Updated: Sep 9, 2021
This is a work of fiction. Unless otherwise indicated, all the names, characters, businesses, places, events and incidents in this book are either the product of the author's imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.
To think the last time I hugged my friends was on March 7, 2020, the day of our Chemistry board exam, nearly a year ago, seems implausible. We embraced each other, thinking we wouldn’t see for a few weeks, till the end of all our exams. Little did we know, that those few weeks would turn into a few months, to finally spanning nearly a year, and we’d still be unsure of when would be the next time we’d finally meet. Our lives had taken a 180-degree turn. We passed high school, joined colleges in different parts of the country, and we were living through a historical event, the advent of a pandemic in the 21st century that would inadvertently change the future. And yet, we found ourselves talking less and less. Unfortunately enough, our friendship did not survive the tale of time. From talking everyday, to talking once every few months, when someone remembered that our WhatsApp group existed, our relationship slowly yet surely shifted from best friends that surely told each other everything, to strangers that knew each other’s pasts but were left out of their futures. We were perfect strangers, with memories and inside jokes, but with severed connections, that fell victim to time and distance. However, all friendships did not disintegrate, as I formed stronger bonds with some old friends, strengthened my relations with current friends, and forged new friendships. The pandemic brought out the best, the worst, the affection, and the indifference out of all of us. It made me cherish old companionship, and even the chaos of my classroom that once irked me. It made me look forward to things that once used to be considered mundane, like sneaking off with a friend to the pani-puri or momo vaale bhaiya. It made me desire and appreciate friendship and love of all kinds whether it came from anywhere – friends sending me memes that made them think of me, or going out with my family for our midnight ice-cream escapades. The last time I hugged my friends was a while ago, and I look forward to the first time I can do so after the pandemic.
Written by: Rishita Agarwal