“Arjit, are you ever going to sell one of these? Or should we just get you a larger storage space…temperature controlled ofcourse!” Anya said rolling her eyes and looking fondly at her childhood best friend. Anya had known Arjit since kindergarten when he first waddled into the classroom towards her and planted a big kiss on her cheek! Back then Arjit was a chubby little kid. He didn’t walk, he waddled. Other kids would mimic him but he was so carefree, he didn’t mind. He would waddle right along with them. The day Arjit kissed Anya though was the beginning of a long and fulfilling friendship.
Anya was an only child. Both parents had well paying corporate jobs that kept them away from home or traveling for a good part of the year. When Anya was little, whichever parent was traveling would take her and a nanny along, hoping to spend as much time with her as possible. But once Anya turned 3, it was time to enroll her into kindergarten which meant Anya now needed to stay home. Anya was used to being with one parent anyway, so she couldn’t tell the difference. Rhea, her mother however noticed that her daughter seldom socialized with the other kids, often choosing to play by herself or just sit and watch the other kids play. “Rishi, I think we were wrong to take her with us all these years. She doesn’t know how to play with kids her own age anymore.” Rhea lamented. Rishi was a shy child himself so he wasn’t too concerned and he would often say to Rhea “Babe, I don’t think it’s a problem. You’re making it one. She is a happy child. Let her be.”
That’s exactly what Anya was doing that day, just being when Arjit ran up to her and landed a smooch on her cheek. After a good 10 seconds where the shock wore off, Anya shrieked and then hugged Arjit around his neck and returned that kiss with the same fervor. They both giggled and ran off to look at some butterflies. Arjit was just as shy as Anya. He loved to draw and would get lost in his art for hours. Meanwhile, Anya dug holes or chased butterflies. She’d make requests and Arjit would oblige her by drawing them. They made a good twosome.
Years went by, and their friendship grew stronger with passing time. Anya was accepted into business school in the US, but Arjit couldn’t pass muster. She almost passed up the opportunity until her Dad and Arjit convinced her it would be a shame to reject such a golden chance. Anya and Arjit stayed in touch over emails and Skype but being on her own allowed her to blossom. She started exploring her city, meeting new people and made friends easily. She was still shy but people were drawn to her simplicity and down-to-earth nature. When she came home that first year, she brought along her roommate and best friend, Cathy. Cathy was smitten with Arjit and Arjit had morphed into a casanova! Anya barely got to see him as the two of them struck a summer romance. 🙂 The trend continued every year and Anya would tease him “next year I’m bringing myself a boyfriend so I’m not bored while you sidle up to my girlfriend”.
The last year after her graduation, Anya came back alone. Arjit was pretend-disappointed when he saw her walk out of the airport with only her suitcase in tow. “Hey, where’s my gift?” he said pouting. Anya rolled her eyes. “This time, you’re coming with me! I’m not playing courier anymore. Now take me home!” He laughed.
A few days later when she went to his 2 bedroom condo , one bedroom was packed wall to wall with paintings in all sizes! Anya was speechless. She walked into the room and immediately Arjit warned her “Don’t touch any of them. If one tips over, they all will.” Anya knew her dad was helping Arjit sell some of his work to help pay for his condo, but he was sitting on a gold mine here! Anya’s business degree kicked in.
“Is there a theme here? I’m not going to let these just sit around. We need to sort these and get them out into the world. These paintings will sell like hot cakes. My dad’s friends love artwork. Why are you not selling these? Dude!” Arjit was amused by her outburst. He had been thinking of how he was going to make money off his art but short of Anya’s dad helping, he had no other sources, nor did he know how to go about finding any. Anya’s enthusiasm was contagious though. Within a week, she had half a dozen art dealers lined up. Two of them had art shows coming up and wall space for Arjit to display his art on. Anya did most of the talking, Arjit mostly smiled.
Five months later, Anya was at the airport again, this time to drop Arjit off. Arjit was headed to the US. One of the buyers at the art show was a businessman in Chicago and he was so impressed with Arjit’s paintings that he commissioned Arjit to do a mural in his own office and a few personal pieces for his home. Arjit would be gone for a good 8-10 months. He was a little misty eyed as he bid farewell to Anya. “You have no idea how much this means to me” he said. Anya, oddly uncomfortable with Arjit’s display of emotion deflected by saying “Hey, if you’re going to miss me so much, you better use waterproof paint. Don’t want your tears smudging rich guy’s wall mural.” Arjit chuckled and hugged her tight. As he walked towards the entrance, Anya yelled after him “Oy, and bring me back a boyfriend. God knows you owe me!”