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Ever had a girl on Facebook or Orkut you were once friends with, may be just exchanged a few messages and then you drifted apart. May be you closed your account, or she moved you out of her friend list because you were so dormant. And then few years down the lane you see her in a news update on BBC talent, of Golden Globe awards or okay, Fimfare awards hanging onto the left arm of Ranbir Kapoor. Ahh! You hold your head. What a strategic mistake on your part. You should have never stopped being out of touch. You never know which of your penny-friends suddenly turn into pounds. What an error of Judgement. It’s a horrible thing to thing to happen to any Indian, ask me and the resultant regret can be killing. Of course being Indians we have what nobody has, that wonderful masterkey ‘Jugaad’, the quickfix for evething, from a scooter that won’t start to a situation that has gone out of hand.
Anna-Maria (Name Changed) from UK was one of my earliest friends on youtube when I initially joined it in 2007. A terrific looker at 17, with striking resemblance to Drew Barrymore, she was obsessed with becoming a singer. She posted videos after videos not deterred by the comments on her videos most of which were directed to her looks and not her singing. Others comments were outright rude and suggested that she take up some other profession.
Since I was myself a budding writer, I knew a creative person always looked for inputs and feedbacks. And what the hell, we wouldn’t mind outright flattery sometimes. And so I told Anna-Maria, what a fabulous singer she was because, I’m sorry but she was so fabulously good looking. After two insightful comments on her videos she sent me a friend’s invitation on youtube and thereafter somehow, I don’t exactly remember how-slowly we drifted apart and there was no communication for two years.
Then suddenly last week while surfing youtube, I came across her channel again which by now neared one million views mark. Another video on her channel contained a clip from BBC news talking about her, and yet another video with a clip from BBC Beat, a talent show where she performed two perfect solos, one of them from Beyonce. In her interview with BBC beat she explained how, in her determination to succeed at singing, she ran away from home at 17 when her mother wouldn’t support her career choice.
I was speechless. I cursed myself for not recognizing this ‘long distance horse’ among my friends. I rubbed my hands and rued the endless possibilities missed. She would have definitely needed a shoulder during her struggle. I could have been the long distance shoulder, a friend who could listen and talk her out of her blues. And who knows when she became the next ‘Susan Boyle’ of UK, there could have been a free ticket (Complete with Stay) to attend the ‘Brit Awards’. And maybe even the Grammys too. “And the one person who is solely responsible for this award…,” She could have said, looking at me in the audience and I would have shaken my head having already strictly instructed her to name her mom instead.
The magnitude of the loss was devastating but equally tortuous was the feeling that I had kept locked up so far. I wanted to tell someone badly, that I knew this girl in the BBC video personally. While I was happy that she had broken through the glass ceiling, the thought that no one knew that she knew me was suffocating me. My friend was a celebrity now. And I am supposed to be a celebrity by association, except that If I claimed the ‘celebrity by association’ status, It would have felt like an obvious cheapster since we didn’t speak anymore. So however suffocated I might be, I decided not to use her real name in the blog. Instead I would use the Indian “Jugaad”- first try to get back into Anna’s good books, write her a congratulatory mail and see how it shapes up.
If it works out well, my next blog-post on Anna is going to be after I return from the ‘Brit Awards’! And if doesn’t? Well! It already feels lighter having shared it with you even if it is with Anna’s changed name.