Dear departing best friend,
I do not know where exactly I fell in love with you but somewhere along the way I decided that this rambling, long-haired-Rapunzel with a crooked tooth and hot dance moves is worth keeping. At that same instant I decided- I’ll keep her.
I think our friendship might have begun- and even deepened- because of the dance floor. You’ll always make a great dance partner no matter who you are paired up with. So make sure to send me vids of you twirling and hip-hopping and caring-not-who-is-nearby. Even if you do this alone in your room.
I’ve told you before, too, and I’ll tell you once again- you have a gift at connecting with people. In reaching out.
I’ve always been taken by how you ask people questions about what they are doing and how they are going about it with genuine interest and then come up with a story or opinion of your own to share. Keep that with you always. People need genuine curiosity and questions and someone who would listen.
You’re going. And there’s one part of me who’s brushing away this reality with arguments like- of course it isn’t a big deal. She’ll come back. It’ll all pan out well.
And there’s another part which is looking with eyes filled with a shadow of despair. Who’s gonna be there to discuss stories with?! Who’s gonna ask you questions now?! Who will you excitedly plan to meet up over milkshakes in Mohali?!
The second part is winning, of course.
You’re leaving. To a new place with new people to begin a new chapter of awesomeness and struggles. It is a big deal for you. Hence, it is for me, too.
I am a big believer in telling people I love them in as many ways as I can. Perfection is a failed standard so I cant promise I succeed every time, but I do my damndest hard to not miss an opportunity and I hope I have been able to communicate through words and actions how much you mean to me.
Nevertheless, as you head out on this next adventure, there are a few things I’d like to tell you that I wouldn’t have been able to fluently articulate had I spoken them. I hope they comfort you on some dreary day when you’re feeling down and out:
- You are beautiful and capable and strong. I have a photo open of you (the one at the top) right now as I write this and looking at you, I cant imagine for a moment why you would ever question this. So don’t. Ever. (Froggie will back me up here).
- Life has plans for you. For me, for us. We are too young and inexperienced to know what they are. In fact, we will always be young and inexperienced this way. But we are still wise enough to know that there is a plan. I want you to remember this on the days it all feels meaningless. We are going to bump against those days. But remember this is adding up to something. You are taken care of.
- We gotta play our part in our plan, though. As my favorite author (not blogger. Also, this one is blonde and not blue-haired) Elizabeth Gilbert said:
“Happiness is the consequence of personal effort. You fight for it, strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes even travel around the world looking for it. You have to participate relentlessly in the manifestations of your own blessings. And once you have achieved a state of happiness, you must never become lax about maintaining it. You must make a mighty effort to keep swimming upward into that happiness forever, to stay afloat on top of it.”
- Participate relentlessly in bringing your blessings to life. You know those blessings, right? The dreams you told me. Keep them alive. Even if it’s just with a tiny step. Make that step every day. I know you can do it. Keep your mind open to this. Before you test your dream against what’s logical and rational, allow it to speak to you and tell you who it really is. Even if it’s with a fun food blog on Instagram, promise me you won’t turn your back away from what you really want.
- You will look around and see people chasing things. Their things. You can chase things, too. So long as you know why you are going after them and if they truly, truly matter to you. Always listen to them and even try what they say but wrap it up with: ‘Is this for me? Is this who I am?’ Too often I’ve fallen into the trap of thinking something is for me only to be proved wrong later. I am trying to figure out my thing, knowing it wont look like anyone else’s. Yours won’t either. Let’s chase it anyway.
- People will tell you that you decided wrong. Oh, I hear this one already. You made a mistake. You made these 5 mistakes to be exact. You should have done this-and-this-and-definitely-this. No shoulds, baby. You are free to decide wrong. You are free to make a mistake. And you are free to learn from them, too. I tell myself this every single day. We must be smart about providing for ourselves financially and materialistically, but never to the point where we demand ourselves to make the best decision always. We’ll mess up so many times but we’ll clean them up, too, I know.
- People want only surface details. They want to know you fit their stories and constructs. But not everyone, no. There will be a few who’ll care about the tsunamis of your heart. They’ll want to know the ebbs and the tides. And you’ll know who they are by the way they listen and talk and the tone they use and how you feel with them. And you’ll know that you gotta keep these people. Lets keep them with us.
- I am trying just as you are. I am not perfect at any of what I wrote above, hell big big no! but I know the kind of person I want to end up being and somewhere I know you do, too, even though the details might be hazy. Know I am trying here with you. So, let’s try together.
- At the end of the day, no matter who stays and who leaves, you are going to be a constant in your life, the one who knows your most intimate thoughts and dreams. Seek to satisfy yourself before anyone else. People’s opinions change in the blink of an eye. You tell them you are unemployed today and then next year you tell them about your 12 lakh package- their opinion will change faster than you can breathe in. Sharma ji ki beti to ABCD jagah lagi hai, 1234L kamaati hai. Waow, Bittu beta, grow up to be like her. But you’ll know the truth about yourself. Bittu won’t and his mother won’t. You’ll know why you did and did not do something and at what cost. You’ll be answerable to yourself at the end of the day. Make sure you are ready.
Also, there are too many noises around, too many voices who speak like they- know-it-all. No one knows it all, though. No one will. Least of all me. And I don’t want you to question yourself because of them. So I wrote this for both of us. Because we both need this right now.
As I live this (real uncertain) season, I find it’s so easy to say yes to people’s plans for us. So easy to let them decide what’s best and to take on their values. It is so much harder to keep that power in our hands and exercise it. Because we’ll definitely stumble and fail then. We won’t feel like shining heroes always. People won’t roll out red carpets for us. But in keeping our power in our hands, we’ll be truly free and responsible.
And whatever your choices might be, I want them to reflect the real/true/crazy/booty shaking Ridhi Sharma you are. She is a work-in-progress, I know. So I am giving you the best tools (thoughts) I can so you can chisel and craft her as your finest work of art. Because that’s what she is. You are free to use them or free to reject them. They’re my gift, though. I hope they’re a tad bit helpful atleast.
And if all else fails and you don’t know what to do, breathe. One breath in, one breath out like that’s all you gotta do to set things right. That’s what a transformed Hrithik Roshan says in Zindagi Milega Na Dobara (oh, I love that movie). I promise it’s hugely effective.
Go with a light, hopeful heart, star-girl. I’ll be waiting to have madra and khati-daal with you soon.
All my love always.
P.S. You’ll always have ‘never enough clothes’. But trust me you do. 35/40 is a big number.