As the plane soared and started shearing the thick air, cotton like clouds appeared to wave us. Seeing the innocent and immaculate clouds, a smile floated across my lips.
“What Happened Sudha?” asked my husband.
“Nothing.” I played down.
Actually, these clouds reminded me of my friend Tulika. We were together at our MBA college …some 10 years ago. We were room partners. She was my chum.
She had the habit of picking out faces in the clouds. She used to describe in such a creative way that I was able to see facial features of somebody in the clouds. Sometimes cartoon characters, sometimes hostel wardens and sometimes professors: she could pick out any face from the stark white clouds.
I was the worst introvert kind in the college but she was a complete brat. A tomboy. She used to play cricket in the team of boys. It was her brilliant batting skills that forced the boys’ team of the college to include her in the team. I still remember distinctly when she had scored a swashbuckling 50 runs in the final of an inter-college cricket tournament. The team of our college had won that final match and she was adjudicated (wo) man-of—the-match. Next day all local newspapers were singing hosanna of Tulika.
She was a master mimicry artist as well. She used to mimic the voice of even male professors.
Once there was a bet of Rs. 5000 in the girls hostel that entailed going to the boys’ hostel and draging on marijuana from gang of boys who dragged regularly. I thought that no one would agree to such an outlandish bet. But I was wrong it was our own daredevil Ms. Tulika who agreed to do the act. She got her hair trimmed -- she had thick hair strands. She just wore a baseball cap on her head and impersonated herself as an electrician and in a bag she filled all electrical instruments. No one could recognize her. Through her mimicry skills, she mingled with the gang and dragged on the marijuana. She came straight after dragging to give smell of her mouth to us. It was reeking badly. She had vomited several times that night but didn’t have any qualms as she had won Rs.5000 of the bet.
She might have been masculine in many of her acts, but one thing that made her true feminine was her care for her skin. And for that she depended only upon Dove Soaps. I was not loyal to any soap brands in those days and used to buy any of the brands available in the market, but she was very particular about her choice of soap.
One day in the evening we had gone for our regular shopping, when the shopkeeper informed us that he didn’t have any pieces of Dove soaps left. He tried to push- sell us some other brand of soap but Tulika didn’t budge from her brand loyalty. We went to the main market of the city on her scooty and rummaged out Dove soaps. We had some snacks in a roadside dhaba there. It was winter season and it had got really dark at 7 in the evening. We wanted to reach to our hostel as soon as possible.
When we were just a kilometer away from our hostel, we heard a whimpering sound.
“Seems somebody is crying,” said Tulika.
“Yes,” as soon as I said it, she stopped the scooty and went in the direction of the voice. My affirmation for the crying voice was not a signal for her to stop the scooty on a desolate road. But she didn’t care; she always did things that she considered right. I also followed her in the bushes by the side of the road.
Within a distance of a meter, we saw that five six teenagers were slapping a boy of their age. One of the gang had a dagger in his hand as well. And the boy being slapped was whimpering, crying and repeating the word ‘sorry’. From their conversation we could draw that the matter involved some money.
“We shouldn’t be here,” I whispered.
“They will kill this boy,” she said without giving any heed to my words of caution.
As soon as the boy with dagger stepped forward to stab the whimpering boy, Tulika put her finger on her nose and produced the sound of the wail of a police van. She was damn good at mimicry.
This made the gang very scared. They left the place at once, and left the whimpering boy alone.
We also ran towards our scooty. Tulika drove the scooty with a maximum speed that a scooty could be driven. In a matter of minutes we were in our hostel. At that day, I had known that behind the naughty and tomboyish veneer, there was a very brave person lurking in my friend who could put her in any danger to save someone.
Ah! These clouds refreshed memories of my dear friend. I wish we were also like clouds then we would have flown to anywhere and would have met anyone. For last 8 years, I am not in touch with my friend. Such is life, once you are very close and once you don’t see face of your friend for years.
“I had told you to sit still, hadn’t I?... You spilt everything” a voice from some rows before our seats broke my thoughts of good old days.
A lady in a bright saree got up from her seat and strolled towards bathroom.
“Is she Tulika?” I whispered in my mind.
That lady also looked towards me with a wet cloth in her hand.
She smiled looking at me, yes she is Tulika. I jumped from my seat in the mid- air and hugged her. With mist in the eyes and frog in our throat, we introduced our families to each other.
When the plane touched down, we talked about very many things and at last I asked her: “what happened to your love for Dove?”
“We love once!” with an impish wink of her eye.
Since that day we have never lost touch and hope to remain in touch till our last breath.
P.S: This creative account is an entry to a contest being held at www.indiblogger.in and sponsored by DOVE .