It was then 2:30pm or around . three of us were having lunch at a Park Street restaurant that posed quite a deserted look as the staffs of the restaurant had outnumbered their customers. Karim was busy babbling about his trivial issues that had apparently agonized his life and had jinxed it with all evil intentions. He has discovered recently that ‘one of his girlfriends’ has been cheating on him for being with two other men at the same time.
But that day, the 30th September Thursday, had served us with much bigger issues to talk about. But Karim seemed to have no hint of the day’s offering.
I noticed the manager and his associates were more keen on listening the news than providing us with the generous hospitality that we are used to. The t.v was set so low that they were having a trying time to get to the bits of words from the patter. And for me it was the ‘Breaking News’ in red that I had to rely upon. The ‘Ayodhya Verdict’ was to be out in no time. That morning my mom had repeatedly urged me not to step out of my house with all her available weaponry. With red glare to promises of making me a good palate to leading me to some envisaged unwanted conclusions of the fall out of the day’s BIG verdict, she tried all. I ensured my mom , with all my strength, of finding me a safe haven if any such thing occur. Wearisome mom withdrew all her restraints and I freed myself.
My other friend was not like Karim, by religion. He comes from a very liberal Hindu family and I have never found any propensity in him towards politics. But when the Breaking news popped up that some political honchos were asking their countrymen not to give in to any disappointment and show respect with dignity to the verdict (whatever it might come up with), my friend gave out a loud ‘huh’ and said,”these crooks are the one we should be afraid of…not of any stupid verdict.” Karim who was facing against the T.V and was still busy convincing us how his life had really been derailed by ‘one of his soul mates’, felt stark bewilderment at once and the very next moment became very annoyed at being interrupted. I winked at my other friend and he readily took up the cue and feigned deep engrossment in Karim’s problem. Karim’s derailed speech was hurriedly set on the track.
We were then out of the restaurant. Verdict was also out along with us. We three were still the three of us- together, walking down the pavement. Everything I glanced upon looked very similar and very dissimilar concurrently. I felt for the first time in the day that the ominous impression had been successfully passed on to me by my mom that morning.
Karim’s phone rang. It was his parents from Roshanpura, delhi. I clearly understood why they have called Karim at this hour. The two of us stood at a distance quite intentionally.their conversation lasted for 7-10 mins.Karim came back. With gargantuan curiosity cropping in our minds, it proved to be an uphill task for me to ask Karim the simplest question, “what happened?”. A lump in my throat put the spoke between the wheels and all my endeavor ended in smoke. Karim suddenly answered tom my question that I was still trying to utter. He said it was his mother asking ‘bout his whereabouts.
“I don’t understand all these. Maa asked me to behave properly with you all. Can you believe it?she told me not to overreact. Overreact? For what? Babuji has been crying since the results are out. God.” Karim told us that he has never seen his babuji crying even in the harrowing time of their lives and he now wonders how can his father now cry at something which can in no way alter their living.
All of a sudden, I realized this issue to be more trivial and petty than the issue with ‘one of Karim’s girlfriend’ that at least has the potency to hamper our friend’s life (for at least one afternoon).
Karim uttered, “such non-sense…”.