In the End, we will remember not the words of our enemies, but the silence of our friends ~ Martin Luther Kings Jr.
We were having our evening tea a little late.On the TV they were talking about an actor’s life.My wife asked me just out of the blue – Who is your best friend ?
Casually I reacted – No one
She said – Do you at least have a friend ?
I started thinking not sure if I was scanning my phone list or looking for a definition of friendship.
I could not make up my mind and told her I am not sure .
But you get so many calls,so many emails,you keep writing, blogging,going places ?
You are right.May be I have a freind but I don’t know.Never really thought about it .
OK – how about X ? she said
He is an acquiantance.
and Y ?
We do business together
and Z ? you guys go out and all
That’s because sometimes I don’t feel like talking to the stars after two drinks.
But they must be thinking you as their freind
I don’t think so.If they were it would be unjust on my part….
But you give them an impression of being a freind
Never thought about it.I don’t think so …I think they know about me just like I know about them.
The doorbell rang.Children were back from the neighbors house and I could hear her giving them instructions to wash hands,drink their milk and start studying.Familiar sounds ,even my mom did the same.
I switched on the bedside lamp and picked up Maupassant’s short stories.
I could not read.I was disturbed somewhere deep down.I had no friends I thought.Did I ever have a best friend ? I decided to rewind my life from the very beginning just to be sure that I had no manufacturing defects.
Went back some 30 years – The yellow bus, hot tiffin,Dirty shoes, smell of chalk , white shirts tucked out,ties knotted 6 months back…. two boys.
” So what are you going to do ?”
” I don’t know?”
“Papa will surely thrash me”
“My Dad will lock me up in the dark room with the ghosts”
” If only We did not have to show our report cards”
” Yes but the teacher wants them back signed”
I saw fear in my friends eyes.
I had seen excitement in them when we had played together a day before the exam.I could not imagine him locked up in that black hole.I wanted to help.But how ?
” Wanted to ask you something”
Have you failed for the first time?
Yes.How about you ?
Me too ?
So you never had to get your report card signed from your father.
Yes.This is the first time the teacher has asked me.
Our eyes met for a while.I knew that he knew what I was thinking.
We opened our school bags and exchanged the report cards.
Next morning as we waited at the bus stop there was a smile on our face.
“How are you doing Dr. Singh ? ” I said mockingly.
“I am just fine Dr.Srivastava.” Came the reply.
For that moment we were friends….best friends.
I had got my answer.I smiled and went back to my book.