A Visit to An Old Friend
“Hey, Amit, glad to see you, brother, what a pleasant surprise, where have you been so long, come in’’, Arka said with a resplendent smile.
I sauntered into his house, while old memories came flashing into my mind. This house and its interiors have not even changed a bit in all these past years. Arka is my bosom friend right from our school days. He was an orphan and was brought up by her unmarried aunt in this two-storied house located on the southern fringes of the city.
Amit gestured me to sit down on an overstuffed chair. I vividly remembered this chair was Malobika’s choice. This was bought from a furniture shop in New Market. Malobika and Arka were about to get married and I had accompanied them for some shopping. The curtains, the bedsheets, even the positions of the furniture, fridge have not at all changed over all these years. This was quite surprising to me since it has been six long years.
After their marriage, I frequently used to visit them whenever I could find some time from a busy schedule. Arka’s aunt also used to join us in our chitter-chatters accompanied by evening snacks and tea. Malobika was a great hostess and those evenings are still etched in my mind. But soon I shifted to Bangalore after bagging a job there.
I tried to keep in touch with both of them for some time, but after a few months, I lost contact. But again, I wanted to reconnect with them on social media but I couldn’t. I even tried to call them up but I failed to contact them. They probably had changed their numbers. So I decided to directly visit their place after returning a few days.
“Where is Malobika and where is aunt, have they gone somewhere”, I asked Arka. Arka gave a wry smile and said: “Wait, brother, let me make some tea for you, I will tell you everything, and things are no more the same, brother”.
I could apprehend something. Arka served me black tea. I was pleasantly surprised, he still remembered my preferences. He sat on another cozy chair right in front of me. He was looking aimlessly and gazing at a wall hanging, He began “Remember this wall hanging, Amit. You had gifted this on our first anniversary. We were so happy, brother. But after you left things started changing’’.
I looked straight into his eyes and asked him “Please tell me Arka, what has happened? I had tried to contact you guys, but I could not. Have you changed your number?’’. Arka did not answer my query and he went on, “Malobika has left me Arka. She was not satisfied with me. She started changing after she stepped into the local television industry. My aunt was against this decision, but I supported her blindly since I knew she always aspired to be an actress. She soon bagged a meaty role in a popular daily soap and earned a name for herself. But I soon realized she was now feeling ashamed to introduce me as her husband. I am just a school teacher, after all, I love her so much Amit, How could she do this to me? Our rift started enhancing with each passing day. And finally, she left me completely and informed me that she will file a divorce.’’
Arka was weeping profusely, but suddenly I could not hear his wailings anymore. As if somebody has muted the sound and then I felt as if the distance between and Arka has suddenly increased. Then I heard a loud shriek that was coming from the upper flow. The room suddenly felt a bit cooler and a blast of cold, dry air smacked me right in the face.
I found myself in a bedroom surrounded by a few people. I could recognize Arka’s aunt who was gazing closely at me. “Oh, Amit what are you doing here. How could you enter that house, it was locked ’’. I could hardly believe my ears. I protested, saying “Arka had himself opened the door”. “Arka? Arka has passed away two years back. You must be daydreaming or might be having some hallucinations. Have you been taking some sedatives of late? But how did you break into the house in the first place”.
Arka’s aunt started informing me about everything. Arka and Malobika started having frequent squabbles after she made a name in the television industry. Her aunt tried her best to resolve their problems, but she could not. Her behavior completely changed and things started becoming worse as the days progressed. Malobika left their house and started living by herself. She also filed a divorce. But Arka could not withstand this emotional turmoil; he failed to get over Malobika. He soon became an alcoholic, got sacked from his job, and ultimately committed suicide by hanging himself from a ceiling fan in his room.
His aunt has abandoned this house from then onwards. She lives nearby in a rented flat. A neighbor incidentally noticed that the door of the house was wide open and discovered me lying on the floor in an unconscious state. He then informed her, and on recognizing me she brought me in her flat.
“But how did you manage to open the door?” Arka’s aunt was unable to figure out.