January 07, 2014

Long, impromptu post about a long-lost friend

Ok, I was slightly flustered when I decided to resort to the blog for letting off steam. But right now, I'm listening to my new favourite song (What Does the Fox Say?) and am gobsmacked all over again. How could they make something so brilliant! Music helps me relax, so I'm good right now. Ah, listening to Westlife now. Love these guys.

Yeah, this is another random, unplanned blog post. Writing it just like that. For the past couple of years, I've been conscious about posting only the stuff that is funny/witty/amusing. Now I'm going easy on that self-imposed restriction. A blog called 'Straight From The Heart' does need to have a few posts every now and then that justify the title.

Hahaha... So these songs made me forget what I was going to write about. Oh yes, I wanted to rant a bit about having to return the laptop. I'm typing this on a friend's borrowed laptop. The friend had gone out of the city for a few days so had been kind enough to give me her laptop to use. She's back so I'll be returning it to her. Which means I'll again be left without any source of entertainment and leisure. Yeah, this is what I wanted to rue about. Ever since I left home five-and-a-half years ago to come to Bangalore, I've been entertainment-starved. And I don't like it. I have missed great storylines and comebacks in WWE, which was once my lifeline. I have missed great songs.

Oh yes, one event I want to record: Today, I met a friend of mine after a gap of 14-and-a-half years. We were childhood friends. Same school, same class, same section. Were we together since class I or since nursery school? Whatever. We were good friends. Ok, I was about to write we were "very" good friends, not just good. Maybe I'm hesitating. Why hesitating? I totally stopped talking to her—and other girls of my class—in the summer of 1999, when we had just started class VII.

Too young to take such a Bheeshma pratigya, but I was seriously unhappy with these girls' penchant to tell on us. The boys would come to school, but bunk most of the classes and play cricket. We were 22 boys, so we had two teams of 11 players each. I still cannot fathom what pleasure these girls would get by informing our strongly-built sports teacher that we're bunking. And then he'd make us stand in a queue and beat our behind black and blue. (That rhymed! That rhymed! Alliteration too!) This would happen often, the silly girls would tell on us every now and then. And there was more of this backbiting stuff. I got seriously offended and decided not to speak to any of them. And this is how it remained. That's how I cut myself off from this friend too.

I could have made nice long long ago as there never was any hostility from her side. Call it my obstinate nature or whatever, I always spurned the olive branch. Well, now, it was I who got in touch with her two months ago. I learned from a mutual friend she was getting married and that it's a love marriage. Now, I've been a side hero in many a failed love story. "I've seen love come, I've seen it shot down, I've seen it die in pain." (lyrics from Bon Jovi's Blaze of Glory). I've seen lives of my best friends getting ruined because their love wasn't blessed to graduate into marriage. But here's this girl, a friend I grew up with, was pretty close to... She has the fortune of marrying the one she loves. Ask me how rare it is! Plus, I know the guy she's marrying. He's a great guy and I myself am fond of him. How could I not be happy for her!

So, out of excitement I messaged her on Facebook, congratulating her, telling her how happy I was to learn of her good fortune. To my surprise, she didn't express any grudge towards me for not talking all this while. She was happy to hear from me. Again, to my surprise, I felt happy to see her response. And this is the girl I had chosen to ignore. Our well-meaning mutual friends had tried in vain to convince me to patch up with her. I was adamant.

And today I met her. This meeting came 14-and-a-half years after we—I—stopped talking. A decade and a half. For years, we were in the same township, same classroom, went on the same school trip. On that school trip, in class IX, well-meaniing juniors and even a teacher tried to persuade me to let go of my grudge. I didn't budge. (Wow! I rhymed again, without trying. Man, I'm made for writing lyrics. Ok, we'll get back to the topic). A few years ago, I even received a text message on my birthday from an unknown number. It was signed with her name. (Though I can't vouch it was she who sent it. Our mutual friends are big idiots, who love playing such pranks. Still, what if it was indeed she who had sent that message? I didn't reply.) For long, we were in close proximity, but distant. Given all this acrimony, she had every reason to snub me and ignore my message when I wrote to her.

But nah. She wrote back, saying she was very happy to hear from me. Today, I met her—I'll repeat for the sake of emphasis that we met 15 years after we stopped talking—and I could see she was happy. I met her family: mom, dad, elder bro. We were like family friends and I'd often go to their house and her parents would come to ours. It felt really good to meet all of them.

And now I'm like... I was wrong, yeah, in not patching up earlier. No hostility from her! She has reasons to be upset with me. She should be. And she must be. Maybe she is. Maybe this didn't come out because we couldn't speak for long, araam se. Had we sat and spoken, just she and I, things would have come out. Hahaha.. Even I have a couple of amusing things to tell her.

I'm genuinely happy about meeting her. Ok, so word-length concerns can go for a toss today. The point is, I'm feeling a bit humbled by the affection. The feeling is sinking in that I was being an idiot all these 14-and-a-half years. So it's only two months ago that I chose to be wiser than I was as a grumpy 11-year-old.

I don't think you'll come to my blog (and I hope you don't!), but I want to say "sorry" and "thank you". Might have said it today, face-to-face, had we got a chance to speak, just you and I. Never mind.

Hmmm... I lost once-a-good-friend because of being adamant. What are the other stupid notions I need to give up? I must be having many. One of them was not having ice cream till I am single. (Oh, and this ice cream-abstinence had come into effect the same time I had stopped talking to this friend!) What else had I resolved to do/not to do then? No no... Need to reconsider all resolves afresh. Yeh toh too much ho gaya...

“I think there is only one quality worse than hardness of heart, and that is softness of head.” —Theodore Roosevelt

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