Radhika went past a bunch of boisterous kids, having their evening football sessions. The sun was about to set, so all agreed for a final round of playoff.
"Radhika di, where is Mayuri ma'am?" Radhika looked back at the inquiring eyes of nine-year old Madhav, one of the super talented footballers in the colony, "She hasn't come today to teach."
He asked not because he was a studious geek, but because Radhika was always seen with Mayuri, either giggling or gulping. Seeing Radhika coming bare of Mayuri from the apartment today, Madhav wondered if anything went foul between the two.
"She's having a bad stomach." Radhika managed to lie, holding the scarf in her hand more firmly and moving towards the parking lot, without waiting for Madhav to waylay her further. She reached inside her i10 and drew the king sized knife out of her handbag, engulfed in huge imprints of blood vessels.
'WHY MAYURI WHY?!'
The coalesce of wrath and sorrow deep down her gut, was swallowing the just born homicide, inch by inch.
Ignorant of the ascending hours to night, she decided to drive herself to a coffee stop.
She sat in the Starbucks cafe, sipping her coffee and staring out of the window. The blood stained knife lay next to her handbag, covered with her blue silk scarf. A college gang was sitting next to her table, engaged in a priggish conversation about their close-to-bald sociology professor, who was never keened to bother the proxies coming his way during the roll-calls. Their loud juvenile laughs were happy and proud juxtaposing the dismal visible in Radhika's sorrow-swollen eyes.
She and Mayuri too outwitted their professors quite a number of times to mark each other’s proxies at JNU, while the remaining class was too chicken to do so. Dhruv too was one of those chickens in the class, not in response to the proxies, but the number of chicks he managed to attract. It was love at firstest sight for Radhika. Her dream soon realised meaning when Dhruv proposed her at the freshers party, in front of gallons of gathering. Her life could not have been more perfect. But as they say, 'Nothing lasts a lifetime,' Dhruv and Radhika's love phase too came to an end as Dhruv decided to call it a quit. He had fallen for Mayuri, and in no way could date Mayuri's best friend and, more of that, could hurt her best friend. Though Radhika had never fallen out of love for Dhruv, she was happy for Mayuri as she always knew the cold truth that Mayuri too had fallen for Dhruv at the very first day at campus.
But what it looked apparently, vanished gradually. Radhika's 'I am happy for you' gestures soon turned into envy which grew heftier day by day. She started stalking Mayuri's iPhone, often jotting their meetup plans. She would deliberately bump into places where Dhruv and Mayuri were about to meet, and would make it appear as a total coincidence.
"But Dhruv loves 'that' not 'this'," Radhika would say each time Mayuri bought something new for Dhruv. Though Mayuri never failed to notice the 'J' angle in Radhika's tone, she chose to stand ignorant.
Days passed turning into months. It was a sunny September morning. Radhika was going through her Instagram page, reviving last year's fresher's party pictures. How special that day was for her! She tapped a picture of her and Mayuri dressed in shimmery outfits with hashtag #BFF. She managed to smile dimly. How could Mayuri let Dhruv come between them? The thought drew upon her. But the other side of her mind reverberated that it was Mayuri who came in between Dhruv and her. How happy they used to be before Mayuri snatched all of Dhruv's attention drawing them to her long smitten hair and soft gentle eyes. Radhika was never jealous but had always adored her beauty. She had shared almost everything with Mayuri, from pens to paranthas and notebooks to necklines. But sharing Dhruv with her was rather a dreadful punishment. And so, that day, she decided to do away with this punishment. How long would one act of being a piety after all?
She rang the doorbell several times before Mayuri appeared. She was on the phone talking to Dhruv. Radhika felt a sudden pang of jealousy and the spur of the moment made her pick up the fruit knife lying on the tableside. Mayuri was standing in front of a mirror, with her back facing Radhika. Her face seemed happy than ever before, probably because of Dhruv. A sudden urge to plunk that happiness grew inside Radhika. She looked at Mayuri's face one last time in the mirror before she stabbed inside her concrete spine in a manner of hitting a walnut by a hammer. Stabbed again, this time deeper, and one more time, repeatedly till she managed to bludgeon her best friends' body till the last breath.
"Ma'am, w..we are about t..to close." The Starbucks boy said, hesitating over Radhika's spoilt mascara all over her face. She wiped clean her dark tears, morphed a smile at the boy while gathering the crime weapon from the table to abscond.
Fleeing to her car with quickened footsteps, she felt the array of sweat running through her nape, despite the advent of cold evening hour. Blood bathed Mayuri's body was spinning inside her mind. Sitting inside,she looked at herself in the rear view mirror and all she could see were the haunted eyes which were only a piecemeal of her vengeful self, the self she just started hating. She hated every part of her. She hated this life of her without Mayuri. She cried without making any noise and move, till her mind reached the only way to end this ordeal. She could never live a peaceful life without doing so.
She drove to Kamla nagar police station as the sun set.