In our lifetime we meet a lot of people, some intentionally some without intention. Whoever we meet we evaluate, gauge, judge, select or reject. Knowingly or unknowingly we all use the same parameters of selecting whom we want to be with or not. It may be pretentious, loving, revengeful, or just acceptance. But some people come into our life without one knowing they have become an integral part of your life. They are there to stay. We call these people friends or soulmates. They are like mirrors of our own selves. We may not communicate with them for years, and when we do, the years seem to have been at a standstill. It is an unexplainable bond.
You and I, we are embers from the same fire,
Dust from the same star, echoes of the same love.
Years ago, twenty to be precise, we had moved to England. It was my first time in an unknown land where I knew no one and no one knew me. A society totally different from ours. Limitations, apprehensions and uncertainty found me sipping a cup of tea on my first morning in Barnsley. My husband left for work and as I sat figuring out what to make of my surroundings, the bell rang. With the reluctance of a young Indian woman, I went to answer the unwanted intruder at my door.
I opened my door to a beaming smile on an Indian face. Her hands were laden with some dishes and a bag. She introduced herself as Sridevi and handed me some warm dosas and sambar, freshly made. The bag contained a few used toys which she gave to my four-year-old son. He still has them. The gesture was so overwhelming. It had all the understanding of a person who must have gone through the same uncertainty as I was, at some period in her life. Probably she had gone through that period by trial and error, but who now wanted me to start with the assurance that I wasn’t alone, there was someone for me.
This introduction became the basis of a wonderful unconditional friendship which still stands firm. We came back to India five years later. Rebuilding our lives got us busy and phone calls between Sridevi and I became less and less, but whenever we did communicate it was as if we were on the same page. She is like my conscience probably because she understands me better than myself. Even being oceans away our ship has kept going on the right course and cruised towards the deeper realms of friendship, not many people can boost of. She was not the only one I met all that while, but the bond we built was of instinct and not need. We respected each other for who we are and over the years this understanding has helped both of us battle life’s challenges smoothly. And as the years go by our friendship will never die.
One lesson I learned was to surround myself with people with whom I could talk frankly about the challenges of the journey, including the loneliness and fear, without their interpreting my candour as a lack of grit or conviction.
Mona entered my life as a patient and a relative of my husband. We met a few times at family weddings or formal dinners but somehow never had the privilege to really get acquainted. A couple of years ago a chance telephone conversation got us getting to know each other so well that now it is difficult to fathom that we haven’t known each other for years. Sometime later she asked me if I would like to attend an art culture festival with her in Goa. Her daughter was a part of the organising team and she would do the travel arrangements. Without a second thought I agreed to the proposal and haven’t regretted it ever since. On the appointed day we met at the airport and set off on a journey not knowing each other or what would really transpire when we did. Surprise! Surprise! From the moment we got our boarding passes, to sitting in the plane and reaching Goa we had lost track of time. It was such a comforting closeness, a sense of oneness I felt with her. We really didn’t need to say things to each other we just sensed it. It was as if I was walking talking to a mirror. We liked the same artwork, the same plays, picked up similar stuff to buy. The comfort zone was surreal. The week passed like a pleasant breeze and the spring of our togetherness bore the fragrant fruit of our friendship.
People think a soulmate is your perfect fit, and that’s what everyone wants. But a true soulmate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that is holding you back. The person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life.
These people are not chance finds. They are people who are meant to be in your life. Either you find them or they do, but the moments you weave together become the most beautiful tapestry woven in the realm of camaraderie.
Some seven or eight years ago, out of boredom and the abuse of the internet, I thought of looking for the colleagues I had worked with in an institution just before my marriage. My curiosity did find a couple of them but as almost twenty-three years had passed, they weren’t too happy about the reunion. One of them by chance gave me the phone number of the only male co-worker in our team. It had been a long time since I had spoken to him. He had introduced me to a lot of literature and it was always fun talking to him. Reluctantly I called him and introduced myself. After a brief pause, we started talking and it felt like it was the continuation of some discussion we had started years ago. Nothing seemed to have changed. Neither our perceptions nor us. I could easily relate to him even now. We have moved on with our lives, but even now when I talk to him, he shows me a different way of looking at life, the same way he did almost three decades ago. I can call him my soulmate. Despite his physical absence in my life there is a bond which in inexplainable, but worth cherishing.
Each one of these wonderful people have helped me bring out a different part of myself which I didn’t know existed. They are my treasure, delicately wrapped in the blanket of friendship making life comfortable, warm and worth living.
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