“Piglet sidled up to Pooh from behind. "Pooh?" he whispered.
"Nothing," said Piglet, taking Pooh's hand. "I just wanted to be sure of you.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Nachikaet has always had companions, kids whom he loved playing with and doing what seven year old boys normally do. But I always doubted whether he had any special friends, not companions but friends. When ever I asked him to name his best friend/friends he would tell me that the whole class at school plus the kids at the apartment were his’best friends’. I would agree with him enthusiastically, while silently acknowledging that he and I were reading from two completely different pages as to what the word ‘friend’ means.
I often wondered when he would discover the beautiful world of friendship. The kind shared by Pooh bear and piglet; and then it happened ..just like that. It was about a month ago that I first heard the name mentioned-Anirudh Krishna. I knew the little guy as he had always been in Nachikaet’s section. I smiled indulgently as nachikaet told me little snippets about his day at school and almost every story featured anirudh. I brushed it off as a passing phase. But when the name still made front page news even after a month my ‘mommy alert’ button began to ring. Then one day he came from school beaming and handed me his rough note book. There nestled between pages and pages of untidy scrawly rough work and pictures of angry birds and scrawny coconut trees lay two lines in neat cursive writing ‘Anirudh Krishna’ and his phone number in a style which would put seasoned calligraphy artists to shame. “Please call Ani” he said.
It was at that instant that I knew that this little guy was going to be a part of my son’s life. Apparently the two little tykes had made elaborate plans at school to meet up and hence the number. I was made to call on the number, and threatened with dire consequences if I did not manage to convince his mother to let him come to Nachikaet’s house.
The call was received by (a much relieved ) Anirudh’s mother, who was also hoping that I would call sometime soon. Anirudh was also waiting on tenterhooks to be called. Then started the seemingly never-ending wait for them to arrive. Nachkaet was in the role of the perfect host, issuing strict instructions to me to change into ‘something presentable’, and inspecting the snacks to be served. The next 20 minutes were spent in running to and fro to see if the elevator was moving to our floor and cajoling me to track his friend’s progress. Finally they came. Its hard to say which of the two friend’s mothers were more relieved. After about a full minute of hugging and kissing they finally sauntered off inside.
It was a pleasure to watch my son revel in” Ani’s” company. It is difficult to pin point at what exactly makes them friends. They are as different as chalk and cheese. One is calm and quiet and the other exhibits the above mentioned qualities only when asleep. Apart from the fact that both their mother's share the same name they have no common trait. But somewhere in that indefinable grey area they have found a beautiful space, a space where no words are needed no parental intervention is required.
I watched in wonder and delight as the friendship blossomed. Every morning Anirudh would be diligently waiting by the school gates when I dropped Nachikaet there. His little face would light up in a lovely smile as they ran and hugged each other. At that moment I let out a silent prayer to the almighty for letting my son experience the delights of friendship.
And here is wishing the little ones what piglet said to pooh -
We'll be Friends Forever, won't we, Pooh?' asked Piglet.
Even longer,' Pooh answered.”
― A.A. Milne, Winnie-the-Pooh
Here is a snap of them.