On Friendship day, this one is for my friends - all of them; the new and the old, those who stayed close and also those who moved away. Har ek friend kuch shikhata hai aur har friend zarrori hota hai. :)
I have moved cities and have had the good fortune to meet so many people, many of whom are my friends. When I look back and reminisce my journey and friendships, I realize that every stage I had friends who became the support I needed at that point in time. I hope I returned the favour too.
Whilst in school and college my friends were my mirror images. Casual, fun but not uncontrollably wild. At the risk of getting thrashed by some of them, the top of the class brilliant stars were never in my corner and I wasn’t in theirs either. I had friends who like me struggled in the same subjects and broke into similar cold sweat before exams. And not surprisingly, we all fared pretty similarly.
I married early and had my son early too. As a dear friend of mine so succinctly pointed one evening, months ago as we were plonked on her comfy couch sipping coffee laced with Baileys, “Girl you had Rohan in the pre-liberalization era. Even Shoppers Stop hadn’t opened then.” (LOL!!) Yes, I became a mother really early and my friends at that time weren’t single swinging gals who were out pubbing all night long. My group consisted of amazing women who like me had married early and were mommies to bouncy babies. So while we munched on chicken spring rolls from Andora in Bandra (Mumbai), sat in park benches as our tots played in the sand pit; these girls became the pillar of my life. They understood how critical it was to find a good activity class to keep the kid busy all through vacations. It had to be good and not too expensive. Our biggest nightmare was getting the brat admitted into a good school in nursery. I still remember the evening we celebrated when our kids got into AVM, nursery school. Wow!! Even our graduation paled in comparison.
I moved on and so did they. Life took all of us to different cities and countries. Facebook and whatsapp hadn’t happened, so we struggled to keep in touch. We managed. Few stepped away from the thread of friendship. The ones who remained, with them the bond grew stronger.
As Rohan was growing up, so was I. My work flourished, sometimes floundered as is the case with freelance writing. I met more people. Some of them helped me immensely in my work and some of them contributed to my growth as a person and mother. At every stage in my life I had friends who were exactly what I needed and wanted; not necessarily photocopies of me. Some were radically different and thank god for that! But each of them left an indelible mark on me. Changed me, affected me and helped me evolve. Some taught me interesting recipes, some made me a better mother, some lent a shoulder for me to cry on when I needed to and some held the mirror to me.
Never have I been more aware of this as I moved to Gurgaon. Leaving behind Mumbai and the comfort of old friendship was far from easy. But once again, I found myself in the company that helped me find my inner voice and give shape to a dream I nurtured for years. I wrote my first novel. I don’t think I could have done this without my new friends. Everything happened so fast, so soon; as though it were waiting for me.
It makes me wonder do we choose our friends or do our friends chose us? Or does life give us the right people for the different stages in our life?
To quote from my yet to be published novel, May be the people we love and feel a bond with are from our past lives. People whom we love through various lives. And may be one lifetime is not enough for love and friendship. So some loving souls follow us and find us in every life. Or maybe the souls find each other. They become the pillars which hold us and our lives together.
Thank you buddies for finding me and holding my hand. I hope I held yours too, when you needed it and even when you didn’t.