Their meeting was accidental, he was not even supposed to join the others on that trip, but in the last minute, one participant backed off, and he was just at the right place at the right time. This trip was to the National Youth Fest, where she was an important member of the music team, she played the keyboard and backed the vocals too. As for him, well he was just going. All he knew was the college was paying for his vacation and at the same time taking care of his attendance in classes too, and that’s only what he cared about. They were very different, she was the good girl kind, planned, organized and disciplined. He was the happy-go-lucky kind. Never took anything seriously, would just go with the flow, he knew how to enjoy life.
So when they met, she hated his attitude, how can someone take life so lightly, and he, he as usual hardly bothered to even make a judgement. However deep down, she knew she was jealous and also inspired by his freedom and he somehow liked and appreciated her order and idealism, something very different from his disorganized personality. The trip in all was a week long affair, a four-day train journey and a three-day stay in Chennai. During the trip, whenever she was not running around worrying about registration and participation, she would spend some time with him and his group of friends, chit chatting, pulling legs, bird watching and having fun! and when his friends were busy with their events, he would hang out with her, help her put things in order. Soon they became good friends, like real good friends or that’s what they thought at least at that point.
The week long vacation ended sooner than expected. That is the problem with vacations, weekends, holidays. The same 24 hours a day suddenly feel like 36 on a normal working day, while at other times, time just flies, speeds up and flies away. So now they were back in college, and immediately came the mid terms. Everyone got busy, the youth fest and its memories were transferred from cameras onto computers and saved and stacked in CDs and stored on dusty racks and soon forgotten like the trip never happened. A part of the forgetting was to do with the fact that they had not been able to win any event, and as they say, if you do not win, destroy all evidence that you tried. However what could not be destroyed was the friendships and the bonding between the gang.
For the next few months, she (the planner) had already made plans as to what she wants to do, and how she wants to spend (by her definition – enjoy) those last few months in college. They would meet each other here and there, sometimes on the bus, sometimes in the canteen, and just exchange smiles. They knew they liked to spend time together, but she did not have place for random plans on her agenda and he was too busy partying too. So they just kept it at that, exchanging smiles and the occasional How is life?
Soon after graduation, she flew to USA for her higher studies and this was a new place, the first year she really missed all her friends back home, but gradually her personality changed. She became more outgoing, and happy-go-lucky. Probably it was her inspired mind, inspired by his nature, whatever the reason, she had changed for sure. And every moment of the next three years she savoured this new-found spirit, the new freedom, away from home. She made new friends, and got busy with work and as time passed those best friends forever from her college back home became pictures in her photo album. Not that she did not remember them, but she did not miss them as much. Time I think accumulates layers of dust which is only occasionally blown away by a random encounter with an old friend or an occasional glance through the old albums, or revisiting those long forgotten memories in some lost corner of the mind.
So one day, as she was on one such memory trip going through old albums, she found him and a bunch of his friends making crazy faces at her, and it made her smile. She immediately reached for her laptop and looked them all up on facebook, she had a sudden urge to find out what her crazy friends were upto. She sent friend requests, and within hours they were already exchanging messages.
But this sudden bout of interest was shortlived. And in a day or two, things were the same again. The only thing that had changed was that she had some additional connections on her facebook . People are so busy with their lives these days, that maintaining a stable family has become a cumbersome task, so keeping in touch with friends is just out of the question. However thanks to all those days on the calendar, from valentine’s to mothers day to father’s day, atleast one day in the year people (the sentimental few) definitely make a call. However though really close to friendships day, her message to him and his bunch of friends was on a different note and sent with a different purpose, but she did send messages to each of them – Happy Raksha Bandhan!
She logged into facebook the first thing the following day, excited about what people had written on her wall. She received messages from all the others except for him. Now that was weird, because the last time (about four months back) when they exchanged messages he was the first to reply.
Anyway, that night she logged in again, and went straight to his account to see what is up, and his facebook wall was filled with messages from two months back, and every message said : “Rest in Peace”
She double checked, she could not believe that this boy who she thought was among the most lively people she had ever met is not alive anymore, she still can’t, it hasn’t sunken in yet!