Saturday, October 1, 2011

Sadhana Atri

Sadhana Atri
208 Sipri Bazar, Jhansi, Pin 284001.

Thirty five years, countless letters and a concord kept alive over chronology, countries and continents. An association that has become such a given that it takes effort to stand back for any view.

If I so much as begin, there is that perfectionist neurosis that takes over my typing, jamming the keyboard every instance I try and document my friendship with Sadhana. All I do is hover over the pads, looking for that perfect string; accurate, appropriate and acute enough to capture what this affinity is about. Several attempts later, I turn away only to come back with renewed vigour to the laptop; I have to get this out. The tsunami of thought resumes.  Is it too beautiful a friendship not to acknowledge or is it too spectacular a league to pull out and behold thus?  Some oscillation later, it is settled. I want to. I have to go down this particular comity corridor, recording and acknowledging the affection, the closeness, the esteem.

Sadhana has been my friend since 1976. To me, she will eternally be Sadhana Atri. Most people we know, family and friends, are aware of our ‘Best friend’ status. We have been in school together, cycling in skirts and marching on sports day, she was the Blue House Captain and I led the Green House. A gifted artist, her Biology diagrams would be skilled sketches while mine struggled to stay in definition. Her skirt always pleated sharper than mine! There was neatness around her, an economy of movement and expression. We were girls, attending music lessons at the St Francis Convent, sharing our tiffin and giggling through the school annual function.

For an Army brat, used to the caravan way of living, the move from Jhansi was surprisingly traumatic. I doubt my parents had any inkling of how sick to the heart I felt and how much I pined for the town. It was the only time I ever experienced the raw and physical sensation of hankering. I think I grieved for Jhansi, it was an agonizing yen. 

Must have been my age partly, those very impressionable early teen years when life is larger than itself. To my blessed relief however, the departure from Jhansi did not cause any break with Sadhana. There was the snail mail and believe it or not, catch up sessions on the Jhansi railway platform, through the compartment railings. It would be the summer trip highlight. I would inform her of our impending transit through and there she would be at the junction, carrying the trademark snack box. Somewhere along this long distance communication punctuated with micro meetings, it began to dawn that the friend was metamorphosing into a swan. I registered the distinctive and tasteful personal style Sadhana was growing into. Our life paths extended in different directions thereafter, at varied paces but the crossing remained a constant feature.

Right through adulthood, partnerhood and parenthood, the emotional cable remained humming, to greater or lesser degree depending on the passage we were charting. We attended each other’s weddings and generally remained in the know of how life was treating the other. There is a belief that some souls travel together in groups through millions and billions of years in galaxy, to be able to learn, grow and help each other. Perhaps we were sisters an aeon ago or it is quite feasible that I was her mother or she my grandfather, but soul mates at some level and therefore this reconnection and that inexplicable attachment in this life.

Sadhana today is an accomplished and motivated teacher, a concerned mother, a proactive wife and a thoughtful daughter. Her sense of style has if anything evolved further. She is on a constant strive to give life meaning with friends and family. Like me, she will go the extra mile to get the most out of life’s moments.

Charming and radiant with energy, Sadhana is my BFF.

Best friend forever!!

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