Sunday, June 23

Mera Bhagwan toh bah gaya paani me!

It had been some days since he had come back, a week or two. No wait, it’s just been three days. These two days have been the longest two days of my life. He had not spoken to anyone since then, no one really expected him to talk. They just remained there in his home, peeking into his room, checking on him from time to time, asking him if he wanted anything. The answer was always no, inaudible, accompanied by ‘Bhua/Chacha/Maama, you should go home, I am okay, I will call you if I need anything.’ They would listen to him and stay there. They’d leave in turns, go to their homes, get freshen up, do their daily chores and come back to have a check on him. The distant relatives called me on my phone and asked me about him and how he was dealing with everything. No one left him alone, they were scared he might contemplate suicide. A rather farfetched preposition in my opinion, my friend would never do this. He is strong I know. But, then everyone has a breaking point. I had to be positive, I could not cloud my mind like this. I had to be strong for him to be strong. I peeked into his room and found him sleeping on his chair with lights on, head resting on his computer table, some notes scribbled in his diary. I wanted to read it, I wanted to know what was going through his mind. Even though I had stayed here since three days, we hadn’t had a conversation about that day. I never pressed him. Nobody did. We just let him watch TV the whole day, watching news, reading about it. I wondered if it was helping him in any way, I wondered if he wanted someone to just ask, I wondered if he wanted to just talk, heart to heart. When I saw he was in a slumber, I started setting up my bed in the same room quietly. He hadn’t slept any of the previous nights, I could hear him mumbling in his sleep, crying, calling, cursing Gods.  I didn’t have the strength in me to talk back. I was not as strong perhaps. I would just make some noise to make him realize he wasn’t alone, that I was with him, like everyone else. We were all there for him.

I clearly remember his words when he called me three days ago, ‘Vineet, yaar sab khatm ho gaya, everything is over!’ I had read about the Uttrakhand flood, and I knew Jayant had gone there with his family. But I could never really think something like would happen to him, someone I knew. This was not the first flood disaster in the country, far from that, nor was it the first time innocent people were killed. I had always read ‘___ people died because of this ___’ Fill the blanks with any number and any natural disaster you want or maybe with a bomb blast. All will do. I read these stories, and felt a bit sad but eventually I forgot. I felt distant. ‘These things would never happen with me or anyone I know’. And here I am, in my friend’s apartment, a friend who was one of the most positive guys I had ever known, my best friend, and here he is sleeping on his chair, without a trace of that past self of him. He is like this new person, with a body that looks starved since ages, his once beautiful almond shaped eyes set deep in their shells with dark patches all around them, his expressions that once swung moods effortlessly now showed no signs of a smile not even a faint one, his strong hands that once lifted his girlfriend Anjali in the college annual fest out of a silly challenge, trembled now when they moved about lifting a glass of water to his mouth.

I set my bed up and then moved to his, which still had untouched plates of breakfast, lunch and dinner. ‘Vineet, so raha hai kya?’ suddenly he asked me if I was sleeping or not. I wasn’t. Sleep had eluded me. ‘Nahi, bol kya hua?’ I asked him what he was thinking although I had an idea what he’d say. ‘Yaar, ek baar Papa ka phone try karna, ho sakta wo kahin safe pahunch gaye honge ab. Ek baar try karna. Nahi toh Riya ka phone try kar!’ He had been asking me call his parents or his elder sister Riya since the day he came. How do I call them? How do I tell him I can’t do it? No one can. ‘Phone bahar charge me lagaya hua hai, jab bahar jaunga toh phone try karunga. Tu so ja.’ I could only make some excuse, yesterday I told him the phone had no dialing tone, today I told him it’s getting charged, what will I tell him tomorrow? ‘Kitna charge karta hai phone, bola tha Samsung lele, tab toh nahi. Jab bahar jaaye toh laga dena ek baar, do din se baat nahi hui unse.’ And he retorted back to his sleeping position. I could not understand one bit of what was going through his head. I wanted to. I decided to call Anjali next day to his home.

I remember once in college, we were all sitting, and Jayant with mischief all over his face turned to Anjali and told her ‘Baby, no one’s there in my home, what flavour do you like?’ He turned to me and said, ‘Our friend Vineet here, likes strawberry. I never liked strawberry, I love butter scotch though. You all should try that ice-cream.’ Anjali was a sport, on such occasions she’d reply with something more mischievous and if her brain couldn’t suggest something, she would go the romantic way ‘Jayant, I will come to your home one day, wearing the heavy red shaadi wala saaree, but I don’t know how to dress a saaree, you’ll help me no?’ They were perfect, a heaven made couple.

I decided I would call her the first thing in the morning. She had been asking me when it’d be appropriate for her to come. She had caught a mild fever when she heard about what happened and she desperately wanted to meet him. They had talked a few times, but the calls always ended with, ‘Vineet, ye Anjali itna roti kyo hai yaar? She keeps sobbing all the time, man, something is wrong with her.’ The way Jayant sometimes reacted, left us both wondering if he had accepted the reality, if he understood the gravity of what had happened. It is funny, you know, the girl who was supposed to come to his home as a Bride now had to come to convince him his family had died. It is not funny at all how life changes!

Tomorrow when Anjali comes, we’d both sit and talk to him. But that’s for tomorrow; today, he needed some sleep wherever he got it, on the chair, couch, ground, wherever. I got up to switch off the light. ‘Bhai, do you think I am going to sleep on this chair?’ he said as he got up, and handed me over a page from his diary.  

Tumhari galti hai, usne lalkaara,
jawaab me humne yahi lalkaar suni,
utne me kisi teesre ne kaha
‘hamare Rajya me aise kabhi nahi hota’
[janaab inko koi kaho, inke rajya me,
sukhe se marte hai log]
kisi ne sujhaaya ki Devi ka prakop hai ye,
[prakop hota toh tum nikkamo ko nahi chorti]

inko lagta hai maano saamne wale ki,
galti agar nikal gayi toh sab jaayaz hai,

kuch buddhijeevi kinaare khade,
belagaam vikaash ko dushman bata rahe hai,
wo bhi sab ho jaane kai baad kyo,
 apne anumaan laga rahe hai?

kya hona in sab baato se ab,
jo chala gaya wo na lautne wala,
yaade leke chal raha hu me ghar,
mera parivaar, mera bhagwan toh bah gaya us paani me!

Fiction. I have no intention to hurt anyone’s feeling with this post. I feel deeply saddened by what had happened, and couldn’t help but write something on it. I am very well aware of the fact that people do not have control on all outcomes, and I am not trying to blame anyone here. Hell, what do I know. I hope everyone else who is still trapped in that debris is evacuated to safety. I, with this post, also would like to salute the army and its efforts which helped rescue so many more people.

Its fiction for us, its reality for someone else. Do pray for them. Thank you for reading.  
Image taken from Google Image. 

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