“Happy Independence day Ishita!” I say all excited, coming to school with my best friend.
“Well, you know what, it’s my mom’s birthday today,” she says to me with gleaming eyes.
“Oh really, Happy birthday to her!” I say as we gather for the flag hoisting and national anthem. I look at her as the flowers fall down and the song plays with the school performances, as we both sit and watch.
I am wearing my white uniform and she is in a white shirt and school skirt, with a red tie. I look at her mushroom-cut hair. I adore her and I think she is far more intelligent than me, we have been besties since childhood and each passing year, we grow more fond of each other.
I come home and I tell mom about Ishita’s mom, “Mom, MOm! where are you?” I throw away my bag and I find her.
“Mom, it’s Ishita’s mom’s birthday” handing her the sweet treat I got from school for 55th Independence day.
“Oh nice.” She says looking at the box.
I wake up in the evening and look at my mom, laughing over the landline phone talking to someone. I go to her room, near her, and I see her telephone diary opened where I have scribbled Ishita’s number.
I look at her talking and wishing her mom, I can’t be more glad. I look at my mom making a new friend, and as we celebrated more independence day together we grew thick as skin, and our moms, became best of friends. I look at her each day, thinking about how hard her life is, how unfair has god been to her. I feel pity, I feel for her, and I can’t help but wanted everyone around her to treat her specially, handle her with care, love her conditionally.
And this is where I got it all wrong! She didn’t want it all, she wanted to feel like a normal person for once and I was the one who took away all of it from her, and it was too late until I realized it. Until she left me.
I never wanted her to cry, I could not see a single tear in her eye, but over time we grew distant and I lost her. She went her way apart and I got lost in my own, but our moms never stopped talking. She indeed found her best friend.
It’s the 70th Independence day today and even before I know it’s a national holiday, I remember Ishita and her mom. I wonder how she would be? and then get busy in the daily life hassle, busy living, missing her, my first childhood friend. I get updates from Mom, I wish her the best thinking maybe someday, she would forgive me for my mistakes and we can be best friends again.
One day I return from the office and I look at my mom crying, I am taken aback by the demise of Ishita’s mom. I can’t fathom the fact of life being ruthless to her, I remember her sweet face, dancing with her on the dance floor in her uncle’s wedding, all things playing in a flashback, things we did together, she left her classroom, in front of her teacher, just to roam with me, we were hardly 3, to me being the monger at 13 and seeing her losing everyone she loved at 23. Her sister remains close to her, her only family, I wish I could have been the one.
It’s 75th Independence day today and all I can think about is you and your mom’s birthday, that pretty smile, those black gleaming eyes, those playful evenings, those after-class gossips together, that being a partner in line, those stairway jumping, I wish I could have been a better friend to you, a better confidant, a better person.
I have grown so old, that I can’t forgive my younger self for treating you the way I treated you. I beg for your forgiveness and a chance, to talk to you, that I miss you so much, I know how hard life is and I wish it to be happy for you, a little easy for you, and whenever you find yourself sulking in the lows, I would be here waiting for you, for your forgiveness.
Happy Birthday to the amazing lady who gave me a beautiful friend like you. I love you Ishita.