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Old Friends, New Beginnings

by Gowri Bhargav

After completing the required formalities I ambled to the cafeteria with my walking stick, and sat on a chair as coffee was served. My tremors had increased in the past few months and I had a difficult time balancing things. With no one around to help me I decided to spend the remaining years of life in a senior care center.

I held the coffee tumbler with trembling hands and wondered how lonely and boring my life had become. As I shifted my glance outside, I noticed vibrant zinnias swaying along the somber concrete pathway.

Was it Hope, making a sincere attempt to cheer me up?

I accidentally dropped my tumbler and fumbled to pick it up. An old gentleman came hurriedly to help me. Wrinkles shrouded his weathered face. His silvery hair though sparse was neatly combed and his short beard was trimmed. He appeared familiar.

“Saru, is that you ?! Same wide eyes and pointed nose!” He exclaimed, feeling surprised. 

“Rag..hu?” I recognized him the instant he uttered my name. He was the only one who called me Saru and not Saro or Saroja. My thoughts immediately wandered to the past.

Raghu and I were thick friends during our college days. Our love for reading books and filter kaapi brought us close. We trusted and understood each other. Our relationship was purely platonic, however, people around us perceived our friendship as love. Rumors spread and soon my father decided to get me married. I moved to a different city and after that getting in touch with Raghu became impossible.

I broke from my reverie as he continued the conversation.“Saru! Where have you been all these years, di?” 

“Let’s save that story for later, da. But I missed you so much. So many memories…in fact, I lost interest in books without you.” Tears trickled down my face as waves of nostalgia tugged at my heartstrings. 

Ayyo, don’t cry! Destiny has brought us together since we are the ‘bestest’ friends. Let’s read books and crack jokes about Subbu Sir.” He boosted my spirit as always with his sense of humor. 

“Always my cheerleader!” I chuckled.

“Saru! After dinner let’s meet up in the library–just like those good old days.”

Kandippa! I’ll come.”

After freshening up, I had my dinner and proceeded to the library. As I entered the room I saw Raghu sitting in a corner with a book.

“Raghu! I’m here.”

“Who are you?” He looked puzzled.

My heart skipped a beat.

“Raghu! It’s me, Saru.”

An assistant beside him said, “Ma’am! Sir’s memories are deteriorating. They come in flashes and disappear.”

I almost choked with tears.

Did I meet him only to lose him again?

As I was about to leave Raghu said,“Madam! Can you read this book for me? I lost my glasses.”

“Oh, sure! I’ll be your reading buddy,” I remarked, feeling hopeful. 

Thankfully, I befriended him after a while. And promised myself to befriend him every time his memories failed to cooperate. 



di, da – suffixes in tamil used to address someone close

Kaapi – coffee

Kandippa – Surely

This story has been written for a prompt given by ArtoonsInn.  

Picture Credit: Pixabay


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