Mirrors of Fate
‘Sorry buddy! Din’t notice you passing by’, was the reply from Keshunath. Saying this, Keshu blew the smoke right into the face of Ari and laughed with his nicotine stained teeth. Arihant without saying a word, laughed back and in a lightning action grabbed the cigarette of Keshu’s mouth and dropped it in the nearby pool of rain water.
Keshu’s smile instantly vanished and he stood there for a while. ‘Why do you always have to do that?’ for which Ari replied with a concerned look, ‘It’s been 18 years that we became friends and yet you don’t listen to me. I care for you. Stop wasting your life in smoking and drinking. You’ve got Mitra to take care of’.
Though Mitra was the 6 year old daughter of Keshu, he wanted her to be raised by Ari, not because he was a bad father, but because he never wanted Ari to feel alone. Mitra was in fact the name of Ari’s wife who passed away a couple of years ago in a freak accident. After her death, Ari concentrated his life in taking care of Keshu’s daughter Mitra a. k. a Rudraveena. Keshu and his wife never complained about Mitra spending more time with Ari. Arihant had been a pious person, and was very religious. He never missed a religious occasion and even believed in Christ and Allah though he was a perfect Brahmin by birth. On the contrary Keshu was a complete atheist and likes to live his life based on his freedom of will.
Eighteen years ago, they met on a playground as rivals in a friendly game of soccer. Soon rivalry turned into a fervent quest for the right friend and since both had one common attitude of never give up in life, they ended up as best friends. They fought mostly about each others habits. While Keshu questions the integrity of religion to Ari, in return Ari questioned the necessity of smoking and boozing. Yet both were achievers in life. They were mutually amiable and blend in each others family as very own sons and brothers. They had been living together for the past 8 years in a mansion.
(The following story is purely based on fiction and bears no resemblance to anyone’s lives)
Sitting on the patio, while Keshu was smoking his 9th cigarette of the daily 14, Ari received his evening coffee from Samritha (Mrs. Keshu) and smiled at them. As the cigarette reached the near of the cotton bud, Ari heard something from the dining room. The rattle of the coffee cups, woke Keshu from his foggy bliss and both the friends rushed to the dining room. To their shock, they saw Samritha on the floor with the spilled coffee near the dining showcase with the telephone receiver dangling in a way as if it had its own life.
Thirty minutes later, Keshu, Ari and Samritha, all with a worried face arrived at the Children’s hospital. Mitra had fallen off the seesaw and had gone into a coma. Looking at Mitra through the glass doors of ICU instantly brought tears for Samritha. Keshu ran towards his daughter in a fit of concern, while Ari stood there in shock, looking at his reason to live lying motionless.
‘My name is Dr. Chopra and I am doing my best to revive your daughter of the coma’ was the statement Ari understood after standing outside the ICU door for a couple of minutes. The mirrors of these some minutes changed the personality of both the friends. After half an hour Keshu came into sense and realized that Ari hadn’t been with Mitra the whole time. He wiped the tears of his swollen wet face and with the sniffling he walked into the hospital searching for Ari. Finally he found him.
Ari was standing in a room greatly lit with focused light, filled with the fragrance of heaven from the dhoopsticks that was lit for the statue of an elephant. Ari’s eyes were gracefully following from the Elephant Lord to the Crucified Figure over the cross to the Crescent that was wall painted with the numbers 7 8 6.
‘What was I thinking? My best friend is praying for his daughter and all I did was mock at him at his beliefs.’ With that thought, Keshu kneeled in the room and clasping both his hands he prayed for the first time in his life. His heart said, ‘Please save my daughter not for me, but for Ari. I shall quit smoking and drinking if you can make my daughter play again in the laps of my best friend in a couple of days’
While Keshu started to believe the existence of God and went into the trance state of religion, Arihant had a confused mind and a raging heart. ‘You are just a hoax. You don’t exist in reality. Everything about you is fake. Everything is made up. I had been praying every day to you, asking for just one thing. Take care of Mitra and all you give the poor child is, an experience with death. This moment I am saying to all of you, I am burying all my beliefs in you, you and you and everyone else’ his eyes pointing at the deities with a fury.
A couple of weeks later, Mitra opens her eyes for the first time after her fall from the seesaw and asks for Arihant. Keshu though happy about his daughters return to the world, his heart is shattered by the fact that Ari had been lying down at the house drinking Makers Mark in remembrance of the happy moments he spent with Mitra.
Two months later, Mitra played in the lap of Arihant who mocked at Mitra about her dad going to the temple to return thanks for bringing back his daughter back to the world. ‘Forgive Arihant for giving up his beliefs. I pray for the happiness of my friend from the smiles of OUR daughter.’
It had been days that I’be stopped believing in God. For me now conscience is the best friend. I wanted to write this story as a poetry but I guess, I wanted it to be read by everyone. The original poem ended like this –
“While his belief faded like the shadow of saffron rays,
His friend’s heart gleamed with the Ganges of sandal”