A Story Of Two Best Childhood Friends
Sawan Public School, Pathankot.
Leo Negi, 6 is a new student in the class, he is shy and sits alone on the last bench. After the school, he enters school bus but nobody gives him a seat. Finally Pujlis Kumar, 7 offers him the seat beside him.
Pujlis: What’s your name?
Leo : Leo and yours?
Pujlis : Pujlis.
Leo : What kind of name is that?
Pujlis : I like it.
Leo : But I don’t, I will call you Pulis.
Pujlis : Ok.
From that day, they become inseparable.
09 years later.
Leo, 15 and Pujlis, 16 are choosing streams after 10th class boards.
Pujlis: So what you have opted?
Leo : Same as yours, commerce.
Pujlis : But you don’t like commerce.
Leo : Yes I don’t, but you don’t like arts. Don’t worry, with you around I don’t have to study it all.
After the school, they race their cycles to the shopping center in the city.
They don’t have any money. They just roam the streets looking at the expensive things, delicious items, and beautiful girls.
Leo and Pujlis admiring the fanciest restaurant in town, The Venky’s.
Leo : Hey look at that fancy restaurant, they must have many tasty dishes.
Pujlis : Yeah definitely!
Leo : And boy! Girls in there are really cute.
Pujlis (looking at that way, nods his head): Yes they surely are.
Leo(determined): You know Pulis , one day we will own this fancy restaurant and we will marry very cute girls.
Pujlis(equally excited): And we will have two kids each, they will go to the same school. They will play together and we will just sit in this restaurant all the time.
Leo : Yes Pulis my friend, we will do all that.
Read the Heart Break Cafe series for more stories about friendship.
Two years later.
Leo and Pujlis are giving 12th class boards. It’s Economics paper.
Leo : I don’t think I am going to clear this paper.
Pujlis : At least try the two marks questions, you would pass the paper.
Leo : I don’t know any of them, I have written only seven one marks questions and five of them seems wrong.
Pujlis takes his answer sheet and gives him his.
Leo : Oye what if invigilator would come?
Pujlis : Then we both get expelled.
Leo : What if the examiner matches our handwriting?
Pujlis : I know how you write. I have been doing your homework for a long time.
They pass the boards and take admission in a college. Leo continues to be a brat and Pujlis manages to score well in all semesters.
Pujlis and Leo standing in the corridor. Some junior girls are passing by.
Leo : Nice nah? Whom do you like?
Pujlis : Naah no one.
Leo : Come on, I know when you lie just tell me, which one?
Pujlis : That girl, wearing red, walking in front.
Leo : Nice. What’s her name?
Leo: Let’s go and meet her.
Pujlis : No no I can’t, I won’t.
But Leo drags him anyway.
Leo : Hi Nidhi.
Leo : Nidhi, my friend here thinks you are an idiot.
Nidhi: Why he thinks so?
Leo : Coz he thinks you are too beautiful to date a guy like him and would choose some stud who drives fast bikes or some fancy car.
Leo : Is it okay for you if you would go with him for a coffee to show him that he is an idiot to think so and you are an intelligent and smart girl who appreciates good intention?
Nidhi : Okay.
Leo : Okay then, he would see you after the lecture.
Pujlis and Nidhi start dating soon. They get married after graduation. Pujlis finds a high paying job in an MNC while Leo goes for modeling.
They meet after a couple of months.
Pujlis : So how’re things going for you?
Leo : Just ok.
Pujlis: Why don’t you try in our company, I have many contacts?
Leo : Naah I hate corporates. They are mean suckers.
Pujlis: Why are you wasting your time on these things, you can do great things?
Leo : Don’t worry, I would do something soon.
Pujlis : Yes I know you surely will.
Leo : Anyways why don’t you come to our Ladakh trip, we will have great fun.
Pujlis : I don’t get much time these days. Nidhi is pregnant, so you know I have to be there for her.
Leo : Ok.
Three years later.
Pujlis have two kids now. He is in top management of his company. Leo is still struggling. He has left modeling and joined photography.
They meet at a cafe.
Leo : Dude where the fuck are you these days? No messages, no calls reply, not even picking my phone. It has been almost a year since I last saw you.
Pujlis : Sorry yaar, you know I have two kids at the house and then this high pressure at the job, I don’t get any time.
Leo : You are not even coming to trips, and this time you even forgot my birthday. You used to have fun.
Pujlis : Sorry about that.
Leo : Don’t be sorry, friends never say sorry.
Six months later.
Pujlis is very busy, he is heading a new project in his company. Leo holds a photo exhibition and calls Pujlis but he couldn’t come.
They meet after few days.
Pujlis : Hey sorry, I couldn’t come to your exhibition, I had an important meeting.
Leo (Furious): How come your project was important, mine wasn’t?
Pujlis : Come on, it was a local exhibition, I had a multi-million dollar project in hand.
Leo : So you are comparing now.
Pujlis(tired and frustrated): You are just playing around. You still live like a college graduate. You flirt around, smoke, drink and go on trips. You don’t have a stable career and you are not serious. Get a life and grow up.
Leo : So you think I am still a kid and you are a grown up just because you have this fancy job and a family?
Pujlis : Yes I think so.
Leo : If that is so, yes I am still a kid and I don’t want to grow up.
Pujlis : I don’t have to argue with you. I have to go now. I am getting late.
Leo : Where you are going, you just came?
Pujlis : I don’t know about you, but I have a family waiting at home. I have to be with them.
Leo : I thought I was a part of your family.
Pujlis : Sorry, I am really tired today, I just have to go.
Leo: Why don’t you simply say that you don’t want to be friends anymore?
Pujlis: Let’s not talk about it right now, you are mad and I am quite tired of this shit.
Pujis is about to leave.
Leo : Wait, let me make things easier for you. Since you are this big hotshot and I am just nobody, you don’t need to meet me again. I am never calling or seeing you again.
Pujlis just stands there, he hasn’t expected this.
Leo wants to shake his hand and hug him before leaving, he comes forward but stops.
Leo : Goodbye old friend.
Leo leaves without looking at his face.
Leo leaves the country next week. They stopped talking and lost touch with each other. Years passed. Pujlis becomes the owner of an MNC. His kids are in college. One day he gets ill and is told by the doctor that his days are numbered. He wants to meet Leo for the last time. He tries to contact him but couldn’t find him with all his resources. He dies a few weeks later.
Several years later.
A very successful Leo comes back to the country. He visits the city and goes to Pujlis’ house where is informed that he has passed away a long time ago. Leo feels sad and guilty for not saying a proper goodbye.
He thought to roam around the city before leaving the country again. He goes back to old school, college and streets where he and Pujlis used to roam as kids. All those wonderful old days make him nostalgic. He then crosses the fancy restaurant he and Pujlis want to own when they were young.
He reads the board it says, Leo’s Dream.
He gets curious and goes inside and asks the manager.
Leo: Excuse me, who is the owner here?
Manager: Sorry sir they are not around.
Leo: Where are they?
Manager: Sir, Mr. Pujlis died some time ago and his partner some guy called Leo Negi never visits this restaurant, I think he lives abroad.
Leo(to himself): Pulis you remembered.
Manager: Excuse me sir, who are you?
Leo: I am that Leo.
Leo signals him to the photo hanging on the wall. It’s the college time photo in which Leo and Pujlis are standing together and smiling.
Below the pic, there is a note framed in golden letters.
I know you will come here one day. I know you are mad at me and perhaps I deserve it. You are a stubborn person but would you still forgive this old friend? I am really sorry.
Leo(with tears in his eyes): Idiot, friends never say sorry. You weren’t wrong…perhaps I just didn’t want to grow up.
[Photo by Cole Hutson on Unsplash]