THE FRIEND OF MY LIFE
Apart from my mom, at that tender age of 13, X. was my best friend. She still reminds me of the uncorrupted innocence of childhood. Witty, feisty and equipped with a rare sense of humour, she always managed to put up a smile in my face which lacked expression. We were too young and unblemished to fall in love but we took pride in saying that ” We are the bestest friends!”. X was the first person who made me take a sip from the cup of friendship, rather forced me into it as I was much a loner. She took me for what I am and babbled and babbled, laughed and talked. Her incessant chirpings reminded me of the raindrops drumming on a tin shed. Frankly speaking, i don't pay attention to jibber-jabber but i just loved to listen. And tell you what she did jibber jabber about “jibber jabber!” We were totally opposite of each other. X- a person who took life casually, had a big heart and never missed a chance to help others. She used to say : ” It gives me joy, Senny! You and your books won't make you understand that!” ..I ,the more practical of the two, thought her to be immature at that time but at this age,i know for one that she was more wiser than me. You see the human heart is too complicated to understand, the more you let it speak ,the web gets more complicated and in her case, it was the same. Blessed with a sharp mind ,I see the world in “+”(pluses) and “-“(minuses) where as she used to see the world through the heart. She once told me : “Use your heart to see for once, shut your stupid intelligent mind!” ..At that time rather than sinking into the depths of this sentence i found that the word “stupid” in connection with “intelligence” was a novelty that commended itself.
But every good thing must end. Dark as that sounds, in my life, this sentence plays a vital role. She may or may not have been my first crush. I was too confused and pleased to care for that but she was a friend-a true friend. Then that fateful day ,April the 2nd arrived, that changed my life, X's ,my family and hers and put shackles on our feet and prisoned us for life. We were family friends and on the 2nd of April, we paid a visit to their house near Park Street. Her dad ,an advocate by profession was the most endearing person i had met then and always made us feel at home. Visits to their house were something i looked forward too- Her gifts to me, those “chocolate sessions”, teddy-hugs and movie sprees. We used to read massively at that time and egoistic and well equipped though i am,i don't feel the simplest prick when i say : “Her vocabulary was far better than mine!”. These sessions used to end with us bringing the dinner from one of our favourite restuarants “Freter ( name altered) “. And the fun part was that we could order whatever we liked!! Surprisingly ,though we were oppositely polarized ,we had the same palate and craved for Chinese. The excitement, that eagerness to gulp down the boneless chicken balls and give each other less, was something i miss till date. She represented a place where the uncoated me was accepted and nurtured.
The bill was one thousand rupees,exact. Dangling the plastic packet that contained the edibles she walked on, humming a tune by the sidewalk. Suddenly, a voice from the farther street called : “Hey X, where are you going? Come down here!”. Turning her face she saw a friend and without watching, started prancing down the street like a doe. Just then a honking truck came from the front and hit her so hard that she got airlifted. Being brushed off her feet ,she screamed and fell flat on the ground with a thud. I was so shocked that i couldn't move or breathe. It didn't end there. The momentum of the traffic was too great to resume and a car ran over her, crushing her rib cage to bit. Her hair bathed in blood, her dress torn, my heart stopped beating. As much as i would like to go back in time and change my static frame ,i couldn't do anything but looked on,not blinking,unmoved. Her large eyes were open as if life was trickling out of her or as if Yamraj was sponging out the remaining elixir. Then as i drew nearer,the scene that awaited me was something that gives me the creeps even today. Her entire chest was crushed,rib cage broken and she oozed blood from all possible fronts. I couldn't decipher her calm,radiant face as it was overpainted with blood! I started shaking in fear and self-loathing got the better of me.
“why on earth wasn’t i more responsible?”
“Why didn't i hold her hands when i knew she was so casual?”
“What am i going to tell to her parents?”
I woke up in their room and found that fear had made me unconscious. Her parents were wailing and howling as her mom slapped me right and left. Although i knew that i was not in control of the situation and i couldn't save her even if i lived it again but a certain portion of me still thinks that i am to blame. I was never me after that. My innocence, spirit and views took a battering that day and this trauma had etched on my life a dark line which can never be erased. I still remember her and the times we had spent,the fights, her chirpings. Thinking back, she taught me many things and her words and voice still echoes within me. She gives me strength. On this very day, i would like to give X, a standing ovation. Wherever you are i want you to know that i cherished your friendship and that ” You were right and i was wrong!” . The world's much more than pluses and minuses.