16th April, Hyderabad.
Sukesh is a writer by profession. He has to travel around the country, meeting various people and publishers. He stay in Mumbai. But every summer he will visit hyderabad and stay for almost one month. Though it is weird to to listen that someone visits hyderabad in the summer, but it is special for Sukesh.
One of his college mate stays in khairatabad. So this time he took a room for rent in the Masab Tank area.
Sukesh almost drenched in sweat, carrying all his luggage reached the house where he took a room for rent. Its a bit old fashioned house compared to the neighbouring. So the rent is reasonable. The room is on the third floor of the building. Each floor is having two portions with a common balcony. Almost all the floors are occupied by bachelors.
Sukesh some how managed to hung up all his luggage on his shoulders and both the hands and took the stairs. After reaching the second floor almost panting like a dog, he stood for sometime to regain some energy. He was about to take a turn towards the last stairs when he saw something written on the wall. It seems as if someone has scratched the wall with a sharp object. It says….’Joy’s Den’. Sukesh overlooked it and went straight to his room. He took the water bottle out of his handbag and drank half of it at one go. The room was like a pressure cooker. He came out and stood in the balcony. He looked at his watch. It was almost 12.30 pm.
A middle aged guy, dark in complexion, medium build, wearing only a boxer came out of the beside room. Sukesh was hesitating to speak with him.
The guy: Hey! New tenant?
Sukesh: Ya…Hi, my name is Sukesh.
The guy: Hello, myself Joy. Joy D’souza.
Sukesh(Thinking): Ok! This is what Joy’s Den means……
Sukesh: Just woke up?
Joy(giving a lazy look): Ya, went for a party last night.
Sukesh: Hmm. Well nice to meet you Joy. See you….Will take a shower and freshen up.
Joy: Oh sure!…Go ahead.
At night at around 11 o’clock, while Sukesh was strolling in the balcony,he heard sounds of foot steps climbing up the stairs. The steps were irregular. Sukesh peeped into the stairwell. Joy, full drunked, was on his way to room. Sukesh went forward to catch him.
Joy: No! No need. I am fine. I don’t want anybody’s help.
Sukesh some how managed to get him to his room. He closed the door and left from there.
Next morning, Sunday, Sukesh’s friend called him for having lunch in their house. Sukesh’s friend Dhiren, works in a multinational construction company. He is married and settled in hyderabad.
While going, Sukesh saw that Joy did not wake up yet. He did not even dared to call him. He took an auto and reached his friend’s house.
Dhiren: Hey Sukesh! Welcome. How are you?
Sukesh: I am fine. How about you? And Smitha?
Dhiren: All is well.
Dhiren: So tell me about your new room.
Sukesh: Oh! Its fine, cheap.
Dhiren: Got any neighbour?
Sukesh(laughs): Ya, Joy, a young guy. He is a full drunker, enjoying his life.
Smitha: Hey! How are you?
Sukesh: I am good. How are you?
Smitha: Ya, its all routine………Office..office to home.. again to office. Work, work and work…
Dhiren: So how is your brother, Sumesh?
Sukesh: Its same. Treatment is going on. I will meet him tomorrow.
The chit-chat continued……
Sukesh had lunch and came to his room in the evening. While climbing up the stairs he heard some rock music playing at huge volume. It was audible from the first floor. Even he could hear voices of few young people shouting and having fun. Sukesh got a hint that it was none other than Joy. Sukesh went inside his room.
At night, that day, when everything settled around and the atmosphere became a little calm, Sukesh came out of his room. He saw Joy with a bottle of beer and a cigarette in one hand, leaning to the parapet wall in front of his room.
Joy: Hey……Sorry, what was your name?
Joy: Oh! Hello Sukesh. You want a drink?
Sukesh: No, I don’t drink.
Joy: Hey dude! Come on! Don’t tell me that.
Sukesh(smiling): No, I really don’t drink.
Joy: Ok. I will not force you. But hey you are sure!
Sukesh: So what do you do?
Joy: I have completed my B.Tech., but i don’t do anything for living. My dad is a sound businessman. He stay in bangalore. He takes care of everything. I am just enjoying my life.
Sukesh: Your mom?
Joy: She is no more. She died in my childhood. Since then, me and my dad, thats it.
Sukesh: Oh! So sorry…
Joy: Its ok.
Sukesh: So what do you do for the whole day? I mean how do you spend your time.
Joy: Nothing like that. Hanging out with friends, roaming, enjoying, having fun.
Sukesh: So, you want to spend your life like that only.
Joy: I never felt of doing something. I thought of going abroad but that also got cancelled due to health issues. I got black spots in my stomach. It was very critical and hardly recovered from it.
Sukesh: But still……
Joy: I even take drugs.
Joy: I have a large circle of friends. So it happens.
Sukesh: Ya, that for sure you will be having.
Both standing quietly…….
Joy: Hey you can sleep. Its almost 2:00 now. It will take some time for me.
One day, Sukesh heard some breaking noise in Joy’s room. Sukesh got a little afraid. He peeped through the window. Joy was restlessly moving in search of something. He finally found out a syringe and rushed a shot of drugs into his veins. He settled down as if a violent wild animal has been shot with an anaesthetic drug. Sukesh was mesmerised by that.
Next day, in the morning……..
Sukesh: Hey Joy, will you come out with me.
Sukesh: Ya, come. I will introduce you to someone.
Joy: Ok. But to whom?
Sukesh: Come. You will see……They took an auto. Sukesh stopped the auto near Erragadda Mental Hospital.
Joy: Have you gone mad?
Sukesh: Why? Come. Nothing will happen.
After walking for few minutes inside the campus, they came near an open ground. Joy was almost frustrated on Sukesh.
Sukesh: Can you see that young boy, Joy?
Joy: Ya, What happened?
Sukesh(with tears in his eyes): He is my younger brother. His name is Sumesh.
Joy was dumbstruck. Sukesh continued…….
Sukesh: He was doing his B.Tech when he became addicted to drugs. He was in the third year. He was a bright student. See how it ruined his life.
Joy’s face turned pale. His eyes and ears became red.
Sukesh(continuing): We lost our father in the childhood. My mother used to love him very much. The society was spitting on us and uttering rubbish about us. She could not bear that. One day, she ended herself. I was feeling helpless. I was young and had no clue of coming out of it. I was like a boat without a radar.
Joy’s feets were trembling, there were tears in his eyes. He ran so fast from there that Sukesh could not utter a single word to stop him.
Sukesh came home. He saw Joy, standing near to his door. He hugged Sukesh and started crying like a baby.
Sukesh: Its alright……Joy……
After six months……………….
Coffee Lounge, Banjara Hills.
Sukesh had a meeting with the publishers. A smart and dashing guy, in a pair of blue jeans and white t-shirt was sitting inside. Might be he was waiting for his friends.
Sukesh: Hey is it Joy? Oh! My god, I can’t believe it.
Joy(excited): Hey big bro!!! How are you?
Sukesh: I am fine. So, how is Joy’s Den now? Still ugly?
Joy(laughing): Come lets have coffee……..