Once Here, Now Gone: My Message in a Bottle

Long ago, I had a friend in the eighth grade.
My class teacher would often comment that we looked like two ducks waddling together. We went together wherever we went.In the ninth grade, she chose to admit herself in one of Delhi’s most prestigious schools; I stayed behind in good ole Somerville.
It was a shock to my routine at first. I wasn’t used to her not being around…

We wrote letters to each other fairly often at first, sharing all that happened during our day at school.
She would tell me about her new teachers and how big her new campus was compared to the old one. I would try to imagine a bigger school with better teachers, fall miserably at the task and go back to doing homework, this being the time when homework was still a priority in the ninth grade.Over time, the calls became occasional and the letters stopped.Somewhere down the line, I had already begun to change as a person and her discomfort at being thrown in to cope with somebody she no longer really knew, was obvious.
And then the calls stopped. Everyone at school would ask me how she was. Initially, I’d tell them all about the new school and new teachers but once the phone calls stopped, I did not have it in me to admit to everyone else that we were not in touch any more. It felt like a stab of guilt at having ‘failed to keep in touch with a close friend.’
So I lied that she was fine.
Today, after seven years, a tiny voice inside my head wishes I hadn’t.
All I have is an email id that doesn’t work and her letters and her childhood pictures.
She was always tiny, diminutive. Her childhood pictures weren’t much different from the ones taken when she grew up.
She had very curly hair and a fair face. She was South Indian, which also translated into lemon rice and tamarind rice for lunch at school and Carnatic music at her place.I miss her. I gambled a search on Facebook, hoping I would find her there- how I would love to know where she is and what she is upto!

Encounters, people, friendships –> transience has stopped taking me by surprise. It sneaks in, sometimes, to etch some words of regret, some of melancholy, some more of nostalgia on the epitaph of what’s long gone.
And I now reflect to realize that it is this impermanence, this sense of uncertain fluidity that makes encounters and relationships beautiful.
One moment longer, and things would seem to drag. A moment too soon would be murder. No matter when we drift apart, it always seems unfair but as the dust settles down, a sense of quiet prevails. It steps in gently and ties all lose ends and leaves shrouded by the same deafening indifference. Except times like these, when you wish teleportation existed. And Snowden’s ex-employers in India.
PS. Swarna Parameswaran? Here’s my message in the bottle.

6 thoughts on “Once Here, Now Gone: My Message in a Bottle

  1. What a wonderful little atmosphere you create in this post; something most people can identify with, There are so many friends I’d like to meet again – or think I would – and can’t find, then there are some i have found through the net. One or two have surprised, one or two have disappointed. It’s all in the luck of the draw.

  2. beingtechwriter says:

    Hello Ritika,
    I was browsing for some blogs to refresh my mind.. And through google’s Magic Wand i landed up here for the very first time.
    To be honest after reading the heading I thought its your version of the famous book “Message in the Bottle” but while reading the post or you can say within few words I didn’t even realize when I entered into your world & back in mind I was comparing the essence of this post with my life.. But at the end of the post I was having pleasant satisfied smile on my face..And I was refreshed & ready to go back to normal office work 🙂
    Thank You ! Looking forward to your magical posts !

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