The first day of the new decade was a holiday, Harry woke up rather grudgingly although it was past 11:30 and there was Swapna with a glass of fresh orange juice in her hand.
“Honey, have a heart we slept only after sunrise,” he pleaded.
“Aren’t we going for brunch to Anu’s house?” replied Swapna.
“A brunch party on New Year’s Day? This is ridiculous! We’ve slept for only four hours.”
“Don’t behave like a child, Harry! We accepted their invite. It’s their home show, the opening ceremony on the first day of the year. Let’s think of a gift for them.”
“Why don’t we all pool in for the gift?”
“Great idea. Let’s give them something for the new house. I’ll figure that out when I talk to Anu.”
“Very nice! Hey, this drink is great, what is it, love?”
“It’s an immediate cure for people who have over-indulged and are woken up. I’m sorry, had no choice.”
“Orange juice with garlic and something else?”
“Yes, garlic juice plus a large peg of lime juice, well-shaken.”
Swapna reached out for the phone to call Anu. There were messages on the group chat requesting that the brunch be changed to dinner. This brought a smile on Swapna face. ‘Thanks, Harry and I were about to suggest it,’ she posted. A little later Khush and Aneesha too opted for dinner.
Swapna called Anu. Thanks to Raima, they shared a close bond. Swapna had once dropped by at Anu’s new apartment on her way to Bandra via the sea link. A casual conversation had led to Swapna providing some valuable inputs regarding the house décor, and a sense of bonding between them.
Shamiq and Anita woke up at 1.45 pm and were relieved to hear about the change of plan. Swapna and Anita got busy finding a matching couch with side tables for Anu’s hall and located one at Lower Parel, a stone’s throw from Worli. They all looked at a picture on the phone and approved of the gift.
“What are the damages and what’s my share?” enquired Shamiq.
“Rs 48000 plus GST. Only the men and I as the initiator contribute. That’s Rs 12000 each, plus GST,” replied Swapna.
Everyone nodded in approval. Swapna wrote out a cheque and sent it to the furniture store.
After the heavy meal, they all felt a snooze was a must to gear up for yet another late night. Swapna went home to change, as did Shamiq, but he lived next door. It was planned that Harry would fetch Swapna from her Napean Sea Road apartment and the two of them would proceed to Worli.
Shamiq took Anita to a couple massage at Four Seasons. This was a treat for Anita who worked as a masseuse and was now being served by one.
After the massage the two massage tables were joined to each other like a double bed. They lay on their backs, their nude bodies covered by a thin sheet of linen.
The masseuses placed Anita’s right hand on Shamiq’s left and departed after wishing the couple some romantic moments. The lights had been dimmed and Bob Dylan’s ‘Lay, Lady, Lay’ played in the background.
To be continued…