Tiny droplets of rain trickled down the windshield. There were not many vehicles on the highway. It was a lovely drive. Atleast until I received that call.
It was Nihas on the other end.
“Hello?”, I said.
There was no answer.
No answer again, but this time I could hear Nihas breathing frantically.
“Can you hear me? Hellooo?”
Paarth, looked at me several times when all of this was happening. He must have probably wondered what was going on. I couldn’t figure out what was going on either. So I decided to hang up and call back. Just when I was about to do so, I heard a faint voice.
Something in the voice infused pain in me. It felt like, I was being injected with a viscous fluid that was meant to spread suffering in my body.
“Nihas?? Are you OK?”
No answer again.
“Nihas? Nihas, you are scaring me. Please speak up. Where are you? Is everything alright?”
“Ira… Baby, will you forgive me?”
Nihas sounded feeble, powerless. He was my pillar of strength and support. He always was. My pillar of strength was not supposed to sound helpless. It was too much dicomfort for me to handle.
“Pull up the car.” Paarth, for some reason, didn’t take my words seriously and continued driving although I said that line very loudly and clearly. I continued staring at him with a ‘are-you-hard-of-hearing?’ look. I don’t know what came upon me in that moment.
“Pull up the damn car!” I yelled.
Paarth was clearly taken aback at my rashness. He pulled up and obviously didn’t seem amused. I got out of the car and slammed the door behind me.
“Nihas, Nihas… What happened? Tell me.”
I could sense that he was breaking down.
“Nihas…You have to trust me. Everything’s going to be just fine. Come on…relax…”
“Ira… Vikram… Vik…Vikram is dead…Vikram died Ira..” He couldn’t hold back anymore. He sobbed like a little child at this point.
I was silenced by disbelief. I consciously attempted to muster some courage for the sake of Nihas. I tried hard to pick the best possible things to say. But before I could say a word, I was further silenced — “It is me Ira… I killed him….He’s gone Ira..Vikrams gone and it is all my fault…”