Lijo* stood there frozen. He could feel the blood rushing to his ears. Disturbed, he kept the phone receiver back in place and looked at the clock. Almost 12’o’clock. He walked back. As soon as he stepped into his bedroom, the phone started ringing again.
Lijo attended. The same sweet female voice on the other end.But the news she conveyed was quite displeasing. “Lijo, Are you mad at me? Am sorry I had to bother you at this time of the night, but since it was urgent….”. “I don’t know you. Please don’t call me again. Am living with my parents”. Lijo interrupted. “I have no choice Lijo. I can’t live like this at my house anymore. We need to talk and am coming to your house tomorrow morning.” Lijo could now hear his heart beat. “Listen you bi***h. Don’t even think about coming home. If you do so,mind it,you would be dead meat”. He banged the phone and turned.
To his shock, there stood his parents. He could not stand their dubious looks. “Wrong Number”. He avoided them and flew to his bedroom. He knew they would come back soon. But he had time only till morning. Something had to be done before she comes home.
Lijo turned over and over. He couldn’t believe his ears. “Laya is smart, but too smart to be pregnant. Or is she really? Even if she is, it’s not mine. Why am I even bothering? Why on the hell did I even take her to the café?”
Lijo met Laya* during an album shooting, a little more than 3 months ago. He had gone to pick up Nikhil*, his best friend and immediate neighbor, who was doing the lead role in the album. Nikhil with his charming chocolate looks had buddied up with the whole women crowd He introduced Lijo to all of them. Laya too was one among them. She had accompanied a friend of hers’ who starred opposite to Nikhil. Since there was a lot of waiting time, the twosome got enough time of their own.A week after when the shooting was done, Laya expresed her interests to be in touch. She was smart, attractive and carried herself well, that she stood out from the crowd. But Lijo was not interested nor was ready for any kind of commitments and so deviated the topic. They were not in touch since then.
However, the story gained some popularity.One day, his roomie told that Laya had walked in to the hostel asking for Lijo’s phone number. But since she never called, Lijo ignored it as another made-up-story. Making up stories involving people were quite common at college.
A month after the shooting, Nikhil invited him for the album release. That was when he met Laya next. She looked gorgeous in her golden maroon saree. They had a small chat,during which she asked him out for a coffee.Lijo was hesitant, but Nikhil insisted. With the purest intentions, Lijo met her over coffee where she invited him for her wedding on the coming month. Hmmm.. That was it!!
Lijo was not sure whether she got married also, but he was sure that they were barely friends. Just one week of acquaintance . “Nothing but an introduction to each other’s life would have hardly happened. That does not give her the rights to claim that am responsible for her pregnancy”.
The coffee, he thought was ‘THE END’ to her chapter. But now she has turned up late this night with a whole new episode.
“Open the door Lijo. What are you doing inside?” Lijo was immersed deep in thoughts that he did not hear the first knock.
” Lijo.. LIJO…” . Mom.. She had almost started yelling that he opened the door. “ So tell me, who was on the phone? Is there any problem?” She sounded like a school head mistress.
“Does she know already? Did Laya call again? S**t man. Why should I worry? Am innocent. Am not responsible”
Mom interrupted his thoughts.”Lijo, you better tell me or…” She was loud enough.
Lijo knew it was do or die. “Mom, promise first that you’ll listen to me before you make any comments”.
“Yes,I do” Mom agreed.
“I used to have a friend called Laya. I met her during Nikhil’s shooting”
“So why dint you tell me about her earlier?” Mom interrupted again.
“Because I dint know if she could be even called a friend. I just met her, that’s all.”
“So what was she like if she was not a friend?”
“Maaa…She was, ehhhh.. noone”
“I knew it already. There is something you didn’t tell us and now you are in deep trouble. Did you even think of you sisters before you made a step like this?”Tears blocked her voice.
“Jaya* please…Would you let him speak?” It was papa.
“Thanks for saving pa. Am telling the truth. Laya was no one to me. I just met her for a couple of days when I went to pick up Nikhil from his shooting spot. I had no news about her for the last 4 months, and now she has called up saying that she is pregnant and I am responsible. She is coming to meet us tomorrow morning”. Lijo finished all of it one breath and looked at his parents.
They were two pale faces now. “How long its been since I asked you to bring him back from the hostel? All my colleagues were telling that boys get spoiled if sent to hostel. Who will listen to me? And now see the result” Mom had started blaming his dad.
“Yeah, it’s me who has to listen always. My second daughter is not even married. The last proposal that she got was too good. How many times did I ask you to call those people again? Now after something like this, will someone even come to our house?” Fuming with rage, she went inside.
“Am sorry she reacted that way…”,Papa said.
“Atleast you understand pa…” Lijo tried to be happy
“But think hard my son. Has anything happened that you would like to tell me?”.
“No pa.. I don’t understand why you people do not believe me….”Lijo stood up with a sunken heart.
“Why don’t you answer the questions properly?” Mom was back.
Papa took charge of controlling her.Lijo could not stand his mom’s ascending heart rate. He grabbed his mobile and walked out of the house. Lijo had no clue how to handle the situation for she was to come the next day morning. Only few more hrs to go. He decided to have a word with Nikhil.
Nikhil was taken aback. He jumped up from his bed, got dressed and got out of the house. He felt a little guilty too as he was the one who insisted Lijo to meet Laya over coffee.
Nikhil and Lijo spend the whole night trying to dig out the most apt way of dealing with Laya the next day. And finally they concluded. Kill her!! Kill her before anyone in the neighborhood knows what she has come for!!
For Lijo, finishing her off seemed to be better than playing the role of ‘Dad’ for someone else’s baby. Left with no other better options, they framed the plan. As soon as Laya comes home, Lijo would take her out for a talk, Nikhil would meet them on the way, walk to the cliff nearby and push her down. “Should not be difficult”, Lijo convinced himself.
Mom was still reciting about her daughter’s spoiled life and papa still pale. Lijo did not want to worsen the situation.He ignored them and walked straight to his room, hoping that their plan would be successful.
Lijo had not slept at all, so were his parents.
Nikhil was present at the door step early next morning. He brought an anesthetic spray as an extra care.
They barely had breakfast and waited for Laya’s arrival. 8:00,9:00,10:00….Papa had finished 10 packets of stress busters (cigars) in 3 hrs. Mummy was still whining on the proposal that they had not taken care of. Lijo and Nikhil went over their plan again and again, calculated and recalculated the success rates. 11:00,12:00,13:00…Papa was still on his cigars. Mummy could not stand the tension anymore and called her daughters. Lijo and Nikhil were stared blankly at each other.14:00,15:00,16:00…Papa and mom were exhausted by now. Lijo and Nikhil were still stared at each other.17:00.. The sound of a car at the gate. Everyone got ready in their own ways. The friends rewinded once more what had to be done and ran to doorstep to receive the most awaited guest.
Four of his class mates stepped out of the car. “Untimely visitors. Please ask them to leave fast. Don’t tell them anything” Mom warned and went inside to make tea. Papa’s mood did not allow him to face them, so he went inside. Lijo pasted a smile and welcomed them in. “Ten minutes. That’s all. Once they finish their tea, I willask them to leave”, he decided.
“Lijo, What’s up man? Looking gloomy?” asked Tony
“Sleepy from the morning”. The last thing Lijo wanted them to know was about Laya’s call.
“Why? Did you not get enough sleep last night?”.They made fun.
“Here children, have some tea”. Mom did not even bother to look at their faces and went inside.
They sensed the atmosphere and finished the tea fast.
“I’ll see all of you at college tomorrow. Mom is not feeling well”. Lijo said when they got up.
“Lijo, we need to talk. Can you come out for 2 minutes?”
“Oh my, did that b***h call them too? Am definitely gonna kill her”. Lijo expected the worst and followed him outside.
“Lijo, am sorry. We dint mean to upset you. It was just meant for fun”, Tony started.”It was my idea. But I never thought this would go to your parents”.
“W-H-A-T?” Lijo was shocked but he was not angry. For the first time in the last 24 hrs, Lijo took some air inside and gave a deep breath. The whole tension inside was swept out in that one breath.
Lijo could not blame them. There were lot many times that he too made fun of people using Tony’s sweet voice which would sound exactly like girls’. But when it came to him, it almost took his life. Lijo smiled, patted on Tony’s shoulders and asked them to leave.
Papa and Nikhil reacted the same way. A deep breath. But Mom turned hysterical. “How could they just leave like that?” and went on for another hour. Lijo just smiled. “Never”, he vowed again and again, ”never will I do this to anyone hereafter”.
********************************************************************************************************* “8 yrs…”, Lijo still recollects it with a jolt. “Its been 8 yrs Z.The tension at home was nauseating. It was like a ton of bricks on my head. It startles me even now”.
“Don’t worry Lijo. It would be a good laugh in a few more years…” I told after he narrated the incident.
“But they everything happens for he best”,Lijo continued.”Ever since then, my parents have a firm belief on me. Mom esp. is very confident that I will be true to them. All for the good..” He smiled.
After a lot of coaxing, bribing, pleading and begging, did Lijo allow me to publish Thanks to him….