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Desi Friendship Romance

I have heard this phrase often that love makes you do impossible things. Whoever said this must have had a personal experience of doing something unfeasible for that special someone. When love enters our lives, we are not even aware of it. By the time we realise, it has already taken a course of its own to overpower all our senses. The heart behaves strangely, and the hormones never cease to fluctuate!

Two decades back, when I was a fresher in college and had decided that love was not meant for me, I was brought face to face with this tall, dark, handsome young man. People close to us at that time could vouch that we could not be together even for an hour, forget a lifetime! He was opposite to me in every sense, and to add to that, he belonged to a different culture and state. While he was fond of his South Indian Vada and Sambar, I was proud of my Bengali music and literature. It was eventually this difference that brought us closer. 

When I first met him at my cousin’s marriage, he seemed extremely reserved. While I found him highly unapproachable, he thought I was a snob. So, after a month, when my cousin said that he had asked for my number, I was surprised. He had not spoken even a word to me at the marriage function, and suddenly he wanted my number! Before I could even put forth the question, I got a reply. He was interested in some courses at my college, and my cousin suggested that it would be better if he spoke to me directly.  

A few phone calls later, we both realised how contrasting our personalities were. As we were not really interested in anything other than friendship, we never even tried to impress one another. We started frequently fighting over silly things over the phone. He was working in the merchant navy, so he had to spend most of the year on the seas. Those days we didn’t have internet phones, and satellite phone calls were very costly. So we started mailing each other daily. That was the time when we both started missing our telephone conversations. It was also the time when he told me one day that his ship would be coming to Jebel Ali in Dubai in a week’s time. 

His ships were always in Europe run, and it was the first time it would be coming to Asia. We had just completed a year of our friendship, and so I wanted to gift him something. I had assumed that sending a parcel from India to Dubai would be easy and not harsh on my pockets. Since I was still a student and was not earning, and l depended on the weekly pocket money I received from my father, I had to be careful how I spent it. I searched many shops and found the perfect gift, an anchor keychain made of white metal and crystal. Along with it, I bought a few greeting cards as New Year was around the corner. I wrote a letter, placed it in one of the cards, and packed everything properly to courier it. When I went to the best international courier available at that time in India, I got the shock of my life. They quoted such a high price for the service that, at that instant, I knew that I couldn't afford it. 

From there began the search to find the courier that would safely take my parcel to my friend in four days' time. I don't know why I went to such an extent. I missed classes and started visiting the courier outlets available nearby the college. Finally, all efforts went in vain and soon I understood that I couldn't send him the courier with the money I had. I was reluctant to ask my father for more money as he would ask questions, and I gave up. I was so disappointed that when he called me from Jebel Ali, I blurted out to him about my idea of gifting him something. He was surprised to know that I had been planning that for a week. He said, "Don't worry, when I return from my voyage to my city, you can send it to me then."

A few days after this conversation, the most amazing thing happened. In one of his emails, he wrote that his ship would be next coming to Kandla, Gujarat, in India. I was elated beyond words. He gave me the address of the shipping agent in Kandla and asked me to courier my parcel there.

"I am so curious to know what is inside that I cannot wait for the time I return!" he said to me over the phone.

I didn't waste a minute and couriered it immediately. I started tracking the courier daily to find where it had reached. Finally, I called the agent one day and asked him if he had received it. He replied in the affirmative and added that the voyage had been canceled, and they would now be heading toward Bangladesh. The email from my friend confirmed the same, and we both were disappointed this time. It was the perfect example of "Man proposes and God disposes"!

I never understood why things went that way, but for the first time, I realised that I had feelings for him. I was worried about my parcel and was desperate that it should reach him. I made frequent calls to the agent to make sure they had kept the parcel properly. Then, when I called again one day, he told me, "Your boyfriend asked me to courier it to Bangladesh!"

I was shocked to hear this. When I replied that he was not my boyfriend, he said that the desperation in both our calls made him think so.

Finally, after a few days time, I got a call from the ship again. “I received your parcel, and I cannot tell you how desperately I had been waiting for it! Thank you so much. It’s just what I had wanted. I had broken the key chain of my cabin just a few days back.” he said.

In his following mail, he sent me a photo of his cabin. At the corner table, I saw that he had kept all the cards. “I read your letter daily, and I’m using the beautiful keychain.” he wrote in the mail.

Since then, our friendship took a different turn. 

Love happened to me in the most unexpected of circumstances, and with a person, I could have never imagined. Although our differences were many, we finally learned to accept and live with them. Over time our arguments reduced, and we found out that we also had some things in common. Like the keychain, he became the anchor of my life!

We have been married for a decade and a half now. The keychain, although old, is still there with him. 

November 26, 2022 03:58

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3 comments

Graham Kinross
09:38 Aug 11, 2023

Relationships are hard work but they pay off. This is beautiful.

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Antara Srikanth
12:30 May 10, 2023

Thank you again, Sir. Yes, long distance relationships come with its share of ups and downs.

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John Siddham
13:15 May 06, 2023

This is so sweet and uplifting. Long distance relationships are always a test of endurance whether you’re compatible or not. Beautiful!

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