Gone Too Soon

Today I’m writing about something that shook me to the core. I am writing about this after more than a year as I wasn’t ready to spell out those moments yet. I am not sure if I’m ready yet, but recently I read somewhere that we just have to begin it – however hard it may seem. I lost someone and I was grieving, and I’m still grieving over the loss but I have started to accept the loss. There are moments when I wake up at midnight with a cold sweat, hearing her voice in a dream, like she was alive and well and laughing out loudly – my little sister. I prefer to call her my sister and not reduce the hurt in anyway by spelling out ‘cousin’, because we were actually sisters who just happened to be born to different mothers.

My sister was a rebellious soul. She was the cowboy in our group of 4 sisters. She used to be the loudest one and the roughest one when it came down to fights or sports or whatever. The fact that me and her elder sister purposely left her out of our games used to be funny for me, but its not funny anymore. There are things I wish I had told her, when I had the chance. She was loved, pampered and cared for by everyone in her family, and she was her mother’s favourite child I secretly believed. Whatever she wanted, she fought for it and got it. Generally, she was the type of person who speaks out her mind, to whomsoever it may concern. My whole childhood up till the age when I got married, I had spent most of my vacations with my cousins in their home – running around, playing and when we grew up, we had discussed about boys and gossips and what not. I thought we had all of us figured out, we knew each other, we knew our paths, our dreams and aspirations and I believed that till this happened. I learned the hard way that we don’t know what is going on in other people’s minds; however close they are to us.

The last time I saw my sister was on her wedding day. I waved goodbye to her as I left her wedding reception – she was looking beautiful and happy and she was holding hands with her husband. That is the image I want to hold on to. The beautiful bride, the lights and the music and feeling of joy. I want to believe that she slipped and fell from the fifth floor, because it is too painful to think that she did it herself. Its too painful to know that she might have been alone, or battling through something which I couldn’t help her through, or the fact that I haven’t checked on her as much as I should have. My pain is absolutely NOTHING in front of what her parents are going through – they have no escape from the pain, and it hurts more when I see them, the hurt and the frustration of not having any answers. I wish nobody would have to go through this pain ever. Earlier, I wouldn’t have understood this, but now I am a mother and I would literally die rather than living after the loss of a child.

Life goes on. People will start to heal; time will heal the most difficult wounds. But I don’t believe there is a cure for what her parents are going through. There is a voice note in my phone which she sent telling about the tapioca dish she made, and I listen to it often. To hear her voice, to remind myself of the pain, to NOT forget the hurt and the loss. Each day I remember her at least once – I don’t want her to be forgotten – EVER. Whatever happened, I don’t know and maybe I will never know. But I want her answers, so I believe I will meet her when my time comes, and I will give her a whack on the head for leaving us so early without meeting my little girl.

Damaged Goods

Today I am writing about my best friend in college. Let’s call her D. D was my only good friend in college who genuinely cared about me. I had lots of friends, but everybody has that one best friend. We were inseparable in college. We took the same bus to college, sat next to each other, had lunch together and did everything together basically. I was so lucky I found a good friend and a good heart in her. She was a savior for me as I was feeling so left out and alone in college. We shared food, laughs, gossips and so many fun moments.

We prepared for exams together. D always envied me getting good marks, and she said it openly to my face. I liked that, it made me feel good. She made fun of me being studious and I joined in the laughs. I helped her learn Microprocessors and Computer Programming which was difficult for her. One thing I liked about D was that she was very honest. If she didn’t like my dress, she told it to my face. If she thought my hairstyle was boring, she told it to my face. Also she told me she envied my good looks, body and the fact that I seemed to be quite popular among the boys! (She was quite wrong, it turned out later)

D was one of the only-friends-with-girls types in a mixed class. She wanted to be friends with the boys too, she told me. I gladly introduced her to the fun friends I had and they welcomed her to our circle with open hands. We completed each other in a way when I think back now. During the study holidays we went to each others’ home and studied together. Our moms made us lunch and snacks and we were like one family. Her brothers became my brothers, my brother became hers and we all led a happy life. As all good things never last, our good days also didn’t.

Infosys came for campus placement in our college in the final year. I got in, she didn’t. I helped her in preparing, but the competition was just too hard for her. Standard Chartered came for placement then, again I got placed and she didn’t. I tried to help her again but she seemed to dislike me helping her. I sensed that her pride hurt when I helped her like a know-it-all so I drew back a little. I thought that letting her figure out on her own will be better. And she did. After so many companies, she got placed in a not-so-bad yet not-so-great company. I congratulated her and she thanked me in a somewhat cold manner.

By then D was in a relationship with a guy in my class who had three different girlfriends in the past three years. I didn’t approve of it, though it was none of my business. As we were close friends who were brutally honest with each other, I told her she is doing a mistake. I thought that Mr Lover will hurt her and in turn she hurt me by saying that I don’t know him well. True. I didn’t know him. I didn’t know her either. Our friendship was effectively and officially ruined, and by the time our college life ended, we were like complete strangers who just talked politely to each other just for the sake of showing others.

I never bothered to keep in touch with D, I was angry and sort of believed that she had always been jealous of me. I went to another city in another state; I learned that she didn’t accept her job offer after all. We all were busy with our own lives. I made new relations, failed in many new relations, got into so many messes. Life was so happening with me, one day she calls me and invites me for her wedding the next day. She broke up with Mr. Romeo and this was an arranged marriage. I was kind of caught off-guard. That night, I thought about the deep friendship we had. If it hadn’t turned out this way, I would have been dancing on her wedding eve rather than brooding alone in my room at night. I didn’t go to her wedding. I couldn’t.

I joined college again for my Masters degree and I gathered from her Whatsapp statuses that she is a housewife and staying in some North Indian city. Somewhere I felt smug that my life is more happening than hers. After my Masters degree, I got placed in another MNC, I got engaged and also got married. I invited her for my marriage, one of those polite phone calls you make to people whom you don’t care about. She didn’t come, as expected. After 2 more years, one fine day I got a call from her. After 8 years, I talked to her. Properly. The long time gap has changed her. She was more mature, so was I. She asked about my baby and I was genuinely shattered knowing that D was having infertility issues. We talked for a long time, texted for a whole day after that. She promised to come see me and my baby. I told my mom, D is coming. But she didn’t.

I didn’t feel anger towards her for breaking her promise. I felt angry at myself for not keeping in touch with her. For not forgiving the silly mistakes of a 20-year old. For not raising myself to the situation. For ruining a relationship. For not mending a simple problem. For giving up on my best friend. For being immature when I shouldn’t have been. I should have stayed with her all these years, all through her sadness, all through her struggles. I shouldn’t have lost hope in our relation. As for now, even though I want to, I can’t mend it. Its way too much damaged. Some damaged goods keep haunting your wardrobe, like that dress you can’t wear and you can’t throw away.