Ravi was immersed in his thoughts as usual. The lonely walk in the chill of the night had become a part of his routine for the last 3 years. But today was slightly different. He knew that this was the last time he would be taking this long walk back to the hostel.
Ravi had moved to this town 3 years ago to pursue his college degree. He was from a small village which didn’t have any good colleges. So his parents had sent him to this town with a dream that their son could get a chance to achieve something in life. Since he didn’t have any relatives in that town, he was staying in a hostel.
There were about 250 students staying in that hostel and they were all from the same college as Ravi. He knew all of them albeit only by name.
Ravi was always a loner. Making new friends was never easy for him. All through his childhood he had 2 friends Ajay and Varun whom he had grown up with. When he was around them, he was a bundle of joy and couldn’t stop talking. But around others he was very reserved. He looked quite out of place. Ravi missed them a lot as they both of them were not with him in this college.
Tonight the wind was a little more cold than usual. Ravi was walking back to his hostel after having dinner at the usual dhaba. He was thinking about what had happened earlier in the day. He had written the last exam of his final year course. After the exam was over, all his batch mates were celebrating. They were busy remembering the fun times in the years gone by and discussing about their future plans. Everybody looked happy among their group of close friends. But Ravi stood there all alone amidst the chaos. He was a nice guy and cordial with everyone. But sadly there wasn’t a single person over there that he could call as a true friend.
As he stood there alone looking at the celebrations and good byes, he got a sinking feeling. “Am I that bad? Not even one person here cares that this might be the last time they will be seeing me in this lifetime.” His mind ran back to the first day of college. He had come there with so many dreams. He wanted to experience his first love and heartbreak, his first smoke and his first drink.
Sadly for Ravi he couldn’t experience any of these. Instead what had transpired in the 3 years was a series of failures and disappointments. He was in and out of depression for most part of it. He couldn’t remember doing anything worth remembering. It was just a haze of boring lectures and painful tests and exams.
Ravi could see the hostel now. He was probably 200 meters away. For the last 3 years covering this distance of 200 meters was the hardest part of his walk. He just didn’t want to go back in there. He wished he could become invisible just to get away from the judgmental eyes in that place.
Because of the economic situation of his family, he had no option but to stay there. But today he felt better. “Let me do this one last time”, he said to himself.
As he inched closer to the hostel, he recited his usual prayers to God to give him strength and courage. Tonight he had a few extra lines in the prayer.
“God please help me so that the rest of my life is better than what I have been through here. I don’t yearn for much. But let me have one true friend to whom I am a priority and not just an option. And lastly, if not the entire 3 years, please erase the memory of these walks from my brain. I never want to feel the way I have felt here ever again. I just want to forget this pain ”
Ravi entered the hostel and saw the faces of the known strangers, for one last time. He entered his room and lay on his bed to spend a sleepless night for one last time, at least at this place!!