I have been doing things mechanically. I have been acting strange. All my mind is elsewhere. I am in the grip of some kind of a feverish excitement – the thrill of having gotten in touch with a friend, whom I have known almost two-thirds of my life.
Just to take myself on a little reminiscing journey, there were a lot of commons – which was what hooked us to each other. Our birthdays were apart just by a week, we studied in the same class, same section, lived in the same colony and so many things.. This is all i can think of right now. I was her pillion rider in her black bicycle – while she negotiated the maddening traffic, my job was to mind the school bags and the lunch baskets. :)
While we were good friends, the giant leap from good to great friends came one day. It was just another normal day in school except for the fact that I had one of the worst running noses I ever had. I was sniffing, puffing and sneezing all day and my hanky was wet from all the discharge. I can distinctly remember. It was a short break post-lunch. The language class would begin in a while (we took different languages. Mine was Sanskrit while hers was Tamil. I had gone to my Sanskrit class). Shortly after the class started I realised I had kept my hanky in the classroom. I was struggling with my leaky nose. Just as I was struggling, I saw my friend excuse herself, enter the classroom, walk straight to me and say – ‘here, have your hanky. You would need it’. I blankly stared at her barely mumbling a thank you. I could never thank her enough for actually picking up the wet hanky and bringing it all the way knowing my dire need. That day the love and respect I had for her multiplied manifold. I am not sure if she even remembers this incident. However, this is my side of the story!
After that academic year, when we moved to a different city, we saw each other very rarely, probably once in two or three years. Letters were our primary mode of communication for a long time before the internet took over. We missed each other’s late teens and early twenties. We missed each other’s weddings. I was not even among the first few callers to greet her when she had her two lovely children. In fact, till I told her today, she was not aware that I even had a little darling who would turn two this October!
Despite all this, I guess our friendship has withstood the test of time – and has done so very gracefully. The moment I heard her hello, I knew it was my very old friend – the connection was instantaneous. She really did have me at hello! (The famous line from Jerry Maguire). We discussed everything from neighbours to teachers to classmates to everything. Nothing had actually changed except the brief interruptions that our little children caused to our lovely hour+ long conversation.
While I am not sure if my friend would ever be reading this, this post is to just say – “Cheers to the good times, dear!”
Meet you soon.