The Dream Trip
The Dream Trip12 mins 12K 12 mins 12K
In the middle of the flight, Kiara woke up to go to the washroom. When she returned, she was too lazy to push her way into the middle seat. And with Rishaan readily offering to shift seats, the seating arrangement changed. With twenty minutes still remaining for the flight to land, a sleep starved Kiara took another power nap, this time holding Rishaan's right hand even more firmly. Rishaan's other hand, though, nervously moved to touch Diya's. Her heart skipped a beat. Diya pulled her hand away. But a defiant Rishaan held her wrist again, this time firmly and more reassuringly. The changing behavioral dynamics between the three perhaps gave out a foreboding of what was to come happen in Goa.
When the flight landed at the Dabolim Airport, Rishaan felt uncanny...his excitement seemed to have been replaced by an unknown fear that he found very difficult to decipher. All he was thinking about was how he himself had planned this Goa trip two months ago with his seven colleagues including his girlfriend Kiara, after completing one year of their first job. This was “The Goa trip” for him. The Goa trip, he had always dreamt about, and now he was lost like never before in that most awaited trip.
Everyone was tired and waiting to reach the hotel as soon as possible except Kiara. Her 20 minutes power nap in flight proved very handy. She jumped to grab the window seat in the rented cab to feel her very first encounter with the warm and salty winds of Goa. Facing outside, she was gazing at whatever the small cab window had to offer her eyes, which were open wide, like a child. Kiara was a traveler by soul. She was 24, belonged to a very small town in Rajasthan, and wanted to travel everywhere although she did not have too many traveling experiences with her. She wanted to earn more so that she could spend more in traveling.
It took them about half an hour to reach the hotel. They had two rooms booked, one for boys and the other for girls. Rishaan hugged Kiara and pecked her gently before departing. He was aware that Diya was staring at him invariably.
“What is going on between you and Diya?” Akshat asked Rishaan when they were going to grab some food.
“What? Kiara and me are doing just fine, bhai.” Rishaan replied and ordered two samosas and two cups of tea.
“Don’t pretend that you didn’t listen, I said Diya, DIYA. I saw your hand games in the flight. Do you really think you can bullshit me? We have been friends since first year of our college. Do I have to remind this thing every time you fuck something up? Start talking Rishan.” Akshat enquired with authority.
Rishan surrendered and narrated, “Akshat, You remember Laila ?Laila from Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara?” Rishaan asked Akshat.
Akshat replied in agreement, “Yeah, I remember your obsession with Kat...” “No man, it was Laila, The character, I always wanted to have a girlfriend like Laila.” Rishaan interrupted Akshat in the middle.
“So what, Kiara is just like her.” Akshat said.
“Exactly, that is the point, Kiara is just like her or may be even better. She is intelligent, loves to travel, not at all possessive and super-hot. Then why the hell was I not able to stop thinking about Diya for the next three days, after we had our first chat? The moment is still glued in my mind, when I looked into her eyes for the first time I was stuck there. They seemed a bit less strange to me. Whenever I saw them, they told a different story about her, they intimidated me and I don’t care how much cheesy it may sound to you but I felt a connection. For everyone she was a girl just cute, quiet and shy but I always felt, she is insanely mad.
“In only 3 months, you know that she is insanely mad. Wow.” Akashat exclaimed sarcastically.
Rishaan continued, “last Friday, We both had to stay late in the office. I went to drop her. We were sitting facing each other in the metro, and for the whole thirty five minutes from Rajeev Chauk to Anand vihar, we didn’t utter a word, but we were not able to take our eyes off each other. I was looking at her constantly for half an hour, and so was she. The Same silence accompanied us until we reached her residence. The moment I was seeing her off I don’t know from where I drove the courage to hold her hand, dragged her close and gave her a peck. She kept staring back at me and pecked me back. I came to know that peck had turned into a full-fledged kiss when she bit me on my lip and ran towards her room. Since then she has been avoiding me and I am trying hard, not to kiss her again.”
Akashat listened all, gave an understanding smile and said, “We should go to the beach now.”
It was four in the afternoon and every one was enjoying the beach rides at Anjuna. Rishan was sitting at the shore. He had some fear with being under water. Kiara came to him and dragged him to come with her, and he hesitated. She dragged him again, this time he showed his lazy reluctance and was about to give in but just at that moment Kiara left him to let him enjoy the way he wanted to. It was her first time on a beach and she wanted to experience it as much as she could, so she went alone to embrace those waves.
Rishaan was sitting with both his palms touching the ground behind his back looking at Kiara who was still playing with those waves. He always felt cool about the space he used to get from Kiara. That evening he felt dull, that was not the scene he had imagined about his dream trip. He felt himself unable to enjoy without Kiara. That moment Diya came to him, sat next to him and said, “Whatever happened that night, we will forget it and will behave normal when others are around.”
“What if no one is around?” Rishan murmured without looking at her. She tried her best to ignore that question but couldn’t stop herself to smile. She walked away towards the waves where Kiara was enjoying the evening.
“What do you think about Rishaan?” Kiara asked Diya, while they were shopping at the popular Saturday night market in between of Anjuna and Baga. A shocked Diya denied having any opinion but with more insistence from Kiara, she replied with a rapid pace, “You really want to know, I think he is a fake. He pretends to be a traveler like you but he isn’t. He pretends to love the street food but what he eats in Delhi, same thing he ate here. He...” She stopped in the middle.
“Continue Diya” Kiara emphasized.
“I am saying you deserved better than this.” Diya concluded and disappeared immediately, faking a call from home. Kiara was numb on that more than honest reaction from Diya, who was cursing herself in her thoughts, “Why the hell I couldn’t keep this mouth shut. Am I a bitch or what? Shit.”
It was late at night, they were all still at the beach, sitting around a bonfire, listening to local music, singing, dancing and consuming alcohol. Kiara appeared with some glasses and a big bottle in her hand and announced, “With some special Goan music, have this special Goan drink. Have some Cashew Feni, a liquor that originated here.” She served a more than average amount of it to everyone.
Mohit exclaimed, “This much only! Is it holy water or what?”
“Complete it first and then we will talk," Kiara answered.
They were not regular drinkers, on the top of it, they were having a feni for the first time. Most of them didn’t like it. Rishaan who was scowling with the smell only couldn’t take the usual starting jolt of the drink
“Why is it always important for you to have such weird stuffs to try?” Rishaan grumped at Kiara with an irritating face.
“I thought, you understand, why?” she replied sarcastically and started for the beach shore without even a second glance.
Diya had been hearing it all and thought if she was the culprit behind the strife that just took place between the couple but at the same time she felt herself aware that sooner or later this was going to happen, knowing that made her smile a little. Rishaan noticed that smile.
“You know the local public of Goa is allowed to have a Portuguese passport, and most of them are now opting for it, just for the sake of some financial benefits. How sad is this?” Kiara was speaking to Rishaan the next day on a Road trip to Aguada fort. An already puzzled Rishaan was now getting a bit stressed because with every passing meter, the streets were getting narrower, it was hard to drive that rented scooter there and even though he was trying his best to not to, he was bothered about the fact that Diya was riding pillion with Mohit. As an aide he had to repeat “hmm” after every full stop Kiara was using.
After a while Rishaan took the back seat. Those were the moments when Rishaan tried to relieve himself of all thoughts. He closed his eyes, felt the flowing wind on his cheeks, he embraced those pleasant moving visuals. Goa was setting him free. He wanted to make some decisions now.
Kiara who was exposed to forts of Rajasthan only, was awestruck to see Aguada, a fort set on the shores of a sea, one of the most ancient Portuguese fort. She knew that this was only one of its type in Asia and she couldn’t hold herself back, taking her own course to feel the spirit of the fort, forgetting Rishan was with her. Rishaan, who was now used to of this notion of Kiara, found Diya alone and went to her.
“Did you say anything to Kiara?” Rishan grasped her hand firmly and asked with a spark of anger in his eyes. Diya refused to answer and started moving in another direction. Rishaan pulled her to him with greater force and shouted, “Don’t pretend to be so innocent, Diya.”
Diya lost her cool, pushed Rishan back and replied, “You stop pretending, fake ass, stop pretending that you are as cool as her and can enjoy yourself because you are too cheesy to do that, stop pretending to be some Bollywood character that you think you are, stop pretending that you love her. Stop it. It is your problem.”
Rishan was speechless for a few moments. Exhausted Diya sat on the ground putting her head down on her knees. Rishan sat in front of Diya on his knees, made her look at himself and confessed, “No, it is not my problem, My problem is that you know all that. You know that I am fake and you also know I was hundred percent genuine with you that night. The problem is I know that you know. I know you, I know how much you flirt with our manager just to get good ratings, I know how much you hate when Mohit stalks you in office. I know when you feel like dancing. I know when you want to be photographed and when not. My problem is that I hold myself responsible to keep you happy. Why does it feel right to flirt with you? Why does it feel right to kiss you again and again? My problem is you, Diya. You are my problem.” Having said that he cupped her face and kissed her. She kissed him back with same intensity, and now they were kissing each other like they wanted to undo all human evolution. They were kissing like two souls, showing their anger for being in two separate bodies. They kissed like anything and when the moment finished, Rishan found Akshat standing there.
Akshat came near to Rishan, looked into his eyes with a supreme conviction and said, “Rishan you have to tell everything to Kiara by tonight, or I will,” He smiled and found his way forward.
It was last night of the Goa trip. Half of the group was enjoying in the pub but the other half- Akshat, Rishan, Kiara and Diya, was at the beach. Rishan had told everything to Kiara along with Diya. Sitting at the bar counter of the nearest shack, Akshat was looking at the whole scene. Rishan moved forward to cuddle a shocked Kiara but she stopped him and said, “You know Rishan, I saw you in the flight holding Diya’s hand with compassion. I was half asleep that time, and when I woke up, I was not sure what I saw a reality, or a dream, but I wanted it to be a dream, a bad one. I tried to forget it. It was stuck somewhere in my subconscious, but I never wanted to ruin this trip so I kept avoiding the obvious signs.
Diya, I had all the reasons to think that whatever you said that day to me about this asshole, you said that on purpose or may be not but the unfortunate thing is that, the every word you said that day was true. I don’t deserve a guy like Rishan. But there is another truth and that is a girl like you only deserves a guy like this. Rishan, I loved you because you respected my individuality and thanks for telling all this shit on my face, now please do one more favour both of you, never show me your faces or talk to me until anything professional comes up.”
Kiara’s eyes were wet but she didn’t shed a single tear till then. Rishan again tried to calm her but this time Kiara lost her senses. She punched him in the face and shouted, “Just get lost from here.”
Diya took Rishan with her. The moment they disappeared from the sight of Kiara, she broke into tears. She sat on the shore and cried loudly. Akshat came to her, put a bottle of bear next to her and said, “If you want to talk I am at the shack." Kiara neither touched the bottle nor did she go to Akshat. She cried the whole night, she shared her every tear with the endless sea and the countless stars. She vowed thousand times that night to never fall in love again.
Next morning, at the beach, Kiara woke Akshat up and said with composure, “Get up, we have a flight to catch.” Having said that she jogged her way towards the hotel. Akshat followed her. He saw Diya standing in her balcony distressed and peevish.
Rishan was at the bench outside hotel looking towards infinity with a lost expression and thinking, “Was this the Goa trip, I always dreamed about?”