By: Raja Jaiswal
The crowd around box office was getting noisier, movie had created a good charm over them, the yearning faces of the people had already declared the movie super hit. I stepped down with its three tickets in my hand.
While I was rechecking the seat numbers, mobile in my left pocket vibrated and sang, it was Rahul’s call.
“…….. We cannot come… we are called up for some urgent meeting” – Rahul, wept the words.
It was supposed to be a happy weekend, and a mini get-together, planned in the midnight, over mobile conferencing, and now it was going to cost me money equivalent to my monthly newspaper budget, all thanks to two intensively employed friends.
The house-full board was turned on, the box office staffs disappeared, the hope-lost crowd dispersed.
Feared of insolvency, I opened the jaws of my purse; luckily I had had hardly left some money to enjoy snacks and cold-drink in intermission.
At a sudden two girls hurled inside, raging blatantly over the speed barriers, landed their scooty in the parking. They walk to the ticket counter with placid feet, ignorant of the ticket crisis.
“Oh…. No…. it’s over… ” – Radha exhaled out in a long breath.
I followed them, came close enough to make them feel uncomfortable of being stalked; they turned towards me.
“Ma’am….. I have two extra tickets…. if you want…” – I said
“And we have only two hundred rupees…” – Neha said candidly, intended her no negotiating mood.
“Ma’am…. These are black tickets…. Not less than four hundred…” – I said
“Selling black ticket is illegal…..” – Radha shed laws and orders.
Neha intruded before she could complete her lines of wisdom.
“This is not good….. Four hundred is too much…” – Neha cried her temptation for tickets.
“Ma’am… Look at the desperate faces of the people here around who haven’t got the tickets….. They will buy it even at the greater price.” – I delivered them my marketing proficiency.
“Alright…” – they agreed.
Neha poured a few more in the money that Radha already had in her hand, and handed over to me, I gave them those two tickets. They disappeared from the spot very swiftly.
I arranged and counted the money which they gave me like a trash, it was a hundred less; they had brutally dodged me.
Hardly had I walked a few steps, my eyes and mind stumbled on a beautiful mistake I had done inadvertently; I looked back at the odd number of the ticket again, my face was electrified with a grim smile. The only thing I had to do was: nab the seat before they enter; and so I did.
“Excuse me” – Radha
I eyed up on the standing girls.
“Yes.” – I grinned.
“Can you please go to the next seat?” – Neha
“Ma’am…. Please take a look on the seat numbers you got….” – I replied
“I know the seat numbers are not together…. It was your fault…. Let’s not make it issue…. You can move yourself.” – Radha.
“Rule is rule…. You should seat on the seat you got.” – I said
“You look intelligent….. Don’t behave like a kid…. Move to the next seat” – Neha ordered.
I acted numb and motionless, like a dead person sitting with wide open eyes.
“Please…” – Radha pushed her last ammunition, the request.
“Ok….. Give me the remaining hundred rupees… and I will go to the next seat….” – I said
“You are so annoying” – Radha stormed with instant remark.
“And disgusting…… ” – Neha unleashed.
The hundred rupee condition was impactful, they did not request any further, and took their seats around me; I was at the centre of them, an annoying figure. But it turned out to be a bad idea, there was unbridled chirping across my two sides.
I witnessed a tectonic shift in the iron-magnet bonding of the two girls when the screen started with a trailer; they had estranged each other completely and had donated their eyes completely to the screen.
But inside I was feeling bad of their separation. I was getting distraction of my melting heart and the echoes of ‘….let them be together’, at last my heart toppled its endurance; I asked the girls if they want to reshuffle seating.
“Thank you brother” – Radha, stood from her seat.
And there was instant karma delivered to her, for pricking me with the ‘brother’ remark, the beautiful Radha stumbled in that meager space while swapping our places and spread over sitting Neha; god notices even the small things.
The movie began with an exquisite trill; it was gradually brewing its flavor of romance, and then the hero awestruck the entire audience as well as the heroine with a passionate kiss, but more than him Radha awestruck me with her proficiency; she nuked the entire hall with a powerful whistle.
The suspense spiked up with an action scene, the hero punched a romantic dialogue on the heroine after washing off the goons, captivated audience erupted with applaud, Radha set her finger to whistle for the second time, but before the intermission came into being, all lights turned on, and the movie-screen transformed into the ad-screen with a soft music.
“You whistle nice…. Can you teach that?” – I asked Radha.
She ignored me.
I walked out of hall and came back with cold drink and a small bucket of popcorn.
“You are not taking anything?” – I asked to Radha. This time she reacted.
“No”- Radha said
“Why” – I stirred none of my business thing.
“….Because we overpaid a moron for this creepy movie.” – She said
“Can I bring you something……? Of my money” – I asked
“No…. We don’t need favours.”
I walked out of the hall again and came back with two cold drinks and buckets of popcorn.
“Why you brought it? We did not ask you.” – Radha said.
“It is not favour… It’s all of your money.” – I said.
However, Radha took it reluctantly and Neha delightfully.
“We haven’t introduced yet.” – I pulled the interaction string.
“I am Neha.”
“I am Rajeev.” – I said and forwarded my hand to Radha, next to me, for handshake.
But she did not move, instead they looked to each other, talking in gesture codes, the girls equation that could never understand, it was embarrassing; I pulled back the hand behind the head, scratched it for no reason.
The movie ended, the happy and satisfied people roused with applaud and roar; the bulb filaments enlightened up the big hall. And we ended our flash acquaintance with ‘good-bye’, Radha and Neha dissolved in the retreating folk.
But I was destined not to leave them so easily, the intention was pure and good; I set to chase them, but if I failed to, it would bring them a big trouble.
I followed them through the intense mazes of leaving people; my brain’s part responsible for navigation had turned high with full impulses.
Neha notice me stalking and passed something in Radha’s ear, she looked back; our eyes aligned ones again. But they intensified their speed, it was only until the entrance of the parking, I could come close enough to them.
Neha elbowed Radha. She turned back.
“You might need our phone number…. Isn’t?” – said Radha
I defended myself with a long, surprised, tensed “No….”
“Go away kid….. We are bad girls….. Don’t spare your happy life…” – Neha taunted.
Radha was trying to control her burst of laugh.
I glimpsed the key to them.
“It was left on your seat.” – I said and gave it to Neha.
The two beautiful damsels clinched into embarrassment.
“Am so sorry…. Please don’t mind us” – Radha squeezed.
“And thank you so much for the key” – She said after a pause.
“Do you know why some good guys are not happy these days?” – I dusted the philosophy.
“I don’t know….. You tell…. Why?” – Radha asked childishly.
“….Because they don’t have the phone numbers of those bad girls.” – I said.
“I do not get it….. What you mean?” – Confused Radha squeaked
She killed my urge and strength to ask her phone number, with her insipid reply.
“You look serious all the time…. When did you smile last time? …..Was it last year?” – I pushed a ‘smile topic’ from nowhere, to leave her annoyed before leaving that place.
Radha brought a deep smile on her face with her full strength, which looked sixty percent fake and forty percent crossing than smiling limit, but undeniably beautiful and innocently amusing.
“We should leave now” – Neha interfered the smiling Radha.
“Sometimes one meeting is not enough…. ” – Neha concluded me the Radha’s annoying romance.
Radha activated the scooty. Relentless showers of love meteors propelled my heart faster; I escalated, after they left, flooded with a mysterious ecstasy inside.