This would be the best time to get together, thought Shom. Harry had invited Khush, Raima, her dearest friend Natasha and Natasha’s mother, Swapna who was more than a mother to Raima. Raima was excited about the reunion and was flying in from Calcutta.
Harry had been his mentor from the days when Shom had worked for at his factory as a trainee engineer. A very dear friend too, he had been the first to be introduced to Raima. They got along so well from the very beginning that it seemed as if there was a spiritual connect between them. And Khush had known Raima long before Shom had set his eyes on her. This was a family bound not by blood ties but by other worldly connections free of the obligations of relationships.
As usual, Khush was the first to arrive. Harry and he got along famously after they met by chance a few years earlier at a book launch. The friendship graduated to the bar where they realised how well they were connected.
“Happy Holi,” said Khush, as he entered with gulal in his hands and applied it on Harry’s forehead.
“Nice! Happy Holi to you too,” said Harry, taking some gulal out of Khush’s hands and applying it on his forehead. “The colour suits you,” he added.
Khush rushed to look at his face in the mirror.
“Aa ha, not without bhang, you enjoy Holi only after you’ve had bhang. Where is our speciality, the way we make it with curd and not milk?” asked Khush.
Harry led him to the kitchen. There was bhang with ingredients such as almonds and pistachios, to make a yogurt smoothie, along with bhajias and bhang brownies.
“There is a lot of food for lunch, all planned by your favourite cook, Prakash,” said Harry. Khush was overjoyed.
To cut a long story short, as the guests arrived in their Holi casuals, they were greeted with gulal, followed by hugs and kisses. They were long-lost friends who had a lot of catching up to do.
Harry, Khush, Natasha and Swapna were having a blast, laughing away at the silliest of jokes. Natasha was the centre of attraction. Raima was the only one who looked subdued. She had very little of the bhang drink. She and Shom excused themselves after a while. This wasn’t unexpected of the love birds who had been apart for a while.
Shom knew that Raima was not her usual self as family pressure to marry was getting on her nerves. Bhang wouldn’t help and she did well to limit its intake. They were together now, though in self-denial.
Shom: Now, let’s just relax, they all tried to make us happy.
Raima: I didn’t like the way Natasha made a fool of herself.
Shom: That’s because she had more than she could handle, it’s d