Ode to a friend

She was a friend of mine. She favoured anonymity but was quite amiable to me. I first interacted with her when I was in standard ix. She was sitting solitary at the quietest and darkest corner of the classroom. At first I thought her to be a hypocrite and may be for that reason the others have abandoned her. But, with a short interaction I began to understand her and soon found that my first thought about her was lamentable. She lacked gusto but, was genial in nature. She had lost her mother, when she was in standard vii and dwelled in joint family. Her father had a marriage of convenience with her aunt, but it did not help because she had to do the entire household-chores of the day and look after her 8brothers and sisters. Her life was a complete misery under the influence of her conventional and ‘over-possessive’ father. She was always not this lackadaisical. Once upon a time, she also had the gusto to make things happen, she also loved life. That year she couldn’t clear the exams. It was no shock to me, because, no-one could expect a girl to excel in her academics after undergoing a severe mental torture and physical exertion.

She continued with her studies and passed out the ICSE board examinations with 60% and this indeed thrilled me. But, my excitement soon evaporated when her marriage invitation card reached my place. She got married and to her disgust, none of her friends; but me attended her reception. That day we both lamented our separation. Way back home, a thought creeped into my mind, that may be, this is the end of our friendship. But no; god had his own plans and on friendships day, she called me up! She told me that her partner is a nice man and really loved her. I was indeed very happy that day. On a special occasion she came to her maternal home and I went to her place just to hear that she is afflicted with a cancerous disease. I can’t elucidate my first expression to her misery. Its something I can’t explain by words.

Life went on like a turbulent sea. She did not lose hope but each day her strength her strength looked fake she began to grab every opportunity for survival. Doctors said that she will survive at least for quite a few years; maybe she will recover from the disease. Who ever could have imagined that a small swelling in her leg could cause such a killing disease? Her cells were inflicted by carcinogen and it spread rapidly causing cancer.

After the first chemotherapy she began to loose clumps of hair and her ‘quite beautiful features’ vanished giving her skin a coal-black hue.

I with some of our old friends celebrated her 18th birthday with great pomp and splendour. It was indeed the cause to rejoice because it was her last birthday. Who did ever know that after a year she would melt in the thin air with smokes of her burnt corpse? Yes, she passed away just after a week of her birthday.

Just as sun shone brightly over her dark life after her marriage dark cloud surpassed it away. Don’t you all think that this mediocre girl represented the world of misery, misfortune and mockery of god?
Upasana Mallick