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October 9, 2012
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The Substitution Paradigm

Ramu came up to our table. Glaring at me, he said, “You either order something or get out.”
I glanced away from the threat, and turned to Raghav. A single drop of sweat was running down his brow. Ramu saw that too and identifying his prey, he sprung.

Swinging around, he faced Raghav, “Order something or get out.”

Then Ramu just stood there. It was not as if we had rehearsed it before hand, but he knew. He knew that my co-occupants generally folded in the first round. Only the stout made it to second level, but they too buckled under Ramu’s relentless gaze.

I always had a policy of not spending on other people’s problems. My purse was already slimmer than the waist of a size zero model. So, I simply sat there, watching the lion circling his prey.

A few seconds later, the prey went down. “Two coffees”, Raghav said, wiping away the sweat with a handkerchief.

Ramu turned his head back, gave me a leering smile, and went back behind the counter. One of these days he would meet hi—

Raghav snapped his fingers in front my face, “Adi, focus!”

“I am all ears, bhai, all ears.” I muttered mentally giving Ramu a left-upper cut.

Raghav began once more, “Like I said, I met this girl online and …”

I waved him off, not again, “Let me summarize. You met this wonderful girl online and you two exchanged pleasantries. While chatting, you managed to exchange numbers too and at the same time you agreed to stay in touch with each other. For six months you talked on the phone with each other.” I mentally ticked off the points. “And now she is coming to Mumbai. But you two never exchanged photos. She wants to meet you and you are scared witless. Am I correct?”

Raghav nodded, his toady eyes peering at me through prescription glasses. No wonder he was scared to meet her. If I were him, I would be scared to see myself in the mirror, let alone meet a girl. A small beetle crawled near my foot. My my, it bore a strong resemblance to Ravi —

Ramu slammed two cups on the table in his trademark style. Ignoring him, I picked up a chipped cup, and sat back into the wooden chair.

Nonchalantly, I took a sip, “What is it you want me to do?”

“You have to meet her, Adi. Find out if she is really interested in me.”

I coughed wholeheartedly. “You want me to meet her? Why me, yaar?”

“You are the only true friend I have got, Adi. Please? Pleeease?”

Elongated pleases had always made me melt. Why, one day, in fourth standard I had given up my chocolates just because a girl—

“Pleeeeeeeeeeeease?”

Now this was a done deal. Two pleases! I had done more for less! I nodded with full enthusiasm.  A burning sensation told me I had forgotten about the cup of coffee in my hand, but I kept on nodding.  Two pleases!

With a wave, Raghav took out a twenty rupee note and put it on his table. Beaming, he squeezed out of the door.

Across the store, Ramu coughed. I ignored him. He coughed again. Again, I ignored him. He coughed again.

“What?!” I turned around.

“Nothing, I just have a cold, that’s all.” Ramu grinned manically as I returned to my free coffee.

A couple of unacknowledged coughs later, Ramu called out from behind the counter, “You going tomorrow to meet her?”

I turned around, “Why do you care?”

“Nahi, I was just wondering about the fare to the meeting place. Too bad you forgot to take it from him.” Ramu let out a booming laugh.

I raced the Ravi-beetle to the door.

The next evening, I sat in the Marine Drive, in front of the Indian Airways building. Raghav had told me that she would meet me here, and that she would be wearing a black skirt. I was wearing a white tee-shirt as instructed. Raghav had also mentioned something about a red rose, but roses cost money, and I never spend money on other people’s problems.

Half an hour and three slaps later, I was still sitting all alone with no signs of Reshma. I was in half a mind to get out of there, when a voice spoke up behind me, “Raghav?”
I turned around to see the most beautiful lady in the whole wide world.

It was as if an angel had dropped down from the heavens. She seemed to glow in the setting sun, her white skin sparkling. Her beautiful brown eyes stirred up a long lost sensation in my heart. She wore a white blouse and a black skirt. Reshma!

I managed to stammer, “Re.. Resh.. Reshma?”

She smiled, her shiny black hair shimmering in the dimming light. My heart hadn’t skipped so many beats ever since the last India-Pakistan match.

“Who else?” She answered, her voice running over me like a breath of fresh air.

She slid her hand into mine and for a while we silently stood there, watching the sunset. Then as if on a cue we started to stroll. All that time, she kept on chattering away. As for me, it was enough to hear her magical voice though at times I would nod now and then to show her that I was listening. Two hours passed by like a beautiful song on a loop. Pausing at a flower shop, I bought her a red rose. An hour later, both of us reluctantly said goodbye at the Churchgate station.

When I reached the coffee shop, I found Raghav waiting for me, sitting on the door step.

“So?”

“So what?” I replied as I wrestled the door open.

“How was she?”

“She didn’t turn up.” I lied as I squeezed in.

“She didn’t? You sure you waited for her?” said Raghav as he also tried to squeeze inside.

“Er.. yeah I did. But she never turned up. Sorry, yaar.” Entering the shop, I shook my head solemnly.

“She said she would. Why didn’t she?!” Raghav cried out, loud enough to wake up Ramu who was dozing in a corner.

Two chipped coffees later, I managed to convince Raghav that his lady love had not turned up at all. He left an unhappy man, but I had other things on my mind.

The next day again I stood at the same place as before, waiting for the love of my life to turn up.

“Raghav?!”

I looked back to see a strange woman staring at me.

A shout went behind me, “Adi!” I turned around to see Raghav huffing towards me.

“Raghav!” Another shout went up behind me. I turned to see Reshma running towards me.

“Reshma?”  I called out.

I turned to find that Raghav had come up to me, “Adi.”

Behind me, the strange woman was now speaking, “Raghav?” I turned to face her.
Reshma also drew up beside me. I turned around, my head now giddy with all this turning, “Reshma?”

The strange woman also turned back, “Smita?”

“Raghav?”

“Reshma?”

“Smita?”

“Adi?”

“Adi?!”


“Smita?!”

“Reshma?!”

“Raghav?!”

“Adi.”

“Smita.”

“Raghav.”

“Reshma.”

I put up my hand. “Enough! From left to right, Raghav, Adi, Reshma, Smita.”

Raghav shook his head, “No no. From left to right, Raghav, Reshma, Smita, Adi.”

Reshma cut him out, “What? No! From right to left, Reshma, Raghav, Adi, Smita.”

The strange woman was now shaking her head, “From left to right, Reshma, Adi, Raghav, Smita.”

Perplexed, I called out in general, “Reshma?”

The strange woman put up her hand, “Reshma.”

I turned to the old Reshma, who wore a sheepish grin, “Smita.”

I pointed to Raghav and said, “Raghav.” Pointing towards myself, I said, “Adi.”

I looked at Reshma-who-was-now-Smita, “Why this charade?”

“Well,” the strange-woman-who-was–now-Reshma answered, “I asked her to test the waters for me.”

Raghav jumped up excitedly, his glasses bouncing on his nose, “Why me too! I asked Adi to do the same!”

They both looked at each other for a while before Raghav caught her hand and they both walked away.

After they had gone out of earshot, I looked at Smita and asked, “So what now?”

Later that day, Ramu met his match at the store.
Glossary:

    1Bhai: Brother. Mostly used as a colloquial term amongst friends.
    2Yaar: Friend
    3Nahi: No




Constructive Feedback Requested!

Q. Did you find the story funny?
Q. Did you understand all of it?
Q. Any grammar/language issues you got, ye Grammer Nazi?


EDIT: Woohoo! First ever DD for Literature! Third overall! Yay!

Thanks to :iconneurotype: for featuring it and :iconunseenpoet: and :icondonboscoe: for suggesting it!
Add a Comment:
 

Daily Deviation

Given 2012-12-06
The Substitution Paradigm by ~SiNg0d is an amusing take on love at first sight. Also suggested by ~UnseenPoet. ( Suggested by donboscoe and Featured by neurotype )
:iconateendra:
Ateendra Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012
Haha, nice one. :D
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 22, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks! :P
Reply
:iconfrogeyedape:
frogeyedape Featured By Owner Dec 13, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I actually laughed at the end! Loved it, very nicely done. Not quite sure what the deal was with the beetle, however.
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 14, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks.

Was just an attempt to show the disinterest on Adi's part. Ravi is another character in a previous story I put up, Women!.
Reply
:iconladyrandomm13:
ladyrandomm13 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student
So funny! Great story and congrats on the DD!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! Glad you found it amusing!
Reply
:iconladyrandomm13:
ladyrandomm13 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Student
You're welcome! ^^
Reply
:iconeziotehwomanizer:
Eziotehwomanizer Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yeah! I found it funny how Raghav had Adi 'test the waters' for him, but Reshma had Smita do the same! It was pretty cute when Adi told Raghav Reshma didn't show up, but I did feel bad for Raghav! The story made sense, but when they all got together it was a little confusing. That's good, though, because I think that was what you were trying to do. I read it again and it made a little more sense. I don't see any super issue with your grammar or spelling, either.
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Sigh. I gotta work on my writing skills, one shouldn't have to come back and re-read to understand.

My morbid self aside, thanks for the feedback. :ahoy:
Reply
:iconyuihime:
YuiHime Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
I think I just died of mixed laughter and warm-and-fuzzy-feelings.
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Pleasure to have killed you.

Wait.

That doesn't sound right.

Ma'm, you alright? Ma'm?!

Shit.
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Great job. Excellent pacing and classic plot rendered refreshing.

All around fun read!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! :ahoy:
Reply
:icon0hgravity:
0hgravity Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:thumbsup:
Reply
:iconrahulnsm:
rahulnsm Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Professional Filmographer
this was really fun to read and it put a smile at the end.
Congratulations on the DD Dude! Well deserved! :)
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks dude!
Reply
:iconrahulnsm:
rahulnsm Featured By Owner Dec 10, 2012  Professional Filmographer
You are welcome! :D
Reply
:iconazizriandaoxrak:
AzizrianDaoXrak Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
Ahahahaha, this made me giggle, and honestly made me think of an abbreviated Bollywood film. Well written and clever. Love it!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks! Glad you liked it! :ahoy:
Reply
:iconcomidion:
Comidion Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
This was a very fun read, Especially Ramu and his malevolent ways...
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! :ahoy:
Reply
:icondarjavine:
Darjavine Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
Congrats on the DD!!! I found the story to be very funny, especially when all of them were saying "No, left to right it's..." At first, I didn't quite understand Ramu, but I did after I had read the whole story. The grammar/language was just fine, and I really liked that you put that word guide at the bottom. Again, congratulations!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! That's my favorite part too, and one of the reasons why I put forth 'Did you understand...' query.

Ramu, is, well, hmmmm, a bastard. Seems due to the high amount of interest in him, I gotta explore him much more =P
Reply
:icondarjavine:
Darjavine Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
That'd be really interesting!!
Reply
:iconelbitjusticiero:
elbitjusticiero Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Professional Writer
Constructive feedback, you say? I will answer all your questions and one more.

Q. Did you find the story funny?

A. Yes, funny and vivid.

Q. Did you understand all of it?

A. I didn't understand what's the matter with Ramu. At first I thought Adi and Ramu were setting Rhagav up for something, but it turned out not to be the case. Maybe it's my English. I'm not a native English speaker.

Q. Any grammar/language issues you got, ye Grammer Nazi?

A. Only with the question itself. First you write "grammar" (correct), then "Grammer" (incorrect). I believe it was on purpose.

A. Has this exact same story been told a million times too many?

Oh yes. But as it is funny and vivid, we forgive you. ;)
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks for the feedback! :ahoy:

Ramu is a malevolent bastard. Enuf' said.

Old story, new outlook. =P
Reply
:icondeadbrotherbear:
deadbrotherbear Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Perfect, don't change a thing!
1 Yes I found it funny and heartwarming
2 I believe I understood all of it
3 "I don't no nothing 'bout no grammar."
Don't dare change your use of the non-english words & glossary.....they gave me a feeling of added intimacy .
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks for the answers Deceased Brother Bear! And no, I don't plan on doing anything about the non-English words, not when I got a bear at a park bench staring at my soul. :surrender:
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Congrats on the well deserved DD! :heart:
Have a nice day! : )
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot!
Reply
:iconlintu47:
lintu47 Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
My pleasure :happybounce:
Reply
:iconthedorsai:
TheDorsai Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist Writer
I left with a smile and a laugh. And damned if it wasn't funny when he bought her a rose. "I don't spend money on other people's problems" my ass.
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
:D Glad you liked it!
Reply
:iconnyiana-sama:
Nyiana-sama Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
:la: Congrats on the daily deviation!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks!
Reply
:iconnyiana-sama:
Nyiana-sama Featured By Owner Dec 7, 2012
:huggle: You're welcome!
Reply
:iconbretagnemuse:
BretagneMuse Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
You grabbed my attention from the very first line; I read it all, loved it all, and felt that it was a great short story about love at first sight :-)
Seems like something very much out of Bollywood, with the confusions and mixups (deliberate though they were).

Wonderfully funny!!!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! Maybe Bollywood had some part to play subconsciously, since well, I'm surrounded by it! :P
Reply
:iconbretagnemuse:
BretagneMuse Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
:-D Hahahaha

Brainwashing, perhaps? :-P

Well done, by the way :-)
Reply
:iconmere-death:
mere-death Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
I too loved the scene they tried to figure out who was who. And I like that you left open if Raghav ever forgave to Adi and why Raghav had followed Adi that day.

Congrats on a well deserved DD.
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
I really enjoyed writing it. My roommates kept wondering why the hell did I have such an evil grin on my face. But my only worry was whether through my words could a reader imagine it the way I did. I am happy to find quite a few did!

And thanks!
Reply
:iconmere-death:
mere-death Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
Evil grins usually give a promise of a good story. I this case too.
Reply
:icononenineone:
OneNineOne Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Yes, I found this story to be quite funny and entertaining
I was able to picture this whole scenario in my mind
-and no I is not a grammar Nazi eh? ;p

Heh, overall I really enjoyed the story. Good way to start off my day, with a smile and some story stuck in my mind to day dream~ :heart::blackrose:
Nicely done~
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot! I am glad to see that the story made at least someone's day brighter!
Reply
:icononenineone:
OneNineOne Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
Anytime, and thank you for the story ;)
Reply
:iconbrassteeth:
brassteeth Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012
Classic. Congratulations on your D.D!
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks man!
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
The end scene where they just go around saying each others' names made it for me. Nice work. :D
Reply
:iconsing0d:
SiNg0d Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Student General Artist
Thanks a lot for the DD dude!
Reply
:iconneurotype:
neurotype Featured By Owner Dec 6, 2012  Hobbyist General Artist
:salute: No problem, it really made me smile. Also now I'm missing chaikhanas, boo.

"Raghav said wiping away the sweat with a handkerchief." --would be better with a comma after the said, I think.
Reply
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