As I was browsing through my mailbox after a long tiring day, the second mail made me pause for a minute.. It was a mail from Networked Blogs.. “Morning News with Nita Roy” the subject read.It took me back in time for a bit.
Nita … my once good friend in school . We met when I was in the second standard and she, the third. Out here in Bangalore during the 90’s , we had a system of “auto rickshaws” taking us to school . One auto rickshaw would carry as much as 10-15 children, and cater to specific areas of the city.
One evening , as I entered my rickshaw and settled down in my usual corner after school, I heard a voice from above.. “Girly, Girly.. can you please move a little bit to the right please ? I need to get down”. Surprised at where the voice was coming from I turned around and found a little girl sitting above the seat .That was our introduction. Little did we know then ,that for another 12 or 13 years,No one could get us apart.Nita lived about 2 km from my home. Gradually , it became a ritual for us to go out together in the evenings. Being a bengali, she enjoyed south Indian food. She would freak out on my mothers’ dosas and chutney powder. She used to enjoy our food so much, that my parents and me started calling her “Jughead” after the comic character who loved food. She shared a special bond with my father, since he knew Bengali, and would call him “Kasi Kaku”
Nita was truly my partner in crime. Both of us together, during our evening adventures, would often derive a sort of sadistic glee in removing the air from bicycle tires parked outside a park . She often told her strict mother that she was out with me , and used to happily go out roaming with her boyfriend. She would land up at my door at 7 pm in the evening, and cajole my mother into allowing me to walk her home, so that I could stand as an alibi to her Mother’s concerned questions about why she was late. Both of us were completely opposite characters.. I , an introvert, shy and often innocent , easily taken for a ride types. She, the extrovert, streetsmart, I’m there to protect you types.
I often found her to be possessive, warding me away from what she thought was “bad company”. I remember innocently wanting to adopt a certain class mate of mine, Sangitha, as a sister. Sangitha lived in the school boarding., and had this wierd habit of raking everyone’s sympathy with false stories about her father re marrying after her mother’s death, and her step mother hating her.I really felt for her in my chidish innocence, not knowing then that she was but making up stories. I almost convinced my parents into adopting Sangitha, when Nita warned my mother against it, and my mother put the idea of adopting Sangitha on hold.
I remember crying like a child when Nita graduated and it was time for her to leave school and enter pre university. Then, she shifted houses and so did I.. But we were still in touch.Two years later, I finished pre university, and it was time for me to decide whether I wanted a Bachelors degree in Science or do my Engineering. I chose the latter, and as destiny had it, I had to move to a smaller city in North Karnataka called Belgaum as part of that decision. A year later, Nita decided she wanted to graduate in advertising from a university in Pondicherry, and she moved on as well. We met during our vacations after a couple of years.. and confided in each other about our so called problematic lives.
Slowly, both of us started getting busy with our own schedules The next I can remember is getting a job, then getting busy with my so called “career”. She too, got busy with hers.In between, I remember her dropping by to see me and tell me about how her old time boy friend was troubling her. I had seen them both make up and break up multiple times.. and knew in and out about their love story. I also remember reaching the conclusion that she somehow, didnt deserve to be torchered like this emotionally, stopping her in the middle of her story and telling her that she was freakin MAD if she wanted to get torchered like this everyday.
I don’t know or remember when I lost touch . But this “little” girl I knew always turned up from out of the blue , and used to suddenly spring out of nowhere.Out of the blue, there would suddenly be a call to say hi, and I often reciprocated.” Lets meet up”, we would tell each other.. “It s been very long, and I have a lot to share with you”.
Next, I travelled to the US of A. On my return, I got busy with a new job. It had been 4 years since we spoke. And then , suddenly out of the blue… she pinged me on chat.The very day she pinged, she decided impulsively that she HAD to come over to my home, and meet my parents.While making small talk with her, my dad started pulling her leg over her hairstyle.. and then she said.. she was recovering from cancer.Shocked, I realized only then that too much had happened in 4 years
I was busy working my life off like a slave to a software company.. and she wanted to just live her life to the fullest, because she knew she wouldnt be alive for long.”Come on man, ” she said “take ten days off. Join us on a trip to Leh” . I took it for granted that nothing would happen … and retorted back explaining the responsibilities I had at work, giving her reasons for my denial . What I didnt expect then was that what I took for granted, would one day slap me on my face.After her return, I suddenly found out one day that she died.I wished then that I had joined her.. The job and everything else could wait. I regret that one decision I took to this day
What Nita’s sudden death taught me in life, I can never forget – To live life for now .. The past and future are non existent. Today, this moment exists- You have to make the most of it.. for none of us have any idea of what tomorrow has in store. I hope shes happy where she is. She brought joy to many lives with her happy go lucky attitude, and I hope shes making the angels happy ! I’ve spent the best years of my life with her.. Sometimes when I feel down today, I miss having her to talk to.. I hope shes happy where she is.. All I can hope for and pray today is for her to Rest in Peace wherever she is.. and know that I miss her. I wish I had known what she was going through earlier and tell her that all would be well when she was in trouble. But like someone once said – “The show must go on!!” .