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My best friend’s wedding…

My best friend’s wedding. Yes, I finally know how it feels when someone you grew up with, someone who was practically a part of your life till date is suddenly part of another family, part of a new bond. Seeing her up on the stage, glittering in a bright red sari, decked in jewels and flowers somehow brought back memories of scouting through malls for hippie earrings and matching bracelets. Seeing her frown at her to-be husband for a split second brought back memories of mid-road fights and tears. Seeing her accept ‘you-look-lovely’ compliments with grace and poise brought back memories of getting caught for giggling in the school assembly. Everything was a trigger for a fresh memory and there were loads of them. Her brother who used to be half my height, what seemed like a couple of years ago, now towered over me as he said, “Make yourself comfortable Akka” and pulled up a chair for me. Her parents who always thought of me as another daughter they had, were so flushed with joy that it was a pleasure to keep looking at their lovely faces.

And She. How much we had been through together! A huge bundle of joys, another one of sorrows, leaning on each other when we were about to stumble or fall, leading the way when needed and holding back when its time to, well, simply put, we were just best friends. We were best friends when we used to be on the phone 2 hours a day, everyday. And we were still best friends when we spoke to each other once in six months. Time, place, fights, misunderstandings, ego, nothing came between us. Lost in these thoughts and memories, I joined the long line of people waiting to wish the newly married couple. I would never ever say this to her but yeah, she did look lovely today, didn’t she? My mouth fixed itself into a permanent smile as I kept looking at her, trying to absorb each of those tiny details right from the way she held the flower bouquet in her hand, to the smile, to the thank-you’s and hand shakes. Glancing through the crowd, she suddenly caught my eye. Eyes widening with joy, she tugged at her husband’s sleeve and I could read her lips perfectly from across the 20 yards between us. “There! See her? My besssssst friend!!!” Her husband looked my way and nodded with a bright smile. Is there any body else who can make you feel so special when you least expect it expect friends?

I inched my way slowly towards her. Now I was so close I could see the thread work on her sari and the mehendi pattern on her hands. She was shaking hands and thanking the madisaar maami before me. I was next. God! I WAS NEXT! What was I going to tell her?! Wish you a very happy married life?? Congratulations?? Hope you have a great future ahead?? I couldn’t even imagine saying anything half as formal to her. What if she burst out laughing on the stage?? I’d probably tell her not to talk as much to her hubby and drive him crazy. Or to remember not to lick her fingers after a meal in her in-laws place. Or to stop jumping on dining tables and sofas the minute she sees a cockroach ten feet away. What the hell was I going to tell her??

She was now pulling me towards her by the arm. I could see the thin film of tears in my eyes reflecting in hers. Oh shit, was she going to cry? She wouldn’t stop if she started. She’d bawl to death. I quickly looked away from her and held my hand out to her husband and mumbled some congratulations. The photographer was yelling out to us to look at the camera and pose for a picture. I stood close to her and held her hand. The fingers were ice cold.

“Nervous??”

“Like hell.”

“You still haven’t learnt how to tie a sari properly.”

“Neither have you.”

The photographer was giving me the clear-the-space look by then.

“I’ll call”

“Ok”

I pulled my hand away and walked without turning, trying to swallow the lump that formed in my throat.

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