Hello, Sanjukta, my oldest friend,
I still remember that day. That was my first day at school. I never went to any ‘tiny-tots’ or kindergarten, rather I was directly admitted to a High School which had a nursery division. I was sitting alone when a girl with chubby cheeks and a dangling ponytail entered and took her place just beside me. After a minute or two, as soon as she gathered herself, she smiled at me and from that very moment, I liked her.
Since then our journey started. We shared every trivial thing and also those girlish stories which we wanted to keep as secrets. We could confide everything to each other. It so happened that it became almost impossible for me to spend that drab and grey day when she was absent for some reasons. Once after her absence for three consecutive days, my despondency reached the maximum level and, my tantrums forced my ‘Maa’ to take the desperate decision of finding one’s house without any proper address or location. I only catered ‘Maa’ with the name of her father and the locality where they used to reside. After three wrong knock-knocks at three different houses ‘Maa’ sternly said that the fourth attempt would be the last and final one. I immediately prayed to all known Gods and Goddesses so that they would get aware of the bereavement of a little girl and could shower their blessings accordingly! And yes! The world was much cleaner and pollution free at that time and they did hear me! The fourth house ended our adventure and ‘kakima’ welcomed us with a big smile. My dearest friend was suffering from fever and so was unable to attend the classes. While I was babbling all the stories of the last three days to her, the two mums also got acquainted with each other.
From then the two families also came closer and the bonding of friendship between us grew tighter. It happened many times that we quarrelled with each other, only to feel that none of us would be able to live without the other.
Gradually the innocence of childhood gave way to the chirpiness of adolescence and every secret wish and evil thought …every dream..we used to enjoy together. Strange enough, but when we studied together it took less time to remember and understand things. Life was a blessing….studying was fun.
It was one Sunday when Kaku, Kakima came to our house. It was a surprise visit and both of us were overwhelmed with getting a chance to chat. After they were gone, ‘Maa’ told me that her father had got a transfer notice and they had to shift to Pune. It took me some time to grasp the meaning. I was at a loss. ‘Maa’ also told me that she knew nothing about it yet. The realization that probably I would never be able to see her again almost made me hysterical. I went to my room and, wept…and wept.
Next day, when she entered the class, I could clearly see traces of tears on her cheeks..they no more looked chubby. None of us uttered a single word. Intangible, invisible, thought waves rattled our minds. After the school was over she said: ”chithi likhbo” (I would write to you). That was the last time I saw her. That was not an age when mobile phones winked from everyone’s pocket. We exchanged letters several times but, somehow, as we both grew up and, got busy with other activities, the connection faded.
Sanjukta, I still miss you, and, I know it for sure that you still nurture the same feeling for me which you used to. Still, after so many years, memories of our friendship evokes emotional resonance. Friendship is a blessing, an unseen bonding between two similar minds. God outdid all his creations by creating friends. Sanjukta, wherever you’re, stay happy, stay blessed.