Yesterday, Athulya left for Berkeley. I accompanied her to the airport. She was one of the few friends who never asked me any questions, but just understood me and stood by my side. I’ve always wondered that my life as a journalist, both at IIMC and UC would had been a disaster if she never stood by my side. Some people are meant to be the pillars of your support system. They could be your colleagues, teachers, classmates or even parents. And when they become so, they are called friends. I believe that there is no particular group of people called friends, any person who is meant to be there for you, is your friend, irrespective of age, gender, relationship with you, or anything else. Athulya was one such person for sure. A senior first, then my colleague, and then a friend who eventually became my teacher to teach me life. Delhi is a heaven now, just because she taught me how to be here. California was smooth because she made it comfortable for me. And now, she was here, on Achhu’s request, to make me feel good. I’ve wondered, what if I never had people like these two in my life? And why do I meet people who have such influence on me? Always, everyone!!
Before departing, she spoke to me about Achhu’s changes. We laughed a lot. And later she told me to be cool, and as usual her assuring kiss on the forehead and a warm hug, whispering softly in my ears “I’m proud of you! Never change Meghu, you’re the best like this. You haven’t done anything wrong. Don’t listen to what others say. Not even to my words. Just continue obeying your inner voice”. On my way back home, I was thinking about Achhu. I couldn’t believe that he had come to me and just changed me from being depressed again. Your loved one’s presence can change you so much, I knew, but to this extent, I had never experienced.
Last week, July 6
After the shopping I took him to the regular place where we would hangout. And yes, Delhi’s street food was another attraction. Nothing could beat the flavour. We spoke a lot. And suddenly he started the main topic.
“Why do you need this?”
“You know what I’m talking about. Your friends and people around you are noticing your changes. How long do you need to be like this, moody, depressed, pretentious and fake. You don’t know how to put a mask, hence by your present trials you are disturbing our peace. Please change. Please be like the one you were before. Everyone has their life. They can’t be for you always. So, think about them. Don’t disturb them.”
“I’ve never disturbed anyone. I haven’t asked anyone to be there for me. In fact I never narrate my problems to….”
” That’s the issue. You never speak about your issues. You keep them hiding and that disturbs us the most. Because whenever you are disturbed it’s seen in your behaviour” he shouted loud enough that the child some six tables away started crying.
“Okay. Cool down. I’m trying to be fine. And I’ll be peaceful soon. Give me some time. I can’t assure you when. But I’ll be fine and be like earlier, definitely” I smiled.
His face turned red with anger. My brother. Short tempered like me, what else do you expect? Yet I was extremely happy. Because this anger was out of love and care. I hugged him. He looked at the crying child and made a funny face. It laughed. And the food we ordered was served hot. He started his war. Both against food and my life.
He went on speaking, and gave it a conclusion, “tell me something Mittu(another nickname, thanks to my mother’s side), why is your life apparently so simple, yet so complicated inside? Everywhere, everything you are associated with, has a twist or a confusion or something unusual. Why? Are you a cursed Annabelle?”, and he laughed.
Yes. Right from my birth, I had many confusions or unusual things. My parents had a rare marriage of their times, an inter community marriage wasn’t so common then, yet my grandparents were so cool that they agreed to it without any objections. May be my childhood which was an all-India tour, thanks to my father’s government job. Miracles happen, strange and unusual things occur, but when they take place so often that it’s hard to distinguish between usual and unusual stuff, what could be done? Janaba was one such unusual thing. Meeting him was never planned, it was the least expected. And the events till today, seems like a miracle.
But life is a miracle. A system of billions of cells that arises from a single zygote, that’s the human body. Isn’t it a miracle? The thoughts, the actions that are all transmitted through electrical impulses, from the brain, isn’t that a miracle? The fact that a person is not dead comes from the miraculous functions of heart; a slight change in the beats and it’s almost gone. The gap between two consecutive breath is enough to decide life. Isn’t life a set of miracles, a cluster of unexpected events? Isn’t it a serendipity?
I jumped off from the sofa. Achhu was sleeping, that I had to scream in his ears to wake him up. I gave the phone to him. He read the messages with half open eyes and asked me, “was it him who blocked you? I thought it was you. Because you are always stupid, I knew. Never expected that fellow to be so“. I punched him hard on his stomach. He woke up and sat on the chair, making sure that he punched me back.
“Now what? You made all the unnecessary assumptions. It was you who blamed yourself. No one told you that you irritated him. And…”
“But he knows that I’m irritating him and I know it ver..”
“Wait. Did he speak to you about that? Leave the texts and phone calls. Real issues are always addressed in person. Did you meet him after the last visit?”
“No. I didn’t get time and maybe, I don’t have the guts to face him. But still I’m planning to meet. After the rural postings, next month maybe.”
“Oh God. So althese days you people never met. You are such a dumb-ass. Please quit the course. You are jus…”
“Shut your mouth. Don’t teach me. I know things better than you. I’m your elder sister, don’t forget that.” My ego was hurt. I was happy that he was matured, but when he started teaching me, my ego couldn’t take it.
“No wonder why you land in trouble always. Listen now. Peacefully. Everyone has a different life. They have different priorities. They have different ways to express their views because they have different perspectives. You are comfortable with the messages and phone calls. But he might not be. People like me, for instance, can’t speak about life or can’t argue or convince or console over a phone call. We want to watch the person. That’s the reason why I spent my money on a flight ticket, rather than spending it on a few phone calls or text messages. Leave him alone for sometime. He has a life too. Why do you keep assuming things? Can’t you just leave it to happen in a flow? The world is some 7.6 billion lives and 15.2 billion faces. Everyone has a struggle. Each one needs space. You can’t judge anyone based on the text messages or the phone calls. Because you never know what is their situation when they do those. But speaking in person is different. You have a real empathy when you speak face to face. You could understand far better.”
He was right. Completely. “I know. But only here… I don’t know why..!”
“Because you are first time here. You know althese things well. You’ve observed these things. I know that you knew the above speech I made way before I could think about it. But only in this case you couldn’t, because you are a child here. You’ve never experienced this attachment for anybody else before. Hence you stumble like a child that learns to walk. It’s normal. But you regard each stumbling as a failure. And you start assuming that you are absolutely wrong. And a depression follows. Hence don’t assume. Just do what you feel like doing, and leave it there. Don’t think about the consequences. Things are better when you least care about them. If you want to say something, say it to him. But don’t keep analysing about it later. And if free, meet him. He’s a very good friend too, isn’t he? Leave him Tessa kutty. He has a life. He may not speak about that now. He’ll speak if he wants to. Him hiding his Instagram stories from you, blocking you mustn’t affect you at all. Don’t assume that it’s because of your mistake, unless he says it on your face. Don’t give this subject a special importance, treat it the way you handle rest of the things in your life. It would be totally fine then. Just relax.”
I was dumbstruck. Who was this person, speaking to me? Was it my same old Achhu?
“And yeah, why did you tell that man that we are going to his house today?”
“That dude we met at the book store. I am sleepy. I won’t come. Don’t you know the importance of sleep? Dumb-ass”.
(P.s : This post is too long. Never intended to make it this long. Hence, remaining details to be added in the next post. 😅)