A riot of laughter was enough to break the monotony of pin drop silence that marched long corridors of girl’s hostel, that chilly winter night. The walls otherwise chained to the discipline, took notice. The dim light in the aisle sought to borrow brightness from the chirpy girly talk seeping through the slits of door and windows of room number 7.Those were the days, sighed the walls and the hush of it was carried by the late-night cold winter breeze, only to be lost in the aloof darkness of the night.
The girls were inconspicuous of all the hustle that they were making. For they were lost in picking up the pieces of nostalgia from the gone by carefree era of the college. The august occasion of their silver jubilee reunion after graduation had handed them the visa to be transported to the land of youthful days. After many pleas to the college authority, they were allowed to spend a night in one of the hostel rooms, which in earlier days they had called their world. A handful of them could make it to the occasion, though.
“Girls, remember ‘who’s your best friend’ game?”, prodded Vaiju winking at Teju.
Picking up the thread, smiling naughtily Teju announced, “Let’s have a round of who’s your best friend. Everyone be prepared. Have honest answers, mind you!”
Malini, Jessica, Kamakshi and Saumya had a hearty laugh at that.
“Mind your greys girls”, warned Amrita.
“Ms Moral Police, you haven’t changed a bit”, tittered Anu.
“Or should we have ‘who was your best friend?’ instead”, said Pranita with self-satisfying smirk.
“Good idea to scratch those pink memories”, responded Saumya
Bhavika, sitting at the end of the bed, little away from the group, with her legs curled up to her chest, slowly uncoiled herself dropping her feet to the floor. The numbing coldness of the floor reflected her mood, she felt. With that she sighed.
“Oh…Ms Lost In Other World, let’s begin with you”, said Anu reaching for Bhavika’s hand pulling her into the warmth of the rendezvous.
“My best friend,hmm,was and is…”, Bhavika paused, lost in thoughts, unaware of the curious yet uncomfortable question marks on faces of her then hostel mates, for she was searching, scratching for the honest answer from every inch of her heart.
Unintentionally, she glanced at the black screen of her mobile that came alive with touch of her thumb in flash of second, another involuntary action that slipped through her fingers without seeking her permission. Smile, a beatific one, painted her face, relieving her tormented mind of the scrutiny.
“My breath. It’s the one that accompanied me to this world as I entered the sphere of living and would be the last to leave the confines of my bonding as I proceed to the world of unknow”, she said hypnotised by the image.
“Wrong choice to start with, Ms Philosophical”, condemned Vaiju shattering the enormity of silence into the splashes of giggles. And the girls turned back to their circle to continue.
“Why?”, an unanswered question echoed in Bhavika’s mind again, the count of which she has lost. In a trance, she re-read the status on her mobile, “Memories flash and go. But you are my breath, always with me…” which she had recorded that morning to commemorate the death anniversary of her better half, her best friend who had committed suicide, a decade ago.
‘Why?’ a question to which no one had answers, a question…an answer to which was lost to eternity along with him. Like the breath that is present, with you but yet not in your grasp ever…