31st Dec Nite, 2014. The clock struck 12 and the sound of the fireworks started filtering inside the otherwise silent house. While the whole family was far off in some dreamland, I was up and awake, following my usual routine, reading an eBook on my Tab. Just then, a call came from an expected end. Arka. My male best friend. (Expected, because the previous evening, I’d done the drama queen act, to extract this call out of him. Later of course, he’d said, he’d enjoyed pampering me that way, as he’d every intention of calling me up at midnight. Which was surprising, because he never pampers me. Never.) I excitedly took up the call, wished him happy new year and exchanged small talks. He was at a party, so couldn’t talk much and had to shorten the call. Little did he realize by that little action of his, he’d incarcerated me for the rest of my life. Not because he remembered me despite being at a party, which was moving in itself, but because it was the first midnight new year call I’d ever received. And that’d be special. Always.
That day, I’d made a promise to myself. Whatever happens, however much we might be stuck in some impasse or not-on-talking-terms periods (Periods, simply because they’re innumerable. I, so far, have seen few best friends who fight this many times, like cats and dogs. To the extent that we could be ripping out our hair on the phone itself, if that was possible. Trust me, when I say, before him, I hadn’t met a guy who quarrelled the way he does. Never mind. An incorrigible guy, he is!), I’d make his birthday the best birthday ever. And for that, I’d pull out all stops that’d needed. Come what may.
As expected, the inevitable happened. Just a few days later, we quarrelled yet again. We stopped talking to each other and if and when we did, it was very curt (at least from my side. Yes. I can be very stubborn when I want to). This made the task of making the celebratory stuff more difficult for me, given that, it is not really easy doing a task supposed to be made out of love for a person, whom at that particular phase, you’d like to strangle to death. Moreover, at that moment, I was broke like hell. I had zilch money and the little money I had, I spent it on buying the materials I’d make for him. All this for a guy, with whom I wasn’t even talking and was helluva angry with!
I knew he was big on hand-crafts and he’d love it if I made something for him. That and add the little factor of surprise and I might just make my desire of making his ‘birth’day come true. I decided to make him a card and a spiral bound notebook, chronicling our journey of friendship, throwing in my special touch of verses as well. It had taken three consecutive all nighters, not even a wink of sleep all through, some amount of sweat & hard work and a week beforehand for planning the course of action.
I knew his group of friends as much as they knew me. So, I’d easily secured the address of his college hostel room from one of his best friend, Aritro Da, whom I knew too quite well. He was supportive enough and a darling to keep that a surprise all through. Now all was supposed to get going, except that there was a little history behind it. Which would be the fact that despite my desire to give him some real good hand-crafted gifts, the fact was I’d never done hand-crafts in my life. Unbelievable, right? Well, ’twas the truth. All through my school life, my sisters (for once, I thank my stars, for their existence!) and parents had done the work for Me. So obviously, it gave me the jitters to think that I’d be doing this alone, all the more my promise to do it without any kind of help from anyone. But then, once I did a commitment and then try to put in my best, only the best is what comes out as the result. Or so far it has.
While all the hard work was on, the impression that I put across to him was one laced with a sarcastic and tart tone. So as to not give away even an inkling of what he was to receive. An act in which I was actually successful. Given that I’d never done all nighters before (till 4 or 4 30 am, sure, but even those included some bit of a nap. But those three days made me look like a walking zombie, with not even a wink in those 48 hours), I remember the radio stations slipping off to morning ragas, from the night non-stop sessions and I was yet doing my work. All because I wanted to make his birthday the best, on part of Me.
Finally, the parcel was speed-posted, 3 days before his birthday and as expected, reached a day before his birthday (better advance than belated!). I still remember and would, for the rest of my life, how excited and grateful he had sounded in receiving the surprise. Needless to say, he actually had been surprised. And that day, I’d realised and felt the full blow of the happiness that one feels, on gifting someone a surprise and getting appreciation (even from his friends, who had been astounded as well) in return. I also remember, wiping a stray tear out of the corner of the eyes seeing his happiness. Darn, I so hate crying!
Well, this one was for you, doofus.