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FRIENDS. Part -1

Life chooses a lot of things for you. Things that you never had any say in. It sure wasn’t you who decided that you were the tiny egg destined to be placed in your mother’s womb. And it wasn’t you who decided what you were going to be called for the rest of your life. You had no say in deciding when its time for you to finish up living either (unless you take the short cut and kill yourself, of course). But there are some things that you choose for yourself in life. With a free mind, own will, understanding. And you’ll never want to let go of these things in life, come what may. Passions, hobbies, vocations, attitudes, habits and above all Friends. I always used to wonder what it is that makes friends so special in life. What it is that binds us together through thick and thin. And then I realized that it’s the fact that friends are not thrust on us. You are not forced by anybody to be friends. You MAKE friends. It’s your choice and your decision. Some of us make the right choices and some don’t. Some of us make the right choices sometimes and fail at other times. I for one, have either very good in choosing my friends or just plain lucky. I’m blessed with a bunch of people who have been through it all with me, unflinching, faithful, loyal and just there when I need them. I can only write about them in return. Starting with this is a series of posts on friends, the ones I’ve picked and chosen over the years, the ones who chose me for reasons I still cant understand and the ones who I know will be with me forever.

I saw Kavitha for the first time in a jam packed training room filled with computers, small tables and just-placed apprehensive freshers. She was in the row before, just in front of me. I could hardly see her head over the monitor in front. Our eyes used to meet briefly when she turned to hand me the attendance sheet. She neither smiled nor made an effort to talk. Neither did I. but I could see she was as bored, detached and disinterested in the trainings and the people there as I was, from the look on her face which just seemed to say “Oh please, leave me alone will you??” She kept playing minesweeper all day long so much so that I picked up the game in no time just watching her play. So there we were, two strangers silently playing minesweeper in back to back desks, lonely as hell in a room filled with a sea of people. Then one day as I was settling down in a corner of the room, book in a hand, back pack in the other, she turned around and asked tentatively, “You are Amilie right? Akila’s friend?” Akila was a dog (read best friend/room mate/ victim-of-sad-jokes/girl-with-the-worst-handwriting) I know from college. Then it struck me that this was the Kavitha Akila always used to talk about. Her best friend from school who was placed in the same company as me. I had heard so much about this girl but hadn’t known her for a full week after being in the same room, ten hours a day. Then we got talking. Slowly, a word here and a sentence there. Both of us were not people who fall into an incessant chatter with people they just got to know. Initially the talks were centered around Akila. Later we included books, music, life, family and then we couldn’t stop talking. I found that me and Kavitha had a lot in common. Both of us loved reading. Both of us loved our dads. And both of us loved being alone rather than in being in the company of a lot of people with whom we couldn’t connect. When we couldn’t talk during the training sessions we were passing notes and discussing the books we were reading under the desks. During the lunch breaks we were looking out of the window into the wastelands nearby and pulling each others legs.A week or so later, the training batches were separated and Kavitha was put in a different batch. That was the first and only time I cried for parting from someone I hardly knew for a week now. I felt like someone who had been rudely snatched off a treasure chest before even I could open it to see what it contained. But the separation did nothing to daunt us. We spent every second of the free time together. I had never believed that I can open up to somebody so soon. I simply wasn’t that type. But with kavitha all the pre conceived norms and patterns of behavior were broken. The evenings spent with her at the bus stand or the tiny cake shop round the corner discussing the training sessions, family, friends and each others problems were the only things I looked forward to, each exhaustive day after day.

As I got to know her better I understood that the mind inside Kavi’s petite frame was much more complex than what it seemed to the average outsider. She was super mature at times and a child at other. She loved and valued her friends and parents above anything else in the world. Her whole world centered around their happiness. She fought a lot of very painful battles on the health front and went through very difficult periods when all I could do was just shed tears and pray to God for mercy. But she pulled through with a lot of poise, dignity and sheer conviction.

The friendship me and Kavi share is unique in its own way. We hardly call each other talk for hours but we try and make it a point to meet up at least once a week. Even without meeting, we can still sense what’s going on in each others lives. When either of us is feeling down in the dumps all it takes is a “hey inga variya” message for us to be siting across each other, laughing over sob stories, sharing and forgetting the pain in the process. She has her own group of close knit friends and so do I. But when it comes to the two of us, well, it’s only the two of us. Nothing comes in between. Petty fights, ego clashes, possessiveness, nothing. My days are hardly complete with a ‘dog’ or ‘seruppu’ from her over the Office communicator. And I know I’ll never have to worry about it all ending. I don’t ever have to worry about parting or separation. Simply because I know it wont happen.

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