The lights flickered first and then gave way to darkness. Can’t say it was petrifying, but all sounds died away with it as well. No more noise of the refrigerator or the air conditioning, or to top it all, the television. It was summer vacation time and most of the neighbours were out holidaying – either hiking or beaches. I had applied for leave, but the same old story was retold.

I had been so preoccupied with work and gadgets, absence of electricity made me realize the pin-drop silence. I peeped out the window, most of the houses were locked. Could not even hear the night guard patrolling.
The summer heat reverberated from the floor. I opened the windows and sat down on the floor lighting candles. I spaced the candles throughout the house. The dying battery of the laptop made me sigh. And I was going to miss today’s “How I met your mother” episode!

My cellphone beeped and sounded rather loud in the silence. It was a forwarded message sent by Anand. As usual, I was not even going to read it. As I deleted the message, I started scanning through my inbox. So many unread messages. Had I been that busy? There were several messages from Sheila –

“Hey, wassup? My wedding is round the corner. Get your dress ready. You will be the maid of honour.”
“Where are you? No response, no calls! Don’t you want to meet my fiancé?”
“This is absurd, I called you days ago and left so many messages. Why don’t you call back? My wedding is around the corner and there is lots to be done.”
“Mummy was very upset today that no one is there to help me with the wedding stuff. She has asked her friend’s daughter to help out. Why do you disappoint me yaar? At least call me!”
“I wish you were there at the engagement ceremony. It’s a solitaire with a platinum band, a beauty. I won’t tell you what I wore. But you were not even there! I don’t think I want to be friends with you anymore!”
“No reaction, I wrote such drastic words last time. Do you remember no times of joy? How we talked about our first kisses, our first moonlight  dances, our first jobs. Remember how we talked about our kids growing up together to be best friends. Forget best friends, I don’t even think we are friends now!”
“This is my last message to you. I will never talk to you ever again. I am really sad on the most happy day of my life. Today is my wedding. But why would you care.”

Tears streamed from my eyes in the most continuous fashion. I kept staring at that last message. Where had I been? What had I been busy with? Work and hectic schedules. I remember having seen “1 message received” a couple of times. But I did not remember ever checking them. What had I done? Was I so engrossed in the race for success, that I had left my life behind?
I picked up the phone and dialed her number. Instantly, I disconnected it. What was I going to say to her?

 How was I ever going to face her? I checked the date of the message, almost 4 months back. 4 months…she must be married already. Oh, how much she will hate me for what I have done to her. Best friends for life – we said to each other locking our little fingers together. “I like this dress.” “You take it” And she had given it to me. I always ordered chocolate icecream and she ordered fig icecream. But she always took a huge bite out of mine! It had been ages since I ate ice cream, it had been ages since I saw her.

I redialed. “Can I speak to Sheila.” “She is not here, you know after the wedding they have moved. Let me get the number for you.” I breathed heavily into the speaker, unsure of what to say. “Thank you.” I thought a lot about an apology or what I was going to say to her, but at this point I was blank, I had no idea.

“Sheila” “Yes, who……who’s this…” I was silent “I am sorry Sheila.” Again…silence! “How are you? Where are you? Can we please meet? I can never forgive myself for betraying you like this. I am so sorry.” “Why have you called today? Do you even remember who I am?” “I do Sheila, you are my best friend. But I am not your best friend. I am a terrible friend. I have no explanation. I am just dying to see you right now.”

As I entered her house, I could sense her smell. She had always loved Chanel No 5, and I could say she had worn it recently. The drive to her house had been crazy. Coming out of my house, I had slipped once in the darkness, tumbled almost on the staircase, and the freaking haunting silence of the night had been devilish. I drove like a madman. And I was still in my pyjamas!

Her maid had answered the door. It was almost midnight, I realized how I would have bothered her and her husband. She appeared in a pink nightgown – her favourite colour. Her face was blank with no expressions. She rushed towards me and hugged me. I hugged her. It was a defining moment of sorrow, joy and insomnia.

“Oh my god, you are pregnant?” “Yes, I have been dying to tell you. Put a hand here and you can feel the baby.” “No, I am too scared.” “Oh come on” She took me hand and placed it on her belly. We both smiled. “Hey, guess what I have in the freezer?” “Chocolate ice cream and fig ice cream.” And we both broke into fits of laughter. And so we went on talking and rebonding and relishing the ice creams….on that miraculous day when the electricity went off….



04/15/2010 3:53pm

Nice story! You have the natural flair towards creating a plot. Appreciate it

04/15/2010 5:02pm

A nice touching story of friendship !!

Keep up your good work..write more frequently..

04/16/2010 12:35am

Don't know if it is a true story, but would want to believe it is one. Nice plot and many congrats for keeping your friendship alive. :)

04/16/2010 8:57am

Thanks guys...not entirely a true story, but inspired from life. Will write more frequently! Keep reading...

Ajay Kumar
04/16/2010 9:58am

Life is never ending race and stealing a piece of happy cake from it seems to be a tough work sometime.. sometime I wonder are we controlling things or things are controlling us... Good to see this blog hope it work as an eye opener for people who have lost art of living.. :)

04/17/2010 8:35am

Thanks Ajay. I do hope it works to inspire people to 'live' their life, rather than just 'carry on' with it!

04/18/2010 11:25am

hey nice one!! ek dost ki yaad aa gayi..
tell me when are we meeting..let me remind you that being in the same city, we haven't met from the last 2 years..this is pathetic!! :(

04/19/2010 11:05am

I must say I would not forget this ever, sent this blog to one of my best friends right after reading.
You have great skill of catching readers attention specially for people like me who hardly loves to read blog.

04/19/2010 6:32pm

its great to hear you liked it so much. if this is as per your taste, then do read the earlier posts...they may interest you! do spread the word...it encourages a writer!

04/22/2010 9:08pm

Wonderful write up! You have a gift of touching people's hearts with your writing. I'm a regular and suggested it to my friends. A very endearing story! keep up the good work..

i just started a blog and would love to know your opinions..

04/23/2010 9:32am

Thanks Sonya...do keep reading. will surely visit your blog.

04/27/2010 12:13pm

Really Nice story, I remembered my college days chasing a girl in Bus...Really Touching one.

04/27/2010 3:22pm

WOW.. u r a wonderful writer

05/13/2010 2:09pm

Thanks guys...keep reading!

05/28/2010 3:15pm

Nice blog, i remembered my school friend.....and no doubt that u r an awesome writer

11/06/2010 7:39am

Thanks Sree...keep reading

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