Friendship but not with regret

Messages will fly off the phones, facebook updates will be full-on, FM radio will be abuzz with dedications and malls will be abundant with them. Friendship Day is back. I don’t remember exactly when I began observing this day. For sure it’s not been more than 5-6 years. But perhaps it stuck the metros first with Karan Johar’s Kuch Kuch Hota Hai. Whatever! Today is friendship day and I dedicate this post to this very special relationship.

I grew up surrounded by friends in Riyadh and I had plenty of play mates there. I was the peacemaker in our group and loathed bickering and fights. Plenty of them were there in my building – Mallus, Bengalis and Maharashtrians. In the 10 years I spent there, I developed deep bonds not just with my friends, but also my teachers. I would spend a lot of time chatting with them and I presume I talked sweet little things they loved to listen. I remained in touch with my teachers for a pretty long time. With people moving across countries and mobiles phones not having come in, I lost touch with my teachers and my friends, as I moved to Dubai. I sensed the gap that had set in with my exit from Riyadh and with that entire set of relationships built over time had exited my life.

Dubai failed to strike a positive image in me. It was a beautiful plastic flower which looked good but lacked life. It was a place which respected money and the moneyed only. Friendship in such a place was hard to come by and yet I got one or two with whom I struck a good bond. But it lasted only till I stayed in Dubai for I lost in touch with them or rather I would say they failed to touch me. Even when emails and facebook have made their foray, we do not know much about each other .

After leaving Dubai, I remained in touch with my Hindi teacher who was extremely fond of me. In today’s times, such people are impossible to come by and yet I found them. We kept writing letters to each other because that was the medium she was comfortable with and writing with a pen and paper I knew the difference it made in the e-age.

I had a fairly good company during my graduation in Kerala. My grandmother had let out the upper portion of her house for rent and the doctors who came to stay there became very close friends. Both of them were preparing for their PG and would drop in every evening to have a chat. We would listen to music, watch movies and go out occasionally. When they left after one year, I sensed a vacuum for a long time. I got some good friends in college and talking to them developed my intellect, which was since long seeking to be teased. I started preparing for my MBA and the professors at the coaching institute became good friends. One of them was ebullient and full of life. We would spend evenings over music and poetry and glad to say, we still do so, whenever we find time. Some connections at the coaching institute continue to this day.

My departure from home shook me completely because for the first time I was away from my parents, more so from my mother. A single (not spoilt I believe) child, I got into hostel life and had a roomie who was not so much like me. People who I never thought would be more than acquaintances became my friends. My roomie with whom I hardly got along, the guitarist next door who irritated me with loud music, a loosely held loud extrovert who would arrive unannounced like a wind, a hardnosed journalist who would go to any extent to press her point and an obstinate but highly mature Chennai girl – so many relations were forged, which seemed, was for a lifetime. Some have got married now and some are in the process of getting married.

I somehow believe that the last set of true friends you make are in the college. For they usually like you for what you are and not for how much you earn or what post you hold. Once you enter the job market, you are tagged to so many other things and you never know whether the friendship is with you or with the thing tagged to you. Of the list of friends I can remember, and my memory doesn’t easily fail me in these matters, some have been good, some have been fair and some unfair. Some have stabbed me from the back and some have borne the stab even without informing me.

I have learnt something from all of them. It is not necessary that your friends think like you and share your interests. If it so happens, brilliant! But we all, who have friends, know that friendship is much more than that. It is easy to lose touch and muse over them with a faint chuckle and a drop of tear in your eyes. That is the most normal and mundane thing to happen. But I simply cannot let go the handful left with me in life. For gems are never found in abundance. These gems will be treasured forever and I have no desire to spend an evening musing over a window overlooking the sunset of life counting the moments I once spent happily with them. It is about the life at this moment. There might be times we talk more and times we talk less; but talk we will and continue this saga year on year…. filling page after page in the book of life. Every year should be a new edition and not a dusty book gone yellow with time.

Dedicated to those magicians who have changed my life in ways more than one

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