There aren’t many people in Hyderabad who don’t know Raghav Rao, for he is a well known man for a number of reasons~ skyrocketing value of his company shares, expensive latest sports car and sometimes... Well, it would suffice to say that not all of them good.
I’ve seen people stopping in their tracks arrested in awe that his quick paced and surprisingly graceful walk evokes. While his peers are plain obvious in their appreciation of the savvy businessman, they never bother to conceal their blatant contempt of the scoundrel who, at a very young age, has bested them in their own game.
I’ve heard people calling themselves fortunate for successfully dodging an encounter with him and those who were “unfortunate” enough to come across him thanked heavens for getting away with it unscathed.
To these people he’s fire, not the one that emanates light and warmth, but an ill behaved wildfire capable of only destruction.
I don’t fault them for seeing just his fault. Boy, he’s full of them. And he leaves no stone unturned in scaring people off and making them believe the worst of him. I am not sure if it is just me but... I see good in him.
From where I see him, I see real him. I do. I can see past the walls of emotional indifference he’s built around himself. I can see right through the nastiness he wears as armour. And what I see? A man left too long in cold. I see anger , pain, frustration, longing,bitterness ~ a confused never ending storm running through him. Taking him to the height of the highs one moment and then dragging him to the depth of lows the very next moment.
I see love too. The love he could’ve given were it not for the scars.
Raghav Rao is no hero. Not by any standard. But the man doesn’t have it in him what it takes to be a villainy person. He seems to have a chip on his shoulder but that wouldn’t make him hesitate before walking into flames for the people he care for.
I see him, on a daily basis, struggling to cage the monsters of cynicism, that refuses to part with him, in some deep corner of his mind. But sometimes it comes raging against the bars and cruelly dumps him to square one. But he’s a one stubborn man. And his desire to recover is strong.
From locking horns as strangers to working together, we’ve come a long way. He’s, now... a friend. Yes, a friend to me. And I am a... necessary evil... or so he says. But I’ve learned it hard way that his eyes talk more sense than his mouth ever would.
He reaches out to me with his eyes~ dark, honest, wary, softening ever so slightly whenever they meet mine. And the warmth that floods my body then... is a luxury. I’ve never indulged in before. A luxury I could ill afford.But, strangely, at that tme I feel like everything in my chaotic life is finally alright. And if it is not, then it will be.
Today, the elation I felt ,for completing my consignment before the time he predicted, had me seeking him out just to rub it in a little.
I know it was foolish to have followed him here but a fleeting look at his demeanour and a ominous feeling assailed my senses. He loked...sad. Not angry. Not bitter. But... sad. So sad that despite my better judgment I followed him to this gloomy house.
As I followed the pleadings words, interrupted by soft sobs in between to the rusty window, my heart soared high until something else demanded my attention. The voice, though familiar, was laced with an emotional vulnerability unknown to me.
I stealthily stepped towards the ajar door, at the verge of breaking free of it’s hinges, and suddenly all I could see was Raghav. Everything else faded away. Every voice drowned out.
The dark figure standing in the corner could’ve been anyone, but I recognised him, despite him looking like a shadow himself. Drawing my shawl tighter around myself I tried to calm the havoc his sobbing wrecked inside me.
I inched closer, keen on deducing the words he was struggling to get out between his muffled sobs.
As my brain registered the word “Amma” I finally peeled my eyes off him and the old lady, whose wrikled hands he was clenching with his trembling ones like a desperate child, came into my focus.
Was she his mother, I wondered. Because the cruel words she was hurling at him didn’t suggest the same. The coldness in her made my skin crawl and fleeing to the safety of home felt like the most sensible thing to do. But I left my sensible part behind when I followed him to this unknown destination, didn’t I?
Then, she abruptly snatched her hands back making him fall, unceremoniously, on his knees and the shouts that followed were strangling the life out of him, bit by bit, rendering him literally gasping for air.
Her eyes looked hollow, completely bereft of not only motherly love but also common empathy, and the emptiness if anything made the black of her eye even more darker.
And the pain in her eye was so similar to that in her son’s eyes, yet so different. It wasn’t raw like Raghav’s, it was a hardened empty unhappiness ~ one she looked so determined to transfer onto her son.
I had no idea what guilt he carried in his his heart but the guy literally walks around with a bloody sword in his chest. Not everyone can see it. But again ,I do. And I have a feeling that she can too.
Still, she carried on her verbal assault. Attacking him where it hurt the most. Applying the right amount of pressure. Twisting that sword until he was reduced to a scared whimpering child.
Just when I thought she was done poking the sore wounds, her disposition told me that she was nowhere near it. She bore the look of a vengeful person set out for victory~ abusing the power she held over him, instilling guilt and obligation, anything... anything to puff up the self loathing he was already drowning in.
The disgusted expression on her face weren’t new to me. I had seen the look before and knew what was to come even before her final words made it to her lips. As if on cue my body broke into a run to stop her from saying it, to keep him from hearing it but to no avail.
“ I wish it were you... Oh, how I wish it were you, who had died instead of my son.”
He stopped rocking mid breath as I covered his ears with my hands kneeling beside him.”Please... stop...please...” I heard myself chanting.
When his tear washed eyes glared at me, it was a warning, an emotional sign that demanded to be taken seriously. And I felt stupid. Like a imprudent child.
What was I doing? Trespassing on his personal life. It was so foolishly impulsive on my part to jump in like that and not to mention so unlike me. I willed my hands back and averted my gaze letting the tears flow freely.
By that time my hands weren’t just covering his ears they were cradling his face. Thumbs tracing his tears. Trying to comfort him. I shouldn’t. It wasn’t proper.
But propriety be damned. And I’d be damned to hell before I leave any friend of mine hurting alone. I am no coward. I never was. I have never hesitated before standing up to him then why should I hesitate before standing by him.
So , come rain, shine or hurricane ~ I’ll always stand by him.
Topic started by __VIHU
Last replied by khwaishfan