Of Course I Love You!: Till I find someone better…

BOOK: Of Course I Love You!: Till I find someone better…
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Durjoy Datta
Maanvi Ahuja
 
OF COURSE I LOVE YOU
Till I Find Someone Better

PENGUIN METRO READS

OF COURSE I LOVE YOU …

DURJOY DATTA was born and brought up in New Delhi. He completed a degree in engineering and business management before embarking on a writing career. His first book, 
Of Course I Love You …
, was published when he was twenty-one years old and was an instant bestseller. His successive novels—
Now That You’re Rich …
,
She Broke Up, I Didn’t! …
,
Oh Yes, I’m Single! …
,
If It’s Not Forever …
,
Someone Like You
—have also found prominence on various bestseller lists, making him one of the highest-selling authors in India. Durjoy lives in New Delhi, loves dogs and is an active CrossFitter.

For more updates, you can follow him on Facebook (
www.facebook.com/durjoydatta1
) or Twitter (@durjoydatta).

MAANVI AHUJA was born in New Delhi, India, and did her post graduation in finance from IIM, Kozhikode. She is the author of two books,
Of Course I Love You! …
and
Now That You’re Rich! …
, both of which have been on various bestseller lists. Currently gappaa dot org residing in Mumbai, she works as an investment banker at a leading banking firm. To know more about her, you can mail her at
[email protected]il.com
.

Also by Durjoy Datta

Hold My Hand

She Broke Up, I Didn’t!
I Just Kissed Someone Else!

Till the Last Breath …

Oh Yes, I’m Single!
And So Is My Girlfriend!

(With Neeti Rustagi)

Now That You’re Rich
Let’s Fall in Love!

(With Maanvi Ahuja)

Someone Like You

(With Nikita Singh)

You Were My Crush
Till You Said You Love Me!

(With Orvana Ghai)

If It’s Not Forever
It’s Not Love

(With Nikita Singh)

Chapter 1

T
his is perfect. This is perfect
, I kept telling myself. It had been twelve hours on the trot. I had already spent my entire month’s allowance on her and there were no signs that I would be treated to any sort of guilty pleasures other than the expensive and the utterly fattening ones any time soon. The fact that Smriti looked smoking hot in her floral spaghetti and the short, pleated skirt that ended inches below her butt, wasn’t doing me any good either. The very purpose of the skirt’s existence—easy accessibility and eventual
get rid
-ability—was being defeated that night.

It had been a long day and I was ruing the moment I had asked her out tonight. I had missed all my classes that day, all in vain.

‘So, what next?’ she asked.

What next?
For starters, she could fry my bloody head and chomp it down. Oh no, wait! That won’t cost me
anything
. No doubt, she would order her
third
cocktail that evening to wash it down. Now if only she would get tipsy, start seeing things in double and eventually be oblivious to my rendering her clothes useless. I might be a jerk, but many guys would agree with me on this: nudity suits girls.

‘I don’t know,’ I said, plastering a dreamy look on my face, one that screamed that I needed nothing but her. I hoped it would
work this time, though it was the millionth time that day and she had not even blown a kiss, let alone do it real time.

I wondered why I had decided to be in love with her. I could have lived with the tag of an ugly but
lucky
jerk with a one-track mind. For a guy who looked as bad as I did, it was surprising that I had dated a few girls before Smriti. However, none of my relationships worked and apparently every break-up was
my
fault. This time, I had vowed that I would make it work.

Why?

Because I was tired of the nonsense being said about me. That I had no respect for women. It’s not true at all. I was losing every bit of credibility on the dating scene. Soon, no friend who would set me up with anybody, which itself happened very rarely. Being a perennially struggling-to-save-money-for-dates student of a nerdy engineering college, in my world relationships were more than about partying each night and drinking oneself to sexual inability. People around me wanted love, care and long conversations, whatever that meant.

It was time I fell in
love
. I had to find somebody to love. Or at least somebody I would not hate after the first few weeks. And somebody who wouldn’t dump me either. Smriti fit the bill. I was lucky I got her.

She was not too hard to handle and was low on maintenance. At least, that’s what I had thought when I started pursuing her. But the
most
important thing—she was busy. As a medical student, she did not have a lot of time to spend on long phone conversations. She spent more time examining other people’s crotches than mine. Although that made me uncomfortable, at least I didn’t have to endure sleepless nights yakking on the phone.

She was a little too fair and a little too thin, compared to my bulky five-foot-ten frame, and consequently a little less endowed in the places I would have liked. But what the hell, she was beautiful. Not like the ones you would fantasize about till you were blue and frothing at the mouth, but the kind you would take home to your mom. Although in our case, I could never imagine
that
happening.

Something kept her from reaching the dizzying heights of dollish beauty. It was either her smile that extended from ear to ear, making her look like the little pug from a television commercial, or her slightly long, crooked nose. Whatever it was, there was something wrong about her. I guess I would find out in due time and find her not likeable. For now, I had to concentrate on getting her to kiss me.

I was not in a position to comment on something such as looks, anyway. The only redeeming feature on my face was the patch of unmanaged beard that covered my chin and took away attention from the below-average features I had managed to crowd my face with. The unruly mop of hair on my head helped too. The basic idea was to hide as much of my face as possible. Okay, well, I had a dimple, too, but more or less, I was ugly.

It had been almost a month since Smriti and I had accepted that we loved each other, but so far there was no physical proof to back it. We had not even kissed. However, a night-out was
exactly
what I needed to weave my magic, and weave her clothes off her. If I failed, I would tell myself it was pure, untainted love that I was after. As 50 Cent preached in one of his songs—
Be a Gentleman
. It was tough, though; she was not letting me be a
man
. Gentle, I never was.

Anyway, I had managed to put my arm around her and land a peck on her cheek during the wretched movie we watched earlier, gold-class plus popcorn. Moreover, the peck was so woefully devoid of passion, it could have graced a greeting card rather than a
Cosmopolitan
centrefold.

How was I supposed to know she would find
The Chronicles of Narnia
so interesting that she would fail to notice the stolen kiss on her cheek? She was a doctor, all right. But not a vet! Definitely not Dr Doolittle. Ideally, she shouldn’t have been interested in a talking lion, let alone cry for the damned thing.

‘It’s closing down. Let’s go to a place that will be open all night,’ she suggested.

Nightlife in Delhi in those days was pathetic, to say the least. I suspected even a tribal region in Sikkim showed up more on
the US military radar systems than Delhi did. We’d have to go to Comesum, the only all-night place that I could afford since the money in my wallet had hit rock bottom that boring night. Comesum was where all the inexpensive night-outs invariably ended, amidst lots of pathetic food and mosquitoes. Nevertheless, its large and empty parking space and low
do-not-disturb
bribe rates excited me, and many others who spent the night acting funny behind tinted car windows.

Sex was engulfing every part of Delhi, having long replaced television as the favourite pastime. The only people who refused to accept it were the ones not doing it. However, it was all around. The geeky girl in your class, the stud, the backbencher Sardar—however incapable you might have thought them to be, morally or physically, they were all doing it. If you had a girl, then you would be doing it. Sex was everywhere—schools, office backrooms, movie halls and parking lots. Secluded places were paradise. Illegal though they might have been, tinted car windows were
in
. In a few years,
not having
a girlfriend became as odd as
having
one had been, a few years back. The Delhi Public School MMS scandal of 2004 was just the tip of the iceberg.

‘How about going to
Comesum
?’ I asked a seemingly stupid question in response to a seemingly stupid suggestion.

Still, I did not blame Smriti for her naivety. The girl I had dated before her was so astonishingly boring when we weren’t making out that I had to look for interesting places that one could go to in Delhi.

‘We can go to Aura. It’s in Hotel Ashoka. I heard it’s fine, too. Lots of girls! I bet you will like it,’ she said and nudged me. Sure, I could have leered at wiggly tits in a club, but an option like that is more alluring when you are no longer trying to get inside your girl’s shirt. It had been ten months since I had broken up and it’s not very easy convincing people to still be in contact, especially physical.

‘I have been to Aura. It’s not as good as people say it is. It just has a few drunken local brats dancing. That’s it. And it’s anyway not worth it, driving that far,’ I said.

‘Your call. After all, it is your treat. You decide.’

Thank god for that.

I loved Aura. Especially on evenings when stags weren’t allowed, it was heaven and an expensive one at that. I had to shoot either the plan down or myself.
I loved myself
. So we headed off to Comesum, driving off on a drunken auto driver’s directions. His breath was in no way different from Smriti’s. It’s amazing:
I paid for her bad breath and she isn’t even drunk!

We had to ask directions of whoever we came across, thanks to two of my most feminine attributes combined with a masculine one—I couldn’t remember roads, was a terrible driver, and pretended to know it all.

After about a million detours, we finally reached the place where I hoped all my hard work for the day and the few weeks preceding it would pay off. I told myself not to expect anything because I was so damn much in
love
, after all.

Wasn’t I?

‘Ice cream?’ Smriti asked.

‘Sure!’

The urge to kill her was now coursing through my veins. I could feel it seeping out of my skin. I had started wondering what options she had if I were to abandon her in a desolate street at 3 a.m. at night in New Delhi, the rape capital of India. It wasn’t a particularly clever idea but I did consider it when she looked the other way while I fuelled the car up! It costs money and I was barely above the poverty line. I wished someone would tell her that. It’s not that I minded paying, but she could have offered at least.

Well, actually, I did mind paying.

For guys like us, with limited means, dating is like playing Russian roulette. High risk, high gain. If the girl offers to split on a date and it goes well, you’re the king. If she doesn’t and the date goes bad, you’re dead. I was running out of luck.

I wished I hadn’t turned down my college senior Nitin’s invitation to his birthday treat. But then, girls make the world go round, and I was no different.

My eyes started roving around the complex as we gulped down the slimy, sweet thing she had ordered. It was a two-storeyed building and most people sat outside. It wasn’t anything spectacular—in fact, it wasn’t even air-conditioned or heated, but then you couldn’t expect it to be. It opened primarily for railway passengers and not drunk party revellers. Every weekend it turned into a hot spot for ‘bird’ watching! Anyone who ran out of money, got thrown out of a club or got too drunk, landed up here. So we would have here a mix of short skirts and long, flowing ones (but mostly short!) bought from anywhere on Janpath (the place where you can bargain till you drop) or some swanky upscale mall in Vasant Kunj.

Delhi girls never dress
conservatively
, making it a pleasure to ogle them. I had no fashion sense and anything that started below the navel and ended above mid-thigh was fine by me. Exposure is
always
in vogue! There is nothing more refreshing than a pair of well-toned, attractive legs. This is not objectifying women; it’s just appreciating a certain fact about them a little more than others.

Suddenly, I heard a lot of girls bitching to their boyfriends in tight T-shirts about other girls who wore shorter skirts or heavier make-up. Those girls could have fired up a power station to full capacity. It just worsened my already sky-high testosterone levels. I tried to finish off the ice cream quickly, as it had been a pain watching her chew it down to atomic levels before swallowing.

‘Aren’t you feeling cold?’ I asked, rubbing my hands. Obviously, she wasn’t. Girls have an internal heating system that is activated once they put on a short dress or an off-shoulder.

‘No. Are you?’ she asked.

‘Not really, I just thought we could sit in the car; there is too much noise out here,’ I said.

‘Are you sure?’ she asked and smirked at me.

What is that supposed to mean? Is that a yes? If it is, why doesn’t she bloody say so? Can we please cut the crap and make out? At least kiss, damn it! It’s been ten months since I have done that!

I guess she was getting some kind of a sadistic pleasure in teasing me. I think all girls do.

‘Yes,’ I said.

I started walking towards the parked car, hoping she would follow. For the first time that night, I was being headstrong and manly. I definitely knew what
I
wanted: I was curious to know what it would be like to kiss her. I took the first few steps and paddled my hands around me to hold her by the waist but my hands caught nothing but air. She hadn’t followed, and when I looked back, I found her standing near the ice-cream vendor waiting for me to pay the guy. The night just kept getting longer. I paid the guy and asked Smriti, ‘Can we go now?’

‘Yeah, sure,’ she said.

At this point, I was destructively angry but I had to stay focused. As we walked towards the car, I handed over a hundred-rupee note to the moustached security guard. It was a worthwhile investment. I could already feel my hormones kicking into action. I pulled up my jeans and walked swiftly towards the car. The problem with low-waist jeans is that when you walk, it is always as if you have a helmet stuck right between your thighs and if you have mammoth thighs like me, God help you. Yeah, I was a little healthy and majorly detestable.

‘Deb, why did you get Vernita’s car? The mileage on it sucks, doesn’t it?’ she asked as she walked ahead of me. I didn’t stop her from doing that. Her skirt looked even shorter and more alluring from behind. Yeah, I was being a cheap pervert. But then, every guy goes through this phase!

‘My car wasn’t serviced,’ I said.
It doesn’t have tinted glasses.

She was playing around. She couldn’t possibly be concerned with the mileage of the car I drove. If she had, she would have offered to go Dutch, or at least paid for her own ice cream. I might have refused, but she could have offered!

As soon as we settled down in the car, I got the elementary step wrong. However, I didn’t blame myself for it. It had been quite some time since I had stared at a real naked girl and I was dying to do it that night. I had started to rub my nose against the nape of her neck, which was meant to send her into the throes of a hormonal overdrive.

‘Are you trying to seduce me, Deb?’ she asked. I don’t think she didn’t like it, but I think she still wanted to play hard to get.

‘Mmm … err … no.’

‘Mmm, err, no,’ she mocked me and I turned red, only to turn scarlet later. ‘You might have had your way with girls in the past, but not this time,’ she said.

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