It feels like you can’t walk past a bench or television without seeing something about letter friendship. Everyone’s meeting their soul mates and spouses through email and pokes. I met my closest friend through a letter. Not only that, but I flew to Delhi to meet her in person.
Anu and I met, in 2006. She found me through an article I had written. She approached me but it took me a week or so to get to talk to her.
We eventually, decided to exchange phone numbers and became each other’s confidant and shifted our correspondence online. Our friendship took to a higher step when we realised we both are huge literature lovers. Books made our friendship more strong.
In 2010, she asked me if I could visit her at Delhi. I was working in Ahmedabad and I had not taken any leave from work so my casual leaves were pending. March was the perfect time for us to meet as neither of us had anything due in March and it was just meant to be for us.
I don’t know how sure that she is who she says she is, but it’s impossible to fake on web cam chats, and we did that almost every day. I do have friends and a social life outside of the internet but Anu seemed to be different.
Although to be completely honest, we both agreed serial killers didn’t spend 4 years getting to know someone online before meeting and then killing them.
As I came out of the airport, I heard someone screaming ‘Paaji’ ( thats how Anu used to address me) and she was infront of me. It was the most thrilling moment of my life. I had never been that excited and nervous about meeting anyone.
I don’t even remember seeing her for the first time. I just remember she running to me in a black floral shirt. We screamed, hugged, bounced and cried just a little bit. Walking back we noticed that crowd was staring at us. A few older people joked that we must have been strangers, and I responded, honestly, that I had never met this girl before in my life.
The only weird thing about meeting my “pen pal” was that it wasn’t weird at all. We didn’t have to speak or even look at each other to communicate. It felt less like I was spending a weekend with a stranger, and more like I was spending a typical weekend with my best friend. There was a moment, watching MTV, planning a trip to the Museum and discussing homemade food. When we looked at each other and realized that we didn’t spend every day doing this, that this wasn’t normal.
We both cried when she left me at the airport. While we both agree that this trip did make a big impact on our friendship, we will most likely visit each other every six months in the future. The internet just gave our friendship a modern twist on the classic pen pal story. Though we could not meet every 6months but we wrote emails/letters to each other almost every day.
I write a lot, which keeps me off the streets and out of trouble. There is always something to write about, always a new story to craft. Not writing, for me, is like trying to hold back a sneeze. Learning to write was the most powerful influence in my life. I can still remember the awe I felt when I realized I could put real words onto paper and tell out a story. From that first ‘a-ha’ moment I knew I wanted to write.
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