I was moving like a nobody. At that phase in my life I wanted to be called a Mr. Nobody. That was my state of mind. Just like they preserve cells in liquid nitrogen where they stop their growth and they could revive them later, I wanted something similar for myself. I was at the epitome of self pity. That is what the end of first love probably looks like. You want to taken up by the tsunami or just stop living for a few days. No, I didn’t commit suicide, I tried, yes, but I couldn’t. Reason, I was the only son of my parents and that had invested their lives in me. Killing me would be like killing them, taking three lives. I was their pride, honor and love. How could I crush the flower of unconditional love, where I just wished the girl I thought was the love of my life added to its fragrance? I was certainly not that heartless. I however wasn’t doing what they earned a living for and invested in. I had stopped studying., eating and would just lie on my bed never wanting to wake up.
In a boys hostel, like attracts like. I began to gel with people who like me would philosophize pain and believe alcohol could cure it. Who believed that they were the only ones that were hurt. Rather than using the pain for creative ventures other than listening to the broken heart poetry and ghazals the whole day we did nothing. I at all times was in a drunken stupor, not knowing what to do next. It wasn’t as if I liked it. When my parents would call, who didn’t know about it; I had to pretend like all was well. It ate me up, the lying but I couldn’t make them sad with the truth. It was the last thing I wanted. The self pity however consumed me so much that I wasn’t even doing what I was supposed to. I was lost between grief and duty.
Therefore on a Saturday night when a couple of hostel mates decided to booze I joined too. We had gone to a pub in GK2, Delhi and that day my mom just called before we entered the pub. I felt so bad, I couldn’t booze after that. So I was the sober guy that was driving the drunk lot back home, it was then may be God’s decided to help me. After boozing we went to a dhaba (road side food stall in India) to hog on food, as our limited allowances from parents got us limited luxuries. We had over ordered or most of the guys being drunk didn’t eat much. I got the rest of the stuff packed and while we were driving back at around 3 AM, I saw a child under the street light still awake. He was in tattered clothes. At first I thought he must be hungry so I parked the car, and went to him with the packed food. As I drew nearer I clearly saw what he was doing. He was trying to read. I was shocked. I should be the one studying at this hour. He got scared when he saw me initially but I smiled at him. I was almost in tears. I asked him what he was doing so late reading. He said I have to work in the morning to feed myself so I read at night. I felt so bad that day that I gave him all the food and the little cash I had for him to buy more books. People called him Chotu. He didn’t know his name. Chotu couldn’t go to school for he had to work but the willingness to learn was so empowering within him that he would read till his eyes gave up and slept took over.
I went to my room, got the guys into their beds and the thought of Chotu, after days made me open my books. I enrolled Chotu in the club of our college that teaches school children in the evening. I struggled but completed my lag that my studies had faced in the past few months. It wasn’t as if my heart didn’t ache but I would use the pain to construct something. Today, Chotu can read and write in English. He is good at studying and I am earning now and have decided to support him. Though I think I cannot say that, as it was he who revived me to new life.
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