Food, I have always believed is the cure of all grief. To strengthen it further, homemade snacks in a hostel far away from home had really helped me make friends. Bribe, though it might be called but dear reader, believe me when I helped. One evening, I took a Tupperware container full of crispy mathris around the hostel floor and without afterthought climbed down the stairs to go visit friends on lower floor. I remember as if it were just this evening – the sound of unending cries and howls echoing the corridor. Like someone was in immense pain and the grief would not go away with her squeaking sobs. I approached the door, eavesdropping – indecisive whether I wanted to enter the almost strangers room. I knew I shouldn’t but I could not leave. I could hear some softer interruption and consolation. A friend or perhaps the roommate, I didn’t know. Intruder that I was, I knocked, went in and made a complete fool of myself and embarrassed her.

Ironically, she ended up helping me instead of the other way round. I am sure I would never have talked to her again had she not texted me and apologized. I have never understood what she was apologising for. Since then however, she has remained until now. It hasn’t been a very long time – just a year and a half, but she has been always there. Like my knight in shining armour, she takes care of me. She listens to me rant about doing creepy things and tells me of creepier things, she’s done. She ends a long lecture with ‘it is nothing to worry about.’ Though she teases me about being short, she’s very fierce about protecting me when I have a bad day.

Today, I won’t have a nice month until I have sent her weird quotes and shared weird travel plans with her or she hasn’t given me her much-needed tips. Once upon a time, a very dear friend had sent me a dream catcher to ward away nightmares and make all my dreams come true. This one person is like that – making sure that she helps me carve my wishes true anyway that she can.

She is my wingman, as she defines it and I agree. She’ll shoo away anybody who gives me grief and I never want her to stop – wouldn’t want her to disappear like just anyone in life. With her drama, her dreams and our travel plans – she’s here to stay. Sometimes, when she is in one of her ranting stupors, I interrupt her to start one of mine – one on the social issues, the Marwari issues and issues in general. She, however, listens again in rapt attention. She comes up with simple solutions for the general ones, calling the Marwari incorrigible. In those moments, I cannot express how thankful I am that she was born and I met her.

She has dreams of her own, which will enchant you, dear reader. She is a paradox. Sometimes, she’ll talk about chugging bottles of beer and other times, she’ll talk about taking control of the administration. For all her five feet and flaws, she takes up responsibilities like a woman on a mission. She is unsure and panics as well. She is but human.
On this day, to that human, I wish her new jobs, better colleagues, no cold feet about getting old and dreams fulfilled. Happy Birthday!


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