You could call it bromance, but that wouldn’t justify relationship. You see, we are a strange team, Alex and I. As like others, we have our fair share of fights and love from time to time. We grew up together. We did college together. We even work together. We are very different, yet inseparable. Alex is more of the flamboyant, dashing kind of guy, not only popular with the opposite sex, but also with the elderly and children. He has a way of handling people, to put it lightly. I, on the other hand, am quite shy and reserved. I don’t really have much friends, reason being that I am unpretentious. I tend to come off as rude although I am just straight forward and honest.

Wait a minute ! Rewind !!!

You must wonder why am I telling my story to total strangers. Well, like I mentioned earlier, for the person that I am, I don’t see anyone writing my biography,  neither is anyone going to hear about me unless I put down this tale in my own words. This is not a movie script or a thriller of any sort. This is just my version of life and at best, a humble way to express myself to all readers who have similar feelings. So here I am, in front of my laptop, trying to gather words to express myself in a very minimalistic way.

I was born with Alex, although one could argue I am the senior, since I came out first, . I started talking first as well. He couldn’t speak until he was two, but my parents noticed him first. They loved when he started talking and recorded every word he uttered. They captured every emotion that came out of his infant face. Alex managed to win the hearts of all he came across with that cheerful smile, shiny eyes and baby talk while I stayed in a corner, unnoticed, in my own world with my imaginary friends. He was extremely cute and adorable and I was, well, myself. I have no qualms about any of this.

When we started school, things did not change. Teachers at school liked him. He fought with all the kids to gain attention and this led to a few kids complaining about Alex to their parents. But guess what ? He was forgiven because he was a child. I tried persuading him to stop all this, but to no avail. He neither cared for the laws of the school nor for the kids. He was determined to create an image for himself. He wanted to be famous. I didn’t want fame or attention. I was self-content and satisfied. I was created to be content within myself.

Alex and I studied together during exams. While I believed that exams should be given its due importance, to evaluate the knowledge we gained over the course, Alex just took it as an opportunity to carry over to the next level. He studied enough to obtain marks to cross over to the next level. This I couldn’t tolerate. I had to sit inside his head, but by the end of 10 years, we managed to come to a compromise. We would learn the important subjects and just clear the rest of them. Well, what do you know, we managed a distinction. Not bad eh ? Hmmm. No complaints here either.

The distinction in school meant admission to a fairly decent college with average infrastructure and labs. Not that it mattered, but we couldn’t show off to our friends like how they did about the top colleges they went to, with play ground the size of a football field and cafeteria as big as a mall. What really mattered was how we made friends, few of them my best friends till date.

Then came Maya.
Maya was the star of the college. I don’t remember if there was anyone who did not fall in love with her. Except me of course. And that led to our first big fight. Alex wanted to win her heart and I ? I really did not care what he wanted. He took it as a challenge to win over her heart. For me love was a sacred thing, but for him, it was a matter of prestige.

Alex tried all his tricks on her, but Maya was different. She did not fall for him. She knew a fake from the real. Alex took help from common friends. When nothing worked, he came to me for help. Initially I was reluctant to undertake such a task. I saw tears in his eyes. I had to melt and I finally agreed to help him. It took me ten days, but I did come up with a plan. Although I told him it was an ingenious plan, the real secret was I just kept him sincere in his efforts and be real. That always works. Being yourself is the best solution to any problem. Although Alex did show off, he was innocent at heart. She fell for that. I saw success in his eyes. Not love, but success and I did not like that.

The next few months went by helping him to be with her . Boy, did i hate that. I would have loved to sit at home and read a romantic poem, or write few lines of my own. Instead I had to waste time with a girl that I did not approve of in the first place. But it was Alex. Finally after a year it happened ! Maya broke up with Alex. I was with him when it happened. She came to Alex, sat quietly next to him. Alex understood this silence. We just got up and walked away. She had been admitted to a college abroad and hence couldn’t continue this relation. I understand the pain of losing someone, but what iI couldn’t take was the sad songs that followed for the next few months.

It took me a year to get him back on track with his life. And then came Aishwarya, and Reena, and … many more sad songs of those days.

During the last semester we appeared for interviews and managed to get into an IT company, the buzz word of those times. If you had a tag on your neck, you were the man. Well, we were the men. So were the dogs. No, they were not men. What I meant was they too had tags on their neck. Sorry. I can be dangerous with jokes sometimes. I digress.

So here we were standing in front of the shiny glass buildings with shiny tags and shiny cameras above our heads. All these meant one thing for Alex. Money ! We were going to be paid and he was going to be independent. All it meant to me was new place, new people, new experiences. I wanted to experience life and Alex wanted to enjoy it. Alex wanted to party. I wanted to sleep. Alex wanted to dance. I wanted to sleep. Alex wanted to shop. I wanted to sleep. We stayed with a group of friends with very similar tastes. Luckily, very similar to my tastes. And so a golden year went by, quietly, until we were to travel to the US.

Alex was in the US now. He wanted to live the American dream. I just wanted to dream. He would pull me to all the parties and night clubs. He would drink. He would smoke. He would party all night. Ever since Maya,I  was his wingman. I was integral to his life. I was part of all integral decisions of his life. I did not enjoy any of this. But it was Alex. I had to be there for him, be it good or bad. I had no complaints except for the fact that he did not care to understand me. Only if he would listen to me, life would be so easy for the both of us. The primary thing was that he did not stick on to one thing. One day he would be singing and the next day on the floor practicing moves for dance, and the third day learning chess. Only if he would understand that its not variety, but consistency and sincerity that would lead to good results.

Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. The US stay had taken a toll on us. We were spoiling our health, wealth and everything else. Career was important for me, and I did not see it moving forward. So with great difficulty, I managed to convince Alex to travel back to India. India. My home. My place. My people.

I am patriotic only on certain days. Two of them being national holidays and the third, the day I was back from the US. Nothing could explain how I felt seeing my parents, friends, relatives and my home. It was good to be back . Mmmmmm. Fresh Indian air. The stench that I so loved, the stench that Alex so despised. Although he came back for me, India now did not satisfy him. He had to look outside for the happiness alternatives that he had in the US. Things went from bad to worse and I suffered along with him. My only thought was to break free from all this.

That was when she came into my life. You heard it right guys. This time it was me. Not Alex. She loved me. She liked me for what I am. I wasn’t handsome. I wasn’t a singer. I wasn’t a dancer. I was just me. Simple old me. I was crazy about her and she was too, about me. Alex did not care as he did not understand what true love was. His experiences had taught him otherwise. But I was lost. In her. Nothing could bring me back into this reality. I wanted to dream. About her. We started dating each other and slowly sharing our life. We shared happiness and sadness, dreams and wishes. I had only known the companionship of Alex. I did not know that love had an existence on its own. I always considered it a noun. Now it was a verb. I loved her. I could see us merging into oneness.

The last year has been the most beautiful to me, until yesterday. I was at peace. I had forgotten Alex. I was living for me and her. Now Alex was back. And he has come to take me away from her. He has come to take my life away from me. I am shattered. I am clueless. Just when things were looking good for me, I have been pulled back into the game called life. I do not like it.

This is my real reason to write to you my friends. I need your guidance. Do I follow Alex or do I follow her ? Do I follow reality or do I follow my dreams ? Do I follow rules or do I follow instincts. I am sure there is someone out there who will guide me. And soon.

“Alex ”
“Alex !”
“Are you there dear ? ”
“Coming Mom !”

That was mom. I need to go now. I do not like to be called Alex. The name causes me disgrace ever since he started using it as his own.
I am the real ALEX.
He is just an (AL)ter (E)go of my (X)pressions.
But no one will ever know.

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