” There are no strangers here; only friends you have not met.” These words of William Butler Yeats cannot be more fitting of the events that unfolded in the din of that gloomy and lazy April evening. It was the weekend dawning slowly and taking me by surprise. With nothing exciting to get involved with, I went to my room quering around what to do? I took up my phone and started to glance around the contact list. ‘Should I call my friend for a dash of an evening walk’, I muttered to myself. Or should I do something else to kill time? I was undecided. In all this chaos, I clicked on a social messenger. As my cursor moved down the screen, there was this contact of a ‘stranger’ whom I had never met before, never talked to, never interacted with.
This contact name was a proverbial ‘odd one out’. I even didn’t clearly know what was the name of this unknown entity? Within a flash, I decided to turn this stranger into a friend. And what panned out afterwards is something unforgettable. Summing up all the courage, I sent a message and these words of Fyodor Dostoevsky echoed in my mind, ” We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken”. My heart was thumping at the thought of what would be possible reply to my message? I thought I was making fool of myself. Suddenly the beep of my phone broke my thought process. My phone flashed a message. ‘Who is this’? I promptly replied, ‘Someone, Somewhere’. Believe me, it was an instant reply on my part., without bothering of repurcussions. Then that stranger bombarded me with endless questions. How do you have my number? When?
Where? How? Why and so on. I sunk under the weight of these questions.. I was threatened of being blocked, the stranger literally yelled at me.. I could imagine the anger on the other side.
Nonetheless, I mustered the courage to carry on. Hoping against hope that strangers will become friends. Our conversation went along. It was grueling to say the least. It was a lifetime experience though. I considered myself as someone who was desperately in need of a job and who was being interviewed by a strict manager. At times, this stranger would show up a soft side as well. And I got the confirmation that it must be someone with a human heart. That was some relief for me. Night befell, and there seemed no clear result in sight. The questions still lurked on. Will the strangers become friends? In the heart of hearts, I was sure they will. My decision was prompt and clear. The stranger was added to my friend list but what was on that stranger’s mind, I was yet to comprehend.
At times I found it hard to believe that it had been that long since we started as strangers and there was no end even after 5 hours of grueling session. What I could comprehend was that the stranger was wary of being friends with another stranger. And the concern was genuine. The interesting thing about strangers is that you never know what kind of impact they will have on your life, good or bad. When you make room in your life to let strangers in, you make room in your life
for great adventures of people and of friendship. But why did I choose this stranger only? Why not someone else? The stranger wanted to know from me. But then knowing strangers is not can be either painful or long lasting. In the process of becoming friends, time tells us everything.. I thought, It might be a case of destiny conspiring to meet strangers, who knows! I viewed it as such. It was not like trying on someone and seeing what will happen. All along, I had sincerity in my mind. Let me make this stranger a lifetime friend. And let us be friends without searching for reasons. Now as I am in my room, I got talking with this unknown person about all what is written above.
There is that feeling that it is almost as if I knew this person forever or maybe it is more like why you don’t need to spend that extra 5 minutes explaining why this or that happened.
It is sincere, it is open, it is about respect and it is non judgmental. Hope we become friends forever and someday I may say that it all started with a simple ‘Hi’ kind of an act with a stranger who was destined to be my friend!
Kausar Nabi teaches English at Girls Higher Secondary, Tral. She can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org