Kanha’s Friend Request

Kanha’s Friend Request

Prologue

He peered at the group of campers under the awning of the glittering night sky, particularly at the young woman in the sequined LBD. The flames of the campfire cast the bright incandescence on her as she laughed, deepening those dimples further. He wished to jump into their bottomless depths and stay there forever. Her crooked upper incisor made his heart flutter even as her eyes gleamed into their slits. He was instantly hard, the ache in his boxers surpassing the one in his chest confines.

The silence of the mist and the trudging solitude did nothing to calm down the fire raging inside his soul, threatening to erupt soon, turning into ash everything in its wake.

Perched atop the tiny cliff, he watched her gyrate with her friends, her nymph-like moves causing ripples in his silent waters. Unfortunately, a year of watching her from a distance in college wasn’t enough to satisfy his urges. She was his, and it was time she realized that.

As he watched her, he gripped his hard-on, the pain of fullness getting unbearable. The LBD moved up her thigh a bit, revealing the fair piece of flesh he had often seen in his wet dreams. 

He clutched at the peacock feather in his pocket with the other hand. Tears meandered their way down his stubbled cheeks as he held back a scream while he sprayed into his pants. 

“Radhaaaaa… you are mine….”

My mind enchanted by my beloved
I am Kanha, and she is my love incarnate

Chapter 1

“Heartiest congratulations Apurva, topper yet again.” 

Apurva smiled at her childhood friend and classmate Amit, piercing his way through the swelling student crowd gathered to see their results. 

He hugged her tight. “This calls for a celebration.” The rest of her classmates hooted in agreement.

Apurva nodded and as they moved towards the exit; her phone buzzed. She waited back and checked her Facebook notifications. Strange… she was new to social media. Having consciously stayed away from it, to focus on her studies, she had recently downloaded the app after Amit had managed to persuade her finally. 

There was a friend request.

Kanha

Despite everything, she smiled even as her heart fluttered. 

Two weeks ago, she had posted a profile picture in her new designer dress. Her saved up monthly allowance had finally summed up to a decent number. 

Apurva loved dabbling in fashion and ‘Shru’s,’ a high-end boutique near her home, always fascinated her. Shrutika, the boutique owner and her friend for the last six months, had always said that Apurva had a model-like figure that could carry off any dress as if it were designed for her alone. Shrutika had many designer friends who paid her handsomely to display their creations.

Two weeks ago, Shrutika displayed a lemon-yellow gown with delicate motifs etched on the cloth throughout and the greenish satin ribbon embedded in the snow-white frills. 

Apurva had purchased it and clicked pictures at home. She had then selected one of them for her profile on Facebook. However, within an hour of her posting, she received a message on personal chat that she accepted. 

‘My life was a dried sycamore
You are a breath of greenery
My empty heart suddenly flutters
Where did you exist before?

-Kanha’

Compliments for her looks were not new for Apurva, but this was the first time her 20-year-old-self heard such flattering words from a total stranger.

She ignored the message, but couldn’t stop thinking about the stranger whose profile picture constituted a beautiful statue of Lord Krishna, her favourite deity. 

A week later, she changed her picture and posted one with her side profile as she looked out of the window, the evening breeze blowing her unruly curls.

The message arrived within minutes.

The recusant tendrils of inky barnet
In the realms of my surrealism
Do they confide a secret?

-Kanha

Apurva released the breath she didn’t know she had been holding. She knew it was a guy and she had to be careful. But her heart paced, threatening to storm out of her chest’s vicinage.

She clicked ‘Accept.’

Chapter 2

Apurva stared at the crystal-oscillator diagram. Kanha hadn’t messaged for a while. The library solitude closed in on her, and her breath constricted.

Suddenly she felt movement nearby and looked up to see Sanatan, a young lecturer in their college. Tall, dark, and handsome Sanatan had often drawn her attention in college, but Apurva had always known him to be reserved. She had encountered him few times on the campus in the past year. His dark orbs had always bored into her soul… 

The library was occupied entirely, and he took a seat in front of her. 

Apurva smiled at him, and to her surprise, he smiled back, displaying his neat set of whites in contrast to his tan. 

“Hi…um… Sir, g…good morning.” She stuttered.

“How are studies? Stuck on that oscillator for long? Here let me help…” Before she could reply, he scribbled on an entire sheet in the next fifteen minutes and explained the remaining chapter. 

But all Apurva could feel was his velvety whisper as it touched her like the wings of a flying moth brushing her skin. His face was an embodiment of concentration and passion for electronics, and she couldn’t help but sink into his handsome depths.

They walked together out of the library, she found him staring into space.

“Anytime you have queries, I am ready to help. … text me.” He spoke abruptly and smiled, that cleft in his chin suddenly becoming prominent.

“Ye…yes.” She nodded accepting his phone number. 

Later that night, she checked her messenger.

Life deserves fortuity for something special
What happens later may be incredible…

-Kanha

Was that some sign? 

 

Chapter 3

The rendezvous with Sanatan ‘sir’ continued for a week as they happened to ‘meet’ very often. The dark enigma was brilliant with his electronics and had a world of knowledge on myriad topics, including fashion. 

At times she found him chuckling in a corner. But his face lighted up as he spoke on different topics, a complete antithesis to his usual sombre mood that she had witnessed so far. They chatted late at night, and he often complimented her on her looks and fashion sense, which her conservative parents always dissuaded her from pursuing. 

A month after their first meeting in the library, Sanatan asked her out on a coffee date.

Of course, a date in broad daylight wouldn’t matter, would it? That evening she met Sanatan in a café away from the college and her residence. 

Sanatan was waiting for her and dressed in his crisp cotton shirt on black denim; he looked no less than a Greek God, his square jaw accentuated further by thin day’s stubble. He held out her chair as she settled into it, smiling demurely.

They later walked to the nearby beach, and at the end of the hour, as twilight stepped in, they held hands. His hand trembled in hers. Was he excited as well?

They stood watching the sunset together, under the canopy of the sanguine sky, the gentle touch of the gurgling frothy waves calming her insides. 

They stared into each other’s eyes, and she felt the rest of the world still. 

He lowered his head and hovered above her face; she could feel his warm breath causing her insides to flutter. In the next moment, he palmed her face, and his mouth captured hers. He fanned the flames of passion in her, a kind of slow burn.

Just then, he withdrew, drawing her voyeurism to an abrupt halt. Their foreheads touched as they stood panting covered by darkness… 

That night Kanha commented on her new picture, that Sanatan had clicked in the café.

The avalanche of emotions scrubbing your face
My heart’s sunny daffodils dancing to your tunes
The silence of the misty sea
My floating youth now ashore.

-Kanha

Kanha’s words only enhanced her feelings for Sanatan. 

Apurva was sure she was in love…

Chapter 4

“What is up with you Appu?” Amit asked her a week later. They caught up during lunch in the cafeteria. 

“Um… Amit, I think I am in love…” Apurva declared. Amit’s face fell. 

“What the hell Appu? I stay away for a while, and you… Do I know him?”

“Take a breath Amit…” she chuckled. “…at this stage, I can’t reveal anything more. We are just getting to know each other.” 

She blushed, remembering Sanatan’s kiss from last evening when he had dropped her home on a high-end bike. He had taken her to a dark corner under the tree away from the glare of the streetlights. They had hugged each other tightly even as she had felt the hardness of his desire prodding her stomach. 

She hadn’t been able to sleep that night, her erotic dreams filled with Sanatan in them. He was the elixir for her raging desire….

“Earth to Appu…” Amit waved his hand before her eyes, jolting her out of her reverie. 

“Whatever you do, Appu, just be careful, OK?” Amit looked concerned, and she almost told him about Sanatan. She had never hidden anything from Amit to date and guilt crept up her spine. 

That evening as they sat in the same café, Sanatan gifted her a dress she had been eyeing for long at Shru’s. A black sequined LBD that cost a fortune.

“Oh, my goodness, Sanatan…. I can’t have it….” She blurted.

“…please Apurva. I want to shower you with the best of everything. It’s time you gave up some cheap imitation and wore only the original… you deserve it, my angel…” He said softly, his words caressing her, his eyes brimming with passion. 

“Come with me to this party tomorrow night, Apurva… in hotel Holmescastle.” 

Holy cow. Holmescastle was a five-star hotel in the heart of their city frequented by celebrities. How could Sanatan afford a pass? 

“Don’t worry, angel, having contacts in the right places help.” He assured her.

As they danced at Holmecastle that night, he held her close, his citric essence engulfing her senses, kindling the embers she didn’t know existed in her. He later took her to a reserved suite.

She gave in, and that night as she lost herself into his steamy warmth, she knew she had crossed all the boundaries. By the time they descended from the pinnacles of erogenous passion, she was completely in love with him. 

The following morning, he dropped her a little away from her building complex, and as she bid him adieu, she knew the equations had changed. She had given him her everything, mind, body, and soul. She shivered in excitement. 

Later Kanha’s words propelled her further.

Love for someone can’t be explained
lurching of hearts can’t be restrained…

Her blinders were on… 

Chapter 5

A month flew in bliss involving clandestine daytime meets with Sanatan ‘Sir’ in college corners. Her studies didn’t suffer because of his help, and as her grades looked up her guilt lessened. She was living a dream… 

Her late evenings were spent in luxurious hotel rooms where Sanatan took her to the zenith of coital pleasure. Their unions were filled with exchanges morphed, turning needy and borderline desperate. 

“Sanatan…?” She asked him one evening as she recovered from an all-consuming ravishing encounter.

“yea…” 

“How can you afford all this… I mean…”

“…Why Apurva…?” He abruptly spoke using her complete name. “…Don’t you like it?”

His eyes narrowed and darkened. This was the first time she had asked him something and his response made her uneasy. 

“Sanatan, calm down, OK? I don’t mean to….”

“…You women only know to crib…” he huffed and stood up. “…Get dressed. I will drop you back.”

Apurva was taken aback by the 360° turn in his behaviour. She didn’t say a word throughout her journey back home. As he left her without a goodbye she blinked back tears, wondering what went wrong.

That night as she lay watching the full moon smiling down, she couldn’t help but reminisce over the past month. Something stung, something irked, something didn’t sit right. 

She didn’t hear from Sanatan or even Kanha the next couple of days. 

She absent-mindedly flipped through old pictures from their camp where she was tagged and had not bothered to check so far. Her eyes fell on an image with a familiar face in the background. The face tried to stay hidden, but she could recognize him anywhere…

What on earth was Sanatan doing in that camping site? 

She called him a dozen times, but his phone was switched off.

Later as she walked around the campus, she felt people glaring at her. Avoiding them, she met Amit and spilled the beans crying her eyes out.

“Goodness, Appu, that man looks like a creep. How could you fall for him? We had heard rumors about his past affairs with a couple of students. But, wait…” he dug out his phone and opened a forwarded message. He held it out to her. 

It was a screenshot from a video. It could be classified as soft porn, and it featured two people in the act. The guy’s back was visible so was the woman’s face with a sorry attempt at blurring. 

She jerked up on her seat, stunned. It was her… and Sanatan. What the hell was going on? 

That evening the online college bulletin received a few pictures of similar nature, and the shoddy work at covering up left nothing to the viewers’ imagination about her identity. 

The college authorities took them down, but the damage was done. 

Amit stood by her, and together they lodged a complaint at the nearby police station. Given her strong academic credentials and spotless record the college assured cooperation.

She returned to her building complex that evening when she felt movement behind her. Before she could turn around, something pungent covered her mouth, and she fell into dark oblivion.

Chapter 6

Apurva woke up to the piquant odour of oil, rubber, new leather… Was she in a garage? Limbs tied, she looked around her desolate eyes, searching for a thin ray of hope to hold on to. But there was darkness everywhere, and the mephitic environment made her gag. 

How long had she zoned out?

Gradually her eyes got used to the vicious surrounding. She saw a couple of high-end motorcycles, and her eyes fell on a tattered poster on the adjacent wall. It was a beautiful image of Lord Krishna. It felt familiar… Oh God… Kanha 

Kanha was… Sanatan? The fog began to lift, and things began to make sense. She remembered the imitation LBD deep in her closet that she had worn once during her college camp in the nearby hill station couple of months ago. The signs were all there…

But the million-dollar question remained. WHY?

The door cracked open, and she heard the clickety-clack of stilettos along with a shuffling gait. There was a strong familiar perfume… 

Sanatan stood before her wide-eyed and lost. But the woman who accompanied him shocked the daylights out of her.

“Shru… Shrutika? What the hell” Apurva cried.

“You bitch, you ruined my brother…” Shrutika screeched, patting Sanatan as she continued. “…Women like you need to be taught a lesson…”

“Stop it… Sanatan is your brother…?”

“YOU ARE MY RADHA…” Sanatan pushed Shrutika aside. “…I AM YOUR KANHA… WE ARE MEANT TO BE.” Sanatan spoke in a voice alien to Apurva. He wasn’t in his senses. “…MY RADHA… WE ARE REBORN TO BE TOGETHER…”

Shrutika shrugged.

“My brother suffers from Schizophrenia, and my parents tried to institutionalize him. They said I was a bad influence…” Shrutika’s high-pitched laughter boomed in the cul-de-sac. “…you know what? I got those oldies out of the way. No one knew how the poison got into their food. Well, I used the inheritance to start fresh here. But my brother had this crazy notion of searching for his Radha… I got him hooked to girls, but he got bored of them. He finally liked you, and I knew you were the one. I just helped him a bit…”

“Just shut the hell up…he needs help” Apurva screamed hoarsely.

Shrutika slapped her hard, and Apurva tasted blood. Tears sprang up as she saw Shrutika hold up a gleaming knife. Was this her end?

Right then, the door burst open, and the police rushed in, followed by a frantic Amit. The police caught Shrutika, flailing and lashing out, screaming profanities. A couple of them caught Sanatan. 

“MY RADHA”. He perseverated

Amit untied her holding her as she cried. 

“How Amit? How did you know I was here?”

“I was working with the police after we complained. Considering his past complaints, they suggested and I placed a tracker in your bag. Don’t worry Appu… it’s over now.” 

Epilogue

Three years later

“Appu, it’s a seagull…” Amit spoke from behind the binoculars.

Covid norms were relaxed, and they had their first trip to Goa as a couple. Apurva looked at her hands bearing faint marks where the tight ropes had cut into her skin during the fiasco three years ago. 

Amit had rallied after her and helped her get counseling. She had finished her graduation without any hiccups and had secured a job as well. Amit, too, worked in the same city. They met regularly and their bond cemented further. 

Apurva was wary about falling in love, though the situations were poles apart. However, Amit was patient with her, and just after covid struck, they moved in together. Working from home had helped further their relationship, and last year, Amit proposed.

They were engaged and soon to be married. 

These days remembering the past wasn’t as traumatic as earlier. She watched the waves as they competed with each other as they withdrew from the shore, grateful to have escaped toxicity and found benevolent amity in Amit’s friendship.

She frequently wrote articles on the hazards of social media. After all, it all had begun with an innocent friend request….
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Author note:

Schizophrenia is a serious mental disorder in which people interpret reality abnormally. Schizophrenia may result in some combination of hallucinations, delusions, and extremely disordered thinking and behaviour that impairs daily functioning, and can be disabling. People with schizophrenia require lifelong treatment. Early treatment may help get symptoms under control before serious complications develop and may help improve the long-term outlook. (Ref: Mayo clinic)
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