Both, Priya and Vijay spent a lot of time there in the café, while continuously discussing about the attitudinal changes that had occurred in Rajesh and why he must have suddenly started distancing himself from both of them or whether anybody must have instigated him to behave this way. Vijay was increasingly feeling bored to discuss this topic anymore but Priya was sticking to that subject all the while.
Finally Vijay angrily said to her, ‘Enough of it Priya! Let us talk about something else now!’.
‘How can you say something like this?’, Priya exclaimed, ‘He was such a good friend of ours, in fact, he is a good friend of us even today!’.
‘That is what I am saying!. He is indeed a good friend of both of us even today but what about the fact that he does not look at it that way!. Friendship is always mutual, Priya and it cannot ever be a one way traffic!’, Vijay explained.
‘That is quite right! But even today I find it hard to accept that something like this can happen in the case of an erstwhile intensely good friend of both of us!’, Priya said and gave a sigh of sadness.
‘Listen to me! With changing times and circumstances even the attitudes of people do witness a profound change!’, Vijay tried to explain.
Priya did not say anything on this and continued sitting there calmly. Both of them were quiet for a long time as though they were having a dialogue with their own minds. The cups of coffee kept before them had long been emptied. Finally Priya, as though she had come out of that engrossed state of mind, said, ‘So? What next now?’.
‘What do you mean?’, Vijay asked having not understood the context of Priya’s question.
‘What I mean is, now we have secured our degrees!. So what next?’, Priya explained.
‘What next?’, Vijay answered, ‘Now I will take up a job. You know, even if an individual may be extraordinary but if he has born in an ordinary family, then the pattern of his life is predetermined!’.
‘Do you mean to say that I am born in some extraordinary family?’, Priya funnily remarked.
‘Compared to me, Yes! You are born in an extraordinary family!’, Vijay said.
‘This is going just too much Vijay! You call me a girl born in an extraordinary family! How foolish!’, Priya laughed at Vijay.
‘That destiny etc. is often talked about is precisely this!’, Vijay replied.
‘But Vijay, today one thing I am strongly noticing in you is that you have suddenly started talking about issues like destiny, luck etc. which you had never been even thinking about till now!’, Priya asked.
‘Now you tell me, I have not born in a family with the negative background of an alcoholic father, insane sister and an illiterate mother, by my own choice but they are inseparably related with my destiny then, you alone decide and tell me whether does my merit or intellect carry any significance?’, Vijay explained.
‘Fine! But it was you alone who used to repeatedly assert that an individual should not blame the circumstances and must think of how he can confront the adversities of life and manage to go ahead in life!’, Priya recalled.
‘Certain concepts are very easy to talk about but one realizes the true pains of the circumstances only when one actually starts suffering from them. now, given the life you are leading, perhaps you can definitely understand my sufferings but you cannot for sure experience them’, Vijay concluded.
Suddenly changed topic of their discussion and the sharply harsh feelings of Vijay about his circumstances left Priya confused about what she should talk next and therefore she opted to keep quiet for some time.
Then Vijay himself took the lead to normalize the atmosphere, perhaps after sensing the unnecessary harshness of their discussion and asked Priya, ‘What are you going to do now?’.
‘Now the medical education is over!. Now the final examination followed by the internship of one year!’, Priya answered.
‘After that what do you intend to do?’, Vijay asked.
‘I don’t know!’, Priya replied.
‘You are talking as though you are not happy even after doing a course of education that is going to open the doors of such an excellent career!’, Vijay replied.
‘Happy?, frankly speaking I had never given a thought about what to do next and for what purpose!. All I always preferred is that we should continue to live together just the way we were enjoying during HSC!’, Priya replied.
‘Indeed Priya! You are still the same just like what you were during HSC!, childish and immature!’, Vijay laughed at Priya.
‘Then do you want me to change?’, Priya asked.
‘Just look around the surrounding world and see where it is going! You ought to change your outlook toward these ever changing times because very soon you are headed to be a renowned doctor!’, Vijay tried to convince Priya.
‘You know Vijay! Nowadays becoming a doctor alone too is not enough!. I feel it even today that I should have taken Mathematics so that I could have continued staying together with you and by now even my education would have got completed. I have started feeling so much bored with this continuously education now!’, Priya sought to explain her desires.
‘Bored about education? How can you even say that? Do some post-graduation so that you will have some specialty at least!’, Vijay advised.
‘These five years of medical education alone is too much and you are asking me to add two more years of post-graduation which is simply unbearable!’, Priya remarked.
‘Then go for some diploma course which is shorter in terms of duration!’, Vijay suggested.
‘Let us see that later!’, Priya replied.
Again some more moments were spent in silence.
Now it was Priya to ask Vijay, ‘What is your idea of life after securing a job?’.
‘After securing a job, as I have explained to you, my first priority is to restore the overall order of my family. Then I want to get the medical treatment done for Shalini, my sister. That way, there are many things pending to be done!’, Vijay answered.
‘After doing all that, what do you intend to do?’, Priya asked a question so that she could bring Vijay on the right track.
‘No! I have not given any thought about that so far!’, Vijay calmly replied.
‘How surprising! You have not given any thought to that so far! On the contrary you are a man of an excellent planning of everything!’, Priya made an indicative statement thinking Vijay will sense something about why Priya intended.
‘Excellent planning! Which fool told you this about me?’, Vijay tossed her query.
‘Is there anything to tell me by somebody else in this?. I know everything about your immediate surrounding, I mean, I know you well to that extent just like you too know me well!’, Priya was getting restless while attempting to indicate her emotions to Vijay.
‘I know you well and I understand you?. Not the least, I don’t think I know you well!’, Vijay replied.
‘Is it?’, Priya angrily asked.
‘in fact, people say that even a supreme Almighty God also cannot comprehend the mind of a woman!’, Vijay laughed.
‘I am not talking about God but I am talking about you!’, Priya shouted at Vijay.
Priya was now completely fuming with anger but she did not express it outwardly. Vijay ignored her remarks and looking at his wrist watch said after giving a big yawn, ‘Oh! My God! Look how much time we are sitting here! I must leave now before the café owner may himself ask us to leave!’, Vijay jokingly said and laughed.
Now Priya was sensing that either he was unaware of her feelings or he was hiding his own approach toward her.
In the same shot of fury, Priya got up and said, ‘Fine! We will leave now!’, and came out of the exit door of the café before even Vijay may come out from there. Initially she felt so hostile toward him that she thought of leaving from there alone without telling it to Vijay but she restrained herself from behaving rudely and preferred to wait for him to come out of the café.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)