Two months later, Sachin and I became good friends. It was 14th November, the children’s day. There were only twenty students in the class. The girls of our class decorated the board and the class. The class was looking too much striking. Our teachers and we had fun together. Our Mathematics’ Teacher came into the class and he told us to introduce ourselves. I and many other students told about ourselves.
Math’s teacher said, “Kunal, what do you like?”
“Sir, I like Chhole-bhature”
Then Sir asked Sachin the same question. Sachin replied, “I like Chhole-bhature too.”
I did not understand why he said so. At first, I thought that it was just a coincidence, the second moment; I thought that our likes and dislikes are same. I was confused but I just took it lightly. We all friends had good time together. We played, enjoyed and had lunch together. Still I was missing Rahul and Ashish, they were absent that day.
Everyone returned home and I had dinner in the nighttime. As usual, I went to the study room and opened my Chemistry book. However, I failed to concentrate on the topic. The events of the day were moving around in my mind. I could not force my mind not to think about Sachin. I did not know what kind of force that was. Maybe that I had never meet such a person yet? I fell asleep on the table.
Suddenly, the phone rang. I was startled to hear that. I casted my glance over the clock which was saying twelve o’ clock. That was weird and I was in awful mess. I was thinking who the caller would be but then the ringing stopped. I got some relief but it did not lasted for so long. Again the phone rang, I took up and the phone.
I said, “Hello, who is there?”
I got no reply. No one replied me. I said repeatedly and asked the name but no reply. I was terrified. Mamma and Papa were sleeping and I did not want to disturb them. Again, the phone rang and I took it up.
I said, “Hello…”
Suddenly, a really harsh, rough, horrible and cold voice came saying, “Your end is near.”
I was shocked, too shocked that I woke up. I realized that it was just a mere nightmare. I thought if it would be the reality what I would do. I saw the clock, which was saying twelve o’ clock. That, too, frightened me. I could not imagine such a thing with me and I never wanted it to be.
I went to my bed to sleep. I decided to tell Mamma and Papa and suggest them shift the phone to the hall. As soon as I laid myself on the bed, the phone rang. This time it was actual and I, being frightened, could not move a single step but somehow, I gathered all of my courage and took up the phone.
I said, “Hello…”
the same kind of voice came again. The caller said, “I am the Master of all things bad…you dared to challenge me.”
I was confused. I said, “What? But I don’t know who you are then how could I challenge you?”
“A friend of my enemy is the enemy of mine too.”
“Who is your enemy? Moreover, I am not the foe of anyone. On this earth, none is enemy of anyone. This world is every ones and…”
“Just shut your mouth and don’t speak such a stupid words…This time I am not going to leave you. You took my prestige that I ever wanted. Count your final days….”
I was very shocked. He ended the phone call. I thought what kind of person it would be. I knew that I had not even think of anyone’s bad and I believed in myself that I was pure and my soul was pure too. I again went on the bed and tried to sleep but I could not. The whole night my eyes remained open and I had not a little bit of sleep.
Next dawn I was feeling sleepy and I wanted some rest. Mamma woke me up and told me that my cousin had visited us with uncle and aunt. I was not so pleased. My cousin was not like other people who remains happy all the time. He was kind of those persons who wanted their own existence and those who remained in their own thoughts. I came out of the bed and dressed myself.
My cousin came to me and said, “Brother, you are going school even today. We have visited you and you don’t want to spend time with us.”
I could not think of any answer. Mamma insisted me not to go to school but I refused and left for the school.
In the school, I was thinking of the mysterious person who called me late at night. My friend asked me why I was so distressed.
I replied, “Last night, someone called me and said that my end was near.”
My friend laughed at the words. I was stunned at such an attitude.
He said, “Someone must have been teasing you. Just take it easy.”
“Maybe you are right?”
“O Man! What kind of weird expression you are making? Hahaha…”
I was somewhat relieved but I did not think that it was just a jest. Everyone returned home.
I arrived at the home and cousin welcomed me. His stupid behavior irritated me.
Suddenly my Mamma shouted, “Krishna, come here at once.”
My cousin went there rushing. I, too, followed him.
Mamma said, “Did you do this?”
“No, aunt” said Krishna.
Mamma asked me the same question. I said, “Nopes, Mamma, I haven’t done this.”
“Then who must have burned the album? Krishna has arrived today. Tell me, have you did this, my son?”
I still refused by saying that I had not done that. Mamma sat down and took the ashes of the album. Her eyes filled with tears and one by one tears began to roll down her fair cheeks. I could not see her weeping. I sat too and tried to console her. Mamma’s tears forced my eyes and then I could not stop myself and I, too, began to weep along with Mamma.
In the Nighttime, Papa came and Mamma had already cooked the dinner. Mamma asked Papa the same question.
Papa replied, “No, dear, I don’t know.”
Papa consoled Mamma and cheered her. Advising her not to take that seriously, Papa told Mamma that he had the photographs as back up. Mamma’s face bloomed and she became happy. I was delighted to see both of them happy. We had dinner and then everyone went to sleep. Krishna seemed a little bit nervous. I asked him about the reason of his nervousness.
He replied, “Aren’t you going to sleep?”
“Yes, after finishing my English work, I am going to sleep.”
A slight air of tranquility blew through his face. I said, “Is there any problem?”
“No, I just asked.”
He was weird. I then went to the study room to complete my work. I was going to sleep. It was about twelve o’ clock, the time of horror, which haunted me. Just at the moment, I entered the mattress to sleep, the phone rang. I did not take up the phone and just laid myself to sleep. I saw that my brother had not sleep as well. I went to look for my brother. The phone stopped ringing. I went out the room, towards the Kitchen where I saw Krishna. I asked him what he was doing there.
He replied, “Nothing, I was thirsty and to quench it, I wanted some water, and to have some water, I came here…”
“No more, no more, I understood.”
“By the way what are you doing here?”
“I came here looking for you because you weren’t there.” “So, then, let’s go.”
Then he and I went to the bed and slept. I was afraid of the caller. The mysterious voice was really making me sleepless.
Next day, Mamma said, “Sweetie, haven’t you slept the whole night?”
“No, Mamma, I had a good sleep.”
“You have dark circles beneath your eyes.”
“What! Dark Circles…O! No….What should I do?”
Then I washed my face and having bathed I went to the school. Everyone there too asked me if I had not sleep all the night. I gave the same answer. I told my problem to my other friends. Mohit, Shivam, Himanshu and Sudhanshu, they seemed to have believed on me and they, too, joined me to help me working out of that problem. The whole day and the whole night, I was worried about that person.
One night, just before the annual examinations, the phone rang again. I did not take up the phone. However, it was ringing and rang continuously for about fifteen minutes. I, somehow, managed to take up the phone but none spoke a single word. I just threw the phone and cut the line.
Next dawn, I arrived at the school. Shivam and others drew me to other room. I could hear Sachin’s voice. He was calling me. I tried to release myself and went to Sachin but I failed.
I said to Shivam, “Why aren’t you letting me meet Sachin?”
“Because we don’ want you to do so.”
“Just unhand me, he’s calling me, I have to go. Let me go…”
“Shut up and tell us some important topics and then you’ll be free.”
Then Devyani said to Sachin, “Kunal is saying that you’re mad.”
I was shocked at her words. Sachin came to me and then, I could not do anything. He took everything otherwise and denounced me. He said, “You’re such a selfish kind of person. I knew everything about the exam and I wanted to tell it to you. But you…”
I could feel his rage. It was too strong. I said, “Please, Sachin, I didn’t say those words. They forced me and did not allow me to meet you. Believe me…”
“Just go now.”
I had to follow the order. As he said to leave, I had to do so. I went downstairs in my class and attended the examinations. After the exam, I looked for Sachin but I did not see him either. Sadly, I returned home thinking that Sachin, still, thought that I betrayed him. In the nighttime, I was thinking to clear all misunderstandings between us. I sent him the message –
“Sachin, I am sorry. Please, believe me”
“I know you are not. I am sorry too.”
“Yes, we’ are still friends.”
“Thank you very much.”
“How was the English paper?”
“It was so-so. What about yours?”
“Mine also. Good Bye, Good Night.”
“See you tomorrow, Take Care.”
Our conversations ended and I was relieved. Next dawn, I discussed about the mystery man with Sudhanshu. He was confused too. I went outside. Sachin met me and he and I talked with each other merrily. I went to the railings and said, “What if I jump down?”
“Nothing more than this that your bones will fracture and you’ll be teleported direct to heaven.”
“Then should I jump down? Yes, I should try.”
I was about to jump. Suddenly, Sachin caught my hand and stopped me saying, “Are you crazy?”
“No, I am not. I was just kidding.”
Then the bell rang and we, together, entered our respective classes. All of us finished the exams and happily, all the time passed by and our exams finished. Sachin and I drew more closely to each other. The problem was completely messed up. None of my friend could work out of it. I thought of asking Sachin for help. One day, in an email, I told everything to Sachin. He, too, was completely shocked. He, too, was worried. He visited me next day and angrily said, “You had such a terrible problem and you are telling me now. Why didn’t you tell me earlier?”
“I didn’t want to disturb you.”
“What should we do now? Do you have any idea who could do this?”
“Nopes. I don’t know.”
The mysterious person once again sent messages to Sachin and me too. It was then became an awful mess and we did not even know how to work out of it. The only question that came in my mind was – Who could it be? I was afraid of him.
One day, that person sent an email to me. ‘Your end is near. Prepare to meet oblivion. And those who are with you shall be eliminated as well.’
I thought it might be a trick to bring down my grades. Sachin, too, said the same thing that it could be a trick. However, I did not even imagine that Sachin would leave me. One day, the mysterious person sent something to Sachin. In noontime, Sachin came to my home and called me. His voice, I could feel rage in it. It was so harsh that my legs began to tremble. He was before me. I was seeing rage in his eyes. He said angrily, “What a game it is!”
I was so shocked why he was saying so.
“You…Why did you betray my trust? I trusted you and helped you but you….you played a game with me. The fact is you may win the game but you have lost my trust.”
“Sachin….Why are you saying so?”
“Because you betrayed me.”
“Do you think I am a fool? I never betrayed you, even I cannot imagine of betraying you.”
“I am not a fool to get into your trick again.”
He left me alone and went away. I was so confused. It happened so quickly that I, even, did not get any time to think. My eyes filled with tears. My best friend just passed by me and left me when I was in such a terrible situation. Then I knew what I had to do. I decided to end this hide, seek, and punish that person for creating a grudge between us.
When I turned, I saw Krishna there. He was not my real brother but friends whom I made my brother just because he lost his parents. I noticed a strange thing. He was smiling…This was peculiar.
“Is there any problem?” said he.
“If I had any, I don’t think it’s important to tell you.”
I went inside and left him there. I took up my phone and saw two messages. It was written – ‘How do you like my plan? Sachin…very important to you…Now you are alone. What will you do? Do you know why he fired you? Then read the other message.’
Then I opened up another message. ‘Dear Sachin, the mysterious guy is none but me, your friend Kunal. I just played a game with you to bring you near me. That is all. Maybe you like my game?’
I was astonished at the words. These were astounding. Immediately, I called Sachin but he switched off the cell phone expressing that he did not want to talk to me. I was enraged and then I threw my cell phone feeling loneliness. I did not want to upset my parents so I did not tell them about that. The same day, in the nighttime, the stranger called me. That time I took up the phone. He said, “Maybe I should enter the endgame?”
“What do you mean?”
“On 31st March, you and me only at Gandhi Park”
“At 7:30 in the morning. This will be the end of your destiny.”
“Let the time judge.”
I put down the phone and checked the date. That day was 21 March and I had only ten days. I tried to convince Sachin but I failed repeatedly. Whenever I called him, he said, “You have lost my trust forever.”
Time passed and the day finally came. I, as decided, arrived at Gandhi Park at 7: 30 in the morning but I did not see anyone. There was no one in the park. Suddenly, someone came towards me. By the moving style, posture, and stature, I wondered if it was Krishna. Then my suspicion came true when he turned and I saw that it was Krishna. The mysterious voice was that of none but Krishna. One whom I made my friend and above it, a brother but he betrayed my trust and turned against me. I said, “Why did you do this?”
“Because you deserve this. Since our childhood, everyone liked you but not me. In the competition, you and I won but the award was given to you not me. You took away everything from me and you are saying why I did this?”
“I never took anything from you. If I deserve the award then it is not my fault. It’s your entire fault that you didn’t work hard to achieve that award.”
“You are more intelligent than me…this reason is enough to end you. If I eliminate you, I’ll be the only intelligent.”
“Your notion is wrong. There are several intelligent persons and the fact is do not pretend to be someone who is not you. Just try to become who you are.”
“Just shut up. This game must be ended.”
“You stubbornly refused to understand. But why did you trouble Sachin?”
“Just to make you alone”
“You stupid. Do you have any idea what you have done? You deposed our relation. I made you my brother friend but I was wrong.”
“And now you have to pay. That’s why it is said never trust others too much especially who is new in your life.”
I, then, challenged Krishna for a Martial Arts competition between us. Both of us battled for almost half an hour. Krishna seemed to be tired. Taking advantage of the situation, I used my final blow and won. He fell down and was out. Krishna said, “You’re not getting away with this.”
I said, “It’s over. You have to admit your mistake and restore our relation.”
“Do you think I am going to do this?”
“You have to.”
“Even you cannot force me.”
Then Krishna stood up and ran away. I was sure he would have gone to his home. I did not want to bother anyone then. As it was revealed that the mysterious caller was none but Krishna, I decided to reveal it myself to Sachin and restore our friendship but it was too late then. The month of March was about to end and the same day was the parent-teacher meeting. I got first position in my class. I saw Sachin and he, too, saw me but he ignored me. Our next classes were about to begin from 1 April. I wanted a new beginning. I called Sachin in the nighttime. He said, “Hello…”
“Didn’t you recognize me?”
“Yea, I recognized you.”
“Why are you ignoring me?”
“Just take yourself and your stories and leave my life. I do not want you in my life. Leave me alone.”
“But I’m innocent. I can prove myself.”
“Then Let me talk to that person who tried to threaten you.”
Then he suddenly ended the conversation and switched off the cell phone. I was in chaos and confusion how to tell him that I was innocent. However, this incident taught me never to trust someone beyond limits. Though Sachin did not want to befriend me, again still he liked me, it was certain. Maybe one day everything would be restored between us. I did not even know what kind of bond that was which brought me closer to him. I said, “O! Almighty God, help me restore our friendship.”
[TO BE CONTINUED]