Rringg…. Rringg… What the heck man!! Why do calls come only when I am in the deepest of sleep. Last few weeks have been quite hard for me, what with all the night shifts and extended log-ins I have been doing. And it was 7 in the morning, no decency in people now-a-days. I groaned and picked up the cell phone.
One look at the smiling snap on the display and the anger vanished. It was Priya, and she was getting married on the 6th next month. Priya and Amit are high-school sweethearts and were getting married after a long long courtship. Just imagine, getting married after going around for more than 10-12 years. Isn’t it exciting?
Anything for the to-be bride.
”Hey!! ’ssup sweetheart?”
“Sweetheart ke bachche… Why didn’t u pick up the call the first time? Aur did u get ur tickets done or not?”
“Wo… ummm… yaar, I don’t think I will get leaves, u know.”
“I dunno anything. I want u here on that day. Amit is gonna kill you if you are not there. Afterall uska eklauta dost agar shadi mein nahi aaye to shadi kaisi? ”
”Hmmm… I will try yaar.”
“Ye try wry se kaam nahi chalega. Don’t forget that your wife is a very close friend and main chahoon to tere sukhi sansaar mein aag laga doon”
“OK.. OK.. Tu jeeti, main hara.. I’ll get the tickets done meri amma. Ab to phone rakh… kyun subah subah pareshaan kar rahi hai. I’ll talk to you later”
“OK…OK.. biwi ko phone de. I am yet to finalise my jewelry for my sangeet and the marriage jewelry is also left”
“Huh!! What a waste of time. How does it matter yaar? Kuch bhi pehan, log to tujhe hi dekhenge na. Afterall you are the bride.”
“Leave it. Tu nahi samjhega, ab Neha ko phone de.”
I gave the phone to biwi who was up by now and looking dreamy eyed at me. I kissed her good morning and got out of the bed. They started talking all the girly crap and I was in no mood to listen to it. Whats with these girls anyways? Priya had gone home 1 month ago and was still preparing for the wedding. While Amit was still back in Mumbai, streching his bum out to finance the wedding. Bah! who am I kidding, it was the same in my case too.
I started brushing my teeth and preparing myself for the delicious breakfast I was dreaming about before getting up. Today was my first weekly off in two weeks and I was not going to spoil it by gobbling up crap!!
27th Nov, 2008 7:30 AM
Biwi is still busy with the call. Suddenly her cell rings out.
“Paritosh dekho, its Mungeri. He has been calling on your cell, too, for a long time.”
Mungeri!! (don’t go by the name, he is a successful Risk Analyst working for an MNC in Mumbai, and is Amit’s roomie) Whats happening today? Suddenly everyone’s turned an early bird. Anyways, the breakfast will have to wait. Maybe Amit was calling from his cell for my ticket bookings for the wedding as well. I pick up the call.
“Haan Bhai, Bol”
“Paritosh yaar“… Mungeri’s voice is trembling and he is obviously disturbed… Suddenly he breaks into loud sobs.
“What happened man? Ro Kyun raha hai… Ghar pe kisi ko kuch hua kya?”
After much sobbing and cojoling… “Nahi yaar… wo Amit” and he starts crying again.
”Haan, kya hua Amit ko? Say it man!! Accident wagairah to nahi ho gaya uska?”
“Nahi yaar… Amit is… Amit is… (some more sobs). He is no more”
“WHAT!!! Kya bak raha hai? I mean kaise?”
“Aren’t you watching the TV? Its on national news. He was at the Leopald yesterday evening.”
What? Amit’s death was on national news!! My head started spinning. This can’t be true. I ran to the TV and switched it on. And then it came rushing upon me. Mumabi was under attack. Bloody terrorists had killed my best pal. 22 years of friendship was broken by a 21 year old killer weilding an AK-47.
“Paritosh yaar… I don’t have courage to tell this to his mom and dad. Tu hi bata de yaar, please.”
I was shaken out of my thoughts.
“Hmmm… I will. Tu to theek hai naa. Sun, I’ll call u later man. Abhi Priya is talking to Neha.”
How do I tell this to a girl who is still trying to choose her jewelry for her sangeet? How can I say this to Amit’s Mom and Dad who had dreams of getting their eldest son married with great pomp and show? And what about me.. How will I convince myself that my best chum was no more?
N.B. This story is a work of fiction but is based on a real life incident narrated to me by someone. She has lost a very good friend. And there IS a Priya somewhere in this world who was to get married on Dec 6th and can’t because her Amit was killed by these gun-toting-morons.