Tag Archives: Christmas Gift

Reminiscing Rini

Almost a 20 Christmas passed between us after you left. We were very small then and I hardly could declare you were my best friend. I played with you through the two kindergartens that passed. I never competed with you in studies because you weren’t in my class, though we belonged to the same school and the same grade.

Our parents were not family friends. They were neighbours whose children were play pals.
Roshan was then called kootan 🙂 perhaps kutu meant small in Malayalam.
You and aunty wore gold payals and gold waist chains. I loved those, but Mummy wouldn’t let me wear gold on the feet and gold for the waist was just too much to ask for 😉
We would sleep together in the afternoons and I would sweat profusely making aunty wonder sometimes, whether that was sweating or bed-wetting!
Evenings were hectic- trying to make tiny rotis,riding on our ‘large’ cycles, playing home-home, office-office, teacher-student.
I would always become the Mother, you were forced to become the Dad. Kuttu ofcourse had no choice- the inevitable child!

You had a brother. I had none.
You had gloves-green gloves. I fancied those.
You went to Church on Sundays. I loved churches but visited temples.
I was fussy, domineering and loud. You were fragile, docile and lucid.
You were Rini- a name that I loved. I was Rocky- a name that I have loathed.
You were Sebastian and I was Satpathy.
Rini Sebastian. Pamela Satpathy.

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That was the summer holidays before the beginning of 1st grade.
Your family left for kochi. Forever.
I donot remember crying.
I donot remember giving you parting gifts.
I donot remember missing you later.
You gave me a cardboard box- raw, not gift-wrapped. Those were days we opened gift wrappers with care and reused them on the next birthday that we were invited to. 🙂
The box had your green gloves.

green gloves

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Daddy announced a vacation the next Christmas holidays. We knew we had to go to Kerala.
A landline connection wasn’t even existing then.
We never talked over phone, we simply reached there.
We were at your place- Kootan, you and I competing to finish the oranges that Daddy had taken as a symbol of courtesy.
I never ate oranges before- neither do I eat them now.
We went for outings together.
You went to the washroom in the middle of a lake, on a steamer boat.The door wouldn’t close. I stood there for 15 mins holding the door for you. 😉
We slept together- the three of us in your room.
We talked through the night.You wouldn’t understand Hindi much. I wouldn’t understand English.Kootan understood none. 🙂
I gave you a handmade bird- made of all the colourful feathers that I ever collected.
My most prized possession.

The vacation was over.
We left.

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It was a hill station, a tiny township fondled by fog, muffled by mist. Cold yet cozy.
I never wore your green gloves.
Each time I would open Mummy’s drawers, I would see them and put them back to the box.
I have lost them now when I came for Engineering school.
I came to understand, what it takes to gift away what you love to the one you love.
I became too small for them and they became too big for me as I grew up.

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The promise of writing letters remained unbroken.
Your Christmas card and letter would arrive first. You had beautiful cursive handwriting.
I painted cards for everybody on the New Year. The Best card would always be for you.
A long letter will be drafted on rough and then penned down on a fancy letter pad- in cursive like you.
Each year there was- one letter from you, one letter from me.
There were no phone calls in between, even though the land line connection arrived soon.

Through our letters we had seen each other grow.
Now.We had grown up.
And while doing so, I had come to call you my FRIEND.

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Graduation. Both of us went for Engineering- that was the easiest thing to do in India.
Letters missed- I donot remember when, as I never missed you.
You were too far to be missed.
Both of us got placed having offers for the same job. You went on to take that while I took a different one.
Letters were long lost. We had cell phones but never bothered to exchange numbers.

We both knew silently we had left long behind what was common to us.
What would we talk about something we both knew?
Now we both had a very different future staring at us curiously.
What could we talk about something we both never knew?

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One day your e-mail arrived. You  were getting married.I was invited.
I wouldn’t go, I had my office. You didn’t expect my presence either.
I wished you all luck, bliss and happiness in this new life you were to live soon.

I always dreamt of me marrying in a white bridal gown ever since I was a kid… though I hadn’t resolved to marry any Christian guy perse!
Now.You would marry wearing a white gown, a flower veil, translucent white gloves, with Flower girls, in a church, saying “I do” at the wedding…


I would perhaps marry heaving a red sari, encircling the flames of fire, wearing twigs and marigold garlands, saying “I do” for the rest of my marriage and my life.

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I was at home vacationing a December in 2011.
Kootan had returned for a splendid job in Odisha after finishing his Engineering.
Rini was married now with a husband staying in Singapore.
Uncle, Aunty and Rini were to come along too for spending their vacation here.
They were making a trip to Sunabeda, the nondescript little Defence township where we had whiled our childhood away.
This was an exclusive trip- for Me.

Suddenly all the Christmas cards flashed before my eyes. All those letters unwritten began to pester me.
I couldn’t sleep the whole night. We were meeting after 21 years.
She knew Hindi and I knew English by now.
SO, I will have to talk to Rini tomorrow, show them around the township that had changed so so much…just like us.
I will talk. But what will I say?

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I set off to meet them at the Guest house that Daddy had arranged for them.
Smiles so wide were everywhere. I had forgotten my lines that I had rehearsed throughout the night.
“Kootan- No Roshan!”  I called out.He had grown too tall now. I was scared to call him that. May be “big-on” would suit more. 🙂
Rini and Aunty were wearing those gold payals- I eyed them greedily 😛
Laughter echoed in the air- we were making up for the 21 years lost in time and space.
She showed me her wedding pics. Rini was a bride in the white gown looking like an ocean of milk,beautiful and serene. The groom was handsome too. Their inner beauties reflected on their happy faces. I was feeling happy for my Friend. She had brought a copy of her wedding pic for me. I treasured it unlike the green gloves that I had lost.

We went around refreshing our memories all across the township- our primary school building, the township lanes, The market complex,the Old Church and even their old House!


Trisha Aunty, and the 3 Rs

I knocked on the door and asked the new residents if we could see their house! She was baffled, but I explained her everything and she was thrilled too. She even let us see their bedroom where Rini, Kootan and I slept through lazy afternoons.
It was just too much of ecstasy en-wrapped in a single moment.
Dusk fell, and we were back for dinner at our place.

I was showing Rini all my dolls that I had bought after she left 🙂
She even wanted to see my clothes and accessories- trinkets, hair clips, bracelets- crying why she didn’t possess all these pretty stuff like me! We were in kindergarten again. Roshan chuckled thinking how silly girls could be 😉 😛

I gave Rini something she loved from my trinkets, in a pretty paper bag. She took it happily without fussing.
That was my favourite too. I had learnt to return Love for love.
We savoured the dinner like kindergarten kids.

The big pic was taken and the big moment had come- for the big bye.

The last picture together

Nobody was teary eyed, nobody was going to miss the other, nobody was going to make promises to meet soon or keep in touch, nobody was going to promise to write letters on Christmas again.
Time had seen us grow. Now we had outgrown time…

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December 2012. Roshan arrived on my wedding day, sat through the entire ceremony one after another.
I wasn’t even able to speak to him. I clicked a picture with him, never to forget he had made this trip specially for me, His sister’s Friend.

With Roshan

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I had married and was gradually made into a different person that I couldn’t recognize myself. Rini couldn’t have recognized me too.

There was no contact for a year now. No letters exchanged, no phone calls made. No ‘miss yous’ stated.
Perhaps there were too many options to choose from .. watsapp, email, facebook, a call, a message… So to save the confusion both chose none. 🙂

This Christmas made me guilty of one forgotten promise though.

Since last December, I had made myself to forget all my promises that I knew I couldn’t meet, that haunted me day in day out.
Just this one remained.
I never tried to remember it, but couldn’t somehow forget.
2 years had passed now while I mustered courage to pen down my 21 year wait and honour my promise.

Perhaps 21 years would pass before I would try to reach her, meet her and tell her…

RINI!! I wear a golden payal that isn’t gold, a silver waist chain and I write cursive handwriting. I have a white gown that I secretly wear sometimes and let the mirror see me. I go to Temples, but I go to Churches too.

SO. I wrote.
Christmas was gone. No letters were sent.
Perhaps Rini had forgotten the promise too. But I couldn’t.

I had promised Rini …
I wont write to her, but I will write about her, I will Write Her.


I couldn’t tell her I was doing this. I didn’t try to.
I did not have any contact.
I had my connections with her.