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As the sunlight sharpens, my life catches fire. My morning peace snaps.

I am thrown into a mad churn of hurried rituals, acts that must follow a pattern, exact and orderly.

I brush my teeth, make my bed, shower, wear my uniform, and pick up my school bag.

Through this fire-under-my-feet timetable, I have to swizzle dance with Masti to keep my balance.

He crosses my path in ragged circles, using dance steps to hurry me into the garden, so we can yowl and make mess and mischief together.

We muddle through slush and grass. We muckrake. Soil and soul mix.

We shakedown the order and control of the day. We swap safety with roguery.

We seek the forbidden in these few devilish moments. Head-butting our way in a villainous, monster emoji way.

Wiping clean the telltale signs of our evil joys, I then cartwheel into the routine of my day. Whistling tea-pot happy.

First breakfast, a hop-skip-and-jump to the bus stop with my best friend Sia and then onward to school.

After breakfast, I hustle Sia, my BFF to the bus stop.

She is my second skin and my bae (before anyone else, before you ask!!) who finishes each one of my thoughts.

Our connection is immediate, intense and urgent. We hurt when peeled away from each other.

Sia, a late-riser, is punctuality-challenged. She is always behind in her morning and other routines whatever the season.

I find her quirk cute and keep an eye on the clock for her.

Under her unhurriedness is a directness, a truthfulness, a razor-pert tongue and a lightning-swift brain.

She is ablaze with searching questions. Her specialness jumps out with this trait.

She asks, asks and asks. I do that too.

We jostle together to the bus stop, gawky and leggy, full of queries, our thumbs hooked into schoolbag-straps and our skirts flapping.

At age ten, we take apart everything, strand by strand.

Do the ends of the earth meet? Can we swim and breathe together? If hot dogs aren’t made from dogs why are they called so? How do beaks of birds evolve? Which of our brain teaser games are better?

Our questions are unending. Our language is our own, complete with codes, inside jokes and nonsense verses set to rhyme and rhythm.

Sia and I agree on four things. 

We pick Walt Disney’s ‘Moana’ as the best film and Harry Potter books as unmatched in class.

Both of us see eye to eye on how eating cheese puffs is a test of taste as the art of swallowing the globs intact.

We shake on the sliver-and-slather technique for raw mangoes, on how to slice them in wedges with parallel lines of salt and daring hot chilly powder.

With independent, scissor-sharp minds and wills of our own, we have fierce blowouts…serious chalk and cheese crises.

I root for The Eternity Code, a science fiction fantasy, she for New Moon, a vampire based fantasy.

She prefers cats, I love dogs. She likes trousers, I prefer skater skirts. She roots for Taylor Swift, I for Selena Gomez.

You can hear our full-scale strife a mile away. We are both claws, swishing tails, hisses and on-fire whiskers.

We each go with a “If I agree with you, I’d be wrong” point of view.

Yet without our telegraphing of thoughts and our out-of-breath caterwauls, we will die of boredom.

Our flare-ups always end with shouts of laughter, clasping of hands and minds awhirl with plans.

It feels so easy, to just fall into things with Sia. To just be half of her. And allow her to be the half of me.

We are the best bicker buddies ever and get past each other’s sore points with ease.

We need each other’s ears, hearts and, most important, our writings in our secret message diaries to pool everything we hear and experience.

I voice my thoughts to Sia first as does she. We are looking mirrors and safe perches to one another.

Then we gather courage to speak our minds to others.

Do you too have a friend who helps you grow courage and be who you are? 

Fetch the sun for you on a dull day?


   Oomna at 10


     Oomna at 8

Running, not walking, to meet the morning

Seeing life through a looking glass

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