Good luck with the Dirty Laundry!”.