My slumbering broke by the phone call.It was 6 in the morning.I sleep answered.It was Rajat my buddy, on the otherside.
“Jitendra we may be in trouble.
I got up startled.It took me a while to accustom myself to the call.
“Why ,what have we done?,I asked perplexed.
“No we haven’t done anything.Last evening I took you to the bar to introduce you to my known aquaitance Somu.He got arrested last night along with the bar owner.They both were selling cocaine since long.”
“So why should we be in trouble?”
“Last evening we both were having drinks with Somu.Others in the bar were clicking photos.Arrey yaar,the police had siezed all mobile phones. There is a chance we may be in the clicks.”
My heart ran fast.Felt butterfies in the stomach.I started sweating.
Papa and mama are not here.They have gone to London for a vacation.
Somehow I made my way to the kitchen to make coffee for myself.The housemaid comes at 8am.Its not even seven yet.I should have some coffee.I need to soothe my nerves.But in nervousness I couldn’t hold the electric kettle properly.My hand was shaking.
The fear for future loomed over me.Son of Brigadier Digbijay Pattnaik has connection in the drug racket.This will be the news.Shit shit.
Why did I go to that place with Rajat?
Yesterday I was on my way home from basket ball court.That bast*** Rajat met me on the road.He suggested I should meet Somu as he has many contacts.He can arrange easily a buyer for my bike.
O God why at all I did mention about selling the old bike to Rajat sometimes ago. My bad.
What will papa think when he knows about this?I figured terrifying disaster in my mind.Uuuh I feel my head is clutched.
I am 24 years now.I am preparing for my future.After B tech I have joined a bank.But I am serious about appearing for the UPSC exams.I too am preparing for it.All of a sudden this disaster,our presence in bar makes me think that my career is at stake.
It was a Sunday.Mama sure will make a video call at 12:30.She can know from my face that I am in trouble.Why should she be bothered.She is on a vacation.Let me text her that I am going out for a movie, noon show.
Next I scoured through the newspaper and frantically watched every news channel just in case they flash our photos on their channels. My mind had stopped working. I could only think of worst case scenarios.
I had about 15 days before my parents returned, to figure out a solution for this. Our maid always asked whether I was sick. When I said no,she told “babu you look pale.You are not eating properly.Madam will scold me when she will be back.”
I was sweating profusely for the next 7 days. Even the thought of getting arrested because of a drug scandal and imagining my father’s face
and his reputation, made me sick. I had stopped eating, and stayed indoors most of the time.
I also avoided my parents’s calls as much as I could. Rajat was equally tensed about it all. But there was no way to be sure than to just anticipate.
Gradually two weeks passed and my parents returned. I went to the airport to pick them up.
Mama looked at me and immediately excalimed” oh how thin you’ve become. Are you not eating well? Have you been sick?”. My mother was what we called a human lie detector. One could never lie to her and not get caught. So of course I had to think of other ways.
I changed her concern with my questions about their trip, which seemed to keep them distracted and busy. My father on the other hand consoled mama, saying that this is probably nothing. Just me trying to prepare for UPSC seriously which had taken a toll on my health.
Parents’ presence at home enhanced my strenth.I felt that the speed of the chase of fear is graually lessening.But every time that thought crossed my mind, my heart skipped a beat.
I was busy in preparing for the exams.It was only two weeks for the exams to start.Papa came to my room and asked about my preparations.”I am confident Jeetu.You will surely clear the papers in the first chance.You will come out with flying colours.I am proud of you my son.Unlike other boys of your age you have never been found with bad company.”
These words of papa,and the box up emotions all of a sudden came out as tears.I cried like a child.Papa looked shocked.He held me by my shoulders.What is this Jeetu?What has happened to you?
I told all that had happened in the bar,when he was at London.I felt a big load had been relieved off my chest.
Papa laughed at my naiveness.
“My child,you fear that your name would come out in the news.Our family would be defamed and all. When you have done nothing wrong, why do you fear so much.You had streched an overactive imagination to such an extent,that may feel true.
I understand your concern.These days the media has stooped so low,they give prioritis to gossips.To raise the trp they can go to any extent.
You could have talked about it erlier ,either with me or your mama, when you started worrying.I feel very sorry because you suffered all alone.It hurts me, you had to bear these when no one of us was with you.
Suppose it would have happened don’t your father fight for you?to give justice to you? You know I am a fighter.I have never backed out in war.How could I back out in my son’s problem?
I know papa and am sure about it,I said in an embarassed way.
Papa patted my back.Prepare well for your papers.Dont think of the ignominy.Your father is there behind you.
Mama came to me that night.She sat near me.Relax Jeetu.You overthought a thing and was in fear all the time.But fear has a positive side too.It makes us alert to danger and prepares us to deal with it.