Okii Dokii Artichokii

He was sitting in the café situated in the heart of the city, waiting for her.

Wait!

Don’t misconcept this story as a regular heart aching or head banging story. Our protagonist here is waiting for his best friend.

Let’s come back to the story now.

It’s been like one and a half hours since he was waiting.

“Late again.” He murmured.

So finally after a long tiring and boring wait, she arrived.

“Sorry. I’m really really sorry.” She apologized.

“It’s ok. I’m here since last one and a half hour ONLY.” he said making a silly face.

“Don’t make me feel guilty. I just said sorry.” She said making a guilty but bit irritated face.

“Are we going to play this sorry, it’s ok game whole day?”  He complained.

“Sorry?” she questioned.

“Who the hell is going to hug me idiot. It’s been like 18 months since we last met.” He said.

“Awwww” She said and gave him a tight hug.

“Missed you Bud.” She said.

“Missed you too Panda. It feels so good to see you after such a long time.” He replied. ”Well I think its fine now. Leave me, I’m suffocating.” He joked.

“Hawww. That’s so mean.” She said pushing him back. “So how life is going?”

“Absolutely amazing. Accounts are overloaded, still no money in hands. Bank servers are jammed so if your card works, you are a lucky person.” He winked.

“Dude, stop acting like a finance minister. You sound so boring.” She said hitting his head “Hey you damn fucked up spirit, get out of my Bud’s head. Understand? Otherwise I leave you in such a condition that you will forget your own body.”

“Says the enchantress.”

“Yeah.” She said and started laughing like they are unaware that where they are.

“How’s your hottie dude? It’s been so long without any post or pic.” She asked.

“Ohh She? She left me. 3 months ago.” He answered.

“OOOH. Sorry. Didn’t know that.” She apologized.

“Ah, don’t feel sorry. It’s absolutely ok. Actually I’m happy now you know. You don’t know how feels roaming like an open wild bull around the city.” He said.

“Lol.” She giggled.

“Oh god. Please not again.” He complained.

“What happened?” She asked.

“You know it very well what happened. I seriously, desperately, eagerly want to meet the person who abbreviated a nice decent Hahahahahahaha into the clichéd LOL.” He told making a sick face.

“Awww.” She said making her signature cute face which always made him fall 10 feet deeper.

“Shall we order something? I’m hungry.” He asked.

“Didn’t you have something?” She questioned.

“Yes. 3 glass of water.” He answered.

“Hawww. Sorry it was just the excitement and flow. Sorry sorry sorry. Let’s see what do they have?” She said picking up the menu card.

“Actually we should leave.” He said.

“Why? What happened?” She questioned.

“They have a very boring menu. That’s why I had only water.” He said and laughed.

“Lo…. Hahahahahahaha” She laughed watching his facial expressions as she was going to say which always made him mad.

“Better.” He giggled.

“Fine. So where should we go?” She asked.

“I don’t know. I’m don’t live here anymore. You know this city better than me now. So what do you suggest?” He said.

“Hmmm, I know a place and you are pretty familiar with it.” She said,

“Where?” He asked.

“Come with me.” She said.

“But whe…….” She dragged him before he could finish his sentence.

In next few minutes they were sitting in the basement of the food joint where the budding friendship between both of them grew up into a beautiful flower.

“So tell me girl. What’s going on these days?” He asked.

“Mmmm nothing special. Same boring job, same boring routine and same beautiful dreams.” She winked.

“I thought you loved your job.” He said.

“Yes. I used to, until it became my headache.” She complained. “It used to be pretty decent, good job earlier. But then I realized that you cannot judge a book by its cover. You know when you start something; either you hate it first and love it later or vice versa. In my case, it’s vice versa.”

“Whoa. That’s a whole lot of philosophy. If you hate your job this much then why don’t you quit?” He said.

“I thought of doing so. But what if I quit and don’t find a new job easily? So it would be better if I look for a replacement and then quit.” She answered.

“Hmmm. So found any?” He asked.

“Yes I’ve shortlisted some. Well leave it. Let’s not talk about this boring topic. You came back after this long just to discuss my job?” She said.

“No.” He answered.

“So stop being so formal.” She said.

“Sorry. But I cannot think of anything else.” He said.

“It’s ok. Ah here’s our token number.” She said.

“Hmm.” He said.

“What hmmm? Act like a gentleman. Go get the order idiot.” She giggled.

“Aye Aye captain. “ He said and stood up to get their order.

“Let’s go out.” He said after they finished their meal.

“Why? Let’s sit here and talk Na.” She said.

“I want to experience our old walk and talk.” He said.

“Ah. How can I forget that? Let’s go bud.” She said, excited.

“This time, we will have a long walk.” He said.

“Fine.” She said and both left the food joint.

It was pretty cold outside. But for them, weather condition meant nothing. They talked about everything, like they are not going to meet again. From old friend to how they started talking, old relationships to their classmate’s dog.

“Annie, can I say something?” He said after a long pause.

She knew that whenever he addresses her in this way, there’s something serious. There’s something which is bothering him.

“Is everything okay Faiz?” She asked.

“Oh yes. Everything is fine. It just like I feel so overwhelmed with gratitude and emotions. You don’t know how it feels to be alone.” He said.

“It’s fine. It just the distance that made you boring.” She said.

“Not the distance. Circumstances, fucked up job, singlehood, what’s not there to make me sick. You remember I was the one who always howls about living alone, independent, achieving everything on your own.” He said.

“Yes. I remember. But you’ve achieved a lot. Way more than you expected.” She said.

“But that comes at a price Annie. You don’t know how it feels like being in a city for 4 years but still feels like a stranger, alone. Everyone you meet is just for the career scope. By the end of the day, it’s just you and your loneliness. I’m so alone there. Despite being surrounded by a number of people, I’m alone.” He said.

She noticed him, his voice. Teary eyes, heavy throat. She kept silent.

By the very next moment, she hugged him as tight as she could. All of his emotions, his grief came out as a flood of tears.
“It’s okay bud. It’s okay. Remember, you are not alone. No matter how far we live, not matter how distant we are. I’m always here for you, always. Now don’t cry. You are my strong bud. My stupid bud. My bestest bud.” She said holding in her arms.

“Okii.” He said.

“Dokii.” She said.

“Artichokii.” He said.

“Here comes my old bud.”  She said.

Afraid of change?

There they are.

Dim lights, scary silence, messed up room and them?

Sitting in the corner. Thinking about their decision again.

Because once again their friend’s attitude towards them left them heartbroken.

But why?

Just because they thought beyond their regular attitude?

Just because this time they thought of being the real version of themselves? The other, better, refreshed version who thinks about them this time. Instead of making others happy no matter if they deserve the joy or not, this time they thought living for them only.

At least whatever step they will take from now on good or bad, they will be the sole bearer of their actions.

They will be the only one who celebrates their success with bottoms up.

They will be the only one who scolds themselves for the silly mistakes.

Yes they are changed. The person you used to know is changed now. They are still your old friend, your old loving caring friend. But that old friend is now the better version of themselves. The friend still loves you. The friend still cares for you. The friend still thinks of you.

OK answer one question.

Is it bad to think about our self? Is it bad to love our self? Is it bad to think ahead of the habit to make others happy and forget about our self?

No?

Then why are you afraid?

Your friend just chose to ride a new path which will lead them to explore the real person who lives inside.

Believe me, this change is the one hell of a good change. And now it’s your duty to be with them.

Stay with them until the end and celebrate the change because that’s what friends are supposed to do no!