Great friendship stories start not by plan, nor by design. They just start over a cup of coffee. Grow among the silly jokes made. And then flourish in the endless talks in the night and many moments shared. And then one fine day you realize a bond of friendship, strong and powerful, making your feel connected with people you’d imagined to be stranger only since yesterday.
The caption jug in my life, thus, caught my attention. So, I’m writing about jug in my life for the #DearZindagi activity at Blogadda. The story about me and my best friend. The friendship stories.
. . .
It was my first day of the new session in school. Seventh standard, a bunch of first-time teenagers. And I was made to sit with the person I hated the most. Manpreet, the class clown, the witty one. Why God, why, I muttered under my breath. But nothing I could do about it. So, like a sulking cat, I sat beside him.
“Hey, Nitin,” I heard somebody calling out my name. I raised my head and found him looking at me. “Hey, your bag. You got it recently? Looks good,” he was saying.
I was surprised. He was being nice. He was never nice, especially with me. “Yes, thanks,” I replied, blushing as he looked at my new bag. By this time a couple of more guys had gathered around us.
“What did you pay for this bag?” he asked, sounding genuinely interested.
“Four hundred and fifty,” I replied while I unzipped my bag to show off the multiple pockets inside it.
“Oh,” he said, with a touch of sadness and irony in it, “with this amount you could have bought a new one.”
And as soon as he finished off that sentence, he burst into a loud laughter. And the guys gathered around started laughing too.
Feeling thoroughly beaten I took out a book and dug my gaze deep into it. But I could do nothing but feel the sound of his laughter swirling into my ears.
I hate him, I thought in my head. It was impossible to sit him for an entire term. I resolved to get my seat changed first thing the next day.
. . .
This was fifteen years back.
Since then I have walked a long way in this journey called life. I did get my seat changed then, and continued in the same school, as Manpreet, until the end. After that, I went to the far east corner of the country to do engineering, then shifted to nainital to work for four years with an automobile company, did my post graduation from Delhi, before settling into the hillocks of Pune, working for an IT firm.
Looking back you realize that you can never know who will become your true friends, friends for life. Many things have changed. But one thing that hasn’t is the presence of Manpreet in my life. My best friend.
Yes, the same guy who I couldn’t stand for a minute once is now a rock in my life. My partner in crime, my mentor, my soundboard. They say a friendship which lasts for eight years is a friendship for life. I guess that is right. For it’s been fifteen years, and what I have with him is very very special.
We did some amazing things together. When we were in the twelfth standard we fell for the same girl. Yes, that was pretty exciting, just like movies. It was cut throat between us. We never let us our friendship come in between when it came to wooing our sweetheart. We both failed, though, in the end. And we both had a good laugh about it.
During engineering we were in different cities.
With time talks became infrequent, meetings were rare. And For Once it felt that we are losing it now, that the winds of time will wear our friendship down. But somehow, a thin strand of friendship kept us tethered, however far we might end up.
And then call it destiny or what, we ended up in the same city. And it was the time when we shared our first drinks, got high for the first time, made crazy business plans, failed doing them, tried again nonetheless. Stayed up all night driving on the sodium lamp lit roads of Delhi, hung out on the fanciest of the pubs and the funkiest of the dhabas, and when he told that he was finally getting married to a girl he met in his engineering college, I and one more of our friends threw him a bachelor’s in Thailand. Impromptu, just like that.
In all this craziness and bonhomie, in all these split second plans and late-nighters, when we were chasing girls and chasing dreams, sometimes even the same ones, I realized, that there are some things in life that matter more than the degrees that you garner in your life, the paychecks that come into your bank accounts every month, the car you drive, the 3BHK you live. I don’t know many such things, but true friendship surely is at the top of such list.