18 August 2013

Childhood Sweethearts


This is an imaginary story about two Childhood Sweethearts, who remained friends with each other through various ups and downs in the last sixteen years. Their friendship was and still is unbreakable. Any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely coincidental. 

It was the 90's. The nostalgic nineties. Oh! What a wonderful time it was! Calcutta had a different kind of charm in those days. The City of Joy was joyful then with none of these present flyovers and Shopping Malls, no AC Metro and JNNURM Buses, Park Street was not renamed into Mother Teresa Sarani, Sachin Tendulkar had just taken over the reins from Mohammad Azharuddin and the team was weak enough to easily snatch defeats from even the jaws of victories and that also at home, no Orkut, Facebook, Youtube and Twitter, DD-1 and DD-Metro were all that was needed, computer courses in schools meant LOGO and BASIC language, internet connections were rare and was so slow that while downloading a photo, it would reveal itself line by line, ShahRukh, Aamir and Salman were ruling, and Rishi Kapoor was still playing lead roles, people were talking about Manoj Bajpai's 'Satya', Zohra Sehgal was in her mid 80's, audio cassettes were only in use and cds were damn expensive, Lighthouse Cinema was still alive with Hollywood blockbusters, Shreeram Arcade was the coolest hang-out spot with those capsule lifts, pagers and then mobile phones were becoming fashionable, landline phones were very much in use inspite of being dead for days, Load-Shedding was commonplace, CPM was in power, and Suman Chattopadhyay was still named Suman Chattopadhyay. 

Rahul and Mimi were in the same school, same class and the same section. It was as if by the Almighty's grand design. They were best friends. Infact they had become best friends without even realizing it. It was as if that was the natural order of things. They can never exactly pinpoint the moment when this miracle of friendship happened. They were the best-est of friends. They used to sit side by side. Two students shared a single desk. Inspite of all the Chaos of the Classroom in particular and the Cosmos in general, two innocent Souls came close and became inseparable friends. 

Rahul was shy and a bit introvert. Mimi was outgoing and tomboyish. Rahul loved to sit quietly, read story books and hated taking part in sports. Mimi couldn't sit in one place silently even for a single minute. She infact used to play cricket in an academy and in those days wanted to represent India in Women's Cricket. Rahul spoke as little as possible. Mimi was so talkative that all the duct-tapes in Calcutta were needed to keep her mouth shut. Rahul was always a loner. Mimi had hundreds of friends.

Inspite of their different and opposite characteristics, they became each other's best friends. Opposites attract, you see. They would share their tiffin, class notes, and various other important and unimportant things. After school, they would talk for hours through landline phones and never got bored talking to each other. Mimi always had a soft-corner for Rahul and gave him the feeling that she would always be there for him no matter what. In Mimi's eyes Rahul saw genuine affection and friendly love. There was nothing artificial in Mimi's behaviour and Rahul could always be just himself when he was with Mimi. 


After Class 10, they went to separate schools and then colleges. Mimi infact went to Bangalore to study. Rahul never wanted to leave Calcutta. He still doesn't. He loves this city too much. Anyways their friendship remained intact. Distance made their hearts grow fonder. Distance is actually a test to see how far love can travel. They kept in touch through e-mails and occasional phone calls. Rahul missed her a lot but Mimi missed him even more. 

Every year Mimi used to call Rahul on his birthday and on Valentine's Day at midnight. He used to sit and wait beside the landline phone expecting her call. He always knew that she would be the first person to wish him on his birthday. She never failed to do so. Even when she went to Bangalore for higher studies she still continued with this tradition. Rahul used to give her greeting cards on the occasion of her birthday, on Christmas, on New Year, on Friendship Day, on Rose Day and obviously on Valentine's Day. Gariahat's Archies, Golpark's Hallmark and Park Street's Giggles were the only places from which Rahul bought cards and gifts for Mimi. 

Once on Valentine's Day when she was in Calcutta, Rahul sent her a very big card, lots of red roses and a chocolate cake with two eatable red roses. She loved it tremendously. Another time she came back to Calcutta from Bangalore just to give him his birthday kiss. He loved it tremendously. A kiss which comes unexpectedly is always the sweetest.  

Whenever Rahul had a crush or was in love with someone else, Mimi would be the first person to know about it. Whenever he went on a date with another girl, he would share with Mimi all the details. She sometimes gave him advice for future dates and explained to him what a girl actually wants, expects and desires on a date. Though whenever Rahul talked about another girl, he always felt a hint of jealousy in Mimi's replies. Mimi tried hard to cover it but Rahul could still feel it. Sometimes he would deliberately exaggerate just to tease her and make her more jealous. God only knows what devilish pleasures he got out of it. In Class XI when Rahul truly fell in love with a girl named Shona, he immediately told everything about her to Mimi. She quietly listened to everything that Rahul had to say about Shona and after that kept quiet for some more time and then replied that he must go for Shona and wished him all the happiness of the World. After two years when Rahul and Shona broke-up, Mimi even called up Shona to patch them up again. But Shona flatly refused her. Actually the main reason for their break-up was that Shona was suspecting Rahul of two-timing her with Mimi, which was not at all true. Rahul was so hurt by this accusation that he did not even offer any explanations to Shona in his defense. At the very beginning of their affair Rahul had told Shona about the nature of his friendship with Mimi. Still Shona falsely accused him. At the same time some vested interests also poured poison in Shona's ears against Rahul's name. You see, a half-truth circulated with a bad intent can always beat all lies that you can invent. Rahul simply kept quiet because he knew that his heart was clean. Shona wanted to break-up, leave him and move on. Rahul allowed her to do so as he had always respected her wishes. 

Ichchey Bodhhoi Chhilona Tomar Jabar 
Jabar Belaai HeNteychhiley Tumi Dhirey 
Aamio Tomai Daklaam Na Aabar 
Tumio Hai, Takaaley Na Aar Phirey... 

Rahul never knew how to describe Mimi. She is actually indescribable. Mere words will always fall short in describing her. But here is a vague attempt. Suppose it is an afternoon in summer and there is load-shedding. Rahul is lying down on his bed and looking upwards and praying for some divine interventions and in the process is actually looking upwards at the motionless ceiling fan. Suddenly the fan starts to rotate. Now the feeling or emotion that Rahul experiences at that precise moment can be compared to Mimi. 

Once Rahul and Mimi were talking over the phone in the afternoon. They were supposed to meet that evening. Alka Yagnik and Babul Supriyo's then latest song Khoya Khoya Chand was playing on TV. Mimi just mentioned casually that she loved that song very much and especially the part where the female singer sang Keh Do Na, Pyaar Hai. Before meeting her in the evening, Rahul went to Melody at Rashbehari and bought the Khoya Khoya Chand album for Mimi. When he gave it to her she was pleasantly surprised. 

In those days english audio cassettes were expensive and Rahul could not afford to buy them. However one day his elder cousin sister bought Bryan Adams' THE BEST OF ME for him. Rahul just loved all the songs in this cassette. He used to listen to it day in and day out. And whenever he listened to the song Everything I Do, I Do It For You, he automatically remembered Mimi.  

Sometimes while sleeping Rahul experiences a very beautiful dream. Then he suddenly wakes up. But he still keeps his eyes closed and tries to remember each and every detail of that dream. He feels like revisiting and reliving that dream all over again. He doesn't want to come out of that dream and feels like staying inside it forever. It gives him a wonderful feeling. A sense of ecstasy all over. It brings a hint of a smile on the corner of his lips. The lingering effect of that dream makes him overwhelmingly happy. Mimi is like that effect in his life. Sometimes he even goes back to sleep. And then the dream continues once again from where it had left off a few moments back. This feeling is absolutely pure nirvanic. Nothing can be compared with this feeling in the whole universe. Except Mimi. Her effect in his life is like revisiting and reliving the beautiful, but previously broken, dream all over again. 

Once when Mimi was in Bangalore, Rahul was missing her a lot and wrote quite a few emails to her, but she didn't reply to any of them. Then one night she replied on her own. Here is what she had written : 

My Dear Prince Charming, 
Sorry for the late reply. Actually I was not too well and was admitted to the hospital for some time. Now I am okay. I didn't tell you this before because I didn't want you to worry too much for me. Moreover your exams were coming then so I wanted you to focus only on your studies and not worry about my health. Hope your exams were good. I am sure that you will get very good marks. 

And my Dearest Casanova, 
Enjoy your time while I am in Bangalore. When I come back to Calcutta, I will not tolerate any other girl in your life. I will break their legs, whoever comes between us. I am not joking Sweetheart. All this "charo taraf gopiya, bichmey Kanhaiya" raas-leela will have to stop. I am not telling you when I am going to come back to Calcutta. I will just give you a surprise one fine day. So be careful Honey.  

Lots of Love and Kisses, 
Forever Yours, 

Mimi was always sweet, cute, pretty, beautiful, crazy, unpredictable and like a wild rose. So many boys used to fall in love with her and propose to her. But she rejected them all. Strangely Rahul never fell in that-kind-of-a-love with her. He always thought of her as his best friend, sometimes even more than that. She always gave him pure and unadulterated happiness. A smile would automatically appear on his lips every time he thought about her. 

Cut to 2013... 

Calcutta, the City of Joy, is joyful now with these present flyovers and Shopping Malls, AC Metro and JNNURM Buses, Park Street is renamed into Mother Teresa Sarani, Sachin Tendulkar is still batting and Mohammad Azharuddin is now a Member of Parliament, the team under MSD is strong enough to easily snatch victories from even the jaws of defeats and that also in foreign lands, Orkut is already obsolete, Facebook is still hanging in there, Youtube is like oxygen and gives better entertainment than Television which today has more than 500 channels but still nothing to watch for more than 5 seconds per channel, Twitter is something which Rahul doesn't care about much, internet connections are so fast that a single movie of say 1GB can be easily downloaded within 10 minutes, ShahRukh, Aamir and Salman are still ruling, and now Ranbir Kapoor is playing lead roles, people are talking about Manoj Bajpai's 'Satyagraha', Zohra Sehgal has completed her century, audio cassettes are on the verge of being seen only in museums, cds are very reasonably priced still very few people buy them as downloading songs from the net free of cost is the trend, Lighthouse Cinema has been converted into CitiMart, South City Mall is the coolest hang-out spot even without capsule lifts, pagers and landline phones are dead, the whole world with all its activities has shrunk into mobile phones, Load-Shedding is rare, TMC is in power, and Suman Chattopadhyay is now Kabir Suman. 

It is Rahul's birthday. Sms-es and phone-calls start pouring in from midnight. He is awake throughout the night. He is depressed and in a bad mood. He doesn't know why. Suddenly he receives a sms saying Happy Birthday Sweetheart from an unknown number at 6 a.m. He calls back at that number. No one picks up the phone. He calls again. And again. Still the phone goes unanswered. He keeps on calling just like that. Finally someone picks it up. That someone is none other than his childhood Sweetheart Mimi. After quite a few years they again talk to eachother. This phone conversation makes his day. He was actually sub-consciously missing her all these years. 

He opens his old rediffmail account and starts reading decade old emails between him and Mimi. All these old emails bring tears to his eyes. Rediffmail acts like a Time-Machine and transports him back to those golden days. He gets nostalgic. He becomes restless. Somethings were meant to turn out in a certain way, but sadly those things turned out in another way. The events of the last 16 years flash in front of his eyes. The pictures are a bit hazy and wet and taste a bit salty. 

He remembers the time when there were no friends beside him. Only she was there then. She has always stood beside him through thick and thin. And he has always loved her for that. She never had any lack of friends in her life. She was always the centre of gravity and attraction in her group of friends. On the other hand Rahul was always lonely to the point that he actually felt nirvana in his loneliness. Still today he doesn't understand what she saw in him and why she has always kept the flame of their friendship burning through all these 16 years.  

She will remain his best friend throughout his life. No one can take her place. He is really blessed to have someone like her in his life. Many times he has behaved badly with her, was rude to her and on several occasions he has avoided and neglected her intentionally. Still her love for him was and still is intact. She still continued being his best friend. She has proved time and again what real friendship is all about. Inspite of being hurt several times she never kept alive any grudge against Rahul.  

Friendship is trillion times better than those stupid boyfriend/girlfriend stuff. In the last 16 years that they have known each other, their friendship never developed into romance, though there were several chances of that happening, and many times they almost came closer to take their friendship to another level, but fortunately or unfortunately it didn't happen. What they had between them was something extra-special. Their wavelengths matched perfectly. Even before opening their mouths one would know exactly what the other one was going to say. 

However for the last few years they were not on talking terms because of some silly misunderstandings. Rahul is to be blamed for that. It was all his fault. Whatever happened was entirely because of his misinterpretations. The people who are reading this Blog know by now that he is a very bad boy and is ill-behaved, arrogant, cruel, obnoxious, dominating, selfish, demented, hot-headed and bad-tempered. He is a very difficult person to be friends with. He needs only two minutes to be friends with someone and just one minute to break that friendship. Mimi is the only person on Earth who has been friends with him for the longest duration, something like 16 years. But still he has hurt her a lot over the years. He has given her a lot of pain. A thousand times he has broken her heart into a thousand pieces. Still she has always forgiven him with a smile. 

He had permanently decided in the last few years that he would never sms or call her number because of his f*****g ego. He didn't even wish her on her birthdays in the last few years, though he wanted to wish her from deep inside, but still didn't do it. But she, being an Angel, was sweet enough to forgive him and wish him on his birthday on her own after all these years. Even after how badly Rahul had behaved with her. She could have easily not wished him. Nobody forced her to do it. Any other woman in her place would have never wished him. But she is indeed an Angel. She is actually not a normal person. There is something Divine in her Soul. Her Soul is maybe from a time before time, long before all Original Sins, and from a time of only Love, Purity and Innocence. Maybe everything will be fine now and they can resume their friendship. Life is too short for silly feuds. Anyone who is reading this right now, please realize this fact. Life is indeed too short and this World is just too wonderful...

UPDATE 1 : It was a Sunday. Rahul and Mimi had planned to meet in the evening after many years. Ever since she wished him on his birthday, they were like sms-ing eachother a hundred times per day. In the last decade Mimi had changed her mobile number like a thousand times. But Rahul always kept a list of all her Calcutta and Bangalore phone numbers. That sunday morning they were chatting through sms-es. Rahul sms-ed all her decade old mobile numbers to her just to show how special she has always been in his life. She was impressed by this gesture. Anyways Rahul had to attend his friend's marriage reception at Calcutta Rowing Club in the evening. So he asked Mimi to meet him there. Mimi said that she would definitely come no matter what. But just half an hour before they were supposed to meet, it started raining tremendously. And by the word 'tremendously' I mean that it was not raining cats and dogs but elephants and rhinoceroses. Still Mimi braved all this rainfall and water-logging and came to meet him at the scheduled time and place. Rahul hugged Mimi like there was no tomorrow. Mimi gave him his birthday kisses. There were tears in both of their eyes. Both were basking in the glow of the beauty of Friendship that is powerful enough to last several lifetimes... 

UPDATE 2 : But as usual after a few weeks Rahul again stopped talking to Mimi and started avoiding her. She sms-ed him but he did not reply. Several weeks passed. There was no contact between them. In the meantime she got married to some one else. In mid February they went on their honeymoon to Goa. But even then on Valentine's Day she sms-ed and wished Rahul, as she has been doing for the last sixteen years. This time Rahul wished her back. He was touched by her gesture. She was indeed sweet enough to wish him on Valentine's Day even when she was on her honeymoon. No other girl would have done it. This is what makes her special. She is really an angel and Rahul just loves, trusts and respects her tremendously. He is the luckiest man in the universe because he has her as his Best Friend...