Posted by: ratobhaley July 13, 2007
My best friend
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I don't know why my best friend would do this, and I will never find out.

Navin and I have been best friends for over 10 years. We went to AVM together and after SLC he went to Delhi to pursue his studies and I went to Tri Chandra College. As fate would have it, we both ended up in Dallas. In addition to fate, we both planned to land in Dallas as we had known few other classmates from AVM were there and they had confirmed that it was easy to get a job to pay for the tuition and that the rent was cheap and affordable. 

When we were in school, I would bike over to his house and ring the bell every morning and he'd come downstairs and bike to school together from Lagankhel. We had few other friends in our circle too who would all hang out together after school and during breaks. From within our circle of friends, it was just Navin and I who came to the US. The rest are back in Nepal and having pretty prosperous lives thanks to their parents and grand parents who had made sure life would be easy for thier descendants. We were inseparable as in always hanging out together. Even when he was in Delhi and I was in Ktm we kept in touch. I used to go to the Internet Hut on kingsway after college to check emails and we'd end up chatting up. When he came back for his vacations, we would make plans of one day making it to the land of opportunities and try our luck there. 

There were 6 of us in our circle but Navin and I shared the feeling that us two needed to do something on our own since ours were the only families that were not well off. We shared similar old houses back in Lalitpur. Our houses were old and the ceiling was probably not more than 6 feet high while the others had nice big houses with lawns and cars. We were lucky to have a bicycle. All through our school life, we never looked at our friend's affluence in a negative way. In fact deep within, it was a driving force to try for a better life in the future. The future would be paved by our admission to a university in the US. 

Through the hardships associated with getting all the materials and testings done to go to the US, finally we both got accepted to the University of Dallas in Texas. I came about a month before Navin, and that was because I had a distant cousin living in Irving who wanted to show me around a little bit before college started. I wanted to ask Navin to come with me but I didn't want to impose another person on my cousin who didn't know Navin.

When Navin came to the US, I had even started working at a Gas Station. There was a week before college started so Navin used to just hang out with me behind the counter. It was nice to have free access to ciggerettes, drinks and other snacks. We lived together with two other Nepali students who were a year ahead of us. Things were going good. I made enough money to pay for my college combined with the scholarship that I received. We had parties every weekend at our place. We had enough share of girl trouble. Trouble as in not getting our feet wet or anything but just not having enough guts to ask out a girl. Well, that changed over time and we both dated few girls after the testing times of the first semester.

Time went by and it was the junior year of college. Things were not that different from before. There were little differences between Navin and I that I should have mentioned earlier. I'm writing as I'm thinking so excuse me for this. One of the main differences between me and Navin probably is due to the fact that he's one of 5 children. He has 3 elder brothers and one younger sister, while I am the only son of my parents. Possibly due to family size he was very easy going to the point that he was careless and irresponsible, while I had a very sharp sense of righteousness and ethics. Lot of times our ethics would clash when he would try to pass off something unethical such as stealing of money from the counter since noone would know - and I would not let him do that since that was not me. Being the only child, my parents had lot of time in their hands to teach me few things and one of the main aspects of my upbringing had always been about morality and ethics that my father never ceased to preach me. My father had been a government worker all his life and he had never chosen to lose respect for himself by accepting any bribes or be involved in anything unethical all his life. He had seen his co-workers start to build houses and buy cars with the same amount of salary he was making but for himself and his family and son, he never wanted to indulge in making money on the side which he found unethical. That has always been the biggest lesson for me and draws a deep respect for a man of principles. This same character has been instilled on me from the time I started understanding that chocolates cost money and I don't have money for that, and even my parents didn't have enough money for frugalties. Understanding that has provided a sense of humility and respect for money as well as the ethical aspect of making money.

I digress. Coming back to Navin, as I have said we were very good friends yet with different personalities and differnet values and ethics. For some unknown reason however, he would listen to me. It might be because I was better than him in sports and studies. 

Then the day came when, things would unfold as in a dream, which would amaze me and strike me with awe.

It was the Spring semester of our third year. We were both ready for another summer. As in last two summers we were planning to go to New York to work our ass off. Some of our friends were going to Ocean City and were trying to convince us to go there well but we were not sure yet. United states is a land of options, too many options is stressful at times specially coming from Nepal where you have one option which is pretty crappy most of the time. 

It was the 7th of May, 2007 - a Monday - two days after spending the Cinco de Mayo party at one of our Mexican friends place. I had finished my 2nd class of the day at 11:30 am. My other class was at 3pm so as usual i was just socializing with couple of friends in the corridor. 

Suddenly, a rush of student started running across the corridors shouting 'Run, run!' I had no clue what was going on. I tried to stop someone and ask and he was way out of breath to be audible, but I could make out a word 'gun'. 

'No way!' I thought. I had extensively followed the shooting at Vtech - having watched the documentary on Columbine shooting. My feet got limp at the thought of the same thing happening at my college. I started running frantically towards the elevator - but there was no way anyone was going to be using the elevator today. There was a big crowd of people trying to get into the stairways trying to run away to freedom. During that time I swear I could hear few gunshots somewhere behind. While joining the groups of people running somewhere I heard the word 'Navin'. The word jabbed at me. 

'What about Navin?' I asked. 'He's the guy with the gun.' I was shocked. How could he be the shooter. I didn't know what to do next. I slowed down. I could not think straight. How could it be Navin. I have known him for so long. My legs had stopped running. I could see few figures dash past me with my peripheral vision and I could hear footsteps and even some 'bangs' following the gunshots. But I stood there paralyzed - not knowing what to do and in utter disbelief.

Someone tapped me from behind. I looked around and it was Navin. His face was without any emotions. He pointed the gun at me and shot me. My best friend Navin killed me. 
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