Never Wrong

Submitted into Contest #29 in response to: Write a story about two best friends. ... view prompt



The rooftop was the venue of a rain dance party. Fifty plus building residents, men, women, and children of all ages, were beating the gloom out of their troubled minds. Beautiful shades covered a large portion of the roof. The guests who wanted to avoid the rain took shelter under it. One covered area was for the open-air kitchen, another one had a bar, and a third one had a big battery operated music system. The party was on, the music was loud, and in the center were Surveen and a few of her friends, dancing in the rain.

“I forgot that we have an open-air restaurant on our rooftop,” whispered Luv. “Let’s go down,” he urged as nobody had seen them enter.

Anamika waited and watched the dance until the song was over. As soon as the music stopped, Surveen spotted them, “Surprise! Surprise! She shouted excitedly. Look who we have here.” All eyes turned towards Luv and Anamika. Luv was a familiar face, so a few voices welcome him to join the party.

Surveen escorted Anamika to a shaded area in the center of the party. On the mike, she introduced, “Ladies and gentlemen, meet the hottest and youngest couple of our apartment, Luv and his love, Mrs. Luv-to-be.” The crowd clapped in delight.

Luv’s heart skipped a beat when the prankster, Anamika, grabbed the microphone, “Thank you very much. Surveen is a sweet friend. Please don’t take her seriously,” she laughed. “I want a small help from this lovely extended family. Is anyone’s mobile working?” she questioned. The crowd, in unison, gave a negative reply. Anamika handed the mike back to Surveen in disappointment and walked back to Luv.

Surveen requested Luv and Anamika to join the party. Anamika had no objections, so the rooftop hotel manager escorted a hesitant Luv to take a seat.

“For the next dance, we invite the new couple,” announced a host.

Cheers followed, but Luv refused politely, “Not now.”

Surveen came to their rescue and announced, “Let’s give them some time to settle down, meanwhile let’s continue our program.” The revelers agreed without any persuasion.

The crowd was in high spirits. Couples who danced in the rain were in their 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, and even 50’s. They danced to every form of music, from disco to classical. Warm celebrations snubbed the damp rainy weather. Luv and Anamika watched the show, restricting themselves to a few virgin cocktails[1].

“Can we dance?” Anamika whispered shyly. Luv looked at her and wanted to reply, but just then, a song had finished, and she got busy clapping and cheering for the dancers.

Nostalgically, the question sent Luv back to his college days. Almost four years ago, he was studying in the library, when his best friend, the handsome Manohar Lal, pulled up a chair before him. Manohar Lal was the brightest student in Luv’s class. He was a high-spirited boy from a middle-class family in Patna who loved to dress colorfully. Unfortunately, his parents could afford only a few simple outfits for him. So, he wore Luv’s clothes. He had a strange belief, “Your outfit changes me. In them, I like to enjoy life, help others, and have fun. Otherwise, I remain a bore obsessed with earning money, studying, and building a career.”

He had many plans in his mind, which he wanted to execute with Luv. None of them were even remotely related to academics, and most ideas were not implementable, attainable, or affordable. Climbing Everest, going to Hawaii for vacation, or building a fighter jet in college were some of the ideas which had crossed Manohar's mind. It was no secret that movies inspired him. The movie buff openly aspired to be an actor one day. He also had some popular schemes like feeding the poor on birthdays, which had many takers. Whenever he had a plan, he would walk in emotionally and discuss it with Luv. Only after Luv’s approval, they would execute it. Else, it would be abandoned, without a protest.

Today, as he joined Luv, he looked dejected. Like always, he waited for Luv to open the conversation.

Without lifting his head from the book, Luv inquired, “What happened?”

Manohar whispered excitedly, “Bhai,[2] let’s learn to dance.”

Luv stared at him for a few moments then asked mischievously, “Which movie did you see?”

Manohar beamed, “Scent of a Woman, it's a terrific movie. Al Pacino’s dance sequence in the movie was mind-blowing. You know, we interrupted the movie a dozen times and replayed the dance scene.”

Stopping a movie and repeating a particular scene was common practice in the college’s auditorium.

Luv was surprised, “Dance! In an English movie!”

An inspired Manohar continued, “It’s the Tango! Graceful and easy to do.” He stood up, and in a loud voice, enacted a dialogue from the movie, “No mistakes in Tango darling, not like life. Simple.” All eyes in the library were on them, but the duo's reputation as toppers made the librarian grin and signal for silence.

Luv was all ears now. Resting his back on the chair, looking interested, he humored, “What’s was so special about that dance?”

Manohar winked and whispered secretively, “It’s a romantic dance. Naturally, you need a partner, a girl! You hold her very close to you. If done properly, we can leave the girl blushing and impressed.”

Luv bent forward and imitated Manohar’s tone, “My dear Bihari Babu,[3] why do we need to learn the Tango? Who, in your opinion, will dance with us?”

Manohar replied confidently, “Who won’t? What’s wrong with us? Why will we not find someone who would be ready to shake a leg with us?” He dreamt, “You know, one day I will come across a pretty girl at a party. I will ask her for a dance, sweep her off her feet, and woo her with all my love.”

Folded arms, Luv watched him, amused. The actor in Manohar performed again, “You know love is a wonderful thing. You should fall in love one day.”

Luv pulled his leg, “You know, the one who will fall in love with you, is probably studying in another IIT. She will become the CEO of an MNC. Your parents and hers will meet in a 5-star restaurant to finalize a grand arranged marriage. The closest you would come to dancing is watching me do the Nagin dance,[4] before the horse, which you will be riding during your marriage procession. And just for your information, I am already an expert in Nagin dance. I don’t need to learn anymore.”

Manohar, the actor, dropped his head in disappointment and delivered emotionally, “You are right. Do you know my name? I am Manohar Lal.” He paused, and then questioned softly, “You know who Manohar Lal is?” Without waiting for Luv’s answer, he continued, “He is a very famous Gajak[5] seller in Agra. I wanted to be a businessman too, but my dad forced me to study engineering.” He continued thoughtfully, “You are right. I will pass from here and probably go to the US, join an MNC, work for 16 hours daily, think all the time about targets and growth of the company, and my career. What role will dance and romance play in my life? Nothing!” Falling flat on the table, he hid his face between his folded hands.

“You should aim to be a Bollywood star,” Luv teased, “and for that, you need to learn dancing.”

Manohar looked up in excitement, “Then will you join me?”

Luv joked, “You will get opportunities to practice your Tango. What will I do after learning it?”

Manohar assured Luv, “You will get your chance too. And that day, you will thank me.”

Luv’s friendship forced him to cooperate with his friend, but he wanted to know, “Who will teach us to Tango?”

Manohar stood up, “I will find out. Don’t go anywhere. I will be back soon.” He sashayed out of the library.

The next Sunday, Manohar barged into Luv’s room and announced, “Get ready, the class starts in half an hour.” He had found a Spanish lady in her 40’s who was equally excited to teach two IIT students the fine art of Tango. The class which was short of male students was full of pretty college girls. The next three months were all about learning the boleo and gancho, practicing the parade and arrastre, and trying different variants of sacada[6]. The friends were quick and dedicated learners. The environment of the dance academy was much more inspiring than that of the IIT campus. So, it did not take long for the dance teacher to rank them as the top two male dancers of the academy.

After the last dance class, Luv teased Manohar, “So now that we know how to Tango, what’s your plan?”

Manohar was a habitual outperformer, “We have to be sure that we are good.”

Luv smiled, “The teacher has appreciated us.”

Manohar doubted, “She is our teacher. She will always praise her students. We have to take feedback from a neutral body.”

Luv, like always, enjoyed Manohar’s approach to life, “So how do you think we should do that?”

Manohar declared, “We have to perform in our annual cultural festival.” Both laughed heartily at the joke, till Manohar emphasized, “I am serious.”

Luv reasoned, “First of all, no student is allowed to perform on our annual day. Secondly, and more importantly, no non-IIT students will be allowed during the annual cultural night. Who will we dance with?”

Manohar pulled one with a glum face, “You have to dress up and act like a girl.” An unprintable conversation followed until Manohar came up with another solution, “We will ask the girls from dance academy to join us.”

With a plan, they approached the cultural committee, asking for permission to dance in the cultural program. The committee's secretary refused, “Students are not allowed.” He added with pride, “This time, we are inviting a famous rock band to perform.”

Luv insisted, “We can perform during the interval.”

The secretary was unmoved, “No.”

“Why not?” argued Luv.

The secretary taunted, “From tomorrow, anybody will come and ask for permission to perform.”

The plan was to flaunt their closeness with the professors. Manohar, the actor got up, “Wait!” he cautioned, “We are not anybody. Between Luv and me, we have more than twenty academic awards. You want to permit us, or should we go and ask the Dean?”

There was a brief silence. Manohar was a favorite of all Professors, and this was known to all. It was unlikely that his request would be turned down by any Professor. The secretary weighed his chances against the final year stalwarts, and agreed wisely, “OK, Sir. We will make an exception for you, but what will you perform?”

With a straight face, Manohar lied, “It’s a contemporary performance.”

The secretary added a condition, “If you can show us the act, during a rehearsal, our cultural committee can suggest some improvements.”

The actor in Manohar, as a CEO, grinned confidently, “You know Mr. Secretary, half of India’s best professors were here for our global meet on “IT and Our Environment.” I gave the opening lecture from our college. Nobody, I repeat, nobody, saw my presentation before it was delivered. Be assured of quality performance. And this cultural activity is a surprise from the final year students for the college.”

The committee accepted their argument and advertised and promoted their show.

The cultural festival set the environment on fire. The Tango dance added fuel to it. By the time the cultural committee knew that a few pretty girls were in the dance performance, it was too late. Demands of an encore convinced them that they had mastered the art. Manohar was ready to sweep any girl off her feet. He had only two more things to do. One, find a girl, and two, get a chance to dance with her.

Manohar had told Luv, “You will thank me one day.” He was never wrong.

------------------------ End ------------------------

[1] Virgin Cocktails: is a mixture of fruit and vegetable juices with or without soft drinks and is essentially a non-alcoholic drink.

[2] Bhai, a Hindi word, is a friendly way of addressing a brother. It also used to address close friends.

[3] Bihari Babu: Bihar is one of the states in India. Babu is a Hindi word for Sir. Bihari Babu is a friendly way of addressing someone from Bihar.

[4] Nagin Dance is an entertaining dance style where the dancer's act, wriggle, and dance like a snake. In a typical Indian marriage procession, the groom rides a horse and goes to the bride’s house to get married. This marriage procession is generally led by a group of friends and relatives of the groom. This group displays some unique dance moves and Nagin dance is one such dance.

[5] Gajak is a famous dry sweet made of sesame seeds. Manohar Lal Daulat Ram Gajak Waale in Agra is one of its top-selling stores.

[6] Boleo, Gancho, Parade, Arrastre and Sacada are various steps and movements of Tango.

February 17, 2020 11:51

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Pamela Saunders
08:56 Feb 25, 2020

So believable :)


13:54 Feb 25, 2020

Thank you..


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