Day 94. He was the first person to ask me to go for a movie in college (and I said no. How could I go with strange new boy I hardly knew!!!!). I still remember the movie… A Walk in the Clouds… and he told me later that he didn’t watch the movie for a long long time. I, too, never got around to catching it on the big screen and saw the film on TV much later. But we did watch a great many movies together… from Casper, the first movie outing with my friends from college on a day that Calcutta was flooded to Hugh Grant’s Four Weddings and a Funeral and Nine Months and many more. He was also the first and till today the only person to dedicate a song to me. It was fest time in college and each day a magazine would be published with, among other things, messages for friends. And there it was sitting on top of the page….two lines from a song by Jagjit Singh (Zindagi dhoop, tum Ghana saya). Yes, that was another love we shared – ghazals and Jagjit Singh. One of the most memorable evenings of my life was spent at an all-night concert of Jagjit Singh, freezing in the cold. My Ma never stopped me from doing anything but even she had been worried about letting me for a night concert but the moment she knew he would be there, she agreed. Early the next morning, he came all the way to drop me home before heading back to his home in Kalyani. His only demand: a cup of tea. We also share something else, well almost. His birthday comes just a day after mine. When after college, many of our common friends went away to study out of town, they would call me up just before midnight on my birthday to wish me and almost forced to end the call at the stroke of midnight so that they could call him up to wish him.
He is one of the few friends I have never fought with or even had a misunderstanding with. In college, we would spend hours chatting on the phone and when in the later years, we didn’t have a chance to meet or talk for several months, we have always taken it up from where we left off. Because he is never really gone. Whenever he has lived outside Calcutta, we have always met up on his every visit to town. But not this time. I had been waiting eagerly to meet him when he came home this Puja but couldn’t make it finally. We did talk over phone and now, thanks to technology, we are always in touch even if he is far away but the little bit of regret remains.
Like another tiny regret in my heart, his absence from my wedding. He was new to his job, in Hyderabad, and couldn’t come. But he did make up for it when he came to the city a couple of months later. I called him over to my new home along with another dear friend and we spent one of the warmest afternoons ever. And he brought me a gift too. A sari he had chosen himself. How much more precious could a gift be? So, on his birthday, I decided to wear this navy blue sari he got me for my wedding. Happy Birthday once again Samik and hope we meet soon.

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