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Can a friendship that has been lost find its way back, or do the things we lose sometimes stay lost forever?
One of the top 5 entries for February’s muse of the month writing cue, “Things we lose have a way of coming back to us in the end, if not always in the way we expect.” (from Harry Potter and The Order of The Phoenix, J.K.Rowling)
Sonali Bhatia is an educator and freelance journalist based in Bangalore.
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This time, it looked like the friendship was really over.
There was no way they could make up – the quarrel was too deep, too bitter, with each thinking she was right and neither willing to budge an inch.
Common friends tried to reconcile them and, one by one, gave up. Things became really, really awkward. They couldn’t be invited to the same parties, they couldn’t go for the same day-trips – and those who wouldn’t take sides wound up walking a tightrope so taut it threatened the sanity of all of them.
“When it’s a fight about money, it does get bad,” Premila sighed.
“But a thousand bucks? Since when did childhood friends break up over a thousand bucks?” Monideepa was fuming. “I’d give each of them a thousand bucks, if they’d just stop fighting.”
“It’s not the bucks, you girls.” Astha looked up from the catalogue she had been flipping through. “It’s not the thousand rupees that’s the issue here. It’s that trust was broken. And the problem is, we don’t know who broke whose trust.”
“So now we have to go crazy, can’t invite one if the other is coming over. And YOU there, Miss Cool Astha, it’s your wedding that one of them won’t be attending, here. Stop flipping that catalogue and THINK, if you want both your friends with you on your special day.”
“I have other things to think about. I’m not just flipping a catalogue, I’m trying to choose the saree I’m going to wear for the sangeet-programme. Mom’s chosen my wedding saree, my dear-darling fiancé has chosen the reception one, I have to choose one at least. Girls, does green look good on me?”
Leaving off the discussion on heavier topics, the friends soon plunged into an argument on which saree would suit Astha most. At the end of half-an-hour, the catalogue was marked so heavily, nobody could distinguish which sarees were on the final shortlist.
“Thanks for all your help, girls,” Astha sighed in mock-gratitude. “You have succeeded in leaving me more confused than ever.”
“Why didn’t you ask me?”
The trio looked up at the familiar voice. It was indeed Geshna.
“Why didn’t you ask me? I could’ve told you immediately.” Confidently, Geshna picked up the catalogue, turned the pages and stopped at a shocking-pink saree. “This one. Astha, this one for the sangeet-programme.”
The saree wasn’t even on the friends’ shortlist. They looked at Geshna, not knowing what to say. Things were already delicate enough, thanks to Geshna’s fight with Rajji. All three friends, collectively and individually, had had heated words with Geshna, in their desperate attempt to forge a reconciliation. To argue now about a saree seemed foolish.
“Uh, okay,” Astha sighed. One more saree that she didn’t get to choose for herself, but if it kept Geshna in good spirits, it was probably worth it. And the shocking-pink saree was quite beautiful, coming to think of it.
“It’s not worth this tension,” Monideepa was fuming again.
“Shhhhh. She’s coming,” Premila cautioned.
“And we have to make sure they don’t fight. Fine job to do during a wedding-concert, keep two fighting friends away from each other.”
“Shhhhh. Hi, Rajji!”
“Hi Premila, Hi Monideepa! Why are you waiting out here? Let’s go in and …”
Before they could stop her, Rajji had walked in – straight through to the area just below the platform, where Astha stood, chatting with Geshna, waiting for the musicians to arrive.
“Hi Astha, congratulations! My goodness, you look lovely in that colour, why don’t you wear shocking-pink more often? I bet you didn’t choose that saree yourself. Tell me the secret now, who picked it?”
Geshna cleared her throat. Pretending she had just noticed her, Rajji glanced in her direction.
“I picked it,” Geshna stated. “They didn’t like it much, the three of them, but I knew it would look best on Astha.”
“And I agree,” Rajji replied, with a smile.
“You and I …” Geshna began.
“We usually agree, don’t we?”
“Yes.” Geshna’s voice was a whisper.
“Why did we stop?” Rajji asked.
But Geshna didn’t get to finish the sentence. Simultaneously, the two of them moved toward each other and hugged.
“We were both a little silly about that bet,” Rajji admitted, as they broke apart again.
“Yup. Let’s forget you owe me a thousand bucks,” Geshna was laughing as she said this.
“Me? You owe ME the thousand,” Rajji was giggling.
“Let’s agree we owe each other a thousand bucks, and start over.”
“So both of you are going to attend my wedding, na?”
“Did you think for a minute that we weren’t?”
Pic credit: mr-football (Used under a Creative Commons license)
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