"I will be there in 10. Be ready, unless you want me to drag you there in whatever avatar you are right now" I smiled and hit send. I knew 10 minutes were no where enough for my darling Aliya to get ready; unlike me, she needed hours! No sooner had I kept my cell down, I received the reply "I hate you". That made my smile go wider. "My pleasure sweetheart. Now go before I change my mind and come right away" I had tried persuasion but when that had failed, I resorted to threatening which was working fine so far. Five years ago, I had never imagined that we would be best friends, let alone people who acknowledge each other! But things seldom go as we plan. As I sat waiting for her, my mind started taking a trip down the memory lane.
It was the first day of college. I was a bundle of excitement and nervousness. There was excitement arising from the fact that I was no longer a school girl. 'College student' - those two words were filling me with pride and excitement. At the same time, there was fear - fear of unknown. New place, new friends, new routine. I had no idea what to expect. All my friends were in a different section and I was left alone, thanks to the language I had selected. I desperately looked around for someone. I needed to make new friends. As I looked around the classroom, my eyes fell on the girl sitting in the far corner, in the last bench. 'Ostentatious' is the word that came to my mind when I saw her. She was laughing with her friends and when our eyes met, she gave me a bored glance and sneered before turning away! It was clear she didn't like me and oh! The feeling was mutual. I knew we weren't going to get along. I might as well avoid her than to start a cat fight.
But destiny had different plans. A week later, labs started and to my chagrin, we were made lab partners. By the looks of it, she wasn't pleased either. I had come to know that her name was Aliya. We tried to convince our lecturer to let us switch partners but it was of no use. It seemed like we had no other option than to work together. "Just keep your distance from me" she growled in my direction. I flinched. Apparently, there are a few people who just can't get along, without any particular reason. Guess we fell into that list. "I have no intentions of befriending you, your Highness" I replied sarcastically and that was it. Thrice in a week, we had to work together for two hours and those were the longest hours. Much of it passed without any conversations, save for the occasional verbal insults we threw at each other.
Months passed and finally it was the last lab of the year. I would no longer have to bear the torture of sitting next to my enemy. I gave myself a hi-5 mentally. I was determined to ignore her for the next two hours but a soft sob made me turn towards her. She looked like a mess; her eyes were red and swollen, as if she was crying for hours and her cheeks were tear stained. I realized I was staring when she looked up from her hands and glared at me or at least tried to. "Are you OK?" I asked her, unable to stop myself. She didn't reply. "Aliya?" I tried again. "Just leave me alone. Will you?" she hissed. I didn't know what was the reason for the state she was in and my attempt to talk were not welcome. So I tried to focus on the lecture. When the lab ended, my friends caught up with me and I got to know the reason behind Aliya's behavior. Apparently she had a nasty break up. Her boy friend had called her names in front of their whole group before dumping her and all her friends had sided up with him, leaving her all alone. Gossips always spread at lightening speed. For the first time, I felt pity for the poor girl.
A lot of things changed in the next few days. When I saw Aliya sitting alone the next day, her shoulders slumped in defeat as our classmates made fun of her, I just couldn't let it be. I dragged her from her place to sit with us. Her protests were weak; she already looked defeated. For the next few days, we tried to cheer her. It was a difficult job considering she was not ready to let go of the past and looking at her old friends made her cry all over again. But slowly, she learned to ignore them. I was with her when she needed someone the most. I don't know why I did that; it still takes me by surprise that I helped a person whom I couldn't even bear sitting with! But it was destined to be. She started opening up to me and I found out she wasn't as bad as I had expected her to be. We weren't anything alike; we were like the poles of a magnet but still, I had found a true friend in her.
Lenka's voice brought me back to the present. My cell phone was ringing and it was Aliya. I looked at my watch and swore. I was 30 minutes late. "Down to earth madam. Where the hell are you?" she shouted as soon as I picked her call. "Arey, I am stuck in traffic. Will be there soon" I lied as I ran out towards the garage. "I know you are getting out of your home now. Just get here before I change my mind" she muttered something under her breath before she hung up. She knew me so well! Who would have thought she, of all people, will turn out to be my best friend, who would stand by me through thick and thin? I definitely hadn't! But I am grateful, all the same.
Until the next post,
Keep Smiling :)