PS: This is an episodic romantic story. Every week, a new episode will be published.
To read first part, click here.
To read second part, click here.
To read third part, click here.
To read fourth part, click here.
To read fifth part, click here.
To read sixth part, click here.
To read seventh part, click here.
To read eight part, click here.
Simmi was exhausted. Exams were nearing and there was so much left to study. She didn’t know what she will do for commercial law. She hated that subject with a vigor. She really couldn’t figure out why she had to study that subject when she wasn’t an aspiring lawyer or a company secretary. She wanted to be an accountant. Weren’t business accountancy, statistics and business mathematics enough for that career? Giving a disgruntled sigh, she started moving toward the library in the other building. Maybe she will find a book on law that will simplify the subject for her. Even though it weren’t finals, she still wanted to score good marks in the first term examinations.
While she was scheduling her study timetable mentally, she saw Arpit running toward her frantically. Even from afar, she could see him distraught. As soon as Arpit reached her, he grabbed her tightly and started shaking her.
“They are after me. They want to kidnap me and kill me. They are after me. Please stop them. Please. They will kidnap me. I don’t want to be with them. Save me. Please, please, please. Please save me.” Arpit kept yelling and crying at the same time.
Simmi didn’t know what was happening. Arpit was hugging her tightly, preventing her from seeing the reaction of other students in the lobby. She could feel Arpit shaking like a leaf. His sobs were getting louder and louder. His tears were running like an unchecked river.
Hugging him back, Simmi started patting his back and making soothing noises. “Shh…shh…it’s okay. You are fine. Nobody’s going to kidnap you. We are here.” Simmi didn’t know what she was doing but whatever it was, she realized that it was soothing him.
“Can you please let me go? I will take you some place safe.” Simmi wanted to help him but for that, first she had to know what she was fighting against. As soon as Arpit loosened his hold, she stepped back from his arms. Looking at his face closely, she was totally shocked. Uncombed shaggy hair, eyes red, pupils dilated and tears made him look like a lost street urchin. With closed eyes, he was sobbing regardless of the people around them.
Simmi looked around and found them to be the center of attention. Other students were standing around them in circle with wide eyes. She presumed that everyone had heard Arpit yelling about being kidnapped and she didn’t see anyone running after him. Deciding to take him somewhere secluded, she started dragging crying Arpit after her.
Arpit was scared spitless. He knew anytime the gang will come to his hiding place and kidnap him. He didn’t know who they were or what they wanted but he knew one thing: they will drag him to a dark, dark place and torture him. They will tie him up and hang him upside down. They will give him cigarette burns in private parts. He had gone through that once and lived through it. He didn’t want to go through that again. Only Simmi could save him; but he doubted if she believed him.
Looking around himself, he saw that Simmi had dragged him into an isolated room. The windows were near the ceiling, and the fan was working at the full speed. He saw Simmi using cellphone but he couldn’t comprehend what was happening. He looked down at his hand only to realize that it was shaking. Badly. He grabbed his left hand with his right but then both were shaking. He hated feeling so scared and alone. No, he wasn’t alone. He had Simmi. She will know what to do.
Cutting the call short, Simmi looked at Arpit. He was huddled on the floor with arms folded across his chest. He had pulled up his knees too. It seemed to her he was trying to become a small ball, an invisible ball, but with his height, that was impossible. She was waiting for Kajal to come. She’d know what to do. She just hoped she would come fast. She hated to see Arpit like this. Looking closely, she realized that he had lost weight. He didn’t have much of weight to begin with but now he positively looked haggard.
When Arpit had come to her yelling for help, she had started panicking. She wasn’t sure if petty thugs were after him or some gangsters. Maybe he had started a fight with someone on the streets and it had gotten out of hand. But as time passed, she came to realize that nothing was wrong in real world. Nobody was after him and nobody wanted to kidnap him. It was all inside his brain. Was he going crazy? Maybe he was bipolar. She had heard about it. According to her mother, one of her cousin aunts suffered from it. In fact, she had such acute problem that once she had stripped naked in the middle of the street and had started running yelling she was on fire. She hoped Arpit wasn’t suffering like that. She wanted to help him and she will do everything that’s within her power.
When she heard the knock on the door, she got scared for a minute. What if Arpit was right and the thugs had tracked them down? Calling herself all kinds of fool, she asked who it was. When Kajal answered back, she opened the door with a relief. Now everything was going to be fine.
“Tell me what happened?” Hearing Simmi distraught on the mobile, Kajal had come running. She was still breathing hard.
“It’s Arpit. I don’t know….”
“Arpit! Arpit! You called me urgently for that scoundrel?!” Kajal’s voice was rising steadily. Oh, how she hated him! And she so wished Simmi to stop caring for that thug. Seeing a movement in the corner of her eyes, she turned her head and found herself looking at scared Arpit. It seemed he was crying silently. His eyes were red and the top of his tee looked wet. She suspected that it was from his tears.
“Please. I know you don’t like him but help him for me.” Simmi knew Kajal would do anything for her. She belong to that category of people who lived by the motto of “once a friend, always a friend – no matter what.” She hoped she could appeal to her better nature.
Kajal took a closer look at Arpit. As soon as she started nearing Arpit, he started screaming. “No! Don’t come near me. I won’t come with you. Simmi! Save me. She belongs to the gang! She will kidnap me. Simmi! Simmi!”
Seeing Arpit agitated and hysterical, Simmi went to him and took him in her arms to soothe him. Rubbing her hands on his head, she started crooning softly. “Shh…she’s not the gang. She won’t harm you. I promise. Shh.”
Rocking him slightly, Simmi looked at Kajal helplessly with tears. She didn’t know what was wrong with Arpit but she knew that he needed help. Immediately. “Please help me help Arpit. Please Kajal.”
Kajal had never seen anyone so despaired and broken. Letting go of all the bitterness for Arpit, she took her cellphone out and called her cousin who was a practicing doc in the city hospital. She offered him as much information as she could. When her cousin couldn’t decipher the problem by phone, he promised to reach the college within 10 minutes because he was in the nearby hospital as the visiting doctor.
Simmi heard Kajal talking to her cousin. As soon as the call ended, she asked her if he was coming. Kajal just nodded and started pacing. Every now and then she would look at Simmi and Arpit. Arpit had buried her face in Simmi’s breasts and he was constantly crying. And Simmi, rocking him back and forth, had started crying too. Kajal didn’t know who was more pitiful: Arpit, with his hallucinations, or Simmi, with her compassion for Arpit? She had a gut feeling that Simmi was going to have a huge trouble on her hands shortly. And the name of the trouble was Arpit. Although right now she felt bad for Arpit, she was more worried for Simmi. She was scared that Simmi might fall for Arpit big time, especially if Arpit has some sad history. As Kajal didn’t know any personal details of Arpit, she didn’t know what to think. And thinking about all these things was giving her a headache. Deciding not to jump to conclusions, she started waiting for Pranav. He should be here anytime. Maybe then she will know what the hell was going on!
After 10 minutes, her cellphone rang. It was Pranav. He asked her to come to the college’s gate to fetch him. Mouthing to Simmi that she will be back within 5 minutes with the doc, she ran to the gate. She wanted everything to get over and done with. She couldn’t see Simmi so helpless.