DEAR DINI: A PERSONAL JOURNEY Dear Dini, It’s the 15th of March again and my first thought was

today is my baby’s birthday. Then I saw you smiling at me from the photograph we had taken together (October, ’07) and it struck me- you had left this day last year. It was tough! I haven’t gotten over it yet nor am I sure I ever will. But life lies ahead of me, full of promises, victories and inevitable defeats. Its only you who’s missing- the one I wanted to share them all with. Four months later than me did you see the world but something made me feel much older. Maybe it was your refusal to be touched by the depressions and disappointments I felt much at this world. Like a fresh wind or a sunflower in bloom, your presence brought a warmth into my life I had never known elsewhere. The sunshine never left your eyes even when your pain was bent on destroying you. How could I ever forget my summer vacation in ’95 when your body was wrecked by the cancer eating it up. On the day we left, you were too weak to even rise from your bed or to say your goodbyes but the hope of life I saw in your eyes has never left me. I wondered then where from you got your strength but now, believe me, I know. Never had I ever been a new kid anywhere before I came to Shimla and though I was wildly excited, I couldn’t help being terrified as well. That was when you held my hand and I saw for the first time, the leonine strength beneath the quiet unassuming personality. It never fails to amaze me when you display this strength at the most disturbing times. You were always one strong lady. Ladies, that was what we were supposed to be in school, remember? We always had trouble ‘cause we were never just so fine. But now, I understand that being able to wear a skirt gracefully does not make one a lady. Any knight would be proud to call you his lady. “I Mohabbat You”, you shouted in the corridor and I screamed, “I hmangaih you”. That must have been the only times we ever said these words; but we knew we felt them in our earts. Forever praying for each other was the promise we had made- and we agreed promises are not meant to be broken… our duets at school were called, ‘MTV Unplugged’- the biggest compliment I ever got for my singing till date. It was high praise indeed for two who couldn’t carry a tune on tape. But conversations we could carry and how! Those tapes of ours are one of my favourite treasures- they seem to bring you closer. Im just so sorry I didn’t have the courage to listen to some I saw at your place last Christmas. Those ‘way into the night’ talks are one of the many things I miss about not having you around. I still fall hopelessly in and out of love and my latest crush is the best yet. Your approval wold have made it complete, but how can I tell when you’re not around. The ‘Maheshes’ and ‘Dominics’ are still with me, that’s why sometimes I fail to understand why you’re not. ‘Maggi’ is still one of may favourite snacks but it isn’t my

everyday brunch anymore. Nor do I help your Mom sort out clothes for the kids. Maybe she’s afraid I’ll have the first pick again. But that just wont be fun without you around. Slipping into the boys’ dorm at BCS, getting caught and arriving home after midnight was one of the most scandalous things we ever did together. That was one terrifying situation but now it is a good story in my book of experiences. Many of the pages in this book are full of you- your laughter rings through the and I even see your lopsided walk every now and then. These pages are dog-eared for I have flipped through them alone or when I am generous enough to share them with others. A lot has changed with me- physically, emotionally and most of all, spiritually. That last letter you wrote me (31st December) told what a blessed Christmas in bed you had, so in contrast to mine that year. Also your sermonizing (I know you hate the word) about how life just passes us by without our being aware of it brought home the truth about what this life really means and how precious it is. There’s just so much difference you’ve made in my life- we held each other when we were weak and rejoiced together when in strength. I miss you so much but I know you are with me in spirit. The power of believing is in me now and Job is my favourite Bible character too. You wrote, “This will be the last letter I’ll ever write to you (for this year)’ and it was, for always. But you can see, I haven’t stopped writing so be sure you get me loud and clear. Last year, I felt the loss of my best friend, you left a void in my life. But now I know I can share in your victory too so, save a place for me and I’ll be joining you…I promise. JOY OF MY LIFE I often cry myself to sleep, Tho’ I knew you were never mine to keep You were once the joy of my life Wish it could have been for all time. Seperation, it wounds my heart ‘Cause you were once so much a part of my life, the deepest core all my thoughts, to you I could pour. Hard as it is to understand You are up there in eternal land. Missing you lots and wishing you were here Only the memories remain, which I hold dear. When such memories were made, I cannot say But God in my path did you He lay To show me life the way he wanted to Then all too soon He parted us so.

Faith and Hope, that’s all I live with ‘Time heals’- well that’s just a myth. The wounds may not heal But I do appeal To the promise that ill meet you again one day.

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