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It is seldom when a forty-seven year old woman says, she has a best friend. At this age one has many friends but rarely one close enough, to be called a best friend. I am fortunate that I have Parul. We’ve known each other for twenty-six years. This friendship has helped me in every role of my life, as a wife, a mother and as an ever growing person.
Don’t you expect your friends to see straight through you--to look beyond the window dressing, to see what’s really inside? Ask what's bothering you? We are those friends. I know what makes her ride cloud nine and also the skeletons in her cupboard that haunt her. We are each other's cheerleader, critic, alter ego, conscience, punchbag and partner in crime. All in one tailor made package.
Our families have no choice, but to be friends. When we’re in each other’s company, everything is funnier and more interesting as well as worthy of discussion and comment. I come alive in the glow of her presence, my eyes shine and heart tingles. She is smarter, funnier and more beautiful than she knows. In any situation We are, she finds a way for us to be happier.
The time she joined my college, I was in the final year of post graduation. It all began when one day I found her crying beside the hostel gate. A shopkeeper nearby had cheated her for six hundred rupees, too big an amount for a first year student in 1990. A little arm-twisting using my senior status, I bailed her out of the crisis and earned a new loyal friend. It didn’t seem special then but now I can’t imagine what my life would have been without her. Just before submitting my M.Sc. Dissertation, I caught an infection of chicken pox and was sent home.
Without my asking her, she coordinated with both the printer and our department. She submitted my dissertation in my absence and saved my academic year. Our bond was sealed for life. Twenty-six years later we are living in the same city again.We count on each other whether we’re celebrating or facing the toughest times.
She is more generous, and more giving than I could ever be. Yet, like many extraordinary people, she shrugs off her magic as if it’s nothing special. As a friend, however, I take this gift of her's very seriously and celebrate it.
I can call her at 10 p.m. in a problem and know she’ll stay up as long as it takes to get me calmed down. She won’t mutter, “Do you know what time it is?”or “Do you realize I have to get up for an important meeting in the morning?” or “Can we talk about this another time? My TV show is just about to begin.”
During such long nights, it’s crucial to know someone will listen without judging. She would offer comfort without ever saying, “I told you so” or “I knew this would happen.” Or worse, "It's all your fault."
Such friends are hard to come by. When the world stands against you doubting your integrity, they believe you. They convey that they trust you. Ignore the failure and believe that you tried your best. They assure you nothing is lost, there is always a next time.
In many ways, best friends say, what you wish your parents could have said to you. They can understand many aspects of your life that your own family members cannot or will not understand.
Even if she lived thousands of miles away, Parul cheers so loudly and with such affection, that I can hear her voice in my heart. Through such friends, we are rescued, repaired, redeemed and rejuvenated. May we always rely on them and never take them for granted.