I had met Amrita first time in college. She seemed haughty in the beginning. A self-obsessed woman who couldn’t see life beyond herself – that is what I thought of her. We were cordial but never great friends in college. We never had open confrontations but it was evident that we never harboured great love for each other. Days passed by and we finished college.
My University classes started and I remember to have been a week late to join classes because of an ailment. The day I joined classes, I was a tad late and by then a particular period had already started. I was a little shy and a bit hesitant to even enter. Suddenly a familiar and smiling face greeted me and wordlessly whispered me to come in. She even managed to squeeze in a seat for me beside her. That was the beginning of a friendship that went on to become one of the most precious relationships of my life. Collecting notes for each other, bunking classes, hitting on guys, bitching about others, singing aloud by the Ganges, attending book fairs, playing truant, binging on movies to food, spending endless afternoons debating over politics to literature, we have done everything together and a lot more.
Amrita had a strange family. Her brother and father were nice people but she had failed to receive love from her mother. She often told me how she yearned for her mother’s love but was cruelly thwarted every time. Her mother solely showered her affections on Amrita’s brother. Her stories haunted me and I started playing the role of her mother at times.
Our relationship was unique and beautiful. We made each other complete. In the due course of time she had a relationship with her private tutor who used to teach her during school. He seemed a dependable person. However, he was the one who triggered misunderstandings between us. Things turned so sour that communication stopped between us. It is funny how a male presence can completely malign relations between two women. Today it seems trivial and funny but strangely enough years back when we had ourselves been considerably amateurish, such incidents had appeared unassumingly grave.
We could have reconciled perhaps, but during that particular juncture in life other preoccupations assumed more importance. I left Calcutta and professional callings were of utmost importance during those years. I did get to hear about her from common friends but we never spoke. While I was far away, she got married. Married the same guy and I was happy for her. Years passed and I made new friends but I never forgot Amrita. I kept thinking about reconciling whatever misunderstandings we had had in the past. After all, we had grown up and matured over the years. Her thoughts often came back to me and made me happy. I knew she is my friend for life and nothing can ever create a rift between us. I made plans to call her up and then meet her. I knew deep down she must also have been missing me. However, I don’t know what held me back and I never could actually make that phone call. Why? I asked myself many times. Perhaps I wanted to run away from reality, perhaps I wanted to avoid confrontations, perhaps I was afraid.
Suddenly, one day a piece of news came shattered me completely. The news still seems unreal even though almost five years have passed in between. Amrita had been killed by her own husband, the same guy who had created a rift between us. The reasons for the killing are still unknown.
Life keeps giving us chances and we need to know when are the times we need to grab those opportunities and move on. It had never been too late to just call her up and express my grudges. But now it’s actually late, too late. I held on to my stupid ego that prevented me from reaching out to a friend who needed me during the crucial junctures of her life. Who can say had I made that phone call, had we kept aside our idiotic differences, she would still have been there with me.
It is never too late for all of us to say sorry, to forgive, to move on. And for those who do not, have to suffer on and on and mull over what could have been and what could have been not.