Rajani saw her chance and began the interrogation.
“So all of you came together from Manipal?
“No, no!” Ritu shook her head. Rajani shot a triumphant look at Shikha and sank back into her seat. “Abhishek came yesterday, the rest of us had come a day before. Actually Ganga and Sahil plan to marry.” The girls exchanged dawning looks of understanding. Ritu laughed. “Yeah! So Sahil’s parents wanted to meet Ganga, they came all the way from Ahmedabad just to meet her. Sahil’s mother has health issues so they thought it best that they meet in Bengaluru.” Ritu shrugged. “Ganga dragged me along for moral support.”
“Ohh!” They leaned forward interested. “And they approved?”
“Ye…es. I think so. I mean they aren’t getting married immediately or anything like that. But just that they wanted to meet her once particularly since Ganga’s parents have already met Sahil at the college.”
“Ohhhh.” They nodded their heads vigorously. “So where are you from?”
“I am from Delhi…”
“Ritu did you get a call from Ganga or Sahil?” Abhi came up on the double.
Ritu checked her phone and shook her head. “No why?”
“I got a missed call from Sahil. But I am not able to connect to him. Maybe he wants us to come?”
“Yeah sure,” Ritu nodded.
“Hang on, let me clear the bill first. Got your doggy bag?” He asked Rajani.
“Bhai,” she said thoughtfully, “I think you better take the doggy bag. As you said they may not let us take it inside the hall and who knows you may sleep through dinner as well.” She held out the packet.
Abhi balked. “What nonsense. I am not taking this…”
“Good idea Abhi,” Ritu said, “take it. You never know when or where the bus will stop. Something is better than nothing isn’t it?”
Rajani nodded. “Exactly. At least you will have some sustenance. You didn’t even eat anything for brunch…”
“But,” Ritu began.
“Okay fine,” Abhi grabbed it, “thanks. Now shall we go? Surely it’s time for your movie?”
He hustled them out and appropriated Rajani for some last minute brother-sister talk.
“Which movie are you going for?”
“Partner,” replied Shikha.
Ritu laughed. “Cool fun movie. We saw it last night.”
“Yeah. We were here partying till late at night. And then we caught the late night show. The guys slept off half-way through.” Ritu shook her head. “But Ganga and I really enjoyed.”
Shikha smiled and nodded as things fell into place. “Must be tired now?”
“Yeahh! I am terribly exhausted. In fact I didn’t even want to come here this morning. I pleaded with them to pick me up on their way back. But there was check out time and a complimentary breakfast spread, then Ganga wanted to shop, Abhi had to meet you guys etc etc.”
“I can understand.”
“The only thing I am looking forward to is crashing out on the bus.”
“Okay then Shikha, it was good to see you.” Abhi and Rajani had caught up with them.
“Yes same here,” Rajani smiled. “Thanks for the brunch, the lunch and…”
“You are most welcome,” Abhi cut in laughing, “the least I can do as a thank you for keeping my kid sister out of trouble.”
“What? I am no kid and neither am I ever in trouble! Am I?”
Shikha coughed to cover up her sudden snort. “Let’s go shall we. Otherwise we will miss the advertisements, the credits…”
“Oh yeah!” Rajani looked at her watch worriedly, “come on hurry it is almost time. Bye Bhai, bye…Ritu, nice to meet you and Bhai thanks for everything.”
A flurry of goodbyes and they parted.
“What were you talking to Ritu about?” Rajani was curious.
“What were you and your brother talking for so long about?”
“First you tell me.”
“We’ll miss the movie.” Shikha warned.
Rajani stamped her foot. She was clearly bursting with news but she refused to part with hers until Shikha did. “I don’t care!”
Shikha pulled her by the arm. “Of course you do. But you just don’t have any vision or patience. Instant gratification is your mantra. You want to talk right now and then later you will moan about how we missed the movie. Shushhh.” Shikha glared at her ferociously.
“My my aren’t we so mature?” Rajani mocked her but followed her nonetheless. “But I wont “tell” first, I am telling you. Whenever we talk, it will be you first and then me.”
“Well that will be a first!” Shikha smirked. “Pucca promise.”
“Oh no, the movie has started!” Rajani ran ahead pushing past the streaming crowd, “come on hurry.”
“You are really crazy,” muttered Shikha as she attempted to keep track of Rajani in the milling crowd.
“Ticket madam, ticket,” the usher put a hand out to stop Rajani from barging ahead. But Rajani was of course busy staring at the screening looming in front of her with its deafening music and psychelic lights (which was all she could make out from her vantage point).
“Tickets Shikha,” she said abstractedly, wondering which advertisement was this?
“You have the tickets,” Shikha hissed, “stop behaving like you have never been to a movie hall before.”
“Of course I have, but this ad…”
“Shut up and focus,” Shikha hissed at the crowd pile up behind. She shifted and dragged Rajani aside.
“You have the tickets, remember?” Shikha held her breath, quite prepared to leave the hall.
“Ticket, ticket, where did I keep it?” Rajani hunted about her person and bag. After a few minutes, which seemed like years to Shikha was beginning to sweat with embarrassment she located the scraps of paper in one pocket.
“Uff Rajji, you are too much. We did miss the ads, now come on we don’t want to miss the trailers do we?”
Giggling with relief and excitement they made their way to their seats which of right in the middle of the row, tripping, stumbling over and squashing, pinching many an unlucky foot, they collapsed into their designated seats.
“Oh I wish we had got popcorns,” said Rajani eyes glued to the screen, “which movie is this?”
“Should I go and get?” Shikha said facetiously.
“Thanks! You are a darling. Maybe a Coke too.”
“Excuse me?” Shikha was ready to tear into Rajani when she was interrupted.
“Excuse me,” they looked up to see two hulks standing awkwardly between the legs of the other viewers, “this is our seat.”
“No it’s ours,” insisted Rajani and hysterically scrabbled around for their tickets. “Damn it where did I put the tickets?”
“Here,” Shikha held out their tickets, “J 19…”
“This is K 19.”
Flushing, the girls scrambled up again and proceeded to tread on the neglected toes on the other side. “Excuse us, sorry, excuse us, oops, sorry.”
And a repeat performance as they entered the next row and waded through a sea of legs, shoes and knees. “We should have just vaulted over from our seats,” Rajani grumbled as they arrived at their destination.
“Now she tells us.” Shikha was quite put out. “Couldn’t you check the seat numbers properly?”
“Why didn’t you check?”
“Shush!!” The dark shadows around rose as one.
Red with embarrassment and annoyance, they turned their attention to the movie. They had missed the jingles, the trailers, the opening credits, perhaps they could still catch the movie.
Up next Chapter 87: Half-Time