The Last Letter
The Last Letter7 mins 206 7 mins 206
“Best wishes for a happy birthday my friend. May you live long”.
“Thank you, buddy”
“OK! We will meet tomorrow to celebrate your birthday. Have a nice sleep. Good Night”.
“OK! Good Night”.
It was the night of October 11th and was about to be the morning of my friend’s life. He was my best friend. It is beyond my capacity to explain about him. His life was special as he lived all by himself. He was entirely in a different world and he considered me to be his best friend in that world. He was studying with me and spent most of the time with me. But except his name and his sweet smiling nature, I know nothing.
“Are you sleeping? Please open the door” When no reply came I peeped through the window when I found Alam lying on the floor resting on his belly. The whole house was littered with paper. I shouted again loudly. “Alam, Alam”
He didn’t get up hearing my voice but neighbours collected as if some unexpected had happened.
“What happened? Why are you shouting?”
“Uncle why does Alam not wake up. See the condition of the room also doesn’t look normal”.
“My God! The foam is flowing from his mouth. Quickly call the police." Saying this he started breaking the door.
I kept on shouting till the door broke but he was lying unconscious as if he had expired. My restlessness made me weak and the door didn’t show any sign of breaking as if it wanted to keep hiding something, but for how long?
I pushed the door with all my strength, it came crashing and fell over him. His cold body indicated that he had left the world a long time back. The letters which were lying by his side were still crisp and warm. I was not able to understand anything by looking at his deadly face sometimes and the letters which were fluttering as if they were sad to see him dead. Everything lying there was silent keeping some secrecy or the other.
I took one letter and started reading "Why have you not come so far? I was waiting for you. You are always late. Don’t you want that I should go there? I will not go if you do not come. You must come. I have not slept. My eyes are still open. Come and see for yourself.”
What was the meaning of this letter? With whom was he talking? Which place did he want to go? I could not make out anything. My heart started palpitating. I had already entered the dark pipe of secrecy and wanted to see its end to dig out the reason for the death of my friend.
Second letter - “Today you were looking at me, but I did not see you. Why do you see me? Who are you? I don’t know you. You don’t come on my way. I know that you have stolen my diary. Please return it back.”
I had read eight letters by now but all were beyond my comprehension. Every letter was mysterious, which had sealed its mouth but was admiring. While searching with uneasiness, to dig out the secret, I could get a diary that was lying below his belly.
There was something written with blood at the cover page of the diary which was not legible because that language was not known to anyone except him. The diary was a collection of photographs made by him. Every photograph showed the defeat of the mighty by the weak eg a tree had entangled a person by his branches, a river chasing a small child, an arm coming out of the sky … in some pictures he had put the sign of a cross with a pen.
“Who are you? What relationship you have with it?
The policemen had already come.
“He is my friend.”
“How did all this happen? Do you know anything?”
“I do not know. But he was well when we talked last night”.
“Well, go and sit inside the van.” Telling this they collected all papers, diaries and, suspicious matters relating to the case.
I along with the bundle went to the police station, while my friend was being taken to the post mortem house. Both were to be interrogated - I was to be asked questions while surgery would be performed on my friend. He knew everything but could not speak but I did not know the truth.
I stayed at the police station till evening. I was asked questions which I wanted to know myself. Only during the interrogation, I could see the face of his family who had come with compassion and sadness to see me. It was evening and my interrogation was over, I came home tired. In my mind I was seeing only his face which seemed to be asking, ”Have I died? Why do you lament now.” It was already 8 'o’clock. I called all my friends to a party in my room. It was for the passing of my friend and for his happy birthday with every peg in his name.
All friends had come. Perhaps he was also watching us because his memories were alive in our discussions. I had told everyone that due to some important work he had to leave, which everyone believed even when they were busy celebrating.
It was 11 O'clock at night. Everyone had gone. I went to sleep drunk but my mind quickly went to the room and began to scrutinize where my friend had left his identity. My mind touched everything like a bumblebee in that room, came sniffing and returned after reporting to me. This went on and I could not make out when I slept.
The next morning the newspapers brought out his obituary.
"A student of Delhi University commits suicide getting mad in love".
Deeply involved in love, Alam a resident of Munirka village who was a student of the undergraduate course committed suicide. His suicide was no less than a Bollywood story and the room where he was found dead was no less than a museum. It is a conundrum to hear that love has taken a life. Love is a matter of life because love gives life. However, it is still a mystery as to for whose love he had sacrificed himself.
After reading this news I started thinking that the police had succeeded in resolving the case. Should anyone’s obituary be written like this?
Early in the morning I went to the police station and collected the bundle in which the whole mystery lay. But before I reached there the bundle had gone into the garbage bin. I was turned out by the police saying that it was a suicide due to love.
Papa, what happened then? Was it found out as to why the death took place and for whom?
I searched for 2 years going into his closed room and asking the walls. This sequence continued until I knew who she was.
Who was that, Papa?
That was your mother. We three studied together. He loved her but he did not tell me thinking that I might fall in love with her.
I do not know what happened between them. I did not ask your mummy anything about it nor did she tell me. Thus I lost my friend and this incident looks fresh even today whenever I find your mother silent or sad. Even today I am in search of that last letter or suicide note to know what was written there. What was the reason for his death? Did he consider your mother unfriendly? And many more answers which were lying buried in that last letter.
Note - This is an English translation of Aakhiri Khat by Firoz Alam