Behind me, Cleopatra was meowing louder with every passing second. Without turning back, I reached for the canister of cat food in the cupboard above the coffee machine. I cupped some in my hand and splattered it on the floor. I couldn’t be bothered to reach for her favourite green bowl. Instead of going at her food, she jumped up and perched on the counter.

‘Meow.’ She nudged me, probably because she wanted her bowl. But I felt like she knew something was wrong.

‘I can’t believe he’s getting married, Cleo!’

Cleo walked forward and grazed her furry face against my stomach. I felt her warmth through the layer of clothing that separated the two of us. It was mildly comforting.

Cup of coffee in hand and cat in tow, I walked into the balcony and sat on one of the two wicker chairs I had placed strategically amidst the bougainvillaea and ferns. Cleopatra positioned herself on my lap. She still hadn’t eaten.

Cats are infamous for their aloof ways. But they always know when someone’s heart is silently breaking. That must be one of nature’s finest ironies.

I took a sip of my coffee. It tasted just right. At least there was something good about the morning.

I searched for his Facebook profile on my phone. There he was – Nikhil Bedi, the love of my life, now engaged to be married. But not to me, of course. I scrolled down his page and scrutinized each and every picture and post carefully. I read and reread the captions, the tags and the comments. I counted the number of likes and reactions each post had elicited. A few common friends, who were our cheerleaders when we were together but now estranged from both us post our break-up, had also added their comments.

It was true. He was indeed getting married. He had flown his soon-to-be-wife to Bali for a grand proposal by the beach. White lilies, candles and a Tiffany’s ring. Classic Nikhil Bedi!

‘Tiffany’s!’ I screamed into the phone a few seconds later.

‘What?’ said the groggy voice on the other end of the line.

‘He gave her a goddamn Tiffany’s ring!’

‘Trish, it’s eight in the morning!’

It was too early for Abhinav to process this.

‘Abhinav! Are you even listening to me?’

‘At eight in the morning? On a Saturday? No, I don’t even want to.’

‘Abhinav Kapoor, Nikhil is getting married.’ I spoke the words with an emphasis and deliberation I didn’t know I was capable of.

‘Give me an hour. I’ll bring doughnuts.’


‘It’s ei–’

‘You’re not paying attention, are you?”

An hour later, Abhinav arrived with two bottles of wine, doughnuts, vanilla-scented candles and a bouquet of white lilies. I gave him an evil smile and took the flowers from him, smacking him on the head with them. Abhinav burst out laughing. He had the strangest sense of humour!

‘It’s been five years! Get over it!’ he said, following me into the kitchen.

I dumped the flowers into the trash can. The candles were next.



Read the full book here.


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