This post is about a very old friend. She is perhaps not too old an acquintance for me to call her ancient, but, today, I have known her for about 4 years, and I have not even lived on this Earth for 20 years yet.
It was a blazing summer, and the day of her birthday was coming closer (it comes close for this year as I write), I was the idle Indian boy who thought birthday gifts were not really necessary and she was a girl who thought that gifts were really important. Just the previous year she had given me a set of deodorant and talcum powder (perhaps a hint to my body odour problem), and I was at a loss at what to give her.
I planned on giving nothing at all in fact. More so, because the friend had been a lover once, and that relationship had ended badly. Or, because like every teenage boy who had ever been heartbroken, I sought revenge in the most trivial of ways, because I thought that was what she deserved.
But, then we had spent some time together before.
And as much I would have liked to have forgotten those times, I remembered them everyday. Heck, I even wrote poems that went
“Oh, Juliet, your Romeo waits for you beyond the sea”
I however, didn’t ever resemble Romeo in any respect.
But, she was always my Juliet back then.
Her birthday got alarmingly close, and I had no idea what to gift her. I was planning not to gift her anything but, I thought that might be a bit rude all with the gifts she had always bought for me. Also, it was somewhat of a revenge in itself (Oh teenage poet, you would make a great drama movie someday), to give her back everything that she had given me.
The day before her birthday (which by the way I was not sure of attending), I went to College Street, now, for those who haven’t visited College Street in Kolkata, it is somewhat like this
And I bought a copy of “Jane Eyre”. I do not recall if it was battered or new (battered would be a strong bet here) and I went home with it.
The next day, the inevitable call came quite early, and I was basically left flabbergasted when she ordered me to be there. As hard as it may be to conjure given my size, am usually the person who is commanded.
And in that last moment of epiphany I picked up the book put it in wrapping paper, and wrote her a poem (I do not recall what exactly that was, but, yeah.)
And she was happy enough, and I cherish the fact that the particular sight of her happiness is mine and mine alone.
She also asked me to explain the poem though, and that got me a bit angry.
But, then I was happy, I had after all been true to myself and followed my heart.
And she was happier, and that somehow made me more pleased than I had been in ages.
There is nothing more precious in a teenage life than the happiness of a friend.
And her happiness was more precious that anything else.
That moment of inspiration after her honey-dewed voice called, and perhaps a bit of heart made that day worth it. I didn’t spot the “Jane Eyre”, the last time I went to her home, but, she told me that she had read it twice already. I also asked her for the book since, I intended to read it myself, but, she still refuses.
Following my heart, probably did increase our friendship that day.