Sunday, October 25, 2009

To my Living Diary...

Ever since I can remember, my diary has been my most special friend…since the 6th grade days when I scribbled my life story in a Scooby-doo notebook. I used to assign names to dairies then...looking upon them as living entities, surviving, talking and even breathing! As I grew a little by little, I began to grow bitter. Although the diaries recorded my passing moods, they never talked back. I had sought counsel from my best friend….hoping that it would somehow comfort me with soothing words. But each diary had remained lifeless like it was supposed to be, and I had grown even more resentful….until I found a diary that talked back….a diary that not only recorded, but also talked, counseled, guided, and even told me it’s stories. A diary which was just like me……..A diary named Kavyashree.

Today, as I continue to open the pages of my life to my best friend, I tend to be overwhelmed by gratefulness every single time…..the patient advise that she offers, the warm and genuine affection that she showers me with makes me feel like the luckiest person on this entire planet. As I write each and every chapter of my life in her memory, my living diary responds, and now it’s my turn to play the secret-keeper. It’s a unique and strange friendship that exists between me and Kavya—a beautiful, intimate relationship. Kavyashree is to me something more than a best friend, if such a thing could ever exist. As my soul scrolls unfold before her eyes, she becomes their treasurer, a gentle and loving friend…the guide, the well-wisher. And she is truly another part of who Lakshmi is today…she defines my identity. Without my living diary, I am nothing…..without Kavyashree, I am in constant unrest. She is my hope, my role-model, my cheerleader. With Kavyashree, I share a bond so deep that it is irreplaceable. Her company is a blessing.

In the eager anticipation to meet her online when she is free, and in the earnest conversation that immediately follows, I somehow forget to tell her how much she means to me…how her friendship has been the most extraordinary thing I have ever been touched with. So today, I thought I’d let my best friend know. I have to tell you Kav, if there is one chapter that is never-ending in my living diary, it has to be this….

She has always been “Kav,” to me, fondly uttered….In her own simplistic way, she is truly one of a kind. A trustworthy, frank and big-hearted girl, who has changed me in so many ways. She has been my strength, my shoulder to lean on. Her hands hold mine in the face of any tough situation, strong and reassuring…and I know that if there is one person in this world I can count on in the darkest of times, it is her. Miles away from home, when I feel homesick, she becomes the instant cure. Even though she is so far away, I never feel forsaken. Even through great distances, her voice comes back to me….resonating that homely warmth and good cheer. It is impossible to feel abandoned when I cherish her so close to my heart…my best friend is always nearby, because I know that she cares…and the comfort in that realization is immense.

Truth is, I don’t know what I’ve done to deserve such a gem of a friend. If I were to list all her many favors, I could be writing a book. There are so many things I admire about my best friend. She is so caring, enthusiastic, straight-forward, humble, independent, sweet, impossibly intelligent….she holds me in constant awe. And every time I tell her that, she brushes it off with a modest “ilve…” That rare humbleness is one of her greatest qualities. I respect her for that. She is truly an amazing person…enriching my life, finding a purpose for me when it all seems purposeless. She has an incredible ability for find meaning in meaninglessness, a light in every dark tunnel….her talents are remarkable.

Thank you, Kavya, for entering my life. Thank you for everything you have ever done for me, selflessly, without expecting returns. Thanks for all that you have shared. Thanks for the laughs, the giggles, and even the happy tears. Thanks for that sudden emails that unexpectedly land in my inbox when I most need them, thank you for all the wonderful memories. Thanks, for your efforts to reconnect. Thank for caring so much. Thank you, you wonderful little girl, for making my life so utterly beautiful! You have a magic touch, I swear. You don’t know how deeply indebted I am to you. Thank god you exist, Kavyashree. Without you, my life wouldn’t quite have been the same. You’ve made such a great difference….that is your biggest achievement. They say that we don’t remember the most popular people of the world, or the most brilliant people of the world as much as we remember the people who have personally impacted our lives. That explains why I think of you every single day of my life. And they say that to give love to people who most require it, is the greatest of human virtues. Thanks, for being so virtuous. Thank you, for being my personal angel. You have made a bigger difference in my life than anybody else could have, or ever will. I just wanted to scream out my gratitude to you today….on your birthday.

You are nineteen today. Finally….you caught up to me, keeping pace! On your birthday, I just wanted to let you know that I love you very much, Kavya, and that you are one of the most important persons to me. I want to promise you that I’ll always be there for you, no matter what. I want to tell you that this friendship which started out so unexpectedly that innocent morning is today something utterly indestructible. I want to say that I will work the hardest I can to retain the same amount of trust, the same amount of love, the same amount of carefree open-heartedness that I effortlessly maintain with you. Thanks, for being my living diary, love. Thanks for talking back. HAPPY BIRTHDAYYYYYYY!!!!!!!!!!!!!! May you stay happy, forever. May you live every single day, like it’s worth it. May the world’s best be always yours. Continue smiling your heart-warming smile, Kav. May the stars watch over you…..

You know, your parting present, the wind chimes, hang from my balcony today…. They are the ornament of my favorite place. When the sun sets and they catch all the crimson, it’s like they are set ablaze….they remind me of our glorious times together when I was home. And on bright mornings, your artificial cherries of rainbow colors attract beautiful hummingbirds….they evoke squeals of delight from me. And their melody enthralls my soul, reminding me of your laughter. You are the jewel of my beloved balcony. Without your presence there, it wouldn’t have been quite so special.

I hope you liked your birthday present, Kav. Now go out there and have the time of your life! Hope you have the best birthday, dear. And I’ll write to you when I meet you next, filling up all the empty spaces. And here…I thought you’ll like this too—our favorite song…..the anthem of L.A.K.!!! Remember how we hoped that college life would be like this? Hope you enjoy it. It’s dedicated to you, on your very special nineteenth!!

Kavyashree, there are some books that have final chapters, and magnificent conclusions. This one doesn’t….because my living diary will never close. There are no final chapters to this storybook….there are just waiting pages. And both of us will fill it, with lovely memories for a lifetime. And this, friend, will stand testimony. Happy birthday.

Forever and Always yours,

Monday, October 12, 2009


That day was supposed to have been just like yesterday. I still woke up to the ear-splitting trumpets of the high-school band next door, and tasted the same filter coffee. The meek October skies were as pale as they had been previously. The room stayed the same perpetual mess with overflowing closets, like it had been for many days now. And yet, today was just not yesterday. Yesterday, I was eighteen. And today, I wasn’t so young anymore. A tingle and a refreshing excitement settled in, despite the dull weather. It felt like a profound leap of a year had taken place, all in the span of just a few hours. Finally nineteen and old, a sudden vision appeared before my eyes…a Lakshmi with her creaky joints and frowning wrinkles. I stared at the mirror, horrified for that one irrational minute. A familiar reflection smiled back at me reassuringly. I certainly didn’t feel any older….

“Last year of teenage!” teased many an email, well aware of my vulnerability. I promptly panicked, pondering on what that might mean. Nineteen was a different year. Nineteen meant somebody independent, sensible, and head-strong. It meant maturity, responsibility and a certain level of acquired common sense about the world in general. Age had quickly caught up with me, but those essential skills had not. It had been nineteen years of existence…my life felt long. And what had I achieved in these nineteen years, which had done the world some good? I racked my brain for answers, but it remained as cloudy as the pale skies outside. I was surprised at finding a philosopher within myself. I caste away the pensive thoughts, turning a little lighter.

Every birthday is just another yesterday, once you forget its significance. But this time, I understood nineteen’s importance. Nineteen was not just another year older. It marked the end of the teenage, a phase of life that I had grown to identify myself with. It had been a worthwhile journey, getting to this nineteen…and I was glad to say that I did not hold any regrets. Teenage had been an enchanting experience—something which had been as sweet as it had been agitating. I resolved to celebrate this year a little differently.

This time, it wasn’t a sleepover party or cutting a cake. This year, it was valuable time spent with family, a long drive and coffee by the beachside. It was another one of my beloved escapes—hastily decided and completely relished. The countryside held all he charms of early October: fresh pumpkins and upcoming Halloween fairs….and for a second, I was attracted. But I bypassed all that to experience the tranquil calm that was the seaside before it was too late. In the secluded calm by the beach, I found my naive self, prancing wild and excited. I couldn’t possibly have felt any younger.

“Look at every grain of sand,” said father as I walked beside him. “It would have taken many years of painful experience before every grain got that fine…”

I felt the grains beneath my feet, wet and soft. My toe traced meaningless squiggles in them as I reflected on his words. Every grain of sand had a story and it had taken many years before it had become this beautiful. Each grain had once been lost at sea, before it had been deposited. Each grain had once been a coarse stubborn young boulder, before being this refined. Each grain of sand was an inspiration. I told myself that even though I was currently lost at sea, someday, my thoughts would sediment. Someday, I would understand the world. Someday, experiences would refine me. Although my achievements had been small, I knew that there was still lots of time. Time to realize myself. Time to improve, time to develop and time to learn.

I decided not to be scared of age, or of time, because they would become my most valuable teachers. As I grew out of each experience, I would dissolve into another, and every step along the way, they would mould my coarse, reckless adolescent spirit into a confident young woman….and maybe into something more beautiful if I was only willing to learn. And each birthday didn’t just bring me closer to the creaky joints and frowning wrinkles I feared so much, it bought me closer to maturity and wisdom. I hoped that as each yesterday disappeared down the bend, I would get closer and closer to being that perfect grain. And that day when the sea deposited me on the shore, I would look back and find an answer to the most important question I had ever asked myself: “In all these years of existence, what have you achieved that has done this world some good?”

I looked back to the calm white sea, finally nineteen. Yes, today was not the same as yesterday. Today was an experience, just like tomorrow would be. I felt the beautiful softness of the grains of sand beneath my feet…I didn’t feel cheated by time now…now, I was already looking forward to my next birthday….and knew that tomorrow would be better than today was. Tomorrow, I would be a just a bit more closer to being that perfect grain of sand.