Back when I was growing up, circa 1996, the really cool trend of ‘friendship day’ emerged in India.
The guys at Archies Gallery rejoiced and we got a reason to look forward to the month of August.
Friendship day was all about figuring out who your real friends were. We spent hours after school trying to pick the right cards and gifts. Extra allowances were begged for and our poor parents gave in.
The 9 Gems - KISSRAPS, as we called ourselves, would have a little celebration at the coolest joint in the city - Little Chef. We would order cheese pizza, hakka noodles and cold drinks. The evening consisted of a lot of giggling, talking about boys and the exchange of gifts.
One friendship day, my friend S gave me this –
‘It’s a nice quote’, I thought and chucked it somewhere in my room.
Back in those days we were all trying to be pseudo intellectuals. Writing emotional quotes on cards and swearing lifelong friendships was the norm. I therefore didn’t pay much heed to understand what it really meant.
But for some strange reason, of all the gifts I got during those years in school, this one accompanied me from city to city.
Nineteen years later, I finally understand what S was trying to say. Perhaps it stayed with me all these years to exactly tell me what I need to hear right now.
“If you love something, set it free. If it comes back, it’s yours, if it doesn’t, it never was.”
We carry little things in our hearts that make us who we are. Snippets, memories, images, a whole lot of love and some hope.
I will always remember S for a few things – her singing, her loud laugh but most importantly for this little gift that is so cheeky but makes sense.
Freeing something from your control is tough. Holding it back, tougher.
Looking at this gift today, I can’t help but think of my friend S and the 9 Gems.
I don’t know when, how and at what moment the 9 Gems disintegrated.
I wonder if we will ever meet again – all of us. Will we still share some giggles, a pizza and hot chocolate at Little Chef?
Somehow this gift gives me hope.
It gives me strength. It makes me brave.
Perhaps I will bump into one of them on the street someday. We will scream like crazy schoolgirls, share a bottle of wine, giggle and recite the story of our lives.
When we truly love something, it is a part of our home - our heart.
And in the end, after all the wandering,
One day, everyone comes back home.