Short Stories

My Long-Lost Friend, Ankita

Dear Ankita, 

Hope you are doing fine. Please don’t consider it as the letters we used to write when we didn’t have access to mobile phones. I don’t want to make you feel bored by sending letters. I know it’s been years since we spoke to each other. But it isn’t that I forgot you. I still remember you and your cheerful, pretty face.

Do you remember the first time we met in our 11th std? You used to have short hair, styled nicely into a bob-haircut. Initially, you seemed a shy and reserved person to me. But it was only during that physics class when the light went out and you said, “Wanna have a bite of chocolate till the power comes back?” Perhaps that was the beginning of our friendship. 

But unfortunately, we were caught having chocolates and our teacher asked us to stop this childishness. I heard you giggling as soon as physics sir turned towards the whiteboard. Since that day, we used to sit together, or should I say that we didn’t want to sit with anybody else? We shared notes, lunch, secrets, and of course, the pictures of actors cut straight from the newspapers. 

Do you remember Ankita, how we used to have ‘Samosa’ after our evening classes? You used to leave the potato fillings and ate only the outer crispy part. And how could I forget, the way you asked for extra chutney to dip your fingers into it and lick them. 

Whenever it rained, you took off your shoes to go through the streets full of rain water. Even if people asked you to avoid going out in the rain, you hardly paid any heed to them. You were such a child at heart. Everything was going so well and we had decided to study in the same engineering college. 

Then came that evening, when you seemed unusually quiet. You didn’t seem enthusiastic about solving the questions given by our teachers. I asked, “what’s bothering you?” But you said, “nothing, it’s a slight headache.” Little did I know, it wasn’t any headache but a grave problem.  

After three days, you didn’t come for a week. But a rumor did come to our ears. 

“Hey have you heard, Ankita is pregnant? What a shame!” 

“These kinds of girls, I tell you, spoil society.”

“What values her parents have given her? She is having an affair and would be giving birth to a child.”

I couldn’t understand what’s the truth. I tried calling you but you never answered the telephone. It was a usual day when you came into the class. I still remember, chemistry class was going on. You came and sat next to me. I looked at your face which seemed to be pale, dull, and anxious. 

“Hi Ankita, where have you been?” I asked you. But you didn’t say anything and pretended to be studying. During the break, I asked the same question but you chose to keep quiet. After classes ended, you left quietly, without even saying goodbye. I kept looking at you, till my eyes could see you disappearing in the crowd. 

When I reached home and opened my bag, I found a note. It read, “The rumors about my pregnancy are true. I had loved him with all my heart without even realizing, he would humiliate me in this way. I am leaving this city. I have let down my parents and perhaps our friendship too. Goodbye, and take care.”

To this date, I have been searching for you on every social media platform. I don’t know where you are. But wherever you are, just remember, you are still my friend and I miss you. 

Happy Friendship Day Ankita. I hope we’ll meet someday to share the samosa and chutney and dance in the rain.

Also read: The Separation I Couldn’t Accept

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