People looked at us when we burst into a bar-cum-karaoke pushing each other and laughing like lunatics. Our behavior was way away from matured. A group of bulged-bellied men from right corner took a break to scrutinize us before resuming their conversation. Another trio of 20 something guys near the bar blatantly checked each one of us from head to toe.
“Let’s go there.” Namgay said louder than required pointing to table near window.
“…. People fall in love in a mysterious way…” I saw a guy in a red shirt butchering one of my favorite song ‘Thinking Out Loud’ of Ed Sheeran by singing off-scale.
We excused and squeezed ourselves making way to the table. The night was young and we were wild.
“Guys, tell me what you want to drink. I will go and bring.” Phuntsho asked.
“Nah! Birthday boy. We are at your service. We order and serve you while you pay.” Namgay teased him. We laughed really loud.
“Foster for me.”Dorji said.
“Same here.”Phuntsho raised an index finger.
“What about you ladies?” Namgay asked us.
“Takin.” Dechen and Sonam said in unison.
“Amul Kool.” I said.
All of them stared at me as if I was pointing AK-47 at them.
“Come on, Tshering. You are ruining the night. You have to drink tonight, it’s my birthday. And also this is our last gathering together.” Phuntsho almost pleaded.
“I haven’t drunk before. I don’t think I can handle this. Moreover, there should be someone sober to take you guys home when you guys lose your mind.” I tried explaining.
“Everyone try something for the first time. You have to drink else we all are drinking so called your favorite ‘Amul Kool’ to stay cool. I mean it.” My so called dramatic friends emotionally blackmailed me.
“Chill guys. Ok. Fine. I will try, but don’t force me more than I can handle.” I said.
“Ok. 2 Fosters for Phuntsho and Dorji. Takin for three of us. 1 spy for Tshering. That’s it.” Namgay recounted the order and went to the bar counter.
“Bring some snacks and whatever you get there, something ‘spicy’.” Phuntsho shouted from behind.
Service was quick and good there. Not less than a minute, drinks were on our table. Each one us toss and clink the glasses “Cheers to the birthday boy!” and drank. A Spy tasted sweet in the mouth and it wasn’t bad, I mentally registered.
We went to sing our so called engineering anthem ‘Give Me Some Sunshine’ from movie 3 Idiots.
As tracked played, we sang less and shouted more. The crowd joined us since almost all the people knew the song.
By the time, guys emptied 3 bottles each and girls were on the second bottle. Though I was still stuck with spy, I felt my cheek warming as alcohol was slowing taking control over me.
“Dechen! Look at a guy in a green checked shirt. How do you find him?” Namgay asked.
“He is kinda cool.” Dechen replied while we looked at one of the guys from the trio, to crosscheck what ‘cool’ actually meant.
“O” we said. So cool meant a chiselled and sharp cut face, with unfocused eyes, soft laugh and an overall look of a chocolate boy.
“Agreed. He is checking on you. I will fix you a date with him.” Namgay stood before we could stop her. She is an adamant when she drinks.
“Namgay! Come back.” Dechen shouted in vain.
Namgay turned and mouth “Thank me later dear.”
We laughed and I patted her on the back and said “It’s ok. It’s fun.”
“Fun? Somebody hide me please.” Dechen looked around searching for a place to hide, literally.
We glued our gaze at their table. Namgay dragged a chair from another table, sat behind that guy, leaned towards him and whispered something in his ear. He seemed to register things and replied something in her ear. Then they were laughing, talking and Namgay hitting him on arm occasionally (it’s Namgay’s habit to hit animatedly while talking).
After an almost 15 minutes, which felt like an hour, Namgay returned with her merry go nature.
“Guys, he agreed.” Namgya squeaked.
We clapped and Dechen was literally embarrassed.
“Dechen! You are safe. He has an eye on someone.” Namgay declared.
“Awoo! Who?” we asked.
“Wait! You cheat. You took a chance and fixed a date with him yourself.” Dorji said. I couldn’t help laughing.
“Shut up. First promise me that whoever he chose, that person has to go on a date with him.” Her tone was a dominating one.
“Agreed. Without question.” Phuntsho said.
“Agreed. It will be such a waste not to go out with him.” I said.
“Ok. Ready. No backing off.” Namgay warned us.
“Come on! Don’t play with us, spill it.” Sonam said.
“Phuntsho.” Namgay said.
“Whhhaaaat!” escaped from our mouth at the same time, in the same tone with the same intensity of the shock.
“You are kidding.”Phuntsho said, unable to recover from the shock.
“Wish I was. It broke my heart to learn that he has a thing for boys instead of girls. Wish I was a boy.” She mockingly cursed her bad luck.
Namgay looked and signaled him to come. “You are not doing this to me.” Phuntsho panicked.
We shockingly laughed at a situation.
He introduced himself as Tashi and shook a hand with each of us.
Awkwardly Phuntsho rise, and went for a walk with Tashi on a fully illuminated street of Phuntsholing. Our eyes followed them till they exited from the main entrance.
“So, he has a thing for a boy, huh?” I asked laughingly.
“Not at all. I lied. Sorry, Dechen. He seems to have a little thing for you but I lied to him. I almost pleaded him to go with Phuntsho. I lied that Phunthso is a gay and he was interested in him. As a matter of fact, I told him it’s his birthday tonight. Hell! He freaked out, but finally agreed when I promised him to give a Dechen’s number.” She laughed while we looked at her, horrified.
“Poor Phuntsho! You manipulative prankster.” Sonam said laughingly.
“Poor Tashi.” Dechen said. We raised our eyebrows and laughed in her face.
“It will be a night to remember for him.” Dorji said.
“Correction! It is a night to remember for all of us.” I said.
Indeed, it was. Phuntsho too agreed next day.