CHAPTER 4: NEW YEAR,S(H)AME OLD STORY.

The news regarding the bomb blast didn’t spread quickly as the previous one since one section of the citizens- the young brigade  were busy partying till death and the other section would be deep in slumber and hope- hope that the new year will be better and bigger than the previous year. But they would only get to know about yet another serial blasts the next morning,and will realise that things gonna remain the same irrespective of the new calendar.

The first morning,was sombre. Gloomy.
Mumbai and other cities were put on high alert (yet again).

I was having the first breakfast of the year with my usual dose of the morning newspaper.

The first newspaper of the year 2020.

The number of dead people went up to about 715 whereas the injured went upto 1207 approx.

What a great start to a new year!

The previous night I had left the party in disgust without even letting Adi and Abhi know. Neither I was pleased by the blast news,neither did I know to dance,the latter one was more embarrassing.

Man,I could have completed another novel by that time!

After my sumptuous breakfast,I decided to go on a short walk instead of being glued to the television dabba like my Dad. The news channel people might be the most happiest of the lot.
At least they got some content to broadcast oher than those Bollywood gossips and uninteresting saas-bahu insights.

2020 was the year when India would get its “developed nation” tag,we used to say about a decade ago,when we had geography in our school syllabus.

What happened to that so called tag?

Did we forget about it all of a sudden?

No.

Then what?

Why do we still hold that
not-so-coveted “developing nation” tag.

Our path of success and development was blocked by the huge boulders of expectations, corruption,divided religion based politics and other shit like that.

Why?

How can I make my contribution as a responsible proud Indian citizen?

That too in a big way?

And how shameless is the defence system of the country?

One attack after the other.
Still,we aren’t prepared.
We just moved on without learning from them.

Mistake.

A big mistake.

I was clouded by such heavyweight and responsible thoughts when the loud blaring horn behind me broke my reverie.

I was definitely thinking too much.
Too tensed about the nation’s dull future.

The main problem was that I didn’t have anything much to think about except novels and weaving new stories.
I didn’t have any stress called
‘girlfriend’ and additional responsibility of being in a ‘relationship’ like the other guys of my age. That was one plus point of course.

Work will start the next day and I was damn excited about that prospect.

Don 3 crossed the 200cr mark in a week flat. Another record.

I was happy that my mind was back to normal.
My type of ‘normal’.

I called up Adi to ask about his whereabouts after yesterday night’s bash.

His phone ringed about 13 times and it then it said “The person whom you are trying to contact isn’t receiving your call. Please try later.”
I tried about 5 times and I got the same answer in return.

He might be at the gym as per his new year resolution. Good..

I was on my way back to home when I received a call.

“Adi?!”

“Helloooo..”

“Good you’re alive..”

“No….I’m dead..I’m his ghost..boo!”,he said in a sleepy voice.

“Er..Adi can you tell me where are you exactly? Gym right?”

“Gym? Haha? Why should I go to the gym? Are you totally mad?”,he guffawed.

“But..that was your new year resolution right ? What now?”,I faked anger.

Not following a new year resolution is as crazy as making it at the first place. You yourself know that you’ll follow this serious,tough regiment of yours for a few days or at the most weeks. After that your “I’ll definitely follow this new year resolution this time” spirit will be gulped down by your hectic schedule and most probably your “who cares” attitude.

I aleady knew that he won’t follow any resolution as such. He’s too lazy to do that.

“I was in my dreams man..with..Deepika..and I was punching that brat Ranveer when I heard some strange noises..like my alarm! But I knew that it was Ranveer’s trick to bring me back to reality. I knew that I haven’t kept any alarm at all! That was such a cleverrr plan from his side! Then after the fight,when I almost thrashed him,I understood ki that its my ringtone. But I couldn’t be bothered. After some serious contemplation I got up and called you back.”

“Waah..what a dream man.
Couldn’t have expected anything less from a maniac like you..and by the way, when did you start using long words like ‘contemplation’? Do you even know its meaning Adi?”

“No..it feels great using such hi fi words..whatever the meaning.”,he giggled.

“Typical Adi.”

“Yo..anyways, I have to go. Ranveer is still alive. Deepika is calling me back. The fight resumes.”

“Yeah..bye..sorry for disturbing your fight. “Deepika bhaabhi ko mera hi bol dena”

“Yo.”,he ended the call.

I reached home and started another novel. My 76th one.

I knew Abhi would be sticking to his resolution of understanding and playing the guitar- the only place where his talent was left to be shown. ( Being a university topper,writer,photographer and singer seemed less for him.)

Playing a guitar would make him a perfect all rounder. And our ever-humble and helping band guitar lead Advait ( Yeah,we had a band named Alacrix which we had formed during our college days.) would be helping him out in this regime.

At that very moment,I decided to have my resolution as well.

I would reach the 100 novel mark this year. For sure.

I had this one day to figure out everything before my job would demand me spending countless hours in front of the computer.

Evening:

I wanted peace.
I wanted someone to talk.
Adi would be partying somewhere or might be well..snoring off to sleep.
Abhi might be spending quality time with his family or would be writing his next blog.

I had to be alone.
I needed a desolate place where I can get some much needed peace.
Where I can think clearly.

There was one place that Abhi had showed me during our college days where he used to sit alone after the college and soak in the peaceful vibes.

The desolate yard behind Ghansoli railway station.

I headed there.

As I reached the place,a small smile formed on my face which was dead serious till now.
And that smile faded that very instant.

A few couples were spending those happy moments with each other,away from the prying eyes of the world ; where they won’t be judged or won’t be disturbed.

I went ahead,all alone,with my laptop. I sat there, below the moonlight, viewing all the archived photos in the special folder “Memories” on the D drive…that’s when I stumbled upon a very old photo. A group photo of our junior college days. The pic had me and my friends,all smiling with the Christmas crib in the background.

“I’ll be with you forever,no matter what baby!”
“Pakka promise?”
“Yup.”

And then one of those lovely couples broke in to an embrace.

Will I be all alone my life?
Wouldn’t I get someone who loves me with her entire heart,selflessly?

Why did she say a “NO” to my question “Do you love me the same way I love you?”

Didn’t I deserve her after waiting for more than a 1000 days?

Am I so unworthy?

Unworthy of a perfect reason?

My mind again went to those unwanted thoughts that I had once put in the recycle bin of my mind. I had never permanently deleted those ‘feelings’. Another mistake of mine.

A mistake worth regretting my entire life.

I controlled those tear drops which were threatening to spoil my mood even further.

With my laptop and a lump in my throat,I went towards her house.

Mulund.

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