Hey honey bunch, p.1
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       Hey Honey Bunch, p.1

           Tushar Mangl
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Hey Honey Bunch


  Ye Honey Bunch

  By Tushar Mangl

  © Tushar Mangl, 2016

  All Rights Reserved

  The following story is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is downright scary.

  Respect creativity. Do not copy or indulge in piracy. If you need to copy a few quotes, ask nicely.

  Books by Tushar Mangl

  Fiction

  The Avenging Act

  The Thakur Boy

  The Crumpled Innocence

  Poetry

  The Reluctant Scribbler

  Non – Fiction

  Footsteps on the Sands of Time

  The Ultimate Guide to Content Writing

  Short Stories Collection

  In Awe of Life

  Reviews for The Avenging Act

  “Awesome book. If every girl shows such courage, then India can surely become a rape free country.

  A very good work by the Author.”

  – Charush Gupta

  ___

  “A very short and hard hitting book.

  The theme of the book is rape/molestation

  A heinous crime which effects the body and soul of the assailant.”

  Deepak Sharma

  ___

  The Avenging act by Tushar Mangl is a saga of lust, hate, and revenge- a story of a simple next door girl who has shown what mettle she is made of what a next-door girl is capable of. It is a story of a girl from the land where Rani Laxmibai once rebelled against the imperialist aggressor….

  Biswanath Bannerjee & Jayasree

  https://jayasreesown.wordpress.com

  _____

  Dedicated to

  All the Pushkars around the World and

  The Neelimas who lighted them with love

  I met Pushkar through a social networking site. I often get friend requests from random people, and if the profile looks legit I go ahead and accept such requests. The thing to do, the social media experts suggest, to build a reader base and broaden your reach.

  After all, all our friends were strangers once. Pushkar, it turns out is an aspiring writer himself. He writes in Hindi and is good with his words. I deduced all this from his profile. I also followed the blog link and read his blogs. Yes, I do have a lot of free time at my hand. His way with words is sad and very poetic. It’s people like these who turn out to be ghazal writers, is my guess.

  As it often happens in cases such as these, we seldom talk. There is a courteous hi and hello and that is it. One day, he makes an unusual request. I was revising a draft of a college essay for a friend which is an excruciating work. I got up from my desk, brewed a hot cup of coffee and distracted myself by checking my social media messages. A message from Pushkar popped up. He asked for help.

  Ultimately, he requested me to write a story for him. No hi no hello, just a request, if I could write a story for him.

  He said he had read my stories and felt I should write this story for him. I was surprised and shocked both. At times, even writers can be of loss of words. I have no qualms about being some hotshot writer; I am just a humble storyteller who likes to narrate stories.

  “And I don’t have any money to pay you. I am sorry.” Well, that settled that. Had he offered money, the greedy fella in me would have opened his eyes. Now, there was no incentive. I did not know this guy, I wasn’t being paid so it made my refusal easy.

  I explained to him,

  “You are a good writer; I have read your blogs. Why don’t go ahead and write this story yourself?”

  “I simply can’t write it. She asked me to tell it for her, but it pains me to write about her.” It might sound little melodramatic but soon I was hooked on the story.

  In the following pages, you will read his love story. He told me, her love meant everything to him. Without her, he is just a shell. Ye Honey Bunch is not just about him but mostly about the girl whom he loved with a passion beyond imagination. And it is for this passion, I present you her story with prayers that love like this never fades away.

  The major challenge in this story was to present her side of the story. But without meeting her, how could I write what she felt? That was another question. Should I interview her? Finally, knowing how much Pushkar was close to her, I relied on his versions and pieced together what could be her story.

  Sounds crazy, right? Well, we haven’t even begun yet.

  PS: In case you are wondering why this book is called Honey Bunch, I will let Pushkar answer that, but in his own time.

  This is a beautiful story of a beautiful person, and you are going to wrap this up in one sitting anyway. Yes, please inform the boss that you would be late for office tomorrow. And pull out the phone numbers of takeaways to get food delivered.

  "We are all travelers in the wilderness of this world, and the best we can find in our travels is an honest friend."

  - Robert Louis Stevenson

  As a blogger and writer, you are used to getting random messages from random people. Some of them are compliments that make you feel like you are at the top of the World. Many of them are vile feedback you can do nothing about. His was just another random message, liking my work and wondering if I could check out his blog as well.

  I went through his blog, to find a dark web space, poetry and verses spilled all over it. Hindi is not my medium of choice but his way of words was too good. I left some compliments on his blog praising his work. He then replied with a thank you and soon we started following each other’s works.

  As it happens at times, I received his Facebook friend request, which I accepted. By now I was well acquainted with his work but not with the man himself. I checked out his profile, his name Pushkar lacking any last name was placed next to his picture, a close shot of a well-bearded face almost covered with black aviators.

  We all have so many acquaintances on social media sites, most of whom we never interact with but are comfortable to have known once. One day, he pinged me for help. I saw that message five days later. When I did, I replied a hello and questioned the usual ‘what’s happening’ thingi.

  It was as if he was just glued to his computer for five days for a reply. Instantly, I got an answer, an abrupt, meet me please, I need your help thing.

  This was intriguing. Why did he need my help? Most bloggers if they write word help, it would mean some feedback on what they wrote and want another pair of eyes to hover over it. But then why should I meet him for that? Surely, it would be something we can discuss online. But he gave a mysterious refusal, insisting I meet him and this was something very important.

  Writers have a way of words and can be mysterious as hell. Plus, we writers are curious people. I was curious but kept on probing him for some hints. What could this be? I got something about a big project or something but then he threw the ultimate bait.

  “Do you drink?” He asked me.

  “Yes. At times.” I wrote back, maybe too quickly.

  “You like Old Monk? We can talk over Old Monk at my room?’

  Offer a curious writer Old Monk and you know what will happen next.

  I was at his place fifteen minutes early, eager to discuss whatever he wanted to discuss, of course over glasses of Old Monk. Just to be sure of the latter part, I texted at the number he had shared on Facebook,

  “You want me to bring anything Soda or another bottle of Rum or something to eat?”

  “No, everything has been arranged.” He replied coolly.

  I wanted to probe further about everything, whether it included Chilly Chicken or not but then decided against it. Instead, I pondered over, what could be the bee in Pushkar’s bonnet. In today’s day and age, you can discuss global level problems over phone and the internet. Why do you need to make som
eone drink Old Monk to discuss things? Perhaps he was the old-fashioned guy who liked the ways of yester years.

  “So, tell me what is bothering you?” I asked him when we were two pegs down. His room was sparsely furnished and there was a tiny corner of a balcony outside, where I suggested we sit.

  “I want you to write a book for me.” Did he say that or I am drunk, I asked myself?

  “What?” I asked, for clarity sakes.

  “You always write about how you write for stories and not for money. You write because you feel for the stories.”

  “Oh! that is all because of how we writers are paid. If you say you write for money and someone asks you how much, you would be as embarrassed as you would be if caught without your pants on in public.”

  “If you could do this for me, please. I don’t know who else to ask.”

  “You yourself are an excellent writer. Write yourself, you need some help, I will help you.” I remarked, snatching away the bag of salted peanuts from his hands.

  “I can’t”

  Now, I knew he would spill out whatever the heart of the matter was.

  “Pushkar, tell me, what’s going on.”

  “She wanted me to write her story. I mean our story. I am not sure.”

  “Nothing like a confused writer. So, someone wants you to write a story. I would trust you enough to write my own story, what is the fuss all about?”

  We looked at each other for a long time. He took a large swig from his glass and said,

  “We loved each other and now she is gone. Before leaving me, she asked me for a story. I want to give her that. I know it sounds weird, but I can’t do it myself. I need you to write it for me.”

  Oh, so that is what the matter was. Boy likes girl. The girl asks for the moon and he is off chasing the moon.

  “So, she left you because you won’t write her a story?” I remarked in a mocking tone.

  “No. She left me for other reasons.” He answered in a matter of fact way

  “And this is to be her story or your romance thing story?” Despite everything, I was getting interested.

  “She did not clarify. It could be that she wanted our story”

  “Ya, right, she doesn’t want you in her life but wants you as the hero of her story.” I can be sarcastic at times, but I was not happy doing this.

  “I love her too much to refuse her wish.”

  “Hence the decline of human evolution.”

  This was too much heavy talk, we got up, helped ourselves with the chicken, gosh the guy could cook. Pushkar has specially prepared fried chicken, with onions and carrots and it was yum. Why would any girl want to leave a guy who loved her, loved Old Monk and loved cooking Chicken?

  Pushkar

  “Write my story”, she asked me. We were sitting outside a large mall in a posh Delhi locality. The stone bench was a comfortable spot to sit and watch the running fountains. She had baked a fruit cake for me. Although I am more partial towards chocolate than a tinned fruit cake, the thought she had baked one for me, overwhelmed me.

  “What?” I gasped, shocked. Nothing shocks me so easily, but the dead resolve in her tone did take me aback. I nearly choked on the cake.

  “I want you to write my story, I want my story written”. (Or was it, our story, I clearly don’t remember).

  “You have lost it, here has a bite. This cake is plain awesome.” I downplayed it, knowing well it was just her passing fancy. There was a time when she was crazy about tarot reading. I had given her my set, in high hopes, that at least she will do a reading for me. But the fad fizzled out within 24 hours of receiving the set. Her wishes were like a child telling you he wants to become an airline pilot when he grows up.

  “You eat the cake. I am not interested.” She waved the cake away as if I was the one who baked it. She knew it was good and I could see she was pleased that I liked it.

  She seldom asked me for anything. Partly because she did not want anything special from me, partly because she knew that I am perpetually broke. I always did try to get her whatever she wanted. I still regret and sad for things I could never do for her. She once asked for a violin. She is a skilled guitarist and can play it well, that is when she played it. I never heard her play but knew she was a Rockstar in her own right. Now, all of a sudden, she was crazed about a violin. I checked, it was quite costly and I was sure she will get over it in no time. At least I hoped. Did it make sense to purchase a new musical instrument? I knew the fate of the guitar which was gathering dust in her store room. Some time ago, she had decided to move on with the guitar, and I recall thinking at the time if I would meet the same fate one day.

  I just played it gruff, telling her, she was just plain mad for thinking about a violin. That she was just wasting money and nothing good will come out of it. I hated myself for being curt to her, to deny her the little joy which she wanted. But gosh, violins are so expensive. I simply could not afford one. Maybe that should have been an indication for me, that this won’t last long. Love as an emotion means nothing when your love wants a bloody violin and you can’t pay for it. Ultimately someone else bought her one and I still regret not making her happy on that occasion.

  Other things which I should have provided her but did not, were food stuff like Soya Chips. Can you imagine what a jerk I was, roaming around the mall with her, just a hundred bucks in the pocket? That was meant for emergencies and food. But when her eyes fall on Soya Chips, your eyes fall on her eyes and then eyes fall on the price label and eyes have enough. 50 bucks. You buy Soya Chips and forget about dinner. Or have Soya Chips for dinner? But you hate Soya Chips? But she loves Soya Chips? OMG! Why does a guy need love? I was so engrossed in the mental calculations, that I had missed her steps moving away from Soya Chips. I followed her to a bookstore, window shopping books, relieved that the decision had been made for me, that she did not ask me for the Chips, but profoundly sad that I could not buy her a packet of chips.

  I was blessed that she was never so insistent or stubborn of what she asked for. Like when she asked for a trip to the mountains and I said no, she understood so easily.

  A month later, she reiterated her demand. “A story, I want a story.” She messaged me.

  I tried placating her, “OK fine, the first book I write, I will dedicate it to you”. I read the message twice and sent it.

  No, she was insistent, “I want you to write a story about me.” She replied.

  Nothing I did would placate her so I promised her I would write her one, not knowing how would I do it. More than that, how would I write it without tearing my heart away.

  “Look, dude, heartbreaks happen all the time. I am sure she got over you already and it’s time for you to move on as well.” I reasoned with all my preacher like stance.

  “And you are intelligent enough to know about the crap things people say like you will get someone suitable and worthy and blah blah.” I further explained.

  “I know, I am okay with her decision, it’s the pain, well, I will tell you later. If you listen to the story, I am sure you will understand.”

  “I write about love, does not mean I have to understand it.” I shrugged.

  “So, you don’t think it is a good idea to write the story.” He commented rather than asking.

  “No. I have not heard your story yet, but it will be same as those zillion love stories for whom entire forests are chopped up. Pardon me if I sound rude, but it is not cynicism, but sadness which I don’t like.” I clarified.

  I knew he meant well, but how could you write a story of a girl, who dumped this fellow. I might not have known him well, but he seemed a nice agreeable kind of guy with a large heart and likable personality. I was already taking sides which meant that I should steer clear of his writing project.

  He also had this habit of looking away from you, while talking to you. He seldom made eye contact. There was something off about this guy.

  “Tell me what to do.” He asked me.

 
Does this thing mean a lot to you?”

  “Yes.”

  “Write it yourself. And let it be your story as well. I can already see that she had the larger say in your relationship. That’s how the ship sinks.”

  “It’s not like that.”

  “Then tell me, would she have found someone to do a project for you.”

  “No. But”

  “Forget it,” I cut him off, now taking charge of the situation.

  The chicken was finished, so was the bottle.

  “We will do this. You and me. How do we present it; we will see to it later?”

  “Really, but could it be her story. I don’t want my name anywhere.”

  I smirked at the idiocy of the guy, and mine as I had doomed myself committing myself to this writing project. For a girl’s whim, who would not even read this stupid story, I am sure. My intuition warned me, but I didn’t listen.

  “Of course, it is her story. It is the story of the greatest love she will ever receive.” I stared at him as I rambled off, not sure of whether I made sense or not.

  *****

  I thought that he had forgotten all about this stupid writing project. I didn’t hear from Pushkar for the next few days. I wondered briefly about him and my thoughts went back to his evasive eyes, the twitch in his fingers, there was something different about him. I would have said, that there were strains of Autism, but I am no expert on such matters. What I am sure about is that there was something not right. I also reflected on his story which seemed at the time to stereotyped, too commonplace.

  His phone call came when I was stuck on a boring assignment. A friend had asked me to help her friend, who had joined the startup bandwagon. In his quest to start something new and revolutionary, the chap had opened an innerwear e-commerce store. (How do you explain to these people that there is nothing new or start up in selling undies?) I was requested to help with the content. In 7 out 10 such cases I say no, mostly because of my laziness issues. But in this case, I don’t know why I said yes. That happens with me all the time. I say yes when I should have said no. I think it happens to all of us.

  I had to get the content strategy ready the previous week but I had not even started it yet. The trouble also was this website. No, don’t get me wrong, it’s nothing to do with the undergarments thing. It was the layout of the website. You open the home page. It is neatly divided into two. His & Hers. On one side is a model highlighting female inner wear, and the other a guy in his undies. It looked a little bizarre, wish I could attach a screen shot for you here. The color was all magenta and font too awkward to be called quirky. There was an offer to buy 6 and get 3 free. God, what I had done to land me in this soup?

 
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