One windy afternoon in the early 1990’s, I tied raakhi to my close friend in college. At the time I did that I did not give it much thought other than to express my affection for this big burly friend and perhaps expected a kit kat or dairy milk in exchange. The look in his eyes though was a different matter. I knew he took it way more seriously than I did making a promise to be the keeper of my happiness for life.
Years rolled by and opening a box from him and his wife also my best friend, a bunch of clothes fell out. A pretty patterned spring dress for each child and a pretty pattu paavadai. Turning the box upside down, I hunted for a note, a letter, a little something to go with it. Finding none, I emailed them both today. “Look inside the blouse.” came back a cryptic message. Hours later, office calls done with, I took a moment to slip upstairs curious to know how I missed the note.
Sewn along the hem was a sinewy gold bracelet on each blouse. Taken aback, memories clouding my eyes I stood still, the promise of a lifetime back echoing in my ears. Isn’t that what mamas do when nieces are born? Send gifts of silk and gold? Settling in back to work, I feel overcome. Overcome with gratitude and emotions. In an age when meaningful friendships are rare, how have I been blessed with so much? Friends who become family. Friends who do not have to say a word but actions speak for themselves. In true filmy style, the words from a decade back echo in my head. A whispered promise. Kept.