I had to turn my cell ph off yesterday afternoon because the battery was discharged. When I returned home in the evening, charged it and turned the phone on, there were two messages waiting for me.
The first one was from K, my best friend Sri’s boyfriend. He said he had some urgent bad news and wanted me to call him back ASAP. I could think of some ‘urgent bad news’ that might be waiting for me – maybe he lost his job, maybe she lost her job, maybe one of their parents’ is ill, maybe they have called their relationship off and he was going to get married to someone else. Maybe this, maybe that…but little did I know that it was none of those.
The second message was from Sriram, one of Sri’s friends he said. And his message gave me the real bad news that was waiting for me. That Sri was no more. That “she kinda passed away.”
I was in shock. I couldn’t understand what was going on. I replayed the message million times to make sure I heard it right. I sat on the couch starring at the wall hoping whatever I heard was not really true. “He said ‘she kinda passed away’, didn’t he?” I thought. Maybe that meant she was in coma or just too serious. So, there might still be hope. There was no way in hell she was gone. How could that be?
I’m shaken up. I still can’t accept that you are gone. Even after hearing one of the worst news of my lifetime, I’m calm. Because I can’t believe that it is happening. I don’t miss you as much as I should. Because I can’t gather myself to look into the reality of the situation. Sure there have been moments since last evening when I cried my heart out. But then I stop it, tell myself that you are just playing a cruel joke on me, and get on with the routine. And then I remember what K sounded like in that message of his. The pain in his voice brings me face to face with the truth. I realize you are no more and I break down. Tears roll down my cheeks and the cycle continues.
It was very hard for me to sleep last night. But I got myself to do it only because I thought when I woke up in the morning this could all be just a nightmare. Sadly, it wasn’t. Tears kept coming, I couldn’t do anything about it. But there I was, still hoping that maybe you were playing a trick on me. That is exactly what I told my colleague today when he asked me why I seemed upset. “My friend is playing a trick on me, a cruel one at that and I’m angry”, I said. And few minutes after I logged on to gchat a message from your id popped up. I felt ecstatic. I was relieved that you were alive and that you were sending a message to ask me what effect your trick had on me. But when I opened the window all I saw was “This is Sri’s friend, did you hear the news?” and I hit rock bottom again. And then, I called H to give her the news. I couldn’t stand it when her voice went from a happy ‘hello’ to a shocked ‘what????!!!!’. It broke my heart to hear her cry over the phone.
What happened, Sri? What about all those things that you wanted to do? That career you wanted to build. That big wedding you were planning. That cute family you wanted to have. Why did you leave before we could see your dreams come true? Everything was falling in place for you recently. You joined your new job a month ago. K moved from Aus to India for good so he could be close to his loved ones. You were thrilled about how finally the long distance thing had come to an end. And you were planning to tell your parents about K this year end, weren’t you? What happened all of a sudden? Why did you have to leave us all so abruptly? What were you thinking?
I can’t stop thinking about you, Sri. I remember how you always said you wanted me to get married before you did. I never thought that was possible. But then you have your own way of making your wishes come true, eh? Now I will get married before you do. Happy? The last time we talked, you asked me when I was gonna come to India for a visit. And I promised you that I would come there next year to attend your wedding. Now what?
You were always there for me. You had a knack for getting me to talk about whatever was bothering me. And you always always told the right things at the right times without judging me for anything. What do I do without you now? After being such a great friend for sooo many years, how could you leave without even saying good bye?
If I’m going through so much pain, I can’t imagine what it must be like for K. I spoke to him today. I don’t know how I even managed to dial his number. When he picked up, I didn’t know what to say. I couldn’t bear hearing his voice. I am so used to his cheerful tone all the time that it brought me to tears when I heard him talk today. He said he still isn’t able to comprehend whatever is going on. He told me that everything happened so fast that he hasn’t had a minute to feel the pain. I was totally clueless as to what I should say to console the guy. The guy that has known you almost all his life. The guy that had dreams of building a beautiful life together with you. The guy that, I know, would go any extent to make / keep you happy. What could I have said to console him, Sri? You left me in a very bad position, you know. All I did was cry and tell him that he could call me anytime to talk…He mentioned that he quit his job. He told me that he couldn’t even stay at his place because every nook and corner of his house reminds him of you. He was at your place today, talking to your sister and you know why? Because he said her voice sounds like yours and that’s soothing. He doesn’t have a clue what he’s gonna do next. You were his life. All that he has ever wanted, since the day he fell for you, was to make you happy in every possible way. And now you left him alone? How? Why?
What about your parents? Couldn’t you have stayed a bit longer at least for their sake? How hard it must be for them to lose their daughter at this age. If my mother went blank for few secs when I told her about what happened, then I can’t even imagine what your mother must be going through. How could you leave your parents and sister so soon?
I will miss you, sweetheart. Miss you badly. You were one of the very few people I easily opened up to. You were one of my closest friends. There will always be a void in my life now that no one else can fill. No one can even come close to how perfect you were, as a friend and a person. Warm smile, friendly eyes, open arms, infectious laughter, bright mind, pure heart and bubbly character – that’s what you were. A true beauty. A bundle of perfection.
Come back, Sri. Come back. Come back before anyone asks us to move on. Because I know I can’t. So come back and tell us all that this was just a nightmare. Smile for us again. It’s too early for you to leave us, anyway. Not fair to you, not fair to us. None of us wanted you to be that dew drop to give us momentary happiness and hope. We want you to be the star of our lives. Come on, come back and be that gentle ray of sunshine to brighten our lives again.
I love you.