She was quite an extrovert and a confident person. For an introvert and ever hesitant me, she took no time to become an ideal. Moreover, she influenced me a lot with her thoughts, her opinions and her way of life. I was in awe of her happy-go-lucky persona caring less about the world around her.
After completing five years of co-studying, we went on to become co-workers too, as interns in a digital mapping company. As we worked together, I slowly got to know a different side of her. She seemed to be overtly ambitious to me. As our remunerations were directly proportional to the number of maps we digitised, she started slogging more than the stipulated eight hours to earn more. This was the first time our differences came into the forefront. Apart from the internship, I had other hobbies and interests, but she forced me to consider the work front seriously. Most of the times, she would start comparing the volume of work both of us completed at a given time. Though she never showed, but, deep inside I could feel her satisfaction in having an edge over me, work wise, every single time.
After almost an year of internship, we stepped out together. A company hired both of us as contractual employees. After a few months, Sreetama's ambitious avatar appeared with shining armour, yet again. Not only she started working for extra hours, she also befriended a few seniors to learn more about how things get done. In the process, she started losing her true self, the very happy-go-lucky self. She had no time for her friends, especially me, whom she considered to be her best friend. I started feeling like a lost soul. Since she had a strong influence on me, I felt as if my ship is left without an anchor.
But, somewhere inside me, I started to feel a strong urge to stand for myself, realise who I really am and cast out myself from influences of others. I slowly learned how to say a 'No' when I did not feel what she did was right. It's painful when you are slowly losing a friend who means a life for you, but then, life moves on, isn't it? In that phase of detachment, I gradually begun to understand myself, my choices and my values. I learnt to respect my wishes other than doing what others wished for me. This self transformation was needed then. Now, when I look back, the entire phase gives me pain as well as strength to go on.
I know that Sreetama will get hurt if she ever read this piece. I did not mean to hurt her, but, on the contrary, thank her for being there, for indirectly making me realise my true worth, my uniqueness. Thank you, my friend, for everything!!