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The Dishonest

by Sooraj Rajendran

It was when he heard his friend’s voice from the other room, Rakesh woke up. He looked at the clock hanging in his room, it was 8:30 am. He got up from his bed and combed his hair, first thing in the morning and he didn’t forget to go to the washroom. It was when he came out of the washroom that he realized it was his friend’s, Ashique, turn to cook breakfast for two of them. After cursing his friend for waking him up earlier than usual, Rakesh went into his room for more sleep. Ashique was in the kitchen trying to make some tea for himself, meanwhile, he noticed that Rakesh again went to sleep. Hearing his snore again Ashique couldn’t tolerate the fact that he was sleeping again. He headed towards the room where Rakesh was sleeping, calling out his name loud enough such that even the people next building could hear him well. Abusive words were showered into Rakesh’s ears who was once again in sound sleep. Rakesh was very much disturbed because of the words that came from his friend’s mouth. As, Ashique, came and sat near Rakesh, his first instinct was to kick on his back and make him stand up. Rakesh being impulsive did as he thought— he did kick on his spine— that made Ashique stand up with pain. Ashique still jumping out of pain, initially, caught his friend’s leg and dragged him down from the bed. With a thud, Rakesh landed on the floor. Now that they were even in hurting each other they decided to put an end to the fight. As they both were exhausted from the pain.

They both sat down to eat breakfast, which was bread toast, and jam along with a cup of tea. Rakesh was reading the newspaper focusing on the editorial page. He was a writer and made it a habit to read the editorial of “The Hindu” every day, ever since he started his freelance writing career. Ashique was a jobless guy who needed a job real bad. Even though he didn’t have any ambitions to fulfill he always had a love for money. So he was ready for any white-collar job. Of late, he also had cultivated the habit to read the newspaper especially the classified pages which had ads of job offers. So he asked for the page to his friend, who glared at him and sat one seat away from Ashique. Ashique thought to himself: “ I will ask once more, and if he doesn’t give the newspaper a war will start here “. With a stern decision in his mind, Ashique asked Rakesh to give the newspaper. To Ashique’s surprise, Rakesh gave him the page he needed. Ashique went through the classifieds for job offers. He saw an advertisement which said “Need content writer”, provided by a company near their temporary residence. He thought:“ What is the use anyway, I’m not a writer”. But his friend was, he had the talent in him. But because of his petty rivalry that started a fight among them in the morning, made him keep mum.

Though they seemed rivals to each other, Rakesh took the enmity among them lightly. Ashique on the other hand stayed with Rakesh just because Rakesh had paid the majority of the bills in the house. Before staying together they were good friends. And it was back then, Rakesh was called over the phone by Ashique to help him stay with Rakesh; so that he had a chance to search for a job in a big city like Bombay.

Rakesh asked his friend to go search for a job, as it was high time he had been paying the bills all along. Ashique answered in a sad tone:“ What is it that I can do, bro?” Rakesh replied in an advising manner resting his hands on his friend’s shoulder:“ You just try, rest we’ll look after”. Saying this Rakesh zoomed off on his bike, to the company, where he was working as a freelance writer. After Rakesh had gone, Ashique sat all alone in his room looking over the pages of the newspaper he read before in the hope of finding a job offer. Ashique being an MBA graduate searched for jobs that suited him. And at last, he found one: A job offer from a reputed company in Bombay. He tried calling the number that was given in the advertisement. Somebody answered the phone: “Hello, may I know who is speaking”. Ashique said everything regarding his qualification and added the usual oath that he will comply with the company requirements thereby ending the conversation. And they did ask him to send his resume over Whatsapp and come to the company with all his credentials that day itself. As he didn’t have the money to take a bus to the company he searched for money in Rakesh’s table and to his surprise Rakesh had kept some money in the drawer along with a note. Ashique didn’t bother to read the note, he just made it into a ball and thrown it in the direction of the bin, it hadn’t landed in the bin as he intended but fell outside next to the bin. Taking the money he went out on his way without even locking the door. Just after Ashique’s departure with all his belongings packed in a bag, Rakesh came back from his office. He entered the house, to his surprise, the door was not locked. He came back to the shoe rack and found that Ashique’s shoes were not there. He got a hint that Ashique was not there in the house. Rakesh went into the house and to his room to find the note he had kept for his friend to read was lying down on the floor in the shape of a ball. He opened the noted paper to see whether it was his note lying down there. It was doubtlessly Rakesh’s note which read like this: “Ashique, I know you may get landed in a job shortly if you have don’t forget to mention it to me. After all, we are friends. I have kept some money along with this note just in case you may need them. Don’t think that you owe me; you don’t have to pay me until you have got a job. Wishing you all the best for the interviews, Ashique”. Rakesh sighed after reading the note. Then took out his phone from his pocket and tried calling his friend, but nobody answered the phone from the other side. After several trials, he kept the phone aside. He sat on his bed thinking: “ Why wouldn’t he answer the phone”?

Rakesh didn’t know that his friend, Ashique didn’t consider him as a friend until he was exhausted trying him over the phone.

Moral: “You are better off alone than having friends who don’t consider you as a friend in return”

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