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What is your #Cherished Object? #Blogfest #blogging

At Daily (w)rite, I stick to discussions, opinion, travel, writing.

While I’m always myself, it is a redacted my-self on this blog. But in the interests of remaining honest, I have to step into a new territory today. The personal.

This is because a month back, I suggested and got involved with hosting the Cherished Blogfest: along with Dan Antion , Paul Ruddock, Peter Nena, Sharukh Bamboat, I invite you to talk about an object you cherish, and why. I tried to talk about other things, but the object that surfaced and wouldn’t be denied, is here now. As a writer, I’m used to being vulnerable, but I can always hide behind the guise of fiction. No such curtains in this post.

It is a photograph. Very simple, and as photographs go, not well-framed. It shows me and a bunch of schoolmates, back when I was fourteen or fifteen, maybe younger. That girl with those two ridiculous pigtails, in a blue sweater, scarf tied around her neck, is me.

Memories on a Sunday Morning

Cherished Object: Memories

But what makes me cherish the photo, despite the bad lighting, despite forgetting the names of some of the girls, losing touch with others (which gives me a pang sometimes), is the girl who sits right beside me.

We’ll call her D, this smiling girl, her white collar uniform shirt buttoned high, one of my two best friends from my schooldays. We sat on the same bench each year of school, shared our food, notes, jokes, secrets, lives.

A few years after this photograph was taken, after I’d finished college and joined an institute, I went home for the summer and discovered why D hadn’t answered my letters, the birthday cards, in a while. This was a time in India when we still didn’t carry cellphones, when long distance calls remained out of reach for a penniless student. Letters were still relevant.

D never wrote long letters, how are you, I’m doing well, school’s good. She was studying to be a doctor. I tossed all her letters, but I liked receiving them, and knowing she was well. I was going to meet her that summer, like all the summers before.

She had strangled herself, just taken a long cloth and swung it from the ceiling fan, when her parents were out for a dinner. She’d sent her little brother out on an errand. She’d known I wasn’t around, had gone and met my parents and chatted with them over tea and snacks, a week before she killed herself. My parents didn’t have the courage to tell me when I was far from home.

Decades later, I don’t have her letters, or the cards she made me for my birthday or new year. Youth is so careless. Everything seems like it would last forever: friendships, lives, happiness.

This photograph is the only one I have of her in an informal setting, at a school picnic one random winter at some dam or park or resort. This snapshot,Β  with the containers of food our moms had lovingly packed, a teacher, the girls, some of whom remain friends on Facebook, some I’ve lost touch with, and D.

Stupid D, who always topped the class, the school, the brightest of us lot, who couldn’t take the insult of being failed by a teacher for the first time at medical school, stupid, stupid girl, young, too young and clueless–who thought grades mattered enough to end her life–and change the lives of so many: her parents, her friends, everyone who knew her.

I’ve stared at this photo in the past years, and imagined her growing up, growing older, falling in love, getting married, becoming a mother.

But there she sits, a teenager on a sunny afternoon, surrounded by classmates, ‘tiffins’ full of food, steel dinner plates (in the days before the scourge of plastic and thermocol), a skinny street dog behind her (photobomb, right there) and that confident half-smirk-smile she always wore. And there I am, by her side, unknowing that one day, this photograph would be all I’d have of her, as I sit at my table, writing.

—-

Cherished Blogfest

Cherished Blogfest

Are you taking part in the Cherished Blogfest? If you are, this weekend (24-26 July) please post about your cherished object, and visit others on this LINKY LIST. Share on all social media with the hashtag #CHERISHED. If you haven’t signed up yet, you still can, the linky list is open for two more days. What is an object you cherish? What sort of memories does it bring back? Would you like to write about this object?

If you’re reading this, do not have a blog, and want to join the discussion on short stories, head over to Daily (w)rite’s Facebook page!

Damyanti Biswas

Damyanti Biswas is the author of You Beneath Your Skin and numerous short stories that have been published in magazines and anthologies in the US, the UK, and Asia. She has been shortlisted for Best Small Fictions and Bath Novel Awards and is co-editor of the Forge Literary Magazine. Her forthcoming literary crime thriller, The Blue Bar is represented by Lucienne Diver from The Knight Agency, and will be published by Thomas & Mercer on January 1, 2023.

I appreciate comments, and I always visit back. If you're having trouble commenting, let me know via the contact form, or tweet me up @damyantig !

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164 Comments

  • Evonne R. says:

    Reblogged this on Glitter Fantasy….

  • So tragic, I can see why that photo means so much to you.

  • gdill52 says:

    I am not so easily moved to empathic tears, in these twilight years. Not just your story, but also the “cherish” in your tone, your love. Lovely. Thanks so much for sharing this in all its unglory.

  • Powerful, tragic, beautiful.

  • seholgate says:

    Really well written. Old photograph make
    the sadness more poignant.

  • patgarcia says:

    Hi,
    I just read this today as I looked on your blog to see if you’d posted for IWSG. Thanks for your sharing. As an ExPat American living in Europe, I truly relate to what you’ve shared.
    Shalom,
    Pat Garcia

  • What a poignant post . . . thank you for sharing the story of your friend in open honesty. And thank you for visiting Mocha Muse and leaving a like. Much appreciated!!
    ~ jayni

  • Powerful

  • epsnider says:

    You can cherish that photo forever and remember the happy times she shared with you. Your friend lives within your hear.

  • michelevenne says:

    Hi Damyanti! Thanks for liking my blog post. You have a lot of great stuff here πŸ™‚

  • clarthy says:

    My cherished object is also a photo. A black and white photo of my father holding me on his lap when I was a baby of about six months. We are on a rock by the sea somewhere in Australia the wind is blowing his hair and his hand is curled around me protectively. He is wearing what looks like a demob suit as it was only a couple of years after World War II. Sadly the photo is quite blurry over most of his face, but this kind of reflects the fact that he died nearly fifty years ago now at the age of 42. I still think of him nearly every day. He is my friendly ghost and Angel.

  • Kiran says:

    I love your writing! You have a natural way with words!

  • This must have been a difficult post to write. We never really get over something like this, we just keep going. I appreciate the depth of your words, and your willingness to share them.

  • Oops! Missed the deadline for the cherished blogging. I did not realized the dates.

  • Thanks for sharing this touching story, Damyanti. I wish kids understand that life is much more than good grades.

  • Ah missed it! Your blog is wonderful.

  • What a heart-breaking story, Damyanti. Parents always want our children to dream big, but there’s a dangerous underside to that, isn’t there? I’m so sorry to hear this.

  • Shilpa Garg says:

    I am so sorry for your loss. In situations such as this one, wish life had an Undo button!

  • I’m so sorry for your loss. There must’ve been much more going on than just D’s grades. She must’ve had I undiagnosed depression. Thanks for sharing this story.

  • Archana Kapoor says:

    such a lovely post! I was traveling and I missed this one D πŸ™

  • abuamirah says:

    I did it πŸ™‚

  • Patsy says:

    So sad.

    When we’re young I think we tend to care more abouut things which seem less important as we get older and are more careless of those things we gradually come to value.

  • jax says:

    So sad, yet beautifully written. I am glad you still have something to remember her by.

  • blondieaka says:

    Hi Thank you for your visit and like on my blog, what a poignant story of youthful memories and the loss of a friend but it has also served to keep her memory alive in your heart and that is lovely and a lesson to us all that life is fragile πŸ™‚

  • Laurie Welch says:

    Oh gosh…if we only knew then what we would want to know now….

    But at least you have memories of her as well as this photo. She lives on….

  • selah janel says:

    Gorgeous post, and I’m fighting to not tear up over here. I think all of us have a picture – or at least a memory – of someone like that in our lives. You’re incredibly brave to be that vulnerable and discuss such a special friendship.

  • Beautifully written. Thank you for sharing your personal loss.

  • Rhonda says:

    Heart-wrenching post. I, too, lost two people near and dear to me at the hands of suicide. It’s so hard to comprehend, but I guess that’s a good thing. Take care.

  • Brave writing, Damyanti, to face this irrevocable loss in the open and to give your friend a tribute as well. I have tried to write about suicide in fiction. As an action the result is cruel to friends and family, yet for some the struggle is beyond their strength. There is no way to know, but something she perceived as more insoluble than academic failure may well have been behind her action. I’m sorry for the hurt she left behind.

  • lexacain says:

    That’s very sad. I don’t know what to say. Some people are more delicate than others and have trouble changing to suit new realities. Others are survivors no matter how hard things get. Life is often a struggle. Her struggle is over.

  • Such a wonderful tribute to your friend. I think it’s a great photo. It’s informal, not posed – that’s the best and the best way to keep those memories.

  • Many hugs Damyanti. I have lost friends and family to death and only one to suicide but I can imagine how this must feel. Also another reason to not hold grudges and judge people, which is something I practise very studiously now. I learnt to let go of my pain and anger and watch the other person grow. May the memory of your friend keep you warm. Sometimes, it’s all we have but it’s beautiful. Thank you for hosting this linkup.

  • Arlee Bird says:

    Such a sad outcome to your friendship. One can only wonder why about such things.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote

  • Vidya Sury says:

    Hugs, Damyanti. I’ve lost too many friends too soon unexpectedly and completely understand how you feel. So many photos bringing back memories – and the “what if” series of thought. So painful. The worst thing is regretting (not) doing something that was being planned. It is sad how the tears rush forth each time we recall a “it might have been”

    Hugs!

  • Memories are the golden threads that run through our lives, and all the more precious because no one can steal them or take them away.

  • Valeer says:

    Oh, man. Your story was so heartfelt. It really forces one to appreciate life and all of the things in it. In our modern age, electronics have taken over so much better that I’m afraid that people won’t cherish every moment in their life because you never know when you’ll take your last breath… Memories are definitely one of the more important things to #cherish in life. Thank you for this post.

  • Kalpanaa says:

    This was a touching tribute to your friend. I can quite understand how you wish you had kept the letters. I knew immediately which one she was in this photograph – my eye was drawn to it automatically.

  • So very lovely.

  • A tragedy indeed–but I’m so glad she’s remembered, and now she’s reached a hundred other lives who will think of her, too. Beautiful story, Damyanti. Thank you for sharing–and for hosting this blogfest. It has a different feel to it, somehow–less impersonal, more sincere perhaps?–than others I’ve participated in (though I don’t really participate a lot, haha). So, again, thank you πŸ™‚

  • joey says:

    What a beautiful, if tragic tribute. I was caught off guard, but so touched by the comment of how transient youth is and the regret of having thrown things away. It’s sad, but years ago, I learned to always keep the last letter, the last birthday card, things like that. I learned that lesson the hard way.
    So sorry about the devastating loss of your friend.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thankyou so much for your comment. I don’t know that I keep letters and cards more now– but I do try to spend as much quality time as I can with all the people I care about, and appreciate each moment.

  • “Youth is so careless. Everything seems like it would last forever: friendships, lives, happiness.” My attitude at that time of life also. But while old friends drift in different directions and are lost to us we retain them in our minds to cherish and enjoy in our quiet moments.

    • Damyanti says:

      Ian, that’s youth’s take on everything. As we grow older and are faced with increasing and inevitable losses, we learn to cherish what we have. And yes, friends remain with us, one way or another.

  • Birgit says:

    When I looked at this photo first, before reading, I was instantly drawn to this girl with the white blouse. I thought she look so pretty and yet longing for something. She was striking to me especially since the dog is right behind her and dogs are always known for the faithfulness and loyalty. What a very sad ending to this beautiful girl. I would cherish this photo also. When we lose someone to suicide we are, at first, shocked and greatly saddened but then comes anger and frustration because we have all these questions but they will never be answered. In the end sadness is still there but with some smiles because they still made our life more enriching.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Birgit. Questions remain, as do regrets and a sense of loss. She was a great girl, and a good friend.

  • What a touching post. I wish I would have had time to join in with all of you.

  • EM Biddulph says:

    Thanks for sharing your story – it’s so sad to hear about your friend. It’s a nice photograph – at least you do still have this photo of her to help you remember her. It’s funny how our perspective on so many things can change just with time.

  • Corinne O'Flynn says:

    What a heartfelt story. I am so sorry you lost your friend, and in this way. It’s unsettling to look back at photos like this with the knowing of hindsight.

  • nimmu says:

    That was so touching!

  • Just Me says:

    First off this is a great idea, writing about something that you truly cherish. I’d imagine writing about something so personal would tend to make anyone’s writing that much better. I haven’t read any of your other posts (yet) but, if they are not quite as good as this they will still be wonderful I’m sure.

    I was going to “Like” this post but somehow that just feels odd. I mean I don’t “like” the post, I don’t like that you had to write it, or that her family and loved ones had to go through it. I’d rather you never had to write it in the first place. They did though, and you did. So will say that I appreciated the post. It was heartbreaking and saddening, but the memories of the past, and how we appreciate them more with the passage of time is something we can all related to. Well done.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thankyou so much for your kindness, for your words, and your empathy.

      This is one of the reasons I blog, to meet bloggers from all over the world, who renew my faith in humanity, by taking a minute to reassure, to empathize, to show kindness, when they didn’t have to.

      Thankyou for being that reason for me today.

  • tara tyler says:

    oh sweetie. i can’t imagine the pressures and hardships suffered by so many around the world. you bring so much perspective with this sad story of a cherished friend lost. thank you for sharing it. and thanks for hosting this blogfest!

  • Anita Kushwaha says:

    A beautiful tribute to your friend. I’m sorry for your loss. Thank you for sharing.

  • JL0073 says:

    This was very touching and not the story I expected when I saw the photo. Your thoughts on youth and the passing of time ring very true.

  • Almost Iowa says:

    A friend who coaches little league says that the best thing about youth sports is that it teaches kids to lose. I had a cousin who shot himself after breaking up with a girl in high school, I wish he had learned the graceful art of losing — and especially losing at love.

    • Damyanti says:

      That’s an important lesson, one we should all be taught.

      Thankyou for participating in the blogfest, and your comment.

  • mothermi6 says:

    Oh dear. That was very sad and moving and kept my attention right to the very end. Your friend did well in choosing You to be her friend.
    Evangeline

  • Wow. Makes me want to write about Peter. May you find comfort you incredible woman.

  • ccyager says:

    Moving post, Damyanti. I had a similar experience with a friend just last year, but he did not take his own life. I think he would have chosen to keep living if whatever disease he had had not invaded his body. I waited too long to try to find and contact him again, and it pains me deeply. But I won’t forget him. Cinda

    • Damyanti says:

      Cinda, so very sorry to hear of your loss. Thank you for participating in the blogfest, and for your comment.

  • This must have been definitely difficult for you to share. One of my juniors went through the same scary situation and opted a similar unfortunate solution. Only if she had talked to someone and changed her mind.

    • Damyanti says:

      If only. Only if. Words that, very sadly, accompany all such situations.

      Thank you for stopping by, Salvwi.

  • oshrivastava says:

    Reblogged this on oshriradhekrishnabole.

  • simonfalk28 says:

    Thank you so much for sharing this post. It was so touching and got deeper and deeper. For those of us who have been there – another story for another day – losing a loved one by their own hand is a unique tragedy. I find solace in knowing that love does cross time and space and the shadow of death. Yes, an old photo on earlier technology. One that presents a then vogue that is now kitch. But it has left a lasting impression and been the source of a very worthy post.

  • Peter Nena says:

    That’s a great share, Damyanti. I feel the pain and the shock of D’s demise. I wondered one time, why, when we are young and have the greatest potential, to love, to befriend, invent, innovate and do great things–we are most stupid and careless. Yet as we grow older and our energies wane and the potential increasingly diminishes–it is then that we become clever and wise, and we regret lost opportunities. We wish we could be young again. I wonder why Nature plays such ironies against us.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Peter, for your comment and for cohosting this blogfest– you’re doing a terrific job!

      My friend was too young, fragile, and too oppressed by an educational system that didn’t care for her worth, or feelings.

      Foolishness of youth and the wisdom of age is an irony as old as human history, but we have to do everything we can to counter it– to teach the young about things that matter, and things that don’t.

      I try and tell each youth/ child I talk to, that values, humanity, relationships, and life matter more than a few marks on paper, or grades. I hope as many adults do the same, if they’re in a position to do so.

  • Thank you for sharing this very touching story. It is so strange to learn about what has happened to our childhood and youth friends. Most of the time I’m surprised. You just never really know what a person hides deep within. Although I’m not speaking of myself. I tend to wear my heart on my sleeve for all to see. πŸ™‚

    • Damyanti says:

      Angelika, thank you for stopping by to comment. Yes, the hearts of men and women are deeper than ravines, and more hidden.

  • Rajasree says:

    It seems just like yesterday that we rode our bikes to school together ….Since we were never in the same section , I have no pictures with D , but lots n lots of memories …..Whenever she came home from her institute she would definitely visit me . What a wonderful doctor she would have been today . Thanks for sharing her picture ! Miss her ….

    • Damyanti says:

      Rajashree, I miss her too, and she would have been a wonderful woman and doctor. She was so good to all of us, and so good at studies. What a terrible pity.

  • Jill's Scene says:

    Damyanti – my heart ached for you and your parents and everyone involved as I read this post. Thank-you you for sharing your pain so eloquently. For me, each loss I’ve experienced in my life, in the end, has shown me the necessity to live my own life well. It’s a bitter-sweet legacy, some days more bitter, some days sweeter.
    A huge thank-you to you and the team for organising this blogfest. Every single participating post I’ve read has been an inspiration.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thankyou so much.

      Yes, each loss I’ve suffered as a grown-up has taught me to value, cherish, treasure life, and all its moments, big and small. Take lessons from the bad, and be grateful for the good.

      My cohosts are gems, each one of them, and their contribution to this blogfest far outstrips mine.

  • Marc Kuhn says:

    Damyanti….first, thank you and your colleagues for putting Blogfest together. I was reluctant to partcipate at first and now I am pleaed that I did. There are so many “cherishables” I have yet to read that I will be pretty busy tomorow trying to catch up with all that has been submitted. We should compile them into a book…the cover art is already done too! That might be a serious idea if there is interest and it would not cost anything to put it together. I could assemble it if someone(s) volunteered to edit/proof it. Okay…I know, I’m off the deep end again…but thanks for the fest.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for participating, Marc, for your comment, and your offer. It might be a nice idea to compile posts– once the blogfest is done, you could sound out others whose posts you liked, and take it from there?

  • It is such a touching story and I am sure this will stay with your forever. I witnessed something similar about a 16 year old boy and though I just knew him and never met him personally it touched me so much. I often think why people take such hard steps. But that is for other time. I am here to say thanks to you for sharing this with us. It was really very emotional.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thankyou, it is emotional for me, and I’m a little overwhelmed by how many people this has touched. I hope D is at peace wherever she is.

      Thank you for stopping by to comment.

  • Dreamhowl says:

    Thank you for putting the blog fest together! This is such a sad story, but I am glad you were there for her as a friend in earlier times. Grades are pushed on us so much as kids, but looking back I don’t see why. It seems so insignificant now.

    • Damyanti says:

      You’re welcome.

      And yes, I was fortunate to be her friend. Wish there was a way to let her know at the time that grades didn’t matter.

      But wisdom comes with age, and before that, we unfortunately follow what we’re taught at schools.

  • Carrie-Anne says:

    That’s such a haunting story. We never know when we’re going to lose someone and not have much to remind us of that person. It reminds me of the song “Bookends.”

  • Aww, that’s a sad story. At least you have the picture. Hubby and I went through some notes we exchanged while dating and saved a few as keepsakes.

    • Damyanti says:

      And I still remember the story of your marriage Patricia! Thanks for taking the time to participate, and to comment.

  • latawonders18 says:

    Damyanti, a similar incident happened in my life too. A class topper, and a good friend, was the only student who failed in the ISC school examinations. Another friend wrote to me about it. I was shell shocked and immediately wrote to the friend who had failed. Luckily she was strong enough to pick up the threads of her life. Such a good student and she failed because she simply froze when the answer paper was placed in front of her.

    • Damyanti says:

      Lata, this is a positive story, where your friend recovered and was able to move on.

      That freezing in the exam hall is stress, and all of us, teachers, parents, peers are responsible. I’m so glad she overcame the adversity. Thanks for stopping by to comment and for taking part in this blogfest.

  • C.E.Robinson says:

    Damyanti, I can understand why you chose the photo for your Cherished Object! A truly heart-breaking story. It’s your only reminder of happy memories with your friend, and perhaps a stronger reminder to keep memories happy with friends today. I also chose a photo for the Cherished Blogfest post. It was a “Mom’s Happy Memory” one! Also included a Cheers to Our Hosts blurb! You, Dan, Paul, Peter and Sharukh, who organized this for us in Blogosphere! A huge thanks! Christine

    • Damyanti says:

      Christine, thanks for participating in the blogfest, and your comment.

      Yes, it’s a reminder to be in the moment, to feast on life, to appreciate it, to tell people how much they matter the moment you feel that in your heart.

      My cohosts are sterling people, and have been working hard to get this blogfest off the ground.

  • Great story, though very sad. I have experienced suicide in my family and am familliar with the shock, anger and disbelief. It produces,. But in the end we have to forgive the person and our own incapacity for stopping it. Thanks tor blogfest I have really enjoyed writing my post and reading others

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for stopping by, Kate– and I’m so sorry you had such experiences in your family. It renders everyone so helpless and angry. Yes, forgiveness and acceptance is thinly way, but it takes time.

      I’m glad the blogfest is working out for you.

  • dweezer19 says:

    How heartbreaking for you, for her family and for all those who knew and loved her. I am the Mother of four sons, all of whom at some point or another expressed serious doubts about wanting to live when they were in those desperate late teens, that time when things seem so big, so unsurmountable. I often think of that fragile moment when a young person, especially, decides to end a life. If only they had given it one more day. My heartfelt sorrow ofr the loss of a dear friend, Damyanti. And you look absolutely adorable in the photo. I still see that look in your face now!

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks Cheryl, for your comment– so glad you were there for your sons, and that they had the support they needed at such a vulnerable time.

      Thank you for your kind words, and only true friends can see the woman in the child and vice-versa πŸ˜€

  • kritsayvonne says:

    Thanks for setting up this Blogfest, never heard of such a thing before and I’m enjoying visiting all the different blogs. I share your approach to writing about very personal, emotional things so can see you have been brave, but how lovely to give yourself permission to remember the good time you had with your friend. Best wishes, x

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks, Yvonne. It was hard, but I had to do it, or I couldn’t write a post. thanks for participating in the blogfest, and your comment.

  • Damyanti, I’m sorry for your friend. As you said grades don’t matter. All that competition with the classmates, nervousness about exams, anxiety about the results that we had experienced as students seem so meaningless now. I hope the youngsters who read this post will understand that there is much more to life than just grades.

    • Damyanti says:

      If there’s one youngster reading this post who realises that grades don’t matter all that much in life, that would make this Blogfest worth it for me.

      Thank you so much for stopping by, and your comment.

  • John Hric says:

    Thanks for sharing your memories of D. And thanks for organizing the blogfest Damyanti

  • So heartbreaking and another reminder of just how fleeting life is.

  • Lainey says:

    Heartbreaking. Thank you for sharing and honouring her spirit this way. I think a lot of us will be thinking about her this evening x

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for stopping by. I hope all the thoughts of her bring some measure of peace and positivity into this world.

  • What a sad and wonderful tribute to an old school friend. Thanks for departing from your usual “opinion, travel, writing” and sharing such a cherished object.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thanks for stopping by, and the comment, Bruce. It was hard to be vulnerable in such a public space, but this wanted to be written, and I was powerless against it.

  • mumbaslife says:

    I don’t think such incident can be named as a suicide. She was murdered by our society. Our society’s hunger for glory has killed her. She is an example along with others what is wrong with our society.

    • Damyanti says:

      I have to say I agree. Our society places so much value on materialistic success and grades, it skews the perspective on life of our young people. The last thing that matters to me today are my grades– and I can say the same of most of my employers. But the education system makes us believe that there’s no life beyond mediocre grades or failure in an exam.

  • Indira says:

    How sad. These things are impossible to forget. This reminded me of my friend who burned to death while making tea for her brother.

  • That was sad and it made me think of those who I have lost even before I got to know them them. Too hard that sometimes children go through such things.
    I too had those pony tails (that’s how I call them) when I was in school πŸ™‚
    Great post and I am happy I took up the challenge! Just published the post. Do visit when you get time.

    • Damyanti says:

      Parul, thanks for participating, and your kind words.

      Ponytails, yes we called them ponytails, too. Mine weren’t long enough at the time, so pigtails they were πŸ™‚

      I’m glad you’re enjoying the blogfest– hope you’re able to cherish and grow your community in the process.

  • Oh, so heart-rending. If only we had the wisdom of our older years when we’re young and struggling and lacking the perspective that only time brings. Your memories are a kind tribute and full of compassion. Thank you for sharing.

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, the recklessness of youth, and the wisdom of age. We all make mistakes in our youth, but most of us have the opportunity to survive and learn from them.

      Some are graver than others, and very sadly, some are final. I have prayed often for D in the last decades, and she’ll be in my prayers and memory for as long as i have both.

  • Dan Antion says:

    This is so sad Damyanti. I have lost friends over the years, including ones that I was certain that I’d have plenty of time to make additional memories. I can understand why you cherish this. I hope it can become more of a good memory as time goes on. We can’t always control the affect that others have on our lives and our memories.

    • Damyanti says:

      Dan, I remember you writing about a friend, too. You’re right, we have no control over how we affect each other’s lives. I try to make my influence as limited, positive and benign as possible. I’m not sure I always succeed, but I try.

      I’ve been a very immature girl most of my life, till life slapped me hard a few times, and taught me to cherish, to linger, to be less reckless, more caring, and hopefully, more empathetic.

      I don’t know why this photo wanted to be shared, I thought I’d made peace with it quite some time back. Apparently not.

      Thanks for the visit, the comment, cohosting this blogfest with me, and your friendship. Much appreciated. You’ve definitely been a positive influence on my life.

  • bikerchick57 says:

    Thank you for opening up to vulnerability. This is a sadly beautiful story. I can’t imagine how this young girl felt so devastated by one failing grade that she took her own life. We can be such horrible enemies to our positive, good self. I’m glad that you have the photo. It holds memories for you of a smiling girl, they way that you want to remember her.

    Thanks for organizing the blogfest. I’m looking forward to reading others’ posts and perhaps finding a few new bloggers to follow.

    • Damyanti says:

      Mary, you’re so right– we can be enemies of our positive self. That smiling girl in the photo is who swims in front of my face, and funnily, as I grow older, I think of her more often.

      Thank you for participating in the blogfest– and I hope to hear from you more often.

  • Sammy D. says:

    It is one of the hardest of life’s harsh lessons, Damyanti, and one we never forget, always regret. That your friend’s young end-of-life should come needlessly by her own hand magnifies the sorrow immeasurably.

    Although it often feels like what remains is our empty wishes that we could have done more or been kinder or more aware, we honor those we’ve lost by sharing them with others, as you’ve just done. We honor them by learning the lessons of those losses – to give more time and attention during the most routine times.

    We are all such innocents, until we’re not. But we can help each other carry the weight and it becomes more bearable.

    • Damyanti says:

      Sammy, I’d honestly thought I’d left this behind– I’m decades and thousands of miles away from this story now. But we carry our pasts with us, and once in a while, must confront it. I did learn my lesson from D, but I wish she didn’t have to pay such an overwhelming price for us to learn it.

      • Sammy D. says:

        I understand. I lost a classmate in 10th grade and one in college. The magnitude of their absence haunts me still.

  • Well… it’s a hell of a story, so touching it seems almost fictional. How right you are about youth – clueless, clumsy and carefree. I recognised many of the emotions I felt at that time in your words. And about it, I’ll tell a funny thing: I always had bad grades in maths in high school because I quarrelled with the teacher in day one, and I refused to study something I otherwise loved… and guess what? Now, among other things, I teach probability and statistics at the University. You can’t escape your destiny, or so it looks like πŸ˜€

    • Damyanti says:

      It is crazy how we all felt the same emotions at certain stages of our lives, despite each of us being so unique. And as a teen, we feel we’re the only one suffering!

      I hated maths, physics, chemistry in school, and stayed away. Majored in English, and am now an author. There were many sidetracks on the way, however. Wish I had found the straight path that leads to today. Maybe there wasn’t one– and I needed all the experience to become the person I am now.

  • Debbie D. says:

    What a heartbreaking story πŸ™ One never knows what motivates someone to kill themselves. It’s hard to believe something like a bad grade could be that devastating! Photos are always precious, but even more so in this instance. May you always remember the good times.

    • Damyanti says:

      I try to remember only the good times, and not worry that I wasn’t there to prevent the catastrophe. D was so bright that I guess she couldn’t understand failure. In those days in India ( as now, I guess) we had very little counselling and not many avenues for help when one felt vulnerable.

  • Yes grades and pressure can tear someone apart..That’s terrible. I’m sorry.

  • cynthiamvoss says:

    Thank you for sharing your memories of your friend. It is a touching story, and I’m sorry for your loss.

  • How sad! What a terrible reason for ending a life. Sorry you don’t have more of the physical memories, but sounds like she’ll always be in your heart.
    I’ll be posting for the blogfest on Monday.

  • When I opened up the page and saw the picture, I thought this was about some happy picnic time, but as I read the content, I was quite shocked. However, being in India, I do keep listening to such news all the time which is heart-breaking. Young lives carelessly giving up, so easy. I used to be like that, and sometimes I do give up easily, but I always believe that you always get a second chance and that is when you can change things the way you want it. Thanks for sharing your cherished object with us.

    • Damyanti says:

      I don’t know if she gave up, or if she just wasn’t given the right perspective on life. In our times, the pressure to succeed can be so unrelenting. Thanks for your thoughts, Sharukh, and for cohosting with me.

      • I can understand that. If you read my Cherished blog you will know it. However, I looked at it differently. The pressure to make my mother happy was higher than passing with flying colours.

  • This is a jewel – my heart’s moved far beyond anything I might find words to express. But you both feel very close.

    • Damyanti says:

      Thankyou, Phyllis. I did feel close. But maybe we weren’t after all– because if we were, maybe I would have known…well, I guess in such situations friends and family always carry that guilt.

  • agmoye says:

    I thought your name sounded familiar, nice Cherish blog

  • leesha0304 says:

    A sad story. It is truly heartbreaking when a life is cut short, and so difficult to understand when someone takes their own life. I understand why you cherish the picture so much, and I’m glad that with this photo you’ll always have something to remember her.

    • Damyanti says:

      It was a devastating experience, coming to know of her passing months after the event. In some ways, I think I have yet to come to terms with it. I don’t need a photo to remember her, because I can see her unaging face as clear as day, but yes, it is nice to be able to hold the photo sometimes. Thanks for stopping by and taking the time to comment.

  • What a sad story! I can remember how important grades were to me when I was young as well. It seems so silly now. It’s a wonderful photo and yes, I wore my hair in pigtails too back in the day.

    • Damyanti says:

      Yes, youth, right. So much changes with the years. Thanks for stopping by and the comment. Pigtails were considered ok for a teen in those days πŸ˜€

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