Tag Archives: friends

An ode to special friendships

There are friends. And then there are friends. Some who are fun to be with, so you always like to call them over for a drink and have a good laugh. There are the long distance ones – friends with whom you can take off where you left the last time you spoke. Then there are friends who are selfless and genuinely loving. Who do things that touch your soul, without really expecting anything in return.

This here is my tribute to a few of these wonderful people. Some who are, sadly, no longer with us in this world. And some with whom we have lost touch, yet we remember them everyday and wish them well wherever they are.

 Sujatha Rao. A terrific human being. A great cook. Cheerful, caring, loving. They don’t make them like her any more. We met during a holiday to Masai Mara, Kenya. Sujatha’s warmth and big smile drew me to her. We spent 3 exciting days with Sujatha and her husband Kiran. They were such a great couple, full of life, love and laughter. Kiran had a witty repartee with everything we said and there really was not a dull moment with them around.

After the holiday we kept in touch. I still remember the happy dinner invitations to their house. In fact, I can still smell and taste the most amazing Bisi Bele Bhath made by Sujatha. Also, once I travelled alone, and had a wonderful overnight stay at their home.  They made me feel loved, wanted and so very safe. It was like going home to mom.

We lost touch thereafter. A baby came along and life got into a regular routine. On 1st May this year, we got a call from Kiran saying Sujatha is critically ill and may not live very long. She passed away peacefully in her sleep a few days later.

I hope you are happy wherever you are Sujatha. I know we did not keep in touch. But I can never forget your smile and the warmth you exuded. You are one of the few genuinely nice human beings I have met. I will miss you.

 Giri. When I think of you Giri, I remember your happy chuckle. The smile that lit up your face. Your roly poly walk. Your fascination for watches and fancy gizmos. Your love for simple food. Always rasam with raw banana curry – diced into small cubes and roasted to crispy perfection. Or your second favourite – ladies finger mildly spiced and roasted to perfection. I love the time you spent with us in Muscat. You helped me pack and shift my home. And pampered me with great food and attention. Those were happy days for you too when your health and your family were with you. Life was not kind to you thereafter. Your failing health, your bad luck with jobs and your agonizing personal life may have taken away that happy chuckle. I don’t know. And in a way I’m glad I did not see you so ill and unhappy. In my mind now you’re always happy, chuckling and smiling. I did not know how ill you were and it came as a shock when I got a call one morning saying you are no more. What really broke my heart was the sight of your mother smiling bravely and telling us that she was glad you will not suffer any more. Perhaps she is right. Life here was not kind to you. I like to believe that you are happy wherever you are. Surrounded with people who love you with the same selfless intensity as you are capable of.

 Izzy. I remember those days when you were young and penniless. When you came to live with us because you could not afford to pay your room rent, I was suspicious of you. Turns out I was so wrong about you. What an amazing human being you are! Extremely intelligent, caring and capable. You surprised us by marrying a French girl and then further surprised us when your marriage survived many years despite all odds. It was amazing to see you handle your two boys. You really are such a great father to them. I would be such a bitch if I forget how you took care of Ravi when he was convalescing in Gurgaon after an ankle fracture. You kept him on a diet of spicy gongura pickle, rice and beer. It did wonders to his spirit (yes, pun intended). He had such an amazing time with you and I’m eternally grateful to you for taking such great care of him when I could not be there. Now, sadly, we’re not in touch. I know your fragile marriage has finally broken down. I know that you are somewhere in Paris, hoping to release your first book. If I know you well, you will beat the odds, surprise everyone and rise up beyond expectations. I hope you are out there living your dream and I hope one day soon we will meet you again…

This one’s for you dear friends. Your love and friendship holds a special place in my heart. This one is a prayer that you are happy, living your dreams and spreading joy, wherever you are.

Seeking – girlfriends!

Woman in mid-30’s seeks girlfriends. Preferably with young kids. Fair, dark, dusky…any complexion. Any caste or religion.

If you thought finding the right man was tough, well, try finding a girlfriend that you get along with. Or is it just me? Am I too weird to find friends?

It’s not like I don’t get along with people. I do. Or at least I try hard to.

At one time I decided I would join the group of mothers whose kids go for dance class with my daughter. So I went up to them and introduced myself. After pleasantries were exchanged they delved into the subject of school. Studies. Marks. Homework. Assignment. Test. Exams. Writing skills. Teachers. School politics. Extra curricular activities. And on and on. Until my mind boggled. By the end of it I felt mighty stressed! I felt inadequate – like I was not doing enough for the daughters’ academics. The fear of what-if-I-fail gripped me. It honestly took me a while to get that feeling out of my system. I do not believe in stressing myself or the child over her studies. And I do not believe that her marks define who she is. Apparently this group thought it did.  Now I stay away from the bunch. After a polite hello I slink away for a lonesome walk.

Then there was this group of mothers I met at a birthday party. It went well enough until the topic steered towards the child’s lunch box. We exchanged ‘what do you give them for lunch’ questions. I innocently mentioned my list – pasta, sandwiches, rotis, pulav…I noticed a silence in conversation while I rattled off and paused. They were all gawking at me like I was from outer space. ‘Why don’t you give sambar rice etc?’ asked one mom. I told her my daughter would never eat it because she did not like rice very much. ‘But what nutrition is there in all this.’ Asked another. I assured her that I buy only wheat pasta and organic at that. Then suddenly one of them was most interested. Presto! She pulled out a notepad and pen from her bag. ‘Give me the recipe ya.’ She urged, her pen ready to fly. The others soon followed suit – as the collective opinion was that my weird lunch items can be given on special days. Soon they were all in position to write and looking at me expectantly. It was my turn to gawk. Really! Imagine being ready with notepad and all that. I never do that – this writing down recipes from other mothers I mean. I believe that every child has his or her own taste. You cannot impose one’s likes and dislikes on the other. So why try? But apparently they did not think so. Was I wrong? Yet again I felt inadequate.

Then there are those incredibly charming kinds. They are so wonderfully sweet and innocent that I find it too stressful to make conversation. I mean I think I’m a normal woman. I swear. I joke. I bitch. I giggle. I guffaw. But the oh-so-sweet kinds would never do that. They will ask you over for tea and say such nice things about you. Compliment you on your drab outfit, your frizzed hair and what not. And you find it hard not just to accept those compliments but to graciously pass on some in return. But then you feel obliged to. So then you mutter some nice things. And then you start to feel suffocated. Just the strain of having to make that conversation is tiring. Oh yeah I have such friends. I hate myself for saying this, because they really are sweet– but I avoid them like the plague!

Then there are the whiners, the husband and mother-in-law bashers. They look like they carry the weight of the world on their shoulders. Oh what would the world be without them? They cook, clean, wash, get their kids ready for school, make them study and do their homework. (Excuse me but don’t we all do that – some more, some less – but we all do it!) And the mother-in-law is most unappreciative. The husband is always supporting his mother. And on and on and on. Until I get most depressed. My point is no one’s life is perfect. We all have our issues. It’s the attitude with which we face them that matter. If I’m out with friends, I’d like to forget my troubles – not keep brooding and whining over it. I’m not saying these women are wrong…but I guess our chemistry just does not work.

Are there no women out there who don’t take their role as mothers, or wives, or home makers or daughters in law or themselves soooo seriously that they forget to enjoy it? Who can accept their flaws and laugh at them. Who can discuss their problems without whining? Who can move on in life and not dwell in the past? Who can have a good laugh and giggle over silly things. Who can drool over handsome men just for the heck of it! Who love window shopping more than shopping itself. Who love to laze around over a cup of tea…

Sigh. Woman where are you? If you are SHE, please get in touch with me please. I seek you. Desperately.

So, have I grown up?

Every New Year’s eve I used to have this urge to do something. To make it special. To make it memorable. Have to. Have to. Have to. I’m not sure this is because everyone we know is doing something. And then later they ask – how was your New Year’s eve and we feel compelled to say how exciting ours was. I’m ashamed to say just for this I used to plan ‘something’ for every New Years’ eve.

The last four years I’ve done nothing special. This year I was with friends on the eve. We just chatted around, watched some television, wished each other at 12 am and then promptly went off to sleep. So is that going to make my year any less special? I don’t think so.

How does celebrating on New Year’s eve make the year more special? How does getting drunk on this day ensure that you’re on a high all through the year? How does getting together with friends and creating a whole lot of noise ensure that you have a peaceful year ahead?

While we boring people sat watching television at home, we heard the noise on the road around us. I peeped from the balcony to see a bunch of youngsters on their bikes, all high on something, all talking loudly, all unsteady and suddenly they all got on to the bike and sped away to some place. In that flush of youth you really have no idea where life is taking you. As you grow older you realize that you do not choose your destination. Life does. The sooner you realize that, the better for you. No harm in celebrating on New Year’s eve but why endanger your own life and the life of others around you? Why do we need strict police rules to force us to behave in a civilized fashion?

The next morning we woke up to newspapers filled with stories about youth in their 20’s who died celebrating on New Year’s eve. Bike accidents. Car accidents. Young people in their 20’s who wasted their lives for nothing. There were pictures of their mourning parents. It broke my heart. What were they trying to celebrate, really?

All I want for this new year is to be able to take each day as it comes. To have the maturity to accept and handle what life throws at me. To be able to make sensible decisions even during life’s tricky moments. To not be pressurized by what is expected of me and to do what I feel is right. I know now that life makes its own plans. It took me so many years to realize that! But I’m glad that I’ve finally given in to that higher power. It leaves me feeling calmer and more relieved. I like this feeling. I’m no longer the monkey with a herd instinct. I’m me. Finally I have found that ‘me’ somewhere.

I want to thank all my friends and all those who sweetly visit my blog. You have all certainly been part of my growing up. (A special thanks to OTEE and Jairaj here). You have helped me see the light. You have made me believe in myself. You have helped me find me. This year is going to be fun – because I’m going to be spending it with all you friends. And me. Happy New Year dearest friends :)