M finally tied the knot. That too, to the cutest guy I knew in the Timesgroup, Response dept! They came home yesterday really late for a dinner of luchi, alu-chochhori and kasha magsho (all prepared by your’s truly). I hope all of you even at the back of the beyond heard that trumpet. Good. Now to continue.
In the course of our chat, we realized, M & I have been friends for the last 14 years, never having lost track of each other despite the distances travelled. It was a wonderful feeling. Of course, it’s been much much longer with Urmea, my “nappy friend” (ok, ok, agreed we’d just grown out of our nappies then!!). And the distances travelled in this case runs across seven seas!! But thank God, nothing’s changed between us. There are a couple of others whom I’ve known for a li’l over 7 years (S) and just over 17 months (R, plz compliment me on my maths, plz) respectively. They, too, are very close friends of mine. And I cherish each one of them, ‘cause they’re really who have kept me and still keep me alive.
So what’s it that makes us click, tick and talk? Even when we meet after years, months, days or even just hours, sometimes minutes?
Going back to my days with Urmi, I remember even after we spent some 8-12 hours with each other a day, we still had nearly half an hour’s conversation left to be completed either near Yoga Cure Centre, or near the red post box in front of Sanjukta aunty’s house (sorry all non-resident New Aliporean’s, but these are landmarks I couldn’t help but mention). What was worse, the moment we were out of each other’s sight, some other devil from gossipland would pop its ugly head up from behind the subconscious and had to be immediately passed on. So, an otherwise leisurely walk was cut short by a dash home; followed by incessant ringing of the door bell bringing the house down. Then, with total disregard to the raging Her Himmler, the phone was picked up and the devil barfed out. Pheeeeeeew! That felt really good. On the other side of the phone, too, one could distantly hear sentences like, “Weren’t you with her barely 5 minutes ago?” We both learnt these were questions best left unanswered;-)
With M, it was on another level altogether. She was just the friend I needed in the first year of college. The age when, to use a cliché, we all wanna break free. We were a group of 4 “wannabes” (one’s a celebrity now - Chandrani of Krosswindz and the other married a celebrity of sorts!!). And, there was M, lovingly called Mama, who had been there, done-it-all: cigarette in hand, a head full of pop and rock, leading us to the forbidden land! And for every drag of the cigarette I took, there always was moral guardian Urmea (in some other part of the city), asking “Why?” Obviously chose to ignore her, cause I could’ve also turned around and asked her “Why did u have to score obscenely in those stats tests in school and my Mom know abt them?” Miss goody two-shoes!
Anyways, going back to Mama, we’d troop down to our favourite haunt, the Momo house in a nondescript gully, which played all our favourite songs (everything from Beatles, Eagles, Simon & Garfunkel, Pink Floyd, The Doors to Baez, Sinatra,Dylan…the works). Bunking classes to climb the stairway to heaven….awesome. Though the other two have drifted apart for obvious reasons (even tho’ both M & I still exchange smses with Chandrani), Mama and I stuck on. Still remember, the midnight calls to discuss Floyd!! (First time she called at that hour, Her Himmler freaked!!) Both of us pursued journalism, worked for national dailies, albeit in different cities, and then she finally followed my footsteps to Bangalore. In Bangalore, we both ended up working for the infamous unmentionable group. She’s still there and has found her soul mate there too…Bless her heart!
S, the subtly naughty and extremely intelligent kid, came into the picture when I moved to Bangalore. And she’s been there, rock solid. Could run to her anytime at IE, midday or midnight, for anything and she’d have a solution. Me and my midnight fetish! Took an auto at 1 am from ET one night to meet her at IE and literally threw her twin out of bed so we could discuss irritant bosses and awesome books rest of the night, dragging on our sootas! Post marriage, of course, we’ve shared even more cherishable moments together. The surreptitious soota meetings at Java City, totally talli tete-e-tetes at Tavern… oh how I miss them. Why did u have to move to Maddening Mumbai, S?
All the above had been loyal footsoldiers in a my long-drawn hindi-moviesque battle for love. They were my family, when my biological family mercilessly slit the umbilical cord. They’re the ones who always ensured that the rollercoaster ride down didn’t last too long, palliated those moments and seamlessly turned those tears into my famous air-rending laughter. They were the wizards of friendship who helped me to break on through to the other side of life.
Dunno what’s kept them by my side though. I’ve never persevered to keep them. Rather, there’s never been a paucity of space – physical or otherwise - between us. We’ve been downright honest with each other, sometimes rudely so. And poles apart that we are, as two characters can ever be, together, we can burn a house down to ashes! That’s the reason why we always choose to meet at water(ing) holes ;-)
Mama thinks, we have adapted ourselves well to the changing circumstances in our lives and fitted ourselves into the scheme of things. R feels it’s a matter of perspective. I think, I’m just plain lucky to have these wonderful people around. I’ve never really counted the years that I’ve known Mama or Urmi or S or R. I’ve only recounted the incidents, cherished the moments and relived some of them over and over again with each of them. And never really felt bored. So what’s it about years? Like vintage wine, it’s only gotten better.
Always considered friendship the most important of all social behaviours. And friends, like crystal, the most valuable assets I own. Can’t barter them, can’t sell them, can’t loan them and certainly can’t lose them.