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Return Gift

Brian Paul called and said‘Happy birthday bro’
‘Who’s this?’ asked a startled Aaron Barnes.

It was six years since the two school friends had last spoken. But their acquaintance withstood the test of time.They had been to school together for many years, but then came that fateful day when both of them failed to get pass the higher secondary exams.
Fate took them to different parts of the world and more importantly in to different paths.

Life changed their fates from that point on.Aaron went on to become a top executive in a large multi national company and Brian struggled to make two ends meet in a shipping yard doing MIS reports.

Corporate life made Aaron a sharp thinker,a shrewd calculator and a strong personality.Hard life and struggle made Brian a carefree, ego less, hassle free guy.Over time their vocabularies had changed accordingly.While time saved mattered to one,time spent mattered to the other.

In spite of their different paths, fates, and demeanor's they managed to keep the connection over the years. Brian would call mostly and Aaron would usually be busy and would return the call at a later time.Brian never minded that and Aaron liked that he could be free with his childhood buddy.There was no pressure to be politically correct with him.

However,in the last few  years there was no call from Brian and Aaron had never noticed it either until today, when Brian called to wish him for his birthday.

‘Thanks buddy long time no see no hear,how goes?’asked Aaron Barnes.

‘Goes well mate,no job,no salary and a family of 5 to run,can’t complain’he chuckled.

‘Oh sorry to hear that’ said Aaron.
His corporate mind took over, anticipating Brian’s next move.He decided to preempt it and address the elephant in the room.

‘Oh so you must be in need of money’ he said.

‘Oh totally – I do’ said Brian.

Aaron silently felt good about his analytical abilities but decided not to show it.

‘Send me your bank account’

‘Ah –that won’t be necessary buddy’ said Brian.

‘What? I mean , I don’t understand’ said Aaron.

Aaron raised his eyebrows in surprise and couldn’t muster up a further response.
Brian continued ‘I mean yes I do need to earn more money, but I am ok, working on some projects,some stock market play and it should work out soon  so I should be good, besides my wife runs a small boutique in the neighborhood, so she chips in for the daughters school fees, so we re still floating.’

‘Send me your bank account’ Aaron stressed.

‘Aaron – chill. If I take money from you, it will become excess and then I will get used to it and who knows I won’t be able to repay you back – so won’t take it from you, at least not just as yet.You see,If you give me fish to eat I will get used to it ,I need to learn to fish’ Brian concluded.

‘Ok as you wish – I respect your views – call me if you need anything’ said Aaron.

Brian smiled and said‘Sure I will – but today I just called to wish you a happy birthday’.

‘Thanks buddy – appreciate it’said Aaron and they hung up.

Aaron immediately called Vanessa,Brian’s wife and managed to get hold of the bank account number and IFSC code for a bank transfer. He transferred money into Brian’s account right after that.Aaron felt good after a long time. It was something he had done for a friend without any expectations.

When Brian got to see his bank account a few days later,he realised what Aaron had done.He decided to call him back and return the money.

‘Hello can I speak to Aaron Barnes please?’

‘I’m sorry who is this?’asked the receptionist.

‘Ah I’m his friend Brian Paul’

‘O Mr. Paul I am afraid Mr.Aaron Barnes is no longer with the company’.

‘What? But I spoke with him last week?’

‘The call must’ve gone to his personal mobile sir – we usually allow a small grace period for the mobile service to remain open till all his accounts and contacts are aware and or his papers are closed as the case may be’ she said.

‘Oh this is terrible – how long back did he move out?’

‘Sir,Its been about two months,it was rather unfortunate that his department shut down and he had to move on’ she whispered.

Brian could barely speak‘Oh’ he said lowering his voice.

‘Would you like to pass on a message in case he calls? asked the receptionist.

‘Y-yes just let him know I wanted to return the return gift he gave me on his birthday’.

Gyanban Thoughts : Often friendships develop over time, through unspoken words,uncommon circumstances,and different paths.Sometimes we get too caught up with what we know about people,until someone comes along and makes us revisit our belief system.This short story is dedicated to all best friends out there.


  1. :-) Superbly written. Touched the emotional cords.....

  2. good, just read from beginning to end..
    ifsc code


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the dark skin is brighter,
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their shampoos leave no clue,
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Waiting for the elevator,
a minty breath drifts over the shoulder,
the noose around my neck chokes
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the lights are incandescent inside
empty faces on the outside.

The tube-light and the guard flickers
People wearing strange monikers
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a door opens, the stupor
he sashays along leaving them behind,
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the cardigan shrugs off and the  lips quiver
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