I still remember how we use to compete during childhood. That cycle racing competition at school is fondly ingrained in my memory. We both were preparing well for it and were determined to beat each other. But just few days before it my cousin had an accident and broke my cycle. I was in tears as I knew I won’t be able to participate. I lost before the competition could even start.
At that Alex came forward with his cycle and offered me to use it in the race. Though we were friends yet the race was as important to him as it was for me. I was surprised and to some extent shocked as we were planning to give each other tough competition in the race. I was rather too young to understand the emotions or bonding and so I straightaway asked him, “Why you want to do this?”
Without any second thought he replied back instantly, “Because I want you to participate.”
I remained silent and knew not what to say. I could not understand that reply. In the evening when I shared it with my parents they just discarded it as something trivial. It was not that I and Alex never had a fight. We use to quarrel a lot, but at the end of the day we use to get back together. We spent hours together and even in school we enjoyed each other’s company. His parents though never approved our friendship.
As we became good friends, I realized Alex had plans to go for studies away from his home and wanted to remain there for as long as he can. All through those school years we remained close to each other and were best of friends. We watched movies together and often pondered how it may feel to fall in love as depicted in cinema. He use to come to my house often, sit and chat with my parents and siblings, but I mostly avoided visiting his place for I knew his parents are not in favor of our bonding.
His dream materialized soon enough when we both got selected in the same college for our four year Bachelor’s course. He was happy that he will be away from home and I was delighted that I will get to enjoy in his company. The next four years were the best as well as the wildest of our lives. Every summer holidays he created a list of ‘to do’ fun activities after discussion with me and then ensure their passionate execution. He did that so he don’t have to go back home during holidays. We shared a big room together just outside the college campus. We partied, we got various tattoos, we flirted with girls, we lived on the edge and we studied hard as well. We lost virginity together, we visited new places, and we went for trekking and holidays on beaches and mountains. We visited monasteries on distant mountains to understand spirituality and met religious people to discuss the same. They were surprised by our presence. We contemplated life and death. Alex always gelled instantly with the people who required support and affection and we visited various orphanages and old age homes on regular basis. He made good amount of donation to these places and spent time with inmates as if he had known them from ages. He also personally wrote letters to some of the inmates and remained in touch with them. One could always have a brief glimpse of a serious side of his personality in the middle of all fun and craziness.
We read and discussed good amount of literature, tried learning music, and also created some poetry. We wanted to explore everything. I still remember his first time with a girl which took place an hour after my first time. He came out from his room and said in an excited tone, “Man that felt like heaven…!” We analyzed it the entire night, laughing loudly like some crazy youngsters. We discussed and enjoyed every aspect of life. ‘Friendship is a celebration of life’ he often remarked. Learning from various experiences we matured together.
His parents encouraged him to live life in that grand way in accordance to their reputation of being super rich. It had very less to do with the happiness of Alex and more with the satisfaction of their own personal egos and status in society. The money was always at his disposal and he cared very less for the same. When I scolded him once for wasting it he replied back, “It is your company that gives me happiness not this money. Forget about its wastage.”
“Somehow, we always connect together so well. I sometimes feel that you are the only family that I actually have. ” He said to me once after spending couple of days at home and coming back to college.
“That is true and remarkable as well” I replied.
“Why remarkable?” Alex asked.
“Remarkable in a sense that there are not many who can correlate with me and match my frequency. It is not that they are lacking something, it is just that I am not up to their standard” I replied.
“I understand that well” Alex replied back.
“Yes, we are heavy, mad, crazy and everything else, but normal. You are as much a part of me as I am yours in this collective madness. The cravings of our heart may not be more than an expression of insanity for outer world, but then who cares for what they think. They likely won’t ever understand the music that we create together.” I said.
“Hmm” He nodded back in approval.
Soon after college we landed up decent jobs. There was actually no need for Alex to get a job as he had a huge individual family businesses of both his mother and father. He had the liberty to join either of them and they also wanted it. But perhaps there was a reason that he avoided it. Anyways, we both got busy in our jobs and life moved on for another year. In the meanwhile Alex started dating Natasha, a soft spoken, beautiful and well cultured girl from our college days. She was our common friend and in fact it was I who introduced her to Alex. One thing was sure, had it not been for Alex, I myself must have fallen for that girl. She was from a different city about a thousand miles away. Though she was not from a sound financial background as Alex, but still Alex went ahead with it. I was happy for both of them.
His parents will require lot of convincing to accept Natasha he once told me that. I just felt that it is quite normal for rich people to act in that way when someone from a lower economic background is becoming part of their family. Things went quite fast and within another year he got married to Natasha. Functions leading to the marriage ceremony were all grand ones. His parents invited every famous man and woman of the city. People from outside the city and abroad also became part of the occasion to bless the couple. It was not difficult to know that through his marriage Alex’s parents made a statement about the kind and size of wealth and social standing they possess.
Though Alex and Natasha appeared happy, yet I sensed there still was something that was bothering him. A slight uneasiness in him was felt by me.
I asked him, “What is troubling you?”
“Nothing much” Alex replied.
“Come on, you can hide it from the world, but not from me” I said.
“I am just worried if Natasha will settle down in my family easily. That is something that concerns me. Her happiness and satisfaction is my responsibility. ” Alex replied.
“Well, she is a very nice girl and she will do fine. You need not worry” I said that in a casual sense not realizing that the concern of Alex was genuine.
As it appeared from outside all went well and soon the couple were blessed with a baby girl. It was another occasion to celebrate. A party was organized and we enjoyed it a lot. The baby girl was named Sophia.