For those of you who don’t know her, she is Navneet Wasu. My best friend of close to 14 years, my confidant, my undying source of love. She is always fun to be with, the cool cat, the fashionista, the full of life laughing woman..
I also know her deepest and darkest secrets.. as she knows mine.. nothing is hidden from her.
She is beautiful, kind and compassionate (even though she is too cool to show it) and unbelievably strong.
She is my all, my kindest teacher and the one person with whom I can be completely completely myself. We have done unbelievably stupid things together only because we both know that only the other can let us do that!
For those of you who know and love her know that she is no longer in the physical body. And she hasn’t been so for the last 4 months. In this post, I’d like to share what I’ve learnt from Navs during her life and even in her death.
Navneet and I knew each other since kindergarten. Our moms were classmates in their school days. I think the first time I met her was when our moms sought admission for the both of us in the same school that they studied (or so my mom narrates). I know now that we were always meant to be friends 🙂
We became classmates in the 8th standard.. at the age of 13 when I was so apprehensive that my section was changed! I knew that I would have to make some new friends in a new class. Though I always knew Navneet and we used to talk if we happened to meet for extra-curricular activities.. (I distinctly remember us comparing wound marks on our legs in the 6th standard). But 8th standard was a whole different story.. I thought Navneet was a spoilt brat.. I was too high on my moral horse being the class leader and all that. She was nothing but trouble and used to annoy me to no end. However, we kinda became friends in art class because neither of us was interested in it. That was a great opportunity to do ‘masti’ and she became my partner in crime. We also discovered we were the coolios in class with the same taste in (hold your breath) English music! So we liked Ace of Base and Bryan Adams and a whole lot of other artists that were popular at that time. She also surprised me by inviting me to her birthday party.. I felt very cool. I remember thinking that she must like me! That’s the first time ever I went to Navneet’s house.. and we actually became friends. We became even more close when there was a 10 day trip that our school organised in the summer that year. We shared a room and became really close pals. The rest of the school days were a blast. Though we finished school at 3.30 pm every afternoon, we used to hang around afterward to chat with our group of friends everyday and do some general girlie gossip and have some fun. We started going out for movies and ice cream as a group.. some of the most fun memories 🙂
When school ended.. she was the only one amongst us who decided to do an ISC course while the rest of us went to junior college and she was the only one who took commerce while the rest of us took science. But that didn’t mean the end of our friendship.. it only got deeper. As we faced the hormone charged days of our teenage years together.. we just were inseparable. Our phone conversations were so long that Navneet’s dad had to ‘lock’ their home phone. We faced stuff with our parents, with boys, with peers… everything together. When we began college (I decided to do my Chemical Engineering and she B.Com), we had so many more stories to tell each other.. our lives were taking different paths but we were always involved. All her friends knew me and vice versa.. our connection was evident. Our personalities were also shaping up differently. There were now career choices to make, futures to be mapped out and we were growing up! At that time everything seemed like a big deal.. but the bond was stronger than ever!
Her first real job.. at Juno Online Services (she graduated a year earlier) was so exciting for the both of us. It meant that she had her ‘own’ money!! And then started the shopping sprees, eating out, coffees. Our first taste of independence… we were free to do as we pleased on Navneet’s Kinetic! We thought we were doing wild things (which were actually pretty tame) but we were the coolest people we knew. Completely self-expressed with each other.. she could hear my ‘hello’ on the phone and know what I was feeling. She was one of my first co-passengers when I started driving.. she was the only one that dared!! She knew all my anguish and my dreams, my fears and my fantasies. She knew me, loved me and accepted me.
I moved away to the US to do my Masters.. and she eventually went on to do her Masters as well in Bangalore. We would just be in constant touch. The physical distance never mattered. The weird conversations now happened thru messages and emails. And of course I was lucky enough to come home every vacation and we would meet and have a blast. We now had a dream… to some day live togther.. i.e. share an apartment.. and I am grateful that we had the chance to when I moved back and had a job in Bangalore. We were only able to do that for a short time though.. but I’m still glad it happened. Those were beautiful days of dinner dates and “wake me up before you go-go” because she had different hours than me but still wanted to see me so she would wake up when I had my breakfast. She was now a member of my family officially 🙂 She got along great with my whole family.. my dad especially. They were like pals! She was his favourite out of all my friends…Our set of problems and situations had changed but our friendship hadn’t!
Some more moves and job changes later, she was in Bombay and I was in Pune.. we were delighted that our calls were not STD any more! Her impromptu trips to Pune were a blast. She would come here to de-stress and unwind.. so we had days where we sat unbathed in our pyjamas.. chatting away about life, bitching about work and celebrating our independence.. we made a pact to visit each other once a month.. 🙂 we knew that we could shout at each other, not talk to each other, be mad at each other but our love would always be as strong..it didn’t matter where we lived, what we did or who we had become.. we were who we were and we were also friends.. I’m told by many that this is an extremely rare thing to find.. so I consider myself lucky…
She passed away on June 8th of this year. I rushed from Pune to Bombay. I was with her parents in the mortuary to identify her body. I was shattered and broken. I had taken her for granted.. I thought she would always be there. How could Navneet die? I still had her clothes, that we shared, in my closet and she had mine. I had just spoken to her the night before. My life changed.
She had taught me so much in her life.. and the lessons continued in her death. Our group of friends (the 3 remaining ones) realised that we had started taking each other for granted. We always thought the other would be around. I now realised that if Navneet can die then I can too. She taught us to appreciate each other. She taught me to appreciate all my loved ones. My family was a pillar of support for me. They knew what she meant to me and they loved her too.. they were there offering me unconditional love and support at every minute. I am so grateful.
In my quest to understand life and death my spiritual inquiry became deeper. I knew that I couldn’t take my own life for granted and I should start doing something about my life to discover what my purpose is. She gave me this clarity. She gave me deep knowledge and understanding about who I am and why I am here. I would have never intensified my search to the extent that I did. I now have a better life because of this wonder named Navneet Wasu..yes, I miss her a lot.. but in my opinion she is with God and who is a better caretaker than Him? Since she is with Him she is always with me. When she was in her physical body we were separated by distances. No longer. She is always with me.. our conversations are still there, our memories are still there. Our deep connection is still there.. I know that she hasn’t gone anywhere, she has just moved on before me. She is now the perfect friend because she is one with the Divine.. and because we are soul mates.. we will meet again. For now, she is in every loving gesture, every kind word, every beautiful day and every enchanting night. She is the love I feel in my life and she is my source of Joy.. she is a part of me and I am a part of her. Always and forever. I love you Navneet.