Threads in a tapestry, Part II

This is the second post (finally!) in the blog series I started a couple of months back. For the first post you can go here. I meant to write this sooner but due to the unexpected turn of events which caused my recent emotional turmoil of sorts, it had to wait till now. And still quite unexpectedly I have decided to write about a very old friend of mine this time. I call him Lelen or just Len. He is the first ever friend I made, who also was my best friend for the first few tender years of my life. He is such an old friend that I don't even remember meeting him for the first time, or talking to him for the first time, or playing with him for the first time. You get the drift. But that is probably because we started being friends when we were still crawling on our fours, but never mind. He is a year younger to me so I must have been friendless in the first year of my life, until he came along.

Lelen was my neighbour, and before us our parents were neighbours. So I'd like to think there must have been this particular fine day back when we were still toddlers that his parents and mine decided to be neighbourly and visit each other. And it must have been during these visits that Lelen and I became friends. I suppose we must have played in the mud and gotten ourselves dirty, so we would have to be washed up properly at the end of each play day. I suppose I spoke my first words first and therefore motivated him to start speaking his first words too. Just saying. I don't know how I never asked my mom about these things. She probably remembers everything. But anyway, what basically happened was Lelen and I grew up together playing games that our generation of kids played when we were younger. I find that so much more appealing than today's age of video-games and Facebook. Too bad for the new generation of kids. We probably have much fonder childhood memories than them, at least more innocent I would think. That's not the matter of my concern here, though, so I'll leave it at that. Lelen and I did pretty much everything together, including bathing. We would never get into fights but whenever my sister and his' came into the picture, there were fights instigated between us and we wouldn't speak to one another for days sometimes. I don't know what the problem with our siblings was, but things were just such. Poor us for getting separated from each other more than necessary because of some egoistic concerns of our elder siblings. Again, just saying.

The games we played the most were dress-up, role plays and house house. In other words, we mostly played games that involved us dressing up different from how we were expected to dress by society outside the comfort of our homes. I remember how we would both dress up as grown girls and wear skirts on our heads to pretend like we had beautiful long hair. He had to keep his hair very short for obvious reasons and I was never allowed to grow my hair because of maintenance hassle. We even took a picture together dressed up like that once, adorned with the fake hair and the "mature outfit". Too bad I don't have it with me now. Hopefully he does. I remember how in a lot of our role-plays I would end up playing the role of the boy in the story and he the girl's role. That was his choice most of the times, and I was okay with it. I particularly remember this time when we performed a dance with his parents as our audience. We danced to a popular Bollywood song of those days; and I was dressed as Akshay Kumar and he as whoever the heroine of the movie was. On second thought I think I was Anil Kapoor. Never mind, I don't remember now. We would also be joined by our siblings in those games sometimes; but the truth was we never needed them to have our share of fun. I think we were the perfect friends, who never got into a fight on their own.

A lot of my childhood has been defined by Lelen. When I recall my childhood memories his friendship is the principle one I recollect. I remember this time when I happened to take his sister's side in an argument. That made him really angry with us and he ended up sulking a while locking himself up in a room and no amount of my pleading made him open the door. That got me offended and so I sulked my way home, only to be followed by him after a little while to make amends with me. I had learned from his mom that he sulked mainly because he didn't have my support and approval that he expected as a friend and he wanted that I don't leave his side no matter what. It made sense to me after that. I think I would have behaved the same if he had taken sides with my sister in a fight. I guess that pretty much sums up the friendship we had. Then at the time I was eight and he seven, my family and I had to leave for Delhi. I was too young and stupid to realize what I had to give up in my excitement to come to the big city. I don't really know how he felt back then, if the intensity of the situation hit him unlike me. I was going to a totally new place and I was to start a completely new life. I don't think that thought ever occurred to me. But anyway, we moved and we settled. Years seemed to have passed by pretty quick after that. I got busy growing up here in Delhi and we were not in touch for a long time. I don't know why it never occurred to me to write him letters. On second thought, maybe I did. Or was it just the birthday cards that I sent him yearly? It's funny, I don't remember. I remember so much about what we did together and so less about the rest of my childhood in Delhi. Anyway, when we got older and finally opened email accounts for ourselves we eventually got back in touch. At first it was yahoo messenger and now Facebook.

I don't think I ever tried to observe him as a person back when we were kids and still playing together, the way I would perhaps do now. That is basically why I haven't described him in any satisfactory manner. I never observed him well back then because all that mattered to me was that I had a play mate, and I am not able to right now because I haven't got a chance to spend any quality time with him as yet. Facebook is only good for updates. But I know we have both changed grand. So it would be nice to get to know him again when he comes to live in Delhi very soon! He recently graduated from NIFT and has aspirations to make it big in the fashion industry. And I am totally behind him on that. He told me about his immediate future plans which has got me excited and rather impressed by the person he has turned out to be. And I can't wait to see more of what he will accomplish in his life. He is determined and passionate about what he does, and I have a great deal of respect for that. And the clarity with which he seeks to pursue his dreams is applause-worthy. I guess I could say I am proud of him already. And I am happy that even after having been out of touch for so long we continue to be friends and intend to be so for a long time. I guess that is the beauty of certain human connections we make, like what I have with Lelen. No amount of distance or time will take away what has essentially been weaved together to stay.

This is a photo of Lelen taken at his house during one of his birthdays. It's not that I don't have a recent picture of him. It's only that I remember fondly the way he was in this photo.


  1. Well written. You have the ability to invite and involve the reader (stranger) to this sweet and simple but very personal story. Kudos.

  2. Oh sweet Lord!! thanks a Lot, Unem... Its the Greatest Gift and gesture I have ever gotten and seen from any human bring on earth.
    we really do go way back!
    My BFF... <3 u forever!!!


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