It was already 2 am. Manushi was more than exhausted meeting her monthly deadline. Sameer and Supriya were in their deepest sleep. Manushi was trying hard to fill in her career gap of four years. Getting comfortable with the latest tax rates and rules demanded much of her time. Sameer supported her whole heartedly and took care of Supriya whenever Manushi needed extra time for her work.
Inspite of working so late and exhausted, Manushi was not feeling sleepy. She opened the balcony to breathe some fresh air. Suddenly her phone beeped. She was not in a mood to read any forward messages that dropped into the whatsapp groups at odd times. It usually happened because many people in the groups lived at a different time zones.
But when it continuously beeped for the sixth time she thought of giving it a look. She closed the balcony and went towards the bed along with her phone which was lying on the table.
“Hey Manushi, Tripti here; your school bestie.” It was an SMS from a strange number.
Manushi was little shocked to know it was Tripti.
Few years back…….
Tripti and Manushi were together from school to Masters. They had an enviable friendship during their school days. But all their friendship turned to jelousy as they reached college. It was not any of their mistake when it started. Afterall anyone can fall in love, right? But unfortunately both fell in love with the same person, Ayush !!
Ayush was in final year when these two girls joined the college. They both had a crush on him and it was all fun in the beginning. But one day Ayush came forward and proposed Tripti. All the differences started from that point. Tripti was overwhelmed to accept his proposal. Within few days Ayush and Tripti became the most known love birds of the campus.
Though Manushi felt little insecure inside, she was happy for Tripti. But what hurted her was Tripti’s changing behaviour towards her day by day. Tripti was in the seventh heaven for being proposed by a handsome guy and going on dates with him.
One day Manushi asked Tripti to join her for an Ice-cream chit chat. “Tripti, Its been long time we did not have an ice-cream chit chat. Infact, now a days you are too busy with Ayush. You should keep relations with your friends too. See, Ayush may go for higher studies next year. After that all you have in the college is your friends right? If you ignore them now, you will be lonely later.”
Tripti did not like Manushi’s interference. “Manushi, don’t you think you are jealous of me?”
“Jealous???!!! My dear friend, why should I be jealous? I am really happy for you. But you are totally ignoring your friends and behaving odd now a days. Every relationship is important in life. I do not want you to make that mistake. See, Ayush never ignores his friends. Also he equally balances his studies. You need to understand girl.” Said Manushi.
It went over Tripti’s head. “That’s what I said, you are jealous of me. It seems like you know Ayush more than me. What he does, what he doesn’t and all those stuffs haa!! Let me tell you something Manushi, you need to concentrate more on your looks. You know, boys always like fair and good looking girls like me. So did Ayush. I can help you look better if you wish. Instead trying to separate me and Ayush will not work for you girl. Friendships and all are for girls like you who don’t get any other option.”She left the place saying this. This comparison did hurt Manushi as she was not as good looking as Tripti. But she never expected Tripti to make such a comparison.
They never had much conversations after that. Two years passed. Again they got admission in same college for their Masters. Tripti and Ayush were maintaining a long distance relationship now as Ayush got placement in another state. But things were not working as before. Tripti was no more interested in Ayush and the long distance thing. She again tried to connect with Manushi but Manushi avoided her as much as possible.
After two months of college re-opening, they had a new admission in the class, Sameer. He was tall and handsome to be noted by girls. Tripti wished to develop a connection with Sameer. She was fed up with the long distance. She tried all possible ways to make friendship with him.
“I am extremely sorry for what I did to you Manushi. I know my ‘sorry’ cannot bring back what you lost. But I will never get peace if I did not apologize to you. Will you ever forgive me?”
Manushi was still not able to believe her eyes. She looked at the time. It was 2:15 am.
She replied. “Which number is this? Where are you Tripti? And what happened to you suddenly?”
There was no reply.
” Manushi, get up… ”
“What happened Sameer?”
” Tripti passed away.”
???? Manushi jumped from her bed. “What !!!!!! ”
“I got call from Ayush just now. Tripti was suffering from a strange skin disease from past four years. She passed away today morning at 2 am. ”
“2 am !!!! But Sameer …. ” Her voice did not come out.
She rushed to her phone and searched for Tripti’s messages… There were no traces of any message!!!!!!!
“We need to go Manushi, she was our friend.” Sameer interrupted.
Manushi looked at herself in the mirror. The traces of acid attack on her right cheek still looked fresh. One of the scar was right below the eye. If Sameer and other friends had not stopped Tripti that day, the chemical would have splashed all over her face. Nobody knew how Tripti managed to get some dangerous solution from chemistry lab.
Sameer read her mind and continued… ” Tripti was too proud of her good looks those days. She could not take it when I proposed you infront of the whole college. And now see the fate.. skin disease!!! well forget it Manushi, this is not the time to show any anger. Lets go.”
Manushi was still numb thinking of the messages she received at early morning.