Open Letters Part One


Dearest R.

I’ve heard that friendships erode and time frees us from many-a-pains and while I hope for this to always be true (because how else are we supposed to recuperate and revive ourselves in the cruelty of this world?), there are some things we wish to cherish forever. And while I know no words can fill voids of hearts, I also know that this is my one shot at making something lasting out of these 26 letters so that beyond our own memories and the photographs, something will remain for me to come back to when needed. They say as you grow older you go through life with your guard always up. And I have picked up this lesson, truly (partly thanks to  you, of course), although I despise it. But with you the guard is always down, my shield is lowered, I come as friend and never as foe. You can only be described in my head as that proverbial ray of everlasting sunshine that makes you feel warm and cozy on a cold wintry morning.

I know I tend to make things seem flowery and intense but beneath all of that is a whole treasure trove of pure closeness, madness, complaining (indeed even gossiping) that you and I have indulged in. I will always remember how we attempted to boil eggs in your kettle without adding salt and ended up with a kettle full of egg bits to clean (which you did, of course, while I sat and laughed until there were tears in my eyes). But then we learnt how to do it right and shared a dozen or so half-boiled eggs, sometimes eating them right out of the shells as we attempted to trudge through some last minute studying. Ever since then you were my shelter, my abode because I needed one and even when I knew no better, you were like a strengthening backbone, not the crushing hammer that others became. You were a shield and an armor all rolled into one. It may seem like an exaggeration but it wouldn’t be if you knew, like you probably do, that I owe a large chunk of my sanity to you. I would have crumbled to bits if you hadn’t stood by me every single time I needed you.

And we’ve had our lighter moments. It was in your company that I came up with some of the funniest things I do and you are one of the few people who have witnessed all those impressions, whether or not you liked them. From singing ‘Friday, Friday’ in the most irritating tone that I can summon to all the accents I have ever learnt and all those noises I love making for your benefit (or discomfort), memories I will cherish range from ‘Number Seven Seven- the song’ right down to our anthem

‘You think I’m pretty without any makeup on, you think I’m funny when I tell the punchline wrong, I know you get me so I let my walls come down’,

the song we chanted to and fro the bathroom with you limping on your broken knee and me slowing down just to keep you company. And of course there were those physiotherapy sessions when I held your hand through more pain than I could bear to watch but on the way back we stopped for ice-cream and laughed. I think that was when I felt closer to you than ever.

Countless starry nights on the swings will also be cherished. So will all the crazy scenarios we build up, us and M., when we’re together. But that is more a part of another letter than this one.

There was a time two years ago when I could not bear the thought of not having you around whenever I needed. Now I think I have managed to conquer those fears at least and learnt to slip into a sort of independence in which too, you had an important hand to play. You’ve been the one person who, I can safely assume, has never tried to squeeze any sort of personal benefits out of me. It makes my memories with you all the more cherishable and special.

You keep saying you’ll see me at my wedding next. I hope to goodness we don’t have to wait that long for a reunion. Walking back with you today, it struck me that we just might have to. The thought is not appealing, neither is the idea that any reunions we might have in the future will probably fail to recreate the magic that we share right now whether its in a group or solo. As I said when I began this letter, time works itself on us, clasps us in its grasp, changes us, builds us, breaks us. Who knows what we might become in a few years from now. I’m glad we live in the age of Facebook and Whatsapp and Skype because they are the next best thing. We both know that, of course. But next best just isn’t good enough. It will just have to do.

Lots of love

S.

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