My Dear Ruby is leaving today.
As I start to write this here, she is on her way from her home to the airport. She had come from her UK home, for her sister’s wedding.
This was a long stay indeed- from early December to late January. I am trying not to cry! I had- the last time she was leaving in 2008. I was going through one of the worst of my phases then. She had come to attend her yet another sister’s wedding. I had not attended that one. Then again- this is the first and the only one wedding I have attended in her family.
There’s always been something or the other I have kept occupied with.
I had not attended Ruby’s wedding too! I have missed all the 4 weddings of her family and 1 more of her marital family. At all times, I had to either prioritize, or was too involved to have been in touch or was just buried deep under my testing phases!
Many of my close friends had already come to my place ever since I have burnt my veil down in the summers of last year. This was the toughest part of all.
To begin to smile again!
To start sharing some time and bits of my life with my friends too!
All through this, Ruby had been the only one who had been coming at my place- no matter where I stayed. The house I had stayed in MN with Hemant before walking out on him was a shabby accommodation. It didn’t seem to bother Ruby though. She would bring her elder daughter along with, sit her on the mat (on the floor), and sit with me in the other room and talk! While Googly would doze off over the mat on the ground, watching Cartoon Network, Ruby would keep listening to my story in the other room.
I had shifted to Gurgaon the same year.
I had begun to sulk and shy away. My things weren’t at all the ones those could be talked about anyway. This had gone on for about 2 years. I just didn’t wish to speak- to anyone. Things at my end were so skewed and screwed up, that I expected no one to understand much less appreciate. Worse, I didn’t even want to share to save myself of the bother. I just wasn’t talking- only brooding and retrospecting.
15th January, 2011
Even though I had stood myself back the way I used to be and had started socializing; something had still felt hollow.
Ruby did come to my home along with her husband and two beautiful daughters. Drinks, dinner and showing the place around, non- stop talks..! How else are girls supposed to be- eh?
For years I have been complaining her. She had gifted me this beautiful cut glass dinner set. I could not take that out of its packing since 2003, till last year after having got made that display case. That was my wedding gift from her. It may sound horribly comic- but the day I had unpacked that set and eaten my food from it, seemed to be some landmark of my Life! I had teased her no end this time too, telling her to be careful with those plates.
The 1st thing she had done after entering my place was to change her shoes.
She had changed her daughters’ shoes too; she had carried their home shoes with her! How considerate could she be? That’s not the end of it. Even Sanjay had removed his shoes. That was a Kodak moment- really!
I just don’t bring in the shoes worn to travel the outside world. We walk over every place (and dirt) and then enter the house getting the same set of germs inside! I have spare sets of slippers that my guests could wear. Then again, I have barely had anyone coming for years together.
So when Ruby had reached my place like she always managed to dig me out of the rut; I had completely freaked out. I had showed her the mug Blaga had sent. The dinner set Ruby had gifted me on my wedding, the tea- light holders that Sophie had gifted, my paternal grand- mother’s cut glass plates, the shells my mom had collected when she was young, a few decorational things Hemant had gifted me, a few more things that I had shopped from Jodhpur where I had traveled only recently.. I showed her all. My place is a mini- museum; both because of the range of my collection and the origin of those.
Sanjay recognized that center table.
It dates back to even before my birth. I had kind of restored it putting in new sheets of ply and mica and re- defining its look by sticking those mirror pieces. My mom loved that table. I used to chip off the upper portion when young. I just loved to scrape the upper chipping despite all the scoldings.
She has gifted me a beautiful blue and grey checks frilly skirt and one yellow and black dress. A cushion cover said “England” in red and blue! How did she know I was craving for liquor chocolates? Sigh- I call her my best friend for many reasons. Some change of a 500 rupee note was exchanged. Her kids were kept busy watching Cartoon Network (yet again). Ruby had un- necessarily scared me that I pack my show- pieces during her visit to my place lest they are hit and damaged. Her kids only reminded me of how I used to be at their age. How so well behaved they were. Not even once it had occurred to me that there were not one, but two kids at my place. Her elder daughter was born exactly after a month of my wedding day. Not only Ruby, but I am indebted to her daughter too for doing everything that both mother daughter duo has done for me. She had left my place at 11 in the night.
I had wanted to see her again before she boarded her plane. I had traveled to Rohini yesterday. We had talked, had gone out to the market, enjoyed Gol- Gappa (deep fried puffed savory served with a spicy beverage and boiled potato filling), clicked pics and had come back holding my tears back.
I had wanted to wear that lovely skirt that she gifted me, could not- I had washed it only the day before.
I had been texting her all sentimental messages since then, but I didn’t call her. What if she didn’t answer, she may be busy packing her stuff. She anyways has her sisters and family to feel sad about while leaving. Like she did the last time, she had called up this noon too- just before boarding the flight! I couldn’t take control anymore.
I cried in tears.
Yet another Love You text was sent- she replied- “Miss you take care of yourself” Not knowing of anything else, I had cried squatting on the washroom floor. I had called her back then- she wanted me to be strong and not crying. I had cried that other night too after she had left.
She is only my friend. So what if she has proved this friendship better than any relationship that I have witnessed so far?
She isn’t my sister. Really; she has been the perfect sibling one could have!
She isn’t related to me. Excepting that I have lived all possible blood relations in her.
The airport happens to be near my house. Everytime a plane roars its take off; it seems to be teasing me. I have tried all possible distractions- the sadness just doesn’t seem to leave me. It’s been over 18 years of knowing her; I have failed to understand why she has whatever she has done for me. I would have lost myself to some awfully ugly mishap; I almost had- if she had not pulled me out of that muddle.
Years back we had placed our plates on that same table when she had come to my place. With an empty look, I am staring at my displayed articles. Sanjay had taken a close look of each one of those. He had checked all the kitchen cabinets to see how they were arranged. I had shown Ruby the cup- board where my handi- craft raw materials sit. She had only missed out on seeing my pink box- where I have just arranged my make- up and stuff a few days back.
You see now? I am still trying. Every time I try to think of something else, I fail miserably bursting into warm tears.
Mom had passed away when I was 17. I was 14 when had met Ruby. I am 33 now. The one and only and the longest ever relationship that I have ever lived with anyone is she.