Monday wasn’t Meera’s good day. She had never liked Mondays. Ever since she was in school. It always meant a new week which meant new disasters. For example, when she was in school, something bad would always happen to Meera on Mondays. Either she forgot her homework or didn’t follow the dress code, Mondays weren’t her day.
That day during work, she had accidentally broken Mrs. Rajput’s mug while washing the dishes and tripped multiple times over her own feet. She knew she was clumsy, but never this clumsy! She barely got out of the house with her job. While she trudged down the dusty streets, she bumped into Abhimanyu, who was doing a movie shoot at the park.
“Hi Meera. What’s wrong”? Abhimanyu asked. Meera blinked at him. She was sure she had just heard Krish’s concerned voice. But soon she remembered the question asked to her and answered.
“I’m fine Abhimanyu. You don’t have to worry” Meera said tiredly. Abhimanyu looked at her, contemplating what to say next, until the director called, saying that the next scene was ready.
“I gotta go. Do you think you can meet me by the river by 5 tonight”? Abhimanyu asked. His words came out in such a rush that Meera didn’t even fully comprehend what he had said, but nodded her head dumbly. Abhimanyu smiled at her and ran off to the set. Meera stood frozen for a minute before realizing what she was doing. She quickly shook herself awake and skipped all the way home, her irritated mood disappearing.
When she got home, Girish was sitting at the counter top, his nose once again stuck in a book. He loved reading as much as she did. But if he was home, it also meant she was late... again. Meera was always late. She tried not to be at work, but it was like there was a sign on her back that said ‘always late’.
“How was school Girish”? Meera asked as she stepped into the kitchen. Girish immediately put his book down, his head rising up so fast his neck could’ve broke. Meera stared at him. He usually never put his book down that fast. Maybe it was a boring book. Maybe she should also stop staring.
“It was okay, I guess. We didn’t do much since we just entered school. Many kids were talking about Krish” Girish said. Meera, who had been drinking water suddenly began choking. Girish ran over to her and patted her back. More like slapped her back. It was probably something he’d been dying to do for a while. That, and throw water on her.
“You okay”? He asked. Meera nodded and wiped her mouth. Why was everything in her life revolving around Krish nowadays? Why couldn’t Abhi plague her thoughts? Where had he gone?
“What about Krish were they talking about”? Meera asked. Girish shrugged.
“I didn’t pay much attention. I think something about him being fake”? Meera resisted the urge to scream. It was really hard for her to keep a secret. So pretending that she didn’t know a very famous criminal was hard.
“Oh. Well, do you believe in Krish”? Meera asked. Girish thought for a moment before walking back to his seat.
“Maybe. He seems legit. But nobody has any pictures of him, so I can’t be for sure. I wonder what he looks like. Would he be old with layers of fat, or would he be young and handsome? I bet he’s maybe in his late 30′s” Girish said before picking his book up again. Meera, who had been biting her bottom lip the whole time, now let go of the swollen bottom. Was Krish really that old? He didn’t look old. He looked really young. Maybe only a year or two older that her. She decided she’d ask him tonight, if he agreed to divulge that information.
Over the few weeks that they had met and talked, Meera learned that Krish was a very secretive person. Even though he was her friend, he didn’t really open up much to her. Then again, they had only met every night for one month. There was still time.
Meera smiled as she thought about him. He wasn’t that bad when you got to know him. Krish always acted like a gentlemen towards her and never stepped the line. He was very funny and cracked a few puns during their conversations just to tease her. But he also knew when to draw the line with his attitude. All in all she enjoyed her time with Krish, even though she always closed her door and drew the drapes. You never knew if someone, especially the police, would be watching you. Krish somehow had always gotten to her house without being seen. Maybe it was his pitch noir suit, or maybe it was the fact that nobody cared.
If you lived in the slums, the middle and first class didn’t pay much attention to you. You were a piece of trash that they couldn’t wait to get rid of. Meera often got tormented from the rich boys whenever she went to work. Surprisingly though, ever since Krish began visiting her, the boys stopped harassing her. She didn’t think Krish had anything to do with it. It was just a coincidence. If the rich people did see Krish coming to her house, they probably assumed that the trash they couldn’t get rid of would finally be gone.
By 4:30 Meera was showered and had eaten her food, along with laying a plate of food on the counter for Girish whenever he choose to eat.
“Where are you going”? Girish asked as she was leaving. He had been walking to the kitchen to get a snack when he saw her leaving.
“Abhimanyu invited me to take a walk with him” Meera said as she grabbed her house keys and phone. She had to be back by 7 before Krish came or else Girish might just find out who his sister had been talking to at night.
“Okay. Have fun with your boyfriend” Girish teased as he grabbed some laddoo on a plate. Meera put her hands on her hips and raised an eyebrow at him.
“Girish put some laddoo back. When I come back I expect that your dinner will be eaten and the dishes washed. It’s your turn tonight. And it’s not a date! Just a friendly outing with friends” Meera said, though deep inside her heart she wished it was a date. Girish shrugged nonchalantly, the act reminiscing the one that Krish had done the night they met.
“Whatever you say” Girish said, carrying the still full plate to his room. Meera sighed as she left the house and walked to the park. She was ten minutes early, so she decided to sit under a shady tree and watch the scenery. She didn’t even notice the time until something tapped her shoulder. She turned around and was met with Abhimanyu’s mischievous green eyes.
“Hi Meera. Sorry i’m late, I had a last minute movie shoot” he said as Meera checked the time. It was 5:45! Had she been daydreaming for more an hour! She blushed and Abhimanyu chuckled.
“I-It’s okay! So.. do you wanna...“? Meera hoped he would get what she was referring to. He nodded and gave her a hand, lifting her up from the bench.
“Sure. C’mon. I know this great place that you’ll love” Abhimanyu said. Meera nodded and followed him down the bumpy path. They walked in silence for a bit until Abhimanyu spoke.
“So... did you hear the news about Krish? They say that he might be an actual person”! Abhimanyu exclaimed. Meera smiled and nodded.
“Do you think he is” she asked. Abhimanyu thought for a moment, then said “I think so. His crimes seem small enough for a person, but big enough to attract the whole country of India” he said. Meera smiled. Finally someone had a good reason! Not that she doubted Abhimanyu, of course.
“I know right! I’ve never really read much about his crimes, but he seems pretty cool! Do you ever think we’ll find out who he is”? Meera asked. Abhimanyu smirked and shook his head.
“I doubt it Meera. He’s a criminal. Why would he reveal his identity”? He asked. Meera nodded and looked down, processing what everyone had said. Most people, so far, had agreed that Krish might be real. But would he ever reveal his identity? Most likely not. Abhimanyu was probably right. Krish was a criminal. A secret one. Only if he’s caught then his secret will be revealed. But... she was his friend. She took him in as one. Friends shared everything with each other. Meera was so deep in thought about Krish that she didn’t even register her head hitting Abhimanyu’s back. Her head shot up to meet his, a smirk playing on his lips.
“Whatcha thinking about? Krish”? He teased as they continued walking.
“What! No”! Meera exclaimed, but her blush proved otherwise. Abhimanyu laughed heartily as Meera covered her face. Abhimanyu’s laughter slowly died down, though the teasing smile still remained on his face.
“It’s okay if you do Meera! I mean, there are still risks though. For one, we don’t know how old he is. What if he’s like 40! Also, we don’t know if he’s a man or multiple people! Whatever the case, i’m glad I finally found out your crush” Abhimanyu said, laughing again. Meera laughed with him, but inside she knew she was lying to herself. She was in love with Abhimanyu! Not Krish! Abhimanyu! Soon, they reached a small peak with a view of the Indian Ocean. Meera gazed at the sparkling blue water.
“Beautiful isn’t it”? Abhimanyu asked. Meera nodded and took a few pictures.
“It’s lovely Abhimanyu. Thank you for bringing me here, but why did you”? Meera asked. Abhimanyu smiled fondly at her, which made Meera want to collapse into a puddle of mush.
“Because you were sad. I remember being sad when I was little and my mother would bring me here to relax with the calm water. She still does that to this day” Abhimanyu said, which made Meera laugh.
“That’s so cute” she exclaimed. They sat in comfortable silence for a few moments, before Meera realized that it was already 6:30 and she had to be home. Once reaching home, she bid Abhimanyu goodbye and ran into the house. She checked to make sure Girish was in bed and locked her door. She quickly dressed in her night clothes and just as she sat on her bed, a knock sounded on her window. She smiled as she unlocked the hatch and Krish jumped in, a goofy smile on his face.
“What’s so funny”? Meera asked.
“I had a really good night so far” Krish said. Meera bit her lip, debating whether she should ask him questions about himself.
“Krish, how old are you”? Meera asked. She had decided that she wouldn’t ask for his identity. Maybe later, or when he would be ready to release that kind of information.
Krish’s goofy smile was replaced by one of confusion.
“Why”? He asked.
“Why what”? Meera asked.
“Why do you want to know” he asked, almost a bit rudely. Anger began stirring up in Meera’s belly.
“Just curious. Is that wrong”? She asked icily. Krish’s green eyes narrowed, the jubilant mood turning sour.
“Well you don’t have to know okay. It’s just information for me” he said.
“What do you mean I don’t have to know”! Meera exclaimed.
“I mean it’s none of your business” Krish said.
“So you’re telling me that I have to reveal everything about myself but I can’t know anything about you” Meera almost yelled, kneeling to match his height.
“Exactly” Krish said, seemingly ending the conversation. That only made the anger flair harder inside Meera.
“That’s not fair Krish! I told you so many things about me and you can’t even tell me how old you are? You know how old I am! You can’t be that old! Friends tell each other everything, don’t they”? Meera asked.
“Then we don’t have to be friends. If that’s the way you see things” Krish said before leaping angrily out of Meera’s room. Her face was still red from their argument, but soon tears began spilling out of her eyes. She didn’t know why she was crying. So what if she had lost Krish’s friendship? That wasn’t a big deal... was it?