Posted October 27, 2009on:
Kumud was excited about Achinta’s engagement. She and Achinta were friends ever since she could remember. She was a single child and so was Achinta. But they never missed having a sibling. They were like soul mates. “Bestest” friends, as Kumud likes to put it! Everyone was surprised when Kumud got married to Aunurag. It was assumed, even by their families, that Kumud and Achinta would marry. They rolled their eyes in unison on this assumption. Kumud easily moulded herself in her role as a wife. But Achinta always remained her best friend. Aunurag too accepted Achinta as a part of their family. So when Kumud called him about Achinta’s impending engagement Aunurag too smiled ear to ear. Kumud’s excitement was contagious.
As much as Kumud wanted to meet “the girl” before Achinta was officially fastened to her, she could not meet her till the day of engagement. When Kumud saw Achinta on the day of engagement clad in the traditional Bengali dress, standing tall and looking handsome than ever; her heart swell with love for her dearest friend. She almost ran to him and gave a bear hug. Both their families laughed at this childish display of affection. In all the merriment nobody noticed the shadow coming down on “the girl’s” face. Achinta introduced the two most important ladies of his life to each other. Kumud hugged Kakoli with equal enthusiasm and kept on chattering. In all her felicity, she did not notice that Kakoli was not sharing her exuberance.
“Oye, what time are you coming for barbecue this Sunday?” enquired Kumud, as usual.
“Can’t, yaar. Kakoli is coming down for her shopping this weekend.”
“Aha… Dating-wating ‘n’ all, hun?” teased Kumud good-naturedly and both burst out laughing.
“Hey, why don’t you both come down once you are done shopping? I don’t think we will wind up party before 12. What say?”
“Let me see. I think we will be able to make it. Catch you on Sunday.”
“Oye, sun yaar, I think we won’t be able to make it after all. Kakoli is having severe headache and she wants to turn in early since tomorrow early morning she has to go back to her place. Sorry buddy.”
“No problem… hopes she gets well soon. Hug her on my behalf”Kumud replied understandingly.
This was two months back. In these two months Achinta’s visits to Kumud’s place reduced drastically. Their phone conversations, too, dipped. She complained about this to Aunurag, to which he just smiled and told her that it’s natural. She smiled a wistful smile. She hated Achinta’s absence, actual and virtual!
Kumud had expected to become friends with Kakoli too but Kakoli kept her at arm’s distance. There was this nagging feeling of unease when all four of them were together. The usual chatter and coziness were gone. Polite conversation took place of teasing. Achinta was the same when he was alone but the change was evident when the pair was together. He was not at home when he now came to their place.
As Achinta’s marriage date was neared a feeling of dread fell upon Kumud. She feared losing her best friend. She kept this feeling to herself but she knew in heart of her heart that it was inevitable. It was decided earlier that Kumud will be Achinta’s “best-woman” at his wedding. But that was before Kakoli came into picture. Now she was not so sure. Also Achinta had not mentioned it recently.
The duo came to invite Kumud and Aunurag for the wedding. The invitation was as formal as it can get. While handing over the card, Kumud’s and Achinta’s eyes held for a few seconds; Kumud’s eyes brimming with tears of losing her “bestest” friend, Achinta’s eyes brimming with silent apology.