For my friends – new & old

Friendship 1

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.

 

THE END

 

 

A dialogue between Rohan & Archie

 

It’s a hot sultry afternoon. Rohan (R) has returned from school and isn’t particularly in a good mood. Not because anything awful happened, because the school isn’t Podar, Mumbai. And he misses everything Mumbai sorely. So just back from school is never a good time for R.

For Archie (A) a bad day is when he’s taken to the vet or the salon for a bath. Otherwise for His Royal Highness, every day is exactly the same. An absolute bliss.

R walks in, flings his bag on the study table, chucks his shoes across

R: Hi Dog! What’s up..

A: Hi. U tell me. U r the one who leads the dog’s life. (smirks)

R: (changing the topic)…I can see you’ve got a hair cut.

A: I’m not the only one, ha, ha. But then after you lost the curly top, I knew it would be my turn.(deep sigh!!)

R: yeah! But look what’s she done to your tail…omg…u look..(rohan guffawing loudly)

A: Shut up!! Or do u want me to tell mom to post your baby pix on FB and tag u on it. I’m sure the cute hot chick with whom u whatsapp all night, will love to see them.

R: What the F r u talking about…what hot chick…and anyways, mom’s been unfriended.

A: even worse. She will post it on GGnn moms and all aunties will go mushy gushy over you. And since u r stuck here in this little cosmopolitan village, it would be fun to see the aunties pull your pimply cheeks. (rolling over twice and grinning)

R realizes that he is losing to the dog. And that’s just not acceptable.

R: Ok, wanna play ball. Let’s get the red ball.

A: rolls his eyes up and down and woofs…what do I look like…a dog. I don’t play ball. Just switch on the frickin AC, it’s bloody hot. (he looks up at the AC, whines and wags his tail). I’m going to sleep while u crack trigonometry.

R: holy cow!!

A: I knew u wd forget. The big fat walrus is coming today and he’s taking a test. U r going to fail. U r going to fail…wot fun. And u wouldn’t go to college and thank god for that!!

R grabs Archie’s face and looks sharply into his liquid brown eyes. What do u mean? Why don’t u want me to go to college?

A: with u gone, I will be the sole target of mom’s love and attention. She wouldn’t have you to fuss about. Do u know how much she embarrasses me in the poo park? Gawd!! The names she calls…and yesterday she was making the sound to help me crap. It’s so embarrassing. I don’t need audio help to shit. The bitches were laughing at me. But no, mom had to say loudly..archie good potty. Good potty!!

R: I feel you bro. She gave me the family sandwich hug and posted it on FB.

They both flop on the floor. Rohan picks up the trigo text book and stares at it ruefully while Archie cuddles up closer near his knee.

Mom, from the other room… “OMG!! Just look what I found. Rohan!! I found the cute pink T-shirt that I bought for u when you were 4. Archie!!!

A and R look at each other. A scrambles for cover. R is now rocking with laughter.

A: Brother! U need to help me. She is going to make me wear a pink Tee and tie blue ribbons on my head…Rohan this isn’t a laughing matter. U know mom has issues.

R: almost choking…how do u know, she has issues.

A: dude, she fed me cerelac with the same spoon that she used to feed you. What do u think!! Bro…u gotta help me

R: what do I get in return…

A: I will share dad’s money and the houses with you. U do know they are leaving everything to me.

Rohan faints. Archie tries to hide under the bed but realizes he’s too fat and then dives behind the curtain.

 

Letter to Rohan…

life pix

 

 

Dear Rohan,

You just celebrated your 16th birthday! And there’re so many things I want to tell you. I can see you rolling your eyes at what you think is another mushy gushy note from the heart. Yes, it’s from the heart; how can it not be. It’s from a mother to her son. But this one isn’t mushy gushy at all. It’s anything but.

You are approaching the age when you’ll step into the world alone and chart a path for yourself. You’ll live the life that you were meant to live. Yes, I know you just can’t wait to be free of your helicopter, tiger mom!!

I don’t care if you forget to bathe, cut your nails or hair (dear! God!!!)…but don’t forget the following..

 

  1. Things will go wrong Yes, believe me they will. That’s what life is about. Things go awry. Things don’t go the way we plan and the way we hopelessly want them to. And when they do, I don’t want you to lose hope. Believe in yourself.  Be with your friends, swim, play your guitar or beat the hell out of your drums, take a holiday…but never give up. For as good turns to bad, bad gives way to the good. Things pass. Nothing stays the same forever. So if you’re stuck with a boss from hell. A colleague who takes credit for your work. Get passed over the coveted promotion which you thought was yours. Just hold it together. The uuggh! phase will pass. And while this phase has you in its grip, try to stay away from beer and pizza. It’ll be tough but try.
  2. Opportunities will come all at once, never one at a time. You will have an important meeting to prepare for and the chance to perform at the hip pub …all together. You’ll tearing your hair cursing God why does He have to pile your plate up so much?? Why?? He does this to everyone. That’s why He is called Fiddler on the roof. (watch the movie some day, it’s brilliant). This is just His way of testing you, your capability and your burning desire. How much do you love what you do? How far are you willing to stretch yourself? If you think your trigonometry tests are the worst ever…wait for life to happen. That’s when the real rock & roll begins!! So baby, learn to juggle. Drop a few but you’ll eventually learn. I did too.
  3. Never lose touch with your school friends. They know you, the real you. No matter how far you go in life, how much money and fame you make; keep this bunch close, really close. They will be the rock in your life. And there’s no better camaraderie than sitting down with the school bunch and talking about how shamelessly you cheated in the bio exam. (Yes, I know. Mummy knows everything!). Make the effort to stick to the plan and meet them. Once again, you’ll tested. Your friendship will be tested. You’ll have the networking event that you’ve waited for months on the very day when the gang is meeting. Don’t falter even for a second. Meet the gang. Money and connections will come and go. Friends are for life.
  4. You’ll be let down by the one you love the most. Your best buddy or may be the person you love. I hope this doesn’t happen but it can. We are often hurt by those whom we love the most. And I hope and pray that you are lucky in love, life and friendship. But if this happens, promise me you wouldn’t lose faith. And you wouldn’t shut yourself away. For there’s nothing worse than being without love or friends.
  5. Always dance in the rain! Or cycling will also do. The simple joys of life are often left behind as we grow older. Don’t let that happen. Have fun! Get soaked to your skin. Have chai at the roadside stall. Munch a bhutta. Play football with the kids on a muddy field. Bunk office and spend the day watching movies, reading books or playing music…don’t let go of the child in you.
  6. Don’t stop dreaming and chasing your dreams. Give it your all and then some more. Even if you lose, at least you’d know that you tried and gave your best.

 

And last of all, baby… what I wish may seem odd to you today but someday you’ll understand. I hope you never have a bed of roses. I don’t wish a path strewn with thorns but just enough hurdles to challenge and bring out the best in you. A bed of roses makes one complacent and lazy. No one has ever achieved anything in life without taking on difficulties. It’s only after we’ve fallen that we rise up and run to the finishing line. So every time you stumble and fall, struggle and lose; I will cringe and  hurt as all mothers do; but I’ll steel myself so that you can pick up yourself and walk tall.

Love you now & forever,

Mushy-gushy mummy!