Together We Stand-7 friends story.
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A short story by G.S.Vasukumar
"I thank Jaya [ S.Jayashree Venkatesh, Chennai.One of my pen friends ] for giving me such a wonderful idea, without which I wouldn't have written this story in the first place."
"Didn't you find any other girl in this whole world to fall in love with?" asked Ajay.
"I wanted to ask you the same question." said Pradeep, " Didn't you find another girl other than Preeti?"
"Why don't you do one thing." he said.
"Tell me?" he asked.
"Just forget that you had fallen in love with Preeti and hunt for someone else." he said.
"Why don't you do that yourself, instead. I mean forget her. Brother, giving advice is the easiest thing to do in this world than to follow it oneself." said Pradeep.
"Ok,OK, let's not fight over this. I will toss a coin. If we get heads then you will have to forget her. I will go and propose to her and if we get tails.." he said.
"Then I will go and propose to her." he said.
"Then what happened?" asked Aparna, sipping her juice, seated with Ajay and Pradeep and other friends.
"He tossed the coin.But, he didn't catch it when it came down. So, the coin fell down and slipped into the drain chamber." explained Pradeep.
"Why didn't one of you go into the drain chamber to check whether it was heads or tails?" asked Aparna.
"Stop Kidding, Aparna." cried Ajay.
"So now, what?" asked Nikita.
"We have decided that none of us shall go and propose to her or even see her for the rest of our lives." said Ajay.
"Good Idea. Next time around one of you fall in love with someone. Tell her to ware a board with your name on it. So that.." said Aparna.
"Aparna, It's not so funny, yar." cried Ajay.
"So, what happen to that girl, finally?" asked Swomya.
"No Idea." said Ajay.
"Well, she went and proposed to Ajay's best enemy, Rahul." said Pradeep.
"Really? I didn't know that?" said Ajay.
"Anyway, it's really nice that we all have come together in this place and we are seeing each other's face for the first time in our lives though we know each other for a pretty long time." said Vinay.
"Sreedhar, say something ? Why are you so silent?" asked Nikita.
"Oh, yes, I am really very happy that we all have come together over here. Why don't we stay together and start something?" he asked.
"Start what?" asked Aparna.
"It could be some business?" He said.
"It could be a software business." suggested Pradeep
"Sounds good to me." said Nikita.
Seven email friends met in Hyderabad City for the first time. Ajay, Pradeep and Vinay were from Bangalore city. While Swomya and Nikita were from Chennai. Sreedhar and Aparna were from Hyderabad City itself. They came together and started a software company and rented a bungalow with eight bedrooms for each one of them and the last best room was for the guests.
"Ajay, this is your room." said Swomya, opening the door
"I like it!" said Pradeep. "I will take it."
"What?" cried Ajay. "Arey, yaar, why do you always come in-between things related to me?”
"Tell me how is this bedroom related to you?" he asked, teasingly " you can take my room and I will take this one."
"Boys, lets not fight over this, alright?" said Nikita, coming "Vinay...give an one rupee coin please...thank you...Ajay, is it heads or tails ?" she asked.
"Heads." he said.
They lived happily together in that building, with a beautiful garden in front. They decided not to marry and adopted three kids from an orphanage. They were three girls, Priya, geetha and Anjali. Everything went on well. One day, Sreedhar got his visa, then: -
"Guys, I have got my visa and I will be leaving for Malaysia next week." he said.
"So, you will be leaving us?" said Swomya.
"Come on, guys, let him go. He always wanted to go abroad." said Aparna.
"Well, Sreedhar is earning money so important to you in life than staying with your friends?" asked Nikita.
"Guys, I need sometime to be on my own. It's only for a while and I will be back soon and this I promise." he said.
"o.k, we will wait for you." said Vinay.They all left to the airport and he left waving good bye to all his friends. He kept in touch with them through emails.
"Ajay, say your wife suspects your relationship with of your best female friends and tells you to break the friendship and asked you to choose between your best friend and her. Then whom would you choose?" asked Swomya.
"Well, a difficult question to answer. He said. I will try to convince her."
"Say she doesn’t agree, then?" she asked.
"Then I will leave her. For me, my friend is more than anyone is else." he said.
Everything went on well for sometime. Then suddenly software market collapsed and so did their business and they have to close the company.
"It's really sad that this had to happen to us." said Nikita.
"Friendz, Its time for us to part. But,we should stay in this city itself and try to come up in our individual lives.We shouldn't forget this friendship of ours." said Vinay.
"Yes, we should help each other and keep in touch." said Pradeep.
"How about the kids?" asked Swomya. "Who should keep them?"
"Well, I will take geetha and priya with me." said Vinay
"I will take Anjali." said Swomya.
Six months passed by. Vinay remained a bachelor. Since, no woman was willing to marry a man with two kids. Same was the case with Swomya too. One person had agreed to marry her provided that she should send Anajali back to the orphanage. She rejected the proposal. Pradeep had fallen in love with a girl only to find out later that he was one among her long list of boy friends. So, he decided not to fall in love again. Aparna got used to her single life. Only Ajay and Nikita got married in their gang. But, Ajays wife was as suspicious as she could get.
"Vinay." said a voice over telephone.
"Yes, Niki..what is it?" he asked.
"Swomya and Aparna have met with an accident." she said.
"Are they alright?" he asked.
"Aparna is out of danger with fracture in her left leg. But, unconscious. While Swomya has lost most of her blood and the hospital blood bank doesn’t have her blood group in stocks...unless we find a suitable donor within next 45 minutes...it is hard to..."
"What is her blood group?" he asked.
"A negative." she said.
"Mine is A negative too.,” he said. "Which hospital?"
"Swathi hospital, Curzon Road..."
"I will be there as fast as I can. Did you tell Ajay and Pradeep?"
"Yes, they are on the way."
"Ok, I am leaving right now." he said, keeping the phone down, wearing his jacket, taking his bike keys, rushing downstairs, pulling his shoes and tying the lace. he started his bike and raced as fast as he could.
Vinay ran into the hospital, as Pradeep caught up with him. Ajay was standing near the emergency ward with Nikita.
"Mr.Vinay." said the doctor. "I am afraid we need at least three pints of your blood if Swomya is to have any chance of survival."
"No problem." Vinay said, removing his jacket. "I want her to survive. Take as much as my blood you need and save her."
"Then follow me." Said the doctor, leading him inside the ward to the bed next to that of Swomya where she was lying unconscious.
"You know...something Vinay....Swomya and Aparna are really very lucky to have friends like you." Said the doctor.
"No doctor, we are lucky to have them as our friends." said Vinay.
Next day, afternoon, Aparna opened her eyes and saw her friends seated by her side.
"Hi!" cried Nikita.
"Hi! How is Swomya? Where is she?" She asked.
"She's fine. Don't worry. She is in the next ward." said Ajay.
Meantime, Swomya opened her eyes too. She felt awful. She blinked her eyes and thought she heard some voices. She blinked again.
"Welcome back to earth, Swomya." said Pradeep.
"How is Aparna?" She asked.
"She's fine in the next ward. She has a fracture in her left leg." Said Vinay, "hey! You own me three pints of blood."
"Don't worry. I will give it back when you meet with an accident and when you require my blood." She teased him, "Oh no, I missed to participate in the painting exhibition."
"Don't worry, I had given your painting for the exhibition and all your paintings have been sold like hot cakes. I have deposited the cheque the exhibition people have given me into your account today morning." said Pradeep.
Meantime in Aprana's ward :-
"A Story teller?" cried Aparna, seeing the newspaper, how did they come to know that? she asked surprised.
"Well, you don't know that Ajay had given your collection of short stories for publication sometime back and your books had hit the book stores only yesterday and this accident helped them become the best seller and here's a copy." She said, handing her a book.
"Really? Thank you very much. By the way, where did you get the money for doing this?" she asked, turning the pages and looking at him.
"Well, he sold his old bike and used the money he had kept in his savings." said Nikita.
"Shut up! Big mouth." he said. "Aparna, it was nothing. I always wanted to get rid of that bike of mine. I wanted to have a new bike so."
"CBZ, right?" She asked.
"Yes, someday I will have it !" he said.
"Sir, your new bike keys." said a stranger coming and handing a pair of keys.
"Keys?" he asked, surprised.
"Well, Ma'am had come a few days back and booked a CBZ in your name. Our boss came to know what had happened and he told me to give the keys to you and these flowers to ma'am." he said.
"Please thank your boss on our behalf." said Aparna.
"Sure I will." he said. "Sir, I have parked your bike in the basement."
"Aparna, where did you get the money from?" He asked.
"Well, I sold my old kinetic honda and en-cashed some money from my account just the way you did to get my book published." she said.
"Swomya has opened her eyes.." said Nikita coming in, "Hi! Aparna, nice to see you kicking again."
"Niki stay here..We both will go and see swomya and come." said Vinay, pulling Pradeep.
"Thanks a lot." said Aparna.
"No problem. Don't thank friends." said Pradeep, before throwing the newspaper to Nikita.
The phone was ringing and Ajay picked it up and answered it :-
"Hi! Ajay, It 's me, Niki. I have been trying to contact you from the past half an hour. But, Reena, your wife told that you were not there?"
"I was here only...hold on sec..." he said, looking at his wife."Did you receive Reena's calls and told her that I wasn't here?" he asked.
"Yes, I did." She replied.
"Why?" he asked.
"Because I can't stand that bitch!"
"Shut up! Reena, hold your bloody tongue!" he cried. "Yes, Niki, tell me what is it?"
"Ajay, me and my husband had a fight and I want to leave this place. So can you come and pick me up?" she asked him, in tears.
"Niki, don't cry...tell me what happened?" he asked.
"Please come...I will tell you later." she said.
"Alright, I'm coming right now." he said.
"Ajay, you are not going!" said Reena, blocking his way.
"Move aside, Reena." he cried, pushing her aside.
"Ajay, if you go now then I will go to my mother's place and never come back again." she said.
"Better do that atleast I can live in peace." he said, taking his bike keys and leaving.
Two strangers entered Ramanathan's room. One bolted the door and pulled down the curtains.
"Who are you...? what do you want..?" he asked.
"We have come to discuss some business proposal with you. It will take only a few minutes of your time." said Pradeep.
"Then it's ok." He said.
Ajay removed a rope and a plaster from his briefcase and passed them on to Vinay. He went and tied him to his chair.
"Hey! What the hell are..." he cried. Suddenly he stuck a piece of the plaster on his mouth.
Ajay gave him a blow on his tummy. He started boxing his potbelly stomach and then stopped.
"I think it's your turn.,” he said.
"Thanks." He said, coming in the front and boxing his tummy with both his hands.
"I think it's your turn." he said, moving aside.
Ajay came in the front and started boxing his stomach.
"Enough!" said Vinay. "Mr.Ramanathan, this only sample. If you still trouble anyone in future than we will come back to give you more. Next time around we'll come with some poisonous snakes and leave them in your cabin. I am going to remove the plaster on your mouth. Don't scream !" he said, pulling off the same.
"Ouch...w...who are...are...you?" he asked, exhausted, gasping for breadth.
"Well, we are friends of the girl with whom you wanted to sleep for a night for giving her husband a promotion." said Ajay.
"So how many women have you slept with so far, Ramanathan ?" asked Vinay.
"Speak or I'll..." said Ajay, clinching his fist.
"Two...Meena and Roopa." he said.
"Only two, Ramanathan?" asked Vinay.
"I also heard Tina, Bina, Reena..." said Ajay.
"No, no, only Yashoda." he said.
"Does your wife know about this Mr.Ramanathan?" asked Vinay.
"No." he said.
"Now she will know." said Vinay, taking out a small tape recorder from his trouser pocket and showing it to him," If you even speak even a word about us or what had happened in this room then we will personally deliver this cassette to your loving wife."
"No-No..Please don't do that for heaven's sake. I am ready to do anything." He cried, scared.
"Just do one thing, sleep only with your wife and no one else." said Vinay.
"If not you will get Aids!" warned Ajay and they both left.
Ramanath pressed some digits on his telephone and the phone at the other end started ringing.
"Hello, Arwind, I just ringed up to say that you have been promoted." he said.
"Really, boss?" He asked, surprised. "Do you still want to sleep with my wife, boss?"
"No-no...that won't be necessary. As a matter of fact, I was only kidding, that's all!" he said.
"Really, boss?" he asked.
"You can collect your promotion letter tomorrow morning." he said.
"Thank you, boss." he said.
"Can you do me a favour? can you get me that cassette?"
"What cassette, boss?"
As Ajay and Vinay walked out of the building :-
"That will teach that bastard a lesson.Did you really record his voice on the tape?" asked Ajay.
"Want to listen?" he said, pressing the | Play | button |on|
"If Tomorrow never comes...." started |Playing and they both started laughing.
"Hello, Swomya, Priya and Geetha didn't turn up home after school. By any chance they have come over to your place?" asked Vinay.
"No, Vinay, Anjali too didn’t turn up and I thought she might have come over to your place. Oh, God, where could they all gone?" she said.
"Don't panic. We’ll get them. I'll ring up your number later." he said, keeping the phone down and the phone started ringing and he picked it up.
"Hello, I've the kids with me." said a voice.
"What do you want?" he asked.
"I don't want any money. I want that cassette." he said.
"Cassette? what cassette?" he asked, surprised.
"That cassette which you had recorded in my office the other day. Come with it to 'Friendz Villa', 18th Cross, and take the kids. Don't inform the police." said the voice.
"Ramanathan, this is crazy!" he cried. But, the line went dead. All the six friends reached the spot.
"Give me the cassette." he said.
"No, first you let the kids go!" said Ajay, taking out the cassette and showing it to him.
He let the children go. They went to the six friends. Ajay threw the cassette to him.
"Wait!" he cried, inserting the cassette into his small tape recorder and pressing | PLAY| button |ON|
""If Tomorrow never comes...." Started |Playing from the tape.
"Idiot! you kidnapped these kids for that cassette?" cried annoyed Swomya, picking up and throwing a stone at Ramanathan.
"Ouch! watch out, lady...Hey! you have cheated me. Where is that cassette?" he cried.
"This is that cassette.In the first place we did not record your voice the other day." said Vinay.
"Really? can I trust you?" he asked.
"Yes, you can." he said.
"Friendz, please stay together." said Geetha.
"Yes...friendz...please.." said Priya.
"Please...friendz.." said Anjali.
"Yes, what they are telling is right.But we need a house... a big house..for that." said Vinay.
"How about this one?" asked Ajay, pointing his finger at the 'Friendz Villa'
"For sale? Tomorrow morning is the auction." said Swomya, reading the notice board.
"But auction means that many people will participate." said Aparna.
"Let’s try at least." said Pradeep.
" And then many wouldn't be friendz like us. Let's see how much we can pool together?" said Vinay.
They all went to Ajay's house and were surprised to see Reena back. She fell on Ajay's knees and asked for forgiveness.
"Please forgive me for misunderstanding your friendship." Reena said.
"But, you should ask for Nikita's forgiveness, if she forgives you then I too will." Ajay said, taking her up and wiping her tears off.
"I've already forgiven you." said Nikita.
"Alright guys, let's work, shall we?" said Vinay.
"I have six lakhs." said Aparna.
"I have seven lakhs." said Swomya.
"I have four lakhs." said Ajay.
"I can get you another ten lakhs from my father's place." said Reena.
"But, we need by tomorrow morning." said Vinay.
"No problem.I will talk to him right now." she said.
"Good, I have three lakhs." said Vinay.
"I have four." said Pradeep.
"I am sorry. Mine is a joint account with my husband. I don't..." said Nikita.
"Nikita, call from your husband." cried Reena.
"Niki, please forgive me." said the voice.
"Should I forgive him, guys?" she asked, looking at her friends for the answer.
"Yes." They said together.
"Ok, I'll forgive you.But, on one condition. We are participating in the auction of 'Friendz Villa' tomorrow morning. So I want some money." she said.
"Thank you, very much." He said, pleased. "You can draw that six lakhs from our joint account and I can arrange for another ten by tomorrow morning, if needed."
Next day at the Auction: -
"Ladies and Gentlemen, This building with eight bedrooms, one big hall, one big dining hall, kitchen, etc, etc is for sale. The starting price of this bid is Rs.15 lakhs and the bid starts now."
"Sixteen lakhs." cried Pradeep.
"Twenty lakhs!" cried a stranger from the other end.
"Twenty two lakhs!" cried another stranger, dressed in black.
"Twenty five lakhs!" cried Pradeep.
"Twenty six lakhs!" cried the stranger, dressed in black.
"Twenty eight lakhs!" cried Pradeep.
The Auctioneer looked at the stranger.But, there was no response from him.
"Twenty-eight lakhs...one...Twenty-eight lakhs...two... and Twenty-eight lakhs...three..." he cried, striking the wooden hammer thrice on his desk. "This house is sold for Twenty eight lakhs."
"Congratulations!" said the stranger, in black dress, shaking Pradeep's hand. " I wanted to have this house even if it had costed me 50 lakhs or more."
"Then why didn't you try?" asked Pradeep.
"My friend told me about your seven friends story and I was moved and I wanted your friendship to win so.." he said. "This is my visiting card, if at all I could be of some help to you then feel free to contact me on these numbers." he said, walking away.
"Thank you, Doctor.Ananth." said Pradeep, seeing the card.
So, six friends, Ajay and his wife Reena, Vinay with his adopted children Geetha and Priya, Nikita with her husband, Swomya with her adopted daughter Anjali, Vinay with his dog 'Tomy', Pradeep and Aparna moved into this 'Friendz Villa'. They reserved a room for their friend 'Sreedhar' and one room for guests.
"We still have 32 lakhs, including the money transferred by Sreedhar. What should we do with the money?" said Vinay.
"Friendz, why don't we open a blood bank for the needy with that money. Remember, I had nearly died the other day if Vinay hadn't given me his blood." suggested Swomya.
"Swomya is right!" said Aparna.
"We can talk with Sreedhar's father about the building he has rented. I am sure that he wouldn't mind giving it to us for a good cause." said Ajay.
"Ok, let's do it." said Pradeep. " We can start with ourselves donating blood and advertising in the leading newspapers, T.V. and Radio..asking others to follow the suit."
So, they started 'Friendz' blood bank and many people came forward to donate blood and soon it became a renowned blood bank in the city that offered blood for a nominal amount and helped many people in need. They opened 'Frienz Eye bank' in the second floor. with the success of both the blood bank and the eye bank, they decided to open a hospital in the third, fourth and fifth floor. They advertised in the newspapers and T.V.Soon funds started pouring in abundance and their dream came true. They appointed Dr.Ananth as the head of their hospital called 'Friendz Hospital'.
Next they built a school by name 'Friendz School' for poor, 'Friendz Old Age Home', 'Friendz Hotel'. They became a big success story.
"We started with a blood bank and reached up to Hotel so what next?" asked Parade.
"How about a home for the beggars." suggested Swomya.
"Home for beggar? do you mean to bring all the beggars in the city under one roof?" asked Pradeep.
"Why not? well, not all beggars are completely handicapped. Some don't have a hand...a leg...so on and so forth...if we get them all together and find out their livelihood maybe they too can lead a reasonable and more dignified life if not less." said Swomya.
"Nice idea. That would mean I won't find a beggar in the streets of the city in the near future.But, what about those who are completely handicapped?" said Vinay.
"We can transfer them to old age home." She Said.
"Then let's do it." said Nikita. " How is adoption Programme going on?"
"Very well." said Vinay. "We have set a good example for others to follow. Many couples wish to have their first baby or child adopted."
"That's good. We have already become famous. Does anyone wants to join politics?" asked Ajay.
"Not really. Ajay, you don't have to join politics to do well. we have already proved that." said Aparna.
"Ajay, if you want to make money for your great grand son then you should think of joining politics." Teased Swomya.
One evening, bell rang, Ajay went and opened the main door and found Sreedhar standing outside: -
"Hi! Sreedhar, what a pleasant surprise!" exclaimed Ajay, hugging him in joy.
"Hi! Sreedhar, how are you , man?" asked Swomya coming.
"Hi! Sreedhar!" cried others coming.
"I had read so many good things about you people in Malaysia." he said.
"See our story has even gone up to Malaysia." said Aparna.
"Come on, Sreedhar, I will take you to your room." said Swomya.
"It's really very nice of you people to reserve a room for me." said Sreedhar, following her.
"How can we forget you , da?" they all cried together.