19 February 2007 was the day of my final physics practical
for ninth grade. I had done unbelievably well (considering it was physics) in my
mid-term examination but this time
things were destined to go so horribly wrong that I emerged, at the end
of the class, teary-eyed and inconsolable as though it was the end of the
world. This classmate had tried to help me cheat but I had buckled so
completely under pressure that the paper had become an utter mess and it seemed
like nothing would ever be okay again.
The next day when I returned to class, determined to make
the best of a situation, she was waiting for me with a letter written on
flowery notepad paper filled both sides with an apology and ending in a poem. i
felt it was the sweetest gesture on earth; it suddenly seemed like the world
did contain a few good people too. I returned her gesture with a letter of my
own, tearing the paper out of my notebook and reassuring her in turn that it
was not her fault and thanking her for the letter that had touched my heart.
And we fell into a pattern
We bought diaries; she decorated them with flowers and our
names in fancy calligraphy. We were very girly about the whole thing. I even
scented the pages sometimes and we poured our hearts out into the pages. We
discussed boys we crushed on, girls who gossiped too much and caused drifts,
homework and studies, writing and music.
The highlight of my mornings was made up of entering class
and finding her there, diary in hand. I would dump my bag carelessly on its
seat and turn the pages eagerly, looking for her advice and at the same time,
ready to lend a ear to all she had to say. For nearly two years, that was how
Once we sat together on the bus that took us back home after
extra class (this was grade tenth). Technically we belonged to different
cliques; our ‘actual’ time together was limited but we poured our teenage
hearts out through our letters to one another. I remember feeling a bit awkward
actually sitting next to her after all those months of letters; I don’t believe
we spent much time actually talking. But that day on the bus we talked and we
talked, and later we realized it was kind of nice this way to. It was a strange
relationship we had built, a relationship of letters, of the written word not
the spoken ones. In a way we were pen pals and in another way, well we were
just classmates and friends.
We also devised a system that got us into trouble at school:
we started passing notes in class. Our favourite lessons for this communication
were history and Hindi and sometimes we included other people into this too,
until it became a trend in class. Yes it was a trend we set, the sly passing of
notes under the teacher’s notes until one day she was caught passing a note to
someone else. Once our teachers began to sniff the air, we stopped and returned
to our diary.
I shared my first notebook of stories with her, let her read
some of the poems I had written. We mixed CDs for each other, shared photos and
exchanged books. The Princess Diaries became one of our favourite series to
share at one point of time and I would pretend to be Mia. We would cry over her
story and discuss its finest points.
birthday I wrote her a really long poem entitled, ‘A Princess’. She made me
cards for New Year’s and for my birthday. We
shared loads of trivia.
In short, the three most perfect years of my life…and I am
glad she was a part of them coz we shared uncountable joys and sorrows. This post
is for you Soujata Borbaruah