1984, 6th grade English Class.
I did not know at that time, but thinking about it now, I feel that there are some serious people who love Shakespeare. By the way my teacher’s name is Macbeth. Anyway, that’s not the story here. I think lot like love, Friendship starts suddenly, of course it takes a lot to grow, but you know it happens! This is about one such Friend, suddenly!
It was his first day in the school. Most of my classmates are either brown or black, I could count the fair ones in my tips. This boy was different, very fair, indeed he was English fair, lean and of course handsome. The introduction happened before entering the class as his mother accompanied him that day and I just happen to pass by. But, I did not get his name then, probably I just ignored; by the way I am the number one in the class, the numero uno at least until then. He sat right behind me it the class room and somehow I had a strange feeling that day, I could not foresee things.
The class was in chorus announcing the teacher’s arrival, a symphony that happens at every single class. Mrs.Macbeth had wonderful personality and a very strong posture, extremely suitable for English class! While the attendance was being taken, the boy behind me did memorize few names (he is smart, I say) and soon came the time for the teacher to introduce this new lad. Bharat was his name, I looked at him with a proud smile as I knew the proceedings. My teacher had of course a special announcement to make to the class, indeed it was for the new boy, Bharath. She told him, “Kishore is number one in the class and in the school and in every thing good, I expect you to follow him and compete well”.
I know I know, you were thinking I am boasting, of course yes, but it is true and I was a pet for all the teachers. Bharat nodded his head and oh! boy he was quick to his nature I guess, he started talking to the boy next to him, non-stop, but whispering all the words. Mrs.Macbeth was uneasy that day and nodded her head in disarray and looked at me. I knew something was wrong immediately, but the damage was done. Hurt by her ego, which she thought was a total contrast to my introduction, she thought that I was the culprit and talking to the new boy. Very reluctantly, she asked me to stand on the bench and so to Bharath. You can guess, the best student in the class was standing on the bench without any reason, with his ego hurt, head down and lots of fire for the new kid on the block.
Mrs.Macbeth asked us to sit down after few minutes, but I could not concentrate further, my mind was pre-occupied with shame and outrage. I wanted to tell my teacher that I did not do anything wrong and Bharat was the real reason. Then came the final words from her mouth and I immediately went to her, but I guess I was late by few seconds. Bharat came from behind and told Mrs.Macbeth that it was he who was talking and I had nothing to do with that, indeed. I turned my head back and looked at him, he was clearly guilty. Mrs.Macbeth was impressed, very impressed and told him that she will continue to see that same good behaviour but with a silence.
Our friendship started with his sorry at that moment and I am happy that we sowed the seed that day. He introduced himself again, “Hi! I am Bhupesh“, I was like, but “Bharat?”, “my Mom calls me Bhupesh, she likes it like that”. I was happy to meet Bhupesh and not Bharat. We eventually became very good friends and it continued for a good 3 years.
Bhupesh had to leave the school, I think his dad got transferred to a different place. Time flew in a jiff and soon I was busy with my 10th class examinations. Days went quickly for me, and I was waiting for my holidays to come by. Of course, life starts after 10th and you are officially an adult then. A week past by after our exams and I was helping my Mom with something in the house and brother was playing outside.
Suddenly I heard someone running towards me and it was my brother. With a heavy breath (he was running at top speed), he told me that my friend Bhupesh is here. I couldn’t believe my ears and soon turned into a deer. As soon as I saw Bhupesh, I had tears in my eyes and, out I go and hugged him, hard. That was a wonderful feeling, the warmth of friendship and the touch of a friend. In 3 seconds I recapped everything we did and thank to God! he spent the whole day with me and we were talking and talking and talking and talking and talking, and talking. We both knew that he had to leave and do’nno if we are ever going to meet again. I hope we had phones in those days, but I got his new address, they were moving to Bhopal, Madhya Pradesh.
Then came the moments to separate, thanks to parents to let us live with all the memories that day and we both were happy and sad at the same time. We exchanged few letters for the next 1 year or so and his last letter mentioned that they were moving to a new house and he has a new ‘best’ friend. I guess, you always find friends, some remain best and some remain ‘forever’.
I cherish those moments every time I think of him, I do remember his face from 6th through 9th grade and I do remember those eyes when we last met. Even today, when I do not know where he is, he remains one of my best, in friendship. For me, only few people will en live your memories, only few people can lighten up your thoughts and they always remain in our hearts.
Thanks Bhupesh, for still living in my memories!