14 Jul 2019

#382 Those Letters

Those Letters

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[Let's go back to 90's! How beautiful were those days when letters were used to be the media of communication! The era san mobiles, smartphones, social media was something different yet more connecting. It built important relationships. Waiting for letters as medium of communication was something inexplicable, wasn't it? ]
Sharanya and Shubhra have been best friends. They took admission in same school from pre-school. 

The first time Sharanya saw lil Shubhra sobbing at the entrance gate of the newly admitted school when her parents had left her as it was the first day of Shubhra at school. The grief of separating from her parents was so huge for lil Shubhra to bear that she couldn't control the outburst of her emotions in form of tears. When class teacher pursuaded lil Shubhra to come inside the class where there were many innocent eyes watching the newcomer entering the class , on finding a vacant seat near Sharanya ,teacher asked Shubhra to occupy it. While Shubhra was yet to recover from her sobbing state, Sharanya was already adjusted to that environment as she had already spent 3 days there. Hesitatingly Sharanya extended her hand for friendship, lil did she knew that it would soon turn out to be a friendship of lifetime.

Their friendship was innocent and pure. It grew stronger with each passing day . They grew inseparable. Their friendship was not just limited to the boundaries of school but beyond. Both were cute, sincere and every teacher's favourites. They started to identify themselves as sisters from different mothers, such was the intimacy of her friendship. They always competed with each other to be better than their own yesterday; [what's growth without competition] and never the spirit of competitiveness had even a dint of adverse effect over their friendship. They set friendship goals for others and their efforts for putting their friendship alive were exemplary.

Days passed amidst fun-frolic, examinations, co-curriculars etc, then came to the end of 3rd standard . The destiny had other plan.Shubhra's father received a notice of transfer to another city miles away from their own. When everybody was celebrating the news of transfer of father to a different city in a promoted post, Shubhra was sad inside. The thought of leaving her best friend started to haunt her the very next moment. She cried as hard as she could while she retired for the day. This cry was more heart wrenching and intense than the one she had when she entered into the periphery of classroom lebelled as U.K.G-A for the first time.

On learning about the reason of sadness of Shubhra , father came to her rescue . He consoled her by planting the idea of communicating through letters. For that he suggested her to take the communication address of Sharanya to keep in touch. By that time, they had already learnt how to write letters ;both formal and informal but it was only for the purpose of writing in the examination paper , now it was the time to bring this skill beyond the curriculum to the realm of practicality.

The next day Shubhra decided to crack this news of transfer to Sharanya but she was not hopeless anymore as she had the idea of staying in touch with her even through many miles. The news of transfer of Shubhra's father from Shubhra's mouth came as a bolt from blue. Sharanya didn't know how to react for a second but Shubhra consoled her the same way as her father did and they vowed to write letters to each other regularly.

The D-day arrived when Shubhra had to depart for her new destination, she bade goodbye to everyone at school and a special bye to Sharanya with a promise to write about her happenings of life at the new city.

Shubhra , during her journey to the new city ,was observing everything very minutely as she would be describing every lil detail in her first letter to Sharanya. Days passed and Shubhra took admission in a school in her locality, was excited to start her life there. After a week, she thought of writing letter to Sharanya and got inland-letters from her father. She started writing about every lil event that she was witnessing, the length of one letter wasn't even enough to what she was experiencing in a new city and school, she pondered how precise the act of writing was unlike speaking. As the provided space in the letter started to get exhausted, she had to stop it unwillingly and promised herself to include the remaining undiscussed events in the subsequent letter, at the same time she expressed her eagerness to hear about the whereabouts of Sharanya.

The exchange of letters continued for a while and Shubhra would eagerly wait for letters of Sharanya . One day, the post man came with the undelivered letter of Shubhra to Shubhra's house, on being asked the reason , he said that the address had been changed. Now, Shubhra had lost the contact with Sharanya forever.

Fastforward to 15 years,
Shubhra was returning to her home from hostel by train. She was travelling alone and over the years, she had learnt to befriend books which would take her to places of imagination. While she was immersed in the book by one of her favourite writers, Sudha Murthy, she heard a sweet voice asking her permission to adjust her trolley beneath her seat. She took a glance at the stranger and her face somewhat radiated a feeling of familiarity.

The girl who just boarded her compartment was addressed by Sharanya by her friend. It stroke Shubhra hard and let her enquired if she was the same girl with whom she had started her schooling. The reply was positive, that girl was Sharanya with whom Shubhra had lost contact because of changed address. Then the rest is history. 

©Swati Sarangi
13.07 .2019

Dedicating this piece of writing to all my childhood friends !

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