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An Acquaintance


By Hamsini

They say that Reena Naga was a talented person, a good friend and an exquisite dancer. I didn’t know Reena Naga then.

Reena Naga came to our college from Mumbai. She was big city girl and did all the fun loving things big city girls do. She formed her own set of college friends, wore Fab India Kurtas and Colaba accessories and flip flops or Oshos to college. She lived a quiet life with her own gang of giggly girls who danced and sang with a grace that the rest of us could only wonder at.

Generally, in college, there are two types of people; the ones you like and the ones you don’t. But the trick answer, the third category, consists of acquaintances; the people you never bothered to get to know. They’re the people whom you sit with in the bus before switching seats. They’re the people whose life you know by reading their facebook timeline. They’re the people of whom you’ve heard gossip of but never knew them enough to talk about it. They’re the people who you can look in the eye and smile but then you have to avert it because you don’t know them.
lapsura.com/drawings

Twenty years from now, when I come for a college reunion around me, what am I going to say to the acquaintances? What am I going to say to them twenty years hence when I barely know them now? How can that awkward conversation live beyond the first minutes?

Reena Naga was just another acquaintance. To me, she was forgettable as I would have been to her. We didn’t have any problems or issues. We didn’t know each other and we were comfortable that way. What I knew of her was gathered from judging her clothes, the way she spoke in public and what I had heard of her.

All her friends spoke of how amazing she was. Her parents and brother cried bucketloads. Her High School principal spoke about what a good head girl she had been - I didn’t know that before either. Meanwhile, I stood with my friends in my black dress uncomfortable and on the verge of tears.

I had spoken to Reena on exactly five occasions even though we had spent a year together in college. The sixth time I spoke to her was about a project for the sociology models and we had stayed back late. She told me she was staying back for dance practice. I left the building and then I ran back when I realized that I had some of her notes.

I didn’t know Reena Naga earlier but I saw myself in her. I saw my fear in her eyes. I saw my failings, my insecurities and my regrets in her eyes. I didn’t know Reena Naga but I was the only one there on the terrace, the day she threw herself from the fifth floor.

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Hamsini
Basically I write, I read and I dream up fairytales. The rest of the time, I nibble at food, sing songs off tune, and pretend to be a hotshot photographer. I also love the wind in my hair, basking in the sun, a healthy dose of cynicism and coffee on the rocks.

 

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