Tuesday, May 13, 2008

On friendship: the first

I’ve almost always taken my friendships too seriously. That has been my downfall in the past. This ‘too serious’ outlook is something that has given me, in slightly unbalanced parts, deep and meaningful friendships and heartache. Okay, greatly unbalanced, with the friendships far outweighing any dismissals.

I want to remember some of the good, deep, enduring kinds of friendships I (often we, although V will rarely admit it) have and I figure this is like my diary and when I come back in Oh 10 years, I’ll know this is what the 32 year old me thought and felt. So here is the first of many. These are the ones borne of nothing-in-common-but-everything-in-common. From way back in the day - my mid-20’s, which are seriously behind me now – when we were nothing but a gaggle of people joined together by strange strings. Even now when I think back I find it amazing that we became friends. It was a time of young love and newly grown-upness. A group of boys, of which V was one, shared a flat and lived off the omlettes cooked by a bird called Emu. Their assorted friends with girl/ boy friends practically lived there. Before we could say the words “road trip” we were on it, the journey of a lifetime, sharing food, copious amounts of alcohol and talking till all the words ran out. Girlfriends and their siblings, friends from college, school, work - everyone was accepted into the group. Except the upstairs neighbours.

We spent so much time doing nothing (but together) that my mother often yelled at me for using her house like a hotel, for laundry and the odd breakfast. We were young and indefatigable. We roamed the streets of Delhi in auto’s and shiny new cars (one of which we practically watched get stolen from outside the patio doors), ate our body weights in momo’s at Dilli Haat and drove through blinding fog to watch movies in far flung cinema halls. We played card games, took ridiculous photographs, hosted massive parties, drank like fish, kept Domino’s Pizza’s in business, spent every penny of what we earned before we actually earned it. We traveled for engagements’ or just down the Delhi-Jaipur highway for a bite to eat. We endured power cuts, empty wallets and the 4 beating seasons that Delhi has on offer. For 2 whole years our weekday evenings and weekends were, well, ‘busy’.

And then in the flash of an eye everyone was gone, scattered around the globe, all grown up and taking those career building block, studying ‘a bit more’, getting married, building families, forging new ties. For the longest time we stayed in touch only sporadically, some with some and others with others. The odd phone call, the rarity of e-mail, the short lunch when in town – bits, but nowhere near the whole. And then, as if like settling dust from all the life changes, suddenly it was back to yesteryears. Three odd years ago one called saying he’d be in town and could he spend the weekend with us. We jumped at the chance and spent our days and evenings reminiscing about Bengali fish curries and movie nights. I was told I’d ‘mellowed’ but that V was ‘just the same’. Suddenly we were all on the phone more, e-mail more. One minute V was having lunch with ‘the student’ on a different continent. Another, the kid-turned-grown-up was in London town on work. then it was lunch in a swanky Bombay high rise, sipping beer on a hot summer’s day and watching the race course teem with people and horses. And there were not one but two adorable little boys to play with. Then some of them came to stay for a few weeks. Then we were in Gurgi-yon gurgling over baby buddy boy. Then it was a wander through a warm Christmas market on a cold German day with Student and Grown-up. And most recently, while I toiled in Bolivia, V enjoyed a weekend in Paris, walking to the Eiffel Tower with four and a half holidaymakers.

It is back to back then, as if no interruptions have occurred. I don’t even remember the years we weren’t friends. It’s almost as if we were friends but such good friends that what was a few years of exploring/ trawling the world for other friends before coming back?

I can’t explain it, this odd break but not in our friendships. We recently had the ‘student’ stay with us - for two whole weeks. It’s really hard to explain how we know her. It’s a long and complicated connection, one that we laugh over as a joke too often. We never tire of reciting the chronology of something that happened over 10 years ago now, repeating random/ movie dialogues that made us roll with laughter, pulling faces or rolling our eyes at some incident remembered.

I often thought that those were the best days of our lives - the most carefree, the most personality forming. But I’ve come to realise that really it’s not them, it’s these ones, NOW. Which mean more than ever because even though we’ve all changed (some unrecognizably, what with going bald, becoming fat etc.) we are basically the same people and even 11 years on we can still laugh at the same ridiculous things and talk about the deep and meaningful, often in the same breath. Our personalities as influenced by these friendships today as by them then. We remain a gaggle of friends and when I look back at this post I want to remember this warm, fuzzy feeling. Of back then and of right now.

Some ties are so tight, they bind us free. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.


  1. I can absolutely relate to this. Friends made during school/college years remain friends forever, no matter what you do, where you go, what your status is... Those are the best times shared with them..

  2. Loved this post!!!

  3. Wow! I'm blown away by the post, and especially the "Some ties are so tight, they bind us free."
    Lovely :-)

  4. shub stole the words from my mouth! that's such a perfect line; perfectly true.

  5. Anonymous10:02 PM

    What a beautiful, well written eloquent post as usual.
    I have done my bit for today, will be back here tomorrow for more.. :)

  6. Anonymous10:03 PM

    and gosh lady what are you doing with your talent ?? start writing that book now...i promise to proof-read :)

  7. Beautifully written and so true. I do believe that evey stage in life has its own charm. But then, the Dilli Haat momos made me nostalgic for my journalism days in Delhi... sigh!

  8. Anonymous4:33 PM

    I can so relate to the last two lines, which are incidentally nothing short of 'very quotable quote'. :-)

  9. Anonymous6:28 PM

    This post is one of the best you've ever written, although I do declare that your subject matter was of superior quality too :)
    Glad we're friends, 30 in 2005.
    And as I always tell you, get on with the damn book now!!!

  10. Thanks for the comment on the blog.I didn't think anybody had noticed I'd disappeared :)

    Truth is, we've been travelling, things have been happening, lives are a'changing. I've got some drafts on the blog - haven't had the inclination to complete them, thinking that nobody but our families read them anyway - and they already know everything!

    Will pick up the thread again soon. Thanks for missing me :)

  11. Thanks all!

    and Bosk: Yes, superior subject matter makes all the difference! No book....no time or inclination or stories to tell.

  12. fantastically written... Loved it ..