It was a Saturday afternoon. After the 2nd assessment exams half the hostel is empty with girls off to their folks or their kins in the city. I preferred the hostel.
Sangi is also out to her uncle’s place. Anu is out on a date with Kiran. I am all alone in my room. As decided I had cleaned my room since morning and I am too tired now and I feel like fainting after lunch.
This morning the room looked like a shaken up box with clothes and books helter skelter and stationeries scattered on the table. I felt the room as even stingy. My bed was covered with clothes and I was sleeping among those dirty clothes for the past week
We have come to the 4th sem so we referred books and we didn’t have room for all those books in our room. Books are here and there most of them are under the cot on the floor. Grand ma would say books are Lord Saraswati and now I am subject to heavy blasphemy.
Somehow I managed to bring back the botched up room to sanity. I just now had lunch so waited for a few mins before I fall on my bed. Just then Anu entered the room.
Without looking up at her, I started, “So how was the day? Hope kiran gave you a strong kiss” and smiled to myself, there was no response. I continued, “Look how is the room now” with a prideful smile still looking at my laptop and again no response.
I looked up. She was silent. Her face bore an expression that I have never seen before. She was looking angry more than that melancholy was too obvious. My rational mind said that she must have as usual got into some silly duel with Kiran, but instinct interjected that something is wrong, that too very wrong.
I listened to my rational mind and I lied on my bed. With all those weariness I would have very well fell asleep in less than seconds, but Anu’s face kept flashing again and again. I lay still trying hard to ignore it and sleep but it kept bothering me.
After sometime I felt mild disturbances in the room, I still lay facing the wall. Anu is now awake. I wondered what she must be doing? But I hesitated to turn back felt so lazy. After a few seconds I slowly turned back and I saw her…
I saw her swallowing something heavily. I didn’t realize it a second. I swiftly got up and saw a pile of tablets before her. She was attempting to swallow a handful must be for the 2nd or 3rd time. I pulled her off and the water bottle fell with a thud. I gave her a sharp slap, she fell on her bed.
“hey idiot what have you done? Why?”, she fell on the bed with tears overflowing from her eyes. I am in the worst stress in my life. I don’t know what to do? or Whom to call?
‘Mom’ never, she would panic more than me and more than that she will never allow me to be with Anu again. ‘Dad’ dismissed for the same reason.
‘Shantanu’ or ‘Divya’ I don’t want anyone in college to know however trustworthy they might be.
Finally I zeroed on to Gramps. I fumbled my mobile for his number and I called him. With words flowing out of order, I abruptly started, “Grandpa my friend, tablets, she, took, tablets, I… I don’t know what to do?”
“What’s wrong dear calm down and tell me” with his ever lasting cool.
I collected myself and replied, “My friend took tablets many tablets she attempted suicide”
“Don’t panic I will ask my men there to attend to you immediately, stay calm”, again without loosing his cool.
Grandma picked up, “What’s wrong honey you have called us, won’t dad feel bad?”, smiling.
I repeated the tale to grandma. Thankfully she shared my tautness. She after a moment of silence, “Hey do you have salt?”
“No, Why would I?” with a second of thought, “may be I can get it from the mess kitchen”
“Ok then get it soon, make a salt solution and make her drink, it will make her vomit the tablets..” before she could finish I put the phone down, ya literally down on the floor and made a sprint to the mess.
My foot hurt, I forgot my sandals. I ran like crazy. I had no time to wonder what will people think about me. Thankfully it was a dull afternoon and there are not too many people around. In seconds my windpipe was set in fire.
I reached the mess and I ran to the kitchen and abruptly asked for salt, “My friend… I need salt, salt please soon”, gasping for breath words struggled to come out.
The mess worker replied, “What do you want ma’am?”
My stress broke out, “Didn’t you here me? I need salt”
She stood clueless and confused, I shouted, “Salt” again with my voice echoing across the dining room and the stainless steel utensils in the kitchen.
She silently showed me salt, I grasping salt in both my hands ran back wondering whether she took some more tablets, ‘Shit I forgot to dispose them’. This thought made me speed up. I am running hard with salt clutched in both my hands.
I dashed through my room doors. Heavens she is still on the bed and the tablets on the table left untouched. I had no time for hygiene. I put the salt in the bathroom mug I use for bathing.
Poured water into it and with bare hands started mixing them. My eyes are completely wet now out of stress. The second time I am weeping badly. My hands are shivering, entire body felt so numb and cold. I don’t want to let her down. Anu is more than a sister to me.
After enough mixing I jumped on her and tried to make her drink the solution. She protested. I whomped her badly and she now became motionless. I caught her nostrils hard and poured the solution directly into the foodpipe. She drank half the mug, spilling a little.
The next minute she vomited at the centre of the room. My phone was ringing till the time I entered the room. Only now I was able to hear it. I picked it up and yelled, “She vomited, where are the men?”
Grandma, “Hey Elvia it’s me, now listen has she vomited well? Make her drink more salt solution or at least plain water”
“Ok when will the men come?”
“Hey listen Grandpa has already called for them and they must be there any moment, now calm down and listen” I signed Anu to drink more water. She obeyed me like a child beaten up well by her mom. Grandma continued, “If this leaks out she is as good as dead, grandpa’s men are trustworthy yet.. she will be fine now.”
But Anu's life is more important than anything else, Grandma's words started ruminating in me. I..
How many types of friends are there?
5 days ago