(Continued from previous post on same thread…)
We started moving out of the room. My mom called me back in and advised me to set up a separate folding bed for him in the Den where he is not disturbed by anyone. She was concerned that he might be tired and he may not get proper rest in the dining hall which was serving as a common bedroom for almost 80% of guests. The major portion of crowd with kids were accommodated in this room only.
When I came out of the room, I saw my gang and roomie impatiently waiting for me. He grabbed my hand in his hand and asked , “What happened?”. He was concerned that I might have been scolded second time. I explained to him that Mom wanted me to set up a bed for his comfortable stay in a separate room.
“Nooooo…. Wa…y…. !”, he said in an abnormal tone as if I was forcefully feeding him “Lauki ki Sabzji” (a dish made up of bottle-gourd). (BTW….We both hate it.. ! ) “Please don’t do it to me. I will sleep with you”, he insisted as a child and then he looked around and noticed that we were surrounded with public. He modified his sentence to control the damages, and said, “I don’t want to go in an isolated room. I will sleep where all you guys are going to sleep. Don’t put me in a jail. Please… !”, He was pleading for mercy as if he had been sentenced a life imprisonment.
“But that’s what Mom asked me to do…”, I said helplessly.
“I will talk to Mom”, he said, and pulled me inside my Parent’s room with him. My mom was busy in counting some Pujan items. He knocked at the door to draw attention. Mom looked at us and hinted us to come in. After finishing her counting she looked at us, expecting us to tell her why we were there. She noticed that my roomie was holding my hand in his hand. I pulled my hand off. My roomie said, “Ma’m, I came to reques…”
Before he could complete his sentence, my Mom interrupted him and said, “Betaa (Son), come here.” She called both of us close to her. When we reached there she embraced both of us in her arms one by one and then kissed on our foreheads, first to my roomie and then to me, and said to my roomie, “Please don’t mind but you may call me ‘Aunty’ if you are not comfortable in calling me ‘Mom’. For me, you are my elder son. It is not just a formality. I mean it.”
He was quick to reply, “Sorry Mom ! It was a mistake on my part. I was a bit hesitant. I am thankful and feel blessed to be part of this loving and caring family.”, and gave her a hug. After a while, he came to his point and said politely, “Mom, I came to request you to please allow me to sleep with him . I know you are concerned about my comfortable stay and I truly appreciate that, but I don’t want to sleep in an isolated room separately from others. He was a bit hesitant to disobey you this time, so I have come to ask for your approval.”
My mom smiled, and said, “Both of you are my darling. It’s your home Puttar (Punjabi word for “Son”), you need not to be formal. Do what you like.”, and then she looked at me and said, “Sweetheart, I know you would not have done it if you could understand how much it would hurt his feelings. I just wanted you to realize what wrong you did and have a true repentance. I want to see my Sons as human beings who are sensitive to humane needs and emotions, and that’s how we have been bringing you up. I don’t want to see you turning into an emotionless, self-centered person, who are no good to humanity. “
“Thank you, Mom, I know how much you love me. You need not to worry about anything Mom. I love you.”, I assured her as she was feeling bad after scolding. As far as I can remember, this was probably first time when she was being strict on me.
It was the first event when I got scolding for my elders. They never had been harsh or strict on me, and probably that’s why I never had to be afraid of anything from my parents. They were always more like a friend to me. Probably, that’s why there was never a need to hide anything or tell them a lie. Being honest and truthful is a “value” that I learned from my childhood in sweet company and guidance of my Parents. I believe that is why I hate liars and don’t like to lie with anyone. They believed in high values, and adopted it as a part of their life-style. It automatically got rooted in me since my childhood.
After we came outside, I turned to my Roomie and told him, “You are an idiot ! Don’t you know what you should say and what not? I know I did something very wrong to you, and I should not have done that, but I had already accepted it and apologized for it at the railway station. You had also accepted my apology and assured me to not to worry about it anymore.”
I noticed he was looking around to signal me presence of my Gang of buddies around me. It made me cautious. I turned to my friends and asked them, “Guys ! please excuse us for a minute. We need to talk in private. I took my roomie’s hand in my hand and pulled him to follow me. The only place where we two could probably find some privacy was roof-top. I headed to the stairs and he quietly followed me.
When we reached on roof-terrace, luckily we were all alone there. I locked the door to stairs so that no one disturbs us further. Then I turned back to him, and said, “Now, speak up !”
He said nothing, just gave me a tight hug and kept me hugging the same way. And then after a short, while he kept hugging me, he said, “I did not say anything to Mom about you. How can I say something against my “Love”? She kept asking me repeatedly in different ways, why I did not come with you? My answers were varying as I was trying to hide the truth. She probably got some clues and understood the whole story on her own. It was her guess work.”
He might actually be right about my Mom. He understood her tricks in a short conversation where as I could not make it in 20+ years. She is smart enough to make 2 plus 2 count 4. “2” she collected from me, another “2” she collected from my Roomie, and then it was a child’s play for her to manipulate the results accurately.
Till a few days back during our telephonic conversations with Mom, we both were sounding her very enthusiastic and positive to visit her. He (my roomie) had also shared a few plans for our trip to them, but then at the last moment, when I reached there alone, it was a big surprise for her. She was eagerly waiting to meet her new “elder son”, who won her trust and confidence to take care of her “other” son in her absence. Obviously, the “other” was now I who has been moved to “Second” status after introduction of my Roomie to my Parents. This newly introduced “second” status for me, the Ex-King in the jungle, had been the biggest reason of my jealously to my Roomie. He was getting undue attention and love from my parents that was earlier showering all on me. This Jealously played a big role in my evil-acts to deceive him and not to take him with me to my home in this trip.
Now my agitation started lowering down. But I acted the same way and asked him, “….And what about your promise? Did you even think for a second how tough it was for me to spend the whole day without you? You deliberately avoided to come here and see me. Is this your love? You left me all alone when I needed you the most.” I did not notice, when my sentiments took control over me and my voice started choking … the flood was uncontrollable so my eyes gave way to overflowing flooding water, and tears started rolling out. He was with me after a long time, and this was the moment I was miserably missing to be in his hands, engulfing him in my arms.
My hands moved automatically and embraced him tightly and started feeling his back. Hands were busy in ensuring that it was him by exploring each inch of his back which was out of my reach for such a long time and my heart was directly at par with his heart, both were sharing with each-other their stories and sufferings through their rhythmic songs. Now, I was a bit settled, and was able to speak again. I complained to him, “I thought that you loved me. But now I know, you didn’t.”
He was already hugging me. One of his hands, which was on my back till now, moved to my head and started caressing my hair. I heard him saying, “You won’t ever understand my true love for you. I don’t know how I can prove it to you.” With this last sentence, his voice also became heavy, and then he took my face in his hands and kissed on my lips.
This was a life-saver kiss for me. I missed these juicy lips and this passionate kiss badly ever since I came here. The kiss resolved all my issues and past grudges between us. This Kiss made me feel calm and assured me of all sort of securities I needed. All of a sudden I was now not able to understand “why?” I was feeling so depressed and so uneasy till now. Was that effect of magical powers of his true “love” or his “Kiss”? There was nothing left to complain, nothing to be explained. I got the assurance that he was back and that he was mine.
Noticing the inappropriate location and time (terrace), we parted away and then decided to go back. We both were happy after this short session which helped us resolve all conflicts.
When we reached downstairs, most of my buddies in the Gang were curiously waiting for us. They saw us stepping down holding hands in hand, and carrying a smile on our faces. Their wired look at our hands made me understand their concerns. But I deliberately did nothing to change it. It was a clear indication to my Gang, we have resolved all our conflicts and he need not be treated as a traitor in our Gang. Slowly, he started gaining acceptance by most of the gang buddies.
It was the only time available to him to get some rest as tonight whole night was planned for Jagran, so he wouldn’t be able to sleep. Now I was also hungry as I had avoided two meals since morning, and after I met with my love, my life, my Roomie, I started feeling hungry once again. He too just arrived a little while ago, so we headed to get something to eat now.
Now, my friend, “A” who was behaving like my shadow till now, and was accompanying me everywhere since I stepped into this city, was almost invisible. There were one or two incidents when I could just see a glimpses of him, but I felt that he avoided a direct contact with me. Whenever I saw him, he just turned away to other room or avoided the direction where I was standing with my roommate. This kind of ignorance from the people you love, or who are in your close-nest is always hurtful. I could make a wild guess but wasn’t sure if my understanding was correct about why he was doing that to me.
I was concerned about “A”. It is not easy to find such good and caring friends. I went to “A”, and asked him, “Hey Buddy ! How are you doing?”
“A” replied, without looking at me, “me, fine. What’s up?”
There was a small silence.
Then “A” continued, “So, how are you doing now? You look better now…, energetic and happy.”
I replied, “Yes ! I am feeling much better now.”
“Yeah… I know. I noticed it after you met your Roommate.”, He mumbled.
It was in my own interest to not to go deeper or continue this conversation to avoid any conflicts of mutual interests. I was feeling utterly hungry, so I considered it better to switch the topic. “Hey… ! I am feeling hungry now. Would you like joining us?”, I asked. And then immediately after finishing my sentence, I realized that I made a mistake.
“Naah ! I am okay. “, said “A” looking directly into my eyes. His eyes were emotionless, just like his short reply. His reply confirmed my suspicion of him not being okay with me and my Rommie together. Suddenly it clicked to my mind that he was accompanying me in every moment as my shadow. He had not taken meals without me in past two days. “Did you take anything today?”, I asked.
“I am full. You please enjoy it with your friend, he shall be waiting for you. He might also not have taken anything since morning.”, He suggested.
He was trying to avoid any direct eye contacts with me now. His answer was also not confirming that he had taken anything since morning. This was the same answer which I was giving to everyone when I was being forced to “take at least something” since morning and I wanted to avoid it. I understood, he is trying to confuse me with such wordings and I was sure that he also would not have taken anything knowing that I was not feeling well in morning and avoided my breakfast and lunch.
“Doesn’t matter. It’s already been quite a gap now since lunch break.”, I paused momentarily, and then continued, “You suggested it right, I want to enjoy it with my friend, …You, That’s why I am here. How can I enjoy without you?”
After finishing my sentence, I held his arm and pulled him to take him with me without waiting for his response. He was a bit reluctant initially, but then came along a bit hesitantly.
“A”, my Roomie, and I were taking meals together in the separate room, which was initially planned for comfortable stay of my Roomie by my Mom. I saw my Mom, entering the room. She said, “I just came to see, if he took care of it (meals) or not. He tends to forget everything when he is surrounded with his friends.”
“Yes Mom. He is just like that.”, said my Roomie teasing me, and supporting my Mom’s point of views. That’s why probably he got so easily promoted to be my “elder” brother. When he called my “Mom” as Mom, “A” who was just about to take a bite in his mouth, stopped, with a shocking expression on his face, and started staring at my Roomie with surprise. His mouth was still left open, with his arm holding the spoon in the same position. He looked first at my roomie, and then looked at me, and then back to my roomie with same expressions of surprise and shock on his face. And then, continued with his food waiting on the spoon he was holding which he was just about to take in mouth.
“Okay ! Yes, I see that. Now, I came to you guys to ask for a little help. He is so much into his friends that gave me the confidence that he will probably not argue with you guys and easily follow what you suggest him.”, Said my Mom.
And then she turned to my Roomie, and called him by his name, and said, “R (name of my Roomie) !, you are an intelligent guy. (Please) make him understand the importance of proper clothing. I want to see him well dressed for the function tonight. He doesn’t pay any attention to me on this. Probably now he will understand and follow it when you explain it to him.” After this she looked at the faces of “A” and my roomie to get the confirmation on importance of external appearance in our lives.
A neutral response from my roomie and my friend “A”, prompted her to reveal the actual secret now. She further added, “You know, Mr. and Mrs. XXXX have specially come all the way from Canada to see him for their only daughter. That’s why we planned this event. And you know what..?… They look keenly interested too in accepting him as their son-in-law, but look at him. He has been wandering around in these shorts and T-shirt only whole day.He was not feeling well for the past two days since he came home. They have seen him just like this all the time. Tonight I want to see him well dressed and groomed. I don’t want that girl to reject him just because of his attire. She is born and brought up in Canada and may have higher expectations for her to-be-husband.”
Now I remember, when my father introduced me to Mrs. and Mr. XXXX when I arrived here, there was a young girl sleeping on the bed, which probably was their daughter for which they were interested in me. Now I could co-related the sweetness and love offered by them to me when I was introduced to them. It was all making sense now to me.
Having finished revealing her secret, now my Mom was looking at us with a big Smile on her face, and this was the time for the shock and surprise for all three of us, including me.
Smiles disappeared, faces doomed, and dull, and frozen posture – it was a common reaction from all three of us. My friend “A” and my Roomie, both turned to me with big questions in their eyes for which I had no answers. I could clearly see the “lack of trust” and disappointment in their eyes. Probably they were assuming me to be a stake-holder in it. And my roomie might have an additional solid reason to believe it now that I deliberately did not want to take him home with me to hide this “marriage” thing from him.
“Okay ! so now I leave this responsibility on you guys to get him ready for the show”, said my mom with a big smile, before leaving the room.
I was watching my Mom go out of room. When I turned back to face my friend “A” and my Roomie to explain the actual situation and that it was even a surprise for me which I just came to know at this very moment, both of them had already left the table and were already heading to exit the room together.