Jaata kahan hai deewane, sab kuch yahan hai sanam
Baaki ke saare fasaane, jhoothe hai teri kasam

May I keep these bags aside and come closer? She asked as we sat in a cab that was to drop us home.

You’re not even holding my hand, she complained. The driver continued to do his job, probably feigning ignorance or secretly enjoying what was to be a night of free entertainment for him.

May I kiss you?

I had a lot of onions yaar, I replied lamely, hoping to put her off but that didn’t matter to her.

I looked out of the window. The Geeta Dutt song, “Jaata kahan hai deewane”, was still playing on the radio. The road was deserted, standing vacant under the brilliant yellow of the street lights. [Sorry, driver sahab you signed up for an anti-climax.]

I thought of her husband, whom I had met less than a month ago at their marriage. I introduced myself to him on the stage as people crowded around the newly married couple for a photograph. He knew me, he said, and smiled. I congratulated him, handed his wife an envelope containing some cash and left.

How many times has it happened that the lines between two friends get blurred? You enter a grey zone, which neither belongs to friendship or romance. Maybe your testosterone or estrogen takes over, or some moment of emotional vulnerability or simply attraction or the thing we call LOVE.

There’s a scene in Yash Chopra’s Dil To Pagal Hai – sorry for this filmy digression, but I AM filmy, what to do – in which Karisma Kapoor tells Shahrukh khan, “It’s such a beautiful evening and you’re so unromantic.”

Now that’s an unusual thing to say to a friend, unless he’s more than that to you. The man, since he’s a man, doesn’t get it unless his drunk friend confesses her love to him later. The guy probably still doesn’t get it, especially since he’s heavily distracted by the angelic femininity of Madhuri Dixit. She will be Maya, the heroine of his play, as she replaces the “lesser-woman” played by Kapoor, who is recuperating from an ankle fracture in the film.

Probably it is also a guy thing – to long for that sari-clad, salwar kameez-wearing woman, with long hair, a perennial blush, quivering, sighing, dreamy eyes, shy etc etc (I bet you’re nodding in sly disagreement). So what if you have a great friendship with a girl, who also behaves, talks and walks like you. Recall Kajol aka Anjali in “Kuch Kuch Hota Hai“?

Shahrukh Khan or Rahul, the college stud-turned widower, has his tongue wagging when he sees his ex-best friend in a chiffon sari. She’s breezy, chuckles all the time and has another man (Salman Khan, her fiance in the film) madly in love with her.

Eventually, Rahul – deprived as he is since the death of his wife Tina – makes love to Anjali on a rainy night, as she trembles with perfect orgasmic intensity until her engagement ring is made to shine bright in the middle of the shot. Cut it!

He couldn’t romance her in a track suit, but can’t hold his pants either when she’s in Indian clothes. (Hell ya, she does look lovely, save for those big arms.)

Moral of the story? We have ideals for everything – the kind of home we want to live in, the way our career should progress, the kind of man or woman we want to be with. We chase it, this utopia, all our lives, when it exists [mostly?] in our imagination, not realising the best could be right there, before our eyes to see, but we don’t.

And that’s exactly what Geeta Dutt is singing in this song from “CID” –

Jaata kahan hai deewane, sab kuchh yahan hai sanam
Baaki ke saare fasaane, jhoothe hai teri kasam

It’s all right here, the rest is a mirage. But the cab moment was neither. It was my way of not losing a friend. Touche!

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