I was 11 when my family moved to city from our home town. I was excited for the city life but at the same time I badly miss my friends too. I am an only son to my parents and you can say that I am the apple of their eyes. Life was good but not great. As my conversations with my dad always end up as an argument. Mostly our arguments happen when I ask him to buy something. After our argument I could see him going into his room and talk to mom. Once he comes out of the room he behaves as if nothing happened including the thing, I asked him to buy. But the next day I’ll receive what I want with a face that got no smile but I could see he is smiling internally.
On that day I didn’t know that the money spent on my bicycle is the money saved to buy my mom a bracelet as a birthday gift which my mom asked him on their wedding. I know only a very few sacrifices he made for me but there are infinite which me and even my mom doesn’t know. Before we moved, I just love my dad but after starting a new life here I love my dad twice, no, thrice more because I met the best friend of my life Karthik in this beautiful city and school my dad joined me to continue my studies.
Karthik became my brother even though we are two completely different people with no similarities in our tastes. We argue about a lot of things from favourite avenger to favourite hero and sometimes we do argue about the type of girls we like too. Even though our tastes are not alike and how different persons we are, there has always been a special bonding between us. He never disrespects or criticize me and over all he is not judgemental. His mom Tara is the most beautiful and sweetest person in the world apart from my mom. Karthik’s father died in an accident when he was 6, along with his baby brother. From that day, Karthik was her only life. The luckiest thing for anyone is your best friend’s mother becoming best friend to your mother.
My mom and Tara became besties of their life’s. Tara has helped us a lot during our family’s financial struggles which I didn’t know at that time. Often, I sleep at Karthik’s house as I was treated as a son at that house too. I had enough freedom with everything at Karthik’s place. I had a lot of emotional moments that lasts forever with Karthik and Tara. My life was so beautiful and peaceful until the day we need to decide our colleges.
Karthik was accepted into a prestigious university as he is very good with his studies. I got into a good university too. I am very happy for Karthik but on the downside I am very sad to be apart from him. It was very hard for both of us to get accustomed to our new lives far from each other. But as life goes on, me and Karthik did well. We stayed in touch regularly and met during term holidays.
Days and years passed by, with us getting our dream jobs and got married to the love of our life’s, eventually we both turned into typical family guys. I became father to the most adorable girl in the world. I named her ‘Sitara’, combination of my mom’s name ‘Sita’ and Karthik’s mom’s name ‘Tara’. This name was actually suggested by my sweet wife ‘Rukmani’. Karthik and me never lost our friendship even through we are busy managing our lives.
Me: Hey Ruksy, I have saved enough money for our daughter’s Under graduation in America
Rukmani: We are spending a lot of money on her heart disease now and we might need a lot in the future to save her and get rid of the disease completely. Do you think it’s a good idea to send her to Harvard, far from us?
Me: I know that Ruksy, we have enough money to save her as well as her education. She is working so hard to get into Harvard. If we stop her and let her dreams go into vain because of money, I can’t bear that guilt of killing her dreams because of money.
Rukmani: But Harvard is too expensive and way out of our league. Even if we spend our savings from last 10 years for Sitara, we can’t afford Harvard. What if something happens to you suddenly? It’s better to save enough money for your health concerns. (Sadly, with tension)
Me: Ruksy, at present I have arranged the entire money needed for Sitara’s treatment and nearly 40% for her studies at Harvard. If we didn’t have enough money, then we can lend from a bank. You are giving me your immense love every second and Karthik to support any situation in my life. So, nothing to worry.
I convinced Ruksy.
I’m checking my bank balance and Shares in my laptop. It was around 30 lakhs combining all of my bank accounts and 40 lakhs worth shares. A call came from Karthik which triggered a spontaneous
smile on my face.
Me: Hey Man, What’s up! (Happily)
Karthik: Ram!!!Mom met with a severe accident (crying)
Me: What! how is she now? Is she alright? (Intensely sad)
Karthik: Doctors are saying that she needs very intensified treatment for at least next 30 days with nearly 6-7 surgeries and the surgeons need to flew from London. It might cost around 70 lakhs. My company was bankrupted and I got only 15 lakhs including mom’s and my savings. If you can arrange me 40 lakhs for now, I’ll repay that amount in next 4 years as I am planning to start a new company. Will you please arrange it for me?? (Crying…)
I didn’t know what to say. My brain froze for a second and an infinite number of emotions started flowing in my mind. All the memories are flashing like a gazing wind in my mind.
Me: No Karthik, I don’t have such amount of money. But I’ll try with my friends and will meet you by tomorrow morning (Acting as if I’m helping him)
After 5 seconds of silence…
Karthik: Ok Ram, Thank you so much. I ll call you in the evening and let you know how much have been arranged by then.
I started making phone calls for him. I called nearly 70 people but was met with the same answer that they don’t have such a huge amount. I have arranged some of my shares money but clearly it’s not sufficient
Finally, the evening arrived, I was broken and doesn’t have courage to talk to Karthik. Karthik called.
Me: Karthik, I have arranged very less money! (Sadly)
Karthik: Ram, I got all the amount required from a family friend who is very close to my dad. I barely seen him three times but he heard my situation he immediately arranged the money. Ram, Mom’s going to live… (crying)
Me: I am very happy Karthik. I’ll be there in the morning to see you and mom. (Acting normal but crying)
I went to hospital the next day. I had never faced a situation like this. I was completely broken and my heart is collapsing inside. Karthik came and hugged me tightly.
Karthik: Thanks for coming Ram. I’m not able to handle this situation but in your presence, I think I’ll be able to do anything in this world.
I don’t know what to say, I literally lied to the best friend of my life. And now I am here with nothing. Even though he is loving me more than his life, why did I lie to him? Why didn’t I give him the money when I had the money he needed? Why did I think that Karthik may not be able to repay me on time and that I might lose my daughter? Why didn’t I trust my friend? Why am I so selfish? There are million questions that’s been striking my heart including my memories with Tara.
After a month of the saddest time of my life, Tara died despite of giving such intense and high-quality treatment. Those were the darkest days of my life. I was acting normal and pretending to be okay but I literally don’t know how to react. All our hearts were heavy with unbearable pain. Everyone around me including my mom, my wife, Karthik, his wife, our kids are crying but I didn’t shed a single tear or uttered a word. Just seeing Tara’s face, I am feeling enormous guilt of lying to my friend and brother of my life. I don’t think I can forget these moments and forgive myself.
After few years Karthik moved to America with his family to expand his business and mostly to move on Tara’s demise. Sitara got accepted into Harvard and moved for her under graduation
After 4 years
Sitara is about to graduate and we all went to America to attend her graduation ceremony. After 8 long years, I am going to meet Karthik. We have never been apart from each other for this long. I am very happy and at the same time I am very sad. I am still the same person who is bearing guilt and pain on his shoulders since Tara’s demise. Everyone is happy and proud for Sitara’s growth. Karthik arranged a small party in honour of Sitara’s graduation. The family friend who helped Karthik was invited too. Scotch has been flowing everywhere as part of celebration.
Karthik: Look at our life Ram. I never imagined my life without you. I’m what I am today because of you and my mom. If mom was here today, she would have been so proud and happy for Sitara’s achievements.
I didn’t utter a single word.
Karthik (looking at his mutual friend and Ram): I never forget the help you both did for me during my
mother’s treatment. I’m forever grateful and indebted my life to you both guys.
Tears started rolling in my eyes. I just got up and went to the balcony of his apartment facing the city lights. I couldn’t hold my tears anymore. I can’t bear this guilt anymore. How can I do this to someone who is genuinely loving me more than his life.
Suddenly Karthik came to the balcony and hugged me from the back. I started crying like a child.
Karthik: I know Ram, I can understand your pain. Even if I was in your position, I will do the same. On that day I called you because you never hesitate to give me anything I asked for. But when you said no, for a brief moment I felt very bad and then I realised you saved that money for Sitara’s heart treatment and education. I didn’t get mad at you even for a second. At that time, I am in no situation to repay you. What if we lost Sitara? Then today, the happiest day of our life wouldn’t have existed. There is nothing to be guilty about Ram. You are a father and you did what need to be done.
I didn’t stop crying.
Karthik: On that day, at that very moment of my life, All I need is your hand on my shoulder and a tight hug from you to feel my heart. And that you gave me. You came for me and mom and stayed besides me in the worst situations of my life. You are there with me in my life, my happiness, my achievements, my pain… There is no need to feel guilty about this one thing. you are my friend since we are eleven years old and you will be till my death. Don’t cry, you dumbass… (Smiling softly)
One day we have to face moments which are unbearable and unacceptable. All I had done was done for the sake of my lovely daughter. I felt guilty for every second of my life. I thought I can never tell him how I felt or that I can never face him again. The choice I made that day made my child stand where she is now and that same choice made me feel that I betrayed my best friend. We can’t do anything but regret. All we need is a best friend like Karthik who understand us in any situation and put his hands on our shoulder always till our death.