In a daze I stumbled back to my dorm, stoned on some of the best hash the country had to offer. I crept inside my blanket and began tripping to the breathing of seven men into the silence of the wind. I had surrendered to the daydream delusions and fantasies of my drug-addled brain, when I heard a sob from the bunk above mine. One, then another, until great heaving wails rocked the entire bed, yet the others continued breathing and snoring, as if I was the only one alive or sane enough to hear the sound of grief. Listening to the drunk little boy shaking with tears, I froze within my stupor, unwilling and unable to reach out. I pretended to be asleep, and he continued sobbing into muffled pillows. These are tears of self pity, I thought with disdain. These are not tears where you feel sorry for a three-legged dog or a poor beggar kid; these aren’t tears of losing someone dear or missing someone who is far, far away. These tears were because he felt sorry for himself, sorry for the way he is, sorry for those that were no more in his life, and because he never knew the love of a mother. I knew, and I understood, but I was hardened and he was weak; I despised his tears, I hated a man who could cry unabashed for the man he could not become.
This Friday started normally. My friend A was travelling to Mumbai for some work and had left home early. We have this little tradition to call and wake the other up, collecting well wishes at the beginning of each journey. But our conversation didn’t last long; it was impossible to hear each other over the noise of the bus speeding down the highway. Other than that, it began as a day like any other.
Then he got a phone call, the contents of which he relayed to me while his bus stopped at a food mall. He sounded like his usual enough self, so I hadn’t the faintest notion he was about to tell me something shocking.
“You know my friend MK?” He began.
I was silent, even a little absent-minded and sleepy, having been woken up earlier than usual.
“You met him over drinks last Saturday. The tall guy. He bought us all Tequila shots, we celebrated his job placement at Mumbai, remember?”
My brain finally caught on. “Yes, of course I remember”.
“He had a heart attack. His brother had called with the news. He’s no more.”