Clandestine: Part I

“At least once in every year, we should come here, a place like this to enjoy with friends. Far from mundane life” said Avi raising a toast.

Ranjan and Preet nodded their head in agreement.

“Cheers!!!!” they said in unison.

After a long time, they all could arrange a trip together to this hill station. It was agreed long back that they wold go on a trip like this. A short trip to enjoy only with close friends. They all belong to different professions. Although they enjoyed their togetherness, they could not plan for such a trip due to their personal and professional engagements.

Three of them had their dinner packed from the hotel kitchen. They were reluctant to had dinner so early. Being well aware of the fact that people in hill stations are used to early sleep at night, they had arranged a bottle of local drink along with their packed simple diet for night. This was their first day of the trip and they did not want to kill the time by sleeping early. Ranjan was not interested in the local drink due to his inclination over whiskey. Somehow he agreed as the rest of them were more interested to enjoy local drinks for a change. May be Avi and Preet thought it would be interesting to get out of their comfort zone and try things they had never tried before.

It was a small dimly lit room with three beds. They sat on the floor. No room heater was available, so they had to wear multiple layers of clothing to protect them from freezing temperature outside. They decided not to play cards but talk their heart out. After all, they are friends since high school. Having met after a long time, it was quiet natural that they would spend their time sharing their personal stories.

“Tomorrow is going to be a long and tiring day for us. Twelve miles trek on uphill to our next destination. The Sherpa, who would be guiding us throughout the journey, would come here by eight in the morning. We better get ready by that time” informed Ranjan. He was really interested in getting back to the book he was reading for the last couple of days. Name of the novel was “Secret”.

“Yes. We are almost done with the drink. It is not that strong. Hope we will not be late tomorrow” replied Avi while finishing off the remnants from his glass.

“Oh look. Ranjan is reading a novel named “Secret”. What is the storyline?” asked Preet pointing at the book lying on Ranjan’s backpack.

“Well it is a story about family secrets of a medieval Chinese king. It is a fiction, not based on any true incident or character” replied Ranjan. “It is a compelling read. I really liked the way the entire story was narrated from a third person perspective.”

“Well. Everyone loves secrets. Isn’t it? Moreover, if those not you own. It is kind of addiction to know about other peoples’ secret stories” said Avi.

“Ok. I have an idea to kill time before we hit the bed tonight. Let’s play a game of secrets. Each one of us would share a secret of his life with the rest of us. We are friends since our high school days. We shared a lot of personal stories among us. However, I believe, every person has some secrets buried deep down under their heart. Sometime, we do not express by fear of being judged. Reasons behind keeping secrets do vary. Let us tell one story each from those many secrets. Friends do not judge. Moreover, we are more matured people now to understand different viewpoints and not judge anyone for any action or thoughts” said Preet in excitement and under influence of the local brew.

“Well. That does not sound a good idea. The best way of keeping secrets is to keep it yourself. I am not playing any ‘Truth or Dare’ game. Count me out of it” replied Ranjan nonchalantly.

“No. It is not like that. No one is asking you to answer any question. It is a true and honest confession. Friends are good at keeping secrets too, so, not to worry about these being public. Also, there are very less possibility of being judged by a friend. It is only us in here. We can be truthful to each other about one more thing in our life for which we would not mention anywhere else. We can also provide our views on why this was kept secret from outer world. No one would ask any question afterwards or advice on those actions. I can take the initiative of telling my part first. What do you say?” asked Preet looking at Avi.

“We are not that drunk Preet. We know about each other a lot. The parts of ourselves that we do not know about each other are the part that our inhibition restricted us to show to one another. It should be kept that way” opined Avi.

“I am not telling that we should be doing this under influence of alcohol. I mean, we could have done that anytime else. Maybe, for practical reasons, we did not share these parts of our lives. Honestly, we can tell each other about a feeling that we had felt or an action that we had committed. We might have felt guilt or still do feel the same way. We might have done something for our personal gain. We can honestly show each other a part of our life that we think would make us vulnerable to this world. After all, we are not here judging each other. Friends do not do that. We can open ourselves in front of our friends. Lowering of inhibition is not necessary to share a secret.” reasoned Preet.

“Yes. We surely can tell but I believe there are very less stories of our lives that we did not share. I mean, I still cannot share stories intertwined people of my present life. It could be some rare distant thoughts or actions from the past. Yes. Those can be shared. Of course without names or any identity of the other person involved” said Ranjan after listening to long arguments that Preet and Avi was having.

They agreed on sharing one story from their lives that they did not tell each other or anyone else. Preet agreed to share his story first. It started this way.


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