Tanya Sharma – The grateful scapegoat | A short story

Three years ago, I witnessed the death of my best friend – “Tanya Sharma.”  With a smiling face, Tanya used to tear the love letters and shatter the hearts of almost every guy at my college. Tanya Sharma was the brand ambassador of beauty, style and self-confidence. She always reminded me of Disney princesses: Cinderella, Belle, Snow White and Rapunzel. Other girls were always eclipsed by the charm of Tanya. So the jealous girls wished for her absence. Once in a blue moon, their prayers were answered and Tanya got absent. The roll number of each student was based on alphabetic order of his/her name and after “T”anya comes “U”nni.  So it was my job to declare her absence to the class teacher. I hate saying that she was absent. On the bright side, our names are so close alphabetically that I think we might have a connection in our previous life.

Guys who got their heart broken by Tanya didn’t quit. Can campus insects keep themselves away from the flame of beauty? Anyway, I wasn’t brave enough to propose her because the pessimist in me could see my heart breaking into dust. Moreover, it is ludicrous to wish for the moon instead of enjoying its presence. Therefore I buried such futile dreams deep inside my mind and tried to enrol myself in Tanya’s “good friends” list. Getting selected as her friend seemed harder than getting selected for engineering. However, my dumb jokes and dumber looks made me pass the friendship exam.  Except being the friend of the “celebrity”, I had nothing else to be proud of myself in my college life.

For many, Tanya was a heartbreaker and for some, she was a good friend. She was always surrounded by her fans and my only mode of communication was Whatsapp. Our friendship blossomed through hours of chatting and her messages were the cure for my loneliness. The fragrance of her friendship transformed my stinky life. She used to send notes and assignments on Whatsapp and always motivated me to study.

The most mentioned persons on her chats were her dad, Sharma Ji, and her future husband(Mr.Luckiest Man on Earth). Tanya was never done with two things: (1) adulating her dad (2) Explaining the “minimum requirements” needed for her future husband.

Tanya, “I will only accept a man who is as handsome as Robert Pattinson.”

I, “Lol… Don’t you think your expectations are a bit quixotic?”

Tanya, “Do you think so?”

I, “Actually you are right. Sharma Ji’s little princess is capable of stealing any prince’s heart.”

Tanya, “Hehe… Unni, My expectations aren’t unrealistic. My Dad has always given me what is best for me. I love him so much and I know he will find a prince for me. I am always fascinated by the love stories of the prince and princess.”

I, “Dil Wale Dulhaniya ko le Jayenge”

Tanya, “You said it!”

I, “So no mercy towards your fans?”

Tanya, “Lol, No. Good night unni”

I, “Goodnight, Tanya. Teddy 🐻”

Tanya, “Aww…. night”

4 years had passed by and I knew I wouldn’t be able to see Tanya every day. In fact, I was scared to lose her but it was inevitable as our college life couldn’t go on forever. She got selection in campus recruitment for Tata Consultancy Services. I was happy for her and wished her good luck. For the first time in my college life, tears rolled through my cheeks when I was limping towards the bus stop. On my way home, all I could think of was the precious moments I spent with her. Was she just my best friend? Maybe. Maybe not.

Life changed a lot: from daily chat to weekly chat, from students to employees. We were far away from each other and our jobs repelled us from chatting. It was a painful experience to see the decline in the number of chats, from 10000s of memorable messages to ‘hai’ and ‘take care’. All I could do was view her WhatsApp and Facebook picture statuses with her new friends. It took more than a year for me to acclimate to my new life.

One day a phone call intruded the silence of my professional life.  My joy knew no bounds when I saw my phone screen. It was Tanya Sharma! I eagerly attended the call to hear her mellifluous voice. She wanted to meet me soon and a rendezvous was planned at the weekend at ‘Salt and Pepper Cafe’. My mind had been in a thinking frenzy about the meeting. The brutal aspect of time is that it becomes a snail when we want it to be a cheetah. However, the heavy workload was a boon to kill time.

The wait was over — Weekend arrived! It was time for me to wear the new dress I had bought specially for the meeting. I made sure I looked very dapper in my new dress and headed towards the Cafe. I was reading the Cafe menu as if it was an interesting magazine. I was admiring the colourful pictures on the menu as if they were masterpieces of Da Vinci. Tanya arrived after half an hour. She was more gorgeous than I met her at college! We both were so delighted to see each other.

I, “A small gift for you”

Tanya, “Ferrero Rocher? Aww… you still remember my favourite chocolates.”

I, “Yes, I do.”

Tanya, “I have a small gift for you too. This is my wedding card and you are the first one I am inviting to my wedding. You must also come to the wedding eve.”

I, “Wow! So you finally found your prince!”

Tanya, “Hehe… Yes, I found my prince.”

The rendezvous ended after an hour. I had a new to-do task—”a good gift for my best friend’s wedding.” I disqualified the gift options such as dinner sets, ceiling fan, watch. Tanya loved watching melodramatic serials on star plus channel. So I decided to gift her a TV. I wasn’t rich enough to buy her a TV that was as big as my heart, so I ordered a 20 inch TV on Amazon to her address. I had one more simple gift for her, a gift that she adored — a stamp album consisting of 50 fish postal stamps(thanks to my grandpa).

Wedding eve was grand with colourful lights, music, dance and a variety of tasty food items. I looked around and didn’t see any classmates I know. I gifted her the album. A few teardrops escaped her eyes and she said my gifts were beyond her expectations. I had been there for 2 hours and I returned to my home. At 12:00am, I got a Whatsapp message from her.

Tanya, “The prince will always be a dream. Maybe this is my karma for ignoring all the proposals.”

I, “What?”

Tanya, “My Dad loves me a lot. But he loves his social status more. He believes in horoscope more than my dreams. I will always remember your friendship. Good night, Unni.”

I, “Hello… hei…What are you saying?”

(no reply)

The next day, I saw a man in a wedding dress, who was entirely opposite to the expectations of Tanya. His costly dress couldn’t conceal his overweight, baldness and age. Now I understood why a few tears escaped her eyes and why she didn’t invite every classmate to her wedding. Tanya always dreamt of a man as handsome as Adonis but fate was not in her control. Life ain’t a Disney movie.

It has been 3 years since her wedding. The girl who was once very active in the virtual world hasn’t posted anything for 3 years. I have never seen online after her marriage. She married that man only to repay the debt of her dad’s love. Tanya Sharma is indeed the grateful scapegoat!!!