In the meantime Priya’s post-graduation diploma was going on and even Vijay was doing well in his job. The first thing he did after receiving his first salary was to arrange for a good medical treatment for his sister, Shalini. The main question he confronted at that time was to which doctor should he approach so that he will get a proper medical treatment for his sister and that too at an affordable price mainly because neither there was any psychiatrist in his hometown nor did he want to approach any other general medical practitioner and waste both his money and time since his overall experience so far in dealing with the general practitioners was much the same. Therefore, it became necessary to look for a competent psychiatrist from the nearby towns because he himself did not know any. Therefore he followed the advice of Priya and Priya too suggested him the name of a good psychiatrist known to one of her medical college professor. Vijay sought to approach this psychiatrist and he too dealt with Vijay in a gentlemanly manner and tried to make a proper diagnosis of Shalini’s psychological health given the fact that Vijay had contacted him through one of his personal friend. After spending almost two hours with Vijay and Shalini, this psychiatrist prescribed him some medicines for her. After paying the fees of this psychiatrist and after obtaining the medicines Vijay realized that arranging all this was impossible for his father in his insufficient salary. It was only then did he sense the significance of the salary he was earning but he was happy that the psychiatrist had assured him that Shalini was recoverable and his salary was being instrumental in achieving this and even in the future also his earnings were to be used for this sacred purpose. After toiling so hard in life Vijay had got this job he truly deserved to get and therefore it was really important that his earnings would be used for a proper purpose and above all this was the most significant use of the earnings he was making than spending the money for any other objectives.
During this phase of life there was a lot of correspondence taking place between Vijay and Priya. It was because of Vijay’s advice alone that Priya had ventured to continue with her education further even though she was disinclined for it. Frankly speaking, it was indeed going very difficult for Priya to stay away from Vijay under the pretext of continuing with her additional medical education but even then she was also not in a position to avoid pursuing a post-graduation diploma as advised by Vijay because she had, long ago, assumed Vijay to be the guide of her life and she had also long ago started filling colors into her picture of life with an aspiration of being into Vijay’s constant company. Going by the way the things were happening Priya did not see any obstacle in her desires being fulfilled but at the same time she was feeling sad why was Vijay ignoring her emotional desires. But then, she would counsel herself that this was happening because Vijay was paying all his attention at the moment to restoring the order of his home first.
Besides all this, Priya was finding it extremely necessary to address and possibly solve one more intriguing question of the distancing of Rajesh with both Priya and Vijay, apparently for no sound reason. One day, Priya received a very long letter from Vijay in which Vijay had narrated a long story of how he had personally been to Rajesh’s home, as per the advice of Priya, to discuss this issue of why their thick friendship had eventually become so dry and why Rajesh had started distancing himself from both of them. At first, the participation of Rajesh in this discussion was very superficial but in the course of time even he did not realize how deeply he got involved in that discussion such that both, neither Rajesh nor Vijay realized how the whole night passed away. Through the course of talks all old memories were revitalized and even it dawned upon Vijay that although Rajesh was apparently maintaining distance, he was nevertheless the same old friend of Vijay during his college days and Rajesh was still the same old friend just like a coconut appears to be hard and impenetrable on its skin but soft inside. Perhaps he had acquired the hardness superficially because of the circumstances and challenges of life he had had to endure after leaving behind the protected days of college life and this entire distance had perpetuated to grow for no reason sheer because of the misunderstandings remaining unresolved over a longer duration of time. On the contrary, the very moment if such a round of long discussion was to have occurred right at the moment when this distance started developing then perhaps their friendship would not have been reduced to such a dryness between all of them. Sometimes during the talks, with their old memories being aroused again, their eyes were turning wet such that both of them were realizing that it is the friendship during the school or college days is indeed the true friendship because during those days no selfish interests govern the relationships being formed then and no one expects anything else but a pure joy of companionship from such a friendship. Getting such intense friends during the remaining course of life is indeed rare because by that time, individual aspirations, selfish interests, and other expectations tend to have entered into our lives.
Only when did Vijay get up after finishing the discussion to go back home that he realized how the whole night had passed and a new day had already begun. When Vijay took a few steps and approached the door, Rajesh called him from behind, ‘Vijay’. Vijay now stopped for a brief while and looked back at Rajesh only to witness a pleasant surprise.
Rajesh got up from his chair and coming forward he hugged Vijay with overwhelming emotions. That was one such divine moment between them that for few seconds they were speechless and a serene exchange of many emotions, which were perhaps beyond their ability to express, were being expressed between both of them. All said and done, every human being needs an outlet for expressing his or her emotions and their ways to achieve this can vary from individual to individual. Throughout their talks spread over the whole night, may be, Rajesh may not have even spoken as much as Vijay had because Rajesh’s oratory and talking skills were no match to that of Vijay but now this emotions filled action he had spoken far too more than what he might not have done verbally. Your friendship does not depend upon how much and how frequently you talk with your friends but it entirely depends on how much of an exchange of emotions is there between both of you and to what extent you are capable of understanding each other.
Priya felt extremely delighted when Vijay informed her about this latest exciting development through a sufficiently long letter and she even felt slightly disappointed to have missed the opportunity to attend that meeting between both, Vijay and Rajesh because even she wanted to recall those beautiful moments of their strong friendship. As much right Rajesh and Vijay had over those memories equally deserving right did belong to Priya also since majority of the times all three of them were always together and in the absence of Priya through that night along with both of them, Priya felt, that meeting was essentially incomplete. But at the same time Priya was happy that finally the misunderstandings between both, Vijay and Rajesh, have finally been overcome and eventually all the three have come together. It would have been difficult to judge whether the situation then, when this distancing started actually taking place between them, was sufficiently in favour of thinking for such a mediation but it is equally true that for certain wounds to get healed, time is the only perfect medicine and one needs to wait for it to happen.
Now the letters Priya had started receiving also included letters being sent by Rajesh. Sometimes she would even receive letters sent by Rajesh much before the letters written by Vijay as though he was trying to satiate the unfilled hunger of sending letters earlier. Priya was, in fact, writing to Rajesh but looking at his reluctance to respond, even Priya had curtailed her frequency of being in touch with Rajesh. This was as if a water streamed clogged in the form of a pond after coming across some hindrance had started flowing again after that obstacle was removed. But there was no difference in the overall style and tone of the letters being written by Vijay. On the contrary, his letters were no more full of emotions as it were earlier and nowadays his letters were typically impartial. Priya had even questioned him once about this and his reply was as calm as a philosopher, ‘During those days were childish students stepped into the outer world just recently but now having endured the real life for such a long spell we ought to have become impartial and mentally strong’.
After listening to this grossly philosophical and utterly practical answer, Priya dared not to counter it nor did she have any desire to discuss it any further.
Priya’s post-graduate diploma had now been completed and again she was confronting the same question, ‘What next?’. Priya had by now got so full of boredom of acquiring any more education that if anybody was to advice her to pursue any further education, she would have hammered his head in a feat of rage. But that too would not have solved her problem. Therefore, once again she turned back to her guide, Vijay, and sought his advice. Even Vijay happily played that role to offer her further guidance. Vijay was so articulately excellent at his art of persuasive skills and offering advices that often it would so happen that Priya would refuse to accept certain advice offered by her father, but immediately concede to it if the same was to be explained by Vijay alone. once again, Priya started working at a private clinic of a prominent doctor in the same town even though she was of the desire to return to her hometown so that she could be in the company of Vijay but she once again accepted the advice of Vijay that she can return to her hometown anytime in the future as and when she may get the right opportunity.
A lot of time was spent in this and Priya had not been able to get a right opportunity to return to her hometown and she had had to continue there in the same alien town against her will. Moreover, she was even got over-occupied with her daily routine so that she could not spare sufficient time to write a letter to Vijay and similarly Vijay’s volume of correspondence too had reduce probably because even he was occupied with his work schedule.
Once, after returning home after a tiring day, Priya first browsed through all the postal envelopes she had received that day and there she saw the wedding invitation card of Rajesh, which left her aptly convinced of the reason why even Rajesh had not corresponded across last couple of months. She looked for the wedding date which was yet 8-10 days away and it was a Saturday, the day of her weekly holiday. Vijay too was going to attend the wedding since he was already there in the same town and therefore Priya instantly took the decision of attending the wedding and not to lose the opportunity of meeting Vijay.
Original Novel by Sunil Doiphode
English Version by Girish Katre (GirishKatre@gmail.com)