Hey, Arjun, what a coincidence” Suraj looked at Arjun with surprise.
Arjun, for some time, was trying to remember and then suddenly moved forward and hugged Suraj who was accompanied by his wife Poonam. “Moustache and all, you look different! But then I saw Poonam and it struck me good. You did not grow a moustache Poonam?”
“You have not changed, nor your obsessions for cracking pjs.” Poonam said.
Arjun bought some fruits from the shop. He paid the money to the shop keeper and then turned towards his friends again. “Guys, it’s been such a long time, my house is just a while from here.” Poonam and Suraj smiled and followed Arjun, who walked fast with his guests trying hard to catch up.
“I never liked Arjun. He was such a flirt, and had so many affairs right from college days. God knows how you two ever became friends. You both are so different to each other.” Poonam whispered. Suraj looked at Poonam and frowned. “Look, that’s his personal life. With time people change, I am sure he is a different person now.”
Arjun entered the basement of his apartment and realized that he had walked too fast. He stopped immediately. When Suraj and Poonam caught on to Arjun, he quickly apologised. “Sorry, I was hurrying because I am expecting someone to visit me, I don’t want to keep her waiting.”
Suraj raised his eye brows. “So there is a she in your life? I mean there was always a she in your life…it was just a new she every week…”
Suraj felt his comments were not taken well and so he quickly apologized. “Just joking, buddy. So are you married…?” Suraj asked.
“Suraj, it is true, that I was the Casanova of the college, wasn’t I? Am I married? The answer to that is no.” Poonam asked Arjun, “So are you serious about this girl?”
“Poonam!” Suraj tried to reprimand her for the unnecessary curiosity.
Arjun walked into the lift, he was followed by his guests. He pressed the 3rd floor button. He looking towards Suraj. “Suraj, its ok. Even before you two got married, I and Poonam were friends. So she has all the right to ask such questions.”
Poonam was not quite impressed by the statement. Arjun continued, “To answer you Poonam, yes I am very serious about this girl…”
The lift stopped at the 3rd floor, Arjun quickly unlocked the door and switched on the lights and fan. The living room was equipped with the usual luxuries like TV, sofa, telephone and other household stuff. Poonam and Suraj sat down on the sofa as Arjun got into the kitchen to keep the fruits he bought, in the refrigerator.
He came out to find his guests whispering something. “Coffee?” he asked.
Both of them nodded in agreement. After five minutes Suraj stood up. “I will be right back.” Suraj told Poonam. Poonam picked up the magazine and started reading. Suraj walked into the kitchen where Arjun was making coffee and singing a song.
“Hey, Arjun so how long do you know this girl.” Suraj asked.
Arjun replied “Which girl, oh the one who is coming in some time? I know her for a year now.”
Suraj was astonished and reacted with a big smile. “Wow! Did you ever continue with a girl for even more than a month? You have really changed. I am so happy for you brother.”
Arjun smiled in response. “Well, what can I say? Time changes everything. The coffee will take some time. Till then we can sit outside so that Poonam does not feel left out.”
Both men moved out to see Poonam almost sleeping on the sofa. ”That’s why we need coffee.” Arjun laughed.
“I am sorry, we came from USA two days back so going through a bit of jet lag.” Poonam reasoned.
“Its fine Poo.” Before Arjun could complete his sentence, he heard a car honk.
He moved towards the window looked down. “Yes honey, I will be right there with you sweetheart.”
Poonam and Suraj watched with a smile on their face. “You must be really in love with her.” Poonam quipped.
Arjun quickly replied “More than anyone and anything. Excuse me I will be right back, she needs some help.”
As Arjun left the room, Poonam said “I was so wrong about Arjun. He has changed. Whoever the girl is, she is so lucky.”
Just then the phone placed next to the sofa started ringing. At first Suraj was hesitant but then he did pick up “Hello, oh he is gone, yes..sorry…ok…what….he is…oh…I will give him the message…”
Poonam asked Suraj, “What happened, who was it…?”
Suraj uttered angrily, “Son of a ….., he will never change. It was a girl with whom he is going out today.”
Poonam gave an angry look and said “Men, they never change. He is cheating on a girl, how you can be friends with such a person…”
“Hello, can I introduce you to my love.” Poonam and Suraj both turn around together with anticipation but were surprised to see no one next to Arjun. But then they moved their eyes down and saw a girl, all of 4 years old. She smiled. “Good evening Uncle and Aunt, my name is Manasi, nice to meet you.”
Suraj fumbled at start and then said, “Nice to meet you too, sweetie you are very beautiful.”
Arjun squatted down beside her. “Manu, these are my friends, like Chinu and Tanu are your friends.”
“So do you people play hide and seek like us.” asked Mansi.
Poonam replied lovingly, “Well sometimes we do, but today your Dad…” she was awkward while using the word “dad”, and then continued “…found us….from our hiding.”
Arjun looked at Manasi. “Manu go and change your clothes and freshen up.” Manasi disappeared with a “Ok Dad…”
Suraj and Poonam showed signs of confusion. Arjun had an ear to ear smile. “Sorry for not clarifying this earlier, I wanted to have some of my own fun. Sorry again. I adopted her last year. I am not married yet. Her mother was my friend and a single mom. She passed away. But I am not her biological father. How did I end up adopting her is a big story, which I will tell you over coffee, so let me get it from the kitchen.”
Just when Arjun was about to go into the kitchen, Suraj said, “You have a message; a girl called up.”
Arjun smiled. “Must be Neeta, I am currently dating her. I need to drop Manasi at her baby sitting and then…” Poonam interrupted him and asked, “So why are you not getting married?”
Arjun smiled and winked. “Because I have not yet understood woman!”
All three of them broke into a laughter.