I don’t know whether it was love or friendship, but I was missing her too much that day. I sent her few messages but no reply came. I tried to call her but nobody received the call. This had
never happened before and one more thing which had never happened before was that I had never missed her so much but then I could do nothing but sit back and miss her even more.
I decided to go out to the betel shop located at the end of our locality. Every evening it turns into a gossip centre become a good place for time pass, especially when you are sad, it’s good
listen the tales of others. I went out and was on my way. Suddenly it started raining. Once I thought to return back but since the rain wasn’t too heavy I decided to check out the betel shop first.
The rain reminded me of her even more. I never knew why but tears came out of my eyes. Then I thanked the rain as it washed away my tears, at least for that moment.
When I reached the betel shop, I found it empty, except the shopkeeper, sitting idle in candle light and mosquitoes having candle light dinner on him. Even he was sad that day but he had a
different reason for his sadness. ‘THE MEN IN BLUE’, the Indian cricket team lost a match that day. I never care much about this game where eleven bastards run after a ball played by another
bastard. But I never said these words in front of the shopkeeper; else he would have eaten the raw flesh out of me. Breaking the silence, I asked him for a cigarette. He asked me in a gloomy
manner, “which one, menthol?”.”Ha! You know it better than me.”, I replied. He handed the cigarette with a false smile on his face. As I gave him the five rupee coin, I noticed his hands searching
for the lighter. Anyway I didn’t need that thing this time as I had already lit up the piece using the flames of the candle lighting up the small place.
As I blew off the first strand of smoke through my nose, I felt satisfied, satisfied for cheating my parents, cheating all those who care about me and cheating her. None of those people could
ever imagine that I could do this but this is the real thing in being away from home. After all no one of the working class becomes a man staying at home. The good boy at home has become a devil
Smoking that burning piece I started towards my den, the devil’s den. My room was just two doors away when I threw the cigarette and checked my breaths of the smell. I lived in a house rented
to me by a family of Pandits and there these things were not allowed and I knew this very well that the day I would be caught smoking or with a beer can, I would be surely kicked out of he place.
As I unlocked my room and went in, I heard squeaking of rats. Though I am a nature lover but they have made me to hate them as he had already destroyed three of my pillows and seven bed sheets, and
for a supervisor living away from his family, this loss is too much. Anyway, now let’s return back, I went in, switched on my television and laid flat on my bed. A television is quiet uncommon for
a man living away from his family for work. But I had to show my jealous neighbors, especially Rao aunty, back in my hometown that I left that place because I am getting a healthy salary and am in
a better condition than her son Bablu, selling eggs all day.
I toggled through the news channels in search of something interesting but all of them showing the same thing, big headlines on India’s defeat. I laid flat on my bed. After ten minutes a kid
came in with few chapattis and a little curry on the plate. He was the younger son of the Pandit, the future Pandit. I tore off the first piece of the chapatti and was just about to put it into my
mouth, news flashed in. It was about a fire in a shopping mall. I paused my eating as it was news about her city. The very moment the camera was switched on too. I can never understand how these
reporters come to know where, what is going to happen and be at the exact place. The camera was focused on the building. It was burning like hell. Even 9 vehicles of the fire department were unable
to stop it. Still some of the brave firemen went in to check in for life.
The news correspondent was trying to explain he reasons of the fire to the viewers. The camera was focused on few firemen coming out with a stretcher. It a burnt body, a brunt body of a girl,
a girl who resembled to be likes her. Seeing this I was frozen, frozen exactly for twenty seconds. The piece of chapatti fell off my hand and tears rolled down my eyes. I could not believe what I
had seen so I quickly took out her photo out of my wallet and to make sure it was not her that was of no use. I sadly switched off the TV and the lights and took the plate to return it.
I went in and handed the plate to the Pandit’s wife. Seeing the plate she asked, “Son! You haven’t eaten anything today?”
“Not willing to eat.”
“Why? What happened?”
“Nothing aunty, just not feeling well.”
She read the sadness on my face and knew that I was trying to hide something. She again asked, “You looked depressed, any thing happened at home?”
“No, nothing, everyone fine there.”
“Then you didn’t eat any thing. The food wasn’t good today?”
I might have answered that affirmatively as it is never good but why to cut the branch you are sitting on. After all they give me three time meal.
I just gave her a false smile and went into my room, switched off the lights and laid down on my bed. My eyes still open, searching for something in the darkness. Suddenly I heard a voice of
a girl, “hello friend! Why were you missing me so much today?” I turned to see if some one was there, but I saw nothing except darkness. I thought it to be an illusion. But then I again heard a
voice saying, “don’t worry, it’s me only, your friend. I had told you that I want you to meet again but the fate didn’t allow us to do so, so I had to come now.”
Time passed on, her voice became a part of my life, helping me in every steps. She was there whenever I needed help, whenever I was happy, whenever I was sad.
Yesterday was some thing special for me. I was to be promoted to the post of assistant manager, so I woke up early, bowed down before the pictures of my parents as they were my only gods as I
am an atheist. I heard her voice as usual, “good luck friend.” “Thanks friend, I really need to be on time today.” I replied. “Then hurry up!” she said.
But last night something unusual happened. I woke up suddenly. It was about one at night. I was surprised to see her in full body, standing by my bed. She came closer to me and said, “You are
finally there where I wanted you to see. Today is my last visit. I have to return now, return to the world of spirits.” I wanted to speak up but I could not. I silently saw her going away. I wanted
to hold her by her hands and say, “please stop, don’t go, I still need you, and I don’t want to lose a friend like you.” I tried a lot to move but all my efforts went in vain.
Today morning when I woke up, I found myself lying on the floor. Today is one of the saddest days of my life. Five years passed of her death. Today time has changed a lot. I am getting a much
higher salary, a salary high enough to burn Rao aunty to ash, a higher post, and I had said a good bye to all my bad habits but I still miss her the way I missed her that day. And I still don’t
know whether it was love or friendship.
-Sushant Kumar Das
© Copyright 2016 sushant kumar das. All rights reserved.