my best friend ever?
it was a decade ago i met my best ever friend for a last time. as i was walking on the road perpendicular to the road with the bus stop where i last saw my first girl friend 17 years back, mahesh jumped down from a running bus on seeing me.
``Can you give me five rupees?''.
i gave him mutely. Taking it, he walked away from me. i just stood there watching him till he disappeared.
as i said before, it was the last time i saw him. i have heard him over phone a few times thereafter. everytime, he spoke, he would talk of our days in college, always. we always felt that the college days were our glorious morning.
i will have to give our gang a name bfore i start writing `my friends'. he was the master charmer. students of the college in those three years invariably knew him. full of energy, he was a vibrant soul, exuberating radiance and warmth only one in crore will be bestowed with. with a spring in his walk, he walked around the campus making friends all the time.
i was lucky enough to be in his close circle of friend, inspite of betraying him once. perhaps, that was the reason he walked away from me on that day. he never liked betrayal. but on the phone, he was friendlier than ever. again, perhaps, he was without friends.
now he lives without friends. he lives in memories. i drove till his home. i have lived there for days and months. inspite of new houses everywhere, my memory guided me and i parked the vehicle under the neem tree in front of the house.
i waited there. twice before, his parents had denied entry to me.
``don't disturb him anymore,'' they did tell me.
i had to return then. i wanted him to live in peace. after that, twice now, i have returned after waiting under the neem tree, trying to be as close to him, for few minutes. he was under rehabilitation then.
may be even now. for the twelfth year.
in between, he must have died, at least thrice by word of mouth. sudha actually died. siva vanished. prem was inching towards death when i met him five years ago.
after dying twice, i still survive. like my best friend, i too live alone.