Chap 3: Dreams and Schemes
Introducing Trish: Shan’s neighbor and ‘unofficial girlfriend’ who had escaped the clutches of her way too rich and overbearing parents and chosen to live in ‘hiding’ in Mumbai. She was supported by her brother Tarun who had resorted to the same earlier and now had established himself as a pretty successful model and dancer working in Shantanu’s company. But she had been too lazy to look for a job and this was a frequent bone of contention between her and her brother and a source of amusement for Shan who tolerated her only because she made him laugh.
Mumbai city: Home of Bollywood and the financial center of India
“Hey boyfriend! What’s biting you? Why didn’t you call me when you came in last night?”A pretty girl strolled without bothering to knock, into the swank top floor penthouse apartment of Shantanu Khadelwal, owner and artistic director of Jhankaar; a leading music and dance company based in Mumbai. She had borrowed the keys a long time ago; never remembering to return it. Why would she, after all she considered herself Shan’s unofficial girl friend.
Shan didn’t answer; he didn’t to a lot of her questions. Either he pretended not to hear or simply shrugged his powerful shoulders and flashed his 1000 watt smile.
She looked on in awe while he did his routine 100 pushups with his large Akita ‘Horse’ on his back who weighed close to 75 lbs. He’d been with him since a puppy, (a gift from one of his Oriental admirers) and ever since he’d used him as weights. It was another thing altogether that Horse had decided that he liked the position and had stuck to it ever since.
“I hope he doesn’t get any weightier or he’s sure to break your back one day,” Abhay had warned him several times and Shan had dismissed it in his usual fashion; he loved Horse.
But there was no love lost between the Akita and Trish and he let her know so with a low growl. He didn’t like anybody acting possessive with his master whom he guarded jealously.
“Why don’t you get rid of him Shan? What will happen when I start living with you?” Trish had ventured hesitantly one day, though she knew the answer already.
“That won’t ever happen as long as I have Horse with me. I don’t intend to give him up for anybody!” Shan’s short and blunt retort had ended any further discussion on the topic.
He wiped himself down with a towel and looked at Trish absently, “When did you get here?”
“I’ve been here for the past 10 minutes talking my head off but you never listen; do you?”
Shan smiled taking off his ear phones, “now what were you saying?”
Trish rolled her eyes–Shan and his music, constant companions.“Why didn’t you call me when you landed last night, I could have come over. I missed you like anything.”
Shan disengaged himself from her embrace, went over to the kitchen and poured himself a tall glass of Orange Juice. “Is there some sort of rule that I should call you?”
“Am I not your girl friend?”
“You’re just a friend, nothing more.”
“What about all those kisses and I love yous?”
“Just friendly ones; have I ever implied anything else?”
“No…,” she had to reluctantly agree knowing well she wouldn’t be able to win the argument. They’d had it already several times in the past.
Choosing to change the topic, she settled herself on one of the bean bags which lay scattered on the floor while her host made his eggs and smoothie breakfast.
“Want some? It’s a new recipe.” He asked knowing well she’d been aiming toward a size zero and had chosen to go on a salad and soup diet so to bag a top modeling assignment or audition for a movie. He didn’t approve of it at all.
“Naah! Too much cholesterol and calories!” She waved a royal hand in dismissal. “By the way did you hear about Tashu’s accident? Have you found a replacement yet? Why don’t you give me a shot?”
Shan laughed watching her try to do a pirouette. “You should try out for the circus, they will snatch you up in a heartbeat. You have two left feet. The girl who is going to dance for me has to be exceptional because Jhankaar is exceptional. Tashu did fit the role perfectly.”
“Blah, blah, blah! Tashu, Tashu all the time! Isn’t there anyone else besides her who can dance in this world?!” Trish exclaimed rolling her eyes.
“There is somebody who could take her place; if only she knew what she wants.” Shan murmured softly thinking of Khanak.
“What did you say?” Trish asked absently turning up the volume of her favorite TV show.