This is for you, Tejaswee. The ever so beautiful, you. For your birthday, it’s a little way to celebrate your life and most of all, to celebrate you.
It’s intriguing, how God functions in the most weird possible ways. One of those weird ways was when I was barely 8 and I found myself lying in a medical room with an oxygen mask on my face during a mild asthma attack in school. This tiny figure with two braids walked up to me and said, “Hi, I’m the new girl, remember? Do you need anything? Should I tell ma’am to call your mum? I’ll carry your bag to the bus, don’t worry. You just relax okay, I’ll take down your notes too.” And that is how I met ‘Tejaswee Rao’- my best friend.
Tejaswee's hand and mine
You may not be with us any more. It’s been almost five months since you’ve gone. But there have been so many times that have proved, that you still live on, and your presence is there somewhere around us. I know you’re hiding in one corner and looking at all of us and whenever I miss you too much, you show up in my dreams, and make me feel better.
There are many things I’ve done and continue to do that have been inspired by you, Tejaswee. You’d always pester me to write more. And you always nagged me to start a blog. I never did when you were there. But I am doing it now.
August was difficult, and September was even worse when it started to sink in. But there were always these little things that reminded me of you from time to time and kept me going.
I caught myself doodling in class many a times. They were rather unconscious. And many times they were because classes were just too boring. It was not until two months back, when KD told me that seeing me doodle, felt like she was watching Tejaswee in class somehow, that I realised what an inevitable part of everyone’s lives she had become and always will be.
I always admired the brilliant artist that she was. Especially after she had she had made a caricature of me.
You know, Tejaswee, I started doodling so much in class my notebook has started looking like a scrap book. I’d be happy if I’m even half as amazing an artist as you, but I am getting there and it’s all because of you and your inspiration. I never thought that caricature you made of me would be so precious to me and it very much is my favourite sketch anyone’s ever made of me.
She was usually late to class. Most of the time she would enter panting, because of running from the gate to class. She would usually stand at the door and flash that million dollar smile and no teacher would ever say anything to her. And the best part was she was never scared of what could happen or what our teachers would say.
Tejaswee and the cat
She would go around petting stray animals and she’d always give water and food to a homeless dog outside our college. Most people thought that dog was ferocious, but she was never bothered about what people thought and she never got scared if she wanted to do something good. Tejaswee Rao did not know fear.
I know you’re listening, and your gloating, sitting somewhere around here. But you have really taught me to be brave. I’m not afraid any more, of what could happen, or would happen. I’m not afraid of consequences. I listen to my heart. It seems like you’re telling me to do things. It seems like I have this guiding force above me which is looking out for me, and I know it’s you. I’ve learnt to be more honest and I’ve learnt to be strong, just the way you were.
I walk in late to class and tell the teacher I overslept. I pet stray dogs and I even have started liking cats. I made friends with your cat, Puppy. Your mom told me it was very unlikely of Puppy to get along with anyone, but maybe you did rub off on me, and your aura can be sensed by Puppy.
I’ve seen many people dress up for college. Seen people try too hard or not try at all. But Tejaswee Rao, was just effortlessly a walking fashion statement no matter what she wore. I’d never seen so many colours on someone at once, and never carrying it off as well as her. Sometimes she wore an orange trench coat, a turquoise muffler, purple trousers, and held her pink camera in her hand all at the same time and still looked as beautiful as ever. And the colours? Well Tejaswee just made all of them look good together. I guess she was the only person I knew who could piece together two of her favourite colours like orange and blue and make it look so beautiful.
Don’t know how you did it, Tejaswee. But you just made the colours look good. A few weeks ago I went shopping with my aunt. And there were so many things around me that reminded me of you. I didn’t think twice before buying any of the bright coloured things I did, but I just went ahead and bought them because sometimes, it just seems like you’re telling me to do things.
The colours around you looked best on you but you’ve inspired many to be as bold as you were. And I am one of those people. There is more colour around me now. And I know where it’s coming from. You’ve taught me to be myself and not be afraid to show the world who I really am. You’ve taught me to not fear being judged.
You’ve brought much more in my life than beautiful friendship, Tejaswee. You’ve influenced me in so many ways and you’ve taught me so much in this lifetime. You were more than a friend to me. You were like a sister.
Tejaswee, you will always have that special place in my heart. And for me you’ll always be the girl who changed me and that girl who brought colour in my life.
The things that I bought because these were Tejaswee's favourite colours
I will always love you, Tejaswee and we’ll forever celebrate this day as the birth of a beautiful person and the greatest person I’ve known that even lived, and one who will live in our hearts forever more.
The first and the last time that I saw her were both in a medical room. God does work in the most unusual ways. Being with her made me realise that not only does God chose your beloved but he also chooses your friends before hand, and you are destined to meet that special person somehow. And meeting this special girl, my best friend, Tejaswee, was my destiny.