S1E25: Shom Meets Aneesha
Recap S1E24 Shom with Khush : Shom and Raima arrive at Harry’s factory. Raima loves the place and asks Harry to show her around.
Shom and Khush reminisce about the past. Khush reassures Shom that Saif was locked up in a heavily fortified prison with little possibility of breaking free.
Shom recalls the time when he had passed out on hearing from the driver of the Land Yacht that Khush and Raima had been together.
On coming around, he had decided to temporarily cut contact with the world and introspect. The soul-searching had made him realise that his love for Raima had to be unconditional. He could not be possessive about her. Attachment and ego would only hurt him.
His doubts had cleared the next morning when Raima and Khush had turned up at his place.
Raima was excited about exploring the factory. She walked down the shop floor alongside Harry.
“Shom worked here, didn’t he?” she enquired.
“For a year. He was quick on the take and soon branched off on his own,” said Harry.
“I am sure you didn’t like him leaving,” said Raima looking at Harry from the corner of her eye as they walked. She noticed a big grin on Harry’s face.
“Indeed. But I did not want to lose his company; we became good friends. His dad and I were good friends too. However, I did want him to progress in life and that he did very well, I am not half as good a businessman as he is.”
As Raima mulled over Harry’s reply, he continued. “I am destined to run educational and vocational institutions all my life. I have been experimenting and learning alongside many who are high up in large organisations now. I enjoy doing this, money is secondary. I like to learn and teach more than anything else.”
“I am impressed,” said Raima, “I want to come here and learn.”
“With you, it’s going to be different,” said Harry, pointing his finger at her. “I will not allow you to go away. I will get accustomed to you when we do something together.”
Raima laughed and asked Harry to tell her about the machinery around them. Harry started off from one equipment to the next, from one workshop to the other, till they were tired.
They proceeded to the directors’ room for lunch. A chilled bottle of Prosecco wine awaited them with a lavish spread that included pomfret and king prawns. Khush, as usual, relished it the most. Harry, mindful of his age, was careful about his intake.
“At 72, you look younger and fitter than both Shom and Khush, so why do you restrict yourself?” asked Raima.
“To stay that way,” he replied.
The conversation continued until tea, following which Shom and Raima set off on their journey home. Harry and Khush decided to stay the night at the factory to complete pending work.
As they drove back in the Pajero, Raima was eager to know what had crossed Shom’s mind when she and Khush had been uncontactable ten years ago.
Raima was the source of Shom’s renewed energy. It helped him cope with worldly pressures. Moreover, it allowed him an outlet from his monotonous existence. He had not met Raima for some time now, but the previous night they had been on BlackBerry Messenger for a long time. They had planned to meet up the following day but Raima had not replied to his latest message. It was very unlike her. He tried again and waited for five minutes before calling her. It kept ringing away. He tried a few more times but to no avail.
Shom wished he had her landline number. It wasn’t like her to suddenly disappear on him. Now he was doubly worried because even after an hour she hadn’t called back. She would never do this, something was surely amiss.
Khush was right, Shom contemplated. This attachment was going to kill him. There had to be other ways for him to sneak out of his cage. So he decided to call Khush, knowing Khush would be thrilled to take him to one of his haunts in Bandra. But oddly, Khush did not answer his calls either. This was impossible. Shom was not used to this.
That night, all kinds of thoughts assailed him and eventually he drugged himself to sleep. The next morning he got up late and rushed off to important meetings. He took a quick look at his phones – no messages, no calls. He made calls to both of them, but there was no answer. He didn’t know what to make of this bizarre situation and decided to go about his busy work schedule. There was no point worrying, he thought, when nothing was in his control. In all probability, it could be her mother’s illness that must have occupied her. She would definitely call back after a while.
Shom got busy the entire day and had a dinner meeting. At about 11 in the night, he tried to call both of them and again had no luck. He felt like a lost soul. He fished out a joint, smoked up and went about looking for Khush at his favourite haunts in Bandra.
It was comparatively quieter at Zenzi’s when his eye caught a stunning woman by the bar. Was she Aneesha? She was exactly as Khush had described her. Then Shom did something desperate, something he never thought he would do. It was his way of getting Raima out of his mind for a while. He went to the barstool next to the woman and softly asked, “Are you Aneesha?”
“Yes, that’s my name, how did you know?”
“I am Khush’s friend, Suman.”
“Khush isn’t interested in a shemale, so he sends his friend!” She laughed. “Where is Khush anyway?”
“I’ve come looking for him, actually,” said Shom with a serious note.
“I haven’t seen him after we first met. We clicked so well, but after I told him who I was, he just fled!”
“It must have come as a surprise to him, but believe you me, you have not seen the last of him,” Shom grinned.
“Hmm…Suman, did you say?”
“Yes,” he answered and called for Hennessey with Coke for them.
She smiled, “I must pick up some of your style for my daytime use,” she said. He gave her a big smile. In no time, they found themselves happily engrossed, talking until late in the night. By the end of it, they were both drunk. Shom dropped her home and staggered back to his car.
“Vashi le lo,” (Take me to Vashi) he told the driver. This was the first time he was going to the penthouse without Khush.
The next morning he woke up late with a bad hangover and again checked both his phones. There was nothing there apart from hundreds of emails. He called them once more but their cells were switched off now. How was that possible? He called Khush at home and his son picked up the phone to say, “Uncle, we thought he was with you. We haven’t seen him since yesterday.”
This was getting serious now. Were Raima and Khush together? Was this one of Khush’s plans to get him out of Raima’s clutches? He was so mad he could kill Khush. And how could Raima fall for this? She was too clever for any of his traps. No, Shom corrected himself. He was getting suspicious for no reason. Poor Raima must be in a fix with her mother’s illness which could have taken a bad turn.
Shom was in a bad state. It had been interesting talking with Aneesha and getting a shemale’s perspective on several issues. Her views were so interesting that he quickly jotted them on his BlackBerry notepad. While he was typing, he got shooting cramps and rushed to the loo to throw up. Then he sat there for hours doing that. He was in such a bad shape after consuming so much hard liquor that he wondered what must have happened to Aneesha.
Nothing, he concluded, she would be fine. Although, she had more to drink than he did, she was not half as drunk. She was the right one for Khush, he smirked. Suddenly, Shom was restless. He wanted to get away to some remote place but was in no shape to do so.
Right then he remembered the Land Yacht. He called the driver – the faithful ex-army man – who promptly answered though it was four in the morning. Shom wondered how he was awake at that unearthly hour.
“Haan saab, mein bus leke Daman gaya tha. Abhi vapas aa raha hoon.’’ (Yes sir, I had taken the Land Yacht to Daman and have just returned).
How dare he? Shom thought. Why would he drive the Land Yacht without me?
“Kisko leke?” (With whom?)
“Apna saab aur memsaab.” (Our sir and madam)
So he was driving Khush around, Shom deduced.
“Kaun memsaab?” (Which madam?)
“Saab us din Khandala le gaye aapke saath, woh memsaab. Saab, aap accha time pe phone kiya, abhi wo log ne phone vapas kiya aur…” (Sir, the same madam with whom I drove you to Khandala that day. Sir you called at the right time, they just returned my phone).
“Achha,” Shom muttered under his breath and hung up. He was in no condition to listen to the driver any further. He now knew for sure that the memsaab with Khush was Raima. How could they do that to him? Why would they want to kill him like this? Did they fancy each other? After all Khush was her old flame.
Unable to take the shock any more, Shom collapsed on the spot.
Next Story: S1E26: Raima’s Grief