He: Thursday?? New years eve? Ring a bell??
She : oh! Yes! I mean no! As in yes of course 31st night and blah, but no thanks- for the Ivo’s bit…
He: it’ll be fun! Karen’s gonna be there
She: Karen who?
He: Karen? The item number queen? She’s the star attraction
She: good for you!
He: And that useless dud of mass Akshay
She: wow! Some star studded event!
She: got other plans
She: yeah. A private bonfire party at a friend’s. Lotsa booze, sad men. Should be fun.
He: Great! Happy New Year! wont call. Networks are jammed anyways
She: lol! You too!
He signed of the chat window and stared at the monitor. He shook his head and smiled. He touched the couple entry pass to Ivo lying in his breast pocket. His smile widened. Getting a pass to the new years bas at Ivo’s was no small deal. There were limited passes meant for the who’s who of the star city. Being at Ivo’s guaranteed a page three appearance. “I am partying at Ivo’s, what are you doing?” should ideally be his facebook status.
“You want a pass to Ivo’s” his boss had remarked without looking at him. “I have one, but I am not going. Wife wants to take the kids to Jamaica!”
His heart beat so fast that, he could imagine his shirt flutter with its vibrations. “The party does not begin the nine thirty,” his boss was saying. “ The Japanese delegates arrive at noon. I obviously wont be here, so you take care of the meeting?”
He gulped. A meeting with the Japanese delegates meant wining and dining them too. Could he really wrap all of that before nine thirty?
“Besides,” his boss continued, “ since I am taking the week off, I wont be able to work on the presentation. You wouldn’t mind taking care of that too, would you?”
His heart plummeted. He would be stuck in office till midnight till the thirtieth! Did a pass to Ivo’s really mean that much to him? He could always take off to Goa with his friends like every other year.
It would mean something to her. It would mean everything to her. How many times had she raved about celebrating, at least once, at Ivo’s? He had lost count. He even knew that she wanted the black dress from Giovanni’s to wear to the new year bash. Besides, after all that she had been through the past couple of months, she deserved to have at least one dream come true!
So he had gulped and agreed.
And she had equally politely and sweetly turned him down in favour of a bonfire at friend’s!
“Atish!” his colleague called from the other room. “ Dude you had better look at these statistics, they somehow don’t fit!”
He fished the pass from his breast pocket and headed towards the conference room. He poured over the presentation with his colleague and modified some figures. After another grueling two hours, they were ready to call it off. He glanced at his wrist watch. It was two in the morning.
“Joel!” he called to his departing colleague. “You have really messed up some nights working for this, haven’t you?”
Joel shrugged his shoulders and smiled. “I think you deserve this,” he announced as he slipped the pass into Joel’s shirt pocket.
She hugged her knees and rested her chin on them. What was he doing right now? Was he thinking of her, like she was of him? Was he busy waltzing with that other woman at some private party? Maybe he was spending some ‘alone time’ with her at his holiday home in the mountains?
Why was she thinking of him? She should have just gone with Atish to Ivo’s. Hadn’t she always wanted to go there? Hadn’t he always promised her that’s where he would take her this new year eve? It would have been so easy for him! Just a call to one of his connections and they would be dancing past the bouncers! Yet it was not him, but Atish who had called with the pass! Why had she refused to go with Atish?
Suddenly she did not like Ivo’s. Overnight she seemed to have developed a distaste for parties and loud music and anything that had ever been common between him and her. All those cocktail evenings which had once held a fascination and which had once introduced her to him, seemed like such a sham. She should have always known that her homemade aloo parathas and her grandmother’s hand-me-down recipe for mirchi ka achaar would be just a refreshing break from his caviars and jalapenos.
Why was she sitting here and sulking about him? She should have really gone somewhere! Anywhere! But she could not bear the thought of bumping into any of his friends and she could not tolerate their sympathetic looks. Hot shot places like Ivo’s was definitely out.
Yet, she was discovering that being alone on her secluded rooftop, with a bottle of fine wine and a small burning candle was turning out to be quite boring. She heard soft footfalls and turned in time to see Atish jump over the small wall which separated her terrace from the neighbour’s.
“What are you doing here?” She asked flabbergasted.
“Well,” he set settling down beside her. “There’s the bonfire,” he laughed pointing to the flickering flame of the burnt out candle, “here’s the booze,” he said picking up the bottle of wine, “all you needed to complete this party was a friend!”
He grinned at her, “Here I am!”