The first 13 years of my life are the most memorable ones. For I shared them with my BFF (best friend for life), Rida Habib. We are of same age, just a month’s difference between us and our parents had been neighbours for a long, long time. Rida and me have been best friends, sisters and inseparable since our birth. Pre-school, school, classes, hobbies…we have done it all together. It was only for Rida that I never missed having a sibling of my own. So I was naturally devastated when my father got and accepted a job in the UK and we had to move. Days were gloomy and Rida and me spent each waking hour together. Our parents sensed our plight and that’s when we got Kishu and Karo.
On my last day in India, and with Rida, I came home sad and listless, with Rida in tow, only to give a shriek of joy!
In a wicker basket were two cutest little kittens we had ever seen. Sleeping and looking heavenly, the golden and the grey kittens looked almost toy-like. My beaming parents told us that these kittens were sisters, just like Rida and me, and they were a gift for both of us. Rida and me jumped with joy and took the little kittens in our arms. The soft fur and blue-green eyes won out hearts instantly. I took the golden one while Rida took the grey-silver one. We couldn’t contain our joy and ran to Rida’s house to show our prized gifts to her parents. It was her parents who suggested we name my kitten Kishu and Rida’s Karo, for these were the names we were called as kids.
Once in UK, Rida and me kept in touch through letters, pictures and emails. Most of our emails were about Kishu and Karo, their growth, their diet and their activities. We both were like two new moms fussing over their newborns! Pictures were exchanged regularly with us commenting on how well the other’s kitten was growing. Over years, Kishu has kept me company and constantly filled up the void Rida’s absence had left…and I am sure Karo did the same for my best friend.
Kishu and Karo are now three-years-old, and both are equally naughty. Its fun watching them play through videos over the internet and we often have video chats, mostly because I want to see Karo chase a ball or idly roam around the house. Rida also loves Kishu and Kishu, I guess, recognises Rida’s voice, because she always responds when Rida calls her through the video. It’s more fun when we show Kishu and Karo each other on the video, and they are so confused, they go and sniff around the computer screen and try to ‘touch’ the other cat.
I have seen many friends losing touch because of the distance. But Rida and I have endured the years only because of Kishu and Karo. They have held us together over the years and I am more than grateful to my parents. They did not just gift us pets, they gifted us a way to keep our friendship intact!