|The frail, thin girl I saw this morning when I boarded the Andheri train look me back in time, back when I was in Jabalpur, when I was a kid....10 long years since it happened yet the thought still brings fluxed emotions. It was in Jabalpur that I met Heeri, my dearest friend. She had just moved to Jabalpur- a big city for her and her family.
I met her first when my Mother caught her stealing guavas from our army quarter's garden. She stood there staring blankly, her almond eyes filled with tears..my Mother fealt bad for her and gave her back the guavas, that was the start of our friendship.
We would come sit on the opposite sides of the fence and talk for hours about everything under the sun. I would slip gauvas, food, clothes, soaps, and anything and everything that she asked for. That was in November, it was around that time that my Father gifted me a kiddy-guitar on my birthday. I would show it off to everyone. Other than me, Heeri was the only one who got to play it.
I used to rush towards the fence to meet Heeri the moment I came back from school. So would she, after finishing all her work. This was a daily pattern. We were inseperatable. My parents were getting tense about our thriving friendship. My Moms friends would pelt their concern over me being friends with a so-called ill-mannered urchin. Inspite of her warnings, we sustained our friendship.
Army folks get transferred ofttimes, my Father's regiment was no different. We had to shift to Delhi in a week. Everythinng was a mess, there was chaos in every nook of our house. My parents were going berserk packing things. I on the other hand would sit by my fence and sulk, for my Heeri was no where to be seen. She disappeared the very next day I told her about me leaving. It was around that time that I realised that my guitar was missing. My parents were sure that she stole my guitar and fled. It was very difficult for me to beleive that my friend, who I trusted with my heart and soul could ever do such a thing. As the weekend neared, my belief started wearing out. Heeri was my only friend, the only one I trusted, and she had codded and then abondoned me.
The whole incident had left a deep impact on my fleeceable mind. In a way it changed me, I became an introvert and didn't let anyone get near me. I would get into fights with kids in school and shout back at them..no at Heeri, i saw her in all of them.
10 years since it happened, as I came walking towards my workstation today, seeing all the endearing people around, smiling and waving across my office phratries, the picture of the big wodden trunk came fleeting into my mind, the day my mom opened it 2 years since we left Jabalpur, the day my life changed, the day we found the guitar ..............