May 09, 2005
A long but not so lost friend...
PS: This is a long story so please go ahead with your own time and risk... :) .. its close to my heart and it shows how a soul can survive inspite of all odds... yet another victory... to life.. This is a story about a friend who is very dear to me and with whom I have so much history that shaped our lives... Early 1970's . Not so long ago... in a small town lived this generation of kids who were born somewhere during the time when the concept of flower child was not totally faded out but it had reached its point and when technology was just arriving into this sphere.. Shillong was the name of the place and life as usual comprised of simple things as eating sleeping and chilly wiinters... and lots of warmth in the family... it is a small town where everybody knows everybody else and any little incidence is news for all. Houses were built.. with great hopes and dreams... near the workplace which would help the families manage their home and work well.. neighborhoods were formed on hills... One such neiighborhood was Jils and one was of Deeps.. Though it was two hills but the houses were placed in such a way that the road which connected the two mounds of earth was just 15 minutes walk from each other and thats the time it took for Jil and Deeps to reach each other... but things were pretty obscure since the kids were still dependent on parents for socialising.. Typically the parents worked in the same office so there was a lot of interaction on and off but the kids never bothered to find out where they lived... as age set in and the the education educated the kids.... they became friends... since they happened to study in the same class and in the same school... what a convenient coincidence for the parents... when they found out... Standard 1, 1981. Jil was as usual a stumbling impulsive kid making lot of gaffes and faux pax and always wanting to get away with naughty stuff. A chatterbox the teacher named her yet she seemed to have an OK impression on the teachers since she would keep her grades high. In fact she would top the class. Deeps on the other hand was quiet and shy with a very pretty smile and really always striving to get the better of Jil. She would top the class when Jil wouldnt. Fiercely competitive and not bothered to hide it... She could never comprehend how Jil managed to get better marks than her sometimes.. sometimes Deeps would get ahead but that did not matter to Jil since there was always a next time... but it did hurt when Deeps would come and show Jil her marks... far be it from Jil to show this,.... in fact Jil did not care either ways as long as her parents were happy and she was happy.. bull for competition... it was always a matter of going forward... Competition always bored Jil and she did not give it much thought... Deeps on the other hand...kept every milestone as a memoir or so it seemed since she would always remind Jil of how less than her Jil got she got or how much more Jil got... and they would always be behind each other every now and then in the ranks.. and it would change every time.. but they would be neck to neck with the marks... Fast forward to Standard VIII, 1988. By now it was predictable seeing Deeps' reaction to results and it was a standing joke with all ... how she would get disturbed if she got less than Jil in maths. Maths, English and Science was Jil's forte and if I remember correctly Geography, and some other subjects were Deeps' forte where she always managed to score more.. Maths was something which always kept fluctuating sometimes she was better sometimes Jil was... She had a tutor in her sister so she would score higher sometimes... By this time the teachers also would have fun putting Jil and Deeps as adverseries ... something fun for them to gossip about.. By now a group had been formed and Jil and Deeps were in the same hang out group. The group had fun... doing all sorts of things and Jil and Deeps realised that they could be good friends if this feeling of competition was knocked off.. Jil thought.. oh well it was Deeps who started it and she should ignore it... by now Jil too got in the game and started organising her stuff.. Deeps was thrilled to have Jil reacting at last... and well now the game was getting warmer.. Standard IX, 1989. Jil and Deeps respect each other and start accepting that one is equal to the other.. albeit reluctantly.. but I am sure Deeps thought that she was better than Jil always. Anyways... this was the time.. the basis of friendships started to form.. and Jil and Deeps were in their teens already realising that hypocrisy was not going to solve stuff. and they were both straight talkers and thats why they acknowledged each other as friends... Life was cool.. They were also living and breathing Pink Floyd.. Standard X 1990. thoughts are flying asunder... hormones kicking majorly and Jil and Deeps are right in the middle of it. Jil always being a tomboy never thought that spending time ogling at the boys was something useful but she did enjoy doingit with her friends... what the heck.. Jil has a crush on the cutest boy who lives near her school... and her heart goes flip flop.. she has been swooning for this hunk from STD VIII but all secretly ... Jil also knows that she will never have the guts to go and speak to this guy.. but it was heart stopping fun just to see this guy... Jil and Deeps have fun sharing what if secrets with each other... they were growing girls who need to talk a lot... and the best was that they were very much like each other... brash... boisterous... totally freakky... totally cool...without any inhibitions.... It was very convenient that their houses are15 mins walk from each other and one good way of spending time is that they can communicate through sign language from their balconies. Jil's balcony had uninterrupted view of Deeps' house entrance and terrace... and vice versa... The introduction of telephone took communication to one more level... and this time ... Jil and Deeps would be cooped up in their respective rooms discussing general stuff... and yes more importantly their imaginary love lives, music, movies, etc. Deeps tells Jil that she is nothing ... has no qualities when compared to her sister.. who was some two years older and was excellent in studies....her parents always compared Deeps to her sister... and well made her a underconfident wreck from inside without realising it... Jil is of the opinion that Deeps was a much better soul... in all her bias and told her so... Little did she realise that this sibling comparison was slowly eating away at her soul...Jil now understands why Deeps always wanted to be better than her. It was like scoring with someone else what she could not score at home.. which made sad but perfect sense... Deeps by now undergoes a major change by falling in love with her tenant who lived below her house. He is a younger boy but Deeps does not care though Jil raises her yet undefined eyebrows... Deeps, a true Scorpio goes ahead in this relationship with the full trust of a confused teenage adult whereas Jil is a little cautious.. advising her to take it slow. Jil instinctively senses that this is not how it was supposed to be since the boy is not at all what suited Deeps but she keeps quiet.. what would she know about all this... but....Deeps becomes a new and confident person when with Sanjay without the shadow of her sibling. She flowers under his attention .. .and she is more gregarious then ever.. Jil is happy to see Deeps bloom... Deeps' life now revolves around Sanjay... this dude who according to Jil was invisible. As the seasons fly past.. the peer pressure is getting high and studies become the main focus.. early morning to late evening would be spent in homeworks and assignments... and tutions.. the only relief would be school time... where all would joke around... and share their dreams. Jil has her world which comprises of being a school prefect, more friends, management of juniors, etc Deeps quietly slips off into her own hazy but happy world of knowing a guy.. in all her innocence.. .Jil sees this and is gentle with her even when some make fun of her. Jil by now counts her as one of her very good friends. Evenings are spent in walking that little road... discussing about how best to do what.. parents come to know and Deeps is ready to fight for her boy.. with nothing but pride in her hand... Jil stalls her .. and talks to her.. more walks are taken in the cold chilly air between our houses with our folks watching out for us from that balcony.. Deeps is frantic,... Sanjay is bowing under pressure and he seems to be trapped... but does not want to leave either... they change houses... Deeps is desperate.. more walks are taken.... this time Deeps almost goes over the bend... studies... love life competition and living up to her sibling's standard was more than she could take it... but she fights back.. Jil is there by her.... not knowing what to do yet.. trying to make her find a balance in this situation...but Jil sadly knows that the breaking point is so near and hopes against hope that Deeps regains herself soon and not give in... November 1989. Winter sets in and studies are in frenzy. To top it all insurgencies start and Shillong is no longer a safe place. We have stray incidences of crime which are getting more frequent day by day. As if in tune with the time.. Deeps falls ill with Typhoid and she is serious... Jil rushes to see her but knows she will recover at her own pace.. all the pressure is taking a toll on her. When she recovers, she loses more than her hair which is normal. She loses some memory and her grasp of learning. This is not visible. March 1990: It is exam time ...one of the most important exams in our life.. the first big exam and it is just few days away.. everyone is studying hard.. revising all that was learnt through the year... Deeps is still recovering and somehow once they manage to have their evening walk together.. Jil sees that Deeps is talking nonsense.. there was no link to what she was saying but Jil comes to know that Sanjay has left her when she was sick. This drives Deeps over the bend and is the last straw, Her psyche flips over slowly and she undergoes a total personality change.. from the shy demure Deeps to an angry kid who lets out all the abuses that she can for her parents, her boyfriend. .... Jil is bewildered and scared to see her like this and tries to talk to her but Deeps snaps at her and tells her to keep quiet. Deeps tells Jil that she is hearing voices in her head and she feels that she has no control over her emotions.. Jil's heart sinks lower... she tries to get the focus back on studies and tells her that they will deal with this after the exam... Deeps is not convinced.. she is on her own trip but she agrees to go back to her studies... Exam begins. The next morning is History paper... where we have to do lot of cramming... Jil is busy mugging her dates... Napoleon, Qutub-ud-in Aibak, Mohammad Bin Tughlaq. Bahadur Shah Zafar, Aurangzeb, Harrapa and Mohen jo daro civilisation, stone age.... etc etc... Suddenly as the dusk is about to fall, the phone rings... Jil feels disturbed by lets her dad answer it. Dad is looking at Jil with serious and Dont-do-this-eyes. Jil nods and tells him to make some excuse. Dad gladly does.. not telling Jil who it is. After sometime the phone again rings.. persistently.. this time.. Dad the good human being that he is cannot avoid anymore and summons Jil to answer the phone... Jil takes the call and hears a desperate mother appealing for help... Deeps is in trouble.. and is asking only for Jil... She is going mad throwing things and is asking for Jil... she would only listen to Jil... Jil is in a dilemma. But she agrees without hesitation assuring the mother that she was on her way. Jil's parents warn her of dire consequences and reprimands her... but she beeseches them to let her go... She knows that Deeps needed her.. and Jil will be there no matter what.. Jil runs with her fast beating heart towards Deeps' house and those 20 minutes seem 20 hours.and Jil wishes she had wings. Finally Jil reaches Deeps' house.. and sees that the whole house is in shambles.. Deeps obviously has had a panic attack and she loses her bearings and went about in an abusing spree.... Jil goes and hugs her trembling body and soothes her... requesting her parents to go out of the room. Jil asks her quietly when Deeps sobers down looking out of the window.. what was the matter... Deeps hugs Jil back tightly and a tiny trembling voice very unlike Deeps pipes in... " I am not able to recollect anything" ... Jil is astounded... and helpless.. How ?? Deeps says again that her memory is like a blurred slate and she cannot remember any details of the History subject. Even Maths was an effort for her... She showed me that she could not hold her pen straight.. The writing over which she had earned so much praise was just thin thread lines... without forming a letter... or an alphabet.. Jil does not know what to do.. she is overcome and slowly tears roll down Jil's cheeks and Deeps knows and Jil also knows that there was nothing they could do but submit to fate. Deeps cries harder at the unimaginable loss. Jil cries for her friend... and at the total tragedy of the whole situation feeling so helpless. They sit like that for some time... till Jil tells her to take a break and give the exam again next year. It was obvious that she could not sit for them. Deeps shivers harder at this and tears of pure pain and frustration beats at her. This day before the history exam will remain in Jil's memory till her memory dies...Jil will never understand how one can lose total control and what a painful situation one can be when one sees a perfectly normal soul go slowly and painfully lost.. in the depths of her confusion... Jil finds it difficult to comprehend with her teenage brain how such a silly situation could lead to such a serious siituation. For a girl who was well known for her good marks, it was a fluke of fate that everything be taken away from her... after bringing her to the end of the goal but thats the way it was. That was the last Jil saw any sign of the coherent and brillant Deeps. Exams come and go. Deeps sits through it all never writing anything in the paper.. she comes every exam day.. sits through the exam and go back... all quiet.. it was as if she was trying to fight her inner demons but not succeeding,.... Jil sees Deeps moving further and further away from her and she cannot do anything about it..Deeps clearly was one of the very few who failed and by this time Deeps becomes another person altogether... totally silent.. speaking when spoken to... not laughing much... friends try and help her... but she shuns everyone... she can no longer identify with Jil... Jil is frustrated... but she still keeps trying.. Jil cannot imagine what she has lost by losing Deeps ... Deeps goes deeper and deeper into her world and becomes a recluse... while time flies... Jil is instructed by Deeps' mother not to come by. Jil is hurt but she understands. Jil wished Deeps would call her. Deeps does not answer the phone and her parents were not helping by barring her friends from visiting her. Jil gives up reluctantly knowing that when time comes Deeps will meet Jil again as coherent friends. Meanwhile, society starts being very cruel to her. The whole town assumes that Deeps is insane. The whole town writes her off and make fun of her... Jil can only ignore the hearsay.. wishing that people werent so cruel... Jil's heart does not give up. Jil sees from a distance.. from her balcony when Deeps listlessly staring into the space... and Jil is heartbroken only praying to god to get her friend back to normal .... how she wishes that Deeps calls her for a walk.. Pre-Univ 1992. Deeps is not giving up. She has fought back... it took two years but she is fighting back... she slowly regains her writing skill... some of her spirit but is a totally different human being now. Jil meets her sometimes on the road.. longs to talk to her but Deeps who is with her mom quietly says hi and walks along.. Jil understands that Deeps that she knew is lost forever...and only a miracle would bring her back... Fast Forward.... 2003 . Deeps emails Jil about her marriage to someone. Jil is pleasantly surprised and wishes her well. But Jil knows that the guy whom she was marrying was a vagabond and a useless freak who went about womanising from his teens. But Jil thinks that people change and well teens are always a bit wild... for some and marraige was was a serious step with parents blessings. Jil is thrilled... squashing her doubts.. 2004..fairy tale ends .. . Jil gets an email from Deeps .. saying that she is filing for divorce since the man concerned already was married and he played a game all along. Jil is shocked and hates at being right. Deeps asks Jil for evidence.. but what good will just words do ? Hard core evidence was what they were looking for... As usual.. the man escapes.. by pleading insanity in wife... there the dark past comes calling back to Deeps .. and Jil can imagine what she might be going through again pained at her loss.. All through the year Deeps is the one this time who corresponds over email.. Jil invites Deeps for a visit to Bangalore but Deeps is reluctant... so many years have passed. What would Jil be like ? Is she still my good friend...Deeps shifts to Calcutta from Shillong and a new life begins. Jil is esctatic. Jil cannot thank God enough for Deeps... this time not asking why she had to go through this.. but grateful that Jil could see some of the old Deeps back in action. This would do for Jil. One hot summer evening in 2005. The cell rings and it says Deeps Cell. Jil eagerly picks up the phone.. to talk to her. Deeps slowly says that she might be coming to Bangalore after excitedly talking about everything but nothing.. just like the old days... Jil's joy knows no limits... Jil is mentally hugging Deeps... and telling her how much she would just love to see her and talk to her.. how much Jil would like to take a walk down memory lane and start from the moment where they left off... before life took over... Yes the news of the impending visit from Deeps is making me feel really great. She is just another normal woman now going through her normal life.. A lot of times the past should remain where it should,... in the past.. and one needs to carry on from there.. I see new hope in Deeps.. I see another long but not so lost friendship rejoice... Yes there is reality in dreaming after all... so what if it took more than a decade to reach there.... It is worth it.. Welcome back... my old friend... and a big toast to new beginnings.... I am proud of you..heres to you and me growing old together... heres to life heres to friendship.
Posted by Pallavi at 5/09/2005 12:07:00 AM