Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Chapter 6: And Rafey Speaks

Who is your confidante? Are you in love with that one person or that one thing where you keep all your secrets? Do you run away from the fact that you don’t love your confidante? Do you give it any other names, like friendship, affection, attachment?
If you think of love as a wider concept, you would realize you are in love with the person or the thing - may be a diary, who knows you in and out.
***
I am Rafey – the same guy who started with nothing, has nothing, and at the end of it all, will have nothing. This is what I always thought. But I seem to have a lot. A lot of memories, a lot of dreams, a lot of courage and so many hopes. I have so much of so many things.
Today I met Raji. I have her too, now. But in what form? I have no clue. She is a successful RJ, and I am just a Pizza Delivery boy.
But 18 years back, we were just two kids, who were best of friends.
Sometimes I wonder whether the friendship we shared back then, was really a friendship? What did we know? Nothing. She would help me with my homework, and I would help her.
She would paint all the time and I would tell her how beautiful the pictures looked, we would go and have sugar candies, and she would always treat me. We went to the temple together, and she learnt what I said in my Namaaz.
She would defend me when I was blamed for anything, and I would support her. She would give me extra Kheer from the refrigerator when I craved for more, and I would climb up the trees to get her tamarinds, her favorite. We would celebrate our birthdays under the Gulmohar tree first, and then at her place with so many guests.
Today, this isn’t really friendship. This isn’t love. Friendship is going around together, watching movies, sharing secrets. Love is giving greeting cards, going for bike rides, hugging and kissing your partner.
It’s really different today.
Today when I saw her, I realized, so much has changed. She looks different. Beautiful, to put it honestly. She has lovely hair. She must have grown them all this while. Her eyes are attractive. Her lips shaped like a bow. The spectacles give her another vision, but they fail in hiding the dazzling pair of eyes.
What am I to her today? Just another delivery boy who provides services when asked to do so? She doesn’t even know me.
When Chachu said I should get a girlfriend, Raji came into my mind immediately. I feel ashamed about it now. Really! What about that crazy Aafsha who keeps telling me that she’ll get married to me one day? When I think about spending my life with someone, all I can think about it Aafsha.
She stays in the same chawl, her family respects Mansoor Chachu, they’ve known us for more than 10 years now and we belong to the same community. It all sounds perfect.
But I have never been in love with Aafsha. She is crazy. Nutcase. I wonder why she loves me so frantically. I really fail to understand. I wonder, have I ever been nice to her? Not really. Am I just good looking? May be.  But just looks, and that’s it? People fall in love that easily?
I am nobody to say anything.
Today I am fighting with my own demons - thinking about my next confrontation with Raji. What if Shekhar doesn’t send me to GK’s office again, because of the complaint? I don’t really know.
I remember once Abba told me, one of the only things I remember of him. He said, “No work is big or small, and no person is rich or poor. Humility makes you rich and your dedication makes successful”
I am still wondering what is my exact feeling today. The day has ended. It was good, bad and surprising, all at the same time.
Am I elated and disgusted at the same time, because I have found a long lost love? Am I mixing work with my personal life?
Isn’t she supposed to be just a friend?
Sure. She is just supposed to be a friend. Nothing else. I cannot fall in love. I will have to get married to Aafsha. That is what will make Chachu happy.
Raji was just a friend. She still is Ahuja Saab’s daughter, Hindu. And I am Shareeq’s son. A driver’s son, Muslim. A Pizza delivery boy.
 I cannot fall for her.
***
Did I ever think about all this when we started playing for the first time together? Did our religions ever pose a difficulty?
Am I thinking like every other person of the society who is scared of being judged?
I think I am. I am scared of the social pressure and acceptance. I am worried about her reputation. I am strong, yet weak. I can confront, but I cannot confess. I can love, but cannot accept. I am scared.
Therefore, I cannot fall for her. I cannot!