DEDICATED TO ALL MY FRIENDS
Acknowledgements: I also thank complete Activation Support, especially Leena and Kiran. It couldn't have been possible without their repeated affirmations.
THIS IS A WORK OF FICTION
Is it my fault that I am a flirt?
Note: Although character of Duggu is inspired from a real person, Duggu is different in a lot of ways, primarily in his abilities and luck with women.
Instructions were clear, “If I take you to the party, you will keep your mouth shut”. This was his sister’s condition that Duggu had agreed upon to have taken to her friend’s engagement party. Duggu's sister was furious over him over one of her friends, whom Duggu had easily flattered and then ditched for a better girl. ‘Better’ for him on this occasion had been someone who could match him on round of drinks in the bar. Neela, who was getting engaged, was friends with Duggu also, hence she had invited both the siblings but Suhana wanted to save the engagement from any embarrassments her brother might cause.
Duggu was blessed with an innocent face and urbane communication skills. He had put his gifts to good use, mainly in wooing women. Very few could escape his penetrating gaze and enticing conversations. Today however, Duggu was sworn against displaying any such machinations.
It was a lavish ceremony. Since Duggu’s sister was the girl’s best friend, he got the privilege of joining the engagement couple on the table along with Neela’s other friends. But one thing, rather person, Duggu couldn’t stop noticing was Neela’s cousin, Molly. She was fair, elegantly dressed in a pink saree and beautiful in her own way, distinguished by her long, protruding nose. Her large earrings only accentuated her beauty.
The girls went about discussing their daily affairs over dinner. Those who had boyfriends were asked about their beaus and mocked. Duggu passed brief glances over Molly, he capitalized on every opportunity of making a contact with her while passing the bowls as she was sitting right next to him. He hadn’t seen such a beautiful girl before, at least that’s what he thought. He was growing impatient and wanted to strike a conversation, except that he couldn’t save himself from the gaze of his sister. Suhana was glowering at him, noticing his mannerisms.
Duggu remained silent, reining in his desires. But his instincts were putting enormous pressure on him. Don’t do anything stupid Duggu, he reminded himself, it’s your sister’s best friend’s engagement. You don’t want to ruin the party. It’s just an infatuation, you don’t really like her. He tried to argue with himself.
To his relief, Neela had dragged him in the conversation, at least she distracted him. “How is your job goin on old boy?” she said looking at him. “Oh, great!” Duggu replied sighing, “I am all set to earn an appraisal this time.” But to his horror Neela dragged him in territories which he wanted to avoid most at the moment, “You are a man now it seems, have you thought anything about settling down” she said patting the thigh of her fiancé, who responded with a smile.
Duggu grew nervous, his angel began admonising, ‘don’t say anything stupid Duggu, don’t mention Molly’. Suhana sensed his uneasiness and tried to distract everyone, “anyone for desserts?” she was ignored by everyone except the caterer who placed a large bowl of ice-cream on the table. Everyone feasted on the delicious ice-cream but rested their attention on only the second man on the table.
Neela resumed her conversation, “Common Duggu, don’t be so shy in front of us, we are all like your sisters, aren’t we?” Not all, he grumbled to himself, remembering Molly. Neela rested her elbows on the table, cradling her chin over her fist. “Are you seeing any girl?” she inquired.
Duggu was feeling extremely agitated. Don’t say it, his better senses told him. He stammered and sighed, “No, no one as such”. He was ill at ease; he started scratching his wrists under his sleeves to distract himself. His throat was dry. He was fast succumbing to his instincts. He gulped down a glass of water.
“At least tell me what do you look for in a girl?” Neela persisted. Duggu started sweating, his eyes met with his sister’s. She was waving her head in a ‘no’, she too was suggesting ‘I know what’s on your mind rascal, don’t say it!’
“A snout” Duggu blurted looking blankly into the empty bowl of desserts, his words hanging in an elongated lull that was created as everyone was left dumbfounded.