March 1, 2015: The most memorable day in a long long time. #together
Aranya, one of my best friends was home after years. And that was reason enough to celebrate.
I’ve had few, very few friends always. So after school ended, I was suddenly left all alone in the heart of an empty cornfield. Evening seemed to close in rapidly and I was frightened. Every night after returning home from college, I rang up Barsha, Ankita & Aranya and after they had reassured me and my nerves felt less taut, tiredness would overtake and I plunged into cold sleep. It wasn’t that I didn’t make new friends but my new friends were, well, new and between us were miles and miles of unexplored stretches.
I missed school.
Life unfolded the usual way. Studies and exams and failed relationships kept us busy. Both Ankita & Aranya moved to different cities. Barsha and I hardly saw each other though she lived less than half an hour away. Soon it was the last year of college. I was supposed to start working in the fall, in a new city. Everything was fine until September.
After just a week, I quit.
In addition, I week after that, I was diagnosed with scoliosis and suggested surgery.
As if, the scaffoldings were giving way. My organised life had suddenly developed numerous cracks and I had no idea how to heal myself. I felt broken. I felt defeated. In addition, worst of all, I didn’t have the heart or the guts to call up my friends and ask for those old reassurances.
In the last week of February, Aranya texted that she was coming home and we had to had to meet. And this is how a gorgeous day, resplendent with budding leaves and scarlet flame of the forests, unfolded.
Barsha joined us & after lunch at a Tibetan eatery, we strolled through nondescript streets, past crumbling buildings still wearing their colonial pride, stalls selling the famous Kolkata kathi-rolls, past phuchka sellers and kids licking ice creams before plopping down on the grounds of Victoria Memorial Hall. Stories were shared. Heartache folded into origami birds and flown away. Forgotten days of school reminisced with sweet nostalgia. I hadn’t smiled so much in months, I felt. I hadn’t spoken so much in months either. The air around me had suddenly stopped crushing my lungs.
It took less than 3 hours for my heart to feel whole again. I told her why I hadn’t called her up in so many months. I told her how small I felt. I told her why I quit my job. I told her everything. The things that hurt and the things that had stopped hurting. The things I was afraid of. The lack of motivation that was drowning me with ruthless cruelty.
No advices were given but I was reprimanded for not telling her all of this earlier. And when my best friend hugged me after all those years, with all my imperfections, life felt perfect again.
When I walked home from the station later in the evening, I felt hopeful – somehow all that laughter had brought back a hint of that optimism and strength I had lost.
Written for We are Together in this Journey
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