A Short Story on Loss, Love and Friendship

The cycle of affection

An usual phone call that helped Aashna reclaim her life.

“This too shall pass.” A line she was telling herself again and again. But it was still difficult for Aashna to accept that she had lost her mother, who had fought a brave battle with cancer. She was extremely attached to her mom and no words of solace were able to uplift her, even after so many months.

To make her pain feel worse, Aashna found all her brothers and sisters move on swiftly in their lives. Or at least they were trying to. Maybe the fast pace of life was not giving them the luxury of sharing the grief the siblings were surely experiencing.

“Hey, how have you been?”  Aashna asked as soon as her elder sister picked up the phone after they had all returned from their hometown.

“Hi sis, am ok, but let’s speak later? I have an extremely important project handover today. Going in for a meeting right now,” her elder sister said as she hung up.

Aashna sighed. She was the youngest of all and the closest to her mom. Not only did she resemble her, but also inherited her mother’s outstanding talent of melodious singing. She also liked to write, something she had seen her mom do regularly.

Aashna was also known to keep to herself. But now that her heart was bursting with sorrow and grief, she could no longer hold her pain and immersed her sadness in writing. One day, she let it flow on social media as a heartfelt post, talking about how she couldn’t listen to music anymore. She felt a huge void as music always reminded her of the Lata Mangeshkar songs she used to sing with her mom. Her post received a lot of heartfelt comments from people, but it was a phone call that afternoon, which came as a surprise.

Aashna’s chain of thoughts halted abruptly as she saw her childhood friend’s number flashing on the mobile screen.

“Hi Pooja… I am hearing your voice after fifteen long years,” Aashna said, almost choking.

“Aashna, I cannot believe that aunty is no more.” There was a pause on both ends for a few seconds.

“I can never forget the taste of her vegetable pulao or that scrumptious poori aloo that she used to pack in your tiffin. That unique taste still lingers in my mind and fills me with nostalgia,” Pooja continued.

That Pooja had read Aashna’s social media post was certain. Her friend from primary school, Pooja used to regularly come to their home as a child. It was heartening to hear her remember the warmth and tender affection of her mother. After this phone call, it became routine for the two friends to speak to each other after lunch every day.

They spoke about Aashna’s mother and how they had drifted apart in life. Soon, and  they started sharing life experiences – common friends, dreams and career goals conversations also started featuring in their tête-à-tête . Before she knew it, Pooja had taken the sorrow out of Aashna’s life and filled it with giggles, nostalgia and warmth. It was like she had brought back the affection showered by her mom in a different but equally amazing way.

A few months later, Aashna found herself humming her mom’s favourite Lata Mangeshkar song. It hit her suddenly; she realised she was able to sing once again, without feeling heavy. Or maybe a little joy had taken over her grief because Pooja had come back in her life.

And because her childhood friend was coming to her city to visit her the next day.




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