Scraped Knees.

9 April 2013.

A sudden ‘thump’ shook me out of my reverie. Unknown to me, I had knocked the pen stand off my desk. Picking it quickly up, I heaved a sigh of relief that the floor is carpeted. And all at once, yet another ‘thump’ moment came to my mind. Only that time round, I hadn’t been as lucky…and the ‘thump’ had actually resulted in a ‘crash’ amidst shattered ceramic pieces.

Years ago, I had bought myself a birthday gift from my own money. My first gift to myself, from my first ever ‘earnings’. A little ceramic pirate, holding a heart in hand and smiling mischievously at me. The day I had seen it, I had wanted it. I knew the exact spot in my room where he could reign supreme. But I was too reluctant to ask for it at home. To satisfy myself, I dragged my friend to the shop everyday and admired my little pirate atop the shop shelf. The shopkeepers now knew me, they even agreed for a discounted price looking at my young age and my determination. And yet, I was adamant to keep this obsession to myself. Just around that time, I earned a little money for some voluntary work I used to do. Perhaps it was my will-power or perhaps it was mere co-incidence, but the amount I had earned was the exact cost of my current obsession. Money in hand, I could proudly walk into the store and claim the pirate as mine.

As I placed him in his rightful spot, I knew my world was now complete. I had what I desired the most and I had earned it through my own efforts. While the rest of my room collected dust, I was loyal to my pirate. He was sparkling clean amidst the sea of dust he seemed to always float on. Not a day passed when I hadn’t spoken a few words to him or kissed me a quick Goodnight.

And then one day, the photo frame hanging above my pirate slipped on its hook and hit him hard. Pushed off the shelf, the ceramic figure plummeted a few feet OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAand came to rest at my feet… a million pieces. I had seen the entire incident, but had been too shocked to put my hands out and save him. At that moment, it felt like the pile of pieces I was standing in, was a reflection of my own heart. The tiny red heart the pirate held in his hand had perhaps, after all….been mine.

Looking back years later upon the incident, I almost smile. I had made something my whole world, when actually it was meant to be just a single part. An important part, yes but a part of the whole nevertheless. One of the ceramic pieces had hurt me, and I had bled all over the floor. But till date, what remains crystal clear in my memory is the void I felt upon losing him. The hours of obsession, the money spent, the wound inflicted never mattered….

Perhaps that is why they say, Scraped Knees are easier to bear than Broken Hearts!


Boy Wonder.

4 April 2013.

An almost curly crop of hair, bent over his books is how I first met him. Because every time I turned around in my desk, his hair is all that greeted me. Occasionally a pair of curious eyes looked up at me, through a pair of glasses that always perched atop his nose. I admired the way he was so intent on poring over books…in a class packed with 56 noisy teenagers, I always marveled how he remained unfazed.

Perhaps the window seat in the corner row of the classroom suited him. Perhaps my bench partner being his friend and us sitting just a desk ahead was enough for him. His drawings of various Pokémon characters and the very special Dragonball Z enthralled me, and yet I was kept at a distance. Just entering our teens, we were all still getting used to the fact that the opposite sex is not as ‘Eeew’ as it appeared a few years ago. There was scope for friendship, there was a definite advantage in that. But adhering to peer pressure, I maintained my safe distance too. I didn’t want my name doing the rounds with his, for that would have killed all possible chances of a friendship that may blossom in the years to come.

It is weird how some relations are just meant to be. Throughout the remainder of school life, that distance was constantly maintained. A smile was more than enough acknowledgement. But out of school and ‘marooned’ in one of India’s finest jungles, I discovered the face behind that curly crop of hair. The eyes behind the glasses now told me stories; they had me intrigued, they kept me captivated. Beneath that hair was a head that understood everything I blurted out. Not just that, but what he spoke back made me delve deeper into my own thoughts. With him, I found myself challenging my own intellectual limits and the results were amazing!!

The distance was bridged and he became a common name in my daily life. No matter where I went, a part of me stored up information to tell him. Things I could discuss, exclusively with him!! In our friend circle, he was the only one who looked beyond my ‘cute’  face.  Way out of our teenage and heading into adult life, the topics of our conversations became intense. We exchanged fears and we boosted each others’ morales. In his achievements, I hold pride. His technical brain complemented my dreamy literary thoughts.

I floated in the clouds and he held the string tightly, so I only ever drifted but eventually landed back on the ground. Today we are no longer a desk apart; and yet we are closer than ever. I now laugh over that immature fear of being teased as a couple in school.

For years we have been close, and yet we are ‘just good friends’. As you become used to a person, you start to take the relationship for granted. And yet sometimes, the wave of nostalgia crashes hard upon the shore of reality.

The sand flows back with the wave, but feet still stand on the same spot firmly.

An anchor in this chaotic life, my boy wonder 🙂best_friends_cards-p137346433598677488qqld_400

From Ice Candies to Arm Candies…

holding_hands3 April 2013.

There was something in the midnight phone call that sparked the nostalgia. The contagious happiness spreading both ways fueled the memories and the ‘sphelling’ mistake only aggravated it. Minutes after the call ended, I was still stunned at how many years we go back together.

To me, the images of us always stuck to each other in nursery school are as fresh as a quick hug exchanged as a Goodbye few months ago. In between, innumerable moments occurred and today looking back, it overwhelms me.

Do you remember hosting our private Dahi Handi sessions at your house, off-season?

Till date, I love the festival for that sole reason.

Do you remember how when we learnt letter-writing in school, it was a matter of prestige WHO the letters in the notebook were addressed to?

Mine were always addressed to you.

Remember when we were meant to send ‘someone close’ a postcard in primary school?

Sitting next to you, I wrote to you…..and you to me.

Looking back, that was the definition of ‘best friends’. As simple as could be, no expectations. As we grew up, things became more complicated. There were moments when we hardly even spoke…and yet when classes were shuffled, yours’ was the only name I really searched for. Always the popular girl, you were constantly surrounded by friends and admirers ever since. Standing at the sidelines, a part of me burned with jealousy. I didn’t want to share you…and yet I never knew how to edge closer.

Maybe it was circumstance, maybe it was Destiny…I know not, but just into secondary school we were back together. Sitting next to each other, though now the letters were addressed to someone else. Now there weren’t as many secrets shared with each other, the recesses spent with other people…and yet, I was always glad to be sitting next to you. The definition of ‘Best friends’ was now altered, each others’ names slipping down the list….and yet, every slambook entry certainly included your name.

In the past few years, the dynamics between us have changed. When we stayed at a distance from each other, there was always a stubbornness to meet you daily. And now that we live only lanes apart, we don’t end up meeting for months. We hear about each other from other people, and watching your photographs with other people still makes me a tiny bit jealous. For a minute, I mourn letting you slip away all those years ago.

And yet, when I pick up the phone to talk to you…I hear the happiness in your voice and it calms me down. Years ago, we shared ice candies together…being the world for each other. Today, we are arm candies of different people, us the world for them. This journey has been long and it has been a rollercoaster. But throughout, I have never felt your fingers slip away from mine.

Today, when I am truly away, I realise I can never really walk away from you. Because I wouldn’t know what to do without you…

To my oldest,

Happy Birthday!

From your oldest 😉

P.S: This is for you-