As Anita was about to say something Shamiq interrupted saying, “There’s nothing new about your changing positions and partners. I’m not the only one you’ve betrayed.”
Everyone was startled. Anita’s turned red and she exploded, “That was completely unwarranted, Shamiq.”
Shamiq immediately corrected himself. He realised that he’d have to bear the brunt of his foolhardy behaviour.
“He is such a creep,” said Anita to Swapna. “I was reluctant to come here in the first place.”
“Yes. I am repenting for having coaxed you to come here,” replied Swapna.
Aneesha butted in, “He’s the best I have ever known. Women love the company of such people. Don’t call him a creep.”
Harry added, “Yes, women are attracted to gays because they are comfortable with them. Moreover, they jell better as they are not of the opposite sex.”
“However, there are men who understand women very well,” replied Swapna.
“They are the special ones from the old school who even write romance. Most men cannot distinguish between love and the other four-letter word,” said Aneesha.
“Let’s stop discussing all this on the last day of the decade,” concluded Harry.
Khush agreed. “Oh yeah! Where do we go after the sun goes down?”
“I have a few options but the traffic is going to be a big turnoff. It would be better to get back early,” replied Harry.
Swapna said, “What’s the point in stepping out on such days? I would like to stay the night with Harry.”
“I love that,” said Harry. “Let’s finish dinner here and meet up to ring in 2020. For a change let’s be amongst people on the other side of the shore.”
“With people on the ships you see from your window. The lights from ships reflecting in the sea look beautiful,” responded Khush.
Shamiq was repenting for being foolhardy. Thrilled to spot him, a group of youngsters came up to him. He led them to the beach and Aneesha followed. There was a sigh of relief on Anita’s face. Harry and Khush got into a conversation. There was a clear divide within the group with regard to Shamiq.
A person who speaks his mind will evoke extreme reactions, thought Harry. “In today’s world there’s no time for small talk. Let’s fight for progress instead of finding fault with one another,” he said.
“It is sunset time,” called out Shamiq, signalling them to move forward, as the orange ball, no longer fiery, dipped into the sea. It looked like a giant orange submarine submerging, now just a hemi-head, now just the top, and then nothing. The submarine was underwater but its glow was visible in the sky, bright orange with streaks of red and purple. Sanjib and Anu lead the brigade as they walked along the shore with Harry, Swapna, Khush and Anita.
Shamiq and Aneesha joined the party back in the restaurant for an early dinner before all of them headed to Harry’s house in Colaba. Anita stayed with Harry but that night being the New Decade Night, Swapna had decided to be with Harry. It would take her a couple of hours to return to her apartment at Napean Sea Road through the traffic.
Anita felt left out, she’d never seen this side of Harry. He seemed hooked on to Swapna, she thought. Where do I go? Not Khush.
That’s when Swapna drew her attention by taking her hand in hers and said, “May I share your room like I did with Raima?”
To be continued…