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Yesterday, I woke up with a call at midnight from a friend Riya from USA. The first thought that came to my mind, “What happened? I hope everything is fine.” I picked up to answer and heard from the other side “Happy Friendship day. I know we don’t need a specific day to celebrate our bond, but since you are far away let’s at least chat and enjoy on this day like we used to do before”. What a pleasant surprise!! I was so happy and excited to receive her call. The wonderful time I had spent with this dear friend flashed in front of my eyes and we girls spent over an hour talking about it. The old memories seemed like yesterday.
Ours is not a childhood friendship or college day’s one. Just 5 year old. Five years back, when I first relocated to USA with my husband I was very apprehensive as to how I would survive without family and friends in a faraway land. Being on H4 visa I knew I had no choice but to stay at home because I did not have a work permit. I thought I would be all alone the whole day. I had books & paint brushes my favorite pastime but I knew I would terribly miss meeting my friends and family. I was not a social butterfly but was emotionally attached to my city, my family & friends.
During my stay, due to different time zones in USA and back home, the telephonic conversations with family members remained brief. I don’t remember my attempts to call friends back in India were successful because in my awake time they were mostly sleeping and during my night they were working. Few close friends remained in touch but others gradually moved out of my close circles and remained Gmail & Facebook friends only. However a few old acquaintances who were in similar time zones as mine became good friends gradually. I realized not all friendships last forever in the same way. As we grow, our friend circle matures from a big group to a small subset of it.
In this time however, I got myself introduced to girls living in the same community. We went on gradually to become a big group of 15 girls. And we were amused to know that some of us stayed so close by in the same city but had never met or bumped into each other before. We probably were destined to meet thousands of miles away. This group of similar aged girls went on to become my extended family.
And one of them Riya very soon became my best buddy. Long telephonic conversations, dropping at each other’s place for tea in the afternoon, sharing a special delicacy, celebrating festivals together, having a weekend UNO cards party, watching movies together, shopping together, holidaying together and so many precious moments of life spent together. Moments of happiness and grief shared strengthened the bond. Fortunately our husbands also got along well. And I thought how I wish we had met a few years back too
We had a healthy group, free from gossip and bitching. I understood we all girls became close knit and connected easily because we fathomed the value of relationships and friends after being away from them. We gave time to each other. We always had our doors open for someone to drop in. We trusted each other and welcomed everyone beyond each other’s identity. We were not judgmental and not prejudiced either. We were there for each other all the time. We cooked for a friend when she was ill, we looked after the babies so that she had some time for herself and we packed the bags and helped in cleaning the house when someone was moving out. We were there together on all occasions.
I remembered when back in India, everyone was always so busy with their own routines (although we did take time out for people we actually wanted to meet- but otherwise we had good reasons like relatives dropping in, some other emergency, ill health, office work etc to not be able to keep our promises.) and several plans had to made and cancelled before you actually got to meet somebody. Sometimes if you were lucky a random visit was successful.
After our long conversation and reliving all the memories I realized that these girls whom I had met for a short while had become an important part of my life. And my belief that friendship is the one and only relationship that gives more pleasure than pain; strengthened. That night I recollected some of the fondest memories of lifetime celebrating friendship day with my friends. Some of these friends were still with me, for others they were with me in memories.
I remember the school days- when we carried friendship bands with us and that one ecstatic moment when that special person on whom we had a ”crush” tied a band on our hand made the friendship day memorable. The college days where having the most number of friendship bands on your wrist made you a popular fresher. At workplace when a coffee with the best cubicle buddy meant so much more than office gossip. The telephonic buddies we never actually met, the long lost pen friends whose letter was most awaited. All these from the past and so much more now, the mother of your child’s friend who went on to become your good friend after meeting regularly at school pick up & drop time. Your elderly neighbor who visits you because you remind her of her friendship with her daughter who now stays two continents away. A few girls who stay in different parts of India and fortunately are well connected with you “thanks to Whatsapp” . Someone you met at a reader’s club and who shares similar interests and favorite authors like yours now has become your good friend. The wife of your husband’s friend who is so much like you has become your adventure buddy. All these old bonds and new mean so much in your life.
Some things change while some don’t. After marriage and after having kids when you cannot join your bachelor group for parties more often, those friends move on and so do you. After marriage everyone tries to give the maximum time to spouses and most of the weekends which otherwise would have been wild parties are converted to candle light dinners and movies. After kids parents try to be in company of those who have kids of similar age because when kids gel well, the parents automatically become friends.
So with changing times just like it happens with every girl, I lost a few and gained a few friends. Some old childhood friendships never change even when you don’t talk or meet often. But with time and circumstances different people take priority in your life, some stay while some don’t. But every friendship day reminds me of all those special friends who have been a part of my life at some point or other and I pray that they stay blessed and happy wherever they are.
To all my friends “Happy friendship day”.