Her Biggest Fan
by Aparna Prabhu
A lady was in the captivity of a few bandits. Their chief held her face in his hand and sneered, “You have done a big mistake by coming here.” He pushed her face away. She was seated in a chair with her hands tied. Her face showed no fear. The lady focused on positioning the pen-knife so that it could cut the rope. When she felt the rope slipping, she swung the chair on the nearest bandit. She picked up the gun that had fallen from his holster and started shooting.
“Yes, come on! To your left…To your right. Look back. Be careful, love” screamed Arjun. He was watching his favorite actress, Sunaina Mathur, in the movie ‘Lady Super-cop’ for the seventh time. Every time he watched the movie, he felt a different kind of thrill and took the responsibility of guiding her throughout the film. After the movie got over, he slowly drifted off to sleep.
Next day, he dressed up and joined his parents for breakfast. “I have made your favorite dish, rotis with mutter paneer” his mother said, cheerfully. When he was about to lay his hands on the curry bowl, his father interrupted him, “What are your plans for the future, young man?” He had always dreaded this question. “I don’t know” he replied nervously. His father laughed scornfully “I don’t know? Humph! When I was half your age, I had decided to be a banker.” Perturbed, he left the table. When he sat on his bike, his eyes fell on the Sunaina Mathur’s hoarding perched on the building opposite his house. He smiled at it and rode to his college.
There was a big commotion at the entrance of his college. He could see someone speaking through a loud-speaker. “Every time you buy ‘Beerock’ perfume, scratch the number at the bottom of the can. If you are lucky, you can win gift hampers from Beerock. We’ll put up the numbers on the website once in three days, starting from day after tomorrow and ending next Sunday.” The speaker was greeted by hoots from the students. “But we have saved best for the last” There was silence at this. “One lucky winner will get to party with superstar Sunaina Mathur. We will post that number next Sunday. ” The students rejoiced, their shouts filling the air. Arjun was on cloud nine after hearing this.
He found his friends in the crowd. “Here comes Sunaina’s majnu. I bet that he’ll buy the entire supply of ‘Beerock’. “Not the whole supply, but I’ll definitely buy 4-5 cans,” he said with his face flushed.
He couldn’t concentrate in any of his classes and was waiting for his classes to finish. When the day ended, he dashed off to the market.
At the perfume aisle, he picked four random cans and put them in his trolley. He moved his trolley towards the billing counter, where he saw a guy with 10-15 cans of ‘Beerock’ ahead of him. After the guy had finished billing, he saw Arjun with 4 bottles on the counter. He raised his eyebrows and asked “Sunaina Mathur contest?” When Arjun nodded, he mouthed ‘all the best’ and left.
After reaching home, he scratched the sticker at the bottom of the bottle and wrote the number on a sticky note. Anxiety took over his mind, rendering him sleepless.
Two days later, when the numbers were put on the website, he was so nervous that he asked his friend, Ronnie, to look them up on the site. “Sorry dude, none of the numbers you had given are on the website.”
“Thanks for checking.” Arjun said sadly and hanged up. He had no expectation of winning the grand prize but he had hoped to grab a few freebies.
He had lost hope and didn’t bother to check for the rest of the week. On Sunday, when he was about to throw the sticky notes on which he had written the numbers, he was interrupted by a call.
“Hey, are you going to check the site today?” his friend Sunil asked.
“No hopes, dude” Arjun answered, dejected. “There is no harm in checking. I’m not throwing my opportunity of asking you for a treat”. Arjun laughed at this and said “Okay, I’ll check”.
The ‘Beerock’ website took awfully long to load. He felt beads of sweat trickle down his face. Finally after the webpage loaded, he checked the first two numbers. They did not match with the number on
the site. When he checked the third number, he couldn’t believe what he saw. His eyes beamed with happiness. Arjun called his friends and announced the news. That day, he slept soundly after a long time.
Arjun wore a velvet blazer with white V-neck shirt underneath it. He sprayed ‘Beerock’ perfume all over his body. He caught his mother looking at him beside the door. She gave him a thumbs up. She was feeding him sweet curd when he laughed and said “I’m going to a night-club mom”.
“Yes and I know that this day is important to you,” smiled his mom. He hugged her and took her leave.
He waited for Sunaina’s car near the entrance of her bungalow. The steps to the bungalow was lit by small solar powered lamps. The white bungalow had glass doors on the ground floor and terrace. It was surrounded by a garden with palm trees and a stone bust statue of Buddha in the center. Sunaina arrived, wearing a knee length cloak bandage dress paired with white heels. Her hair was pulled at the side with curls. She smiled at him. He could feel his heart pounding and butterflies fluttering in his stomach. His mind was teeming with things to say, but all he managed was a feeble hello. He held the door of the car open for her to enter. When he sat inside the car, he felt his palms go clammy with sweat. “You look beautiful, ma’am,” he complimented. The two of them didn’t talk during the rest of the journey.
The bouncers in the night-club winked, at which Sunaina giggled. Arjun didn’t like this, but kept quiet. The laser lights illuminated the night-club in shades of green and blue.
“Have you come here before?” she asked him amidst the noise.
“What?” he asked, bringing his ear close to her. When she repeated her question, he answered “No”.
“This is one of the best clubs. You’ll enjoy here” she said.
They ordered drinks for themselves at the bar. The DJ played a peppy number.
“Come, let’s dance,” she said, clutching his hand and pulled him towards the dance floor. In the middle of the dancing, she went to the bar many times to have drinks.
“I think we should rest for some time” he said, concerned. “Let’s go to the rooms here” she said, pointing towards a room, tipsy. When they entered the room, she winked at him and slowly removed his blazer.
“Hey? What are you doing?” he asked, tension rising on his face.
“Don’t you think I’m attractive?” she asked him seductively.
“Look, you are not in the right state of mind now” he said, holding her shoulders. When she tried to come closer to him, he went outside the room and locked it.
“Open the door” she shouted.
When her screams stopped, he opened the door to find her asleep near the door. Arjun took his blazer and supported her on the shoulder. He went out to look for the car. The driver waved towards him. After making her sit in the car, they drove towards her house.
When they reached the house, he asked the driver for the keys. The driver replied that he didn’t have them. Arjun frantically searched her purse but didn’t find the keys. He realized that she had lost them in the club. Her driver went towards his home. Arjun thought that he couldn’t leave her alone for the night. He placed her head on his shoulders and spent the night sitting near the door.
“Seriously! She did that to you, bro?” Sunil asked perplexed.
Arjun nodded sadly. He had invited Ronnie and Sunil to his house for a treat.
“You could have taken this opportunity to have fun and feel her skin” Ronnie said, with his mouth full of food.
Arjun’s temper rose and he grabbed Ronnie by his collar.
“What do you think of yourself? How can you forget that she is a woman?” he roared.
Ronnie, angered by this sudden outburst, left the house. “I think you did the right thing. I’m proud to be your friend,” Sunil said, patting his back.
“Respect has become so underrated these days; it has been reduced to greetings and salutations,” he replied sadly.
“We are proud of you, son” his parents replied standing near his room. When he came near them, his mother caressed his cheek and his father smiled. Sunil and his family circled him into the tightest bear hug. ***