Relationships: Colours of rainbow


You never know where or when you find people who will be your friends.

I met such a person during my college days, but we were not friends from day one. In fact our relationship started with me making fun of this person’s skin colour.

I remember his teeth shining white against his dark skin and his unusual hairstyle.

When I entered the class, all the seats were taken except the one next to him. So I sat next to him. At the end of the class, he stretched out his hand and said, “Hi! I’m Bony.”

I don’t know what came over me, but I distinctly remember myself saying, “You’re not bony. You look like one of the Bushmen from the Kalahari desert.”

I was so loud that everyone heard my hurtful remark and the class burst out laughing. I regret what I said then to this day.

None of the classmates were friendly with him and he was usually always alone. If he was included anywhere, he was there to be made fun of and to be the butt of all jokes.

Once in the canteen, he came over to join, but everyone started to leave just then and I was one of the last ones. However, he caught my hand and looked into my eyes. There was so much of hurting in those pools of unshed tear.

“Why does everyone avoid me? Is it because my colour is different from their?” he asked.

I was ashamed of what I’d been doing. And from that day we became friends.

Time went on, but the teasings did not stop though I’d done everything to stop all that. Then the day for our farewell arrived. By then I’d convinced all my friends to tell Bony how sorry they were for teasing him all this while.

But then Bony did not come for the farewell party. I rang his number only to find out that he’d already left for his native country.

After around six months, I received a mail from Bony. Inside the envelope were some cards and a photograph of Bony and a Bushman. Beneath it, he’d scribbled: “See the difference my friend. Do I still look like the one you are seeing in the photo?”

I felt ashamed. However, to Bony I’d like to say how sorry I am for my words via this column. And though you are seven seas away, I hope you will get to read this. and that we remain friends forever.