Microfiction challenge #19: Under the sea
A MARRIAGE OF ‘UNEQUALS’
By Neel Anil Panicker
‘She is beautiful, too beautiful for you.’
The ‘you’ at the end was a wee pronounced.
Raghav was not immune to its intended effect.
Looking across from the table he locked eyes with the dispenser of the words of wisdom.
‘You are right, Aman, but not quite’, he retorted as he slid his hand out to pick up a hot dog from the plate.
Digging his teeth into the oblong delicacy, he ran his eyes around the place. Expectedly, it was almost empty barring the corner table abutting the kitchen entrance where a young couple were playing ‘explorer’__busily searching for lost treasures in each another’s eyes.
‘He is right. I mean, you know it Raghav. Look at us__ you, me, Utkarsh… in fact all our friends…what are we… just a bunch of ordinary looking blokes and look at …’
‘Stop it, Rohit, it is not just about about how a person looks’.
All eyes fell on Mansi. Wiping her hands clean off all traces of the chicken piece that she had deftly pushed down her throat, she dropped the crumpled tissue paper onto the plate, and hooked Raghav with her eyes that when in full fury, as she was now, looked quite similar to the blood thirsty eyes of of female free style wrestlers about to lock their opponents in a deadly bone crushing embrace.
“Look Rags, allow me to ask you a few questions.”
A bemused albeit worried smile crept up Raghav’s face.
‘Gosh! It sounds like an inquisition’. Hurriedly he took a swig of Thumbs Up, felt the remains of the hot dog pipe down his throat, took in a deep breath and blurted out, ‘Shoot’.
“Well, for starters, how long have you known her?”
“Threee!!!” She let that pass.
“How does she look like?”
“Come on Mansi, what kind of a question is this? You have met her and you know how she looks like?”
“Beautiful, gorgeous, breathtaking” The adjectives tumbled out fast and furious.
To the others, he might as well as have been describing the Alps.
“Curly jet black hair, a smile to die for, legs as long as the Nile, and big, big …”
“Enough”. The word came out a little loud, the echo reverberating around the four walls of the red and green bedecked, semi-circular outlet. A pin drop silence followed. Even the ‘lost’ couple at the corner stopped their ‘search’ for a moment to look around the epicentre of the disturbance.
“There you have it, guys. This piece of asshole, our dear friend Mr Raghav Agnihotri, plans to marry a girl simply because she happens to be beautiful which according to him is having jet black hair, long legs and big, big… shit, disgusting”
“That’s not true …” His feeble voice fell by the wayside.
“What then is the truth, Raghav”?
All eyes were on the duo now.
“She is right, Rags. Forget her, she is way above your class.”
Raghav turned around to face Utkarsh.
“I know yaar,”. His voice betrayed a note of irritation.
Rags hated these ‘pointless’ discussions. This talk that they invariably ended up having every time the gang (‘childhood besties’) hooked up.
“Grow up man, what do you know about her?”
Mansi was in no mood to let go.
“That her name is Priya and that she is the only child of a millionnaire father who is worth atleast a 500 crores and that you both are in love and intend to marry one another and that if her father would come to know about this, which incidentally is any day soon, he would send in his goons and that they would cut you into more pieces than a butcher knives a chicken into”
The atmospherics of the place suddenly changed.
Three pairs of intense, hawkish eyes bored into Raghav from all around the small, steel table where they had converged.
An interminable long moment of pregnant silence followed.
Aman was the first to break in.
Jerking his shoulders, he jutted his hands out and began,
“Dear Rags, it’s not that we don’t appro…”
Raghav cut him short.
“Friends. I know that you all mean well. But I want you to listen to this hard and straight__I am going down that road wherever it leads me. I would appreciate if you just let me do that. Thanks.”
And with that he pushed his chair back, excused himself, and strode out into the bright summer morning.
Long after he had left, Aman, ever the peacemaker, broke the silence saying, “Guys, let’s wish our dear friend the best and hope that he is marrying her for the right reasons, and added, after a pause, and hope it remains so for all seasons”.
Mansi, ever the one to have the last word, added, “He wants to walk down the road for her. I just hope he does not end up going down the road because of her”.