Tapas Das



Tapas Das


A Friendship Uncalled For

A Friendship Uncalled For

22 mins 29.7K 22 mins 29.7K

Yes, it was the 90’ That’s how I began my journey towards becoming a superstar, I am not kidding, Yes right I am kidding you don’t have to make that face. When I talk about my generation, firstly it was a great episode of my life. The kind of days that just stays on you as you grow old, I admit I am old, no kidding but those were the days I tend to never forget.

I was a nerd, not technically but a guy with aspiration, Nah, I was not. I was a guy who girls avoid and laugh over and forget the very next minute .we were in college that’s early I am starting, do not think It would be like you see nowadays, girls and boys looking absolutely stunning wearing a torn jeans sounding pretentious, carrying a slim phone worth a lakh, using slangs, boyfriends are credit card, no definitely not. We were used to wearing uniforms, that’s right. I still hate the fact .even after school I still have to wear uniform, how I am going to impress girl with a fucking uniform, The colors were so vibrant I mean dark, I sometimes looked like a security guard perhaps an educated one, My friends did not laugh about it, as they looked the same .wearing the same clothes every day was a headache, commonly we wore uniforms for 10 years wasn’t that enough. Anyways, My college never felt like a college it always looked like a boarding school, there was a faint smell of bread god knows why, but the very thought is the smell of the bread and the warning bell, just about a nuclear attack is going to happen.

I was a witty kid, yes a witty kid with a no sense of humor. My name is Raj, a stereotypical name I would say, My friend's name was utterly more ugly, That’s what I think. Ramesh.

Yes, a name that sounds as he is somebody father .we both never did anything substantial, staring at other college girls was our main task for a day, same college girls nahh, looking gaping, sometimes we even used to follow them, but only to a point when it does not look creepy, eve teasing no, we could never have that guts.

There is this thing yes that’s how I began my story, I fell in love, cliché no definitely not. I am more in love with her anybody would ever be. The day I saw her, I literally heard a song playing in the background, she wore a pink top and a blue jeans, we have a photocopy machine near to the college which is common for both and on the flipside there is a college which is quite unbelievable, it’s an all-girls college as we really have dreams getting inside it once but being insulted on a numerous occasion, insulted would be a less appropriate but we being kicked out for trespassing, such instances happened quite often.

I was about to leave I saw a girl holding a pile of books, juggling between them and about to fall. Like a hero I ran towards her and held the books. While I took one by one, my hand touched hers and she smiled back – god no I am lying on an epic scale .she was not the one. As my hands brushed hers –

She nearly abused me, just beside the copy machine there is a juice center, and she was giggling there alone. Yes, that’s true that’s how I met her. She wore a spectacle and semi-cool jeans with a printed t. I won’t call her beautiful but the way she laughed at me, made me feel good about her .irrespective how the smile was but she did smile.

There it is the beginning of a lifelong romance –Bullshit that’s not how we felt. I hated her not because how she looked but every time I passed from there, she howled or laughed, the kind of laugh in which you understand the other person thinks you are a fool. I admit I was, but why providing an evidence. It’s not cool.

One day, I saw her eating with her pretty friend, yes she was pretty, a girl who perhaps never look at a guy like me all her life, but that just me, anyways she smiled and called me over, I felt it was a lottery for me .on the contrary, she waved at her friend behind me the wave was not for me, kind of sad when you don’t get any attention all your life. I felt depressed and left alone, even felt like to off myself just like the movies as I am more close to the sea there will be a background sound, but it was not anything of that sort. I went to the sea had a chat and came, are you kidding me I will never be too close to the death. Being dead is so boring it’s just like watching an art film when you are trying to understand the premise and the movie ends.

Nevertheless, our exams were approaching I was excited, Yes that’s right but not for the right reason though. I wanted some girl to sit beside, as it was a mix examination therefore inter divisions used to sit on a different class .speaking of classes, it was the thing that time .library became obsolete .students were given instruction by the professors to join the classes, otherwise our marks will tamper. I was fucking tired of that, classes after college god no. Pheww.

Priya, yes that was her name, through one of my FBI friend I got to know she has joined the classes.

My urge was to know why she laughs at me like that. I even tried to get her landline number, her father worked in a bank. She had landline it’s like owing a swimming pool those days genius isn’t. There is one instance about her which make me look at her from a myopic view which is this,

One my friends told me, she accidentally called an ambulance, as she didn’t know how to use the landline. The crazy girl she is, or I really don’t know? For the examination sake we studied all night .we studied less and smoked more watching DVD we killed our time, it sort of funny that time. We had so much to talk about. I have no clue what the hell we spoke.

Ramesh was more like a fiend his life was a mystery at least at some point, he never opened up about his father. It was elusive, I figured he was a secret agent. They didn’t have anything at home .just a scooter and basic furniture and everything was so orderly it even occurred to me that nobody lives there, He’s father never spoke looking at me I saw him reading a newspaper and that’s all I remember about him. The second last day of the exams we started to study, we studied like a scientist, as if we are one,

The day of the exam, the sun rose, as usual, I was half asleep. I do some ritual with myself, not to take a bath, the smell of my armpits go away the difficult answers, and it’s stupid that’s just me.

I was sitting on the first bench and Ramesh on the last , yes that’s what happens but in a sense its good , as he knows only the answer I have memorized with him , he doesn’t remember anything else.

To my surprise, the person beside was late, the bell was rung paper distributed I was feeling giddy and also nervous thinking of the guy who didn’t turn up, he’s alarm must be broken, never mind.

As I remove my pen.I looked it was Priya , in haste her hair was messy and above all she forgot her spectacle. I noticed it first, she herself didn’t .she slowly removed her writing board and a Ganesh idol, I mean, she placed it nicely in front of him.I figured must be for an auspicious reason.

While attempting the paper. She hid the idol below the bench and removed a chit from it, the whole time I saw her doing it, I sort of kicked her, and she looked at me while putting the idol back and have this fishy smile. The smile you represent after committing a crime and you feel good about it.

That’s how I remember her, there we began a friendship and I am a witness to a crime she committed despite the fact I also copied from it.

All of us passed with a semi-average mark, apparently she got more I don’t know why, but she did.

She never really mentioned any likeness towards me, all three of us when to eat out, not in a hotel we never had enough money to eat out , it was lovely evening , her hair kept brushing my eyes , it might be annoying to someone unknown to her but not to me, we had panipuri and on the way home. We all sang together, I mean a song not in a rhythm definitely. I liked her company, I don’t know about Ramesh, I definitely was into her.

We sat on a bench outside her house, her father was a government employee and she lived in a railway quarter .it was covered by trees, the evening seems like 2 am, hardly anyone trespass there for that, they were no kids on the premises.

She giggled and confesses, I really like being with you two,

Ramesh replied, in an ironic tone, apparently we don’t share the same feeling “

We laughed and she looked at us, in an agro way, and it faded into a laugh.

I was happy at the same time there was a hint of sadness.

She could have mentioned only me for god’s sake, Girls I tell you never quite sure about anything.

Together we felt like a union, we danced together, we mocked each other, the point never arrived she is a girl, a different gender since childhood we both are accustomed to male company , But it was different this time, we both were evolving god knows how but, perhaps we never thought of that way. I did seem like her, the way she moved or the way she uttered my name. I was bit jealous too as she kept calling his name more often than mine, it mattered to me when I was alone thinking of her not when we were together. I am a slow learner and girls they freak the hell out of me.

Our friendship grew so does the rumors, she is dating both of us, although we knew this would someday come to us like a meteorite but we evidently never paid any heed to it as were too busy exploring places together .we went to this river on the outskirts a kind of place were only guys go, as it was far from a residential. But we were confident nothing could happen to us.

Somehow Priya looked different that day, girls can change their self any time.

I kept staring at her to the point it seemed vulgar, she kicked me twice for doing so,

Ramesh laughed like Hulk, I was convinced I did something stupid.But it was allowed as she knew how I was. Really, that didn’t sit well isn’t, she did not know how I was?

We sat on a curvy rock and beneath us, there were rivers flowing, a semi-average day with a cool breeze, and she bought wafers for us. Ramesh while eating slipped few chips in the river, her hair flipped and there was a slight aroma of her hair shampoo, which made me crazy sometimes I can’t deny it.

I quite believed we reached a stage where we never really knew it was a friendship between, there was no conversation as such there was just adventure and pulling each other’s legs. However, between the sheets, we knew deep down confusion was lingering.

We went to see a movie together after collecting the last of a penny from each other , the theater is an ideal way of telling someone how much you love him, don’t know but it provides a kind of attention .

Before that I would like to bring to your notice, something changed in me, I began to pay attention to myself. Don't know how to say it, but I felt it, god knows whether I was really in love or with whiskey I had no fucking idea about it. getting back to her, she ate half of my popcorn and she looked straight without looking at me once, the reason I summon the courage to tell her or voice out feeling is that Ramesh wasn’t present that day, he had some relatives coming over so he decided to stay back. It does that frequently and today he did this for a purpose may or maybe not I don’t know?

That day, she wore the black top and blue jeans her hair was open and she was wearing this light lipstick which shined in the dark like a rainbow, maybe I don’t know I am anyways not good at colors.

While she put her hand for the popcorn, I slightly put it aside and pretending I didn’t want her to take that anymore. She shrugged and said, Give it to me you freak, I said “I love you”

What? Yes, I love you? My lips were shaking so does my heart, everything looked different in the cinema, are you serious raj? She said it in a skeptical tone. I was unsure how to respond to any of her questions.

I was just done, so far what I have prepared I did it my task was over I needed nothing more.

After being angry for a while she took her emotions down and said this,

I knew raj something like this would come up, this is the reason my mother warned me, not be much closer to guys she said it in a confession tone, I looked at her in a piteous way possible,

But she laughed, fool I am kidding, I was confused what to take that as a yes or a no,

She uttered the word listen, after chewing the last popcorn which made a gulping noise, I saw her throat and her, I like Ramesh, This mere words just dissolved and in a mildly way broke my heart, thereafter I didn’t hear any of her words, we completed the movie and we departed.

We have entered the final year of the college and things did change Ramesh and me, I never told him, she said so, perhaps she didn’t too. Don’t know I started being suspicious about Ramesh, is he meeting her secretly? Is he calling her? I even went to follow her, but evidently couldn’t find anything.

The thing about my friend is he never spoke anything which he had in mind, I mean never we were always fooling around, he spoke once when my father passed away, his speech was for 1 minute that’s all, however, he was always there for me like a solid rock or moon. But these things really get in you, that’s making me sick I am not able to retain my usual self .everything is about her now, I don’t know I really can’t help myself.

Priya has been busy with family and it’s not that she didn’t want to meet us, she is occupied, that made me sad, really sad in fact. I start to miss her just like that in any circumstances my mind goes to her

1 years, we completed our studies and just like that college were over, like in a second, I do not know where exactly things changed for us, but Ramesh started to work as an accountant he was good with a calculation that’s what he told me.Priya went to further study, the point is we hardly met thereafter which kind of sucks I liked being with two of them .it was a silenced separation we never said anything but it was there. I was home unemployed but I saw everything around me growing I will start with my hair I am kidding, I mean people, circumstance fucking everything. I needed time for myself one year was not enough, perhaps I was lazy to go out and search for things maybe I wanted to be a writer that’s what my mother tells me always I am always good with stories. Priya did mention the same .speaking of her. I never really saw her that freaks me out though. Her landline number I forgot or I crumpled the paper and threw it in the dustbin when I say these I am lying, I do remember her number though never had the audacity of calling.

I took a walk to the college I mean from the entrance to the canteen, it was evening a Sunday evening where students were not present and the guard as he is familiar he let me in, I kept walking, all the memories came gushing in me as if I am living that life again. I saw a tree, that was the tree we buried our chits, I sat there and I dig in, I could not find it then I remember I told him nobody should find it so I dig deep and there it was, the first year chit all crumpled and writing were all blurry and I took it with me as a souvenir . I walked up to the class which was not so far it was closed but I stood outside and still felt the same noise of us inside making fun of each other or maybe others. The smell of chalk and library, playground it was all there, I realized how lucky those who are living this golden era still

A time which I will never trade, I came out and smoked a cigarette and the guy in the paan shop remembered me just like our own buddy or maybe I owed him I don’t know he didn’t say anything.

That day outgrew in me, I sat near to a tree just like the old times. I could feel all of three sitting together and giggling and kicking each other and the sun was about to go down and we have no business with that, I felt this urge of going to them and ask to come over maybe it was too late. My eyes were moist I could feel the growing sadness a kind of sadness which just takes time perhaps.

Over time the minimum meeting schedule was less to zero we both were busy and Priya was out of context, we realized we have changed but not this drastically.

3 Years passed and we met on a friend’s wedding, that was the last seen, we did not speak much though as if we didn’t have much to talk top about over time everything in your personal time grows so much, you don’t get a point to say things or explain as he and me have missed too much of each other there was no initiator,

I left lonely, in a sense I was without a friend, I choose to move to the city as my mother insisted me to see the outside and get out of this cocoon, she was right she still is, but I never admitted the same, I just being myself.

A new city, a new beginning and new place to live and maybe new friends. I got myself a job, a decent job, a shabby place to rest my ass.I have roommates , I would not call them roommate perhaps a beggar or a rich beggar , never seen an ugly personality , he lives like a homeless eats like a homeless ,

That ass had a good heart, we both gelled well and every night he carried a 2 bottle of beers, he seemed like a good friend after a long time, I didn’t work far for a commute, every day get back from work by 7 pm and we go outside to eat or sometimes drink heavily depending on the mood of the hour.

Amongst all these chaos, I missed my old friends I wonder how they would be, or what they are doing right now, I asked my friend Ranveer, yes that’s his name.

How you feel to connect with your old friends, I said in a making funny face,

I would never or I do not have friends to begin with. That’s sad Ranveer, it is obvious too

He threw the beer bottle at me, I almost dodged it. And ONCE the thought of Ramesh crossed my mind, as it a déjà vu.I wonder sometimes what he might be doing at this point in time.

For the next few moments, their thoughts did not leave my mind, kind of a homesick feeling, I do not want to coin a term for missing friends.

In the midterm mother keeps calling to know what exactly I am doing, whether she lost her son, The answer is no, because she is the only one I talk not frequently but weekends

While conversing with her , she mentioned priya once that she has moved to Delhi for a job prospect which kind of freaked me out , A sudden flash of happiness came inside , I didn’t look the same , That’s what I think nowadays , I have come to this conclusion after I have not been thrown out from anywhere , but she was with me for way I looked that time , I kept thinking about her , like a retard , but what If she never recognizes me , as if I never existed for her , the time period in the college which she did spend with me can be a sociology experiment , anything can happen

I was standing in a bus queue and was getting late for work, I saw a girl arguing with a rickshaw driver, the voice was loud and familiar, I kind of stepped outside my line and try to see who that is, a girl wearing a fit jeans, her hair was tied and she wore a black top .she was holding a book, I couldn’t read which one was it but it was a book.

I walked few steps closer to her, and she was furious just like earlier days, I tapped her back and she moved around with rage.

Gosh she looked beautiful, her lips were light and there was no spectacle,

Hello Praia, I said it with a bit of snarky way

What the hell, Rajiv, I thought you died?

I replied, can’t go without with you,

She paid the rick driver with a look of a devil and moved from there.

I am wondering, how you reached here. I work here with an IT company,

Information technology, Common Priya you can do better.

For the first in my entire Delhi journey, somebody did laugh at my joke.

Her eyes closed when she laughed harder and gave this hand punch which she never forgets.

I live near to the company and where do you put up, she said Some shit I was not aware where exactly that place, post work we went to eat at a nice restaurant and spoke for hours, she spoke so much, and provided brief details about everything in fact everything which blew my mind, I do not know all the while as she kept caressing her lips or way she tucked her hair made me forget the entire conversation she conducted from the start. There was a time she did mention about Ramesh, I stopped and asked what about him, she mentioned, he is going through a rough time .she was pretty sure about that , I was under the impression I know everything about him , but to surprise she broke out something which was fresh and saddening , I doubt I am his friend too. Such is the nature of being an adult, you become very irresponsible towards friends, she noticed a grim on my face and we dived into our old-school thoughts and I realized it was getting late and dropped her home, she hugged me while I was about to get inside the rick, which freaked me out also the picture of Ramesh stuck me like a bullet and smiled and we departed.

We started meeting frequently, more often then we should, our feeling were less explanatory and more of relief, meaning it just felt right, we were not in love, but to those, we share our childhood things seem to be different on a deeper scale.

I was not sure whether she develop any feeling was me, once she held my hands and kept it like that for a long I didn’t ask she didn’t tell.

I noticed something she wanted to share with me for a period of time and didn’t find the right words or she was too afraid to say so, I hugged her tight and that came from nowhere .she didn’t restraint herself it felt natural and ours perhaps. She mentioned, once after college, she and Ramesh were having chai and he proposed her, her words trembled while saying and my heart was not at ease.

He told her he fell for her and wanted to be with while speaking she interrupted him and said, she likes me.that CAME as a bummer to me .but at the same it came to my conscience why he kept his distance is it because his inability to accept the fact she loves me, a part of him couldn’t accept the Truth. He never really expressed any such emotions to me. This was the reason he never really met us thereafter, I too did not contact him,

But why Priya said she likes him when I proposed her , I couldn’t figure out and did not even ask the same I liked how things are changing well for me , I was selfish it just the right to be that way.

Maybe he never wanted me to know that he loved her, it’s unbecoming and disheartening someone who knew everything about me and never wanted to spill the beans so it can hurt and he valued our friendship more than his love.

We both planned meeting him and provide a surprise to him, this idea did strike to both of us together, we decided to visit his place and make him realize we still miss him, I got really excited and she was more than that.

We couldn’t find him at home, we couldn’t reach him, and while I was taking my footsteps towards his photograph my heart was palpating and increasing every breath by breath. This time I got late, I was never late to meet him, never in school or college but the question arises why I am Late this time?

I would not call myself late. This time I am late too much to hear from him, He heard me, always as a prayer perhaps I didn’t but I lost him.

He hung himself, nobody knew what really got to him he seemed fine as a sun, something was bothering him as if there was a nail stuck in him. There was no sign of trauma or he did not himself expressed any sign of suicidal tendencies

While I glance at his picture a tear rolled down my cheek and made me believe I lost my friend, someone who believed in me, now someone who was.

I will miss him more than my words can gather today.

It horrifies me how some people we know live only a half part of our life and it's quite tragic that they were alive only on those moments the future never came as if somewhere he knew that’s all he is living for hence he spoke and enjoyed so much. Her love for Priya died in the grave with him, but love is not only for the body it is for the heart, I still see whenever I visit my home, he is standing near to the tree , he used to wait for me there wearing the school uniform tightly pressed and a smile on his face .

He left forever memories which are indelible and places when I re-visit see him playing with me, as if he never died and when own smiles back at me.

I can’t recollect what went wrong but deep he was and will be my best friend.

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