Prelude: I should probably go ahead and say this before you start reading it going “Huh?” in places that might make you go “Huh?”. Fact: I studied in an all girls school. Ergo, views and opinions are strictly from the perspective of a woman who spent the better part of her sixteen years in company of girls . Although that would be the same woman who is now thousands of miles away from all of the people she talks about in this post.
You remember all of it, don’t you? Your very first friend in school, the one whose hand you held as you explored the scary world full of taller people and vast playgrounds. And how somehow you don’t quite remember why that friendship didn’t last past nursery and kindergarten, and you made new friends, this time hopefully for reasons more than the fact that the kid sat next right next to you in class. You must remember simpler times when the making or breaking of a friendship depended on if the other kid shared their chocolate with you. All it took was a “Katti katti katti”* to make you stop talking to the friend, and then just like that, an “Abba abba abba”* to make you start talking to them again.
Then you remember outgrowing all of that to reach that strange phase between primary school and high school were things were unpredictable at best. When friends would seem silly and simple one moment, and at the very next, all weird and difficult to understand. When the innocence of early childhood was very slowly, but steadily making way for the complications of the upcoming teenage, and everyone who was friends with you was trying to deal with the same confusion of being neither here nor there. The same friends who played with your doll house and at the same time wondered aloud with you how babies were born.
You must clearly remember the friend you had during your high school. The one you started sharing secrets with, about this cool guy who said “Hello” to you outside class, and how amazing he made you feel. The very friend you later cried in front of because your mother got to know about the guy who said Hello and forbade you to talk to him. The one who pinkie swore to be your best friend forever, and the one you believed would be there for you for life, because no one else understood you like she did.
And then, just like that, high school ended, and your late teens, as if trying to outdo your early teens, decided to make life a roller coaster ride of new emotions and sentiments and heady excitement and drowning disappointments all at the same time. You remember the friend who enjoyed the ride with you, don’t you? The one with whom you laughed about all the silly antics of high school and the one who pointed out to you when you fell in love for the first time, before you realized it yourself. The one with whom you talked about how you had life all planned out, if only the end term exams went well. The one you hoped would be there with you, for life, because being with them made life feel like a breeze.
If you are one of the lucky ones, all these friends that I have talked about till now, will be just the one for you. I would know. I am one of those lucky ones.
You must remember the day you realized that even as a grown up, life isn’t that different from how it was on the first day of your school. You go to a new place, and you meet new people, and you make friends. You marvel at how life couldn’t get any better because you have such wonderful people around you. But then you grow older, or you change, or you grow apart, maybe because you physically leave the place and go to yet another new one or you do so emotionally . It is always the same. You lament leaving your friends behind, but you realize you will have new friends. You promise to keep in touch with them, and for a while you do. If you are lucky you will always be in touch, but if you are not, you will realize the calls and the mails have faded, and you find yourself making excuses for them and for you. One day you realize that you don’t know where they are and how they are and what they are doing anymore. And even though you never forget how amazing it was to be in their company and how everything was simply perfect, you concede that you have to let go.
Knowing how to let go is as much of an art as knowing how to keep in touch. You let go too soon, and you might not have given the relationship a chance. You hold on too long, and you hurt yourself by wondering why and where things went wrong instead of accepting it. But what I learned, the hard way, is that sometimes you have to just let go. For your sake, for their sake. For sake of all the precious seconds you lose after something that you are meant to let pass you by. Because it is okay, you know. Times change, and you have to change with it. And it is only fair that you go along with life, luckily with the few people who are always meant to be with you.
*All little girls in my school knew that holding your thumb to your chin repeatedly while saying “Katti katti” meant “You are a bad girl and I don’t want to talk to you” and holding your palm to your mouth and saying “Abba abba” meant “Oh you are my friend again and let’s please talk again!”