It has been two decades since Sonali had last seen her. She was her dear friend, Nandini. They were fast friends; studied at the same school and belonged to the same neighborhood. Nandini was always the studious type and harbored dreams of making it big someday. She found joy in intellectual pursuits and some batch mates called her a ‘nerd’. Always prim and proper she abhorred anything coarse. It was at her instance that Sonali joined a choir along with her. But that hobby didn’t continue for long mainly because of the distance they had to traverse to attend classes and the fact that their studies were hampered. Nandini would never allow that to happen as that was her priority. As expected she came out with flying colors in her high school exams and prepared to join a prestigious university with a scholarship in her favorite subject. Sonali was overjoyed for her even though she couldn’t match her in her results.
Sonali took up a vocational training program but before she could complete it she was married to a well off groom arranged by her parents who resided in a different state. It was from this time onwards that both friends drifted apart. Nandini got busy with her education and she in raising and looking after a family. It was only when she visited her parents home once or twice a year that the friends met up for coffee or went out to watch a movie in a theatre. But that too came abruptly to an end when Nandini went abroad to do her doctorate.
The friends had completely lost track of each other in their busy lives in the following two decades. So much had happened in these years that they were impelled to forget each other. It wasn’t that Sonali didn’t think of her in rare fleeting moments but since they were not in touch and the fact that Nandini’s family had moved out of the neighborhood her urge to track her friend had died out gradually. She was leading a humdrum life whereas she learnt that Nandini had now become a professor in a university abroad. Her dreams were fulfilled and her achievements made her feel proud of her friend she once knew so closely. The thought that her mundane life wouldn’t interest her made her reclusive. Even though in her heart she secretly wanted to know how she was but she couldn’t gear up the courage to try and contact her.
It was after decades that one day out of the blue Nandini rang her up in the evening. Sonali was so overwhelmed that she didn’t know what to say. The prolonged gap of years had made her feel uneasy.
“Hi Sonali, this is Nandini”, she said.
“Yeah” she answered unable to comprehend that it was really her friend on the other side.
“Hello, I am Nandini your friend, remember “, she reiterated.
“Hi , I can’t believe I’m talking to you after so long” , she said excited. “How have you been? Where are you calling up from?”
“From the States. I am okay. Tell me about yourself. It’s been so long. ”
“Oh, I‘m fine and I have a son and he is doing well.”
“Good. Great to hear. You must be a proud and happy mother.”
“And what about you?”
“I have got married to Harish, remember, my senior in university. He had also come over here to do his PhD. As we were both fellow Indians we bonded a lot and friendship turned into love and then marriage.”
“I’m so happy for you. Do you have any children?”
“No, I couldn’t conceive because of my disease”, she said somberly.
“Why, what has happened?” she asked concerned.
“I have cancer”, she said gravely. “It’s been detected a month back.
“Oh I’m so sorry” , she choked on her words.
“I have been thinking a lot this month. I have been thinking of my near and dear ones, my family and my friends. Of all those who matter to me in my life. This disease has given me a new perspective to life. I have learnt to value them more than my profession. I have been selfish and spent most of my time in pursuing my work and never thought of keeping in touch with them; finding out how they were and enjoying my precious time in life with them. I have decided to enjoy each day as it comes now and to appreciate life on this earth. And lately I have been thinking about you. Our innocent and happy days spent together. At first I couldn’t get hold of your number but through an acquaintance I finally got it. If you have the desire then nothing is unachievable”, she left off.
“Oh, I also thought of you these days.”
“I hope you won’t mind if I call you once a week. I want to make up for the days I have lost and catch up with you.”
“Oh please do so.I will be more than happy to hear from you. Let’s begin our renewal of friendship from today.”