The 17th of May 2008, was a very special day for me, and I realized that as soon as I woke up to feel the warmth of the sun on my face, and observed that the curtains were all aglow with the eerie early morning sunlight. There is something to be said about this, because I normally (make that never) wake up on early mornings voluntarily. It was pure excitement which made me unable to slip into that state of passivity I enjoyed so much. Yes, that day was going to be special, and I had made arrangements to see to that.
That day was going to be bitter-sweet. I knew that because it was the day I would say my official ‘good-bye’ to my best friend in a very grand way, and it was the day we were going to watch a much-awaited movie. When my friend and my cousin came over, we hired an auto to MG road. The newest of the Chronicles of Narnia series, the movie Prince Caspian was out, after a month of eager anticipation. We were wild with excitement. The experience was ultimately rewarding, and we watched it with mouths agape, like the old times. It was still very early by the time the movie ended, and we decided to do something fun together.
There, in a coffee shop, sipping some Butterscotch Frappe’, we let the conversation carry us endlessly from one topic to another, shifting pace, drifting into one memory after another, and thoughts of how much we would miss each other in the days to come. And then, we made a promise, the kind teenagers these days never do. Deepti and I decided to become pen-friends.
It is true that we are markedly alike in our tastes, and our perspectives often collided with surprising similarity. That day, we swore to keep the promise alive. We believed in the joy of handwritten letters, of the warmth it bought to you…..because we had never experienced it. I, at least, never had a pen friend in my life, and the whole concept was new to me. I was tired of the adults reminiscing about the good old days of the handwritten letters. I still believed there were ways of bringing things back. We could reach each other easily on email or on orkut, but that wasen’t really the point. The point was that we were trying to experiment, to find out how beneficial writing was.
2 months after coming here I received my first letter from Deepti as promised, I experienced an inexplicable thrill. The day seemed suddenly more colourful. Oh, how lovely it was to find my name written on a brown envelope, which has arrived all the way from India! I now seemed to grasp the secret appeal of letters, and comprehended with perfect clarity why adults turn nostalgic about them.
But day by day, it is getting more difficult to keep that promise alive, since both the letters I wrote to deepti never reached her. And with the postal prices skyrocketing in India, I do feel a twinge of guilt for making her spend so much for me. But all I’d like to say is that we will maintain it as long as we can, because none of us are willing to let go.
Deepti wrote this for my upcoming birthday, when I’ll be turning 18:
“May you be happy throughout your life
May you keep love and joy always by your side,
May you experience the magic of being fully alive,
And may life’s best be always yours.”
And they are best birthday present I have received so far.
(Read Deepti’s response on http://deeptiraghuram.blogspot.com/2008/10/reply-to-friend.html)