Sunday, August 06, 2006

I'll be there for you, When the rain starts to pour, I'll be there for you: Part-I

This morning I woke up feeling like it was my birthday. My inbox was flooded with e-cards, my cellphone beeped messages from friends wishing me happiness, good cheer, love, prosperity and the whole works. It's apparently friendship day today.

Now, days such as these have very little value in my life. It's a nice feeling to be loved and appreciated, but, hell, I don't need a particular day in the year to celebrate my relationships with people. I live the celebration every day in my interactions with them. But I promised a friend who was particularly offended when I told her this, that I won't play spoilsport today. So friends, past, present and to come, this one's for you...

Any commemoration of my friends is incomplete if I don't begin it with my oldest surviving friend, Sunny. I met him at a tutorial, when I was a shy, gawky 13 year old. He used to sit on the bench ahead of mine and blot out my taciturnity with his non-stop prattle. It didn't matter to him whether I followed the conversation or not, didn't matter if I only listened with half a ear. He wanted to talk, and talk he did, irrespective of his audience's response. You wouldn't believe it if you listened to him then, that this guy could keep his mouth shut for even a nano-second. Fact of the matter is, he can. He is one of the best listeners, I discovered later. Over the years he has patiently borne the brunt of my various sob stories--beginning from my maths phobia to my sundry other grievances against life. He has been genuinely happy when I have achieved something, been the first to be my side when things went wrong and has never quite given up on me. My relationship with him is kind of idyllic, touchwood. It has the fairy tale touch to it. No shadows, no cloudy days, just unadulterated trust and sunshine.

And now he is getting married to this other dear friend of mine in a few months' time. I met Gruff around the same time as I met Sunny, a year earlier, to be exact. But we became friends, much later, in the last few years in school. Our friendship has been chequered, like most friendships, with intermittent volatile patches threatening to undo our years together. Gruff is funny. She can be caustic as caustic can be, and so funny that she'll keep you in splits all the time. She has gone through a lot of upheavals in life, and just when she was ready to give up, she turned to Sunny. And things changed. The first time I met them after they started going around, I was surprised by the calm and the softness that had come in to her. Our relationship too has settled down. As we discuss our respective New Lives To Come in agonising details, I smile in my mind thinking of the years stretching out in front of us. We still have a long way to go.

And of course, if I am talking of friends from school, I can't miss Caustic. He was Sunny's friend to begin with, but as is the way with life, the relationship percolated till he was our friend as well. Caustic and I have never seen eye to eye on anything. Much of our association together has been spent in squabbling and arguing and getting mad at each other. But somehow we didn't quite let go. (Caustic has his own theories on this, by the way!) I think the only time we kind of resigned to the fact that we were friends was when we both moved out of our city to work in two different parts of the country. I don't think I have relied on anyone more in that initial year because he seemed to understand and we could get down to sharing our respective opinions without getting in to a cat fight. It didn't last for too long though, for whatever reason. Now, we have a kind of uneasy truce, more because I don't let him be otherwise. The last time we talked of our status quo, he had asked me `What are you trying to make up for?, Why are you interested in my life?' Here's the answer, Caustic. Because I have a habit of staying stuck on relationships, even when it's over for all the other parties involved in it. It's because I feel it's such a waste not to be able to look beyond the genuinely good times that we've had.

But anyway, since this is a happy post, I'll move on to the rest of the gang from school. Arty, Mystery, Quiet and Funny. Funny and I speak occasionally, mostly at his own initiative. These days he's in to Kundera and Marquez and we have great book discussions. I love his sparkling wit. We don't expect much from each other. No mails, no sms-es, few phone calls, but we are friends. Bonded for life. That's all that there is. And we are happy with that.

I have not been in touch with Mystery for a while now. But together with Arty and Gruff, we had our band of merry women once, and we have had some amazing memories together. I don't miss her anymore, like I don't miss Arty much, but I love them both still for being part of those good times, and when we meet, I know we'll not be pressed for conversation.

I miss Quiet but. She and I had a strange equation. We wouldn't talk for months, but when we did we would pour our lives out and depend on each other for advice and good sense. Ever since we moved cities, we slowly lost touch and now with her marriage and new job, we have ceased to send the occasional sms as well. I missed her wedding. We had a teenager's pact a long time back, that whatever we did, we would be there at our weddings. I broke it. I know she doesn't mind. We are past that stage. But she matters to me. I know that too. So Quiet, count me in whenever you need a friend.

I love you guys for all that you mean to my life. Amen.

PS- River and Sunshine and the rest of you, I promise you'll have your turn soon.


Blogger spiderman! said...

Sunny and Gruff...hmmm...beautiful nomenclature !

10:56 AM GMT+5:30  

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