Airam. My best friend. The one person who knows to my innermost depth. My happy place. My grudge counter. My handful of emotions. It's been a while we didn't meet. Actually my interest has been shifted recently...
Alfaaz, the charming psychiatrist in my house. The one with perfect beard and fantasy able jawline. More of his heart though. I fear one day he will move to his own apartment and stop paying me rent. Fear of money? Fear of losing the rare piece of perfection...
Hi. I'm Mariam. A 24 years old struggling painter. Not much into social things. I like to spend times with my paintings. They are abstract but they reflect the real me. My paintings are my emotions, I create lives my creation lives. Airam appreciates my painting just the way I want my viewers to do. He is so me.
I met Airam on a birthday party couple of years back. Before him, I was quieter of a person. Never had friends and being bullied for the last 14 years. I dated none. No one dated me. I think it was pretty obvious I never had the courage to open up to anyone until I met Airam. He is my voice. He reflects my truest feelings...
Alfaaz. The one who exactly matches my wishlist. I love spending time with him and we did have some soulful conversations. He is sensible. He is kind. He is all I want. I like him. I like him a lot.
I never felt for Airam this way. I mean He is my best friend and I think he is good with being that. I thought to tell Airam that I like Alfaaz. I don't want him to go ever. I was seriously into him, maybe because for the first time someone other than Airam was taking care of me! I went to Airam's place...
"You came exactly after 35 days. Earlier you used to visit every week. I was worried. Everything alright?" He questioned.
"What are you hiding Mariam?" He kept going.
"I met someone" I stammered.
"Wow! That's great. So finally, you got someone else in your life other than me. A guy?"
I looked at him straight. Every time I see him he looks so lively so adorable so finely mannered. I nodded.
"Wow! And I have been informed now. Mutual?"
"He is a doctor. He moved to my house last month and we instantly clicked".
"Ok. That was quick. Now I know why we weren't meeting".
He doesn't seem happy. He acted differently. This is not Airam. He was supposed to go crazy and appreciate me for moving out of my confined zone.
"Airam I need your help. You know I won't be able to tell him about my feelings. Can you please do that for me? It's only you whom I can count on. Airam please" I plead
"Certainly not. Marian, I know you better than you know yourself. And there is no other man who could take care of you the way I do, and you exactly know what I'm talking about. There is no one who can understand you to your fullest".
He seemed rude. I was pissed off by his behaviour. He could have denied me in a polite way. I felt him absurdly. Never did that before.
Back home I saw Alfaaz waiting for me.
"Not yet. You?"
"Umm. Actually I was trying a new recipe. So can you do the honour of marking this struggling chef"
Butterflies in the stomach. Butterflies everywhere. Took a breathe and said "Why not Dr Chef
The room was beautifully organized. He pulled the chairs for me. The served me toasted bread and freshly prepared Rigatoni with sausage and fennel. It was delicious. We had some quality time together.
I moved to my room late, neither of was wanted to bid a bye. Had to. I was happy for the night but the tension of Airam was killing me. Did I hurt him? Was I wrong to him? He was there when I had none. And now I'm leaving him in midway. The night passed in Airam's thoughts.
Next morning I got up early and decided to meet Airam. "Mariam! Where are you going so early?" Alfaaz asked.
"Airam. He is not answering any of my calls or messages. I'm really worried now"
"Oh yeah, Airam! Your best friend right? We have talked about him. Come I'll drop you"
I was supposed to enjoy my first ride with Alfaaz but Airam was important too. A train of ugly thoughts crossed my mind.
"Airam! Airam!" The door was open. The house was empty. I was heartbroken. Where did he go? Alfaaz solaced me and suggested to ask the neighbour aunty about him.
"Excuse me, ma'am. Did you see the guy living next door? Where is he? I mean the door is open and the house is empty" Alfaaz asked Mathur aunty. She frowned and looked straight at me and said "Mariam you forgot to lock the door last night"
I was shivering. Alfaaz looked anxiously at me and said: "Who is Airam?"
I was feeling my body going heavy. Alfaaz seemed blurred and then dark.......
The place was unknown. I saw a tall guy in uniform walking towards me until my vision was clear enough to detect it was Alfaaz in his chamber. "What am I doing here? Where is Airam? What happened to me" I asked repeatedly.
Alfaaz took me to the mirror and said "This is Airam. Think hard Maria. You have been lonely since your young days. You have been bullied you were a friend to none. So you imagined having a perfect friend. Airam. A-I-R-A-M read reverse is M-A-R-I-A. You have been suffering from a very common mental disease called schizophrenia. You imagine things that don't exist".
It wasn't true. Airam is true. How can this happen? I've been a friend to a thought. Alfaaz left taking my senses with him. I was confused broken and empty. I was blanked. When did it all start? A moment of sudden hit and I realised. If I can Airam is an imagination why can't Alfaaz be an imagination too. I was drowning deep into my uncertain thoughts when my phone rang.
It was Airam calling.......!