A Friend In Need

A friend is nothing but a known enemy. (Pic Credits: izquotes.com)

They all watched silently, as I lay down here. Soiled, wrecked and reeking of gasoline. They looked at me scornfully while the man took out the matchbox from his pocket. It shouldn't be happening. Am I dreaming? Maybe I am having a nightmare, the worst of its kind. That's what I hope. Suddenly, I heard a raspy click and saw the brightly lit flame wavering dolefully from the matchstick. I could see that man's face more clearly now, shimmering in its the burning flaxen glow. Those cold dead eyes. These ain't those loving and caring people I know. Something's definitely wrong and I'm pretty sure about it. But it's too late. I saw the the burning matchstick approaching towards me and the next moment, I was up in flames. But something's strange. I wasn't feeling any pain. Perhaps I was too shocked to react. Or perhaps, I was already dead. I lay engulfed in flames as my existence vanished one moment at a time. I looked around to find my friends. They weren't there anymore. They had already left me stranded in my misery. The world around me was going black. Fading away into nothingness. I remembered those good old times I had with everyone. And waited. Waited patiently for the anguish to end...

Not long back, I was leading a very luxurious and happy life. I was treated royally by everyone. The respect and power I had garnered over the years, would even put a king to shame. I had many friends. Countless in fact. If it boiled down to that, my friends could kill anyone who tried to harm me. And if need be, they would lay down their lives to protect me. Such was the strong bond of friendship between my and my people. Everyone loved me. Everyone wanted to be with me. No one wanted to share me. I was the apple of their eyes. At least I was, till today. I had friends scattered in all places. From corporate businessmen to hard-working farmers. From daily wage laborers to salaried professionals. Students, teachers, lawyers, politicians, doctors, artists, the rich, the bourgeois, the poor, the young, the old and the kids. Everyone desired me. And I made it a point to help everyone who needed me. As they say, a friend in need is a friend indeed!

Everything was going well and good until yesterday. Since yesterday, everyone started behaving unusually. I wasn't sure what was happening. I overheard them talking about me. About how I've contracted the deadly black plague and wasn't going to survive anymore. I ignored those filthy rumors people were spreading about me and hoped that eventually everything would be alright. Like it does, every time. But it was different this time. I sensed this sudden indifference around me. People had started hating me. Everyone gradually started detaching themselves from me and I was beginning to feel isolated and lonely. I couldn't understand why they were doing this. Human behavior has always puzzled me. I saw my master's face on television. He was addressing everyone. He talked about my black plague and about how my days are numbered. It was the final nail in the coffin. My master had said it. Those rumours were indeed true. I wasn't going to survive. My heart sank to unfathomable depths of destitution, as the bitter truth slapped me right across my face. I kept watching my master's face with teary eyes. He spoke about my depreciating health and advised everyone to quarantine me for their own good. They were replacing me with someone new. I couldn't take it anymore. I felt an air of dejection and abandonment around me. Soon I was surrounded by people and they started seizing me. The same people who would have sacrificed their lives for me a few days back, were now cursing and mocking me. Oh dear god, what wicked game are you playing? All those tales I had heard about the goodness of human beings. Was everything just a lie? Is this real face of humanity? 

They bought me at the town square, in front of everyone. I saw their faces, filled with contempt and indifference. Maybe I was getting executed publicly. They all watched me with amazement, craving for their dose of entertainment in my tragedy. Everyone standing there in the crowd had called me their friend once. But now they were all standing there silently, no protest, no outcry. Everyone was a mute spectator. There was a time when I was the primary source of happiness and well being for everyone standing there. Times when I was the only one bailing them out of their troubles. But they've forgotten everything. Every fucking thing. I was there for them during their hardships and struggle, through thick and thin. And now when it's time for them return the favour, these callous pricks are shying away from it.

My father was right when he had told me that human beings are the worst of all species. Don't get too attached to people, he had said. They'll respect you, admire you and love you to their fullest extent but only until you're of some use to them. The day they find you useless and worthless for their needs, they'll ostracize you and cast you out like a pariah. They'll spit on you with the same mouth with which they had once showered praises on you. Times change but people change faster. I was a fool not to heed my father's advice. I saw these hypocrites dousing me in gasoline. I was dazed at whatever was happening. The stoic and apathetic atmosphere was brutally suffocating me to death. The man lit the matchstick and set me ablaze. It was the end. Perhaps they'll find someone new to replace me. Someone better than me. And then one day when even the new guy ceases to be useful and beneficial to them, they'd prosecute him too. Just like they did to me. I saw the crowd dispersing. Yes. Go on you unfaithful bastards. Go away from me. I don't need your sympathy, you selfish and greedy little shits. I am better off without your humbug presence around me. I loathed each and every one of those disgusting and ungrateful cowards. I closed my eyes and went off to an eternal sleep. I'll finally meet my father now. And I'll tell him, that he was god damn right about humans. He was right all along...

Nobody loves you, when you're down and out...


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