Thursday, November 09, 2006

Learn This Simple Word.

Anit, was waiting for his flight at the Charles De Gaulle airport observing the chain of passengers rushing here and there. Since his flight was delayed by an hour and a half he bought the latest international best seller Mani Bhowmik's "Code name God" .He was scanning through the pages overlooking the flights preparing for departure on the runway, in front of the huge glass panes looking hazy because of the morning dew. Suddenly, a name "Ananya" was announced and the passenger was requested to board the flight immediately. This name brought to Anit's mind memories of an incident that had occurred ten years back flashed before his eyes.

Memories have a strange way of emerging from the shadows of one's mind, when one least expects it. The mind is an even stranger thing, the most perfect time machine no scientist can ever hope to invent. A mind, which dragged Anit into the past to relive those old memories cached in some corner of his brain.

Strange, but true are the ties of childhood. Looking back now in the newly entered stage of adulthood, with all its accompanying deceptions and complexities, the memories of childhood acquire a rosy tint. Life seemed so much simpler then, and friendship so much truer. Bonds that were formed over lollipops, samosas, bunking classes and peppermints, for some strange reason seem so much more enduring than today's relationships, founded on a mug of beer or on the floors of a corporate board room.

His mind races back to a time when he had lived this earth for all of five years. Anit remembers someone entered school alone, with no apprehension. And before the day was over, she was supposedly no longer alone. He had made a friend within his conscience who would be the best friend he would ever need.

Ananya and Anit never sat next to each other but continued to remain best friends. Lunch boxes and secrets were shared with equanimity, the playground their domain. And though everything that they talked about has now faded from memory, one thing remains — both wanted to remain 'best friends' till college. College being as far as they could look ahead in life, while being in the seventh standard still!

How silly human beings sometime are! Nurturing vain dreams and actually daring to believe in them! But their friendship grew, with their dream securely cocooned in a bubble. The dream lasted for five years. And then, the bubble burst, as it always does. And not surprisingly, Anit was the one who pricked the bubble. A silly reason. What was that reason? Time has a strange way of diminishing what we once considered so important. But egos unfortunately do not seem to diminish with time. His ego only grew. He and she stopped talking to each other. They moved away and apart, not imperceptibly or gradually as some friends do, but with a sudden rupture amid walls of stony silence. Oh! How he longed to break those walls! To build their bubble again! But his 'pride was his wildernesses'. What he wished for, he did not seek to attain.

Ananya and he never spoke for six years.

Only a forced telephonic conversation, that too when the world beneath her feet was shaking brought them together. She had lost her father and that's when she called him. Best friends, yet strangers. Ananya asked for forgiveness. But he? Foolish he, he did not ask for it himself, could not bring himself to say that one word that has mended so many relationships: 'Sorry.'

They had parted on the last day of school as strangers, who knew each other so well, bonded in a tie, which they didn't acknowledge. He never said 'Sorry' in parting, never asked for forgiveness. His ego (this is one attribute that unconsciously kills a person) was pleased. His pride intact. But the hurt and the pain only grew manifolds. But why then he couldn't take this simple childlike step, silence encircled his presence.

He was weeping for within but he wanted to preserve the tears. He never wanted them to drain down. Life sometimes teaches us harsh lessons, but looking back now, he wished this were one lesson; one class life had never taken. Because all it has left behind is a sea of memories filled with futile ifs and buts and a harsh indictment on the frailty of friendship.

He has not met Ananya since then. In fact he does not even know where she is. But this he learnt. That he can now say those words, which he always wanted to say, "Sorry Ananya, tu acchi thi re, I didn't realise that when I saw you in my every day life but now I am a hopeless creature. I always wanted you to be happy. So very sorry, again!".

But still he looked back to those days.

A word can help to heal someone else's wounds...I call this color of adolescence, "between the brown security of childhood and the brown routines of adult life".

Cross-posted at Desicritics

Keep reading and remain connected.

(Note : This is for Neville Dias who mailed me after a loooooooog time being deeply involved in his re-search work at University of Wisconsin–Madison. I guess the chilling cold there cannot tremble him more than when he hears about his school days in Goa...Talk to him about school days in Goa and he has these goosebumps hehehe ...)


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