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An Indian woman talks about a friendship beyond the boundaries of gender, geography and age-old beliefs.
Guest Blogger Paromita Bardoloi says she is a dreamer by profession and a writer by choice. She uses words to express her love for life and she considers life her beloved.
It was not long ago that our television sets were screaming with headlines about another war with Pakistan. Amidst all the headlines and crisis this January, I met Fawad Khan from Karachi, Pakistan.
Fawad and I met through another common friend, three years back. He is a graduate from the National School of Performing Arts (NAPA), Karachi. Every year he visits the National School of Drama (NSD) with his team to perform at Bharatiya Rang Mahatsav. This was his second visit to India and my first meeting with him.
Facebook had been our meeting point. When I met Fawad, we both were going through our own personal crisis. There is always that one moment, we scream, “You Too.” And the saga of friendship begins. It hardly mattered that he stayed in Karachi and I did in Delhi. Through everything, we did stand by each other as faithful friends. Yes, we both became the top friends in each other’s list. How can I forget the day he fell in love! A long mail flew my way, “Paro, I am in love, head over heels. Her name is Farha (not her real name).” And time flew. Over the last three years, this guy whom I had never met, stood by me through all. He taught me one of the best lessons in life that is to love my own imperfections. I hope I too stood by him, rock solid through all his inhabitations and fears. I never stopped believing in him and telling him how wonderful he was!
Wonderful. That is Fawad.
Last October I had a call. “Paro mein aa raha hoon” (Paro, I am coming). And I never forgot to ask him to bring me a Lahori Kajal and a Red Lahori Duppata.
This January, I met him at NSD’s food court. I was sitting with my very close friend Priyanka. Someone tapped my back and said, “Paro.” And the man whose photos brims from my fb account, stood before me. That moment was a little unnerving. But we both felt as if we have met before. I have always believed that we meet the same people over and over again through different lifetimes. It is interesting to note now that all I could do was hug and bless him. Such are some moments in life. Then we talked as if we picked up from a conversation a day before. We talked about life in general, dreams, realities, friends, age, relationships and thirties that are just at our doorsteps. Fawad and I took a long walk around NSD. There is something about friendships when you are just near your 30s. You lose the initial inhabitations; you become friends who can talk to each other. I strongly believe that every woman should have one male friend she can take a long walk with without really worrying what she has to talk or wear. That man becomes her ally.
Unfortunately the next day their performance was cancelled. I could not meet him that day. The following day he was leaving. I reached hotel Samrat at 9 am. Together we left for Aga Khan Foundation. He did a story telling session with the children of Nizzamuddin Basti. What a wonderful story teller he was! That day was his day, his stage, his lime light. I was so so proud of it. I took the last seat as the claps and laughs grew; and nibbled a sandwich as he was interviewed by a journalist. Those moments you know that the limelight belongs to your friend, and you proudly take the back seat.
After the show, we went to Janpath. Fawad had to shop for his family and friends. Boy oh Boy, he made me walk for 3 and a half hours. But what a lovely time! He had to buy some specific T-shirts. Then the haunt for bangles began. These are things only Fawad can do. He had to find a face wash for his girl friend. And we just could not find the specific brand. From Janpath to C.P to Central Market, we travelled only to find the specific brand. Finally we did. But over the walk across markets I heard stories of Karachi and Lahore. I heard of his life, insecurities, love, flaws and above all hope. I wonder, if boundaries are real. Our shopping ended finding a specific purple colored bangle. I think one needs to be deeply in love to do such things. And every time he spoke of her, his eyes shone. That’s love you know for sure.
He also handed me the Red Lahori Duppata and Lahori Kajal I was obsessed with.
Our day ended with a quick bite a Mc Donald’s. He had to leave at 7 pm and it was already 5:30 pm. We boarded the metro at Lajpat Nagar to Race Course. My heart whispered, it might be the last the last time I might see him. Who knows, if I will ever spend another 3 and half hours walking around markets. My heart fell as I had to say good bye at Race Course metro station. I did not cry, I kept holding his hands, as long as I could, till he sat in the auto and it left. People were crowding to reach home. I stood all alone in the metro station, tear streaming down. That evening, I sat down on the pavement and cried a river. May be I cried for so many people, who lost loved ones, friendships, dreams when a line was drawn and two countries were declared.
That night, as Fawad took his bus to Lahore, the skies of Delhi seemed solemn to me and it was a long night. I kept staring at the Red Lahori Duppata that lay carelessly next to me on my bed!
So long, my friend!
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