Authors: Rugved Mondkar
Srishti Publishers & Distributors
N-16, C. R. Park
New Delhi 110 019
First published by
Srishti Publishers & Distributors in 2015
10 9 8 7 6 5 4 3 2 1
Copyright © Rugved Mondkar, 2015
All characters in this book are fictitious, and any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is coincidental.
The author asserts the moral right to be identified as the author of this work.
All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the Publishers.
Cover design: Sanjay Gauraha
Printed and bound in India
Some of this actually happened...
here were times when as a little boy I would make up stories about myself, simply to entertain people and get kicks out of it. Then came a time when lying and making up stories didn’t satiate the itch of telling stories in me. This book is an attempt to derive a bigger kick by entertaining you, my reader. Thank you for picking up the book. I hope you love it.
I am eternally thankful to all the beautiful people around me who in their own way have helped me make this book happen.
My parents who have provided me with stable supply of
, and making me the person that I am.
My sister Rucha - the sweetest thing that has ever happened to me. Vishwarath my brother-in-law – my brother from another mother.
Anuja Gondhalekar, for literally kicking me to write this book, for being the most patient sounding board, for all the creative inputs, for being the first reader, for tolerating my erratic emotions which were all over the place during the writing of this book, and for being everything that you are. Thank you.
Sushant Tungare, Ameya Masurkar, Mithil Khadke, Akshay Vaidya and Apeksha Belsare Anavkar – the most amazing five people who made my growing up years so beautiful. Thank you for all those memorable days. No words can explain how much I miss you guys.
Rutuja Mane Vaidya, Riddhi Khadke, Manali Vaidya, Namrata Narkhede, Purva Chaudhary, Gargi Lad, Apurva Vaidya, Manish Narkhede, Ranjit Gupte, Nachiket Kambli, Sagar Deorukhkar – the friends who are the victims of the random spurts of my story telling. Thank you for your mad belief in me.
My family and friends for the never-ending love and insane support. Thank you, all you lovely people.
Vinayak Kulkarni – thank you
for helping me promote the book.
Super talented Sanjay Gauraha for the cover design and Rukmini Chopra for posing for the cover.
rishti for patiently clearing my doubts, believing in the content and making this book happen. Thank you for all the support during the process of publication.
Wish you all Love, Peace and Happiness..!!
Godrej / 85163, a steel key.
kept staring at it as I stood at the door. The door to my first apartment. Rented, yet mine. The happiness that I had anticipated somehow managed to bunk the moment, but I had to bear with it. It was strange considering I had gotten the independence I always starved for – no questions, no arguments, no screaming roommates, no chaos. Nothing
Then in a moment, the fact that I was going to be alone began to sink in and suddenly the world around me went silent. All I could hear was my broken wailing self, wishing life had an option to undo things. Life had changed drastically from jostling in crowded local trains to travelling alone in my car. I was so alone that it had been more than a week since I had heard my own voice.
“Arjun?” A voice called my name.
“Hmm,” I turned around startled and saw a girl’s face framed by the grill of my neighbour’s door.
“Maa told me you’d be coming,” she said. “Is everything alright? You look a little flustered.”
“Ahh, no, I’m fine. Just trying to figure out which is the key to the first door,” I blurted foolishly, barely managing a smile.
“Cool, our doorbell has conked out so knock if you need anything... Oh sorry, I am Aditi,” she closed her door with a smile that stayed with me.
I turned the key and opened the door, Thanks to my producer Rocky, I finally had my own sea-facing apartment in Bandra. I could see the sun rise from my bedroom while the living room had a perfect view of the sunset. Right from the open kitchen to the flawless marble flooring to the brick-wall-finished walls – everything was just as I had wanted. Almost everything in life was in place. The only thing missing was her, without whom my life was as empty as the apartment I was standing in.
The two bean bags and a coffee machine were my only companions. I made myself some coffee and sat on the Italian style window. The view of the setting sun from the living room looked mesmerizing.
The door bell rang.
“Do you mind if I bug you for a while?” Aditi grinned.
“Not at all. Come on in! Will you have some coffee?” I asked.
“I don’t mind.”
I made a cup for her while she made herself comfortable on one of the bean bags.
Aditi – dusky skin, bee-stung-luscious lips, dazzling smile, blue and red streaked hair, multi-coloured nail paint, black thumb ring, pierced nose and a slight accent. The scissor cut, navel revealing singlet threw just the right amount of cleavage at the viewer plus her track pants made sure her curves were justified. Pure hotness. Nineteen years old, not more than that, I thought to myself.
“You do know you need to fill this place up, right?” she said looking around the emptiness.
“Yeah, the movers will be here with my stuff,” I handed her the coffee mug.
“You know the girl who lived here before you? Arrgghh... Class one bitch! Never even smiled at me!” she said animatedly as she juggled between talking to me, sipping the coffee, and typing messages on her phone at rocket speed.
The orange light of the setting sun coming from the window made her skin glow. The fizz she had in her was infectious.
“So?” She gazed at me, then trying to find words, she asked, “What do you do?”
“I’m an ass...” I gobbled up the rest of my sentence realising I was no longer an assistant director. I smiled to myself re-registering the change in my mind. “I’m a director.”
“Holy fish! A director? Like a real film director?” she bounced with excitement.
“Ya, a real film director. I’ll be starting my first film soon.”
“Is it a romcom?”
he had a twinkle in her eyes as she said that.
“Yes.” I smiled. “What about you?”
“I’m studying. FYJC Arts, at Nationals. I wanna be a journo.
ounds like a fun job, right?”
? A voice yelled in my head as I did the math; she looked too old for high school.
“Oh, that’s nice,” I said lamely.
“Hey what’s your BB pin?” she asked, noticing my Blackberry and added me immediately.
Her purple blackberry suddenly started buzzing.
“Hey I gotta go, I’ll catch you later?” she sprung up and rushed to the door.
Minutes later, my Blackberry pinged. It was her.
“It wAs nIcE mEEtiNg yOu... M glAd mY dAd rEntEd yOu ouR apaRTmEnt... hAVe fUn... M jUs a PING!!! aWaY iF yoU nEEd aNythiNg”
followed by smileys, a grin, eyelashes, and a hug.
By night time, the movers had moved in all my stuff – the sofas, the bed, my writing table, the photo frames, everything. The apartment had now become a house – a messy one. It had been a long day and I had no strength left to unpack. I crashed on the haphazardly dumped bed and almost instantly fell asleep. I was dreaming about a narration with Shah Rukh Khan when my phone began to ring. I cancelled it a couple of times but it continued ringing. I realised I was dreaming and I had to wake up to answer it. It was Radhika. I checked the time. Why would she call me at midnight?
“Hello?” I said groggily.
“Happy birthday, kiddo!” she screamed into the phone.
“Couldn’t you find a more annoying hour to wish me, Didi?” I said. “Thanks anyway.”
Since we were kids, Radhika had not once missed wishing anyone in the family at the stroke of midnight. The birthday bum also had to read the long letter she wrote followed by the cutting of the cake and hunting for the gifts she hid in the house. In spite of her being married, her juvenile excitement was intact.
“Done moving into the new house?”
“How is it?”
“It’s really good,” I said.
“Are you alright? You seem quiet.”
“Yeah… that’s because it’s 12 at night. I’m sleepy and you won’t stop talking.”
“Same old Mr Snappy! I miss you Poncho. Come back to LA na.”
“Me too. I wish I could come back.”
“How are you holding up?”
“I’m fine. How’s your grizzly husband? Is he still always hungry?”
“Don’t ask! If he could, he’d eat in his sleep too,” she said grumpily.
“She’s good. Achha listen, Did you speak to her?”
I’d seen that question coming. “No.”
“Why? You promised me you would.”
“Didi, I really need to sleep. Please.”
“Go, get lost, you dog! Take care, okay?”
“Yes I will, kiss Kiara for me.”
“Ya, I love you.”
“Love you too, Didi.” I hugged my phone for a while after I hung up.
Happy birthday to me! Happy
birthday to me. Shit, I’d turned thirty.
My birthdays didn’t exactly excite me but the date meant something to me. I had hit most of the goals that I had set out to score.
An apartment – rented, yet mine. Check.
A car – though not a Land Rover. Check.
Being a successful film director – A three film contract with the biggest studio in the country. Definitely check.
Married to Hrida...