Dear stranger friend

After spending countless nights trying to gift wrap my finite vocabulary into  a fancy email, cherry picked words carefully strung into lines, that keep disappearing and reappearing on my computer screen like the ocean spume – fleeting and pointless, I wonder what it would be like if the obliviously wondering pointer finds its way to the send button before the discard button can find it.

May be you will write back, end  with a question, expecting an answer.  We might hit it off instantly or probably take a little while to find our comfort zone. Perhaps I will gradually become a little careless about what I write and how I put it. Soon we will be talking about our likes and dislikes, hobbies and pet peeves, birthdays and anniversaries. You will tell me about that neighbor you have a crush on, about that recently released movie, about the song that you kept humming all day. And I will tell you about my lovely morning walks, about the shows that I am binge watching and amusing tales and funny episodes from road trips and vacations. We will share a piece of our worlds with each other, sometimes trying hard to impress and other times trying hard to express.

Then the freshness will wear out, the humdrum of our lives will take over – we will still write to each other, but instead of your new love, you will tell me about your annoying colleague, instead of the songs and movies you will complain about the honks and the reckless drivers from your traffic packed commute, while I tell you about the unforgiving weather and my dreary workplace. And when we will have finally shared everything about our lives that we think is even remotely interesting, and when we will have run out of all the other mundane things to talk about, the almost everyday conversations will turn to weekend conversations and slowly slide into once in a while notes. 

And before we know it, we would be spending countless lonely mornings refreshing the inbox, over and over,  each time a hint of despair slipping into an almost infinite optimism and there will be no unread messages.  Soon enough the despair will take over, it always does, much like the shadow that grows gingerly through  the  brightest of the days and eventually engulfs the darkest of the nights. An uncomfortable silence. We will think about one another, once in a while, but by then we will have lost touch. We will not know where to start, what to write, when to stop? I will wait to hear from you and you will wait to hear from me, but we will have drifted apart. Our existence for the other will be like the muffled sound of the TV from the neighbor downstairs, too soft to follow and too loud to ignore.

And then one day I will look back and wish I had not sent that first pointless gift wrapped email. We would probably still be friendly strangers and not estranged friends.





Dear Stranger Friend 

Why the “thank you”, you ask.  I am sure you are one of those few people who understands what a heart-felt thank you means. It is just that emails convey words, but they are still not so good at conveying the feelings behind the words, because feelings need the personal touch which unfortunately technology cannot mimic yet. I am not sure if it ever will. 

Well why the “thank you” you ask. 

Thank you for the wonderful time I get to spend with you, in our wonderland, where snowflakes are gifts, raindrops are treasured, where cloudy misty days are beautiful not gloomy, where sunny days are bright not hot, where a good day starts with a smile and so does a bad day, oh wait, there is nothing called a bad day in our wonderland is there? There can’t be because we will turn it into a good day won’t we? 

Thank you for sharing your words, your thoughts, your strong opinions, your silly disclaimers, a part of your day with me. They help me feel at ease, feel like I am not the only one, there are more like me, who think, jumping into puddles is fun and so is tasting the rain as it pours, who value words like the world values diamonds, who do not mind drowning in an ocean of beautiful words. There are more like me who often carry the badge that reads “beware : I am crazy” wherever they go, simply because they do not let the child in them grow up, ever, simply because they do not like to conform to the rules of the world they live in. 

Thank you for letting me explore the few dark rooms in my heart which do not often see the light of the day. Those dust laden rooms,  I had always wished remained locked. There was stuff in the rooms, I did not know who to share with. I was too scared to go there all by myself, worried, I would never be able to find my way out. Even though it was only for the briefest of moments, I felt like I could trust you with the keys to the rooms, and rest assured that you will pull me out, and you did, right on time. There is more stuff in the rooms I know, stuff that I want to share, stuff I want to hold on to, stuff I want to throw away, but I think I can make that trip alone now.  I am not scared anymore.  

Thank you for letting me smile and laugh with you, without you 🙂 You know that, don’t you? What you do not know is after a long time, I cried. It felt good. Thank you. 

Thank you for sharing your loneliness with me. I have always been blessed with a comfortable life and loving people but now I value them more than ever. 

Thank you most of all for letting me be who I am. It is not in my nature to pretend, I do not say or do things to impress. But when I meet people, I end up mirroring them. The only thing I do not mirror is flattery. I have often felt I become the person I am with. You may call it pretense but it is something I do naturally. I can be loving, fun-loving, indifferent, emotional, sensitive, depressed, silent, talkative, serious, immature, selfish all in a day depending on the people I interact with. Their traits just become a part of my personality as long as the interaction lasts. When talking to you though, I felt like, the person I am, with you, is who I am, when I am alone.

I have always believed the reason people connect is because they have a few things in common but with you the few are slowly translating into many things. Sometimes you are exactly what I have always thought I am. Honest, affectionate, poetic, charming, a rebel at heart, an artist to the core, attracted by anything you consider beautiful, carrying a child like innocence and a briefcase full of disclaimers.  

Some other times though you seem like this total stranger – when you don yourself with things that allow you hide your true self,  things that protect you from getting hurt again, things that keep you away from those you fear could hurt you. Fair enough, you always say. Fair enough I would say too. It is a good thing to learn from mistakes. Whatever your reasons may be, there is no “one” right way of living a life anyway and like we always put it : “to each his/her own”. 

Now do you see why the “thank you”? Two words can mean so much sometimes and sometimes many words put together can mean nothing. We know that too well, don’t we? 



Dear stranger Friend

Stranger and Friend do they even go together you would ask, oh yes they do. You are a stranger because I do not know you well enough. Friend because I can talk to you without any inhibitions, without worrying about being judged, trusting you with things I have not even shared with myself.
 Its kind of nice how both of us often come to the same point from different directions, one not wanting to listen, the other not wanting to talk or both wanting to talk but willing to bid each other good-bye, isn’t that what bonds two people? But will this happen always, I cannot promise. There may be times I will have things to say, and you may not want to listen. I fear those times. I will stop, of course I will, because that is something I am good at, understanding what you say…and then there may be times you will let me talk even when you are not listening. It is those times I fear more. I hope that never happens. I hope I can pack all these disagreeable moments into a box and bury them someplace and shred the map into pieces, so that you can never find them and neither can I. Without the map I may not find my way back to you, but I will rest assured that the moments of silence we shared were mutual, and that kind of silence is beautiful isn’t it?
I don’t know what to call you though. A friend, may be not, there are too many commitments that come with that name. I would not mind the commitments but I have often felt you would choose otherwise. A stranger, may be not, you already know way too much about me than so many people around me.
Well is it absolutely necessary to find a name though? May be not.
For now I will just let this be the way it is.
For now all I want to say is “thank you” and I mean it.
Few people understand what a heartfelt “thank you” means. I hope you will.