The duet called friendship
Joshi and Dev were the best of friends, they shared every moment of their lives together, all their joys , sorrows from childhood. They had many things in common ,they both worked in the municipal hospital as ward boys and retired , they both married their neighbors daughters and both were blessed with daughters , they even lived in the same apartments too but on different floors .The only difference was in their attitudes ,Dev was jovial and lively, he loved to laugh but Joshi was more serious and tense by nature .
Every Evening they spent time together walking in the park and later sat on a bench gossiping , talking and sharing jokes, but most of the talking was done by Dev, Joshi mostly listened, Dev had a great liking for ant and Elephant jokes every day he made it a point to share at least one such joke with Joshi ,Joshi didn’t like them much but tolerated it for his friends sake .
Both the friends lived alone they were widowers and their only daughters had been married off. Joshi’s daughter Jyothi visited him every fortnight and stayed for a day or two and Sapna Dev’s daughter visited him every week but never stayed over. Dev’s daughter Sapna was happily married but Joshi’s daughter Jyothi had issues with her Mother-in-law and would whine over her difficulties to her dad often.
One day morning she came over totally in a distraught condition with eyes filled with tears A concerned Joshi asked her ” Jyothi! My dear what’s wrong?” Jyoti screamed out ” Dad, I’ve had it with that woman and this marriage, she tortures me!” An anxious Joshi said ” what’s it now? Where’s Rajeev? what’s he doing;”
Wiping her tears, she said “Oh! Rajeev he only knows how to listen to his mom, I don’t need a pip squeak for a husband”
A worried Joshi gave her sympathetic look as she sobbed out ” Dad , now she has bought her widowed sister over and expects me to serve her also , Dad buy me a house of my own I’ll stay with my son , let Rajeev stay with his mom, Dad I want a divorce ” Joshi collapsed into the nearby sofa ” I’ll talk to Rajeev” ” No need!” She retorted and started to walk towards the door. Joshi hurriedly got up and stopped her” okay, okay I’ll talk to a lawyer let me just go out now and find out if Dev knows anyone, you take rest feed the boy something first “.
A helpless Joshi walked to the park where Dev was waiting for him ,they smiled at each other and started their stroll , throughout Dev kept talking and Joshi listened absent-mindedly , they sat on the bench and Dev began a ant joke ” there was this Elephant…” Suddenly Joshi blurted out” oh stop this nonsense!, You and your foolish jokes , can’t you see I’m disturbed?” Dev laughed out “that’s why I’m telling you a joke silly!”, an angry Joshi snapped back ” well, you know something your jokes are disgusting, they never make me laugh ” A hurt Dev was surprised by this reaction “what’s wrong Jo, this isn’t you” A frustrated Joshi grew emotional ” It’s Jyothi again”
Dev had often listened to Joshi discussing Jyothi ‘s’ problem with her in- laws , he put a hand on Joshi’s shoulder” I’ve already told you it’s an adjustment problem , talk to Jyothi or just talk to Rajeev ‘s’ mother what are you running away from face the problem , be a man Jo” an angry Joshi snapped back ” How will you know how I feel , your daughter is happily married how will you understand my pain? “he got up and walked away.
Later that night Dev went to talk to Jyothi he tried to convince her ” See , Jyothi , you think you can stay alone but believe me it’s not easy , you’re too young to experience loneliness, being a single mother is not easy beta try to adjust with your mother in-law she’s elder don’t you think she deserves respect? ” An annoyed Jyothi retorted ” Kaka, that’s easy for you to say , what do you know what I’m going through” a patient Dev said ” No, Dear you need Rajeev’s support and love, maybe your stubborn nature will spoil your life” ,To this an angry Joshi shouted” How dare! You call my daughter stubborn, I’m there for her we don’t need your stupid advice leave at once and don’t interfere in our matters again!”.
A hurt Dev left, many weeks passed , Rajeev came and took Jyothi home they reconciled as always, Joshi was pleased , but he hadn’t seen Dev for long he waited in the park ,near the corridor but Dev wasn’t anywhere many times he went up to his door but his ego pulled him back. After a month one Sunday morning Sapna came and knocked Joshi s door, a happy Joshi welcomed her with a smile ” Sapna! Come in dear, how are you?”
She broke into tears ” Kaka, Dad isn’t at home the doors were wide open when I came, but dad isn’t there.” A worried Joshi said ” Did you check at the park, the market or the corridor?” Sobbing she said ” Kaka , I’ve searched everywhere ,he isn’t there from the past two weeks he has become very forgetful, he keeps asking the same questions again and again , he forgets dates ,names keys, and stares at me as if I’m a stranger, I’m scared Kaka!”
An anxious Joshi held her hand” Come let’s search for him”.
Both searched but in vain towards the late evening they lodged a complaint at the local police station.
The next day morning Joshi was woken by a heavy knocking at his door to his surprise he saw a police officer with two constables holding Dev in between, his clothes were dirty he looked lean, tired and stressed, the officer said “
we found him at the bus station he said he wanted to go to The Himalayas to meditate ” Joshi remembered Dev often joking about going to The Himalayas to meditate so they could go to heaven to see Maneka and Urvashi dance, it bought a smile to his face he thanked the officer and took Dev home first and later to the doctor .
The Doctor with a heave said ” It’s Alzheimer’s, I’m sorry but he’ll soon forget everything his name , age ,dates family etc, nothing can be done now , looks like he’s been lonely and depressed for quite some time maybe that’s why he has reached this stage so fast, well I’ll give him some medicine but I can’t promise much improvement, all you can do now is keep him happy as long as he lives” .
Sapna broke down after going home” it’s all my fault kaka, I shouldn’t have left him alone I should have taken him with me oh! I’ve been selfish” Joshi held Sapna comforting her” No my child , it’s not your fault it’s mine I’ve been selfish I only thought about my problems, I shouldn’t have left him after so many years of togetherness ,but now I will not make that mistake.” Joshi wiped his tears stretched out his hand towards Dev and said ” Hi! Im Joshi will you be my friend?”
A confused Dev looked at him intently then Joshi said “shall I ask you a question, an ant is escaping from an angry elephant it goes and hides in a temple the elephant searching comes and stands outside the temple how does the elephant know the ant is there? ” An eager Dev awaits the answer,
Joshi bends forward and whisper s ” the elephant saw the ants slippers outside,” to this Dev burst out laughing both laughed together and Joshi said ” By the way , I’m going to The Himalayas would you like to come? “Dev smiled and said” of course!”.
The next day Joshi handed over both their apartment keys to their daughter s respectively and went to join Shantinivas an old age home and medical care center. Outside near the entrance Dev asked” where are we? ” Joshi replied, ” This is The Himalayas ” A confused Dev again asked,” Who are those old Ladies in white?”
Joshi smiled ” Oh! Those are Maneka and Urvashi they have come to show us the way to heaven. ” looking at an unconvinced Dev he said, ” When you and I can become old can’t Maneka and Urvashi too become old?” And winked at Dev both burst out into laughter. As long as they lived, they lived happily ever after together.
Friendship is the perfect duet which is made to complete the music Album of Life.