The new, shiny, green iPod nano sits pretty on her desk, while a song from her past plays in her ears. She never plays this song on her own. The shuffle option, it seems, is like a time machine that has managed to take her back in time. She sees her younger self talking animatedly with her best friend, sharing half a burger, at Nirula’s in Yusuf Sarai. She looks at the two girls, yet to know what life has in store for them. She remembers, her friend was always the voice of sanity. She, on the other hand, was hell bent to ensure that her life did not have a single dull moment.
Seven years have passed since that July of first love and first break up. The two events happened in quick succession. The period of love had lasted just as much as an average Band-Aid stays on a cut on the finger. Her best friend had slapped her on the day of her last exam just so that the stupid grin would wipe out from her face. But her grin was so wide that she looked like a hanger was fixed in her mouth. And when things had gone kaput, the best friend was there, sitting with her, hugging her, while she bawled like a little baby at the steps of the Bangla Sahib Gurudwara.
Seven years. A lot of things have changed. Forget about the same city, they don’t live in the same continents anymore. The time difference and the distance ensure that they hesitate before calling each other. There is a hesitation even in asking each other basic questions. One is married, with a beautiful child. The other, even seven years after it happened, continues to find her way through the maze that love, relationships and all the other peripherals create. They talk on the phone sometimes. The pauses are longer. Talks less impulsive and spontaneous. The love is there. The sound of laughter resonates even when they discuss insignificant stuff like the latest Punjabi movie to hit the theatres. But something is missing.
The song ends. A new song begins. She is back to the present. Eyes a little moist. A smile lingering in the shadows. She wonders, would we become friends, if we met each other for the first time now?