I thought I’d hug them when I see them again. If I ever saw them again...all together, that is.
A tight, bear hug....one that would last at least a minute. One that would take their breath away, (literally)...till they screamed “let go of me”.
I thought I would stare at their faces...to familiarise myself with the lines I hadn’t seen forming. Just like we counted pimples when we were in school.
I thought I’d tell them how much I missed them...even though I told them so, every single day, for the last four years.
I thought I’ll scold them for thinking that visiting me in Australia...all of them together... was too impractical a thought (considering family commitments, job responsibilities and tours, financial constraints). Maybe I would squash them with my hug till they promised to visit. Like we said “god promise” in school.
When I really did see them this time, after three long years...T-H-R-E-E, I acted like a lunatic. I screamed out gibberish in public, as if I was having an epileptic attack. I gave them wet kisses too...much to their discomfort. But I couldn’t see their faces till I wiped off my misty eyes. And they turned misty again.
The reason I have never written about them in my blog is that I never thought I could explain the relationship we shared. “Friendship” doesn’t quite describe it. It’s not powerful enough for us. For what we have, only we can feel...and only we know. What we mean to one another, no words can describe.
We have known one another for years...since the days when F wore thick roundish Horlicks-bottle glasses, J could eat only chilly-chicken and fried rice in restaurants, A was a sports captain who made us proud, S was so thin that we had to hold her in strong winds, P had a mushroom-cut hairstyle and said the most inappropriate things in critical situations. Of course, I was, and still am, the Hitler...disciplining, correcting and trying to make brutal reforms in them.
Together, we have seen failures and successes...marriages and broken hearts....sicknesses and tragedies. We have shared a smoke, spilled more tequila than we drank...and laughed till we cried. In fashionable concerts, we have snorted like pigs, much to the dislike of the elite company. In movie halls, we enjoyed just sitting with one another...more than we ever enjoyed a movie. Till some of us parted cities, we spent every Durga puja together. We went on our silly boy-watching expeditions, where nothing fruitful ever happened. We simply watched our “secret” crushes...and came back home to talk about it through the night. We went shopping for earrings in Gariahat (every dress needed a matching pair)...and dress materials in New Market. We shared everything...from tailors and tutors, college notes and clothes, crushes and stresses, money and even blood. We spent nights consoling or comforting or gossiping or confiding....and woke up puffy-eyed next morning. We have praised and criticised one another...and our intentions were never less than the best. Some of us have flown across cities to be with the rest...to celebrate or to mourn. We have made long distance calls across time zones to share a laugh...or a tear. We have woken one another up in early mornings before exams...and also put one another to bed in times when even sleep deserted company. Gracefully taking care of one another...and our loved ones (be it aged parents or ailing siblings), we have been more than family. Our bond cotton-balled us during crisis...but also triggered us to overcome our weaknesses. Our united voice has fought with the world when needed...because a finger pointed at one of us is like a finger pointed at all of us. We have couriered gifts of love across continents....ice-creams even, (coconut-flavours from Naturals travelling in iced boxes from Mumbai to Kolkata). Our photos hang in our living rooms...the memories of which can soothe a tired soul. Blood isn’t thicker than water. But our relationship is. We are six...but we are one.
No matter what life throws at us, we know we are blessed. For to have just one such friend is a joy...and we are S-I-X.
So here’s letting you know...all over again...
You are the health in my sickness...the joy in my sorrow...the reason in my madness.
Love you all.
Image: Courtesy Santanu