Summer of '89

Every morning, I would hastily gulp down my glass of milk and rush out, my hair still wet from the bath, to meet her. She would be there, waiting for me. She always wore a white frock, with lace in floral print for sleeves. Her hair was wispy, the kind that flips with the slightest hint of breeze. She was Nora, my only friend in the summer of '89.

I had just moved to Delhi. The other kids of the neighborhood were still busy with their annual school exams. Nora was the only one who had time to play. She would come out early in the morning and meet me on the terrace. She did not mind the sun, and loved cycling with me. We would ride up and down the street all morning. At noon, we would sit on the terrace and play house. I let Nora take turns to dress my Barbie up. I told her stories of the tropical area I had come from. She would listen earnestly.

When mum called me for lunch, Nora would go away. She never ate at my house. That way, she was strange. She did not talk much to my mom. But I did not mind it. I liked her name as well. It reminded me of a character from the Enid Blyton adventure book I had read some time back.

In the evening when I went out for a walk, sometimes, she would join me. We would jingle the coins in our pockets, as we made our way to the ice candy man. I always had an orange popsicle and she lime.

Then, the school happened. I was admitted to a new school, full of new people – eager to be friends. I may not have liked studying much, but I always liked going to the school. Soon, I had other friends, ones with more familiar names like Charu, Seema, and Shalini. That was when Nora stopped visiting me. Initially, I missed her. Maybe she was the possessive kinds, who did not want me to be friends with anyone but her. But soon, I got too busy in my daily routine and the memories of Nora faded.

Sometimes, when I am sitting all by my self, those memories come back. They are happy memories. And, I wonder if I have ever met anyone called Nora.


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