We’ve met eons ago…that I can’t recollect the details of the time or incident or just how exactly it happened. I assume we were in the same class maybe. You were this little girl, curly hair tied up as plates who would on most days bring juicy red apples as mid-snack. Must say healthy eating started early for you! Fast forward to now we know how we hog on to Nutella-filled desserts but compensate with new York burrito bowlšŸ˜‰ I have countless memories with you from school – tutions – after tutions. I can’t impress more on the fact that we’ve grown to be best friends. I’d rather say more like family because accompanying each other to collect health test results, buy paneer, paalak, gifts for friends, holding balloons for someone’s birthday on your vespa, cake (this was tough on the vespa btw) sharing kadha recipes, checking up on each other when either of us is sick, your surprise visits during study days (these were my favorite since you’d just randomly go to sleep then), our rides to Shivaji park especially the one during diwali and your building ganpati, is usually done with someone we call family. Anyway lately, our parents have been meeting more often than the two of us. I cannot fathom to picture my growing up days without you in it. You’ve got a heart of gold, always wanting to make people’s life around you better. You’ve been there when people needed you and you’ve also made people feel they are needed in your life. This two- way process is not what everyone can inculcate in them without a certain degree of pride. I’m glad you are an exception. My most favourite part about our friendship is the way we can discuss anything about the day to each other with utmost ease like how you went to watch a movie with mom to how a certain incident is troubling us. The next best part is even if we’ve been away for long we really pick up from where we left, not to forget the food, smoothies, chaat, ghee laden chapati, sweets we get to eat at your place. Thanking the Jain family for getting you onto this planet and at the right time. Not to forget you are one of those few people who on the insistence of my parents grant permissionšŸ˜. I’m sure I’m not the only one saying that. And we’re not done yet. We’re not done creating memories yet. We have places to travel, restaurants to try, drives to get onto, songs to sing along, walks to take and occasional Shivaji park conversations to make up for, for the least. Happy happy happy birthday, Saloniā™„. #SpecialChabbis hai aur tum bhi. This will probably the first birthday in many years that I wouldn’t be present in flesh. I hope you get all the love you deserve, a rishta so we get to dance at your wedding, wings to fly as high as you want while continue to remain down to earth that you are, every milestone you wish to achieve. But know you hold a special place in my life, as Professor Snape says, ‘Always!’