Book Excerpts from

The Disappointing 5
When Failures Turn Heroes
Author – Bhim Singh Bobanga


2 years ago…

         If the moon could be called romantic, that night’s moon would be it. No hint of clouds in the sky, the stars were shining like luminescent star dust and in their middle shone the full moon with all its majestic beauty.

         The breeze was strong, and cold, and biting. One could feel it’s chill in their bones. But it was to be expected. Winter nights were the coldest, yet they could also be the most beautiful.

         And that night was such a night.

         A beautiful night.

         A beautiful night to die.

         Bindya opened her eyes.

         Maybe wearing something warmer wouldn’t have hurt, she thought.

         But here she was, in her night dress, barely covering her body past her thighs, standing on the wide guard rail of the bridge, staring at the darkness beneath her.

         Well it won’t matter once you’re dead.

         It was a small bridge that sat across a narrow depth that more or less looked like a crack on the hill that split it to its very bottom. Along the narrow crack flowed a small stream that originated in a small waterfall higher up the hill.

         It was a beautiful hill. And also the largest amongst the many hills that surrounded the city.

         Hope Ruksaan would forgive her. Hope Robin would forgive her.

         Hope her mother would forgive her.

         With the thought of them, she took a step towards the edge of the guard rail. Oh, she was nervous alright. The sound of water clashing with the rocks felt amplified at night. It sounded a little scary.

         And she was definitely scared.

         Ok she could do this.

         She could do this.

         She could do this.

         Just one more step and it would all be over. Just one more step. Just one more…

         “Want a cigarette?”

         A voice came from her right.

         She turned and saw a boy sitting on the same guard rail, with his legs hanging outside of the bridge, looking up at the night sky as he smoked a cigarette.

         Where the hell did he come from? she thought.

         She had been there for sometime and was all alone when she had arrived. Then how come she didn’t notice his presence?

         “Who…Who are you?” she called out. Confusion and apprehension clouded her mind.

         “Akash here,” he informed without looking at her.

         But soon after, he slowly turned his face towards her.

         The bright moonlight washed both of them as they stood and sat on the guard rail. Bindya could now see half of his face and most of his body in a blue-ish glow, while the rest hid in his own shadow.

         A dark jacket covered his slim torso. He wore a pair of loose fitting jeans and…were those sandals? She couldn’t tell. His face was narrow with a sharp jaw line and a pointed chin. His head was blessed with thick but messy hair and his big puppy eyes looked as if they were almonds.

         For some reason, he looked familiar.

         “Are you… from my school?” she asked.

         “Yeah,” was all he said.

         Bindya scanned her memory for a bit and then finally recognised him.

         Akash Malhotra.

         He was the boy who never really talked to anybody and was always found hanging out with either that huge football player or that other tiny doll-faced girl.

         The girls she was friends with did talk about them, especially the two boys. They were pretty popular amongst them. They thought the two boys looked cute and had a certain ‘bad-boy’ or ‘messed-up’ charm.

         But they were also pretty infamous. The tall guy, Dhruv Kapoor, was considered a bully and short tempered while the other, him, was called xenophobic and anti social.

         She herself had seen Dhruv lift a dude by his shirt who had shoved Akash while they were having some kind of argument during their football match. The guy would have probably received a black eye had Akash not made Dhruv to calm down.

         She had always found it odd how a quiet boy who sometimes just looked at you in a weird way—as if he was scanning and taking notes about you—and a tall boy who got angry at the slightest provocation were such close friends.

         She would admit that she her self was sometimes curious about this handsome silent boy.

         “What are you doing here?” she asked.

         “Same thing as you probably,” he replied. “I’m here to kill myself.”

         “…..”

         “What?” questioned Akash when he saw her staring blankly at him.

         “Can you do it like tomorrow?” she requested.

         “What? Why?” asked Akash. He wasn’t expecting that.

         “Can you die tomorrow?” she repeated. “Or maybe somewhere else? I would prefer if I didn’t have to share my dying spot, especially with someone I didn’t know.”

         “But, you know me,” replied Akash.

         “Yeah, I know you but not like know know you,” she said.

         And they called him weird, thought Akash. Were they seriously fighting over not sharing the same spot to die?

         “Umm…I don’t know any other spot. Besides, why does it matter? It’s not like we would care once we are, y’ know, dead,” Akash said plainly.

         She didn’t respond to that. Both of them embraced silence for some time.

         Another strong breeze went past them. Bindya’s night dress fluttered elegantly. Moonlight reflected from her white dress, making her look ethereal. Her long hair blew in the wind making her locks dance along. They sometimes caressed her soft pale cheeks and sometimes kissed her soft full lips.

         “… I still don’t want to die with a stranger,” she said, breaking the silence. “Do you realise how that would look? I don’t want tomorrow’s head lines to be something like ‘Teen couple committed suicide! A tale of forbidden love?’ I don’t even know you and we would be declared as star-crossed lovers!”

         “You know, for someone who is about to kill herself, you are awfully worried about how you would look post death,” pointed Akash. “Besides, What do you think people would say anyways when they find that the heir to the powerful Shah industries was dead under a bridge in her night dress? It definitely won’t be ‘A brave teenage girl committed suicide. She went in the flames of glory!’”

         That deflated Bindya. How rude! But he had a point, and she didn’t have a counter to that.

         But still…

         “Can’t you kill yourself with throat cancer or something?” she asked. “Y’know with all that smoking and stuff?”

         “It would take a lot of cigarettes and a lot of time. It would also be expensive,” he answered.

         “What about slitting your wrist or your throat?”

         “Too messy.”

         “poison?”

         “Too painful.”

         “Train or Car accident?”
         “Too dramatic, and it would also put some other guy in trouble just because I fancied to become a road kill.”

         “How about Burning or Drowning yourself?” She asked.

         “Again, too painful and as much as I don’t care about what happens to me after death, I have seen pictures of drowned corpses. I really don’t want to look like that.”

         They both went quiet again.

         Huh, people weren’t kidding when they said he was weird to talk to, thought Bindya, but then realised she was also being weird.

         “Why don’t you do all the stuff that you suggested me?” asked Akash.

         Same reasons as yours, thought Bindya but didn’t say anything. She couldn’t get hold of sleeping pills and she didn’t have a car of her own to try carbon monoxide poisoning. The only car she had was driven by her driver, who she knew wouldn’t allow her to do such a thing. Heck she even came to the bridge on her silly little scooty.

         “You want a cigarette? Its kinda cold out here,” he said, bringing her out of her thoughts.

         “Wait, what? Are you seriously offering me a cigarette?” she asked. “You do know it’s not good for your health right?”

         “So is jumping off this bridge,” he replied.

         Touché

         She hesitated a bit, but then walked closer to him.

         “Fine,” she relented and sat beside him.

         He brought his packet in front of her, from which she took one out. He then replaced the packet with a lighter.

         She lit her cigarette and took a huge puff.

         A sigh escaped her as the cigarette brought some peace and warmth to her body. It was only a few moments later did she realise what she had done.

         Her face turned pink with embarrassment.

         “Huh, so you are already a smoker,” pointed Akash. “So much for that lame health warning.”

         Damn, he caught me, thought Bindya.

         “Sorry,” she said as she blushed. “But seriously, do you offer a cigarette to everyone you meet?”

         “No,” he said. “But figured if you are stressed and depressed enough to kill yourself, then you wouldn’t mind a puff to calm the nerves. Before we extinguish our lives that is.”

         They sat together for some time in the moonlight, enjoying the cigarette and the silent company.

         “So uh, why do you want to commit suicide?” she asked, a bit hesitant.

         He let out the smoke from his nose as he looked forward towards their city. It looked like a bunch of pearls scattered on the ground.

         “Because I’m good for nothing,” he answered plainly.

         Ok, thought Bindya and waited.

         She thought he was going to add more to it so she waited.

         It didn’t come.

         “Wait, that’s all?” she asked. Okay, that might have come out as a bit insensitive, but she couldn’t understand why that would be reason enough to want to kill oneself.

         Akash let out a deep breath. He leaned back on his arms and hung back his head, looking at the stars.

         “It’s … hard to live a life knowing that you have done something wrong but not sure what. It’s hard to see your loved one act happy, and nice, and caring, but you know that deep inside they are in pain and you have this deep seated feeling that it is you who might have something to do with it.” His body might be there but Bindya didn’t think his mind was anymore. 

         “And you can’t escape it and you can do nothing about it. It’s also hard to live a life seeing someone not giving a damn about the loved one, and you have to keep pretending that you have no idea what’s going on.”

         Bindya could see moonlight starting to reflect from his eyes. “You try to at least make your family proud of you, to meet their hopes and demands, but you fail miserably at that too,” he finished with a small chuckle. That chuckle was probably the saddest one she had ever heard.

         “Umm, have you tried like talking to them about it?” she asked. She wasn’t sure if she had any right to counsel him considering she was also there for what he was.

         “Yeah,” he replied.

         “And?”

         “They pretend as if they don’t know what I am talking about. They pretend that everything is fine and that I shouldn’t care. They pretend as if it’s all perfect. Dandy. Blissful. Peachy.” He threw the cigarette butt into the ravine before taking out another one. “It makes me sick. I am tired of such bull crap.”

         They both again fell in silence for a moment as he offered another cigarette to Bindya, which she accepted.


To be continued.


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Book Excerpts from

The Disappointing 5
Author – Bobanga