Kabir stared at the cold dead body of his best friend Dev, that lied on the floor of his messy apartment. The red coloured fluid oozed out from Dev’s chest through the hole, ripped up by the sharp knife, still stuck in him. Loud thunderous flashes occasionally displayed Kabir’s emotionless face. His face was cold and expressionless with his eyes widened more than usual.
Half an hour had passed, and yet there was no change in the scene. Kabir was still lying on the floor with his back resting on the sofa. The broken glasses of beer and vodka lied still on the floor.
Kabir suddenly jolted as if he woke up from a bad dream. He wished it to be one. But resentment filled his heart and the tears that froze in shock burst out from his eyes with a huge pressure. A funky ringtone disturbed him. He picked up the cellphone , that lied beside Dev’s body. His tears rolled out with greater pressure, but then fear combined with sorrow. It was dev’s parents. Kabir tossed the black and white phone on the floor and dug his moist face into his palms.
10 minutes later…..
Kabir stood up wearily as he realized he had to do something. He felt nauseous as he struggled to pull out the deeply struck knife from Dev’s chest. The blood erupted through the wound , like a volcano. Kabir sprinted towards the sink and threw up.
He forced Dev’s body in a huge sac and covered his body. He paused momentarily for some moments as the guilt forced some tears out. He took one final look a Dev’s face and covered him. He wiped up all the red stains on the floor and knife. He cleaned up all the mess and carefully removed all the broken vodka glasses. He freed his apartment from any signs of red stains. He sat on the sofa for a few minutes and mustered up his courage. He was not new to the next thing he was about to do. It was actually one of the gifts of god he possessed. He usually performed it with ease. But that time, it was turning out to be much difficult, actually impossible. Kabir picked up dev’s phone and dialed a number.
‘Hello Dev’, Dev’s mother spoke up in a worried tone.
‘He..hello’, Kabir stammered in a near perfect voice of Dev. It was usually perfect.
‘Where are you? I called you many times. Why didn’t you pick up your phone?’
Kabir managed to speak in a casual tone. She became a little suspicious, when he replied bluntly. It was a fair suspicion. Dev was always energetic and vibrant. He never displayed a slightest visual of despair or depression. Always positive in approach and attitude, Dev was one in a thousand. People wouldn’t believe when told about his poor financial background. Originating from a poor and humble village in Andhra Pradesh, Dev set out on a journey to become the first engineer from his village. Engineering was his passion. Dev worked hard to get into I.C.S enginnering college in Chennai through scholarship. I.C.S was one of the top dogs of the country. The government funded his fee and stay in college.
‘ I will , one day, make this village a beautiful town.’, promised Dev, to his mother before leaving. What he didn’t foresee at that time was his very own death, that was to come a year before his graduation. That dream of his, will remain only as a dream forever and ever.
Kabir cut his red eco sport through the heavy rain. The headlights beamed at the damped and muddy road. The road was pooled with muddy rain water. The moist soil splashed onto the neatly maintained wheels and the body of his beloved car. Till that day, Kabir had maintained his eco-sport with utmost love and care. He did not let a single fly lay its fleece on the car.
The ecosport rammed the pasty soil as it speeded up. He stopped the car at an unclaimed wasteland. It was mostly covered in short-cropped grass with huge trees surrounding it. People wouldn’t know even if you planted a bomb in there. Kabir carried the body on his shoulders to a nearby tree. He started digging a huge pit. He reminisced all the memories he had with Dev, all the moments they shared as best friends, as he removed the damped layers of a soil. He paused suddenly and started crying again. The pain in his heart was even more intense. He resumed digging in the thundering showers of the rain. subconsciously, he had dug a huge pit, very deep. Kabir threw Dev’s body inside the pit. He covered it all. He wanted that to be over quickly.
Kabir drove quickly, as far as possible from the place and from the city that he was living in. He stopped the car near a cliff. It was illuminated by the moon’s radiance, which was for some reason, so bright that night. The mood was melancholic. He pulled out a vodka from the rear. He sat on the engine bonnet and started drinking. Tears rolled out as he did. The only witness of all those events was the moon. Kabir drank right before his witness. It was a sad night. He emptied the bottle and passed out on the car.
3 Days passed. Kabir stayed in his apartment trying to liberate his guilt through drinking and smoking. his room was filled up with smoke . His apartment windows remained closed for all those days. Not a ray of light entered the apartment. He switched off his phone and did not answer anyone who knocked at the door.
A small rock suddenly broke his a.c window and the silence inside the room. Kabir jolted and looked at the window. The sunlight from the broken window stung his eyes.
An indistinct female voice cried out , ‘Get out, you criminal,… don’t try to hide from me.’ Kabir’s heart started racing. His hands shook. He got up slowly. There was a lot of noise in his head. What should he do? He mustered up his courage to slowly peep through the window.
‘You shut me out , just because of a small argument we had ‘5’ days ago. Unbelievable.’ She exclaimed. ‘Open the door, I am coming in’.
The apartment door clicked open and Kabir burst towards his girl friend and hugged her. Teary eyed, he said ‘I love you, Sarah. I missed you. I am sorry.’ Sara patted him, with a confused countenance. ‘Its okay baby. Stop crying. What happened?’, She asked. All the remaining pain and guilt that Kabir had held in himself finally found closing.
Kabir felt relieved as he felt the fresh gust of the evening fresh air on his skin, as Sara strolled hand in hand. They sat on a bench. Kabir rested his head in Sara’s lap, while she caressed his hair. ‘ Dev left the next day. I thought , i lost you the day before, I became lonely. I became lost.’ Kabir said.
‘Dev left?’ sara exclaimed.
‘Yeah. Kabir replied.
‘Its ok now, Kabir. I am here’. Sara comforted him.
Kabir’s heart popped every time his friends enquired about Dev’s absence.
‘How can a topper bail out on his classes? It has been 5 days ,man. The faculty is missing him, especially Miss Dianne.’ Ron giggled as he gobbled Kabir’s burger in their college canteen. Kabir forced a smile. ‘He went back to his hometown. He is not coming back. He has to take care of his family’s agricultural business from now on.’
‘What do you mean “went back”? like… in the middle of 2nd year. He should have waited for 2 more years.’ Ron exclaimed.
‘Well , his father was getting old and his mother sick. He couldn’t wait for 2 more years.’ Kabir tried to cover.
‘It is so sad, man. Amazing talents go waste. It happens only in india. I mean… imagine, if he could complete his degree. He would have solved his family’s financial problems. All it needed was 2 years of patience. It would have been better if his uneducated parents realized that.’ Ron remarked. Kabir nodded.
Ron took out the phone from his pocket and started dialling some number. ‘Whom are you calling? Kabir asked.
‘Dev, of course’, he replied. Kabir fell silent. He left dev’s phone in his apartment. He left it switched on.
‘Hello dev, what’s up man? how are you doing? Ron said. Kabir’s body shivered. He gasped and coughed unable to ingest his food. He coughed severely. ‘are you alright?’ Sara asked from behind. She handed out a glass of water.
‘Just heard, Are you not coming back?’ Ron continued. Kabir looked intently at Ron. His heart raced like never before.
‘Mr. Kabir here is very angry. He has finally confessed his love for you. I knew something was fishy about the both of you’. Ron giggled. What! you love him too…. great’.
‘Give me the phone, Ron.’ Kabir tried to ask casually.
‘No, man.. he dosen’t want to talk to you’ Ron giggled.
‘Bu..but why?’ Kabir asked with a tensed expression.
‘Because you killed him……’,Ron paused. Kabir’s eyes widened. He gasped and sweat profusely.
‘What?’ Kabir exclaimed.
‘Yeah, you killed his heart when you let him go. You should have stopped him, man. One must fight for his love’ ,Ron said with an intense expression in his face.
A ringtone suddenly started playing on Ron’s phone. ‘Stop pulling his leg, you miser.’ Sara said and showed her phone. Ron took a look at his phone to realize that Sara had called.
’Oops!’ Ron stuck out his tongue. ’Sorry, bro! just kidding.’
‘Fu***, douche!,’ kabir got up from the table and left the scene. Sara swayed her head.
Kabir let out a huge sigh of relief outside the canteen washroom. He pulled out a cigarette and lit it.
He smoked out heavy puffs. His hand shivered as he did that. His blood pressure calmed down. The fear of getting caught someday started to haunt him.
Kabir sat in his apartment sofa, his head faced the ceiling and held a glass of iced champagne. He got up suddenly. He took out Dev’s phone from the cupboard. He cleared his throat. His stomach tickled inside. He dialled some number.
‘Hey, ron hi! Whats up? How are you?’ Kabir said in Dev’s voice.
‘Hey, dude whats up? I called you this afternoon. You did not respond.’ Ron replied.
‘I was busy in the fields. I miss you guys.’ Kabir replied finding his perfection as he continued.
‘Same here’, Ron replied. ‘You should have waited for two more years. You could have been in a better position,… you know’.
‘yeah i know. But I couldn’t afford it .’ Kabir replied, and sounded just like Dev this time.
Kabir continued talking for a long time . They shared a few laughs as they discussed about their future, girls and other football stuff.
‘Okay, Take care man’, Kabir said trying to sign off.
‘Yeah alright , meet you someday.’ ron said.
‘I seriously wish, we don’t.’ Kabir said and tried to sound sarcastic. In his deepest heart, he seriously meant that.
‘Yeah, fu## off’, signed off Ron.
Kabir sighed and sat back in his sofa. Thoughts clouded his brain. He was not sure of the nature.(good or bad). But a thought, sort of an idea crept into his mind. ‘I convinced Ron that dev had gone home. I can convince Dev’s friend circle in the same way I convinced Ron. And as of Dev’s parents, they think Dev is happy and fine. But, he has to meet his parents. What if Dev gets a scholarship for higher studies, funded of course by my rich parents?. But after a few years, the devoted son has no time due to his job and hence cannot return to his village. He keeps sending money to remind them of his love, and for my sake, his existence. That way nobody has to ever see him, of course, unless he knows someone who is close enough to go to his village. I am the closest he ever had. Ofcourse, there is no way his parents can afford foreign travel. But ……….is’nt it wrong? Am i being satanic? May be, god had given me this gift just so I could escape situations like these. There seems to be no way I get caught. May be, god was giving me a second chance. Maybe , dev was meant to die. Why would I, otherwise be given this gift and these situations that ultimately lead to my escape without attracting anybody’s attention.’
His thoughts went straight from guilt to self-conviction that he was doing nothing wrong. He became more right for himself as he thought deep. It was ironical, as he had never in his life thought about the word ‘god’. He never recognized god’s existence until then. Or perhaps , he never needed him until then.
Kabir started dozing off in the sofa when a sudden bang on the door startled him. he quickly got up and hid Dev’s phone.
‘Are you feeling lonely without Dev’, Sara said as she sipped coffee on the couch.
‘Yeah, a little bit.’ Kabir replied.
‘He is a sweet boy’, remarked Sara.
‘yeah, good ,like momma’s boy ,like nerd’, commented Kabir and rolled his eyes. ‘He never knew the meaning of pussy. He thought it meant cat’, Kabir giggled.
‘Cat is one of the meanings, pig’. Sara said.
‘Really?’, Kabir said, and gulped the remaining wine in the glass. ‘Do you know why he never drank coffee?…..
Because, he didn’t want to do drugs’.
‘’drank’ and ‘didn’t’. Boy, aren’t you missing him enough to kill him?’, Sara mocked.
Kabir jolted at once and threw out the wine he was about to gulp. ‘You , alright?’ sara said.
‘What do you mean?’ Kabir asked with suspicion.
‘You keep referring him in past tense’, Sara said. ‘The very thought of killing him disturbs you ? Looks like you had a real connection.’
‘yeah, right, right.’ Kabir forced the wine through his throat.
Sara got up suddenly, placed the coffee cup on the table and walked slowly towards the balcony. Kabir followed her.
‘It’s a beautiful scenery from up here’, Sara said ,as she looked at the night city from the apartment balcony. ‘Feels new no matter how many times i see it.’
‘It’s beautiful from anywhere ,at any time’, Kabir said as he looked deeply at Sara’s face. ‘Makes me wanna see every second’. Sara blushed with a pink face. Kabir took her arms, looked into her eyes and said ‘Thanks for coming back’, he paused and kissed her palm ‘for being there for me when i needed the most.’
‘Don’t thank me babe. I love you’. Sara said with a pinker face. Kabir held her and kissed her.
(to be continued)