Wednesday, August 12, 2009

5. i

I was riding the motorbike him back. Piyush sat on the pillion musing about the rapid changes in his life. It was too much to handle for a small town boy like him.

He had lived in a world where each one knew each other. A world which was built on trust and friendship. A world in which others meant a lot more than the self.

The sudden strike from Harshad had devastated him. It wasn’t that he hadn’t had tiffs in his town. But there, the enemies were clearly marked out. And those rules were not applied in these domains. Here, anybody could turn against you. And that too, anytime! This was a fact which Piyush was finding hard to digest. And so would Dilip and Anshul, when he would tell them.

I rode steadily. Allowing Piyush to ride after he is drunk is like riding your death with the reaper holding the accelerator.

I have survived his drunk riding twice. But that did not mean I would the third time.

We came to the open road that joined the two parts of the place. I was about to ride across the grassland into the other part when Piyush suddenly yelped into my ear.

“Can you stop the bike?!”

His pitch indicated an emergency. I guessed that he wanted to puke. That’s a ritual after overdrinking. A grand puking ceremony. When every member pukes one after the another taking inspiration from the earlier. And then they pass out. Some even wake up from sleep and puke to maintain the dignity of the drink.

I stopped the bike. He got down.

“What happened?” I asked him
“Was it true?” he asked gravely. I saw a tint of innocence on his otherwise irritating face.

“What?” I asked unable to derive a reference.

“What you said about Harshad….” He lost the gravity in his voice.

What I said about Harshad:

“Strike back…?” Piyush asked me with a perplexity in his voice.

“Yes….what do you think?....will he sit quiet now??” I said with a tone of assuring obviousness.

“Then??” I could see fret gathering in his voice.

“He will hit back….and he will hit back hard” I said in a serious tone.

“Come on Anay….its Harshad.” He tried to dissuade my thought.

“Yeah…its Harshad….who sends Rahul to follow me….then assaults me at Aunty’s…and then starts a fight with you on a girl… ” I couldn’t let him forgive Harshad. That would mean loss of force for me. But it was somehow a baseless fear. Because, even if he did forgive Harshad, Harshad wouldn’t forgive him.

“But that…”Piyush struggled to deliver a counter logic.

“Give that justification to yourself!!....” I cut his sentence curtly.

There passed a long silent pause between us.

Piyush slowly turned towards me and said, “What do we do now?”

“Defend…..and hit back harder…” I sipped my drink.

“How do we do that?” He asked curiously.

“Let him try first….” I said coldly.

“Why?” He jumped in horror.

“Because we have to know his weapon!” I said staring at the Expressway, taking another sip from the glass.