Not so close. Not so far

26th December 2004

Rohit was watching the television. And what he saw was really scary. The news report was about a massive tsunami caused in the aftermath of an earthquake in Sumatra. Then suddenly a face come to his mind. A face having striking blue eyes and a soft smile. The face of an old friend.

Rohit used to live in Jamnagar, a small city with a large air base. His father worked for Indian Air Force. Rohit had made a really good friend in the school. His name was Anand. Their fathers were colleagues.

Two years into their friendship, Anand’s father got transferred to IAF base in Port Blair, capital of Andaman and Nicobar Islands. Cellphones were not common then and both the friends had lost contact. Rohit’s only source of well being of his friend was his father who sometimes used to talk to Anand’s father from his office telephone.

What Rohit saw on television sent chills down his spine. He saw large powerful tsunami waves, bringing destruction and death with them.

It was reported in the news that Port Blair was also hit by tsunami and there were some casualties too. Rohit told him father to check upon Anand’s family as soon as possible.

But telephone lines were no longer functional. Contacting Port Blair had become very difficult. Large scale rescue work was going on in Tsunami affected areas.

With each passing hour, Rohit’s restlessness was increasing. He was imagining things. Horrible things.There was no news of Anand and his family even after two days of the mishap.

On the evening of 28th December, Rohit was in his balcony, waiting for his dad to come back home from office. He usually didn’t use to wait so eagerly for his dad. But last two days had been very tough for Rohit. He had stopped going out of his home.

After waiting for half an hour in the balcony, Rohit saw his dad coming. He immediately went back to the living room to enquire about Anand. His father smiled on seeing him and there was a different kind of relief on his face. Seeing his father smiling, Rohit knew that his best friend was safe.

Then his father told him that he had a brief call with Anand’s father and they all were fine.

Anand’s father said that they had received the warning about the tsunami. After hearing the warning, all the IAF personnel took shelter in different towers and tall building with their families. He said that it was a horrifying experience when the waves came. They shook the buildings violently and for a moment they thought that this was the end of their time in this world.

The waves passed in few minutes. But what was left behind was even more horrifying. There were debris everywhere. There were bodies too. Of humans and animals.

Most of the families were struck where they were because the water level was too high. After waiting for more than 12 hours, help came and they were rescued from there in the rafts.

Later they were transferred to Tambaram and Avadi airbases in Chennai. From there they went to Mumbai. 2 years later, Rohit also shifted to Delhi.

It is 2017 now, 13 years since that incident and both the friends had completely lost contact after that. Rohit still feel that he will surely meet his friend some day or the other. His belief on their friendship is immense. He always wish good for him and pray to God to keep everyone he loves happy and healthy.

We meet a lot of people in our journey of life. Some of them stay with us till the end and some don’t. But once in a while, everyone meet a person who leave a big impact on us and our personality. That person may not be always present in our life but we always cherish good old memories spent with them. This is life for you. A journey of friendship and separation. A journey of happiness and tears. A path we all tread.

© Rishabh Priyadarshi


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