Sunday, October 04, 2009
This is one of the most emotional post I have written till date- not because it will move anyone who reads to tears, but because I can’t hold back my tears while writing this. So, I shall keep it simple; as simple as I can, so as never to forget what am feeling now.
She was my best friend since KG1 and a friend even before that. Other friends have walked in and out of my life, but none like her. No one who has changed me the way she has. If am a better friend to the people I meet today, I owe it to her. Earlier, about two years before when I was trying to do a post on best friends, I choked and stopped myself rather than spoiling my mood. In that post, I had said I shall write someday later. Today has to be the day.
Nidhi Balagangadharan. The beautiful same aged kid with whom I used to shamelessly eat several helpings of icecreams at marriage parties. It was even better that our parents chose to send us to the same school. I don’t remember how exactly, but ever since I can remember she was my best friend. Things were heaven till the 8th. I was one of those bubbly, studious, extracurricular kind of a person in school who had friends in all classes and was miraculously most teacher’s pet. I got some special joy in being liked by everyone. I made it a point to be very close and available for anyone or everyone who needed my help especially my classmates. I was one of those girls included in all the different groups n the class. I was proud of it then, not so much now. Somewhere in this “make everyone like me” fiasco, I left my Nidhi alone. Not because I loved her any less, but I felt since I see her after school too, I am being fair even if I don’t give her much time in class..She confronted me several times with tears in her eyes that she din’t like me being so close to others, that she wanted me for herself; she wanted her to be my only best friend. She was, but maybe I dint find it necessary to confirm or prove it to her. When the crying sessions started getting worse by the time we were in 9th, I called her Rudali just to tease her. But somehow others in class got to know it and the name stuck to her. I felt sorry, but there was nothing I could do. I expected her to understand what I feel rather than make me say it. In 10th, she was a bit drawn away. She would herself keep quiet and snuggle in a corner of the class all by herself and would try to be invisible to me till we left school. Then the day would be typical with studying together, meeting up in the evening again for a ride in our cycles and so on.. But till the date that I read her diary, I never knew how different she was feeling for me. The words she had written over and over in her diary for about months stared out into my face- “I hate her. I hate Minu”. Still I hadn’t known what to do but to cry hard when I was alone that night and for several nights to come. My dad took VRS that year and I left the place after my tenth. I remember the date.02-04-2000, when I left the place I was born and brought up and where the best of my memories lived, she had come to see me off. Silently, without tears she had pressed a bangle into my hand and waved a good bye. I wanted to cry and tell her she still was my best friend and always will be, but I was too determined never to cry in front of anybody. That painful lump that formed in my throat that day stayed there for several months after that too.
I came to a new place, felt like an alien; yet survived. I wrote her letters several times, never posted. I sent her brother a letter though. Nitish (or Deepu as we called him) was as much a brother to me as her. He replied back too, but not a word from her. Every year a birthday card bought and a letter is written but never posted. Used to ask everyone I knew back there about her. After about 5-6 years I lost track of her. Then got to her father somehow and told him to give her my mail id or to give me hers. He gave me her id, but still I never got a reply from her. Then after 8 and half years I found her again. For couple of months we mailed on formal terms. I even apologized, but she just waved it off saying “past is gone, it can’t be changed. Leave it”. Then about 8 months ago, I spoke to her. That’s when things came back to normal.
After 9 years and 5 months, I met her on the 1st of October. When I first saw her walking towards me I wanted to hug her tight and laugh till I cry. But she walked up with a small smile and gave me a tap on my shoulder and off we went chit chatting and laughing like kids.2 days in between were one of the most beautiful days of my life. It was like the 9 years in between just melted off; as if they never existed. I knew she had forgiven me for being insensitive to her emotional needs back then. Today when she came to see me off, I felt that lump form in my throat again. I felt like giving a bear hug and telling her how much I had missed her, how much she meant to me and that she IS my best friend but thought better of it and was going to walk away when she held my hand and gave me a kiss on my cheek and then looked perplexed 'cos she had left her lipstick marks on my cheek. We both laughed and hugged each other. I fought to hold back my tears and whispered into her ears that she is and always will be my best friend. Then we broke free and I walked towards the waiting bus. She came over to the window I was sitting and I could see those tears brimming into her eyes just as they were brimming into mine. She held my hand and said “You too. Always”.
Posted by Meenakshi at 12:40 PM