Monday, June 20, 2011

Two friends

 This story is a work of complete fiction and any resemblance to any characters or incident in reality is just coincidental.
I wish I could say the above line but unfortunately or fortunately it is not the truth. This story is about two young boys in their adolescent age. They had been friends since they were 8 or 9 years old. Now they are 16 years old. Both young, immature but want to break into the world outside. Like all young boys they had one problem. A common problem. Parents.

Ram is brilliant, smart and always the life of a party. He has always been in the top 5 rank-holders in the class. And everybody liked him. Bharath is just another average guy. He was smart in his own way but never outdoing Ram and he had always been with Ram since they met. Bharath was never as popular as Ram nor as liked but he was not worried that much about that fact. For him, he had a good friend Ram and a few more good friends. They were a gang. And he was content.

This was the time when they had completed their public exams (12th standard), waiting for their results and preparing for their entrance exams. Both had certain liberties like - to go out of their home, visit friends and have fun. And they had too many restrictions (atleast according to them) like "don't talk against parents", "be at home on time", "keep studying always", "don't watch TV" and so on. I think you get the idea. There was always a tension prevailing at home and both of them wanted to be out. With their friends.

They both attended the same coaching center for their entrance exams "Victory Coaching Center (VCC)". It was a routine those days to ride back home together until the road split for their individual homes. One evening after such a class, they started with their bicycles and Ram asked, "Can we go somewhere? I need to talk to you." This was new for Bharath. He was not sure what to answer. He was contemplating his own problem (going late to home). Noticing Bharath's hesitation Ram insisted, "I just don't want to go home yet." This was totally unexpected for Bharath. He didn't know what to say. But Ram was his friend. So he agreed. "Ok. Where do you want to go?", Bharath asked. "How about the beach?", Ram replied. "Fine.", Bharath finished and they both rode together to the beach.

Once at the beach, they parked their bicycles and sat on the curb overlooking the beach. Both sat silently looking at the beach for a few uncomfortable seconds. Bharath was not sure what to do. He had never been with Ram and felt this odd before. He did not want this uncomfortable moment to persist and broke the silence, "So, what do you want to talk, man? And what is wrong with you?".
Ram, as if some dam broke inside him, blurted out with anger, "It is my parents, man. I just hate them. I do not want to go home." After so many years of being together, this was the first time Bharath had heard Ram complain about anything. He was stunned, " Why?? What happened??? Did they scold you or something???". Ram replied still with anger in his voice, "I had a fight with my father. We argued a lot. And I just don't want to go home." After all these years with Ram, Bharath knew about Ram's anger and knew better to stay silent until Ram had vented it all. Bharath just kept telling Ram some comforting words.

After about an half hour, Ram's anger drained and Bharath thought this was the time for him to speak, "I know your feelings, dude. I am having those same issues myself. But remember, it is just few days. After that we may go to college somewhere outside of this city. Then all your issues will be over." This thought somehow soothed Ram. Ram felt much better. Bharath did not know what he was feeling then. It was always Ram who used to provide support and help to him and others. This situation looked totally alien to him. Since Ram felt better, he was fine too. Ram finally decided it was time to leave home. So they both picked up their bicycles and started again.

"I want you to come home. To my home.", Ram asked Bharath. "I'm afraid my father will still be angry with me. If you are with me, he will not beat me.", Ram finished. Bharath had no choice. He cannot say no to his friend. But the prospect of facing Ram's father was something he was not happy about. To top it all, he might have to lie to Ram's father. Now it is one thing to lie to your own parents and something else to lie to your friend's parents. Especially people who trust you. But who are these people if not for his friend. His friend was more important than their trust now.
"Okay, I'll come.", Bharath agreed.

They reached Ram's home and entered his home. Bharath's thought was all about how to face his friend's father. He was sweating a lot more from his fear than the ride. Ram's father was sitting in a wooden chair and his face had that look Bharath had seen in his father sometimes. Ram stayed silent at the door. Eventhough Ram's father was surprised at Bharath's appearance, he did not show anything. "Hi, Bharath. Come in. How are you? Where are you guys coming from?", Ram's father started. Bharath knew this line of questioning. He knew something was wrong. He had only moments to decide. Either he can tell the truth and save his face. But that meant betraying his friend's trust. Or... Lying to Ram's father and facing his anger. But that meant protecting his friend.  His heart was pounding which it always did when he was lying. "We... We are coming from the coaching class.", Bharath finished sweating more. "Isn't you class supposed to be over one hour ago?", Ram's father questioned again, his eyes drilling Bharath now. More lies, thought Bharath, "Er... We.. had special class.". Ram's father was smiling, but this was not a comforting smile Bharath was used to. Bharath felt his whole body turn to ice. He knew what was going to come. "I just called the coaching center and found that there were no extra classes today. Why??", Ram's father replied full of anger and at the same time some resentment.

Bharath was in shock. His brain had stopped acting and his whole body felt like he had been subjected to a cryogenic treatment. Complete numbness surrounded him. Ram, who had been silent the whole time, spoke for the first time, "We went to the beach. I asked him to come with me. Nothing is his fault.". Bharath jolted back from his shock listening to Ram speak. He was both worried and happy for Ram. Ram had stood up for him against his dad but that also meant he had infuriated his dad more. Bharath expected a torrent of words and may be some palm on cheek action from Ram's father. To his biggest surprise, Ram's father was silent and no longer angry. He looked at Bharath and asked, "What is wrong with him? Why does he act like this? We are here for him. Why doesn't he understand that?". Bharath didn't know how to respond to such a question. He didn't even know if it was his to answer. He stayed silent his eyes on the floor due to shame. "I think it is late. You need to go to your home.", Ram's father addressed Bharath. "Your parents might be worried." Bharath was not sure if his parents would be worried. But he certainly wanted to leave that spot immediately. He looked at his friend. Their eyes met and silent thanks passed from Ram to Bharath. Bharath left the house with some relief.

That night had Bharath worried about Ram and how he would face Ram's parents again. And whether Ram's parents would decide to call his parents and inform them about his act. He was almost sleepless until exhaustion took over him. The next morning they had their classes again. Bharath met Ram which was itself a relief. That meant Ram was not in as deep trouble as he had expected. Ram came to Bharath and told him, "Thanks, dude. I never got to thank you properly yesterday.". Bharath was happy to see Ram in good health that he was not worried about the thanks at all. "You never asked me the exact problem I had with my parents. Don't you want to know?", Ram asked Bharath. Bharath just replied, "No. I don't think that is important." They never spoke again about that day afterwards. They were still good friends even though they went to different colleges and found more friends.

After that day, they had lots of fun together. Lots of memories to cherish. And lots more memorable events in their life. But their defining moment will always be that day when they were tested by friendship. Sometimes all it takes for friendship is a small act.


Ramya said...

good read.... i liked the ending esp. :)

Rajarajan D said...

Nice Write up Dude!
- Now i get Who Ram and Bharath are! :P