In a boarding school, with the absence of family and siblings, its fellow-boarders who are your go-to resources for heartbreaks, relationships, and other life advice! This poem is an ode to that friendship – a friendship that started before we learnt to brush our teeth (without swallowing too much toothpaste) and lasted all the way to our coming-of-age, and beyond!
You were there since I was a five year old
Scared and needing someone to hold.
You were there when I learnt to read and write,
When alphabets and spellings weren’t coming right.
You were there when I walked in with my trunk
When I learnt to sleep alone on the hostel bunk.
You were there when I learnt to brush my teeth,
When I showered from the open tub with chattering teeth.
You were there when I found it difficult to breathe and dread,
Feeding me with congee and bread.
You lent me your shoulder with no hidden personal gain,
When I was bruised with beating and cried in pain.
You helped me with my studies and my chore,
If not for which punishment was sure.
You have laughed and played with me,
When the world around was rude to me.
You joined hands to nickname teachers and bullying seniors,
Realizing now that it wasn’t a right demeanor.
You shared my inmost thoughts and dream,
For which I am embarrassed even in my dream.
You witnessed me dance, sing and perform
Which still are my favorite art form.
You have combed and styled my hair,
Lent your dress for my fashion fair.
You have walked with me to the restroom,
In the dark and scary nights in our hostel room.
You shared your precious sweets with me,
When snacks were a heavenly treat to me.
You stayed all night to chat and giggle,
Hidden under the cover without a wriggle.
You have teased and fought with me,
Teaching forgiveness and reconciliation to me.
You have been a mother to me
When puberty came to me.
You taught me how to keep my pad,
Demonstrated the steps to wrap and discard sanitary pad.
You have witnessed my puppy love,
And being punished for the same love.
You are the one with whom I can be myself
Free and open as a five year old self.