Birthdays which in childhood meant a month before planned party filled with games, cake cutting and family celebrating it in full zeal somehow disappears when you surpass the adolescence. There is celebration, but of a different kind. A different set of people – invited and uninvited, collect to celebrate your day of birth, which for them is probably just another reason to party.
Ragini Mehra , final year student of bachelors in economics, Topper of the state, only daughter in the clan, was extremely loved and concerned about.
Rohit Manchanda , a fellow classmate ,a good friend and a prolific guitarist in college’s music society. Not the heart of the college but yes the adored, cute guy – to whom I am sure every girl would have encountered with a felling of awe.
College where everything seems vast, everything is open and free, where there is a sense of independence and authority that rules within you; how it turns into a restrictive and choking atmosphere one could never know?
I was an enthusiastic girl who trolled about the city and never feared about anything.
But this 21st birthday – Why did it had to come?
Why one moment of extreme looseness, can make you lose even that one self-created virtue i.e. the own proud existence?
Had I not celebrated the day?
Had I been calm?
Had I been more firm?
Probably I would have been a more stable person and more comforted one in my own eyes. This feeling of degradation and the feeling of being watched about with questionable eyes kills deep within than anything in this world.
They all say I have become mad.
But I am right. I am sane. I have a proof of what I believe, I say, I do.
Rohit is the only one who understands me, despite all the fame that he has. Though he never mingles with anyone, he just plays in concerts and leaves the stage. He doesn’t even likes to get clicked because he thinks he’s not good looking. But to my eyes he is the best looking lad. All he loves is to make new compositions and make me listen at the very first instance. He has even given me some guitar lessons for free, but I am still struggling with strings.
He wittily says, “Ragini, one day, surely a chord will strike between the two of us” and I always reply, “Rohit, “No strings attached.”
We share this comfort zone which no two other people could ever share. There is nothing that we have to think of before saying to each other. We two are just meant to be.
I had developed a habit of inhaling ‘hukka’ the moment I first started taking it. It has this soothing affect and you can inhale the smoke in varied flavors. I personally liked the mint.
Rohit always complained about this habit of mine but it took me into a state of meditation. I had made him understand that ‘this smoke is not injurious to health’ and it’s not that I am smoking cigarettes. But he never approved of it.
It’s our final year and I had never attended what people here call as ‘the house party’. So Rohit advised me to throw a party on my 21st birthday where he’d tell me what and how to do stuff and whom shall I call. It was exciting and it seemed that probably this birthday has something grand in store for me. Probably this birthday in this city would bring all the nostalgia and I’d take back home all the cherishing memories.
Either everything is pre-destined or everything around you is a myth.
I was all high-spirited and enthusiastic of what all would happen on 28th day of January 2013. I had invited as Rohit suggested all my acquaintances, friends of friends, their boyfriends and girlfriends. I didn’t want to leave anyone who had been a part of my life in these three years in the city, so I sent a formal ‘what’s app’ message and personally called everyone to be a part of my celebration.
Though Rohit had planned almost everything for my special day and he was also the true and only friend I had, I also sent him a very personalized message to be there.
He again used his wits out, “I am your Friend! Who said so? I am just helping a random fellow classmate to organize stuff. I am not even coming to your party where your weird friends would irritate me. Thank you, rags for the invite.”
I just thought he was kidding as always and he’d be around.
The day came, people entered in huge numbers with bouquets and huge gifts in hand but all I waited for was Rohit to come. He was nowhere to be seen.
Everybody insisted on getting drunk and wild and I just asked them to wait for my dear friend- Rohit.
I was disgusted with the reaction of the people whom I called ‘friends’.
They said,”Ragini, you never told us about him?”
“Who is he?”
“Is he your boyfriend?”
I replied, “Don’t you all know he’s our class mate. He is cute, tall, and adorable and the one who plays guitar in the college band.”
Everyone started laughing and said ‘Are you getting high just with a glass of water!’
It seemed as if the world had turned upside down when they all tried to convince me that Rohit doesn’t exist.
How could that be possible? I’ve been sharing my life for more then a couple of years with a person and one fine day some bunch of people tell me that there is no such existence. How in-evident and brutal it is on part of them who call me their friends and then take me away from the best soul that I ever met.
I tried calling rohit’s number but the woman always said “Please check the number you have dialed.”
It absolutely turned me mad. I had no clue how to approach him.
I took a breath and recalled all the time that I had spent with him and I couldn’t believe that I didn’t know his postal address, I didn’t have a single printed photograph with him, no piece of his hand writing, no gift and even the guitar that he played was mine.
These sudden shifts of events absolutely left me clueless. I was numb. I couldn’t react.
I engulfed as much smoke I could. I drank alcohol beyond limits. It was the Best Birthday ever.
Twenty four hours later, I found myself semi-conscious in a private room of a hospital where surrounded by men in white coat I was carefully diagnosed. I had passed out of alcohol overdose and excessive inhaling of smoke had choked my throat and suffocated me.
A psychologist there after tried counseling me and she even tried to convince me that there is no such personality as ‘Rohit’. I have created myself an adulterated self which had no existence.
Each passing year, adds new hopes and aspirations in one’s life. My passing year took all that I had earned all that I had collected and aspired for.
They all say I suffer from a prolonged illness. I am not normal. I am different. Everybody is different. Probably they all are unaware of the happiness that I have experienced. I know Rohit is occupied somewhere and he would soon return. It is then all these people who have left me behind would believe that I was just one of them and not different. Everyone has their individual space where no third person ever has the authority to enter.