The telephone rang at its loudest. It couldn’t have been more obvious. Just out of the shower, I grabbed it with moist hands and pressed the call receive button. And the voice I heard was something I had heard many years ago. The voice with which I associated mixed feelings of profane sadness and intense familiarity.

I could sense the sadness and the hollow angst. I could sense that I had to be there with him, right then and right there. I canceled my entire schedule, still in disbelief that I had spoken to him, and in a manner which is almost alien to me now.

With my hair still dripping from the shower, I chose a subtle colour for the occasion. Beige would be appropriate. I adorned my dress and tied my hair in a bun, just a light touch of lip balm, and I was out. It was like I wasn’t directing myself in any way, I was being directed. Strangely, the feeling was not intimidating.

When I reached at his house, I could see people gathering around the entrance. Noone seemed to notice or recognize me but met my eyes as if sharing a conducive reassurance. Then I saw him, wrapped in a beige shawl with a white kurta pyjama. His body language was elusive as always, but his eyes looked lost. Just like his words when I had heard them on the phone. After having gone all the way to his house, I could somehow not take those last steps towards him. He saw me and we gazed at each other. The huge crowd had no relevance and the fog did not seem to disappear. Three years of being away, out of touch, out of each other’s lives. He came up to me and gave me a hug. Not knowing what to do, I hugged him back. I could not sense the tears but the pain was radiating from him.

He had always worshipped his mother. Being a single parent, she did all she could to raise him well. She had always met me with cheery praise for her son, and a warm heart with embracing kindness. She had never said a word of distraught in her entire life, and now, as I looked up at the crowd that had gathered, it was evident and symbolic of her loving nature. People poured in with flowers and grief. The house still seemed empty, inspite of over a hundred people in it. I hope no one noticed my moistened eyes, but he did.

The fights, the separation, all seemed to be forgotten to me now. The pain, the suffereing, the love and the care, nothing seemed to flicker now. It was just a numb moment, as he came by my side and held my hand. I could not react. But I held it, as I remembered what he had said to me n the phone – “it’s the weakest moment of my life, and I want my strongest friend to be with me..please come..dont say no!”



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