In spite of all the people I mentioned in my previous blog my life in India wouldn’t have been the same without my friend. I would have found it impossible to survive there without his support. Due to his profession (these people are kind of weird) I don’t know if it would be appropriate of me to mention his name. So, I’ll call him MY FRIEND, which he’s proved he is!
I never thanked him for everything he did for me. I mean, I always said “thank you” since I have good manners, but I never got to tell him how grateful I am for the way he was (and is) to me. So now it’s my opportunity!
Having lived abroad (in Italy to be exact) he is familiar with what it is like to be a foreigner. He knows how tough it can be to live in a foreign country, above all a country like India (which is everything but easy, specially for women). I guess that is why he befriended me the way he did. Either that or he was practicing Italians’ savoir-faire!
We spent about 18 hours a day together for almost one year. So, you can imagine how well we know each other. You know what they say: You watch anything long enough and you can become an expert at it. With only one look we would know exactly what the other was thinking or feeling. Even now, in the distance, he seems to guess when I’m feeling down!
I’m a quiet sort of person. I’m shut-in. I don’t like talking much. He’s just the opposite: talkative and extroverted. But we got on well together since the very minute we met each other. I can perfectly recall when I got out of that auto which took me from Punganur to the school after a 14-hour trip. And there he was so helpful and polite! (Up to that moment nobody had offered even to carry my heavy luggage for me!). For two weeks he was the perfect host. Just kidding! I used to tell him that he’d been nice to me for only two weeks and then he just forgot about me. But he was splendid to me till the very last moment; till he took me to the airport to get my plane back to Spain.
When I arrived in India I was in a pretty bad state. Just divorced, with a mother who didn’t understand me and without friends (since they turned their backs on me). So you can figure out I had little self-confidence. Every day he used to tell me everybody is special and different from any other human being; we are unique and so was I. And that built up my self assurance. One thing he taught me is not to get attached to anybody, but no matter how hard I try I don’t seem to be doing well, since I miss the people in India more than I’ve ever missed anyone. Another thing he taught me is to be patient! When I arrived in India I didn’t have the slightest idea of what the word “patience” meant. And now… either! But in the mean time, I mean all the time I was there and until I came to the Dominican Republic, I was quite a relaxed person.
Sometimes I told him he was the perfect husband, except for sex (of course, we didn’t have any!). We used to talk about any possible subject. And when I say “any” I mean “any”. We would discuss a lot since nearly most of the times we had completely different points of view and he tried harder and harder to persuade me, but I’m really stubborn. I’m the most stubborn person I know apart from him!
We used to do everything together. We worked out, we went shopping, we washed clothes, we cooked, we tidied up (that was very rarely!), we were each other’s stylist and hairdresser, we went for walks (which was not his cup of tea), we had our meals together (always, it didn’t matter if we had to wait for each other for hours), we.... In the long evenings without electricity we would sit on the floor of the corridor and talk or play the guitar (he did, not me!), or sing (also him!), or play Briscola (by the way I hardly ever lost). I miss all that!
The boarding school where we lived was in a secluded spot, so I depended on him to go out. I mean, I could go walking in the country, but I could not go anywhere where I could find civilization! So, he gave me rides on his bike (he’s still having problems because of that!). We went to see festivals in the villages nearby or we simply went to visit people. That, for me, was a way of escaping! At the very beginning it was tough for me, being an extremely independent soul, completely self-contained. Because of the language I had to depend on him for everything. EVERYTHING!!! From getting a bus ticket to getting something from the chemist’s, EVERYTHING! But then I learnt that it’s not that bad having to depend on somebody! What’s the big deal? I also did things for him! I hope the year I spent there was a little less shittier for him thanks to me!
Some malicious people misunderstood our friendship. But both of us knew clearly what our closeness consisted of. So I didn’t care what people said (I never have!) and, definitely, he didn’t care, either (deep down he loves the thrill of these challenges). We used to joke about that. Only in two occasions did I see some sort of doubt in him whether to comply with the “orders” he had or stay by my side. In those two particular situations I got cross but he reversed. In the heat of the moment I couldn’t understand his decisions, but in the end I ended up realizing I had nothing to lose, but for him a lot of things were at stake.
I don’t remember getting mad at him. Well, only once! Because he was utterly tactless. And you know that you have to be careful with women, especially some days every month! This sounds chauvinist, but it happens to me! He had a lot of patience with me. And when I say “a lot” I mean tons! And that is laudable.
Oh, my! I didn’t know I could write so much non-stop! I’ll have to wind up!
I can say I’ve been lucky to meet interesting people in my life. But he is really special. He’s authentic. With his creativity, his convictions and his particular way of seeing life he’s made me ask myself countless questions I’d never asked myself. He heaped me with knowledge and contents. That’s how I got the freedom that now fills my existence. (This last sentence is a bit too snobbish for a blogger like me!!!). He is something like a knowledge tree, like a fruit tree. But instead of having pears or peaches hanging, he has tales, anecdotes and legends ready for anybody to indulge in. He is a kind of Indian griot (if that existed). He knew exactly which story to tell me depending on my mood or on my needs. In this time of general conformism we should do our best to be surrounded by people who make us add up. Having intelligent people with sapience and sensibility near makes our life more profitable. His way of thinking was an invitation to reflection and to knowing myself and my feelings a bit more through words which got deep into my soul and ended up changing me.
The problem of having great people around (him and the other people mentioned in the previous blog) is when they are not there anymore. Then it’s when you feel some emptiness inside that nobody or nothing can fill. (Gosh, this is tougher than a divorce!). But I think (unlike him) that missing people is not that bad! My only relief is that I think I have helped them to feel a little happier and I’ve made their lives a little more pleasant.