To Priyank, Allen, Satija, Smit, Duplik, Singhi & Yash
(There! Happy? 😛)
As the bus clattered inland from Palolem Beach to urban Madgaon, I rested my head against the window and let a gentle rain patter on my face. Our journey back home would be plagued by heartache. Three of us eight were going to leave for degrees and jobs in the United States.
I am not equal to describing the nature of our camaraderie. But I must tell you some things about them.
They squeal like the prepubescent pygmies they still are. And use pillows as weapons of mass destruction. Prefer women with long hair and short names. Write hieroglyphics and scratch themselves inappropriately. Have perpetually blocked noses and awkward telephone silences. Have no idea whatsoever about status quo. And post fake comments on this blog.
We are radically different and differently radical. I have detested one or the other at some point. Each of us has drifted away once. All of us have always come back.
This is not a celebration of our days that were. This is a vent to my apprehensions about the years to come.
Seven of us took time out from our busy schedules (See? I’m using adult clichés already) and took off for one last trip together – to Goa. The eighth was detained by a blasted visa interview. Damn.
Wine on the sand at midnight. Perching on sea-sprayed rocks. Conversation conversation conversation.
Three nights, four days – our final memories.
They may come back different people. They may come back to different people. They may never come back.
Incompatible time zones will separate us. Vocational demands will intervene. Innumerable strangers will be befriended. We will meet once every year. Or two. Maybe.
But we were lucky. All of us lived in the same city till age twenty-one. We kept odd hours, immersed ourselves in disparate courses, made countless new friends and didn’t meet as often as we could have. Yet somehow, we are closer now than we were before.
We’ve managed to get through over a decade without uttering ‘best friends’; I won’t begin now. But as friends go (pun! pun!), I couldn’t have found any better.
Were I of a Gandalf-ish turn of mind, I’d intone “Here at last, dear friends, on the shores of the Sea comes the end of our fellowship in Middle-earth. Go in peace! I will not say: do not weep; for not all tears…” Scratch that. I’d never live that one down.
Our trip to Goa was a quest for closure before the imminent dilution of eleven years of friendship. It has been two months since we returned. Two of us left this week. We tried to feel emotional about it but even the shock of their departure hasn’t set in. Another leaves later this year. And I am nowhere close to achieving any degree of closure.
As I write these words, I am beginning to wonder, who needs it? After all, this bloody well isn’t the end.
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