Naina worked at Google. It had been about a month since she started her first job. She just got used to the protocols and procedures. She availed the company cab facility for pick and drop so it would be easy for her to travel.
Naina was drop dead gorgeous. She had a slim figure and she could carry off just about anything. She had beautiful big brown eyes, long eyelashes and a smile like Julia Roberts.
She lived with her parents in an apartment in Vasant Kunj. They had a lot of family issues but she was happy she could get away from it all and spend some time at work. It gave her peace of mind. She was the go-getter type. She never missed any opportunity coming her way.
A few days later they had a new joinee. The manager introduced Vikrant to everyone. He was warmly welcomed by all. Vikrant glanced at all the new faces and smiled at everyone as he introduced himself.
The first day at work went by quickly. They kept him busy with an orientation that went on throughout the day. On his way out he filled out the register for pick and drop service and noticed Naina’s name written for pick up from Vasant Kunj. He smiled to himself while snapping his fingers and said, “Isko patate hai!” He was excited and couldn’t wait for the next morning.
The next morning, Naina and a few other colleagues were on their way picking up the others in the cab. They stopped outside B block to pick up Vikrant. He sat down in the front seat, looked around and smiled at everyone and said, "morning". There were four ladies in the cab, he didn’t know which one was Naina.
As they reached the office everyone sat themselves down at their desks. The team leader brought Vikrant to Naina’s desk and said, “Naina, meet Vikrant. He is a new member of the team. You both shall be working together under Mr. Rajesh. Give him a heads up on whatever you have learned over the past month so he can be up to date, please report to me by the end of the day.”
Naina looked at Vikrant, she shook hands, said hello and smiled.
Vikrant's eyes widened and grinned as he enthusiastically shook hands with her. He had finally found Naina. ‘She’s so pretty’ he thought to himself. Naina helped Vikrant through his official first day at work.
A few months passed. Vikrant and Naina were always seen together. At the office, the canteen, after work. They both became thick pals. They shared their problems and darkest secrets with each other and also laughed so hard till their tummy hurt. They could talk about anything under the sun.
Vikrant had many girlfriends at one time. He loved having women in his life. This concept was beyond Naina’s understanding.
“How do you manage them all at one time?” she questioned.
“I need some fun and excitement in life,” he replied.
Naina rolled her eyes and nodded her head in dismay.
But none of his girlfriends liked Naina. They all knew about her as he would talk so much about only Naina. Sometimes he would even accidentally say Naina’s name instead of theirs.
He started to lie to girlfriends when they would call to find out his whereabouts.
“Why are you lying to her, why can’t you tell her who you are with?” questioned Naina.
“You won’t understand,” he said.
“Then make me!” she demanded.
“They all think that I’ll fall for you or there is something going on between us. They are intimidated by you. They can’t accept the fact that a guy can have a female friend.”
Naina started laughing. She found them to be stupid and immature.
“You need to have better taste in women,” she said.
Years went by and things were still the same between Vikrant and Naina. Both families knew what good friends they were. They both changed jobs, got promotions and moved ahead in life but it was still the same. They both would catch up at their favourite pub, have a couple of beers and enjoy themselves like there was no tomorrow.
One evening, Naina told Vikrant that she was going to get married. He knew she was seeing someone but he didn’t know it was already time for them to take the next step.
He gave her a big hug and congratulated her. But deep down inside he was scared he was going to lose her. Nothing would be the same.
A year later, it was their wedding. Vikrant was so supportive he stood by her in all the functions. He called Naina to the room after the bride and groom exchanged garlands and had a long photography session. He was so happy and sad at the same time that he burst into tears and said, “who will drink beer with me now?” They both hugged each other tightly.
Vikrant stayed throughout the entire wedding. He lovingly threw rose petals on the newly wedded couple as they took their seven pheras. He was a little lost after she started a new life.
Her husband Rohit was not too fond of Vikrant. They didn’t start off on the right foot but eventually, Naina made it work. She knew if they would meet a couple of times they would eventually get along. She had her fingers crossed.
But after a period of time, Rohit and Vikrant became good friends. He understood why Naina talked so much about him. He was such a great guy. Soon, Rohit and Vikrant met up at times without Naina.
A year later, Vikrant got married. Finally.
His wife never much cared for Naina. Unfortunately, it always stayed that way. Vikrant slowly drifted away from Naina.
Naina stayed away. It was the only thing she could do for the sake of the best friend’s happiness. She didn’t want to be the reason for their fights and arguments. He already had enough on his plate.
Years went by but they were still in touch. They would once in a while chat with each other over the phone. They would send each other their all-time favourite songs as a voice recording if they heard it on the radio. And think about the good old days. Deep down they both knew that had each other to fall back on.
After a long time, Vikrant and Naina met at their usual pub. She was happy to see him. He looked tired and drained. They started talking about work, their spouses, their kids and everything else. It was all so bottled up. But it felt just like reliving old memories.
The server came to take their order.
They both laid eyes on him and said, “I’ll have a glass of freshly brewed Hoegaarden.
They both looked at each other and laughed.
“I guess some friendships die hard,” she said with a huge smile on her face, feeling the same way she felt years ago.