Title: Living The Dream
Author: plazmah/smitha-r
Rating: PG-13
Fandom(s): Bollywood - Kabhi Alvida Na Kehna
Pairing(s): none
Summary: Dinesh is a struggling DJ in New York City. When his sister presents him with an opportunity, he leaps at the chance to create a night like no other.
Notes: Item Number fic! The item number in question is Where's The Party Tonight from KANK, and the item GUY is the lovely John Abraham.

--

When he finally woke up, face nearly glued to the seat of his couch, the sun was glaring through the window. This did nothing to ease the massive headache that was pounding at his skull. Peeling himself off the couch with a dismayed growl, Dinesh rubbed at his eyes wearily. The clock on the wall said it was nearly noon-

"Shit!" Dinesh leapt to his feet in search of some aspirin. Less than an hour before he was supposed to start his show down at the radio station and he was still hungover, stinking of sweat and cigarette smoke. How the hell was he supposed to make it halfway across the city and eat something at the same time?

The things I do for music. Dinesh scrubbed his face clean (grimaced at his bloodshot eyes) and changed into a new set of clothes. Food would have to wait. At least he had a toothbrush waiting for him at the radio station's bathroom.

--

"Din, man, you look like shit. Late night?"

Dinesh nodded, cramming a stale sandwich into his mouth. Mmm, roast beef. Thank god for office leftovers.

"Good for you. Hope you made a decent chunk of cash." Wayne pulled off his headphones, passing them along to Dinesh. "That Indian shit is real hot right now."

"Like you would know." Dinesh replied jokingly. Wayne was as un-ethnic as it came, a gigantic (both metaphorically and physically) baseball fanatic from Jersey who ran a two hour show about obscure classic rock before Dinesh went on the air. It wasn't that great of a show, but then again, nothing really pulled ratings at the station. Which was why their manager was always threatening them with unemployment. Always wanting more listeners, more advertising. It was rarely about the music, which Dinesh didn't quite like but lived with anyway. What about sharing something special and new, expanding peoples' horizons?

"I know plenty!" Wayne scoffed, rising to the challenge. "There's that song, the one that sounds like disco puked all over a computer... dammit, now I forget the name."

Dinesh shook his head with disappointment. "Nice try. If you can't even remember the name of the songs I play every damn week, no wonder I keep getting shitty clubs to play at."

Wayne sighed, making his way out the booth. "I hear ya, man. Things aren't much better over here. Have a good show anyway,maybe today will be your lucky day."

Dinesh shrugged and slipped the headphones over his ears, letting the hollow wish drift through his thoughts. A lucky day would be the day he got his big break. Fat chance of that happening anytime soon.

--

A few weeks later, Dinesh was finishing up his latest session, same as usual, same rotation of the latest, hippest tunes, when he got a text message from his younger sister. To anyone else, this would have been an event of mild importance, but to anyone who knew the dynamics of Dinesh's family, it was definitely out of the ordinary.

can we meet moma 1pm have 2 tlk 2 u

Sulekha was rarely in need of help, despite being the younger of two. As fate would have it, she was the conventionally successful one in their family, working as an accountant for a prominent insurance company while he struggled to make his way through the music industry. Packing his iPod and notes back into his backpack, he wondered what she would say. It had been months and months since he had spoken to his little sister. No doubt she would relay messages of worry and concern from their parents. But Dinesh had grown used to such messages; you had to have thick skin to bear the slings and arrows of over-protective Indian parents.

Dinesh heaved the backpack across his arm and made his way down the street. Hopefully, today he would have thicker skin than usual. He was going to need it.

--

She was standing outside, leaning against the glass panes with agitation running through her. She spotted him and walked forward, greeting him with a perfunctory kiss on the cheek.

"You're late; I have to be back at the office in 10 minutes." She said without preamble, checking her watch. What a pair we make. Dinesh thought, he with his devil-may-care, casual attire and she with her utterly corporate wardrobe, Blackberry and Fendi purse and Prada heels as she looked at him with frustrated affection.

"How's married life, Sulli? Anil still treating you well? Boss still getting on your nerves?" Dinesh fished a cigarette out of his pocket while Sulekha looked on with distaste. But she said nothing and merely answered his questions.

"Anil is wonderful, thanks. And the boss is still a total asswipe, if you must know. Whatever. One day I will own that place anyway." She checked her Blackberry one more time before turning back to Dinesh. "I have an amazing opportunity for you, Din. You remember Lauren's friend Rhea? The one who works at the fashion magazine?"

Dinesh frowned in concentration. "The overwhelmingly confident desi chick?"

Sulekha nodded, smiling slightly. "Yes. Anyway, she's throwing a corporate party at a club this weekend, and she's a huge fan of Bollywood music. I told Rhea you were totally into the scene and could hook her up with some good Bollywood tracks. I made you sound so good that she wants you to be the DJ for the party."

Dinesh felt his heart leap into his throat. This was exactly the sort of opportunity he had been waiting and hoping for. "Awesome. Yeah, I'll totally do it."

"Good, I'll email you the details when I get back to the office." Sulekha paused. "Mom and Dad say hi. Their offer still stands, by the way."

Dinesh took a long drag of the cigarette, his face devoid of emotion. "Tell them no thanks. Again." Working at the family business, while secure, was not where his heart lay. It had been years since he had stood inside that Indian grocery store and he could still remember the smell, a mix of mangoes, betel nut, and incense. Exotic, and yet somehow... suffocating.

Sulekha sighed. "Fine. You know, they'd be pretty appalled if they knew I was helping you out."

"I know. You're my favorite enabler ever." Dinesh smiled, purposely ruffling her hair so that she'd get pissed off. She was so polished all the time, and her reaction to being anything less than uber-professional was amusing. Must be the big brother in me.

"Goddamnit, Din!" Sulekha cried while batting his hand away. Turning to her reflection in the glass walls, she rearranged her hair back into perfect form and looked at him with quickly fading anger. "I'm heading back, I'll email you Rhea's contact information tonight."

"Sure." Din stomped out his cigarette, not sure what else to say. Not 'see you soon', because he knew it wasn't true. For all he knew, the next time he saw Sulekha, she'd be a mother. "It was nice to see you. We're in the same damn city, we should meet up every now and then."

Sulekha looked slightly guilty as she patted his shoulder in an awkward manner. "The office is cutthroat, Din. It's not like your life; you can afford to take it easy."

"That's not true. I have to work so hard to get even an inch from people." There was more frustration in Dinesh's voice than he had expected there to be, but it was the truth. He wished Sulekha could understand that.

"I'm sorry. You know how busy I am." Sulekha said, starting to walk away.

"Too busy for your brother?" But she was already gone, the click of her heels the only answer to his disappointed question.

--

No one was even there yet and Dinesh still had to try his damnedest to appear cool. But the club was just so fucking cool. Massive dance-floor, endless VIP booths, professional bartenders and waitresses running around and preparing for a busy night... this was a far cry from some of the admittedly lame joints he had played in. But the best part about the place was most certainly the DJ's booth, perched high above all the crowds, giving him a bird's eye view of the atmosphere.

"You look excited." Dinesh nearly jumped out of his skin at the sound of someone speaking Hindi. He turned to find Rhea there, wearing a pleased smile and the shortest damn skirt he had seen in a long time.

Dinesh straightened, donning his cool and professional persona as he shook Rhea's hand and replied back in Hindi. "I am excited. Thank you for the opportunity, Rhea. I really appreciate it."

"You came highly recommended. Tell Sulekha I said hello." Rhea replied with a bright grin.

"I will." Dinesh stared at Rhea for a moment. "You seem different from the last time we met."

It was Rhea's turn to look startled. "We've met before?"

Dinesh laughed. He very rarely met with Sulekha and her friends, but the few times that he did, he usually made a lasting impression. Sulekha had once explained, while rolling her eyes, that it was because they thought he was hot, but that he dressed like a slob all the time. (Which was why he was, for once, dressed in designer gear tonight.) And if he remembered correctly, Rhea was married with a kid, so the hotness factor probably didn't work there. No wonder Rhea didn't remember him; he tended to keep quiet around Sulekha's corporate friends.

"I'm so sorry, I don't remember you at all! How embarrassing." Rhea explained, alarmed at her faux pas.

"Teekh hai, no problem. I just mean, well..." How do I put this? "You look really happy now. When we first met, you came off as a little... cold."

The moment the words left Dinesh's mouth he wished he had never said them. That's no way to talk to the person who's paying you, you dumbass. But to his surprise, Rhea smiled widely, leaving for the bar where her co-workers were beginning to arrive. "That's because today I am in a very good mood. Starting today, everything is going to be wonderful. Sab kuch."

--

Dinesh had a strange feeling of deja vu as he woke up the next morning, face plastered to his couch and the stink of cigarettes permeating his designer clothes.

But in the back pocket of his jeans was the business card of a record executive from the UK, who had been impressed by his skills and asked Dinesh to give him a call so that they could talk about a contract.

Yes, starting today everything was going to be wonderful. Sab kuch.

--end--

Translations

Teekh hai - okay
Sab kuch - everything