I met Coretta for the first time waiting for a call from home at the solitary telephone available for students at our engineering college. She was my junior at my engineering college.. came all the way from Shillong to study computers. It was a first in a series of inconsequential meetings spread across almost a year. We would say a quick hello and go on with our lives. People told me that she was good at debates and had a good voice… I smiled and bided my time to show her who was the boss around the campus when it came to taking the mike in front of a hall full of people.
It was quite a contest the day I finally got to take her on in a debate. We argued over something to do with the usage of computers in the development of India. Being the dedicated computer engineer I was to become, I declared computers inconsequential to the development of India, while she thought otherwise. I tried every mean trick in the book to put her down, ridiculed her and even got a bit personal in my arguments. Finally, with the boisterous and loyal support of my batchmates shouting at the top of their voice I managed to convince the judges that I was the better speaker amongst the two. I won the debate, just about.
In the weeks that followed, both me and Coretta found time to talk to each other and began a friendship that is more than 10 years old now. Along with the rest of some very special people, we started a student group at college called SAVI, something that I am proud to say sustains till date. Coretta was one of those people in college who supported me blindly in whatever I did, and we did some pretty interesting stuff I might add. We managed to push through the first newsletter our college had ever seen, and tried to follow it up with a college magazine that I could not get to the printers for the life of me. We even sang a song together in Hindi, with her reading the lyrics written especially for her in English, Vinay on the guitar and Manish teasing us. Some of my sweetest memories of college have Coretta somewhere invariably. How easy it is for you to share your lives when you are young. My friends in college were truly the best thing that ever happened to me. Vinay made me realize that I could sing, Katto brought out the best side of me, Joshi taught me the joys of walking the rains, Samit became the guy I want as my roommate when I am hungry, Nauti is the only guy who can look graceful when being utterly drunk… and Coretta egged me on to do whatever I want….afterall, you can only fail.
I cried hard the day I left college. Leaving behind friends and a life that had given me so much. The tears gave way to phone calls, trying to recapture at least a part of the magic that we shared together a long time ago. We got on with our lives and ran out of things to talk to each others about…fell in and out of love, got our first jobs and then opted for better ones.Today, I don’t even have the phone numbers of some of the people who were so dear to me at one point of time in my life.
Last week, Coretta almost died in a car crash. I came to know 3 days later when a mutual friend called and informed me. She now lies in a hospital bed with shattered limbs, painful wounds and forbiddingly long months to recovery. All of us managed to find time to go out and meet her. We flew in from different cities, some of us travelled down from the next block. Most of us had not met for years. It took a disaster for us to find time and reach out to friends and speak to people we once held so dear in our lives.
Coretta will recover fully in the months to come, am sure of that. She is right now busy cracking jokes while being tied down to her bed. Am glad that my friend is still there to reassure me that nothing is really wrong with the way I look at life. This will be the first post in ages that she would not be the first to comment on, but am sure it’s a matter of time before Coretta will be back to her normal cheerful self commenting on my blog and writing long testimonials for everyone on Orkut.
Till then, I will wait.
Get well soon buddy !