Shantanu came into my life when I was at my lowest. I was 19 and had dropped out of college after clearing my first year because I had gone into clinical depression. All thanks to a bad breakup with the so-called love of my life, who not only cheated on me emotionally but financially as well. As if that wasn't enough, he also pressured me into getting physical with him. From someone who was always happy-go-lucky and confident, I had become a shell of the person I never used to be.
I could not even share all of this with my parents because I never knew what to say... My health started declining and my parents took me to doctor who told them that I was suffering from depression. I had also become an insomniac and stopped venturing out of the confines of my home.
That was when I met Shantanu.
Instead of calling his friend, he had dialed the wrong number in his half conscious state. He was obviously drunk, I could tell by his slurred speech. I don't know why, but I didn't hang up. I kept listening to him and after a few minutes he slept while talking on phone itself and I disconnected the phone. I still don't know what compelled me to stay on the line that long but I did. I barely spoke to my family at this point, trusting a stranger was another ball game altogether.
Next morning, that call was still fresh in my mind. I was hoping for safety for that drunk stranger when I saw a new message notification on my phone screen from him. He apologized for the previous night's behavior and asked my name. I was really hesitant to share my name and tried ignoring him by telling him that it's ok. But somehow he was adamant about speaking to me. The same evening, he messaged again, asking my name and thanking me.
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I was really scared by then and didn't know what to do. Before I could write him a message to stop messaging me, as he was a stranger, I got a call from him. I picked that call and I guess that's when things changed for me. We exchanged names and his husky voice was somewhat soothing, so I kept listening. He asked me not to be scared as he just wanted to talk to me because he liked my voice.
I guess that night God was helping me out of my pathetic situation by sending him into my life. I gave up trying to avoid him and we spoke for 30 minutes that first night.
Soon, it became a routine and we talked about random stuff. I used to talk very less and had still not shared my past with him (I was skeptical) while he used to talk about everything - including his girlfriend.
Surprisingly we bonded well as we shared lot of common interests and thoughts. This went on for 8 months when finally he asked me to share my pictures. I was now scared because I still could not trust him totally and told him so. He was hurt but did not insist and asked me to do so at my own pace. But he did share his picture via email and my first thought on seeing his picture was that he was cute.
That night I was really in my low zone and had been crying for hours. I had also taken my medication and was not in my complete senses. I remember thinking that he won't call that night because I had refused to send him my pictures but I guess I was wrong.
He called and on hearing my trembling voice, he was really concerned. I don't remember much about what I shared with him but I remember getting up in the morning and seeing 30 unread messages and 10 missed calls. Few minutes after I had opened my eyes, he called again. The first thing he asked me was was if I was okay and why was I shrieking and crying in my sleep. I did not know what to share so I disconnected the call and messaged him that I will call back later. I avoided his calls and messages the entire day but I knew he was strong headed and won't give up so easily.
After a lot of hesitation I told him about my past with a strong feeling of this being his last call because who would like to speak to someone who had such a horrible past? But he again proved me wrong. After listening to my entire story, instead of keeping down the phone he was trying to cheer me up. That night we actually ended up talking till the wee hours of morning and this changed the course of my life.
The next morning, he practically begged me to meet him at a place of my choosing. I agreed and in the evening we met at a coffee shop in South Extension. When I entered coffee shop he was already waiting for me and we met like long lost friends. There was no awkwardness inspite of this being our first meeting since that phone call 10 months ago.
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That day, that wrong number changed my life for good. He became my friend with whom I could talk and share anything. More than a friend he became my confidant, my motivator who helped me in getting back to my old self. He helped me in regaining my lost confidence and self esteem. He was the one who pushed me to go back to college and finish graduation. Whenever I fell, he was there to hold my hand and pick me back up.
In spite of all this we both never had any romantic feelings towards each other but yes, he was my best friend. After 1.5 years of knowing him, I introduced him to my family and they also loved him. Time flew and we remained friend for the next 8 years. Our bond only grew stronger and better. Because of him, I believe that some people are just sent to make you a happier person in life.
*Names changed to protect privacy
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Published on Oct 27, 2016