My college was in Delhi and I was from Shimla. The distance between my home in Shimla and my hostel in Delhi was something around 400Kms, an 8 hour drive. I usually went back to Shimla once a month atleast to meet my mother, who lived there alone.
Hostel was mostly nice except my roommate. I found him very annoying and irritating. He was one filthy human being. Never kept his area of the room clean, didn't wash his clothes for weeks, there were his socks, his shirts, his shoes, his video games and his books all scattered across the room and on his bed but he hardly was bothered. I couldn't take this dirtiness and I often complained to him about it, all in vain.
"Rakesh, Just pick your things up and keep them away from my area will you? God, there's no space to even walk!" I complained.
"I'm sorry, I'll pick it up in a minute." he replied, coolly, playing on his PSP
"No in a minute, not tomorrow, not in a second. Right now, Rakesh. You've dirtied up my side too and this I will not take."
"Dude, relax. I said I'll do it. Push the clothes over to my side and you're part is clean. Simple."
"Wish i could push the smell over to your part too and not breathe in the air you breathe. I don't know why they don't accept my request of changing the room. I like things clean and you're far from cleanliness."
"I'm sorry I bother you so much."
What does one say now? I walked out and slammed the door behind me. Such scenes were usual in our room. I had never liked him much and so I spent most time outside of my room.
But one particular incident changed our relation forever. I started looking at him in different light.
That year it had poured like hell, they said the record had crossed the past record of 100 years. Neither Delhi nor Shimla was spared from the throngings of the storm. It had been 5 days since it hadn't stopped snowing in Shimla.
Late on the eve of the 5th day I received a call from my neighbor telling me that my mom was very ill and she had to be taken to the hospital immediately. He asked me to come there as soon as I could. I flipped on hearing the news! There was no way I could reach Shimla in such a weather. The trains cad been cancelled and all the roads were blocked hence bus was not an option too. I did not have a vehicle of my own or I would have taken the risk and drove my way there anyhow.
seeing me worried and horrified Rakesh asked what the matter was and I told him.
"I could drive you there in my car." he offered.
"Do you how risky it is on the highway right now? We may never return, ever. I wouldn't want to risk somebody else's life for me."
"We're friends, that's what friends are for. Come lets leave right now so we wouldn't have much driving to during the night time. Driving in the daylight will still be easier. Go get your stuff. I think I already have some clothes and water in the car to suffice for a few days." saying that he ran downstairs to the parking. I looked after him in utter surprise. I never would have done this for him. I was touched by his gesture. Yes, the thought of his siting in his sweat-stinking car for hours did horrify me, but I agreed this was the best option. So I packed and got going.
We kept driving for 10 hours but were still a 100 kilometers away. I couldn't contain my anxiety. We didn't talk through most of the journey, he understood I needed my own space right now and I was too ashamed of the way I had been behaving with him all this while. It was already 8 o'clock at night and darkness prevailed. It was raining heavily outside and only he knows how difficult driving on those roads was in the situation. Roads were clogged and water came upto half the height of his car. Just his presence then, knowing that fact that someone was there during this difficult situation to sail through with me was very comforting.
I looked at him and said, "Umm, listen. Thanks for coming along, for taking this risk for me. It means a lot."
he smiled back. "We're brothers, man. Chill."
At that moment, I almost had tears in my eyes.
"And do not worry, aunty will be alright I'm sure. We'll do all we can once we reach there. We're together in this journey." He continued.
All my life I kept struggling to achieve my own goals, to fight my own problems, to take care of my family. Here was a guy I had never talked properly to but who volunteered to join me in my fights, because he thought we were brothers. Yes, brothers we became in an instance.
We reached my home around 10 at night and I took my mother to the hospital immediately. She was burning with fever. It took her 2 days to gain consciousness but she soon became alright. he helped me in those two days in every manner possible. I do not know what would have happened to her if Rakesh had not been by my side and offered to come to Shimla with me. I swore to myself to always be by his side too, may what come. He had given me a precious give, an optimistic attitude to all things ahead. Due to him, looking up had become easier then.
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