Raka calling...

Update: This blog is the winner of The Chronicwriter Best Blog of the Year award 2008

Short story

I dont like waking up early..Not one bit...Just like Obama doesnt like Osama inspite of having such similar sounding names..
I dont like early morning calls on my cell.. Not even on my birthday.. Well 8 in the morning is not exactly early morning, but what the heck!
Anyone who has been my friend knows this.. All my bday wishes start pouring in only after 10 am..

We gonna have a party..turn the music up..
lets get it started..go ahead n move your butt..

I hate my ringtone.. I mean Eminem's Shake that is good all day long, but early morning even he sucks.. I rubbed my eyes and looked at the caller id.. I looked at the watch.. 8 am in the morning..Who could be calling me at this unearthly hour..

Raka calling..

That sent my thoughts running..
Raka is the name I gave to Rakesh. Rakesh was in my college.. I hated him the first day I met him.. He was very in-your-face.. too bubbly if you may call a guy that.. His youthfulness pissed me off.. He would always be chirpy, even in the mornings...every 9am lecture he and the professor would be the only two guys awake in the classroom.. I soo hate early mornings.. More than that I hate morning people

We had different groups, his group was the nerdy one, mine was the influential one..I guess we became friends when my group had a fight with his group.. Like most fights I have no idea of the reason why we were fighting.. It wasnt like a fist fight, but I almost punched him in the face..

He was quite a character this guy Rakesh.. At 6'2" he was the only guy taller than me in the group.. He was what girls like to call tall, dark and handsome..He had this devilish smile which apparently was cute to girls..He was quite the smooth talker and would have girls falling for him wherever he went..the lucky devil.. Hence the name Raka.. Rakesh is too somber for such a character..

There were times when I was jealous of him sure, even after we became best friends.. but thankfully he went after the girls who I considered outta my league.. There was this girl who both of us liked.. When he got to know that he stepped aside.. He actually helped me write poetry (since I am emotionally retarded) for her. I consulted him bout what gifts a girl likes to receive and stuff.. I wanted to gift her an Xbox.. Raka suggested a pair of earrings..(yeah.. tht sounds better)

He had a heart of gold.. He would do anything for a friend.. Hes the one you want to be around if you get in deep shit in life ever...Raka was always up for some masti.. He did spend a small fortune on his friends everytime someone from our group topped an exam or something..Rich dad he must have I thought..lucky devil saala..

There were 6 guys and 3 girls in our group.. He knew each of our birthdays byheart. He was the first to wish me birthday every year, year after year.... Used to wake me up at 8 in the morning on my bday.. devil saala..

"Why do u have to wish me tht early..??"
"Cant wait yaar..Its like a habit..I gotta be the first one to wish you.."
"You have to change tht habit mate.."
"You know wht they say, old habits die hard.. Some habits dont change even after you go.."
"Go where? to the loo?"
"Yeah..... idiot...."

He was also the first to ask for bday treats.. I dont know how he remembered all those dates.. Even today if you ask me Rakesh's bday, I wont be too sure.. I know its in June or was it July? Btw, the girls got a return bday present from him, the guys didnt.. devil salaa..

Around the 3rd year of college, I noticed he was gaining weight..not the kind you gain on the holiday.. He was losing hair too.. He used to miss a lot of classes..
He seemed sick.. and it seemed chronic.. I did confront him.. I wanted to know what was wrong with him and why was he not attending the lectures...But then he would flash a smile and say something hilariously stupid and that would seal the topic for then..

Around the 6th semester he stopped coming to college all together..He wouldnt answer my calls, wouldnt reply to my messages..

One of our classmates used to stay near Rakas house, we got the address from her, and showed up at his house uninformed.. His mom opened the door..

Aunty, Raka home?
Er..I mean Rakesh.. I am his college friend..
Oh.. Hes not here.. He is in the hospital..
Why? He sick? viral fever kya?

Tears swelled up her eyes..

I had known Raka for 3 years.. For more than 2 and a half years he had been my best friend.. But not once.. not even one time did he mention he was touched by cancer..

He had been undergoing chemotherapy for the last few months.. And he never told me.. devil saala..

Men have a weird way of showing hurt.. I didnt go to meet him in the hospital.. Everyone from my group and my class went.. His best friend in class didnt..

Then one day he called.. "Kya saale aaj kal milta nahi.."
They say grown men dont cry.. They were damn right.. I didnt cry.. neither did he..

I did go and meet him that afternoon.. 3 days later he left us... Everyone in our class cried...I didnt..

Its been 6 months since he left us.. I miss him sometimes.. But I dont cry..

My string of thoughts was broken by my mom- Your phone is ringing beta..Answer your phone..

I looked at my cell..

Raka calling...

Hello beta.. This is Rakesh's mother calling..
Ah..hello Aunty..
Many happy returns of the day, beta..
Er.. thank you aunty, but.. but.. how did you know?
Oh..Rakesh had set an alarm on his cell for your birthday..So I called you on his behalf..

Tears ran down my cheeks..
Hes gone, but he was still the first one to call me on my birthday.. devil saala..

P.S. - Inspired from a true story. Rakesh was a friend of a friend..
Rest In Peace mate.. Raka calling...SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

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58 letters to the editor:

    On September 1, 2008 at 7:54 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    touching story. its great to know that you can write such an extra ordinary story. always thought you can start with something totally different and end at something totally different

    On September 1, 2008 at 9:29 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Really touching...
    Keep on going buddy... scribble something like this :)

    abbe saale..........

    tu yeh sab stories laata kidharse hain??????????

    & tu 4 saal engineering me kya apni marwa raha tha????
    journalism ya aisa kuch karna chahiye tha tune...

    tere liye perfect tha...
    & ha waha ladkiya bhi achi hoti.....

    that was really touching arshat.......i kinda have to agree with hiren here.......u definitely should have tried taking up writing as a profession instead of engineering :)

    Good one arshat!Casual way of narration!Good story!Makes one to ask is it a real story.

    On September 3, 2008 at 3:45 AM     
    aroop said...

    R.I.P, he's in a better place now..

    exact same thing happened to my friend gobinath.. he got cured in 5th sem, 8th sem he got the cancer back, all he wanted wasn't the cancer to be cured, but him to finish his engineering, he left us midway of 8th semester exams..


    On September 5, 2008 at 11:43 AM     
    Chriz said...

    man.. that was the best story i have read in my life.. that too as you have written from your heart... its so touching.. i will add this link in my blog page.. a must read for every one who respects relationships.. man you made this post look so special...

    Thanks for the kind words yaar..

    I will definitely try :)

    @hiren aka lamda
    arre yaar, i didnt figure out the girls wala part before!! nahi toh surely journalism leta tha :P

    I am apprehensive now that you have read Hiren's post.. and I sincerely hope you didnt understand some of the words he used :P

    Yeah Sri, its a true story. Rakesh(name changed) was a friend of my friend. Though I havent known him personally, I have heard bout him..
    Rakesh's mom calling my friend is also true.

    Oh.. thats really sad..
    I am sure you guys must miss him.

    Thanks :)

    thanks man..
    "that was the best story i have read in my life.. "
    This is the best comment I have got ever..
    Thanks man.. :)

    On September 9, 2008 at 3:59 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Hi ,

    I was reading ur blog posts and found some of them to be very good.. u write well.. Why don't you popularize it more.. ur posts on ur blog ‘TPI’ took my particular attention as some of them are interesting topics of mine too;

    BTW I help out some ex-IIMA guys who with another batch mate run www.rambhai.com where you can post links to your most loved blog-posts. Rambhai was the chaiwala at IIMA and it is a site where users can themselves share links to blog posts etc and other can find and vote on them. The best make it to the homepage!

    This way you can reach out to rambhai readers some of whom could become your ardent fans.. who knows.. :)


    real nice story thr!

    Well, Indeed a nice one!

    On September 13, 2008 at 4:27 PM     
    Mayu said...

    Without indulging in anythng else,

    Thanks for the kind words mate..
    I will try and register..

    Thanks :)

    Thank you :)

    Thanks :)

    On November 22, 2008 at 3:26 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    I really enjoyed the story. The simplicity of language and sincerity of emotion can be felt.

    On February 6, 2009 at 2:34 AM     
    vinny said...

    Arshat, i have no words right now...jus some lingering pain..
    am gonna read every bit of ur blog with your kind permission though...it sure looks enticing

    take care!!

    P.S: strolled thru chriz's..congrats on ur award...its rightly deserved:)

    Chronicwriter is right.. this is soo touching!

    On February 6, 2009 at 7:29 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    My eyes watered too (here from Chriz' blog by the way!!!)

    About the "men do not cry" part, I really do not want to comment about it because I do not subscribe to it although yes there are some moments which deserve tears more than others and more than most!

    I concur with Chriz - a candid story, and candidness always has a profound touch about it.

    Congratulations on being able to captivate your readers' hearts with such a small yet beautiful story.



    excellent story dude...thanks to chiz for linking u in...

    Welled up my eyes ! Excellent narration ! Kudos !!

    On February 6, 2009 at 9:35 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    This was a touching story no doubt ... it just made me know the person a lot more ...

    ps: I have a friend called raka who suits this character to the hilt.. you made me rememebr him.. may God bless all friends :)

    Wow.. truly touching!
    thnx for sharing it with us..
    keep writing!!!!

    On February 6, 2009 at 11:17 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    Wow this was really heart rending. I had tears in my eyes by the end of it. Well done.

    On February 6, 2009 at 11:36 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    I could find a tear or two in my eyes after reading this one.. girls do cry ..so no big a deal.. but your story went striaght to my heart and I am sure it will stay there for quite a while ...

    it is very rare that I come across stories like this.

    p.s. never give girl you are intending to have a relationship with - an XBOX... NEVER!! :)

    Thank you for the kind words

    Glad that you liked the story.. Hope you enjoy reading my other posts..
    Thank you :)

    @Winnie the poohi
    Thank you.

    Thank you for the word of appreciaiton.

    Thank you chriz and thank you Lancelot..:)

    Thanks! :)

    @Pretty Me!!
    You have a friend named raka? Please share this story with him.. see if he can relate to it..

    @Swetha Padakandla
    Thanks for the kind words :)

    Thats the highest form of appreciation one could get.. :)

    @pink orchid
    Thank you..Glad you liked it..

    I will remember the Xbox thingy.. :P

    On February 6, 2009 at 1:23 PM     
    moi said...

    Hey came here from chriz blog, congratulations for the award, and i must say you deserve it, cos this post is really touching and i was almost gonna cry reading it.great post!! :)

    On February 6, 2009 at 2:03 PM     
    Intern said...

    That was a nice story, touvhed my heart :).

    this just reminds me of a quote

    " the broader the smile, the deeper the wound behind it"


    On February 6, 2009 at 2:16 PM     
    Ratzzz said...

    hopped over from Chriz...

    :-) good i did.. a silent tear yet a smile lingers on my face.. if not for ppl like Raka life wont be worth it, i seriously believe that...

    :-) devil saala... ur words are heart touching...

    You gotta thank Chriz for the traffic ;)

    I loved the story... reminded me of the Chicken Soul... and even I feel it's one of the best stories I've ever read!

    Off to check other posts...

    On February 6, 2009 at 3:09 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    I actually hv tears in my eyes

    May his soul rest it peace!

    On February 6, 2009 at 3:27 PM     
    Tara said...

    Hi! Dropped in from Chriz's space...and must say you really do deserve that award! What a story there, and beautifully penned too! Brilliant work...keep it going! And congratulations too. :)

    On February 6, 2009 at 3:53 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    It was really heart touching ...

    On February 6, 2009 at 6:32 PM     
    Me said...

    I got so engrossed in this one that I almost forgot that itz a story post.

    It is till date the most touching blog story I have ever read...

    Chriz's award post made me read this one and now I know why you are the chosen one for this award. :)

    You are too good... is all that I say.

    OMG....excellent narration dude..so touching climax!!

    hey dude...
    come from pink orchid blog...
    One of the worse story I've ever read.

    (please don't take it other wise if you are a writer then you would surely understand what does the above line mean?
    It's a compliment!)

    this is one of the few story that you think about even after ....

    ...and after.

    and your blog is also here to stay.

    The best thing i liked about your blog are the comment posted by few of the intellectual people of our society :p

    here is one more:

    this blog of arshat is one of the best blog i've ever read (obviously , since i've only read this blog that too in bits and parts). And the best part of the blog is that it is one of it's kind (quite obvious again). Sawa rupya as in good luck wish from my side. i wish i could take him as a script writer in my upcoming film
    ------ Roinne Screw Dhiela

    ( Reknown director of bhojpuri film 'Hamaar lugai tohaar bhaujaaie.')

    was redirected through Chriz's blog... heart touching.. and beautifully narrated... congrats for the award btw...

    OMG.. Touching story... when u said it was "cancer" it seem to be a usual story.. but the way u ended.. Best bloggof 2008... :-)

    On February 7, 2009 at 1:50 PM     
    Cess said...

    hi, i came through Chrizzz blog and wow, u said big guys don t cry but girls surely cry (including me) I was truly not expecting the end, it was really sad but a great post for his memory...

    On February 8, 2009 at 5:58 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Brilliant Story...reminded me of a real one that happened during my Engg life...Only difference being, we didnt have Cell phones then...no alarms, no calls...Hmmm..

    Congrats on the Best Blog award...Kudos! :)

    amazing story! :) just blog hopped here.. nice stuff !!!! keep it coming..

    got ur blog from Chriz's blog!!
    Have to say...one of the best story i have ever read!!
    it's touching , m all teary :-|

    Kudos to u for writing this!!
    Blogrolling u!!


    On February 9, 2009 at 10:46 PM     
    Neha said...


    On February 10, 2009 at 10:27 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    bro i read this one again today...

    no matter how many times i read this, i always have some tear drops when i read the line "devil saalaa"


    On February 10, 2009 at 3:06 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    so touching ths story was...and quite gripping..i came in to peep but here i couldnt leave till i read the whole stuff & commented too

    Came here through Chriz' blog....
    extremely moving story.. good work !!

    On February 19, 2009 at 6:38 PM     
    kart said...

    touching blog

    On April 9, 2009 at 4:29 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Amazing story..
    You write pretty well, i came across your blog, via surfing through one my frn's..

    Keep up the good work!!


    simply superb way of writing..

    On June 26, 2009 at 11:40 AM     
    Sandy said...

    Very touching story. Thanks for putting it in words. Many thanks.

    On June 26, 2009 at 11:48 AM     
    Unknown said...

    Heart touching blog really

    On August 3, 2009 at 11:39 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    Really a heart touchin one..got this link from ur interview..!!!!!

    The phrase Devil saala.....jus loved the way u coined it..

    -An admirer.. :)

    On August 6, 2009 at 11:09 AM     
    Anonymous said...

    Hey ..awesome story ...m glad i came across this blog...truly superb...:D


    On August 30, 2009 at 11:54 PM     
    Ekam said...

    A very touching story indeed. May God bless his soul and hope everybody get such good frnds:)

    Very nice blog:)

    On September 17, 2009 at 5:23 PM     
    Anonymous said...

    hey..very touchin stry..no doubt u desrve dis awrd

    On October 2, 2009 at 3:08 PM     
    sachin said...

    a very touching story ..... awesome.. hots off to u

    Very touching story... superbly written; one could feel the emotions while reading

    hi am Shankar(new to mumbai,thts hw i started reading ur blog,and its helpful!)
    I've started to read all of ur posts after havin read the latest ones,
    i hope u shud've got a lotta appreciations,jus count +1(yeah! software engg!),
    man this post is awesome,i never thought this post was any different from the others(i meant the fun loving genre).I am indebted to say this,
    1.ur narration seems so good to make this real incident lively(i will never forget).
    2.your friend RAKA! (God rest him peace!)a truely amazing character.
    do keep up with ur work mate.

    hi am Shankar(new to mumbai,thts hw i started reading ur blog,and its helpful!)
    I've started to read all of ur posts after havin read the latest ones,
    i hope u shud've got a lotta appreciations,jus count +1(yeah! software engg!),
    man this post is awesome,i never thought this post was any different from the others(i meant the fun loving genre).I am indebted to say this,
    1.ur narration seems so good to make this real incident lively(i will never forget).
    2.your friend RAKA! (God rest him peace!)a truely amazing character.
    do keep up with ur work mate.