An English classroom of a sub urban school.
The teacher is taking the culminating episodes of Shakespeare's glorified 'Julius Caesar". The class is deeply engrossed. Pin drop silence. She acts out the scene. Caesar, his words are spoken out loud. 'Et tu Brute...then fall Caesar." and the hero falls. The whole class is deeply enthralled, touched and silent.
Suddenly, a hand shoots up. It is of a girl. Her hair is plated on the two sides, ink marks on the face and finger tips and her expression is of an utterly confused person, not able to grasp something.
''But Miss ", she begins " I don't understand why a great warrior like Caesar has to fall for such a thing. I mean, considering his intellect and rationality and stuff. Why does it have to matter so much that he doesn't fight back? At least he should have thought of Calpurnia who is waiting for him at home.. "
Silence again...and then the whole class bursts out laughing. The exasperated teacher says " My dear ***, we are talking about Shakespeare's classic novel not some sappy Bollywood movie...He was cheated by someone he trusted with his whole heart...he couldn't take it in..now sit down. And don't put forth such propositions in you board exam paper for Christ's sake".
Clearly, the girl isnt satisfied. She still cant understand why someone has to be so hurt. She turns her head back. A pair of eyes meets hers. He smiles and rolls his eyes, and mouths "I know...". The class disperses for lunch. They are eating together. 'I still don't understand..." the girl starts. He smiles again and says 'You will. Someday".
A couple of months later. Same classroom. But the ambiance is quite different. The girl is standing surrounded by a circle of friends. He, strangely, is missing. Tears roll down her eyes. '' I don't know what you are talking about. Please, we are just friends. Don't cook up stories. Please I am not lying. No, no. I don't know. What secret meetings? Please. You are lying. He would never say that. I trust him. What's wrong with you guys.....Please..''
He walks in. The circle widens. A tall boy in front says '' Are you both trying to fool us? Tell her whatever you told us. Now. " He turns pale. The girl stares him in the eyes. He avoids her gaze and mumbles something. Neither here nor there. The girls beaks down to fits of tears.
A study table. The girl is staring at a book. Turning pages randomly. Thoughts elsewhere. Now and then a tear drop falls.
Scene dissolves. School courtyard. The last board exam has got over. She looks at him, her trusted friend. He looks at her expressionless and walks on. Days pass. Results are out. His name tops the list displacing her to the fourth. She dials his number. Talks to his overjoyed mom who passes the phone to her son. The girl whispers , 'Congrats. You have proved yourself'. His voice, very different from the smooth soothing voice to which her ears were accustomed says. " Remember what I told you last year. I defeated you. Finally. Every time, in every damn test you were on top. Me second. Ha! now where has all your pride gone? I knew what I was doing. This is intelligence, strategy, not the stuff you vomit on paper. Want to know something more? They weren't talking without reasons. I told them. Gave them beautiful descriptions of our 'friendship', a little more to the truth.'' The girl is numb. He continues, " I know what your are thinking now. God and punishment and blah blah. Haven't you heard. It is not the path that is important. It is the end. Read Gita. I just did what my God himself suggested. ..you pathetic fool.." Receiver falls.The girl slips to the floor.
That girl was I.
History has this annoying habit of repeating itself. I saw Brutus again. Each time in a different attire. First he came to me as a friend who sold me for marks. Years hence, he came to me as my 'true' love who left me without reasons. I was the fool, taking the hormonal imbalance caused by his first touch ( there is no need to let you imaginations run wild, he held my hands, nothing more...I may be a fool, but don't overestimate my foolishness :P ) as a passage of divine grace. The 'electric shock' of God's blessed touch. And mummifying my trust into him. Then he came to me again as my friend, my sweet friend whom I saw as my own sister, who went for the one who broke my trust, and heart. Again, I see him all around me. Playing his games. On the cross lies the source of my faith. Blood drips from the crown of thorns. Sold out, wasn't he too? Whom should I run to for solace?
What is a better possession? I ask myself. A broken heart or a broken integrity? A broken trust or a trusting friend?...
Roads diverge. I stand, questioning my beliefs. What next?
to live a lie or be the lie.....