Ankit looked upwards. The fan had stopped spinning. Power was out again. Ankit looked down at his side & saw the three joints he had rolled earlier. Fat joints. He liked rolling fat joints that hit the spot earlier when lit. ‘Am I out of Whiskey?’
Nope he thought, looking at the one full & a half bottle’s worth near his feet.
Why did she have to leave me? Ankit thought, as he lit another cigarette. ‘Why?’.
‘Perhaps you are not good enough for her, dude. Perhaps because you will always be this cowardly excuse of a human being, just like your Dad thinks’, the little voice at the back of Ankit’s head echoed.
Ankit poured himself another glass of Scotch. He thought of Rohita, the last day they were together, they held hands for the last time. She wore her cherry red lip gloss he so much adored that day. The pain started again. Ankit furiously puffed on his cigarette as his heart felt like it would burst out of his chest.
‘Why did she have to leave me?’ he pondered, & then the alcohol hit the spot. His mind was now filled with the same familiar buzz. The pain receded reluctantly, like a wave trying to keep clinging to the sea-shore. Ankit didn’t feel anything anymore. He couldn’t feel even if he wanted to. He was there.
It had been like this for more than ten days, ever since Rohita told him that she didn’t love him anymroe, that she was seeing Chethan, & they would be just friends from now on.
‘But she got me! She was the only one who got me,’ Ankit’s slurring brain whispered to him.
‘No dude, she didn’t’, the little voice at the back of the head replied back.
Ankit looked around his room. Even in his drunken stupor, he could make out the the outlines of all cigarette butts & empty OCB packets lying around.
This was what he had become. An animal. A wild, rabid animal nobody loved. Nobody, not even his Mom. Ankit felt startled for a moment. ‘Mom….Mom….??!!’.
He remembered Mom, how she was so far away, waiting for him to come home.
‘Should I call her?’ Rohit thought, but the phone was out of juice.
‘She will cry again. I will call her when I come back’.
Ankit finished the bottle of Scotch & stood up. Teetering on his feet, he walked up to the almirah & collected his bike keys. ‘I will have my best ride today.’, Ankit thought.
Ankit slowly climbed down to the basement & opened the garage doors. The breath of cold fresh air that hit his face was refreshing, but not enough to knock some sense into his intoxicated, thudding mind.
‘I will show them’, he thought. Ankit closed the garage doors, started his bike & left.
The next thing Ankit remembered was him riding his bike on the highway. He was surrounded by a myriad of red LED tail lights, all mocking him for riding slower than them. For as much as he had drunk, Ankit was surprisingly good biker, perhaps even the best in his college.
As Ankit maneuvered his bike through the late night traffic, he felt loved again. Besides Rohita, biking was the the only thing he had ever loved & devoted himself to. As Ankit uproariously zipped through the red balls of light, he noticed that the speedometer had clocked ‘125’. Ankit smiled,
‘My best ever’, he thought. But right at that moment the Tata Safari on his adjacent lane shifted, & made contact with Ankit’s bike’s front tyre.
It seemed like an eternity as Ankit went flying across the highway. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. Ankit thought of his Mom, & Rohita.
‘They will cry’, he thought, ‘Or at least Mom will.’
As Ankit landed with a thud, he couldn’t see anything anymore. His whole face was covered with sticky blood. He could taste blood in his mouth too.
He tried to cry, but he wasn’t sure if could. He felt physical pain enveloping him, pain of the kind that doesn’t leave room for any other, the all accepting pain that awaits all of us.
He was free now.