The Secret7 mins 659 7 mins 659
“I am feeling numb and sleepy. Very sleepy. My eyelids are feeling heavy just like lead...it’s a huge struggle on my part in trying to keep them from meeting each other. Funny that it’s me, of all the people, trying to create “ distance” when I myself am suffering from......wait a minute...who’s that face I see? Is it you? Is that really you? I see you...is that really you? Are you beckoning me to you...I must be dreaming...no wait...no don't go.... I want to be with you...always...please don’t leave me alone...again.....”
I turned the pages. Blank. I turned back. The black ink justified the morbidity of the writings that the diary contained. An old , dilapidated diary which was almost crumbling to pieces. It was my friend’s. Yes “was”. He is no more. I closed the book, switched off the light and lay down on my bed with closed eyes. I wanted to see his face just one more time but it was as if I was watching a video - of all the memories that I had of him and the times I had shared with him. My head started hurting and I sat up. What, and I repeat ‘what’, could have gone so wrong, to make such a happy-go-lucky and fun-loving person take such a drastic step? That one phone call had changed everything in the morning. “Something terrible has happened. Abir is no more. He committed suicide this morning.......” I was unable to hear any more. It had taken some time for me to accept the fact that the smiling bloke even had the guts to do such a terrible deed. I had gone with "the body" on its last journey. Absolutely stupefying how a live person is referred to as just a body within moments of death.
The sense of loss that I felt in me was numbing as well as over-whelming. I had come back home from the crematorium but had visited his house that very evening with some of the gang with whom Abir and I used to hang out. While they sat and talked with the family I went to his room. It had stayed shut the whole day leaving a faint but musty odor in it. He had a knack for having all brand new stuff in his room and was very particular about cleanliness and that was probably the reason why this old diary, lying among his other possessions, had caught my attention. I took it out very carefully as it was really very old. Some parts crumbled down from the cover as I touched it. I sat down in his chair near his table. I leafed through some of the pages. As the others called me for going home I slipped it in my bag. What I had read in those few minutes were enough to tell me one thing. I needed to read that diary.
What I had read was unbelievable. Abir was a writer. He could play with words. In this diary, he had talked. He had talked out his heart. He was angry-shy-loving-caring-proud-hurt but most importantly he was in love. He was madly in love with “P”. I knew all his friend circles but the strange part was there was no one with the name starting with P. But I knew what to do. That diary was not just any ordinary diary, it was Abir in there. I had come to know my friend of 20 years in a totally new way after reading that diary. Maybe this was the first time I had really come to know Abir Ghosh. All these times it was just a shadow I had known, not the real person. But now I knew enough to know how to find that missing link to this whole incident. And I was not one to have a laid-back attitude at the time of need. I set my clock at 7:00 am for the next day. I had a long day ahead of me.
We had studied in the same school but had gone to different colleges. I started with all of my school buddies. They all had heard about the mishap. I talked to all of them but kept my work a secret. After that I went to his college. I had heard about all his friends but never had the opportunity to meet them. The college had had a Mourning Prayer for Abir on that particular day and knowing that beforehand had helped me, as I could meet all of their friends on that day. I looked at them with the corner of my eyes. This was the last chance I had. If I couldn’t find the missing link here then I would be totally and fully lost. And I hated to admit defeat at this crucial stage of my investigation which I was doing for myself...and for him. Suddenly someone came to join our group. One look at that person and my heart missed a beat. I talked to all of them but I asked permission to talk to that late-comer alone.
“Were you guys close?”
“He was a nice guy. All of us were his good friends. We all were close to him.”
A nice dodge.
“Do you know if he liked someone? Anyone he had a crush on or maybe was in love with?”
“Well Suhan is the one to know such stuff. Those guys were always seen together you know.”
An awkward silence. I decided to break the ice.
“You seem to have the most beautiful pair of eyes. They are simply magical. Did anyone ever tell you that?”
“Well yes. Get to hear that a lot of time. But it really tends to become embarrassing at times, if you know what I mean. I am sorry but I really need to go now. I have got some important work. Please tell his family to take care of themselves. It was nice to meet you. Bye.”
As that person was going back I could not control myself anymore. I called out a name with all the anguish pent up in my heart. Two moving feet stopped, the body trembled a bit and two pained but immensely beautiful eyes looked at me. The pain, the fright of being ousted was plain in the eyes.
"Why?" An inaudible murmur went out of my lips and as it touched those ears...that body started crumbling into pieces. Those beautiful eyes, now watery, reminded me of a deer caught in a trap - helpless and broken. Then the head bowed down, as if weighed down by a huge secret and guilt and two feet slowly trudged out of the college, in utter despair and helplessness. The college had got over by that time. As I stood in the college, the deafening silence was broken only by the incessant throbbing of my broken heart which seemed to deafen out everything around me. Slowly as the numbness in my brain dissolved a bit, I too, went out of the college.
“.....don’t leave me alone...again...” I have not slept for the last few days. His words, his emotions, his pains and his utter helplessness for that immense emotion which he had felt but which had never been reciprocated – are haunting me. If only he had confided in me...had I been that bad a friend on whom he had no trust? He had hidden the most sensitive and the most important part of him from everyone, including me. I read his diary again and can feel the pain and the loneliness that he had felt. I open his picture on my phone, taken a few days prior to the incident. Smiling as always. Who would have known that that same person was wallowing in utter desolation and desperation at that point of time? As my head starts filling up and playing all the old pictures and memories like a record player, I cannot hold myself any longer. My eyes get wet as hot, fat tears start rolling down my cheeks, the result of my over-filled heart. As my vision slowly and gradually blurs out, a fat drop falls on the enlarged smiling face on my phone and it too, rolls down slowly, from the cheek of the smiling figure.