We were sitting in a restaurant in our hometown, this friend and I. More than twenty years had gone by since we saw each other after leaving school, so there was a lot to catch up on. Each of our lives had their own stories to tell and we were yapping away!
Suddenly, in the midst of my excited narration about something, I found her gaze piercing mine, and a voice that lacked any emotion came from her lips, “Nidhie, step aside and get out of your way!”

My eyes welled up. I stopped mid-sentence, unable to complete the rest. My mind numbed. In a split second these words began resounding in my head as if someone was mindlessly beating big empty drums in a big empty room. Time ceased to exist for that moment, it was happening all too fast. Episode after episode came cascading like a downpour of slide shows. That was it! Neither this person nor that. Not a situation that appeared as a roadblock. It was me! I NEEDED TO GET OUT OF MY WAY! That was ME who I had turned MY back towards! Gosh…

“Hey, I’m sorry, Nidhie, I didn’t mean to….”, Came her voice from a distance and trailed off. Or perhaps I couldn’t hear the rest of her words owing to the loudness of my hammering thoughts. I heard something shattering. It sounded like a glass that had broken into a million pieces. It was that wall within.

There was a concerned look on her face, that of having offended me in our first ever interaction in years! I managed a feeble smile. “Thank you my friend. I’m not crying because you have offended me. I’m crying because it couldn’t have gotten any closer to the truth than this! I needed to hear this! Thank you!”

We met and spoke a few more times, and then she disappeared from my life just as suddenly as she had appeared..

But then, precisely then, began the change. For the first time in years, I turned back and looked at me.

– Nidhie Saagar

PC: Chanda Mathur