I don’t always like the stuff I write. Especially when it comes to incidents and stories. I seem to be able to rant and ramble but then I’m not sure about how well I’d be able to describe and incident or more importantly; talk about a real life situation. Add to that I got a really radicle review for the following write up. It didn’t bother me much though. I wasn’t going to share it until I re-read it and decided it put it up for reads. Here goes…
This is a story of retribution, redemption and divine intervention. I’d be speaking about it in 1st person and it’s inspired from a real life friend who turned out to be one amongst the many jackasses I know. He proved his jackassery time and again and this time he just went out of his usually insensitive ways to something that’s even more deeply hideous and overtly contemptuous! It’s sad that he had to give up his life for what he did, but then come to think of it, that’s how God allows redeeming yourself. This is Arjuns story and it was this crazy episode that changed his life.
Arjun, me, Sachin and Vinod (my elder cousin brother) we were roomies around 4 years ago when we lived and worked in Bangalore. They have since then moved to Mumbai and pledged to never return to this god forsaken place but I was too much in love with this city to not return. I guess I’d settle down here someday. They curse this place for its people, infrastructure and everything else. They can go on and on about how much they hate this city but they still won’t go away. They’d devour all that they make out of it – money, friends, a career, a life and then ramble on about unhelpful it is; inconsiderate schmucks.
We lived close to K.R Puram and had easy access to the city. I loved these guys and living with them was an awesome experience. Especially since that was the first time I ever got a chance to be away from home and I was making my own life. I was earning well then and I used to wonder about how I’d spend the 7,000 Rs that I had! That was such a huge amount then. Arjun came across as a good looking guy who had a naughty little smile, an awesome personality and a charming set of behavioral rules which seemed to get him within close proximity of anyone he wanted to talk to and this included guys as well. Our lives were easy, all of us were new, we all earned in decent figures and the rent we paid for a mansion of a house we lived was satisfyingly low! In this way, we managed to save up on money and Arjun bought himself a new bike. This he said would be of substantial help in his hunt for a girl he’d want to be with! I’ve always been a geek and his chick-talks only encouraged me to write more and that’s all. The whole concept did not appeal to me then. I was a helpless romantic and I thought love would happen and that you don’t need to go look for it. Arjun on the other hand was unlike any of us, he was one of those many Casanova’s prowling in the shadows of a party, a get-together, a coffee-shop or anywhere for that matter. He’d just happen like a sudden curse to women and that’s how we had posthumously crowned him the king of jerks!
Arjun worked with MPhasis then and I was with Dell and the both of us were Customer Support guys and we answered phone calls from American customers and we worked the nights. He was quite a crowd puller and within a few months he was overflowing with friends and he was nowhere to be seen. He’d just come around to pay up on rents and the occasional drinks with my cousin and Sachin. I’d ask him about what he was up to but I usually got lies and that’s when I stopped talking to him. Then one alcoholic night he got high on Old Monk and seemed to be in a talkative mood. He spilled out a name and a small story along with it. He met this girl at work. I quickly turned my music down and began listening intently because this wasn’t Arjun. He seemed to be in trouble and I was worried. I’ve seen him get drunk numerous times but this was different. He cried and sobbed as he never did! Amongst all his sobs he blurted her name out – Payal.
I thought to myself, “Hey! I know this girl, guess she’s the same girl who kicked his ass on the first day at work” He had showed a picture of her to me once and she seemed to cute to me then. I wondered about what might have happened; where did this girl find the power to hurt Arjun? He was a tough nut to crack and I was surprised to know that he’d let the very first girl in his life bring him pain and misery. I continued to listen closely as he unraveled a story which was so distasteful that I hate him to date. He started telling us about her – Her voice… a sweet whisper, her words… riddles you can’t work your way around, her smile… a hundred dawns; bright and full of joy, her eyes…. deeper than her words and she… a gorgeous girl. She carried her exterior beauty very neatly hidden in clothes that weren’t too loud but bought out her beauty. Payal was his best friend and they had fallen in love with each other!
She loved him a lot, he said. Arjun was his usual self. running around working on his regular set of unacceptable actions which would bring out the worst in anyone and that’s precisely what he ended up doing with Payal. He was not sure about what he felt for her. He wouldn’t want to share her, but he had other girls as friends and Payal wasn’t someone who’d want to share. She was obsessive, possessive and everything else that a girl could be when she was really in love. She needed her timely phone calls and he’d miss them callously. She needed his touch and he never had the time she asked for cause he had gotten what he wanted and he had quenched his thrill! I felt like bashing him up when he uttered the word thrill; but then he sobbed some more and I felt weird. What was wrong with him? This wasn’t the Arjun I knew! Here is where I snatched the glass from his hand and asked him to blurt out! “What the fuck did you do?” I nearly screamed. That’s when I looked into his eyes and I could see his pain. Red in pain and agony, he seemed like someone who was destroyed by nuclear bomb full of love-gas! “She met with an accident… they won’t let me see her… she’s in pain and I can’t even go close… they won’t let me” and he passed out!
I waited for him to wake up in the morning. The lazy ass would try to never wake up if he could because he loved sleeping. I pushed and prodded till he finally woke up not knowing about what had transcended on us the other night. He seemed to be his normal self now and it seemed like he wanted to make a dash for the door. I stopped him, “Tell me what’s going on!” he grimaced and yelled, “I HAVE TO SEE HER AND I NEED TO GO NOW! Out of the way now before I beat your sorry ass off this porch!” One look and I knew that this guy was desperate! “I’ll take you to the hospital; I don’t want you to drive!” I didn’t give him enough time to negate my need go with him. I quickly jumped onto the bike and took off with him.
“She’s critical and you’ve got to be out of your guiltless mind to have come here! What do you want now?” The first words I heard as I strode into the hospital after parking the bike. Mr. Mittal was facing the garden as Arjun stood behind him. His head hung in shame, tears welling up in his red eyes. I secretly felt happy. I heard myself whispering, “The bastard deserves whatever it is that happened” I’m not sure why, but I somehow hated this “everything’s-ok” attitude that he carried around himself and I thought he needed to suffer a bit to learn. Well, I was in for a surprise and I cursed myself the second I heard what Arjun said – “…but I did not expect her to kill herself! I don’t know!! What wrong did I do? Did she tell you anything?” Mr. Mittal turned around and handed over a letter. He read it slowly, this time the tears came down swiftly and it seemed to form a small pool around where he stood. I walked over and put my hand over his shoulder. He handed the letter over and walked away.
I’m not sure if I can call you that anymore, but then that’s all that I can call you for now. I’ve loved you endlessly and I know that this is the biggest sin I’d ever commit. Falling in love with you was a slightly smaller one. But then, do you see me even now? Now as I try to finish this wretched life which you’ve come to hate only because I asked for some of your time and love; even now, all I want to do is to see you. I know that I can’t do that and it pains me, the way I am. I’ve been a self-loathing idiot all this while thinking about why I don’t love my parents as much as I love you. I have no answers. I’m tired of living in contemptuous self-pity and I just wanted to say good bye! I love you so much. Please don’t forget me.
Our entire lives tumbled upon me as I read that I did not know how to react. I sat down, contemplating all that I had just lived through and I was wondering about what was going on in Arjuns brain and mind. It all felt like a bollywood movie and I couldn’t shake myself out of it. I walked up to Mr. Mittal and enquired about Payal. That’s when the doctor confirmed that she was out of danger and that we need to inform the police about her attempt to self-murder. Arjun was no where to be seen. I tried calling him, he never answered. I went back home and that’s when Sachin told me that he packed up and left. “Bastard!” I couldn’t stop myself from wanting to run after him, find him and kill him, brutality style! But then, he was a coward and he was gone! He’d redeem one fine day for all that he did; the way Payal was redeeming for her lack of affection towards people who gave birth to her. And come to think of it now, she’s alive and its divine intervention!
Like I said, I find it a bit too bollywoodish to believe but then thats what my brain cooked up.