Memories. Once in a while you open it, dust it, polish it and keep it back safe. That is what life is all about. This particular memory that I saved in the backyard of my spacious heart, got auto deleted in the course of my busy life. Well, I know heart is not the place one save memories; but unfortunately some carries their memories in the aorta and many carry their heart on their sleeves. A call in the mid afternoon of a sultry July brought back that profound memory of a lost friendship. I am forced to write this story because the protagonist of the story, Anu is worth writing.

During the beginning of the 21 century, India still had girls with long oily braided hair, beautifully painted eyes and high school girls who believed children are directly sent from heaven. I belonged to such a category, naïve maybe but there was a beauty in life which was so much unsophisticated. Days before Orkut, Google or the smartphones, friendship meant different. We waited the entire summer holidays to get back to school to meet friends, some would have moved out of the city creating a dent in life forever. We took permissions from our parents to use the landline and it was a kind of luxury. My memories of Anu dates back to such an era.  A high school friendship which is one of the bitter-sweet memories I have had auto saved. Anu was the most unnoticeable being in our class. Nobody knows when she gets in or nobody gives a damn about where she sits in the class. Neither she was pretty nor witty. No teachers asked her questions, she was the wallflower. Mute. A Wonder.

In contrary, to the kind of life Anu lead, I had a dreamy one. Talking aloud, happy-go-lucky, mad- at-people, eccentric, hunting library for Enid Blyton, terrorizing boys and enjoying full fledged authority as a head girl of the school. But somehow like now I still had the god gifted extra sensory perception, a depth and an ability to analyze a situation at a 360 degree angle. After all who is interested in the boring mathematics lecture? I could understand the anatomy of the dragon fly outside my class window than the square root of 274.
On one typical school day, my wandering gaze fell on a dark skinny shy girl at the back bench; Anu was the girl I ever bothered to talk to. My eccentric hyperactive self could never gauge my exact opposite Anu. But that day was different. She wore a shabby uniform; her earlobes had deposited dirt and her school bag emitted stench. I kept thinking about it even after the school hours and the very next day I told my mom about Anu, about how she brings a single curry in her tiffin box, that too how she never shares it with anyone else. My mom asked me to get her phone number. I asked her, she had a thousand excuses not to give me her house landline number. I had to try many weeks to get little information about her family. She said her mother is a doctor and dad an engineer. Well, I knew there was something fishy; Doctor’s daughter will not be given simple chilly chutney in her tiffin box, an engineer’s daughter will not carry a torn bag for the consecutive 3 years to school.

Inspired by Famous Five series, I decided to go earth the secrets out from the life of Anu. Next Sunday after church, mom and I found her home. Thanks to the Simcy who lived in the same vicinity, who was also my classmate. We haven’t informed our visit to her so we didn’t know how she will take it. The house had no compound wall, no gate, if I am not wrong the paint had come off in patches. We rang the bell multiple times, no body bothered to open the door. We waited for almost 10 minutes, Anu opened the door obstinately. At the first instance, we realized it was not a home of a doctor or an engineer. We found out that her mom suffered severe depression, sister was lazy, elder bro worked at a small firm and dad was in and out of jobs. Anu wakes up at 5 in the morning cooks food for all, did all the household jobs and came to school for studies. Never for once teachers scolded her because she did her homework on time, she scored better than many in the class, she did all her works without any complaint, she never had a childhood, she lead a silent life and she is always my inspiration all throughout my life. From then our friendship grew; she used to come home, we ate together, My mom helped her when ever possible. I was overjoyed when she received a distinction mark for 10th standard board exams, scoring much better than me. She went on to study in the same school for higher secondary, while I changed my school. Future had different plans for her and me. She pursued nursing and I went on to study mass communication. Our friendship started dying, but the memories about her is one that keeps reappearing once in a while. But recently it had started fading, that’s when I received a call from Saudi Arabia. My hello was retorted by the familiar voice of Anu from the other side. Today, she is a happy medical professional and from her words I could feel our friendship held a true meaning in both of our lives.

She was a wallflower,

A true Cinderella,

A friendship that held true essence,

   A brobdingnagian hum against all odd situations.

A beautiful dessert flower,

My profound memory,

Of a true friendship,

Anu you are my alter ego.

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