Pratik (name changed, intentionally) was such a pal of mine.
I met him through a common friend while three of us used to stay together in the same locality.
Pratik was an ever chirpy character. And, not to mention, a genuine prey to my nonstop practical jokes and leg pulling. But he would never complain rather used to accept my menace and me smilingly.
School days got over… college days flew by… I left Kolkata and my attachment with Pratik gradually turned into a deep detachment.
When I came back to Kolkata, I tried to re-establish the connection; however, god knows why, the same old tinkering was felt missing all the time during our new series of rendezvous.
That trademark chirpiness, happiness, smiles, and every little thing happened to be absent on and inside Pratik.
I used to wonder, why?! What happened to my dear friend?
I kept enquiring into him and his activities from others and time to time from him himself. But, in spite of my dog-digging, I could never manage any bone of and about Pratik.
With time, tension and daily grinding of life, the detachment became a huge distance once again between him and me.
All of a sudden yesterday itself i.e. on April 21, 2010, my cell rang. I picked up the call. Another school friend voiced out, “Sushovan, Pratik is no more.”
“Pratik is no more.” Such a simple expression, isn’t it? My prank-punching-bag is no more.
So, I didn’t react at all to the call. I took a cab from office, first to reach Pratik’s house then to arrive at the crematorium.
Pratk was lying there. His face was covered with a white sheet of cloth. Honestly, I didn’t feel like seeing his face even for once for the last time.
I cared, and still care a hoot for his death. I have always been concerned about his life; his live existence… and frankly, I generally give a damn to death – whoever embraces it.
I am neither sad nor down with Pratik’s demise. Instead, I’m cross. I’m angry and I’m irritated like a swine amidst the saint.
Because, my childhood friend didn’t bother to let me know that he didn’t have any job for the last one and half years. He didn’t feel like telling me about his prolonged and killer diabetes; about his eye infection; about his septicemia.
My childhood friend was shy to ask for any help or support from me.
So, he decided to die like a bloody loser; like a creeper; like an insect without bothering me at all.
And why didn’t he ask for it? Because he didn’t want me to oblige him.
Never knew, nor wish to know as a matter of fact, from when “friendship has become an obligation”.
Truly, while a friend dies like this, he actually kills the very existence and essence of the feeling called “friendship” and that hardly makes me sad rather leaves me to live like a mad in the world of silent pandemonium and never-to-be-filled-up void in the shadow of mine.
And it hurts. Really hurts.