… as opposed to the weird kinds I mentioned in an earlier post.
People tend to think I have a bustling social life. And that my weekends are a series of parties. That I have more friends than most. And I always wonder, what the hell gives them this impression?
I am 34. I’ve been to 2 schools, 1 college, and 4 vocational courses. I’ve worked in 5 different companies. I’ve been a member in 3 different gyms/clubs.
I know people who would have used every opportunity to make friends, and build a hectic social life.
My friend Yauleen collects friends likes Imelda did shoes, and nurtures them like they were her sole sustenance in life.
But through my years of school, college and workplaces, I’ve been friendly enough with people, socializing with them, getting drunk and having fun. I keep in touch with most of them even today. However, are they my ‘friends’ as in my bum-chums, as in my shoulders to cry on, as in laugh till you pee, as in fart without a thought, as in confess without fear of being judged, as in till death do us apart?
The simple answer is: Nopes.
There are friends who would do good in one situation, but not in another.
There are very, very few who are my all-weather friends. And I place so much value on these friends and am so used to the ease of being friends with them, that I find it difficult to make news ones easily.
I’ve been thinking real hard on who my can’t-do-without friends are. If I were asked to choose as many or as few of them as I want, and keep them for life, at the cost of the rest, who would they be?
I came up with 5 names. I am tempted to say JUST 5. But I know that would sound greedy.
And of the 5, except for the first, I just can’t choose one over the other.
1. Roshan. My husband. I know it sounds all soppy and clichéd. But the fact is R is a better friend than husband or boyfriend. Over 12 years of knowing each other, and nearly 10 of being married, I still wonder what inspired me to marry a guy who was – to put it simply – a lousy boyfriend. We were not good friends who ended up together. It all happened simultaneously. I know one of the reasons I married him, and the reason I continue to be married (despite some very trying times) is because he is my best friend. It would break my heart to lose such a great pal. He knows just about everything about me. From my email passwords to which parent I prefer; from my pet peeves to my moments of hypocrisy. And he never judges, and never holds me ransom to the grave and embarrassing confessions I’ve made to him. Even when I am depressed or angry and feel I am done with this marriage, I know I am not done with his friendship.
2. Teesu. She is the only one in the list who is most like me. If I ever nag and harass and dump on anyone (barring R), it’s her. I met her in 1992-93, at college. We liked each other right away, but became friends over a period of time. We both shared a passion for letters. And we even now write a letter or card to each other, though we chat almost daily. Over the last few years, she has fished me out of terrible bouts of depression and loneliness. She is an awesome listener, and can be quite honest. She is a proper mother hen, and can make you float with the way she cares. But frankly, as great as all these qualities are, the reason I really will hold on to her for life is because she is MAD. Everyone needs a mad friend in life. She is mine.
3. Sangi. We’ve been together since high school. And we are SO different from each other. She loves to dress up, is artistic, but is in a boring profession (to me), very hardworking, can get her way with most people, loves to window-shop, is religious and disciplined when it suits her. That just about sums up what I am not (I have the interesting profession though). She is also the person whose habits and attitudes I most disagree with. S and I ended up doing things in tandem – we fell in love, got married, moved out of the country all within weeks of each other. She is someone I am so comfortable with, I can drop in unannounced at her place. Something I am uncomfortable doing even with family. We were there for each other, in a phase of our life when were metamorphosing from insecure adolescents to slightly more confident youngsters taking baby steps in our careers, to confident women who were ready to take the plunge and set up our families. If you can survive all that together, that friendship is for keeps.
4. Renoo. I laugh the most with her. Sometimes at her. The reason she and this friendship is so special is that she is worse than me at making ‘friends’. So let’s say I feel chosen! We were in college together, and have known each other for 17 years. She was the brain of our group, always willing to help us with our work. She was the only one amongst us who behaved and looked a lady. It’s very difficult to have a serious conversation with her. If you have a problem you want to dwell on, she is the last person you ought to ring up. But if you want to forget or trivialise the problem and have a hearty laugh, put her number on the speed dial.
5. Mythili. She is the only friend from Doha. I met her in my 4th year here. M is very different from all my other friends. And why I chose her for this list is not because of what she is to me, but for what she is. I haven’t come across a simpler, more accomplished and more just person. She forgives without an effort, is sensitive to other’s needs and goes out of her way to help people. Yet she never looks a martyr. I made friends with her on the very grounds that I thought I never would – your child’s playmates parents. We lived in the same building, our kids went to the same crèche… but I do believe that I didn’t strike up with her for convenience. She is just so warm and positive, you feel like being around her. Even when she is upset about something, her response is: Why is this so? How can I change it? She is the one friend on this list I kind of look up to and learn from. I am sure she has no idea I would put her on a list such as this, as I bully her all the time, despite the fact, she is 4 years older to me.
PS: I do have a gang of friends, my ya-ya sisterhood. And I have 2 dear friends I’ve made in Doha, Yauleen and Seetha (now in Abu Dhabi), and I do hope I would never have to make a choice to exclude them for the sake of the 5 mentioned.
PPS: Re-reading this, I guess, I do have more friends than most. At least Friends who matter. Mazel Tov!