How have you been? The last time I checked your Facebook timeline, you looked perfectly well in your new outfit, new backdrop and a new set of friends. It’s been six months since you left Durga, and you haven’t returned any of my apologies. You know, late in the night when I typed all those apologies, my own conscience battled me not to. I mean, why do I even have to apologize to you over and over for a crime I haven’t even committed? My cousins said you weren’t worth the effort. My friends offered me luxurious bottles to help me float and drown your memories. But here I am, writing my twentieth pitiable apology.
What do you think I am, Durga? A pathetic loser for not heeding to any of my friends, and cousins, including my own conscience; or brave heart for single- handedly dealing with my heartbreak, your absence and reality and yet surviving every night to see the morning light? For a time I fancied myself as a winner. I finally got that lesson people say life teaches. So I should simply learn mine and believe that destiny has better friends in store for me than you and move on.
Have you moved on Durga? It is important for me to know because I haven’t. And it is important for you to know that if I had to move on I would have, seven years back when you mysteriously left Krishna Apartments and me. You were my only friend who always included me in her team, who never laughed at my broken teeth, who always helped me with homework, who always cheered me to try harder and do better and no matter how frail, offered a shoulder. I was a kid then, too small to deal with heavy words like ‘feelings’. But when you were gone, the hole was real. And for a long time, I looked for a friend who would accept me for the person I was but with no luck.
Meanwhile, puberty happened and the child- me left his search for you behind. Like all childlike fancies, I believed I had forgotten you too. But then by some sadistic stroke of fate, I saw you walking down that road. And life became a childhood drama all over again.
What never surprised me, however, is the fact that you were every bit the old you, and any wonder, a better and kinder version. The hole that had ceased to exist opened up once again- this time in my pangs to crave for your company. I vowed never to lose you again. Trust me, had I known that my confession would only take you away from me, I would have restrained myself. But the stupid me felt I had to be honest with you, no matter what – wasn’t it the only thing you ever asked for in our friendship?
But then Durga, I don’t believe I am remotely guilty of falling in love with you. Who wouldn’t, if they get to know you? Still, if you believe, that I am guilty of “poisoning our friendship” as you said, haven’t you punished me enough by your silence? Every day has morphed to torture me as a lifetime Durga. And without your presence in my life, I don’t think I will survive any more of these lifetimes.
I do not expect you to return the courtesy of loving me. No. I am not that selfish. But return me that honour of basking in your friendship. More than anything I fell in love with that dear friend in you. So for one last time, I plead Durga, do stay in my life. Stay now, because in another lifetime you couldn’t.
PS – I have attached a sketch of yours I drew long back. I hope you accept it as a token of our renewed friendship.