''You go ahead, I will meet you at shehla's place'' Afrah announced over the phone.
''No no, I want to see what you are wearing and I want to see how you look!'' I demanded, knowing very well in my heart that I would eventually have to listen to her.
Afrah finally spoke again and she knew that kindness in her voice always ends up melting the most hardest hearts ''Baby, I am telling you na, you go at Shehla's place others are also going to come there, I would get ready and ask one of my brother's to drop me''
With that I gave up and agreed to what afrah had suggested, as much loser-ish as it sounds, I cannot afford to upset Afrah and at least not today! It is her birthday! (well, the secret is I cannot afford it any day!)
I entered Shehla's apartment and was plesantly surprised to notice that ammu was on time and was waiting for rest of us to arrive there. It was just that shehla and ammu didn't really share much in common, so it was awkward for both of them to stay in each other's company for a long time. ''Finally, you are here! where's Afrah?'' ammu asked suspiciously (as if it was ME who asked afrah to come late!)
''She'll be here in another half an hour or so she said''
''WHAT?!'' ammu was shocked as it was already 11.00 am and we were supposed to be in lounge habits by this time.
''Who's getting the cake?!'' I asked
''I don't know, nobody informed me''
''Don't worry I am going to get it from Universal Bakers'' Shehla said and brought me much needed relief
''I like chocolate man! bring the black forest cake!''
''Shireen, its not YOUR birthday! Its Afrah's!''
''So what? she likes what I like, I am sure!''
''Okay fine, I have already called them for it I will leave now and collect it, I hope Afrah's here by the time I come back''
The doorbell rang and ammu answered it. It was Sneha flashing her ever fresh smile on us. Ammu and Sneha always shared this sort of comfort level, so keeping that in mind I decided I would also go out with Shehla to get the cake and on the way I can even buy some roses for Afrah (I love buying Red Roses for my bestie's and I realize some people find it strange, Haters I say!)
''Heyy hi sne! Listen I am gonna go out with Shehla to get Afrah's cake, you can stay with ammu!'' I annouced and Sneha happily agreed to wait with ammu
Shehla and Ammu also exchanged with Sneha their ''Hey's'' and ''How are yous''
''Chal Yarr, lets go Afrah will come here anytime!'' I cried impatiently to Shehla as madam was busy searching for the car keys! (God, some people can be so irresponsible on important days like Afrah's Birthday! Wasting time on this day is like a National Emergency I say!)
''One sec jaana! It was here somewhere'' replied Shehla furiously walking back and forth between the TV stand and the dining table ''Found it! Lets go''
Shehla and I collected the cake from universal bakers and man it smelled so awesome. The stupid baker didn't keep the cake ready even when we arrived there, so we had to stand on his head and make sure he does it quickly. My mouth started watering (talk about chocoholics!) ''I want to buy some roses, stop at any flower shop'' I said to Shehla. ''what? now?''
''Okay fine we'll go to mehdipatnam as its the closest from here and I think there's a guy there who sells roses, why didn't you tell me before you fool?! Our neighbours on the first floor sell roses at 4rs each; they get it from a village every morning and the same stuff is sold by flower shops for 8rs or even 10!''
''Do I look like I care about the money right now?'' I asked shehla with an arched eyebrow
Shehla was patiently waiting in the car as I rushed out from her car, on a road which was jammed by so many people! I mean, don't people have something better to do other than walking on mehdipatnam roads? Its not even weekend, Its wednesday!!
We arrived at home to find Sneha and Ambreen listening to some music and chatting away delightfully while I just returned from a fight with the flower seller! God, how can he demand 10rs for 1 rose?!! How?! Anyway, eventually i bargained it for 8rs for each rose! And where is Afrah? oh GOD! she is not here even now?!
Shehla started blowing some balloons and I was wondering where is she planning to hang or stick em? Just then she annouced that she is going to just keep them in the car for birthday sake! Right.
Just when I was about to call My Princess - My madame moiselle- My Baby Afrah to scream and yell my anger out on her. The door bell rang and I was in the bedroom to fetch my mobile phone. Somebody answered and It was Afrah! To show my disappointment at her regular habit of showing up late, I didn't go out in the living room to wish her and was waiting for her to approach me in the bedroom (don't get too doubtful, its NOT gayish! I bet!)
''Hi Baby!'' afrah said looking at me smiling and immediately I could feel all my anger vanishing from my mind with each moment of her smile! God, I hate it when it happens.
''Why are you Late you fool?! We had to be at lounge habits by now!! But because of you we are late! Come here'', ''HAPPY BIRTHDAAYYYYY'' i smothered afrah into a hug!
''What are you wearing! what are you wearing?! take off your abaya man!'' I was soo excited
Afrah took off her scarf and opened the abaya obediently and turned around a striked a pose for me. I swear, I could have fainted out of SHOCK! She looked so Beautiful, Exquisite, Heavenly, Gorgeous (basically beyond the scope of mere adjectives). She was wearing a new pair of white jeans, Dark green t-shirt, Deadly heels, and a beautiful chain around her neck complimented by her curly hair. She wore feather-like earrings too.
''Now that you have seen it, can we leave now?'' Afrah asked cautiously
''Yes, yes lets hurry up! I need to wear my abaya too''
In the meanwhile, Ammu, Sneha and Shehla got ready in the living room. We all headed towards Shehla's car in the parking. ''Atika is going to come to lounge habits too afrah, its okay yeah?'' Asked ammu. I was shocked, why is Atika coming? She is not even our group member. But she was ammu's friend so I was willing to let go of it.
If atika can come then so can my friend, I thought. (well actually I had invited my friend way before ammu invited atika hehe)
As always I issued my public warning that I am the one who gets to sit in the front side next to the driver's seat. It was my copyright and nobody dared to argue on that. Shehla started driving in the year 2007 and She got her license with the much required bribe to her driving teacher! But with time, She was becoming FANTASTIC! She could drive at any freakin' speed without hitting anyone or anything! So I took pride in encouraging her to speed more, and to jump the speed limits. If i saw a guy who is driving faster than her, It would deeply hurt my feminist side and I would go like ''You know shehla, the speed at which you are driving, Its nice, Yes it is very nice for GIRLS you know, who like to be CAREFUL and NOT reckless like cool people out there'' and I knew my sarcasm worked when Shehla pressed the accelerator hard. Shehla had a small car that would run like a cheetah when required.
I was very excited for Afrah's birthday as it was our last year together in college after which she would return back to Saudi and I would be expected to relocate from India to UAE for job oppurtunities as my family didn't think working in my own country is such-a-good-idea.
We arrived at Lounge Habits in Shehla's car. Lounge Habits was my personal favorite spot to go and have fun at. Because it was in a not-so-crowded area of the city and We had recently discovered it as they were not much into advertising and publicity. They were a bit expensive with their services which also added as a great advantage for us as not many college going kids would come in a secluded area for some expensive service. Plus, they had a variety of things that one could do there and It was in an independant house of 3 floors, with complete privacy that comes as a part of thier service.
Lounge Habits had an open garden on the ground floor where they had a nice cafe with jute furniture and the typical garden plants. First floor was for kid's activities. Second floor was where we rocked, They had bean bags in all of their rooms, and huge projectors on which one could watch a movie or play PlayStation with wireless joysticks. Which was tres cool for me!
Other room was for board cames but that room was equipped with a huge music library and surround sound system. That is where we would go to hang out. Third floor was a sophisticated restaurant which didn't seem very appealing to me, being the teenager that I was.
Atika and my friend were waiting in the cafe on the ground floor for us.It was already 1.oo pm by the time we arrived and Afrah also had her family to meet later today afternoon and have lunch with them. I guess around 4-ish. We decided to cut the cake in the garden cafe itself since we were already there! We all sung happy birthday song and I was beaming with joy realizing these are the moments I am going to cherish the most with my best friend forever, Afrah Hameed. No, I didn't have a terminal illness, can't somebody just feel joyful?!
I hate the person who invented the game of ''Smash the cake on your face''.. Firstly, It is a waste of cake, secondly the skin gets too oily after it, thirdly it is so FREAKIN difficult to clean the skin and Finally IT WAS A YUMMY CHOCOLATE CAKE AND SMASHING IT ON SOMEONE'S FACE IS GRAVE INJUSTICE. But why would anybody listen to me? I was expecting it the Least when Shehla took the liberty to smash it on my face. I must say she really had some guts for doing it to me, considering the size of her personality to mine.
Finally, after the smashing session we decided to go on the 2nd floor to order to some snacks and continue our party over there. An hour and a half later, we were done with our snacks and I started to display my SMOOTH dance moves and When I say ''Smooth'' it is really smooth enough to give anybody a cardiac arrest! :D
Afrah kept laughing looking at me and my guts to dance like that in front of all the friends and I swear I would go on until I pass out only for the sake of her laughter which was so beloved to me.
We moved out around 3.00 PM from the Lounge Habits and while we were in the parking ammu started her irrational wish to sit in the front seat next to the driver's seat. I was very offended, How could anyone ask me to sacrifice something as special as my front seat to anyone?! Indeed, Life is not Fair, Lesson Learnt. I finally gave in to her request and allowed her to sit in the front. Just then somebody reminded to recite the supplication before pulling the car out of the parking lot.
Atika had her own car, the same model which Shehla had just with a better stereo system! It was official that the race is about to start between Atika and Shehla when Atika vroomed her way out right beside Shehla's car. Atika had agreed to drop Sneha near her house, So sneha was with Atika. While afrah and I were enjoying the speeding race, ammu franatically fastened her seatbelt. Shehla the dare devil, was racing at a really good speed without the seat belt on and we were having a tough one from Atika. Once we reached in the crowded are of the city, Shehla begun to reduce her speed and hence was receiving my sarcastic comments from the backseat about ''How the speed she is driving at is good for beginners, new drivers and most importantly for girls''
We were now waiting at the traffic signal beside Atika's car on a junction. We were going to take a right turn from the junction and drive below a fly over. Just then I encouraged shehla all the more to speed and she pulled the car out in a franatic speed as soon as the signal went green. We were at 100kmph speed which may not seem to be too much of speed but in a crowded city like Hyderabad you can pull out that speed only on highways.
Just then my heart got scared for a moment as we were approaching towards an auto trailer with that speed. We were on a road which on a bridge. Shehla was at a high speed and I was sure in my heart anything can happen but she WONT hit the trailer, i thought she's gonna use one of her tricks and swiftly move the car from this dangerous situation but it ALL happened so FAST! Before I could realize, a Sudden BIG jerk shook the car as the front side of the car crashed into the auto trailer! Ammu's head hit the windsheild but thanks to her seat belt she didn't fly out of the windshield as it would happen in normal cases of accidents! O MY God, I cannot believe what JUST happened. We had an accident! No way! shehla cannot do an accident, she is the best driver I know of... or knew of.