I sought a listener, found a friend and then lost her.
“I’m the darkness in the light”
that’s what her profile said. In reality she was light in the daily darkness that revolves around my world. We met through slowly’s daily auto match system and for the first few letters it was really robotic and awkward attempts for finding a common connection.
She was a serious academician with a deep routed fascination for music and culture. A fanatical adventure seeker, her idea of fun was jumping of a bridge, or plane or something else. At the same time she had deep respect for the background and culture she belonged to. I on the other hand is tech nerd with serious allergy to physical activities. Where she liked to take long drives on weekends in a country where driving by women are still frowned upon, I don’t even know how to ride bicycle properly and mostly found sleeping awkwardly. Although we shared common mother tongue, we had separate country, culture and aspirations.
Yet we ended up exchanging nearly 200 letters in next 6 months. After finding out by accident our zealous love for biriyani, we knew we were inseparable. With each letter we shared more and more of our daily life and fears. The dilemmas we had the achievements we are looking for.
We joked together on our mutual dislike for nosy aunties. We debated on the utility of having monkey as a pet. I was her source of bravery when she faced arranged and unwanted marriage prospects. She acted as the calming voice of sense when my work life was rocking in the storm of uncertainty.
We respected each other’s individuality and accepted the difference in most optimistic way. The day felt incomplete if there was no letter from her.
Her last letter was in January 1st 2018. It was written in Bengali but using English letters, which was very odd for her. It just said “Everything is lost. Have a great new year”. She never wrote again nor answered my letters.
In all the letters we shared, we never revealed our true names or exact location or what we really do. I have read and re read all the hundreds of letters we wrote to each other seeking clues to figure out where she is or who she was. I spent days searching for her, I combed social media with different combinations of her fast name, searched registry of possible workplaces she might have been working.
To lose someone, for whatever reason, is painful. Perhaps there’s a kind of beauty to that losing a friend. It burns, bright, and it’s never tainted by reality or by overuse.
To Papri, where ever you are and however you are.