Himachal is known as much for its beauty as it is for its parties.
I had just returned to the city after spending two weeks in Himachal. Dealing with an existential crisis and yearning to go back every day, I picked up the morning paper. The headline read “Drug racket busted!” The police had arrested four people, one of them was a familiar face,`Nishit’. It was a picture of him with his head down, looking like a criminal, with a caption calling him the drug kingpin of that city.
Nishit, the same lost, polite, soft-spoken, sharing and caring person I had spent two days of my life with, smoking pot, eating apples in the car, making fun of people we met, doing pedestrian friendly stuff. The same person was the drug kingpin of an entire city? My imagination is capable of taking a real flight of fancy, but this was just beyond my grasp. I was SHOCKED (read mentally F****D)!
Busted! Image source: Indian Express
Let's go back to the start, back to the time I first met Nishit. It was drizzling. Lunch, when I bumped into an old friend and her two companions - Aastha and Nishit. Sticking to tradition, we decided to share a joint as we awaited some comfort food that I was in desperate need of, given how I had been on a healthy veg diet for the past week.
As we exchanged stories of the various places each of us had spent our time in, the conversation took an unexpected turn, and soon I was cancelling my bus tickets to hitch a ride back to Delhi with them in their car. We then set out for Kasol to acquire supplies for a party I will never forget.
I decided to drink myself silly and revel in the last two days of my stay here. All I was interested in was a good time and grand goodbye. My friend, who I was travelling with, joined us. Aastha and Nishit had some interesting substances (read M) for the evening ahead and were more than happy for our company. M for MDMA or short for Methylenedioxymethamphetamine is an upper that sky-rockets you to euphoria until it drags you back to reality with a heavy head and stomach sickening downer. I had tried it before and enjoyed it, so I thought “Well what the hell!”
Flying high with MDMA. Image source: sundayguardianlive.com
In between running errands, the sun had already gone down. The night awaited us with all its sins and truth be told I was excited. I just wanted the party to begin and it did as soon as dinner was over.
What began as just the four of us, and few other friends we made at the café, had during the course of the night turned into a full-fledged mini rave swarming with people I didn’t know or even notice coming in. Nishit had a jewelry box filled with all sorts of poisons. Some characters I met there dancing to songs or hoola hooping addictively were absurd to mention the least. One was a short local who seemed extremely aggressive and rude and the other a loud Israeli cougar, who kept insinuating that Nishit gave her MDMA instead of another more expensive substance.
Café by the river where it all began
I was so subsumed in the high of the night that I didn’t notice subtle indications that pointed towards Nishit’s real identity. Like how he was managing to supply an unending amount of MDMA to suffice more than ten people. Or how he managed to conjure Cocaine out of nowhere for the weird Israeli lady. Or why I blindly dismissed Aastha’s misgivings who knew Nishit a great deal better than me. When the night ended, when we woke up, and how we reached miles away from Katagla - is all just a foggy haze in my head.
Ms. Molly in whole. Image source: pinterest.com
It was only on reaching Delhi and witnessing Nishit’s eagerness to deliver a packet to some friends, that I finally began having some doubts. But never this. Not to this extent. He came across as a sweet guy. And my friend and I thought, “maybe he just really loves doing drugs and likes company”. We even considered the fact that he was a drug philanthropist i.e. he helped people get high thinking it was a social service he was doing, rather than the opposite.
I left the next day with simple thoughts and fond memories of Nishit, as a guy I partied with, who bought us fruits on our way back to Delhi, and kebabs from a roadside dhaba because I was hungry. A guy who was generous and caring, unlike many of the others I usually meet. Little did I know the real person behind this.
I guess that’s the thing about drugs. You lose all sense of perception in the bid to have a good time.
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By Zahra Sultan
Cover photo credit: timesofindia.indiatimes.com