“You’re a Jerk”
I retorted but I was too infused with emotions to do anything except storm out of his home ignoring his mother calling “Why are you leaving so early, Roshni?”
I went to my home and crashed on my bed, blinking back tears which soon turned into a tantrum. The pillow was wet, sticky with tears and nose snot .I raised my head a few times just to get a gulp of fresh air in order to avoid choking myself on the pillow but my dream had already been choked by that-that creature. Soon the sun dipped and so did my anger, almost.
I flipped my pillow just to avoid laying my head on that later (and yes I speak from experience).I glanced at the clock 7:30 PM, not much time before dinner. At least that was good, crying and silent cursing did take a great deal of energy.
“I had spent 2 weeks working on that report.” I spoke to no one in particular “and that creature didn’t even think twice before submitting my ‘The street food of Galli’.’ I went downstairs to the dining room and slid into my chair. My elder brother came downstairs and grinned at me “Hey Rosh, what about your article?”
“No word right now” I lied as I wolfed down my food .I kept silent for the whole dinner, some things you just couldn’t share with your family. Some things you just have to solve on your own.
The next morning I headed over to Param’s house. His mother opened the door. “Oh! Wait here I am calling Param.” He joined me outside and he was skipping, “It worked” he said. His eyes glittered with excitement. “Uh…what?” “We are in the top 50 shortlisted.” He looked at me. “Can you believe it?” “What about credit to me?” I asked my voice steely. “Don’t worry you’ll get the-” “I don’t want the prize!!!”I screeched at him. “Credit is a big deal to me.” He looked wide eyed at me “I had gone to holiday for a few weeks and you did not reconsider your decisions before sending the report” “But we would have to wait for a whole year-” he finally managed to get words out. “I could have waited a whole year. You knew it.” I screamed my lungs out. “But the truth is-” My voice descended to a whisper “-you just want all the credit.”
Everybody at school was talking about ‘our’ paragraph (well not everybody the people who are into literature other’s just call it “nerd’s stuff”). The more disturbing fact was that people were talking more about the ‘faults’ in me and Param’s friendship than the actual competition itself.
But soon karma acted, the competition got cancelled. Yes, turns out the organizer had owed many debts to his ex-business partner in the past.
Param gloomily shared the news and I started guffawing .I know you shouldn’t even smirk in situations like these, but I had the clearest laugh I had in ages.
Param hated my guts after that but I knew I just couldn’t end it this way.
Six months later, I rang Param’s door bell, just like I had done every other day before the fight .He opened the door and his bored face changed into somewhat horror.
It was awkward for a few seconds before I said “Um- well we won a competition.” He stared at me as if I might be losing my marbles. “Eh?” I explained the process to him, how I had tweaked a few words and the title of our report to avoid the ‘original entry only’ in the T&C and sent it to another contest. “Their competition is not as big as the previous one but still…” “Well congratulations” He said regretting his acts. “Oh dummy” I smiled. “You are coming with me too.” “You what-” “Yes I mentioned your name too because that’s what friendship is about”. He suddenly smiled his face looking like that of a lizard. I punched him playfully, at least I tried playfully.
I went home on cloud nine but Param was a different story. Param felt guilty “Is this really fair, I mean I don’t wanna complain but I can’t hold this burden.” He continued pondering “I just can’t rely like this on Roshni, I-I just can’t. Six months ago, that man’s business fell because of too many debts to his partner, could my friend’s kindness cause my destruction.”
It was a Saturday night ,a time when I am usually passed out on the bed after a whole weekend but tonight I was in a huge hall with chandelier and other fancy things(you can’t expect me to know this from where I come from),I was dressed in a multi-coloured sari and Param in a kurta-pyjamas. It was awkward walking in them and not tripping over but we managed to get to the stage and claimed the prize .Param smiled once again in his lizard manner.
I tapped the mic nervously as if it was an alien object. “I, Roshni Saini and Param Gujjar worked on a research paper together ‘The Street Food of Galli’ and we are blessed enough to be nominated by Teedsy ‘Best Dual Gastronomy Award’-” “I had been an Idiot” I jerked my head towards him staring rather murderously, this had not been part of our speech for all I knew he could be making this out of thin air. “I had backstabbed Roshni and put all of this-” He gestured towards the plaque we both were holding. “-to my name but Roshni being a great friend still didn’t give up on me ,it was a peace gesture so big I might be still guilty in my 60s.”
“Don’t worry” I whispered to him as the audience (other winners and guests who had to clap) applauded.
“You still owe me much.”