Little things, p.1

Little Things, page 1

 

Little Things
 


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Little Things


  DIPEN SHAH

  LITTLE THINGS

  A Dice Media Original Series

  Based on a screenplay by Dhruv Sehgal

  PENGUIN BOOKS

  CONTENTS

  FOMO

  Have a Nice Day!

  Good Night

  Thank You!

  Here We Go!

  Follow Penguin

  Copyright

  PENGUIN METRO READS

  LITLE THINGS

  Dipen Shah was born in Mumbai and spent most of his childhood in Doha, Qatar. He started working as a copywriter after completing his bachelor’s in media and communications. Later, he wrote content for Indian Premier League (IPL) teams like Royal Challengers Bangalore and Kings XI Punjab before moving to FilterCopy, Dice Media and Gobble as a social media manager. Currently, he is a copy editor at FilterCopy. Dipen loves comedy and hopes to become a comedian someday. He is also a hopeless romantic. He lives in Mumbai.

  Dice Media is the web series division of Pocket Aces Pictures Pvt. Ltd.

  FOMO

  1

  ‘What do you think?’ Kavya asked as she turned away from the bedroom mirror and faced Dhruv.

  Dhruv looked up from his laptop and was awestruck. He was sitting in his nightclothes on the bed and working. She looked so adorable! The pink saree matched her rosy lips perfectly, and she was also wearing an ornate nose ring.

  ‘Wow!’ he finally managed to say, continuing to stare at her.

  He wondered how he had managed to woo Kavya. She was a head-turner with a fair complexion, slim figure and a mop of dense curls, while he was dark, of average height and build, nothing to write home about. She loved people, was always up for socializing and never failed to make friends, but you could not say the same about him. He was a food connoisseur and preferred to stay at home, reading and watching football.

  Dhruv picked up his mobile phone to take a picture of Kavya. She protested, complaining that she didn’t think she looked her best, but struck a pose anyway when he didn’t lower the phone.

  So damn cute, Dhruv said to himself as he uploaded her picture on Snapchat. He tried to think of something romantic to say, something poetic that would truly express the burst of love he was feeling for her. But as was often the case, the words didn’t come to him.

  He simply said, ‘You look so beautiful, Kavvu!’

  Kavya didn’t seem to hear him as she continued to examine herself in the mirror. She was trying to decide what to wear for her friend Prachi’s wedding the following month. She needed to look perfect. She had even found the perfect nose ring, or so she thought. All she needed now was the perfect saree to go with it.

  ‘When did you buy that nose thingy?’ Dhruv asked.

  ‘It’s called a nath, Dhruv! It’s a Maharashtrian design. Remember I told you I was saving up for it? I bought it a couple of weeks back.’

  And then, before he could stop himself, Dhruv blurted out, ‘Something like that would make anyone look pretty, wouldn’t it?

  Sometimes when you’re dumbstruck, you end up saying dumb things.

  ‘Thanks, Dhruv! How charming!’ Kavya was a little miffed. She continued scrutinizing herself and then added, ‘Anyway, I don’t think the nath goes with this saree. And this saree is also not very shaadi-types. I think I’m going to try on something new.’

  This still wasn’t over? Dhruv was horrified. It was so late at night! Was it going to take more time? Couldn’t Kavya’s dress rehearsal continue the next day?

  Dhruv was worried about the next morning. They had planned to leave early for corn bhajis. He had been waiting for weeks to sink his teeth into them. Images of the bhajis popped up in his mind, and he could almost smell them!

  ‘Kavvu, please hurry up! We have to leave at 4 a.m. if we have to reach there before the shop opens at 6.30 a.m. I’ve checked—the woman who sells the bhajis only sits for two hours.’

  ‘Yeah, yeah, just give me two minutes,’ Kavya called out from the bathroom.

  By the time Kavya returned, now wearing a different saree, Dhruv had put his laptop away and was reading a book. She asked him again how it looked. All he said was ‘nice’, sounding disinterested.

  Not convinced, she tried on a few more sarees, but Dhruv’s responses were the same, just sleepier with every passing minute, till he finally said ‘it’s nice’ without even looking at her.

  ‘Dhruv, stop saying “it’s nice” to everything! Say something different!’ Kavya was exasperated.

  Groggy and annoyed by now, Dhruv replied, ‘But it is just nice, not amazing! It’s too late, yaar. My mind is not working. Kavvu, just come to bed, please. We have to get up at 4 a.m. and travel two hours. I really want to eat those bhajis!’

  Kavya made a face, hell-bent on selecting the right saree before going to sleep. Dhruv’s response irritated her even more. ‘None of these sarees are amazing, and they don’t even go well with the nath! I’m so annoyed. I think I’ll have to just go and buy something new for Prachi’s wedding,’ she mused, and then catching Dhruv’s annoyed expression added hurriedly, ‘Okay, I’ll come in two minutes, you sleep.’

  ‘Good night!’ Dhruv was relieved.

  ‘Good night.’

  * * *

  It wasn’t the chirping of birds that Kavya woke up to—it was the sound of traffic. She looked at her mobile phone and checked the time. Oh God! Dhruv was going to be pissed. She didn’t have the heart to wake him up just yet or the energy to deal with the yelling that would follow. She decided to go through her friends’ Snapchat stories instead. Suddenly, Kavya felt jealous looking at pictures of their happening lives.

  She consoled herself with the thought that what she had with Dhruv was above everything else. He looks so cute while sleeping, she thought before clicking a selfie and putting it up as her Snapchat story with the caption ‘Sleeping in! #LazySunday’.

  Feeling more prepared for the storm that seemed inevitable, Kavya gently shook Dhruv to wake him up. ‘Wake up, Momo!’ she whispered. It was a nickname she used when she felt particularly affectionate towards him. If there was any time that she needed to use this, it was now. On getting no reaction from him, she shook him more vigorously. ‘Wake up!’

  ‘Let me sleep for two more minutes,’ said a groggy Dhruv.

  ‘It’s 12.30 p.m., Dhruv,’ Kavya said softly.

  ‘What!’ Dhruv sat up bolt upright. ‘Shit! We missed it!’ He smacked his forehead with his palm.

  ‘Did you forget to set the alarm?’ inquired Kavya.

  ‘I must have.’

  Then he turned to her. ‘Because of your whole saree thing!’

  ‘Hey, how is this my fault? Don’t turn this around on me, Dhruv. You forgot to set the alarm!’

  ‘Yeah! Because I was sleepy and confused. Arre yaar, I really wanted to eat those bhajis today!’

  Kavya looked at him and did not say anything. She felt he would be all right if she left him alone for a while.

  2

  Twenty minutes later . . .

  A visibly upset Dhruv still couldn’t believe that he had again missed out on the bhajis he so desperately wanted to eat.

  Even Kavya felt sorry for him and tried to console him. ‘What’s the point of brooding? We’ve lost half the day anyway.’

  Then, because she didn’t want to ruin a Sunday, especially after seeing pictures on Snapchat of her friends having so much fun, she added, ‘Others are having such a good time. And we’re sitting here in bed and—’

  ‘Yeah, we were supposed to have a great time too.’

  ‘Yeah, but what is the point of us fighting now?’ Kavya asked in a placatory tone. But that did nothing to console him. She thought fast, and an idea came to her. It was damage-control time.

  ‘I know how to turn this Sunday
around. Give me thirty minutes and I’ll fix something for you.’

  She gave Dhruv a peck on the cheek, something that never failed to brighten his day, and jumped out of bed. There was a lot to be done. Dhruv picked up his mobile phone and saw something on Snapchat that annoyed him further. His friend Akash was having a blast in Goa.

  He remembered the time he had dragged Kavya to Goa for a long weekend. She had never been there and hadn’t been very interested or excited about it either. But once they were there, neither of them had wanted to come back. It was their first vacation together, something that had brought them closer. God! I wish I could relive those three days, they really were the best days of my life, Dhruv thought. But that was long ago—many responsibilities and many disappointments ago—before he had to worry about EMIs, mutual funds and research grants, even before Kavya had moved in with him. So much had changed since then—some good, some not so good. However, one thing that remained constant was the unrelenting, never-faltering love and support that Kavya showered on him. He was extremely grateful for that.

  The clanking of utensils from the kitchen brought Dhruv spiralling back to reality. And the reality was that he was extremely jealous of Akash.

  ‘Kutta,’ Dhruv mumbled, still hurting from the disappointing start to the Sunday.

  Now that his bhaji plan had failed, he desperately tried to focus on redeeming whatever was left of the day. He was scrolling through social media when he found what looked like an amazing place for Keralite cuisine. His heart started pounding again. The prospect of trying out new, good food was something that always got him excited—perhaps even more than sex or Liverpool winning a championship. His mind, now diverted from the bhajis, had something new to look forward to. He rushed to tell Kavya about it. He burst into the dining room. ‘Kavvu, we have to check out this new Kerala place. It looks kick-ass!’

  Even as he spoke, he noticed the sumptuous spread on the table: waffles with maple syrup, fresh orange juice, fried mushrooms, bacon strips, sliced fruits, eggs, toast and other things he couldn’t even name. Kavya had gone all out to prepare a brunch that would make up for them missing out on the bhajis. She stood there, beaming at him.

  He was grateful. Yes, he was. But as usual, stupid things tended to escape from his mouth without him even realizing it. ‘It’s not possible to go there now, is it?’

  Kavya’s smile vanished. ‘At least appreciate the effort, Dhruv!’

  Realizing his mistake and fully aware of how things could head south in no time, Dhruv immediately tried to calm her.

  ‘Hey, I obviously appreciate all the effort you put into this. Thank you so much! It’s just that I got carried away. Bombay Bhukkad put up this new post and I thought that it would be nice to try something new today.’

  It worked. Kavya knew his weakness for food, and anyway she couldn’t stay mad at him for long.

  As she whipped out her mobile phone to capture the feast spread out on the table, Dhruv swooped down on the juice.

  ‘One minute, one minute!’ Kavya called out. She had made them a brunch worthy of kings, and she wasn’t going to let this opportunity to show off on Snapchat pass by.

  Dhruv wasn’t much into capturing every moment on social media. In fact, he thought it was silly. But who was he to take away this joy from Kavya after she had worked so hard for it? So, he kept quiet, made a goofy face, gargled with the juice in his mouth and posed playfully.

  This’ll show them! Kavya thought as she posted the photo. She knew it was silly, but she was experiencing some serious FOMO (Fear of Missing Out) with all their friends travelling over the weekend.

  ‘Baconnnnn!’ sang Dhruv, picking up a strip. He was about to bite into it when Kavya stopped him.

  ‘What? Please let me eat, I’m hungry. Please!’

  Kavya broke into a giggle. ‘Just get the mustard sauce first, please?’

  Dhruv got up from his chair with a smile and nudged Kavya playfully. ‘It’s such an amazing experience, dude.’

  ‘What?’

  ‘To date a sloth bear like you!’

  ‘I’m not lazy, okay? I’m just chilled out!’ Kavya struck a meditation pose.

  ‘Of course, of course! That is exactly the case. You’re right, definitely right.’ Dhruv mocked her.

  ‘But I made all this!’

  ‘I know, I know. I am just joking!’ Dhruv went halfway, came back and said, ‘It all looks so great, and I mean it. Thank you!’ He bent down to kiss her.

  She cheered up immediately. It’s amazing how he can make me feel like this even after all this time, Kavya thought, every fibre of her being singing with happiness.

  Post-brunch, Kavya was lazing around on the couch in the hall with her laptop when Dhruv walked in, swinging his mobile phone from side to side, looking for another Pokémon on Pokémon Go. In the process, he bumped into a plant and a sofa and almost fell over, but continued undeterred on his quest. Finally, he said with disappointment, ‘How come I can’t find any Pokémons in our house? Viraj found two, you know?’

  Kavya looked up. Dhruv was standing in front of her with an exasperated look on his face. On the wall to his right was a huge poster of Liverpool, his favourite football club, and behind him was a comic strip from Calvin and Hobbes which both of them adored. The wall to his left was covered with posters of movies, TV shows, bands, artists and albums that they loved.

  Kavya had problems of her own. Right now, the pictures of her friends on social media having fun were making her feel low while she spent her Sunday at home.

  ‘Dude, this Megha keeps travelling all the time! It’s not fair! She even went to a Coldplay concert. Look.’

  Dhruv came over to take a look. ‘Cool, man!’ he exclaimed, and then went back to his game, once again brandishing his mobile phone all over the room.

  ‘Okay! Listen, let’s watch a film,’ Kavya suggested, still determined to have a fun Sunday.

  ‘Oh! Isn’t it my turn?’ Dhruv glanced slyly at Kavya to see if she remembered.

  ‘No, it’s mine!’ she said with a smile, knowing fully well that he was trying to trick her.

  ‘Shit! You remembered!’ he was a tad disappointed.

  They had a pact. Every time they watched a movie together, they took turns to decide what to see. ‘Three, two, one . . .’ Dhruv started the countdown.

  Kavya had to decide quickly.

  ‘Inside Out!’

  ‘No! No, no, no, no . . .’ Dhruv wailed. He left his search for Pokémons and sat next to Kavya.

  ‘Hey, what’s your problem? I’ve heard it’s a good film.’

  ‘Yeah, it’s a very good film. But the problem is that it is an animated film. And all these films have at least two or three moments that make you cry. Then you’ll get sentimental and stop talking. I’ll keep asking you, “Kavvu, what happened?” but you won’t reply or talk. But then, at exactly 7 p.m., you’ll want to talk. And that is the time Liverpool will be playing Chelsea . . .’

  Kavya made a face.

  ‘. . . And then you’ll make a face. Exactly this face! Hold that expression!’ said Dhruv, holding up his hands as if framing her face. ‘So pretty when pissed off!’

  3

  They were watching Inside Out. Kavya lay with her head on Dhruv’s lap, completely immersed in the movie as Happy and Bing Bong tried to sing their way out of the abyss of forgotten memories, when she heard some sniffles.

  She looked up to see Dhruv biting his lip, about to cry. How the tables had turned!

  ‘Are you okay?’ Kavya had a naughty smile playing on her face.

  ‘Yeah, obviously.’ Dhruv’s voice was quavering slightly.

  ‘Are you sure?’

  ‘Yes!’ he exclaimed, pretending like nothing had happened.

  Kavya paused the movie, sat up and pulled Dhruv’s cheeks.

  ‘Oh, so cute! You cried and all!’

  ‘This is why I did not want to watch this movie. Akash is having a ball in Goa, chilling on the beach with beer. And lo
ok at me. I’m sitting here mourning Bing Bong.’

  ‘Hey! Don’t ruin it like that! It’s a good movie.’

  ‘Yeah, I know it is good. But I just wanted to watch something relaxed and funny.’

  With Dhruv so emotionally charged, Kavya knew enjoying the movie would be a task.

  ‘Hey, you want to go to the arcade and play air hockey with me instead? It’s been a while since I kicked your ass at it anyway.’

  Kavya smirked, and Dhruv frowned.

  ‘No way! Liverpool plays Chelsea at 7 p.m., and there’s no way I am missing that!’ Dhruv was firm.

  Kavya was in no mood to sit at home, so she teased him some more. ‘So what? Just one game. Come on! Don’t tell me you’re chicken!’

  ‘Okay, fine. One game and we’ll come back by 7 p.m. Okay?’

  ‘Sure, you’re on!’

  * * *

  ‘You know, you shouldn’t wear kajal on Sundays,’ Dhruv told Kavya as they made their way to the gaming arcade at the mall.

  ‘The way you don’t shower on Sundays?’ Kavya pinched her nose. She had bathed, changed and even put on some make-up. Dhruv, on the other hand, looked as if he had just got out of bed.

  ‘Exactly! At least once a week we should know what we really look like without make-up and fancy clothes. I think it’s quite intense. It’s very naked, no? Being exactly who you are?’

  Kavya refused to take the bait. She had lost interest already. Dhruv would keep getting into these long-winded, intense discussions about things that seemed inconsequential to her. Fortunately, she didn’t have to keep listening any more. They had reached the mall.

  Dhruv stepped inside while Kavya got her bag checked at the security counter. Almost immediately, Dhruv was approached by a middle-aged man dressed formally, the mall’s security ID around his neck. As Kavya caught up, the man began to question Dhruv.

  ‘Excuse me, Sir. If you don’t mind me asking, where are you going?’

 
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