January 20, 2001

my best friend’s wedding, and after …

jayashree and i have known each other class eight in school. both of us opted for french as the second language, and that’s how we met.

she was bubbly, extrovert and very bold, and, being rather an introvert in school, i loved her company and her sense of humour. she was also the class monitor, and had her way with teachers.

school led to college, and though we had a big group now, jayashree and i grew even closer. we used to walk hand-in-hand, buy lottery tickets, get in the wrong trains, relish sugarcane juice on our way home, sneak through the compound when there was a college-teachers-strike, and sneak back out just for the heck of it. we spent hours at each others homes…she later used to take stitching classes from my mom and i liked to shoot her with my dad’s camera.

days passed. i got busy with my job and the affairs that surrounded it, and she got married. two years later, she became a mother.

as i walked to her home today, i couldnt believe it was 18 months since gayatri was born. would i be able to relate to a mother?

gayatri had the answers. she bridged the initial silence of almost four years in an instant! while jayashree made dal wadas in the kitchen (she did not know it was my favourite snack), i played with her kid and we caught up on the lost years.

i found it difficult to accept that jayashree was now a full-time housewife, and even attended haldi-kumkum functions and bisi parties…something that we used to ridicule while in college.

was this really the jayashree i knew? yes. deep inside, she was still there.

jayashree offered to drop me to the gate (its a five-minute walk away from her home), her husband vijayan offered to babysit their kid till she came back.

as we walked toward the gate and waved goodbye to viju and gayatri, we unconsciously held each other’s hands, and i felt a painful lump in my throat. i looked at jayashree and she had tears in her eyes too.

“radhu, its been so long since i held a friend’s hand…come more often. i need you”

those words haunted me all the way home. sorry jayashree, i was so caught up with my life, i forgot you were so much a part of me too.

i thought of the things i could do for her…could i get her a job she could do from home, a hobby, plants for her home, books? nah, but she didn’t need those.

i called her an hour later…
“next week, i’m coming over to your place to stay for a day.”

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