‘They can say what they like’ she used to say, ‘Ten years down the line; you won’t even remember a word of what they said. You have your own goal, and you work for it. Let them waste their life if that’s what they want to do.’
She took the pure Humanities stream in eleventh grade when I started ninth grade. Instinctively, I trusted her more than anyone. She was always there, sitting on the first seat in the bus with her bag, waiting for me. She had a quirky sense of humour, and strength that no one could crush. I used to be her guinea pig for her psychology and sociology experiments. I used to make fun of her extraordinary innocence and naïveté, and she used to simply smile.
Being my confidante, I used to %&#&$ a lot about my frenemies to her. I told her about my problem of repelling friends after sometime, and she gave me a simple answer to the malady—don’t let anyone get too close, if that was what triggered it. I used to tell her about the TV shows I watched and all the storylines revolving in my head that I transformed into crude stories. She never got irritated somehow. In fact she was interested in my writing and even helped me when I had a writer’s block.
I have no idea how the two years passed so quickly. She gave her twelfth grade exams while I gave my tenth grade exams. She left town after that, as her parents shifted to another city.
I don’t know if she’ll ever read this, but I hope she recognises herself, and realises how thankful I am for those words of wisdom, for those crazy afternoons when we went for social service together, or those lunch breaks in the library when the entire gang sat together and had fun, for those mornings in the bus when she gave me a smile that began my day, for all those times when she listened to me *^$#& about those closest to me, for ferrying me to sports day and back, for being my scapegoat when I needed one, for dragging me out from hell when I thought that I had sunk beyond help. . .
She didn’t know all this, for I was never able to express my gratitude. I guess this has only one moral: say what you need to say . . . and say it before it’s too late . . . for who knows when we will meet again . . .