Before we commence with the finale of Young and Stupid, I would like to thank each and every reader for making this a great success. I enjoyed writing every bit of it, and I appreciate all the encouragement and feedback that I received from each one of you. As I promised the whole series is now available free for download.
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Thanks once again for all the love. And now without further ado, here is….
Chapter VII – The Finale
The sound of the bell echoed through the house, striking a chord of fear in our hearts.
“Please tell me that was your impression of the doorbell.” I rhetorically said. It rang again, this time sounding more like a death knell.
“What do we do now?” she whispered.
“Just stay right there, I’ll check through the peep hole, maybe it’s just the milkman or the paper boy.”
“It’s almost seven thirty in the evening not morning.”
“Oh dear lord no! Mom was supposed to be back by 8.”
“What if it’s her? Oh my gosh, no! She’s going to find me here and freak out. We’re done for. I told you this was a bad idea, didn’t I?”
“Look this isn’t a time for ‘told you so’. Clear the mess in the room quickly and I’ll go look through the peep-hole.”
I walked hesitantly towards the door hoping against hope that my mother wasn’t on the other side. I took a deep breath and looked through the peep hole. Sure enough, it was her. I could see her getting impatient as she rang the door bell again. I had to stall her. But how?
“Is anyone in there?” she said aloud as she banged the door.
“Coming!” I yelled back not sure what to do next.
“What’s taking you so long? Open the door?” mom demanded
“I just got out of the bathroom, ma. Just give me a minute.”
I looked inside the room, she had cleared the table and stood there awaiting her next orders.
“Jump out the window. NOW!”
“What? Are you mad? Jump out the window?” she said in shock
“I live on the ground floor you know. No one in history has died falling from this height.”
“Okay and then what next?”
“Well go round the back again. Make sure no one spots you and then wait for me at the junction going to the main road. I’ll try to make it there as well. But if I don’t….”
“No don’t say that.” she said like a heroine in a Hindi movie.
“Arrey, all I meant to say is that. If I don’t make it there, just go home. No point waiting and getting late na?”
“Okay I’ll change and leave.”
“There’s no time for that, just leave.”
“But…how can I go home looking like this….Arrey….okay you don’t have to throw me out the window you know?”
I helped her climb up to the window sill and jump outside. “Be careful.” I told her and then I turned to go towards the door. I decided to wet my hair for the ‘just out of the shower’ look.
I took a deep breath and opened the door. Mom entered suspecting foul play
“Why did you suddenly decide to take a second bath?” she interrogated while scanning the room.
“Oh you know me, ma. Hygiene freak that I am!”
Mom was somewhat shocked at the statement. I, the same person who could guiltlessly go a week or two without a bath, now claimed to be hygiene conscious. I had certainly pushed it too far with that. She eyed me head to toe, suspiciously noting my appearance. Ironed jeans, long-sleeved shirt (that too tucked in) and wet hair? Surely that did not add up.
“What are you really up to? You look too fancy to have come out of the shower a minute ago.”
“This old rag? You think this shirt looks fancy. I’ll tell you what’s fancy. Fancy would be something like…”
“The orange t-shirt masi gifted you!” mom exclaimed.
“Of course….the…orange t-shirt. yes…” I stuttered.
“Thief! Thief! Someone’s running away with your orange t-shirt!”
“Your tired, ma, you must be seeing things. Why don’t you sit down here?” I tried to draw her attention away from the window.
“Stop fooling me, look out the window there. That girl is getting away with your t-shirt.”
“Well what do you know? Let me have a closer look. Indeed it is the same t-shirt ma. But mine is a large, what she’s wearing is clearly a medium. It must be a coincidence.”
“You just shut up and get out of my way.” mom brushed me aside and ran to the window.
“Chor Chor!” she yelled and then she turned to me. “Don’t just stand there go and chase that girl.”
“Mom, you’ve always told me it’s a bad thing to chase girls. How can I go against your words?” I said in a last ditch effort. Mom wasn’t going to fall for my ‘slick talk’ twice on the same day. She grabbed me by the arm and took me to the window.
“Don’t think that I’m buying every word you say. Jump out and go after her!” she ordered.
“I just realized I’m afraid of heights….okay okay you don’t have to throw me out the window.” I jumped feeling a sense of deja vu.
It was unlikely that the commotion would get past the ever-so-cautious ears of Mrs. Nosey. In no time she was at her window too.
“Kya hua bhabhi?” she inquired in her Himesh-like nasal tone.
“There’s a girl who’s sneaked into our building, she stole a t-shirt from the clothes line or something I think.”
“Tch tch, see that’s why I put cloth pins on all the clothes I put out to dry.” she said looking down at her ‘dirty laundry’. That was the time she discovered to her horror that her beloved roses were missing.
“Ahhhhhhh……Bhabhi, that chorni stole my roses too.” she screamed in a fit of panic.
I was about to burst out laughing, but I decided to play along.
“What would anyone get out of stealing a poor little boy’s t-shirt and a nice lady’s roses, ma? This is unacceptable. I’ll chase that scoundrel down I tell you.” and so saying I ran off.
“Go beta gooooooooo!” Mrs. Nosey’s words echoed through the building compound. I ran faster barely able to contain my laughter.
I headed towards the junction wondering if she’d be waiting there. Being spotted by mom must have scared her. I had to hurry, I ran with all the might that I had. A few meters later my heart threatened to jump out of me if I tried to go any faster. I slowed down to a jog-like pace. I must have been quite a sight jogging like a cross breed between a party-goer and a marathoner at 8 pm in the middle of the road. When I finally reached the junction, almost ready to collapse I didn’t see her at first. She then came out from behind a car and tapped me on my shoulder. I turned to her, she looked like a mixture of pale and bright orange.
“Calm down, it’s okay now” I said breathing heavily.
“But your mom spotted me how did you ever manage to get here.”
“Long story, I’ll tell you.” I said, still panting. “Let’s get out of here first. I know a short-cut”
I lead her to a narrow lane between two building complexes. We stealthily made our way across like the Alcatraz escapees. On the way I filled her in on how I got there. Her reaction was a mixture of shock, laughter, awe and finally pity.
“I’m really sorry I got all mad at you. If it wasn’t for you we would have been busted by now.”
“Oh don’t you worry. It was really nothing.”
I was busy trying to act all modest when I heard a loud hi-pitched bark. We turned around to see a furious man with a soggy Pomeranian in his arms.
“Oh shit, this is the stupid dog…” she said in total shock
“And the stupid guy.” I completed her sentence. She nodded.
“Hey you! You’re the girl who kicked Tiger into the gutter. You’re going to be sorry!” the man threatened.
“Tiger!” we both laughed.
“Oh you think he’s harmless huh? Well I’ll show you….Tiger choooo!!” he said as let the ‘ferocious beast’ loose.
“We better run.” she warned me.
“Please do you think this floor mop can actually harm us?”
I should have listened to her, because the very next second tiger locked his teeth on to the ends of my pants.
“You gushy vushy mushy freak! Those are expensive jeans, let go of them!” I said as I kicked him away as we fled from the scene. Tiger followed in hot pursuit, the owner close on his heels egging him on. The passers-by stared in amusement as dog chased man and man chased dog.
“It’s gaining on us.” she said running out of breath. “I can’t run much longer.”
I was too out of breath to even respond to that. As we were both about to be hunted down by our pursuer a larger beast roared on to the scene. It was Mr. Schumacher Rickshaw-wallah. He slammed the brakes and swerved right in front of us.
“Saab, madam. Jaldi.”
We jumped in still dumbfounded by the chain of events.
“Aap yaha kaise?” I asked.
“Arrey Saab, if we rickshaw-wallahs can come to Himesh’s rescue all the way in Germany, can anything be impossible for us?” he proudly proclaimed as he blasted ‘Tera Suroor’ on his stereo (complete with Jhankaar beats of course). Tiger chased us doggedly, but finally gave up as Mr. Schumacher blew a cloud of smoke right in its face. We finally heaved well deserved sighs of relief. We soon reached her locality and stopped a safe distance away from her building.
“Kitna hua bhaiyya?” she asked our driver.
“Kya madam, bhaiyya bolte ho aur paisa poochte ho?” Mr. Schumacher was obviously a softy at heart.
“Jab zaroorat ho yaad karna saab.” he saluted and turned his rickshaw around once again revving and whizzing into the distance. I saluted back as ‘Tera tera tera surooooor’ echoed in the distance.
After a quite a while I felt a sense of safety.
“Wow it’s finally over and we didn’t get killed. That was a really close call!”
“I wouldn’t feel to safe if I were you!”
“Wha-what do you mean?” I said getting a little scared.
“Well you know what I’m talking about; you were the one who started the whole mess in the first place. What the hell were you trying to do?”
“What are you talking about?”
“Don’t play the fool; you know what I’m getting at. Does spilling tea all over your girlfriend ring a bell?”
“That was a genuine accident, I swear.”
“The truth. Out with it!”
She meant business, it was best not to anger her further.
“It was a misunderstanding. I thought…”
“What did you think? Come on tell me.”
“I thought that we were about to have our first kiss. Fine?”
“Why would you think that?”
“I don’t know I guess it was in the moment.”
“And you just jumped to conclusions?”
“How am I to know? We never talk about things like these.”
“So talk to me about it. I don’t bite like Tiger does, you know?”
“I didn’t want you to think I was like one of the other guys. You know how everyone obsesses over getting physical the moment you’re in a relationship.”
“But you did want to do that too. What are you trying to be saint for now?” she retorted.
“Well yes but no…you know we need to talk this out but I understand if you don’t want to.”
“Yes, we need to, but for now you need to get back home and do a lot of explaining. Like what happened to the t-shirt or what took you so long, or what happened to Mrs. Nosey’s roses?” she chuckled.
“I’m sure you’ll sweet talk your way out of this though. Somehow I get the feeling that you will”
“God alone knows what I’m going to do. Well I guess I’ll get going then.” I turned and started to walk away.
“Wait” she called out.
I turned around as she came towards me.
She hugged me and pecked me on the cheek, “Go get ‘me tiger.” she giggled as she turned to leave.
I smiled at her and started to walk back. I had no clue what I’d say to mom, but somehow I wasn’t afraid. After all today, I found out that miracles do happen and that super-heroes do exist. Speaking of super-heroes. Where was Mr. Schumacher? Then in the distance I heard the familiar mix of nasal whining and revving. The superhero had arrived yet again to save the day. I prepared for another round whatever Mr. Fate chose to throw in my path. When you’re Young and Stupid, anything is possible. Absolutely anything!