Actually, Vivek was passing by and thought of dropping in till the rain gods mellowed down a bit. He came with his friend, 'Shashank'. Vivek loves the coffee that I make, and everytime he is remotely close to my place, he loves to drop by, ofcourse I always tell myself aloud, he comes to meet me too. He is generally accompanied by some random friend of his. It wasn't the first time that Shashank had come home. He had come before, but ofcourse his status was a 'friend's friend'. Therefore, the conversation would generally be of the 'small talk' genre. But yes, after a couple of meetings things had thawed a bit and we all did have a certain comfort level. Not that chemistry of chaddi-buddies, but yes we could talk about our screw-ups without a second thought.
Shashank loves my coffee too, but the way he would put is, "I can go to a coffee-shop too but why do that when you get something better, that too for free". And maybe this ideology could have fitted like a 'T' to various other situations in life too.
It all started with a mosquito bite on Shashank's neck. Now this bite, first of all was too big for a mosquito to manage, and the mark was as if the mosquito was a love-bites god. In short, it was so bloody obvious. And I suffer from chronic curiosity.
"Shashank, is that a love bite?"
"Did you get lucky last night?"
"Last time when we met, you said you were a virgin"
"That I still am"
"Then you got urself bitten just to show it off to people, is it?
My curiosity bugged him and he looked into my eyes. For one sec I thought, here comes the slap... but it didn't. Instead he caught hold of my hand, and made me sit and listen.
"Sit here, what do you think, things work in a perfect fashion in this world? You like someone very much, he has to be your dearest friend, is it? If you gel the best with someone, you will obviously find love in him/ her, is it? Or if you love someone, you will end up with that person? And if you end up with person you love, you will never fall out of love? What the hell is wrong with you, can't you see the world around you? This world runs on needs..."
I still couldn't see it quite honestly, and probably he saw it on my face too. "She is my dearest friend goddammit. She is the only one I had as company since I can remember. She got married 2 yrs ago, and since then I have not seen her happy for a single day. That bastard of a husband that she has, has not given her a single moment of joy in these two years. Honest to god, we didn't have an affair, and it was a platonic relationship. I still can't bring myself up to say that I love her in that sense. Yes I do care the world for her. I can't see her in pain at all. If she derives emotional or physical comfort from me, so be it. I don't care what the world thinks."
"And what about you? Don't you feel used? Why doesn't she leave that guy and then derive this 'comfort'? And if she can't leave that guy, why can't she be bold and accept her reality? If being a friend, you are letting her walk over you, why can't she being a friend, see what she is putting you through?" I think that must have been my best at being tactless. "And what happens when she doesn't need you anymore?"
Its scary when you can see with crystal clarity, that somebody is headed towards immense pain.
"Listen lady, its mutual. Even I have started depending on her for love and care. She cares for me and I care for her. Yes, accepted it is going beyond legitimate definitions. And its gonna be this way, as long as she wants, as long as we want..." And his voice trailed off coz he knew, he didn't have the choice, it was all about her. He wanted to believe that even he was getting something out of this arrangement but actually he couldn't convince himself as he was speaking. "I don't want to do it Deepa. More than physical, its emotional abuse. I wish she did it physically, I think I could have handled it, but this is draining the life out of me." "Get me out of this please, help me."
That night, I tried making him talk it through. I so badly wanted to get him out of this. Everyone had gone off to sleep and we spoke right into the morning. I tried speaking more and more to him, to make him see the real picture. Over a period of time, I felt it was working and I kept trying hard.
One Saturday evening I decided to give him a surprise. I know weekends can get sick if you are trying to get out of a situation. Actually, I had just met him for lunch and he wouldn't have expected me to come back all the way in the evening. The door was ajar, and I walked in. His bedroom door was closed, I guess he was sleeping. I thought I'll knock, but somehow I can't wake people up from their sleeps. I stood there thinking what to do, and finally just turned around to return. Suddenly, I could hear some wierd sounds coming from inside. I kind of figured out what was happening inside and it blew my lid off. It didnt want to stand there for a second longer.
But it didnt end there. There was a male voice, "Shashank saale, lets go out of town next weekend, this is too risky. I just keep thinking about some friend dropping in all the time."
That night he came by after dinner. We went out for a coffee. He wasn't talking much, and I realized how I had completely missed this silence before, or maybe misunderstood completely. Usually, I could carry on a conversation all by myself but today I just didn't have anything to say. All I could do was place my hand on his. He looked at me and said, "Save me if you can, I wanna get out of this....she will kill me someday..."