Wide Open Spaces

Edit: [[As I write this (which seems more like a journal entry), I am not sure if I will post it. It seems way too personal…]]

Boogley asks, “how many best friends do you have?” I did not have a definitive answer. But a couple of faces flashed in front of my eyes. The images then dwindled and settled. One flickered, dimmed and then shone out bright…

Meeting him was almost by chance. In a crowded church lawn standing with two other guys away from the socializing youngsters. I walked up to them and introduced myself and asked them to join the group. Apart from a social obligation it was also deemed as my duty at that time. I am not sure what he said, I am not sure of what my reply was or I don’t even remember what our first conversation was like.

But what I do remember are the many, many, many times when we sought out for each other and to our delight and relief found us. I don’t know what it is that I like about it. Probably his sincerity. Probably his way of letting me know that I am sane. Probably his way of giving space and yet being together. Probably I would never be able to zero in on the list of reasons why I like him. He is hardly the kind that indulge in flattery (which I oh so love!) In fact, he calls a spade a spade, and never minces words when it comes to criticism. (I can quote the latest chat we had about a movie, for this one!)

There was this one moment I will take to my grave. We were helping out in making costumes for a choreography competition. We sat there in the veranda, with bloody-thirsty mosquitoes feasting on him (mosquitoes don’t ever spare him), making adjustments to the costumes as per the choreographer’s requirements. She peeped out of the dance room and checked on us occasionally. He and I have two left feet each. We can’t dance for two pence! So, there we sat making those costumes, not uttering a word, listening to strains of Yanni floating in from the dance room. And at the end of it all, it was as though we had just had a fulfilling conversation. Nothing special about the evening, but everything was special about being there with him at the moment, in silence.

There were long walks we took, sun, rain, dust or wind. I don’t know what all we spoke of. But, there was always more left to say. Sometimes, the wisdom he imparted made me feel he was four decades older than me and not just four months. But there were other moments when I felt he was just a frightened four-year-old. Many sunsets and dusks gave way to nights, while we sat wide-eyes on our park bench, watching a lone kid swing nearby. He would talk of Spartan philosophy or about a potboiler with the same ease. That park bench bore witness to our shares of joys and pains. We have laughed and cried like babies together on that bench. I have sat there on some days, alone, not expecting him to be there, but just to search for a moment I had spent here. The whimsical ‘fairytale’ person within me would love to say that we have a ‘connection’ or that our ‘wavelengths match’. Let’s just say I like to think of him as my second skin, my alter ego. We don’t come from the same background. Our pasts are so different, and yet to find someone with whom you can share every thought that crosses your mind. Well, that’s comfort level, for you.

You were born together; and together you shall be for evermore.
You shall be together when the white wings of death scatter your days.
You shall be together even in the silent memory of God.
But let there be spaces in your togetherness,
Sing and dance together and be joyous, but let each one of you be alone,
Even as the strings of the lute are alone though they quiver with the same music.
Give your hearts but not into each other’s keeping.
For only the hand of Life can contain your hearts.

It sure did feel like I knew him for a lifetime. It still feels like he is here to stay. We seem to be together like forever. Let there be spaces in your togetherness? This line did not make much sense to me for quite a while. Space in togetherness? Quite an abstract thought! How would you love and yet let go? How can you love and yet leave?How can you stay together and yet apart? He has taught me this.

There were painful pangs of separation. There were moments when I collapsed on the spot where I had stood talking to him. There were moments when a hug seemed awkward to pass on to each other. There were times when the only thought I had was to run away and escape into obscurity. He held me then. And yet when I had to fly away, or when I rejoiced, he would delight with me. With me in my joys, but leaving me just enough space to savor it alone. He looks out for me. He has been more than what you could ask for, in a friend.

And stand together yet not too near together:
For the pillars of the temple stand apart,
And the oak tree and the cypress grow not in each other’s shadow.
As the years went by, our friendship has changed hues. We don’t meet just as often thanks to the task we have to oblige Life with. But he is in my prayers every single day, just the way he keeps me in his. The walks have dwindled because I don’t live just as close. We don’t meet just as often in church either. Our common set of friends has drastically reduced (but that choreographer is very much there!). But we are growing together. Yet apart, away from each other’s shadows.
* He has crossed a milestone in his life, a few days ago. He is once again the frightened four-year-old. If he is reading this entry (which is highly unlikely), I want him to know that I have thoroughly enjoyed the journey that we made together. So far, so… awesome! I Love You.
** The verses quoted are from Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet.


Filed under Musings

18 responses to “Wide Open Spaces

  1. Saj

    beautiful entry :) I think you should mail him this link; he deserve to read this.saj err Boogley

  2. :o) Thank you, Saj. I notice you like it when I wrench my heart and write. Lol! Hey, you are right. He deserves to know!

  3. Jo

    I told you already, you should let him know! :-)

  4. hmm nostalgic. keep it close to ur heart n never let it go. those are days we’ll never have again. go back to them as often and re-live it! itz great to have great friends. and to realize it.

  5. hey chica,a beautiful piece. brought back faint memories of a special friend like yours. your writing is so deep i truly enjoy reading your work! luv always. JP

  6. Chechyamma

    Molutti,Back here after a long while. And am I glad that I made it!Trust me, he can feel each and every drop of blood that ur heart sheds ,mingled with the saltiness of ur tears.Love

  7. Jo, u got the wrong number! ;-)Rocksea, Got too nostalgic indeed! He wont talk now! Lol!JP!!!! you are here after aeons! Missed ya, gal! Love to Siby as well. Come again and for crissake write something in snj! (Kenny is coming to saddi dilli!)Chechyamma! Oru Chakkarayumma! :o)No blood and no tears — this is a happy story!

  8. Sniff*…awesome piece girl…my fav entry now has competition..!! Definitely reminded me abut my best frnd alrite…..n those verse r sooo true…!!

  9. “So, there we sat making those costumes, not uttering a word, listening to strains of Yanni floating in from the dance room. And at the end of it all, it was as though we had just had a fulfilling conversation. Nothing special about the evening, but everything was special about being there with him at the moment, in silence.”Nice!

  10. Aww.. LeAn! I kinda gathered that you liked it — some people told me that recommended this entry as a good read! Another Oprah in the making? :-)Kesi! Nice to see you back in here!

  11. You sure know how to write! Thoroughly enjoyed it. The way you laced up the whole thing with those lines from “The Prophet” is great style. (Change the “u” on line #50 to “you”, please, to remove a small blemish. Thanks.)

  12. Thanks a lot Paapaan! Thanks for pointing out that ‘u’! I always take care not to bring in sms lingo in here. Dont know how that escaped my bleary eyes! Thank u (you) once again! :o)– Pidiyana

  13. Anonymous

    Hmm… i can imagine the walks and talks :-) R.

  14. R, thats because I have told you about the walks and the talks!

  15. Sujit

    Its great to have a friend like that.. and you should let him know.. as other have already said.. hope days would reverse :)

  16. very nice pr!tz..excellent..and i am a fan of the prophet too!

  17. Thank you Sujith and Mind Curry!

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