On the morning of October 22, 2012, I dreamt a beautiful dream. In the dream I was with Arti – my best friend. We had not spoken to each other for a year because of a misunderstanding and I had never tried to reach out to her, expecting her to do it first. In the dream, I was in a temple praying to God – “please mera aur arti ka compromise karva dijiye” (please God, let Arti and I be friends again). When I came out of the temple, I saw Arti sitting in the park. She was smiling at me. I confronted her by asking what she thought of herself and how could she try to be oversmart with me. So what if we are not friends anymore, you cannot do whatever you want, I told her. Her face was expressionless.
When I woke up, I saw I had many missed calls from home. It worried me but I was so happy with what I had just dreamt that I wasn’t bothered. I shared the details of my dream with my roommate, telling her it was a good sign from God – Arti and I would meet again. My phone started to ring again. It was a call from home. They informed me that Arti was no more. She had died in an accident.
On hearing this, my phone slipped out from my hand. I felt weak and abruptly sat down on the floor, repeatedly uttering to myself “Aisa nahi ho sakta, aisa hoga bhi nahi” (It cannot happen and never will happen). My phone kept ringing all this time. When I tried to pick up the call, my roommate snatched the phone away from my hand and went outside the room to speak with them. A little while later she returned and told me that Arti was alive but her condition was critical. “You don’t worry, everything will be fine,” she assured me. I trusted her words and thanked God that Arti was alive. I was sure she’d be fine.
The incident was an eye-opener for me and would give us a chance at reconciliation, I thought to myself. But I was also worried about the extent of her injuries. Even before her accident, I had already planned to go home on October 24 but when I heard about my friend meeting with an accident, I wanted to meet her right away. I wanted to buy her a gift and wondered what I should get for her. I told my roomie that I would buy some sorry cards for Arti to apologise for our misunderstanding. It felt very strange to see my roomie’s reaction. Her face changed colour – she was tense. But I ignored this because I was very happy. My thoughts were only positive. My eyes only visualised my meeting Arti.
On the evening of October 24, I took a train home. With all my plans for meeting Arti, I even bought apology cards without my room-mate’s knowledge because she had told me not to take anything for her. I was eagerly waiting to reach home and go to the hospital to see her. On reaching home, I told my parents I wanted to go to the hospital at once to see her. But on the way I realised that they were not taking me to the hospital, and instead to Arti’s home.
Once inside, amidst a crowd of people, Arti’s parents told me that she was no longer with us. I could not believe it! How could I believe them? Who would I give the cards to now? I had come home to clear our differences and become friends once again. My mind was trying to process the fact that she was dead but my heart wouldn’t accept it. I wanted to cry but the tears wouldn’t come. I could not move. I could not talk. On the inside, I was cursing myself. Why had I not understood when I received that first call from home, or when my roomie scolded me and said that there wasn’t a need to buy a gift for Arti. I wished I had realised it then. I wished I had seen her for one last time. I wished I had taken a cue from my dream sooner. I felt like the unluckiest person in the world. I had lost the one person whom I loved the most. I had just lost a best friend, a motherly figure, a sibling of sorts, an honest critic, and an idol.
All this time, I could not speak about it. I only cried. It is only today, after over a year of Arti’s death, that I am able to write about it for the first time. Perhaps it is frustration or perhaps it is my undying love for her. Those are possible reasons behind expressing myself through this piece.
Last night, a similar incident brought back all those memories. One thing I have realised is that life is too short and it is pointless to be bitter and hold a grudge against someone you love. Now when I see close friends together, laughing, enjoying, eating, and studying together, I am reminded of Arti and all those memories come rushing back to me. No one can take her place in my life. I feel her in every breath I take, so how can I forget her? I want her beside me like a shadow, to walk with me always.
I want to tell everyone to never be angry with someone you love, because you never know who would leave when. Life is very unpredictable. Let us not lose anyone to our pride and ego.