Memories Woven in Straw
by Gayathri Surendran

It was a day like so many before it, and like none that followed. We were a bunch of young doctors just done with our internship and awaiting the official sanction to fly. Our certificates were due to come in a week’s time and we decided to make the most of those last few days of college. We were about to say goodbye to the place that had been our home for close to six years, that saw us transform from insecure teenagers to surefooted adults, random strangers to closest friends. Friendships molded through tears and turmoil, pranks and frolic. The five of us wanted one last fling with life, one last journey together, before we went our separate ways.

The next dawn had us driving up winding roads to Kodaikanal. The place bustles with tourists all the year round and that day was no different. All along the roads were stalls selling cheap jewelry, handicrafts, toys, and other utterly nonessential items that you’re seemingly moved to haggle for, as no trip is complete without reckless spending and souvenirs. We found ourselves in front of one such shop and decided that the items on display were open to being manhandled. We started trying on various hats and wigs, taking pictures and making fools of ourselves, before the shopkeeper came forth to register his indignation. To hold our own, I ended up buying the hat that happened to be on my head at the time. The rest of the day as we ran among pine trees, climbed atop walls, and biked around a lake, the hat in turn made its way from one head to the other, imbibing our laughter, our hearts. and our spirits, before finally resting in my cupboard, as a reminder of all we were.

AUTHOR’S PHOTO CAPTION: My straw hat with a streak of pink and life. Taken during the trip to Kodaikanal, India, in March 2015.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Gayathri Surendran is a doctor passionate about languages and literature. She currently resides with her family in Kerala, India, preparing for higher studies, and writes in her spare time. This is her first published piece.