My So-Called Bollywood Life(77)

By: Nisha Sharma


She squeezed his arm. “I know. You did. And I loved you, too. It was hypocritical of me to tell you what to feel or not to feel. But you have to admit, Raj, what we had was Vaseline on the lens.”

“Vaseline?”

“You know. Vaseline. Or panty hose. It’s that old cinematography trick that makes everything dreamy and hazy because it’s shot through this crude screen. Totally obsolete as a method now, but I feel like that’s what we had growing up. Vaseline on the camera lens.”

He nodded. “We were perfect together because we were given the perfect shot.”

“Exactly. We were destined to work. And then when we grew up and started to figure out how cameras function, how life works, and what we really wanted—”

“Then we saw the Vaseline for what it was. A device. Your horoscope was a device. Okay, as allegories go, it’s a good one.”

 She nodded. The wind was picking up, and her skin prickled with goose bumps. “I was so angry when we first broke up because of how you did it, because of the way you treated our relationship. I was furious.”

“I know,” he said with a laugh. “You broke into my house and stole your stuff back.”

Winnie grinned, pushing the flyaway strand of hair from her eyes. “It’s true. But I think I was really mad because you weren’t the one. And I knew it for a while and refused to accept it. That we loved each other but as friends, not as something more.”

“Like you want with Dev.”

“Right. Be honest with me: Did you really want me back, or was it something else?”

He looked at her, studying her face, and then shook his head. “I’d never really failed at anything. And truthfully, I may have asked you out after Dev mentioned he liked you all those years ago, but that was because I knew that if you two hit it off, I’d lose my best friend.”

“That would’ve never happened.”

“Really? Because it happened this time after you guys started dating.”

Winnie held out her hand, palm up. “Raj?”

“Yeah?”

“Mujhse dosti karoge?”

He laughed, tossing his head back and rocking with the motion when she asked him to be her friend. Winnie giggled as well, and for some odd reason she felt like she’d cut a string, something that was holding her back.

 He gripped her palm and squeezed. “Only you can ask me to be your friend by quoting one of the worst movies ever made.”

“What? That is a love-triangle masterpiece.”

“Don’t you think we did better?” he said with a wink.

Winnie smiled. “Yeah, probably.”

“I never should’ve doubted you. You are going to make a great movie critic one day, Winnie.”

“And you are going to make a great engineer.”

She let go of Raj and shifted so she could open the box. “I have some stuff for you.” The first thing she produced was a check in the amount of all the stuff she took. “Sorry for breaking in and taking all my stuff back,” she said. “Izzat restored. My parents are all about the family honor stuff.”

He took the check, looked at it, and then tore it in half. “It was your stuff anyway,” he said.

She smiled. “You sure?”

“Yeah. What else is in there?”

She handed over a framed picture of them at a Shah Rukh Khan concert from sophomore year, a hoodie that had lost its smell and comfort years ago, a watch, and then, finally, a jewelry box. Inside was the silver bracelet.

“This is for someone meant to be your jeevansathi. Your soul mate. Thanks for letting me borrow it.”

 He sighed but took the bracelet. “Maybe I can sell it on eBay or something. Do you know how expensive this was?”

As if the storm was waiting for Raj to say the magic word, the skies opened up and started showering on their moment.

“Really?” Winnie said, slicking her hair back. “We were having a positive moment,” she yelled. “Everyone knows it only rains when it’s a sad scene.”

“So not true,” Raj said, putting everything back in the box. He hopped off the wall and reached for her to help her down. “Remember Namak Halaal? Amitabh Bachchan was practically having sex in the rain with Smita Patil. The first Dhoom movie and Jab We Met also had awesome rain scenes.”