I dreamed of Lipika last night.
Dreamed that she was lost and I was looking for her,
That I was on a hopeless endless search:
I woke up before I could find her.
I woke up to the realization that the nightmare hadn’t ended
I hadn’t found her yet
I didn’t know where to start looking.
And I wondered how she was, and hoped she was well.
And I wondered why it was so important.
I have had many friends that I lost.
Yet no one that I want to find so eagerly.
Maybe because there’s no one else whom I cannot find if I want to:
Maybe because she was one of very few people I felt at home with.
She shared my honesty, my rebellion.
She had a childlike innocence
and a wisdom beyond her years.
We became friends eight years ago,
And parted in a few months.
She moved on to a college in a different town.
For some time, we wrote each other letters.
I feel an intense urge to look for those letters
And a fear that I will not find them.
What happened then? Did the letters fade away?
Did my going away to Delhi increase the distance between us?
It seems laughable to talk of losing someone
in this age of mobile phones and the internet.
But we only had handwritten letters sent through the postal service.
I did not bother to get a permanent address: I wrote to her at the hostel.
I remember the last time I met her.
It was some days after my father had died, and I was at home.
She had read about it in the papers, I think.
She was in town at the time.
And had come to visit me.
I am still touched when I remember.
Lipika, my friend, did not forsake me.
She was my friend still.
The next day, I think, was my father’s shraddha.
She promised she would come.
She was to go away again that day.
I did not ask for her address: after all I would take it the next day.
I do not know what kept her.
I do not know why she never called
Never wrote another letter.
Maybe she thought I wouldn’t care?
That was three years ago.
It seems so much longer.
I wonder if she thinks of me.
I rarely think of her, but I do sometimes.
And wish I could talk to her again
Hear her sharp childish voice raised in petulance
Or vibrant with laughter.
But I do not know why I dreamed of her last night.
And why remembering that dream has brought me to the verge of tears.