Professor Aravind refilled his glass with Aberlour after listening to the challenge I posed to Krishna. After a momentary pause, he asked “What is the relation between Kurukshetra’s battle and your’s?”
I smiled and answered “There is a battle fought in every Yuga, professor. During the Dwapara Yuga Kurukshetra battle took place for a piece of land and the war took place on a battle field. In Kali Yuga (present) the war is happening within us. The cause of war is getting less significant, the place of the war is shrinking and the weapons are changing. In today’s time words are a weapon that is why I asked Krishna not to use moral values to convince me.”
Aravind sir sat mesmerised by my answer. He asked me curiously “Then how did Krishna help you fight your battle?”
I resumed my story “As it was the first time I had consumed alcohol, I remained in the inebriated state for the whole night. After Krishna accepted my challenge, we had a casual conversation until she suddenly gave me a shock. It was when the waiter brought the bill and she asked me “Aren’t you afraid of death?”
I replied confidently “No. Not at all.”
She smiled and went to wash her hands. She scribbled something on a napkin and wiped her hands. I assumed that she would also pay the bill. She left the tissue on the table and began moving outside. I picked the tattered tissue up ‘This Dhaba owner would be dangerous if someone does not pay the bill’
At first, I didn’t understand why she wrote it, but when I couldn’t see her around, I began fumbling with the tissue nervously, and there I saw a single word. ’RUN’. I was scared to death and started running. I found her outside the Dhaba and we both darted far from the Dhaba. We stopped a few steps away from a bonfire. There was a small dance festival happening by the beach. As I was gasping, she calmly asked “You just told that you weren’t afraid of death then why did you run?”
I didn’t have an answer to that question so I avoided answering it. She nodded her head and stared quietly in the distance with me.
“Your parents will definitely feel bad” Her words struck me.
I couldn’t contain myself anymore “Tomorrow after I die, they will definitely feel very bad about it. It will be a very hard time for them. But things will settle down after 2-3 years. But if I choose to live for them, then I will suffer every minute living this life. My pain is more painful than their pain. I choose to die for myself, just myself” My voice cracked as tears rolled down my eyes “I am a failure. It’s really sad that I am in their family.”
Krishna held my hand and nudged me to look at the dancing crowd. I was clueless about what she intended so I asked “What are you doing? This is not an occasion to celebrate.”
“Failure is the best occasion to celebrate Arjuna. No one ever realises it. Do you know why people are afraid of failure? Because it makes them weak and vulnerable. If one celebrates failure and welcomes it as a friend, they will never be afraid of it. So, let’s celebrate this moment Arjuna.” She left my hand and pulled me towards the dance floor. I wasn’t completely convinced but the music gained control of my senses. I felt lighter, and soon enough, the dance liberated me of my sorrow. After some time, she asked me “Enjoyed?”
I smiled and said “Yes”
As we were walking along the beachside, I couldn’t help but think out loud “It’s really strange that my dad named me Arjun. Arjuna is a man of courage. Here I am, ending my life incompletely.”
“It takes a lot of courage to quit a life Arjuna” She pointed towards the horizon,” Thinking about a tomorrow where you would not be there, itself is very scary. You are not a coward Arjuna.”
I felt really happy when she said that. We reached a grassy area where we sat down to relax. I was still in an inebriated state. To break the silence, I asked her “So, what is the plan for tomorrow?”
She replied “We go back to the woods where we stopped few hours ago. From there I will have to go and stop my friend’s marriage. By the way when are you planning to die?”
She looked at her feet and spoke “Could you help me in breaking my friend’s marriage? Please. I promise you that we will finish it by afternoon.”
“Who is this friend?” I asked but I knew it mattered less. I would go with Krishna.
“She is my family friend. Her name is Malini”
As she uttered the name, I felt my chest freeze with anxiety. Krishna interrupted and asked anxiously “What happened Arjuna?”
I pulled out a photo from my wallet and asked “Is this your friend?”
She shouted in excitement “Yes! That is Mal-”
I cut her short and announced “I am sorry but I am not going to help you.”
She stood staring at me perplexed and full of questions “But why Arjuna? Is Malini your enemy?”
“She was my first love” I replied quickly.
“I am surprised that Arjuna has a love story. Please continue, I am really enthusiastic to listen.”
I replied “Love and romance are not just restricted to you Krishna. Even my life has some pages dedicated for love, but all those pages are filled with a single girl’s name. Malini. She is one of the reasons who made me hate myself. “
As I saw Krishna’s confused expression I clarified “Yes! You heard it right. My first love made me begin to hate myself”
Krishna asked in a serious tone “But what happened Arjuna?”
“She was my college mate. She studied anthropology while I pursued Architecture. Initially we were just friends but gradually I began liking her. I was never excited to go to college, despite the change in my devilish HOD, until she met me. Eventually, I started attending her anthropology classes and started learning more about people than buildings. After a few days, I gathered courage and expressed my love towards her honestly. But she wasn’t ready for a relationship. I respected her decision and we both stayed friends.
As time passed, our friendship did not stay the same. She wasn’t talking to me as she used to do. When I tried to find the reason, I got to know that she was involved in a relationship with a good-for-nothing guy. Yes! The same girl who wasn’t interested in relationships had gotten into one. During that time I was trying to distract myself from her by frequenting the cafeteria. But one fine day, I see this beautiful couple come in front of the glass wall in front of me. I could see them happy and cheerful but they couldn’t see the tears in my eyes. How cruel Krishna? That moment I hated myself when I cried for her. So, that was the first trigger which stemmed my will to suicide”
Krishna didn’t utter a single word as I continued “Humans are so hollow and empty Krishna. They are not trustworthy. That is why I like cats and dogs, there is a truth in them”
She replied angrily “Then why don’t you go and live in a jungle. Tell me one thing. If you were asked to live with your favourite animals for the whole life. Would you live? I bet not. So, stop behaving like a misanthropist.”
She had a good point. I could never live like that. I acknowledged that and we passed an hour talking about random things. After a while she asked me “Arjun! I understand that you don’t like many things in your life. But is there something which you like?”
I thought for a while and said “Ice-cream” at the same time, I saw an Ice cream cart come in the vicinity. She laughed. Both of us took vanilla.
After some time, I woke up and I saw that Krishna was already awake. I was feeling a little dizzy so I sat motionless for some time. Krishna took my hand and started running. It felt like those kidnappers were chasing us again but to my surprise, she took me to a viewers point.
“This is the perfect spot to view the sunrise” She remarked happily.
We sat there, waiting for the sunrise. The sparkling sun slowly started rising the skyline and mesmerised us by the sheer beauty of it. Krishna said “Do you know what is the best part about sunrise, Arjuna? It rises in the same way every day but it creates a new excitement in us every time we see it. However bad your today is, this moment gives you a hope that things will get better tomorrow.”
I knew that Krishna had a different perspective on things. She made me feel okay to have problems. After some time, we walked up to the woods and reached the same point where we stopped last night.
Krishna said “Goodbye Arjuna. I hope that you die peacefully tonight. I am going the other way to the wedding place.”
As she began to walk away, I caught her hand and said “You are not doing this alone Krishna. I’ll come with you. But I am not coming for Malini, I am coming for you.”
We reached the wedding place. Krishna explained “Malini wants to go to the States for pursuing her higher studies. So, her friends will be waiting for her on the Airport highway. All we have to do is get her there. So, we have to plan something Arjuna. I feel that I’ll need your help.”
I thought for a while and I asked Krishna “Do you have a phone with internet?”
She replied “I have the kidnapper’s phone still in my pocket.”
I took the phone and began to work something out.
As I looked at the wedding chariot, I was able to think of an idea. “Hey Krishna, Malini is your family friend and her family does not know that you are here to stop the marriage, at least not yet. So, since there is a lot of time for the main event to commence, go convince Malini’s family that you and your friends would like to take some pictures in this beautiful wedding chariot with the couple. Get her out, we are good to go.”
“But what about the bridegroom?”
I winked and said “Wait and watch Krishna.”
She smiled and went inside. I went to the bridegroom, Duryodhan Kumar and introduced myself as a cop. “Good Morning Duryodhan! I know you are really busy at the moment, but I have come here to share some important information with you.”
“What is it Sir?” asked Duryodhan anxiously.
I replied “Malini, your fiancée is being kidnapped.”
Aravind sir coughed and asked “Did you tell him the Truth? Your actual plan?”
“No, I only told him that Malini was being kidnapped. But I didn’t say by whom?’”
I continued “Duryodhan grew tense. So I added “Your friend Arjuna, who is her college mate has been following her since the past few months. He is a major suspect. According to our investigation he is currently near the woods. If you can accompany my team, they can catch him red-handed.”
Aravind sir interrupted “Wait, there are two Arjun’s in your story now?”
I replied “Coincidentally Duryodhan also had a friend called Arjuna, sir. I had stalked his social media profile before I went to meet him. But anyway,
Duryodhan was shocked for some time. He said nervously “This is really astonishing to hear Sir. Thank you for sharing these details with me. Please don’t disclose this with Malini’s family. I will definitely come to catch that idiot.”
“Alright Duryodhan. I’ll take leave. My team will arrive here by 10 minutes.” I lied confidently and turned around.
As I was leaving the room, he asked me “What is your name sir?”
I replied “Krishna, Assistant Commissioner of Police.”
(To be continued in Krishnarjuna Adhyay-4 (The final one))…