Growing up there was always friends of the family that were over. I don’t ever remember a time when there was not someone over for lunch, dinner, tea, gupshup or we were not heading over to someone’s place. Then one day Maa announced that one of her friend was coming down to visit for a few days and would be staying at our place. This in my mind stands out as a memory from all the other coming, going which is blur mass, for I remember being a little surprised. Were all the other people who came over not Mom’s friends? After that I started analyzing everyone that came home..immediate and extended family, Paa’s work buddies and their family, neighbours, Paa’s friends either growing up or who he went to school with. So everyone was either Paa’s friend, worked with Paa or were people Maa and Paa had made friends with after they got married. No friends of Maa from before their wedding.
The day before Maa’s friend was about to come over, I hesitantly asked Maa why this was the case. She smiled and said growing up she moved a lot owing to my uncles job and would write to her friends for a while and then things would slack off. Then she got married. Moved to a different state, keeping in touch with family and taking care of her kids left her with little or no time to even keep up the once in a while letters with her friends. They went on to further dusty shelves of her memory. Maa also seemed to imply that it’s more difficult for women to maintain her friends than it is for guys. I did understand parts of the conversation but not completely.
Today I understand. After we were married, I moved here leaving behind my family, my job, my friends. I was embraced with open arms by D’s friends and they are really close to my heart now. They are as much my friends as they are D’s. But my friends..the ones who stood united with me during our combined ragging days, my support system away from home while we were in the hostel, the wall that stood together through the end of teenage angst and early twenties crushes, the shoulders that soaked the tears when things got tough, the ones I can claim as my own, not D’s, not share with my family, just mine..where are they? Technology has made it easy for me to keep in touch with them. There are emails, Orkut scraps, Facebook wall posts. I always know what is going on in their life. Some I have not met since the day I boarded the train home, with four years of stuff on the floor bellow my berth, four years of memories streaming down our faces as tears, and four years of family who knew me better than my parents waving at me as the train slowly moved away from the platform. And time has done it usual magic. The edges of the memories are starting to fade. The urge to share every happening , the need to write or chat or call every day in no more. Even when I go back to India my social obligations to my family and D’s family does not make the meeting possible. Also while I am on vacation, their life goes on and even when I do have free time, they can’t seem to get away from their family, their obligations. Contrast that to D’s set of friends. Before he lands he has written to his friends, they agree on a date, time, place to meet. Wives and kids are left to each other while the guys get together, talk, laugh, reminisce old times. Not fair I tell you.
So if you guys are wondering, why the ramble. Well today is my friend’s Birthday. A friend I was closest to. The one who I learnt the most from. The one who was so mature that the glimpse of child that you saw sometimes took us all by surprise. The one who was such an innocent in some ways that we all banded together to protect her from hurt. The one who was the feistiest of the lot if it came to defending her friends. Post marriage she lives in this place up in the mountains, at a dam construction site, that she has the patchiest cellphone reception and a non-existant internet connection. So keeping in touch with her became next to impossible. I was so down in the dumps about not being able to talk to her, wish her on her birthday for the past few days. When yesterday night I got a mail from her. MAIL FROM HER. Did the moon fall off the sky? Her mail was short and to the point. ‘Moved to Noida. Phone number 011–…Call me’.
Yay Yay Yay. I just spoke to her, talked for an hour at least. And now I am not feeling blue. Life is so good right now. 😀 😀