There was quite a rush there. People were coming and going. Some were shouting. Some were giving a few orders and there were some to carry out them. Some were having a tête-à-tête. In the middle of all this, his parents were found sitting and waiting eagerly for a miracle to happen. A few of his close friends were also present praying for him. All eyes were fixed on that door. It opened,finally . They came out and looked at his parents and his friends.
Eleven Months Ago:
“And the award goes to Rajat Sahni, Mechnical Engg, Third year! Rajat, would you please come up on the stage and collect your certificate and the medal?” Said the announcer.
Rajat Sahni never lost any competition he took part in. He was not called the starby his friends just like that. He was worth the title. He had the best sense of humor in the whole college. He was charming. He was handsome and had a superb physique. No girl, he ever asked out, could resist him. And those, whom he did not care for used to die every day. He was never good at studies, but he had in him to conquer everything without that special knowledge of books. He was the topic of debate for many people around him. Some were jealous of him, some adored him. He didn’t have any kind of addiction or any bad habit. In short, he was an enigma for many.
People were in complete awe of Rajat. He had won the inter college dance championship. Nobody knew about his dancing skills. “You’re one of a kind. And you know that. Don’t you?” chuckled Sakshi. He hugged her. “Let’s go for a movie tonight. I owe you a treat for this medal. Oh wait! I have a date today!” Said Rajat. “You’re sick too. You say you love me and you ask so many girls out, and here I am, a fool who always fall for your stories.” “You know that I’m one of a kind. That is not going for date with those girls, that’s just obliging my fans !” he winked. “RAJAT! Get out my sight! Now! Else I’m gonna strangle you!” They started fighting, like always.
“So, what are you gonna do after you drop me home?” asked Maanika. “I’d wash my clothes.” Rajat winked. “Oh ho! I get it. The star and his sarcasms!” “I was serious.” “Shut up! I meant my mom and dad are out tonight. They’ll come day after tomorrow. So we can go to my place and I shall make you a cup of coffee.” “Why bother so much, if we can get that cup of coffee of just twenty bucks here only?” “I meant, you can stay at my place tonight.” “Only if you’ll wash my clothes!” “Rajat! I’m serious. I love you.” “And I love Sakshi.” “Rajat, you’ll forget her once you get to know me.” She slipped in a tablet in his drink, without him noticing that. “You can never beat her. Never!” “Is that so? How many girls have you tried till now?” Rajat had no answer. The drug had started showing its effects. “This will be between just you and me. Right?” “Absolutely!”
“How could you do this Rajat? I mean, I never said anything because I knew you love me and would never break my trust. You went out with so many girls, I never said anything. But this? The whole college is watching your deeds in their phones.” Sakshi was in tears. “I…I’m sorry Sakshi. I’m really sorry. I don’t even remember myself doing that. I love you Sakshi! I really do love you. I promise you I’m never doing anything like this again.” “Sorry? Rajat, try and stop that despicable video of yours from spreading in the whole country now. Everyone is talking about that.” “Sakshi, I’ll take care of that. I said I’m sorry. I just want you to accept my apology.” “Sod off Rajat. It’s all over. You take care of yourself and that video. And never ever show me your face again. Goodbye.” She left.
Rajat knew he had botched up his whole image in the college and in the eyes of closed ones. He spent numerous days piddling around without showing anyone his face. He just wanted to meet that nefarious girl, with whom he went out, but only found out that she had taken a month’s leave. She had eloped with her partner after committing the felony. His girlfriend had dumped him. He couldn't go to college. He couldn’t do anything. It was then he decided to smoke out all the worries from his life. That was a mere beginning.
Rajat Sahni had become a chain smoker. He changed his lifestyle but his past never left him. Memories of Sakshi continued to haunt him. Number of fags increased upto 80 a day. He had a very few friends left. He would listen to no one.
He had started looking thin. Black circles developed around his eyes. His lips lost their color. His physique was gone for good. His confidence was on an all time low. The fags increased to 100 a day, until one day he experienced severe pain in the upper abdomen and fell unconscious. He had developed pancreatic cancer.
The doctors came out of the operation room. Rajat’s parents and his friends looked at them. “He is alright now. He’ll recover in a month. You can take him back in a few days. He was lucky we could diagnose him as his cancer was in early stage.” “Thank you Doctor, thanks a ton!” His parents could only say this. “Doctor! Can I speak with him” his father enquired. “Sure”
“Hey Dad! I’m sorry.” “Don’t worry son. Everything’s gonna be alright. Just have a little faith in god.” “No dad, I’ve let you down. I’ve let everyone around me down.” “See son, we never stopped you from doing anything. We always had full faith in you. We were fully aware of the brilliant mind you possess. We knew that whatever you do, you’ll touch great heights. You got early little success in your college. People around you got jealous and conspired against you. But the problem started when you fell for their plan. That girl fooled you and consequently Sakshi left you. You should never break your trust of your partner. If you've made a commitment then stick to it. Never let the fakes sabotage your relationship!And the biggest mistake you ever did was to start smoking. You, of all people should know that every breath of smoke you take destroys your future. Smoking to me is like suicide. It is death in anticipation. You still have whole life in front of you. Make your choices, live it or burn it. I’ve said what I wanted to. We still have faith in you. As soon as you’re discharged, we are leaving this city. I want you to have a fresh start.” He left.
His father had said enough to make him ponder for a long period of time. He was on a verge of having a major epiphany in his life. He had to move on now. He had got a second chance to live it, and was determined not to blow it up again.