Love or Friendship?

Devi (speaking to herself): Sun has set. Today it is dark in the evening! At least it will take ten minutes to go to the market. That too I have to go alone! I have That Midnight Star song only to give company to me. It’s a beautiful song….!

In this lonesome lovely night
I spend with what an awful might!
I have to do a lonesome fight
When position has almost become so!
A lonesome star appears in night sky!
That star too is lonesome in the west sky
Its changing hues remind me of fine dreams!
I see brightness within darkness too!
It gives comfort to kill my loneliness!
Miracles will happen tomorrow also!
This dream will come true tomorrow, sure!

Two Rowdies: Hey! There is a beautiful lady going alone! She is a boon for us, we can to satisfy our desire today….catch her…!

Devi: O Rowdies are chasing after me! O My God! How to escape…. Some one help me! Nobody’s there? Nobody is coming even after running so long! O what can I do? Ah! My head is reeling, ah, ah…!

Rowdies: Are you calling the God? Where is that God? We will not go without catching you! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha,…..!

Devi falls down dashing against someone in the dark lane.

Sunder: Ho! Someone has fallen down! Who is this lady? She looks like Devi! Yeah! She is none other than Devi!

Hey! Who are you all chasing after her? If you come closer I will show you the skill of my hand, be careful!

Rowdies: Ah! He looks to be a big shot! Run, run…we can escape in the cover of darkness…run!

The rowdies disappear soon!

Sunder: Devi, get up; don’t be afraid; I have driven the rowdies out.

Devi: O You Sunder? As God you have come and saved me, Sunder. Thank you much. How have you come here?

Sunder: Both my wife and parents had passed away in a car accident. As a writer I entered into the Treasure magazine, you know. There for sometime I worked with you as poetry writer. Then you know that magazine office also was closed due to inevitable reason. So, to pay back the debt of my father I have come again to do the old business with my relatives here. But Devi, why have you come here?

Devi: Sunder, after my education was completed, my only brother too leaving us gone away to foreign country. So, as a stenographer I was working in the Treasure office to look after my aged parents. No sooner Treasure office was closed my mother caught with health problem and died soon. My father, only after that, got a job for me through his friend to work as a steno in a printing office here. My father too had passed away two months ago! Since then I have been living as a lone tree consoled only by your poems now and then. This is my story.

Sunder: Don’t worry, Devi. We can meet often. Okay, now it is very late. Let me leave you in your place and meet you tomorrow.

Next day they meet at Hotel Deluxe.

Sunder: Come on, Devi, this is Hotel Deluxe Roof Garden. How is it? Do you like it?

Devi: Now only I am coming here. This hotel looks very beautiful! Ah! Those rowdies are going out! Do you see, Sunder? Seeing us only they are leaving the place.

Sunder: Yes, they are those fellows. They were my old friends too. Their names are Ravi and Raju. I have forgotten them long ago! But I have never even thought that they would become rowdies. Leave it. You simply forget them.

Devi: If you were not there my chastity would have gone away. By God’s grace you came there yesterday and saved my modesty at the neck of the moment.

Sunder: Devi, please don’t think about that now! Please forget that as a bad dream. But due to that incident only we were able to meet again! That’s a surprising thing.

Devi: How can it be forgotten? Due to those fellows only the independence of our nation is in jeopardy. Gandhi has said that only if a woman is able to walk alone in the night anywhere in our country it has to be presumed that we have got true freedom. That comes to my mind now, Sunder. That view is wholly true. When will our nation have such a situation again?

Just at that moment a friend of Sunder comes there.

Sunder: Ah, ha! Devi, there comes my friend Balu! He is my close friend. Let me introduce him to you. Come on, Balu; come on...please meet Miss Devi.

Balu: Hello!

Devi: Hello!

Sunder: Devi, like you he is also very much interest in my poems. He has also very much appreciated my song, That Midnight Star. As far as this song is concerned you are two bodies with one soul!

Balu: Okay Sunder, what shall we order for our food now?

Sunder: Today is an unforgettable evening time in my life! So, to felicitate this occasion I would like to have a very good dinner tonight. Devi, you are our important guest; what do you like to have?

Devi: I don’t know what to say. So, you decide about the good items from the Menu.

Sunder: Okay, waiter, please come to take order!

Waiter: Yes, Sir! Please give me your order.

Sunder: First bring us soup! Then bring us Deluxe Hotel special meals! Finally bring us good fruit salad ice cream! Okay?

Waiter: Okay Sir! I will bring you all soon!

Sunder: Balu, I have not told you about how I met Devi.

Balu: Yes, how did you meet?

Sunder: I was able to rescue her from our erstwhile friends, who are today’s rowdies like Ravi and Rajas when they were chasing her in the dark lane! That was how our encounter took place.

Balu: What did you do to those rowdies? Have you given them good trashes and kicks? Or handed them over to cops? If you had given them more than that they deserved them!

Devi: Yes Sunder, leaving them simply to escape is not good for the society. Only if they are well punished ladies like me can live fearlessly in the society.

Sunder: They simply escaped in the cover, Balu. If I had combated with them what could be the difference between them and me? Even if you handed them over to the cops they would not reform themselves because they are not afraid of shame or sin. It’s better to follow the path of virtue than vengeance says Shakespeare in the play called The Tempest! So, by taking revenge on anyone, wrong cannot be corrected. Unless individuals understand their mistakes this society cannot be changed. So, I am going to write a novel based on my experiences with them and expose them to the society who they are! I am ready to forget the wrongs done to me. But I will expose to the world their mean and cruel activities and the wrongs done to ladies like Devi to create awareness among the people! I promise this to you!

Balu: Yes, I feel proud that your writing activity is going to be used for this good purpose, my friend!

Devi: This I am approving with my whole heart, friend!

Sunder: Even though I have no one in this world, I shall get spiritual satisfaction if I have two people like you in support of my writing job. Good Balu and Devi! Now let us take our dinner.

Balu: Dinner is fine! Next, let us see how the fruit salad is.

Sunder: Sure! Our works will be always fruitful at the end! Ha, ha, ha, ha, ha..! Do you want to have some other thing, Devi?

Devi: If fruit salad comes finally, it’s good for me; I am satisfied, ha, ha, ha, ha..!

Sunder: Devi, I have got an idea now! When we were working in the Treasure office, I remember, I had given you some of my poems, articles for your reading pleasure. If you have them even now will you please give them to me? I think, those materials will be of some use to me for writing my novel.

Devi: I have so many things with me. If we go to my house after the dinner now I can search out and give them to you.

Balu: Yes, we can do so!

Sunder: Okay, let us go to Devi’s house after finishing our dinner.

Soon after leaving the hotel they take an auto and leave for Devi’s house.

Devi: I welcome you to my new rented room. House owner is in the ground floor. Tell me how my room is, Balu.

Sunder: Your house owner is well known to me in our business circle. I have to talk to him. Okay, first let us see your room. Balu, you stay in the room till she searches out the materials; and then bring my poems and articles to me downstairs.

Balu: Okay Sunder, I shall do so for you.

Sunder: Devi, your room is beautiful! You please hand over my materials to Balu. Let me go downstairs and let us meet on some other day. Bye!

Devi: Good! Let us do so!

Balu makes a sigh of relief.

Balu: Devi, I was surprised to see you. How are you? Actually our movements are unknown to Sunder. Quite a time it is that we were separated. But even today I have not forgotten our romantic days. Also, I cannot forget the days I had spent with you in the type writing institute.

Devi: Balu, not knowing that where you had gone and what had happened to you, I had great grief then.

Balu: After getting the message that my uncle had died, myself and my mother immediately had to go to Thiruchi. Then I was driven to the situation that I was bestowed to look after my uncle’s trade. Due to that only I got the friendship of Sunder. Then due to business matter I had to go to foreign country. I dropped a letter to you. But the letter returned to me with the note that you were not there in that address!

Devi: After the death of my mother, myself and my father settled in Madras. With the help of my father’s friend I have now come to work as a steno in a printing office in this town. My father also passed away due to heart attack two months back. This is my present position.

Balu: Devi, still I have not forgotten our romantic love life. I cannot forget the days I have spent in the type writing class. Due to urgency of matter we two were separated; but the days I did not have worries about that are very, very less! Who can overcome the force of fate? Now you are under the care of my beloved friend. So, what have I got to say?

Devi: Sunder has saved my chastity. I am now indebted to him. Could it be possible to speak about our past love affair to him? I don’t know. I have never even imagined that we would again meet like this as today! What can I do?

Balu: Truly, Sunder is more suitable to you than I am because he has saved you and is one or two years elder to me. He has married at a young age and now as a widower he is living an unfulfilled life. So, I don’t want to cheat my dear friend. I feel that we don’t have any other way other than forgetting our past life once and for all!

Devi: Everything is happening according to the will of God. How is fate playing in love affair? That God only has to give a good end.

Balu: Alright, time is getting late! Sunder will be waiting for me in the downstairs.

Devi: Yes, it is late now! Take it and take all of Sunder’s materials to him. Let us see afterwards.

Balu: Bye Devi! Good night!

Six months have passed away. Again Sunder, Balu and Devi meet together in the same Hotel Deluxe Roof Garden!

Sunder: How have six months passed with out our knowledge! Within this time you have finished foreign tour also, Balu! How was your foreign trip?

Balu: It was very, very useful. How will our country also develop like that? I don’t know.

Devi: Did your trip ended with success or what?

Balu: I have successfully ended my trip. How far has your novel developed, Sunder?

Sunder: I have finished writing the novel. I have given it for printing now. Within a month it will be over. Okay, you two speak for a while. I have to meet a friend in the Reception Room. I shall come back quickly after meeting him. You please go ahead taking food slowly till I come.

Soon Sunder disappears from there.

Devi: I was daily thinking about you only, Balu.

Balu: I was busy with my work. I thought of writing letter to you. But I was afraid to do so; for, what will happen if Sunder takes it in a wrong way? Even though I lose my love I am not ready and don’t want to lose his friendship. Devi, it is very rare to see such a good man like him in this world!

Devi: I cannot forget you and at the sometime I don’t want him to be inundated in worries. I feel it is better to leave the world than to be here so forever.

Just at that moment Sunder comes there.

Sunder: Waiter, please bring us three cups of apple juice!

Three are silent for sometime. After the apple juice has come there, Sunder takes the cup full of juice with one gulp and places the empty cup on the table. Without knowing why he has done so, Balu and Devi look at him with great excitement!

Sunder: Don’t be excited, Balu! If a thing has to end with success, it is a custom in foreign countries, I know, that one has to drink a cup of wine with one gulp. That is the thing I have done in my own way!

Balu: About the success of what matter have you done so?

Sunder: For the success of both of your marriage only I have done so!

Balu: Sunder!

Sunder: Devi, why have you not informed me earlier that yourself and Balu are lovers?

Devi: That is Sunder…

Balu: I only asked Devi not to tell you that.

Sunder: You fool! Because I came here immediately by chance, I was able to hear your talk. I understood the matter. Otherwise, how long you two could have been deteriorating your life so, I don’t know. Already I was a wedded man. My first lady love is my Poetry only! My permanent love is also with my poems only! I am a person far above all marriage and family life. Family is a great hurdle for an artist. A poet will always like to live as a free bird. I am also a free bird, my dear Balu and Devi! Ha, ha, ha, ha….


More by :  T. A. Ramesh

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