As was the tradition of our previous five semesters, we were sitting with bottles of whiskey and a variety of snacks- veg, non-veg both. Our sixth semester engineering exams just got over. College life and especially hostel life is such that it makes a solid bonding- that’s what we always thought and rejoiced over then.
I- Dilawar, Avinash, Khushmeet and Lucky were like hands in gloves right since the first day we met in our college’s hostel.
Amongst us, I can safely say that I was the one who was the most popular in college. Everyone used to call me D, except for some seniors who addressed me as- Ladkiyon ka messiah (Girl’s favorite angel). Not because I used to help girls, but because of the fact that during most of the time that I used to spend in college, I was always surrounded by girls.
That night, just like our any other liquor party nights, it was all the smell of liquor, cigarettes, old-new-english-hindi songs and enormous laughter that filled the atmosphere on my flat’s terrace.
“Why did you book a ticket for the same night as our exams end, saale AK 47?” Khushmeet said, throwing a glance at Avinash. College life gives you names that can be the weirdest of all.
“Achcha. What if I would have booked ticket for tomorrow? Would you have had sex with me before that, you tharki,” Avinash replied grabbing chicken leg from the other hand which was not already occupied with the glass. Khushmeet got up, went towards Avinash’s back and started seducing him by touching him here and there making him uncomfortable like a non-interested girl.
“Yes, baby! Am coming, am coming..” he said and then laughed out loud, his one leg in the air and clapping along with it.
Lucky pushed Khushmeet aside trying to be his saviour, “leave him, yaar. Otherwise he would call his mummy.” I also laughed this time with them. Lucky looked sloshed.
“Let’s go to the girl’s hostel tonight. What say, guys?” All of a sudden, Lucky bounced with this I-was-totally-not-interested-
“What happened to you? Are you all right? Is there a nail on your chair, brother?” I said, acting as if I was inspecting Lucky’s chair.
“Nothing, bro. He is high. But the idea is not bad, haan,” Khushmeet added completing his peg, “one more, guys. End your peg now. Quick, quick!” He took the bottle in his hand and started to pour it in everyone’s glasses which were now almost empty. I kept my hand on mine.
“What happened, D? Today you had only one peg. The guy who was the biggest tanki, ever. By the way, if I am not wrong, you were the one who was drinking every single night in the past two months, even during exams. Take your hands aside. Shuu..”
“Nahi yaar, bhai (Nope, brother). I am done drinking. This was the last peg of, may be even my life. I have had a lot since Sneha left. Now, no more drinking.”
“Achcha! Good for you, modern Devdas. These girl related things are always bad. Didn’t I tell this to you every single day? Good that you are also now in our league. The league of extraordinarily sakhth launde (tough-hearted boys).
After having some more why-boys-are-always-happy-
being-single gyan accompanied by few more pegs, everyone wrapped it up. And just like that, I was left all alone on the terrace. It was that time of the night when sadness creeps up on you.
After spending a few minutes there, feeling the calmness with some me time, I went to my one-bedroom flat which was on the ground floor. My flat mate Avinash was on his way to the railway station already and my want-to-be-in-girl’s-hostel friends were, I guess, in their flat which was just above mine.
As soon as I stepped inside my flat, I realized that it was exactly after 72 days that I was not sloshed-to-death in the night. I could see the whole untidy living room clearly. By the way, those were the exact number of days, Sneha- the love of my life had left me. We ended our 3-year long relationship, and we broke up bad. Actually, I had doubts that something was brewing between Sneha and one of my classmates.
Last time we met at a cafe nearby to our college, I slapped her. Yes! I. Slapped. Her. Actually, I was shocked by the reaction she gave me when I asked her to hang up the phone while I was asking him about the guy. By the way, that again was him on the call. I mean, how could she lie to me on my face. I knew what I did was wrong, completely wrong. And afterwards, I even apologized to Sneha for my epic move that made all heads that day turn in the cafe. I also said that I would not want to keep relation with a girl like that in my whole fucking life ever. But, walking the talk was now becoming difficult for me. I missed her. What’s the problem with this heart, dude? It wants to forgive anything and everything of the person it loves.
Clouds now, just like my heart were making thunderous sounds. I closed the door, sat down on the sofa thinking about the days we spent together sitting on the same dusty orange couch. I used to think that I have found my perfect soulmate. Our relation for me was the one that would only end in coffin- that’s what I thought during every single day I was with her. And now here I was. Was everything a lie? Did she even love me for a single moment?
Thinking all this, a tear escaped my eye. I felt cheated. I felt bad. For me. But also for Sneha. She didn’t know what she had lost. But how can I still think about her and what’s good for her or not? God!
The volley of memories started to play the dangerous I-don’t-know-how-to-live-
without-her game. Standing up, I searched for something. It was a razor my eyes were looking for. Yes! It was in the bathroom. In my shaving kit.
I remembered a scene from my favorite Hollywood TV series those days- ‘Thirteen reasons why’, where the girl attempts suicide by cutting her wrist and by getting drowned in the bathtub. We didn’t have a bathtub though, I thought. Also, the girl there had thirteen reasons to attempt something like that, but I had only one. So what? Every story is different.
A fresh razor was now in my hand. My eyes shifted towards the mirror. Dark circles beneath my blood red eyes and my thick beard were shouting about my already lost battle. I sat down on the wet bathroom floor making my jeans wet from my butts. I didn’t feel the water at all, but I knew it was there. When one’s whole life is screwed up, who cares for a pair of jeans getting wet anyway, I thought.
Razor in my hand, hand resting on my knee, looking towards the ceiling, I opened my mouth and started breathing heavily trying to gain some courage. I had decided that I was now, once and for all, going to end this miserable life and will get out of this selfish as hell world which was full of betrayal and nothing else. I prayed to God to give me strength to do so.
The stainless steel, shining razor was now coming towards the wrist of my other hand. I looked at the bucket filled with water. The plan looked flawless. My eyes flooded with blood, my whole body was shivering with the thought of pain that was about to visit me. Will it be a shower of blood bursting through my veins like a fountain or would it be as subtle as coffee spilling through the cup? It was time to actually know the answer.
Just as the Gillette razor was about to kiss my skin, I heard something. Did my door bang? Did I really hear something? Who cares? But, what if Avinash forgot something and would have come back to take that. He will not leave without it. Or if it were the other two jokers who were planning to go to the girl’s hostel? In any case my plan would be disturbed or worse they would save me. After all, one at least deserves to die in peace. The door banged again.
I stood up and opened the door to find no one there. Clouds outside were pouring like anything. Some droplets even pissed me off successfully by touching my face. Angrily, I pushed the door when something or someone shoved through my leg. I turned back to find out what it was. It was a puppy, a street dog. It looked, like, maybe a week old. It was completely drenched in water. I went towards it trying to catch it and throw him out right at that instance. Everything that day had planned to piss me off. As I tried to catch hold of it, it transferred the rain water from its body to wet my face again. Holy cow!
Angrily, I ran towards him, or maybe her. It was leaving no stone unturned testing my running skills along with it. He/ she hit the plastic stool which had my mom and dad’s picture on it making it fall and break the glass that covered the picture. I took it in my hand and started looking at it. My parents face said that they had huge expectations from their son who turned out to be a loser. In fact, a big loser.
The dog came running towards me, jumping this time. It was now trying to play with my leg. Not finding me sporty as he/ she was, he/ she tried to catch hold of my leg this time. It made me ponder. I looked at him/ her, thinking that even this little dog knows how to fight with the storms of life yet it keeps playing along, smilingly. Tears started rolling down my eyes as my hand went automatically towards his/ her head. I stopped, stood up, opened the door and then ran out on the road.
The rain was now in its full flavor. I looked up towards the sky, eyes half open. Turning my head straight again, thinking about my loved ones I began crying out loud. Something inside me wanted my yowls to be louder than the thunderous clouds, as if trying to intently make them reach God.
“C’mon D! You are a fighter,” I said aloud and continued.
“No person is as much important as your own self. Especially, the one who doesn’t love you. You, you, Son of a.. Shut up! You were trying to.. Fuck! You asshole.” My tears were continuing to run a race with the free flowing rain water on my face, making it hard to judge who won- my tears or the rain water.
“You, your life, your dreams, your parent’s dreams for you, your career, the girl who will really love you like anything will be waiting for you. But.. Don’t live for them. Live for the person in you, the fighter in you who deserves all good things life has to offer along with…” I took a pause and continued, “along with some bad ones too. That must be the only reason why you live. To make the best out of the gift God had bestowed upon you. Yes! That is the only reason why you should live. For the you, you can become.” I cried out loud with open mouth. It was really loud.
After a while, I found something trying to pull my jeans. It was him/ her again. The next moment I fell down on my knees, covered my face with my hands. The dog was still pulling me by my jeans asking me to come inside.
I came back to the present when Maddy- the bitch whom I then assumed to be a dog (named her after my favourite movie character from the movie Rehna hai tere dil mein) was pulling my leg. I smiled looking at her.
“D! What are you doing here alone? Come, let’s dance!” my beautiful wife, Ayesha said grabbing my hand and pulling me towards her. We were about to reach the living room of our flat which was now turned into a dance floor when I was caught hold by the girl-gang of my company. They congratulated me again and asked for a selfie. After all, how can they resist clicking pictures with the national head of one of the biggest cellular solutions company. It was a success bash that I threw for all of my colleagues today. Ayesha looked at me, I made a puppy face asking her to join in a moment. She knew how popular I was amongst girls right since my college days.
After a click or two, I excused the ladies and went towards Ayesha. Taking her hand in mine, I ran towards the open terrace of my flat and we started to do her favourite thing- dance. Ayesha was good at salsa and I was good at following her. I like to dance on her tunes, when I want to.
From the corner of my eyes I saw Maddy too breaking the floor with her unconventional dancing skills. Maddy looked at me. I smiled. She reciprocated.