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Updated: Oct 18, 2023

In order to achieve what you desire, you have to do whatever it takes, right? The golden rule of reality is that you have to strive to reach your goal and, in the process, get your hands dirty along the way.

“Remorse” by Srimanth Lashkar talks about a person’s guilty conscience, friendship and the invisible moral limit of actions which people around us often cross. It asks to what extent it is morally right for a person to go to grab what they yearn for at any cost.

Cover Photo by Pankaj Tottada

Twelve hours. That’s the amount of time I spend shoving my face into books daily. I wouldn’t consider myself a nerd as I’m being bribed to do this. I don’t have the time to do anything but memorise every single goddamn line from the never-ending pile of books. No matter how many hours I grind, it still doesn’t feel enough. Maybe it’s just me being cautious, but you can never be too careful when it comes to these kinds of situations. You may ask, what kind of situation? I mean, when you’re being gifted a motorcycle if you top the class, stress and sleep deprivation are definitely expected. A Honda is what I chose when I was offered a bike. I was just being considerate by choosing something they could afford, as this deal was me swindling my parents. Do I feel guilty about it? Maybe. I’m not asking for too much. No, All I want is just a Honda.

I briskly climb the stairs with my head facing my feet. The five-year-old white paint coat on the steps fell off just like my energy. The sun goes down as I open the gate to the small rooftop terrace of my apartment. Dizzy in the head, I take a few more steps ahead and fall on the floor, unconscious. I start to feel drops of water being sprinkled on my face. An ugly face pops up with all its teeth in my face.

“Wake up, you piece of shit! Kiyansh! Wake up!” Ayush shouted. I make a futile attempt to stand up. He lays down beside me as we both stare at the dark sky. It almost felt like it was staring back at us. He turns towards me, still lying on the ground, slaps me right across my face and says, “How will you top the class if you keep starving yourselves in the name of studies? You need to learn self-care. I’m not always going to show up wherever you faint, dumbass,” and put a banana into my mouth.

I get up, pushing my palms against the ground and sit with my legs crossed, waiting for him to get up, but he doesn’t. After finishing the banana, I threw the peel onto his face, and we both started giggling and burst into laughter that lasted for a whole minute. I needed to top the class, and the only person pushing me forward and holding me back was Ayush, my classmate, who could take the top rank in any test without any preparation whatsoever. He places his arm around my shoulder and whispers, “You’re not going to get your beloved Honda if you fall asleep during the test tomorrow and drool on the test paper.”

“Oh, c’mon! It’s not my beloved Honda. I just chose it because I don’t want to be a burden to my parents,” I reply. He pulls a packet of gummy bears out of his pocket and says, “But you wanted it forever, right? I know you skipped hanging out with us so that you could put in some more hours of reading for that bike,” as he hands it to me. He wasn’t wrong. I’ve been into automobiles, especially bikes since I was a kid. I loved them so much that my bag was filled with figurines of race bikes and cars. “Well, I really want that Honda, so I can’t help but overdo it,” I say in a low voice.

“Kiyaaaaaanshhh!” My mom screams, “Time for dinner! Get down before I get mad!” Ayush pats my back and gives out a huge sigh, directing me to leave.

The next morning, I woke up with a heavy chest. Do I know why I feel so uneasy? Maybe I do. Maybe not. Warm rays of sunlight enter my room as I pull the curtains apart and stare outside the window. Ayush would be there on the other side, every morning, in his room which is parallel to mine, waving his hand. All I could see was an empty room this time. I move along as if nothing happened and get ready for the test. As I step outside my home, I wish my actions could be undone.

The whole class was busy preparing for the test. I take my seat and lay back, predicting the outcome of the exam. I couldn’t care less about my score anymore. I didn’t lose hours of sleep studying for anything. I take a look at the empty seat beside me. It was Ayush’s. I lay down, placing my head on the wooden seat of the bench and my legs in my place. On any other day, I would feel extremely uncomfortable. Today, it rather felt comforting as I fell asleep again, knowing there was still an hour for the test. The test that would get me my Honda.

Forty-five minutes later, the silence of the class woke me up. Three hours pass by as everyone around me desperately attempts to cheat. The moment I put down my pen, I knew I got the Honda. I could hear the leaves flow along with the breeze outside the class, in the corridor, as the whole class was still putting down whatever they could on the paper. I could almost see my upcoming score, a solid ninety-five on a hundred, besides my name Kiyansh, on the answer sheet.

A week passes by. It was a red-letter day. The day when the results would be announced. As I predicted, I got my Honda. I took it to the hospital to visit Ayush. He suffered from a broken right leg and a critical injury on his head. As soon as I see him being treated, he waves at me with an innocent smile. I thought to myself, “Was it worth it, though? Making him trip on the stairs so he couldn’t take the test the next day. I just did what I had to, right? However, what if he had died? Uff doesn’t matter. To survive, one certainly has to be cunning. At least, that is what life taught me. But I still can’t get over hurting my friend to gain a materialistic luxury. Should I atone? Should I confess and ask him to forgive me? I still don’t know if I should feel guilty or not.”



This contribution is reviewed by R. S. Chintalapati, edited by Sreeram Rajana, proofread by K. M. Sindhushree & photographed by Pankaj Tottada.

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