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Stars: Candles of our Childhood

Stars. Hot balls of illuminated gas millions of miles away, results of narrow cosmic chances.

The same stars, due to these enormous distances, appear as pinpoints of twinkling light. And so distant these stars are, that the light that left them eons ago, reach us now. And in that way, looking at them is like peering into the past. But that is not the only way stars make us look back in the past. Some of us travel time in our own ways.

When I first wondered why stars existed, I was perhaps six or seven, enjoying my summer vacations at my grandma’s house. These were times of the mid-90s, and there was less pollution than there is now. Moreover, there were frequent power failures in Mumbra. As irritated as we were due to the extreme May heat, we were helpless. This was the time when color televisions were still not that popular, but I was still happy that there was a black and white one at my grandmother’s house. In my house, however, the only electrical appliance of note was a cassette tape. But these were useless boxes during power failures. My cousin and I were little, and not too comfortable playing in the dark, so we would often sit surrounding a lit candle after sundown, and this would really annoy the adults, because our shadows were proper hindrances to their chores. Consequently, the candle would be placed atop a small wooden cupboard. This was still manageable for us, as the light wouldn’t hurt our eyes now. We would sit in the candle-lit room till power resumed, or till the only source of light flickered away and extinguished, after which we’d run to the kitchen. It had the only emergency lamp in the entire house, but we avoided it out of fear of being scolded.

Just before one of these unpredictable power failures, our mothers decided to take us to the building terrace. They told us we would enjoy the cold evening breeze, though I knew the enjoyment was more theirs than ours. Part of the terrace has a sloping roof, with one half of the slope descending toward the rest of the terrace. We liked it immediately! Due to its smooth tarring, we could slide and roll on it. We enjoyed so much that we didn’t realize that the lights had went out. About half an hour later, tired of climbing a slope rather steep for our age, my cousin and I sat at its base, reclining and looking up at the sky. It was a beautiful sight! The waning moon hardly disturbed the darkness of the rest of the sky. I knew my cousin looked up, too, because we both were quiet. Being the younger one and looking up to me for knowledge, he asked, “How does the sky have so many stars?” I was as clueless as he was, and regarding his question carefully, I looked up again. Indeed, there were a huge number of them, so many that I had never seen so much starlight in one go.

“I think these are candles”, I replied.

“Candles? Why would someone light candles so high up?” he enquired.

“Simple. When there is a power failure in grandma’s house, we light candles so we don’t get scared. In the sky, when there is a power failure, God lights candles so that those living there don’t get scared”, I said.
“What is moon then?”

“It is the largest of the candles.”
I looked at the moon to escape the discomforting ambiguity of my answer.

“A candle?”

“Of course, or why would it become smaller every day?”

“But it becomes larger too, sometimes. And look at its shape. I don’t think it is a candle.”

“It appears to be a different type of candle.”

“Why don’t we have a candle like the moon?”

I was growing irritated, not because of my cousin’s questions, but because of my own inability to answer them. I remained quiet. At the same time, I was curious, too. Were these really distant candles? How did they last all night? They would flicker, but why wouldn’t they get extinguished? And why would someone light so many small but only one large candle? I continued to wonder, while reclining at my new favorite place in Mumbra. We drew imaginary lines between stars, forming patterns, mostly letters in our names. We wrote in different styles, inventing many of our own constellations in the process. For reasons I was not yet familiar with, I felt at peace looking up. The sky had a quiet way about it. The soft breeze had put my cousin to sleep, but I wasn’t really sleepy. We remained till power resumed, and our mothers took us away.

At times, when I look up now, I find myself remembering that night. I smile at the how stupid my answers were, at my lost innocence. I try to recall the patterns we created, but I am largely unsuccessful, perhaps because I cannot find many of the stars that completed our patterns. It saddens me, but it is not difficult to not think about it for long. We live busy lives now, and we have other things to worry about. Not that our childhoods were not busy, but somehow it was far more enriching and gratifying. It was easy to be curious about something as commonplace as a night sky filled with stars.

Stars. Hot balls of illuminated gas millions of miles away, results of narrow cosmic chances.

And it is because of one of these chances that we exist, and are capable of wondering.

(Image Credits: Marc Van Norden. Click here to be redirected to the  original image)

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The Murmuring Old Man

“Write a composition on ‘An hour at the railway station.'”

“What the hell! Again?!”

My interjection was valid, even though it was just in my thoughts; our teachers had probably ran out of ideas about topics to write essays on. I may have been wrong, but any student writing essays on the same subject every year since 3 years would feel the same as I did. I mean, how come something at a damn railway station could possibly be worth writing about? I used to travel from my school in CST to Mumbra every day. I couldn’t control my urge to get on a train after barely 5 minutes, such was the monotony. Trains were only slightly better. Except huge crowds, high decibel quarrels and the never-ending blabber of office-goers (I couldn’t afford a walkman in those days and mobile phones and MP3 players were only objects of fantasy, so I learnt to endure), there was hardly a single thing worthy of being described in words. I would still try to imagine being a youth who had nothing better to do than observing a railway platform.

Fortunately, I do not have to any longer do that. I do travel over a long distance each day (Ambernath to Vikhroli). Railway stations are pretty boring still, apart from some few instances. I ended up writing my first blog post about one such instance. But there was another one which left a far deeper impact on me.

It was the month of Ramadan and like every year, I decided it was better to get off at Mumbra (a station right in the middle of my journey) for evening prayers. It helped me being on schedule and making sure prayers weren’t missed. It is the time of the year when I suddenly become very spiritual and religious. I rarely get so worried about these things otherwise. And I admit, it is a shame. I was standing on the platform one evening, waiting for my usual Badlapur train. Like every day, there was nothing interesting happening and I fiddled with my cellphone. There were 3 trains to halt there before mine arrived, and the first one just came in.

“Kya yeh Badlapur train hai?” (Is this the Badlapur train?)

I looked at the source of the voice. It was a man, a very old man. He must have been in his 80s. I noticed his clothes – he wore a torn-and-stitched-numerous-times kurta-pyjama, with a torn waistcoat on top of it. The only bit of cloth on his frail body that was not restitched was his prayer cap. He had a small beard which seemed to have lost a lot of hair. I noticed he was murmuring something, and paused to inquire once again.

“Badlapur ki train hai?”

“Nahin, baba, Dombivili ki hai” (No, old man, this is a train to Dombivili), I answered.

“Shukriya! Khuda aapko iski Jazaa de!” (Thank You! May God reward you for helping me), he said.

He had a rough voice, may be because he had cold. He coughed intermittently and cleared his throat every few minutes. He carried a little bag on his shoulder, but it did not seem to contain much. He had a cane that helped him balance himself. Between coughs and clearing his throat, he kept murmuring inaudibly. I couldn’t help notice that all this while, he kept looking straight ahead, with his staff helping him stand. I realized he was blind.

I kept the phone in my pocket and I felt it was better to help him find a place to sit. He did not want to, though. “Saara din toh baitha hi rehta hun bheek maangne ke liye…” (I keep sitting the entire day while I beg), he said in his rough voice. I left him alone and watched him from a distance. He kept murmuring, and other people watched him, too. Though he wasn’t begging now, some individuals came forward and offered him alms. I went to him and kept a ten rupee note in his hand. He said ‘Bismillah’ (I begin in the name of God) and took the money and put it in his waistcoat pocket.

The Badlapur train arrived, and I helped him get in through the crowd, all the way inside. I asked a commuter to get up and let the old man sit. He readily obliged. I stood near the old man and tried to absorb the pushes that the old man would get from the crowd. He sat and continued to murmur. After Kalyan (a major station) passed, most of the crowd got off and I got a seat right beside him. For the first time during this entire journey, I looked at him closely. I knew he was very old, but he looked even older now. His face was a maze of wrinkles, his eyes did not exist, and he had no teeth. And he kept murmuring. I tried to listen what it was, and as soon as I did, I was really amazed. The man was praying.

When we reached Ambernath, we spoke properly for the first time. I asked him where he lived, to which he mentioned a very distant part of the town (I cannot clearly remember the name). He told me he lived with his wife and sister in a small hut. He had no children and the children of his sister had thrown her out of the house. Since there was no one else to look after them, the blind old man had to resort to begging. But after every few sentences and some coughing, he would state that God has been kind and he was thankful that he could still pray and earn.

“Khuda ka shukr hai, kuchh na hone se toh behtar hi hai!” (I am thankful to God that this is better than nothing at all), he said, with his smiling face looking into the nothingness in front of him. I helped him board a rickshaw and paid the fare beforehand. That was the least I could do for him. As I bid farewell to the old man, he held my hand and said a small prayer, a prayer I could not hear but feel. My eyes were dampened a bit. I felt sad – Not about this old man having to work at this age in this condition. I was sad about myself. I felt sad about the world.

We keep cribbing about the absence of little things in our lives and behave as if God has been unjust towards us. We pray to God and thank Him only on special occasions. But there are people who never forget Him, who have much less than what we have and are still thankful for whatever little their fate allows them to hold on to. Every idle moment, that man prayed. Despite being old and unable to see, he thanked God for keeping him able enough to feed his old wife and sister. He never complained. I am sure these moments in my life would have made a great composition for my school. It made me believe that may be not an hour, but a few minutes on a railway station or a train are worth living, not just writing about. I never met the old man again and I do not know what he prayed for me. But whatever it was, it made me a better human being.

Thank you, God.

Beggar

Image is for representation  purpose only.
Image courtesy: muslimtune.com

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Music, My Healer

Music… What can it not heal? Bruised morales, broken hearts… Perhaps every negative thought that can possibly come in someone’s mind. For some, music is just a way to kill time, while others listen to songs for very specific reasons. I love Linkin Park for its lyrics. Though slightly on the sadder side and sometimes too loud (rock bands are, usually), its songs can take you to another world if each word is listened to carefully. One song, Roads Untraveled, that I very much relate to comes from their recent album, Living Things. I often find myself singing the lines below:

“Give up the heart left broken
And let that mistake pass on.
‘Coz the love that you lost
Wasn’t worth what it cost.
And, in time, you’ll be glad its gone…”

So beautifully written! Simple lines, and such deep meaning! Consoling and advising at the same time. These lines so easily guide you to the thought that it is important to move on in life. True, a broken heart is like a thousand daggers piercing your soul together, like a never-ending pain, like a tombstone on the grave of love no longer alive. But it CAN be healed and there is always room for hope.

Music, my healer
Music, my healer

‘Hope’ itself is such a little word with so much meaning that it can change how one perceives life. We all deal with little heartbreaks each day, so why can we not overcome those which are seemingly huge? There are always negative thoughts riding in the vehicle of the past. Let your hope be its roadblock. When the past begins to deafen you, focus your mind on the Chime of your positivity. Solace is just waiting to be acquired.

Capturing the Dance of Light, Shadows and Colors

“Sam, I want you to take this camera. It is your responsibility to take care of it and make sure you click as many pictures as you can.”

I was scared as my friend, Jamal gave me his camera. It was expensive, it was DIGITAL! I had never held a digital camera in my life before this. Most importantly, I had to click images of the wedding ceremony of someone who happened to be his sister (I consider her as my sister, too. We call her ‘D’). I could easily miss an important moment. The infamy for being absent-minded and the habit of getting lost in my own world was not at all helpful. What if I screwed something up? What if somebody got offended when I clicked him/her? I had no time to think. I got even more nervous when I could hardly figure how to turn the camera on. Jamal gave me a brief tutorial about the various functions in the camera, continuously reminding after every sentence that I must keep it on ‘Auto’ mode at all times.

Me: I need practice, not your 5 minute tutorial!

Jamal: You can do it. Just remember the basics, and…

Me: … And always keep the dial on Auto, I know it. Be with me for some time please, at least let me know how I click.

Jamal: Would you like to do some videography? I have a video camera, too.

Jamal won. I was intimidated. And like I was told, I went around clicking faces and moments, taking great care about the mode I had kept the camera on. By the time all the ceremonies were over:

1. I had clicked a total of 578 photos:

Yes, I remember how many pictures I had captured. Of course, some images were overexposed, some underexposed, some were blurred, some were plain unflattering. But that is the point of clicking so many photos – with each click, I learned something new. There are few things as fascinating as a bride’s smile, and I was not only in the best position to watch her smile, I was gleefully capturing it, as well.

2. Everyone knew me:

The good thing about Indian weddings is that people love getting their photos clicked. The camera was a fantastic medium for introducing me to new people. And the best part about meeting them was that I had seen everyone smile (people seldom make bad faces at something as fine as a camera).

3. I turned into a better photographer:

Contrary to what I had thought before the “assignment”, photography was not just about “taking photos.” I was capturing memories – memories people, myself included, would cherish for a long time. I was capturing expressions – the happiness, the celebratory mood that I got a chance to be a part of. But most importantly, I began to view the world differently. Getting behind the camera changed me forever, and I enjoyed it!

I am thankful to Jamal for introducing me to his friend, the camera. It is my friend too, now. It gets along well with me, and continues to teach me something new each time I interact with it. I literally view God’s wonderful creations with its eyes and marvel at them. I have more knowledge about the visual aspects of nature, the intricacies of  small things, and the beauty of the grand design. As I walk in the bylanes of South Bombay, I feel empty streets speaking to me. I love photography because it gives me courage to say the things in my heart that I probably wouldn’t otherwise say out loud.

I capture. I express. I learn.

“Imprisoned Love”

“A Long Wait”

“Bruised Memories”

“Tree Silhouette”

“Repentance for Majesty”

“Her Love For The Wind…”

“A Little Quarrel” 

“Walking with The Mist”

Check out how I see the world:
Instagram

The Promenade of Hope

Marine Drive – what are we reminded of when we think of this place? The sea, the breeze, the sunsets, and the lovers (and their antics, too). True, this place is popular for all this, no doubt about that. A lot of people come here just to have an eyeful of the romance they find people indulging in. Perhaps, it is entertaining or just plain too arousing (I am sure people who have witnessed some serious PDA know what I mean). Yet, every few yards one can find someone sitting alone, most likely from a recent heartbreak, sometimes with that empty look on their face, sometimes with tears in their eyes, but always quiet and isolated from their surroundings.

Foursquare Check-in: Marine Drive.

Comment: “Two reasons I come here – when I am alone, when I want to be alone. Reason 2 this time”

Of course, I didn’t mean it. There were others reasons why I would come to this beautiful place. For me, this promenade has mostly served the purpose of connecting with myself. Perhaps, it is the only place in this entire world where I don’t have to stress on NOT thinking, concentrating instead on the sound of the waves and noticing each change in the notes of this wonderful music of nature. There have been times when I would engage in a conversation with the sea for hours, to the extent of considering it as one of my most honest friends. For hours, I would just ‘talk’ to it. However, whenever I was with someone (Yes, I have performed my own set of antics here, as well, minus the PDA!) this sea would keep listening to me, choosing to answer only when I diverted my attention to it.

I found it extremely futile to understand the exact reason of not only commenting on my check-in like that, but also the check-in itself. To top it all, I shared it on Twitter, too. I knew I had just broken up with my girl-friend, I knew it was painful, I knew I needed to be alone for a while to convince myself that things would be okay if I wished they were. But what prompted me to post such a comment still couldn’t be figured out. It was like Math. I sat there facing the setting sun, with tears in my eyes, quiet (Right, I was isolated, too, just like I previously mentioned – why would I waste almost a paragraph on it, if I didn’t feel it myself?) Staring at the sea but choosing not to converse this time, I wept slowly, making sure my sobs did not escape. It was difficult, but even more difficult was trying to accept the fact that I had just broken up. It was like breaking a house I had painstakingly built, brick after brick, for 4 years. I recalled making a sand castle at Chowpatty (not too far from where I was) when I was a child. I remembered sitting there and staring at my ‘achievement’ for a long time, even as my playmates frolicked in seawater. I must have sobbed the same way when I had to leave it back there in the evening.

The waves crashed the tetrapods harder, as if urging me to speak and relieve my heart of the heaviness it felt. I gazed at them with the same vacant expression I had since I spoke to her on the phone a few hours back. I had come to the Hutatma Chowk, one of my favorite places in the entire city – partly because I loved taking walks here and partly because of the famous large open second-hand books library near Flora Fountain. I have always loved the books over there, though not as much for reading as for the large piles they were neatly organized in. I found being surrounded by these piles immensely fascinating.

I went to one of the book-sellers and asked if he had old National Geographics. Nodding enthusiastically, he guided me inside through the maze of papered knowledge, pointing at a pile of yellow-bordered magazines as high as I stood. The other piles behind it were even larger, and many such piles acted like walls of the ‘room’ I was in. I expected myself to smile at this lovely sight as I often did, but I did not. I could not. I crouched and pretended to carefully examine the spine of each book, as if looking for a specific issue. As I saw the book-seller leaving, I wiped the trails tears had left as they trickled down. I felt it was better to get inside an open book shop and weep, rather than walking on the road and doing the same. Perhaps I was being too much of a ‘cry baby’, but I knew that it was all I could do. It was hard to believe that minutes earlier, I was absolutely happy, with everything to look forward to… Because minutes earlier, I had someone I was sure to spend my life with, though a bit scared because there was a marriage proposal for her, which her family had approved and the guy’s family were highly likely to follow suit. Minutes earlier, I had someone who would rejuvenate my hope when it faltered because I knew that with her by my side, I would never lose.

But I lost. The very rejuvenator of my hopes had to extinguish them by saying that the nuptial was approved and that she couldn’t do anything about it. She said she loved me but could not go against her family. I was still proud of her, because she chose to obey her parents over me. Not for a moment did I feel betrayed. Instead, I felt that she was being as honest to me as she had been in the past 4 years. But yes, I was extremely sad. I listened patiently to all that she said, by the end of which I had reached Flora Fountain from CST station. I hadn’t spoken a word and, worried, she asked if I was alright.

“I am going to the Marine Drive.”

“Why?”

“I want to be alone for a while.”

“Okay. Please take care, and call me when you can.”

The waves still tried to coax me to speak, but everything I experienced since she had called me was playing in an endless loop in my mind. The sea roared louder, attempting to distract me. “Why did this happen?!” I exclaimed slightly louder than I did in the course of the day. Half an hour later, my phone vibrated for the third time. It wasn’t her as I had expected, but another girl, an ex-colleague who replied to my check-in on Twitter.

“Why alone on Marine Drive? Where is your girl friend?”

“I don’t have a girl friend anymore.”

“:O Ohho! #Facepalm”

She then messaged me privately to ask for my phone number. I replied back with my number at once. I got a missed call, and I politely messaged that I had no balance. She then called me and asked me about what happened, and I answered. I went walking all the way back to CST, talking to her. Apart from asking about me, she also spoke a lot about herself – How she was, her own break-up and how she had to deal with it, how she believes in the Zodiac, her love for the clouds and how she thought they conversed with her. By the time I got the train, I realized how better she made me feel just by talking to me. I was still sad about my break-up, but not as sad as I had been at the Marine Drive.

I still go to this promenade, but never alone. The sea still talks to me, sometimes making me close my eyes so I can concentrate on what it says. This happens when the person in my company talks to the clouds because she loves them. But she loves nothing else the way she loves me. This person is the same girl from Twitter. She gave my life a new meaning, teaching me how to feel free to express without inhibition. It is not that I didn’t know how to express, but she perfected and polished my expressions by helping me remove each spec of fakeness from within me. She completed me.

Whenever I come here, I remember my state on that day, and I wonder what made me check-in at Foursquare and share the same on Twitter. Perhaps it was in this manner I was destined to meet my cloud-lover, at least in theory. But whatever it is, I am happy. And in the end, that is all that matters.

MarineDrive

Alina

How does a teenager feel going to his/her native place after 13 years? Most would not remember anything from their past (of course, they would have been too young then). But being gifted with a good memory, I remembered little details about my childhood in Kanpur – like being hit in the face by a plastic cricket ball while sitting on sky blue pillows near the store room window, the pane of which was wooden and spiky at places, enough to drive a three-year-old to use a blade to slice the protrusions. At four, I was too young to interpret the problems a family faces when it shifts from a place like Kanpur to a place like Mumbai, that too without money. Deep in hardships, my parents made sure my sister and I got the best possible education, food and shelter. As time passed, the situation turned better and better and 13 years later, I was able enough to take my entire family back for a visit (I worked while I was still studying).

My entire khandan waited there for us when we reached, and in the moments that followed, there were hugs and tears of joy. I looked in awe, the number of people I was related to, some that I never even heard about. In one corner of the house, a little girl stood and kept looking at me. Not glancing in her direction purposefully, I could feel her gaze not moving elsewhere. I made eye contact and went to her and asked her name. She smiled, revealing her rodent-esque front teeth. The size of her eyes decreased and her petite nose wrinkled at the sides. The next second, she hid her face behind the curtain along her side and whispered “Alina.”

“How old are you, Alina?”
(No answer)

“Will you not answer?”
(No answer)

“Well, do you know who I am?”
(A slight nod behind the curtain)

“Looks like you don’t want to talk to me?”

I left the conversation, hoping I didn’t scare her or that she was just shy. For 2 more days, she would just stare at me, smile and do nothing else. On the third day, she sang “Agar tum mil jao, zamana chhod denge hum…” (If I have you, I will leave the world) for me in front of everyone. Her voice was sweet and the diction was remarkable for a 4 year old child. While all laughed at her hand movements that accompanied her singing, I was astounded. No one realized what she was singing, except me. I was red-faced. A girl, 12 years younger to me, was singing a love song for ME! After the song was completed, she came to me and kissed my hand. “She has shock value”, I said to myself.

At the end of the week, we had to leave, and when the day came, her smile diminished. While I was about to leave for Mumbai, I went to her room and found her hiding her face from me again. Perhaps, she had heard me entering the room. I lifted the blanket from her face, with her little hand resisting my force in vain. She had been crying for hours over this little separation that was about to occur. I wiped her tears and her swollen eyes looked at me, crying even more, but making no sound. I kissed her forehead and wrapped my arms around her to embrace her. No longer able to contain the sobs trying to escape her little mouth, she cried her heart out.

“Please don’t go!”

“I have to, my dear. You know that your brother studies, right?”

“When will you be back?”

“Very soon, I promise! But you don’t cry, or my promise will be broken.”

She stopped crying immediately. I left with my family for Mumbai and talked to my mother about how popular I was amongst cousins, to which she simply replied by saying that it was so because I was the eldest of the brothers.

I love my big brother

She is eleven now, and her parents have brought her to Mumbai for the treatment of Hodgkin’s Lymphoma, a type of cancer. I met her thrice in a span of one week, and the third time, she could barely move due to weakness from her chemotherapy session. She waited for me the entire day, despite knowing that I leave from my office in the evening. No sooner she saw me, than she stood and gave me a tight hug. She is much taller now, and her head reaches my chest, on which she rested it as if it was the world’s most comfortable pillow. I asked her to sit or lie down, but she wouldn’t let go for another 5 minutes. I helped her stand, her legs too weak to do the job. On the side of her neck was a recent biopsy wound, about the length of my index finger. The area around it was still red, which prompted me to ask whether it was hurting. She shook her head and complained only of the smell of the medicines she was prescribed. I sat her on the bed and caressed her cheeks. She asked if she could borrow my phone to play Angry Birds. I readily gave it to her, but she returned it seconds later. Upon being asked the reason, she said that she wanted to talk to me. We had a long chat about everything from her education to my love life. Her keenness was astounding! As I was leaving, she kissed my cheek and said that I was the world’s best brother. Not many times do I find tears so difficult to hold back in my eyes. I took out my handkerchief and pretended to wipe sweat from my face.
It was me who was hiding face now…

I remember…

I remember when I first met you – I didn’t know you will be so close to me one day.

I remember when I came to your college to meet you – Never were you so surprised. You literally didn’t believe it was me.

I remember the way your friends looked at me – perhaps they wanted to gauge whether I was capable of having the privilege of being friends with one of the nicest persons I knew.

I remember when your college watchman asked us to leave – we had been sitting for hours and talking. We laughed so hard as we were walking out.

I remember when we first went on a date – you felt so free to roam around on your own for the first time.

I remember when I first asked you to hug – I was nervous, but you welcomed me in your arms.

I remember when you first looked into my eyes – you looked in them and touched my heart.

I remember when I broke up with my girlfriend and I felt like crying – you hugged me tightly and said everything would be alright. It was so assuring.

I remember when you first clasped my hand and walked with me – I knew I would never be alone.

I remember when we enjoyed rain together for the first time and walked barefoot at the Marine Drive, holding hands – people around us smiled and must have felt that we were in love.

I remember when we first celebrated our birthday – we wondered how many friends would have birthdays on the same day and you hugged me, saying “None as close as we are!” It was our lives’ most special birthday.

I remember when I first asked to you whether you were in love with me – you said you loved me ever since you knew me.

I remember when I once sang for you by the seaside – and you gave me a peck without realizing where we were.

I remember how tears trickled down your dainty cheeks – you were afraid to lose me. I hugged you and we cried together.

I remember how much people were against our relationship – but we convinced everyone with our love.

Everyone… Except those who meant to you more than even myself – your parents. We gave in because we couldn’t hurt them. We lost.

I hope I don’t remember all this throughout my life, because while these memories are a constant source of my happiness, they do give pain too. I know that none of what I remember will be repeated.

I experienced no other loss as big as this one – I felt I would die. But you kept me alive, asking me to promise that I will try to live my life as well and happily as I can. I strive hard to do that, because I would never want to let you down. I never can. Life will never be the same, but I can at least hope to not lose you. And why would I? We are still friends…

No, we are Best Friends!