As like every year I see a major boost in the city as Valentine’s day is round the corner of the calendar blooming its colour all over the balcony of heart’s of the youth’s and even some aged ones. Without any other formal description about the day let me beg a few minutes of yours so as to tell you a incident which happened to one of my friend which changed his life forever.
The year was probably 2015. With all the rush and hurdle I finally got myself into a college. I always thought a college life is somewhere you surrender your study over gratification, although very soon this concept changed. Well in the first day of college as much as I recall I saw Karan for the first time ever while entering the class late and being mocked by the Professor in the classroom. From my school days I had a special attraction towards last bench and that day was no different I saw Karan sitting beside me and listening to what the Professor was teaching he didn’t spell out a single word throughout the class. I made an impression about him that he is among those students who have adequate amount of grey matter in their brain but often didn’t get the price for it in lack of regularity and ambition. Though when the class ended we had a few minor talks including exchange of our name’s. As from then in sake of class our friendship became more and more closer. Soon both of us belonged to a group of friends which consisted of four boys and three girls. Time went by and it was a kind of dream life that all of us were leading. All of us often went to certain places all over the city spending times together. I thought life cannot have any negativity at that point of time. Soon the most wicked thing of student life namely exam was about to start. And all of us for sake of exam became busy to gather as much marks as possible. An exaggerated description of those days are avoidable as it may extend the context.
So finally the second year of college started although the result didn’t arrived yet. Thus those days started yet again but this time the scenario was a bit distinct from the previous one among 7 of us four got themselves involved into relationships. It don’t need a mention that I don’t write my name in that list neither had Karan. But I saw a few changes in him with respect to first year he always used to read some or the other book not necessarily a one to study even when all of us are making fun of this strange habit of his. Now he probably don’t had any interest on book he always used to stay lost thinking about something. I had a feeling that me, Karan and Sagata were the only three from the group who had something to do except thinking about Valentine. But was I right? Was Karan not thinking of someone? Isn’t she a girl? Quite a few times I enquired over the matter from him but even Sagata did but he tend to neglect the point every time. It was 13th September when I first saw the one for whom Karan was lost in the world of fantasy. She used to study in our college itself and was probably was junior from us. I saw Karan starring at her for quite a while without blink of eye, I was certain she was the queen of his fantasy. I asked him straight that if she is the one and I saw a glimpse of smile in his lips to confirm the fact. Soon I spread the news among the group and all started to gather information about the girl to help Karan out. Razia one from our gang came to know from her sources that the girl’s name was Vishakha. And then started the same old techniques adopted from books and Bollywood films to impress the girl. I never say Karan so much enthusiastic as in now. As if soul of Romeo was engraved in his character. Even I was involved in a few incidents and that’s how a half a year passed by. Finally with a treat Karan gave the news that Vishakha is his Valentine. All of us congratulated him for his success. I forgot to specify that the result of first year already published by then and Karan unexpectedly topped in class although none of us score bad either even though we all spent half of previous year with no study literally.
So again came the time to study. As much as I remember the last time I saw Karan happy was 12th January 2016. After that day I struck myself into Jaundice and once I recovered I engaged me into some intense study. So I hardly had any word with any of my friends. Frankly I was a bit disappointed with me that I was the only one having no valentine in my group. In front of my friends I pretended that I don’t like to be in a relationship although I never had the chance to get into one. But I saw no reason or necessity to be in a relationship. Soon I almost forgot about such stuffs as exam was in the doorway.
It was 15th May when exam started. In the hall I saw all of my friends except Karan who was supposed to sit in my previous bench. At first I thought he is yet again late but 1 hour passed by and I saw no glimpse of Karan. When the exam ended as like me all were in a question “Where the hell is Karan?” On my way back I heard from all that no one had contact with Karan these days as he was busy with his Valentine. His phone was even switched off as some even tried to call her out. I called him that night but found a voice specifying that “The number you are trying to call does not exists!” I was bound to deviate my mind away from this matter till the end of the exam. The first day I went to college after exam all of us tried to find out Vishakha to find out what’s the matter but we came to know that Vishakha had left the college in midway of session. I still had no Idea what was the case. Me and Rajib (one boy from our group) decided to go to Karan’s home in search of him.
Before this none of us went to Karan’s house although I knew where his locality was. I belonged to a comparatively less populated part of the city. We did not have too work too hard to find his home out. As I was progressing towards his home I saw Karan looking with faint eyes through the window. I reckon I do see him hide as soon as he saw me out. I was not too sure about the incident so I said nothing to Rajib. We rang the bell of his house and the one who opened the door was his mother. I saw black marks in her eyelids and an overall restless appearance seemed like she was suffering from overwhelming distress. Rajib asked “Is this Karan’s house?” She replied “Yes! Who are you?” We gave our introduction and asked if he was home . Aunty said that he is not present in home. I don’t know why but from my very childhood I had a sixth sense which gave me clear indications if someone is telling lies and from her way of reply my sixth sense said she is no telling the truth. Although she was not even a bit rude at all she offered us to come inside. She offered us something to eat once we came in Rajib was asking questions about him such as Why he didn’t attend the exam? What has happened to his phone? Meanwhile I drew my attention towards the drawing room. It was quite well arranged but somewhere round there was a patch of melancholy prevailing over the atmosphere. His mother said that his health was not well during his exam and some problem happened to his phone which is yet to fixed. After a while we left the house and said that we will come again to meet him. With a barrage of questions in our minds we reached home. I had no guess to describe a proper reason for the situation next day in college we demonstrated the incident too all in the group. I even mentioned that perhaps I saw Karan in his home itself. No one could define a possible exploration to describe the reasons why was Karan not willing to meet us. From this topic the discussion soon changed to the hazards of having a Valentine and precautions to take while choosing a perfect valentine some among them had their breakups and some were merrily leaving their love life with no problems whatsoever. It didn’t gave a conclusion about what is the formula of finding a perfect valentine? and what is the right time to get one? At end we all decided to visit Karans home next Sunday. Before I say what happened that day I can’t help me creating a suspense amongst the readers day 17th June was a day that we all will remember throughout our lives and gave us a lifelong lesson which remains stored in 6 of ours brain attic.
We all met in the nearest bus stop form his house and started approaching towards Karan’s home. This time I surely saw him sitting in that very window and walk away once he saw us even Sagata noticed the same today I was determined to meet Karan at any cost. As like the former day we rung the bell and his mother opened the door and gave the same answer when asked about Karan. We all said that we saw him sitting and very politely asked the reason for not letting us meet with him. We saw shades of tear prevailing over her eyes and she said with utmost agony “I have no intentions to tell lie to you all but its Karan don’t want to meet you all in fact he doesn’t want too meet anyone. We all begged solicitation to meet Karan and the request was so intense that its hard for a human being to turn it down. Aunty finally went up to call Karan down so as to meet us. While sitting I saw a couple of suitcases packed the reason for whose was latter known to me. We all heard the voice of Karan after a few minutes but it was too hazy to be understood by us. A few seconds latter aunty came too us and said us to follow her out we all started moving to the first floor, I could sense that something terrible happened to someone living in here. Aunty guided us up to a room and said us to get into it. We entered the room and saw someone who wasn’t even close to what our friend used to be he was like a thin piece of stick who seemed to have skin like reptiles. His eyeballs seemed to be determined to come out of his skeleton like posture. Overall it was hard to believe that it was Karan. All of us were too shocked to speak the silence prevailed for 20 to 30 seconds . Then Karan asked with a smile that was too faint to bee seemed “Hey guys what’s up? How did exams went?”. None were in mood too talk about exam Rajib asked straightaway” What happened to you ? “. He answered with a bit of mystery “ Death is approaching toward me with a speed of 1500 miles per hour.” .“What the rubbish are you taking about?” Razia scolded. Again with some faint smile he said “What’s the time now?” I replied “11 AM “ . “So I have almost an hour or half to tell you a story” I almost seemed to have standing in palace of mystery where every word from Karan’s lips seemed to be hazy. He suddenly had some problems in breathing and he started to cough spontaneously until aunty came in to give him a couple of tablets. After 10 minutes or so started to tell the incident which put him in such situation. He started “I don’t remember the last time we meet together but I remember it was 6 months or so before the exam. Even I started to study a bit but I could not do as much as I did it in first year . The reason for so being that I was in a relationship then and I had to give time to Vishakha. As some of you already know Vishakha was someone who was gentle, generous and had no signs of bad habits in her. In a nutshell she gave me no reasons to complain about her”.
Sagata interrupted “But what for you are using past tense? Isn’t she….”
“Hold on madam! Hold on! You will get your questions answered with course of time.” He stopped for a while to gather some breath and started again “ It was probably from the very beginning of February we decided to spend the Valentine’s Day together by then. I was probably leading a life of dream. I didn’t said about Vishakha to my parents either as she insisted not to tell so as it may have a negative outcome. I had a faint doubt she never told me about her home, her parents and she always changed the topic once I asked her such questions. I even had never seen an old friend of her she just didn’t say anything about her past . I thought she might have any hard past which she wanted to forget that’s why I asked not too many questions either .I trusted her even more than my parents and that’s what the biggest mistake I ever committed.” Aunty came to room meanwhile and said “Your baba is on his way he will need 30 more minutes to arrive.” He nodded his head and asked if we will eat something none of us were even interested to drink water all said no. After aunty left he started again “ I met with her in the park near our college at 12th Feb so as to decide how to spend the spatial day. We decided to go to a film and I will come to her flat before we go as she wants to introduce me to her mother. I had no reasons to contradict her plan. Thus for that day we bid farewell I left her up to the bus stop and while I left her a boy approached towards me and asked if I knew Maria. I said that I heard the name for the first time in my life. He further asked about the girl I left in bus. I had no intentions to tell him her name or anything about her and somehow managed to get off there. He constantly aid me to beware of that girl. I thought about the matter throughout the day but couldn’t find any appropriate reasons for the guy’s being offended towards Vishakha so much. That night when she called me I told her about the matter to her. She for a instance didn’t talk a word and after a while told that she don’t have any idea who is that guy. I came to a conclusion that the boy must have misunderstood Vishakha with someone else.”
Karan yet again took a sip of water and started I was completely lost in his story and hardly watched anything else except his face. During this I looked upon others they had the same condition as I had they had their eye fixed towards Karan. He started again “ So finally it was the Valentine’s Day I went out of home and said mom that I will go to college directly from tuition. I left for Vishakha’s home .Her house in fact her flat was in the outskirts of city It did not had any crowd in its surroundings I saw not too many people living in the flat. I rang the door bell she opened the door she was looking too attractive to move eyelids I sat on sofa. She offered me coffee but I didn’t see her mother. As I asked about it to her she said that her mother has went to market. I was a bit lost after I got to know that I was in a solitary flat with Vishakha in Valentine’s Day but immediately threw out the feeling and talked to her normally. Gradually half an hour passed I said we will be late for movie she said that lets stay in the flat only. I had no clue what was going on. She urged me to come to her bedroom and checkout a thing . With slight hesitation I got inside the atmosphere was gradually hating and suddenly I saw a different Vishakha inside.” Karan gave a look towards all of us and continued “well you all can guess what happened next. I will only add that we didn’t use any kind of protection I was too lost then to think about it .After a hour I left the flat and she came to leave me upto the gate. That was the last time I saw Vishakha.”
He swallowed yet another tablet. Still now I found no reason what’s the connection of all this talks with present scenario. He started again “Next morning I called her and found her phone switched off . The same old continued for three four days. I had no choice but to go to that flat again I saw it was locked and got no information about Vishakha or even her mother from local residents. They looked at me in suspicious way. Almost a month went by and I didn’t even talked to Vishakha even once. Meanwhile I was having a bit of health problems and my weight was loosing abruptly. After a lot of tests and check up doctors found me to be HIV positive. My parents were broken , mentally distressed after I told the full story to them. I came to know that I had not many days to live. I decided to stay alone for as many days I live in . I didn’t count the gallons of tear I shed.” The last 10 minutes I heard something that shivered down my spine. The silence prop ailed until Aunty came again to say that “Father has arrived. If you don’t start now you will be late for train.” We all stood up and walked along with him towards the door .Meanwhile he said “I am going to Manali now in my aunts home to spend some days their.” While he stood up in the car he said “Well I wish all of you a happy life ahead as I don’t know not we will meet up again or not. Good bye.” We all looked at him and had hardly anything to say. We watched the car progressing through the dusty road and tears layered over eyes of all of us watching our friend go away.