Neeti and Nayan, the best of friends from school, were on cloud nine. Both of them had landed a job with a TV channel and were selected to host a laughter gag series with it. They were given the job of luring gullible people to their pranks and make a fool out of them. They loved their job because that is what they were good at since their school days.
Today they had assembled at an outdoor location out of their city. The director explained the scene to them. Neeti and Nayan were to pose as newlyweds and ask the “victim” to click their photograph from the other side of the road. Just as the photo was taken, the crew SUV would pass by slowly between them. In a split second, the door would open and Neeti and Nayan would exchange places with an identically dressed but much older couple seated inside. The SUV would pass and the ‘victim-photographer’ would be in shock to see an old couple in place of the young. And to add to his shock the instant print out coming out of the camera would be that of the old couple, which would already be set in place. That would freak the victim out. The entire act would be filmed for the TV audience.
‘Oh! This was going to be so much fun’.
They had managed to fool eight passerby’s so far when Neeti spotted the next victim.
“Nayan, look our next bakra”, she shouted excitedly.
The victim was fast approaching and they called up their crew to be ready. They spoke their rehearsed lines and the victim agreed to photograph them. They posed for the photo, and Neeti could feel Nayan’s hand on her hips.
‘Strange’, she thought , ‘she and Nayan were close friends but not lovers. And he had never touched her like that, not even for a photograph.’ She made a mental note to reprimand him after the shoot. As the SUV approached they got into it and the older couple alighted from it.
Nayan looked at the victim again from the tinted glass and remarked, “ Doesn't he look like Karan?”
“Don’t ever mention his name, Nayan, not even for fun. I hate him.”
Neeti had herself thought so too, but chose not to say it aloud. She did not want to remember Karan, the college romeo who had proposed to her a million times. The guy she hated the most, and had set up a prank with Nayan to make fun of, in front of the whole college. Nayan had persuaded him for a snap with her on the last day of college. He had purposefully dropped a banana peel near Karan’s shoes. Karan had skid and fallen down and they had a hearty laugh at his expense. Someone told them that Karan had to be hospitalized after that incident.
‘Served him right’, she thought, ‘that will teach him to be more respectful of women.’
As she was lost in her thoughts she saw the older couple approach the crew.
“Hey guys, the prank didn’t work this time. Who swapped our photo with this one?” the elderly man was screaming.
The entire crew rushed to see what had gone wrong.
Neeti’s blood froze when she saw the photograph.
It was Neeti’s picture with Karan standing with his hands on her hips, exactly like he had stood that day!