Never even in his wildest dreams or rather nightmares could Aamir have imagined Sagar— his best friend, the sports hero, the bright and ebullient Sagar— hooked on drugs! Is there any way Aamir can help him? If Sagar was your friend would you want to help him?
Sagar stopped speaking. His eyes had a glassy look and he was sweating.
“Well Aamir, you must have guessed that it wasn’t an ordinary cigarette that Sanya had given me— it was a joint. After that, I went to Alan’s place a few times. I met Sanya on one or two occasions. In the beginning, Alan was the perfect host demanding nothing from me except my presence. But soon, as I got more and more dependent on drugs Alan started making demands.”
“What kind of demands?”
“Money, of course. Initially, my pocket money was enough to take care of my needs but as my intake increased I had to shell out much more. Whatever stuff I had with me that I could easily pawn, I pawned. When that too was over, I started stealing— Tabs, watches, cell phones, iPods and anything else I could get my hands on. Just this morning I got money from my dad and in just one night I blew up the entire thing.”
“Who was the chap at the kiosk?”
“He is one of the suppliers. His name is Mian Mudassar. Alan’s job is only to get people hooked. Once they are addicted, he diverts them to Mian Mudassar or other outlets from where they get their regular supplies. Alan gets his commission for every customer that he diverts.”
“Sagar, you are a sportsman; how could you become so weak?”
“I really don’t know Aamir. Don’t think I have not felt miserable and guilty about it or tried to fight the menace. But the urge is so overpowering that I …”
“You know Sagar, I think we should go to the Principal and tell him the whole thing.”
“No…no…Please Aamir, I can’t. Don’t you realise he will expel me? My career, my life will be completely ruined. Moreover, he will inform the police and naturally the drug peddlers will come to know and they will kill me. They’ll finish me if I squeal on them.”
“I know it is not easy and, in your circumstances, I too would have hesitated. But Sagar, please pick up some courage. Not only do you have to make every effort to kick this habit; you have to prevent others from being pushed into this hell! Just think if you don’t come forward now how many more young lives will be smudged. You have to take the lead in helping the Police bust this vicious racket.”
After a lot of persuasion and counselling, Sagar finally agreed.
Aamir looked at his watch. It was 3:00 am.
“Now try to catch some sleep. At seven we’ll go to the Princy’s house.”
Neither Sagar nor Aamir could sleep a wink. Aamir lay down with his eyes shut, trying his best to sleep. The events of the previous night kept going around in his mind. Never even in his wildest dreams or rather nightmares could Aamir have imagined Sagar— his best friend, the sports hero, the bright and ebullient Sagar— hooked on drugs! He was hoping against hope that all this was a nightmare and when he would open his eyes, things would be back to normal. Sagar would be clowning in class, breaking records on the field, and helping him in his battle with Shantanu. But when he opened his eyes he found Sagar pacing the room like a caged tiger cub, his face tense and drawn.
Half an hour later they were walking towards the Principal’s bungalow, which was behind Buddha House.
They found the Principal in his garden, issuing instructions to the gardener. Mr Puri was a tall, broad shouldered man with grey hair and a toothbrush moustache. He had the mannerisms of an army major. He was passionate about sports and, hence, was very fond of Sagar.
When Aamir opened the gate and entered along with Sagar Mr Puri, who was bending over a Dahlia plant, looked up.
“Good morning sir,” they said together, Sagar’s voice barely a whisper.
“Good morning, good morning,” Mr Puri bellowed. He had an impressive voice – deep and rumbling. It was said his voice could scare the pants off most students. By raising his voice a notch or two he could bring the most rebellious of students to heel.
He came up the path way and shook hands with Aamir and Sagar.
“Follow me; let us sit in the veranda.”
They went in. Mr Puri lived with his wife, Mrs. Sheila Puri, who was a social worker. She was a very silent sort of person, quite unlike her husband.
“Now, tell me what brings you here?”
Sagar hesitated for a moment and then began his tale. Mr Puri heard the entire story in silence. After Sagar had finished, he got up and started pacing the floor. Sagar watched, with growing apprehension, various expressions flitting across the Principal’s handsome face. After ten minutes or so, Mr Puri finally broke his silence.
“Sagar, to say I am shocked would be an understatement. I could never have imagined that a gifted child like you would indulge in drug abuse. Anyway, about one thing I am happy: at least you had the courage to confess. It must have really taken a lot of guts to come to me and own up. I have decided to help you and together we have to smash the wretched scoundrels who are destroying the very fabric of our society.”
He looked at the two youngsters sitting in front of him. “I am sure you haven’t had breakfast. I’ll ask Sheila to rustle up something for your young and hungry tummies while I make a few phone calls.”
“Sir…I…” at the mention of phone calls the colour seemed to have drained from Sagar’s face.
“Don’t worry, Sagar. Now that you have come to me, leave everything in my hands.”
He left the room.
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