Gaurav was lucky nonetheless. Unlike most of the men he knew now, and called them friends, he had a proper education. Yes, Yogesh was there, but he was a species all by himself. And, he had found a resourceful roommate in Pyare. Even after all these months, Gaurav couldn’t figure out what Pyare actually did. He said he was a middleman, a man in the middle. In the middle of what? He won’t answer that. Neither would Nishikant. Even the relationship between the two was something Gaurav would never understand. They were so different, it was very difficult to consider them friends. Yet, there was something there, the ease the way they accepted each other.
Gaurav was middle of preparing an elaborate lunch, just to keep himself occupied, how long could he sit there and stare at the TV, when Pyare called.
“Where are you?”
“At home. Cooking. If you come home now, I can serve you a hot, cooked lunch.”
“No, thank you. The lamb roasts at the Hyatt is much better.”
“Hyatt? What are you doing in Hyatt? It’s not your kind of place?”
“How do you know what is my kind of place? Do you think it’s your kind of place? Certainly not. But, you are having the lamb roast anyway, right?”
“You are getting me a parcel?”
“No, idiot. You are coming here. Now.”
“Now? Why? I’ve already cooked.”
“Do you want to remain a khanchama for the rest of your life? You have an interview today. In one hour. Just wear some decent clothes and come here, right! Oh, don’t wear that yellow t-shirt. Anything else would do. Quick or you’ll miss the 1.30 fast. By then the lamb roasts would be cooked.”
Gaurav found Pyare outside the imposing building, chatting up with the security guard.
“Okay. Listen carefully. Don’t tell him you live with me. That’s a deal breaker. And, behave like a real man. That one is a closet case, and thinks that talking to a gay-type in public would out him. Sleeping with one is okay, but no talking…”
Gaurav was surprised to hear Pyare use the words closet case. Yogesh could use it, he knew what it meant, but Pyare? He though that shabby, middle-aged drunk was an uncouth bhaiyya from the north. Only that he spoke good English.
“Who is he anyway, and what job?”
“A call centre job, I think. He is one of the owners. My client. Anyway, let’s go, the lambs are getting cold. And behave, right.”
“Whose is paying the bill?”
“Of course, your boss.”
It was not a proper interview. Pyare introduced Gaurav to a tall, handsome man in pale skin, as if he hadn’t seen the sun in ages, and who spoke in a twang. They had the lamb, which was very good, and beer, which was very light, and the man, Mr Vikram Mehra, asked Gaurav when he could join. Gaurav said the next day. He wanted ask about the salary or the kind of job he was hired for. He was not sure if it would be appropriate.
It was indeed a call centre job, where he needed to sell credit cards to the Americans. He was asked to choose a foreign name since the Americans found it difficult to pronounced an Indian name, or found it difficult believe someone with an Indian name. Gaurav knew what name to use. Patrick, of course. Once it was his name anyway. He was not sure the salary of ten thousand was more or less. But it was good money for him to begin with. Only issue was he had to work in the night shifts, which was actually good as both Payre and Nishikant worked in the night. Now, he could spend more time to Nishikant.
[Part of a story I'm working on, titled 'The Flowering of Gaurav Patil'.]