Monday, October 04, 2010

A Long Forgotten Story

People  don’t change all of  a sudden.People change bit by bit over time.Until they change so much that they become unrecognizable.People change because of various reasons.But a reason has to be there.Otherwise why would someone with a perfectly happy life change?I know you are wondering by now what this is all about-well,this is about my friend Rajeev.He was once my best friend.

Rajeev and I became friends at a very young age.Two frightened kids united by their fear of the unknown on the first day of school.Since then we were thick as thieves.As long as we were in school we did everything together.We played together,we fought against other kids together-we got caught and got punished together.Ah,those days!I think they have a name for that-they call it Utopia.

This went on for 10 years.We saw each other grow up-Our topics of discussion would change from cartoons and superheroes to girls and soccer.I remember at one point of time-we had crush on the same girl.FYI-she wasn’t interested in either of us.But that didn’t stop us from having a good laugh.

In Class 9,our sections were changed due to different additional.Now we got to see less of each other-We couldn’t hang out as much as we used to.Moreover I saw he made some new friends-Some people who didn’t have the best of reputation in school.I was kind of shy and introvert so I couldn’t make that many friends-Or any close friends at all.I concentrated on my studies.Meanwhile the changes in Rajeev were so marked that everyone was beginning to notice it.His dressing style had changed-he always had a cigarette between his lips.I tried to talk to him 2-3 times about this.Asked him why he had become like this-He used to react harshly on these occasions-told me that I had no right to judge him and that his new friends were far better friends than I ever was.

We reached class 11-12 and  we grew further apart.Despite not being close friends anymore Rajeev had always kept contact with me.He used to call me up late at night when he was feeling sad or when he was in trouble.I missed my friend-so I used to take whatever time I could get with him.But now he even stopped calling me anymore.Sometimes his mother would call me up and ask me about his activities in school-I had no answer for her and it is at these moments I felt guilty and in some ways responsible for Rajeev.In the meanwhile I was in a lot of trouble myself with poor grades and studies-So I couldn’t concentrate on Rajeev’s problems any more.And slowly he faded from my mind.

After school ended I didn’t see him anymore.I went through college-wasn’t too successful.And in this struggle for existence I had forgotten about Rajeev completely.

More than 25 years have gone by.I am now in my 40s a typical middle-class Bengali man struggling to make ends meet for his family.Today I was reading the morning newspaper while having tea as usual  when an article caught my eye-

“Gangster killed in shootout”

You guessed it right.The black and white picture underneath this caption belonged to my school friend Rajeev Sengupta.He changed so much as a human being over the years but his physical appearance was nearly the same.Handsome as ever.And the photograph brought so many memories back.I don’t think I will be able to concentrate at work today.

In the end I would like to say this-I don’t know the reason for his change.I don’t know whether his philosophy of living life on the edge was worse than my philosophy of living life safely in a hole.From this tale all I can tell you is that-I miss my school friend.Maybe if we were together our lives could have turned out better.Because no relationship is as unselfish and giving as the one among two best friends.