Saturday, March 12, 2011

Best friend’s best friend

Preface: Unlike the previous love story, this is in my regular style so read at your own risk.

Her father always wanted a girl child. With 2 boys before her, she heard from her mother that he fasted for 41 days and went to Shabarimala to pray for a girl child the year she was born. It was her father who named her Indira. She was named after late Indian Prime Minister Indira Gandhi. Like Indira Gandhi her father wished her to be famous, intelligent, brave and able. Her father treated her at par with his boys, if not better. So when she completed 10th standard she was sure she was headed to the popular boarding school, away from home. The school was popular for bagging most of the top 100 ranks in Kerala engineering and medical entrance exam.

The first experience away from home was tougher than what she had expected. At hostel she missed her mother to wake her up in the morning. There was no tooth brush with paste, hot water and warm towel ready, nor was it a sparkling clean bathroom. No one asked her what she would like to have for breakfast and it was a 5 minutes walk to hostel mess. She had to manage laundry, essential shopping and house keeping on her own. There were no protective brothers or familiar friends.

Mridula was her room mate, the only kid for her NRI parents. She was in Dubai with her parents till 10th standard. She too was staying away from home for the first time. Both of them became great friends, it was just a matter of hours. Other than their frameless spectacles and Timex watches they had their love for jackfruit chips, gossips, movies, Prithviraj (Malayalam movie actor) and boys in common. Within weeks they were fondly called Siamese Irattakal(twins) in their class and they never missed sharing all their unimportant important things.

There is something about best friends they make us feel surrounded with a crowd of loving people. Getting up in the morning and getting ready was less tiresome with Mridula yapping endlessly about school (previous and present), her plans, suggestions, movies, food etc. They realized food tasted better with Mridula talking about her Dubai experiences at KFC, Pizza corner, Starbucks, TGIF etc. They talked endlessly on how stupid Annie looked with all the makeup on or how invisible after sunset Swetha should have been named before she was born. After classes, in between assignment and studies they talked about anything and everything under the sun. Late nights were for discussions, from biology text to Howard Roark to Mr. Knightley. Every Sunday Mridula’s uncle and her grandparents would visit her, replenishing their stock of chips, biscuit and Halwa.

That year her parents were visiting Kerala during Christmas Vacation. And they bought her a Nokia express music mobile phone and a post paid connection. Phone number XXX6743852, was etched in Indira’s mind even before, it got saved in here dad’s mobile. She was excited. Her dad had not allowed her to get a mobile phone, but now her roommate had one. Now her parents did not have to call the common hostel landline to contact her. Now her parents did not have to try for hours before they got the line free. She did not have to dress up and rush to the phone in the common room when someone informed her that she had a phone call from home. She too was going to be connected to her class friends all the time. Then there was the camera, the mp3 player and the Radio Mango FM to entertain both of them.

Back after Christmas the mobile phone did bring more changes than expected. Every morning started with Mridula’s mothers wake up call. She would put on her hands free head set and her mother gave her instructions for the day, as she brushed her teeth. After classes between study breaks she would get calls from dad, mom, cousins, uncles, aunts and grand parents. Indra’s parents soon realized it was easier to get the common landline free, than to get her roommate’s phone free. Mridula would be furiously texting as they studied. Only discussions were about assignments, that too often monosyllables. Indra would wait for Mridula to be off the phone to go for breakfast or dinner.
edi Maaye 9 mani aayi, ippol poyillengil rathri pattiniya … najan oru 5 minuteil vilikam” So the meals too became a hurried affair. There was no more incessant chatter to go with beans thoran.

Late nights they did not discussed why Thomas hardy’s Giles Winterborne was more viable in present day India. Late nights were for her friends from Dubai. Indira came to know that Mridula had a lot of friends. Minu, Jayesh, Moris, Jomol, Laya, Rijesh, Jayanth, Anu, Salim, Tina, Noyel and many more would call between unending SMSs. Indra would spend more and more time with books, as her best friend paced around the room talking to her phone.
Every unimportant important thing was shared with the phone even before they were shared with Indra or often not shared with Indra. Her roommate celebrated, mourned, laughed and cried with the phone. There was so much of fun, friendship, laughter and joy in the room, but Indra felt lonely. She was alone in a crowd.

They still ate, studied and lived together but still the magic that existed couple of months back was missing. She realized her best friend had a new best friend.
P.S. This story was written some time back. And is related to a very old blog (this blog: Connectivity) :)

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