Category: friendship

Of friends and friendships

Of friends and friendships

Really, writing a post on friends and friendship is so very hard. Not because one doesn’t have much to say but because everything that one would say has already been said, over and over again, till all that remains is a bunch of tired clichés.

I’ve written about it often enough too. Friends have helped me become less judgemental, more accepting. They’ve helped me try out new things, offered a shoulder to cry on, heard out my rants and made me stick to resolutions.

As you grow older you move on from having a single all-purpose BFF, so to say, to a vast category of friends. As I try to write about some of them I’ll go with those that are top of my mind now.

It’s been a week since I got back from my hometown but I’m still a bit hungover so School Friends are bound to top the list. They are the best kind, aren’t they? I mean how can you not be friends with the girl whose plait got yanked by the teacher along with yours? Quite like Krishna yanked the reins of those horses in the battlefield of  Kurukshetra. School friends have been witness to the ultimate insults heaped upon you and not believed a single one of them. They are the ones who’ve known you from the time you were a plump tween battling the bulge and, if you are lucky, they are still with you as you turn into a middle age woman battling the bulge.

The thing is – to them it doesn’t matter.

They only remember you as the girl whose mum made the most smashing tiffin, the one who made a Bollywood parody out of Macbeth, or the one who could touch her tongue to her nose or one who couldn’t stop laughing even when she was sent out of class.

Those are the things that matter to them and that’s why they are special.

Neighbourhood friends were an integral part of my childhood but then as I grew and got caught up in academics and work I thought I’d didn’t need them at all, where was the time? Life seems to have come a full circle and I cannot imagine what I’d do without them.

 

Neighbours might not all be the sexy kind but they’re still a blessing

They are the ones who host you the time the door bangs shut just as you step out to put the trash. They also give you the number of the keymaker and assure you, you looked just fine in your frumpy faded nightdress. They take your couriers when you’re not around and even hand over the COD amount.
 They make rangolis at your doorstep and light diyas for you when you’re out for Diwali.
They’re the ones who hear/see your Taraka avatar with the children. They not only keep your secret but also keep loving you despite that.

How did I ever do without them!

And finally my very favourite kind – the Slightly Crazy-so-not-my-type of friends. This one is a bit of a peculiarity because you are pretty much poles apart and yet you connect at some strange level – the level headedness of one balancing the craziness of the other, mixing excitement and caution for a perfect cocktail that keeps you high but holds you back from going over the edge. These are the friends who got me to do things I’d never have done on my own. Things I would have wished I had done but never actually gone out and taken the plunge. But for them I would never have trekked to a fort with zero level of fitness, run a marathon (not a full one, just a baby one but id did get me walking), bought dangerously high heels or joined a Zumba class. What fun all of that turned out to be. I might soon be heading to Spanish class rather than slogging it out on Youtube as I’d originally planned.

Life would drab and dull without these crazy ones.

There, those are the friends I am grateful for today. Which are the friends you cherish most?

Linking up with Amrita for #ThankfulThursdays. Thank you for a fabulous prompt Amrita.

Healthwealthbridge

 

Also linking up with Vidya’s Gratitude Circle Blog Hop. Do click on the link and head on over.

Why I’m loving being Mean Mum

Why I’m loving being Mean Mum

“You’re done H, you can go. N you need to revise the last two chapters again,” said I wrapping up the revision for the day.
“That’s not fair, she deserves her free time too”, chirped up H.
Eh? What was that? Who was that? I looked up surprised at this vehement protest from the most unexpected quarters.
I have, many times in the past, rued the fact that the twins never see eye to eye on anything, anything at all. They have a different sets of friends and often enjoy playing different games.
Over the last few weeks, however, I’ve noticed a change – the beginning of a partnership, a truce of sorts against a common enemy. Moi!
As I’ve pushed and prodded them towards their books, they’ve ducked and dillydallied to the best of their ability and they’ve perhaps decided that they need to join forces to combat the onslaught :-).
After N finished her two extra chapters she walked off to her room and I overheard them talking, “So not fair na, we don’t even need to study so much. We can’t call our friends over even on weekends.” says he.
She nods in agreement, “I couldn’t plan a single prank for April Fools Day. And it comes just once in 365 days. Imagine! So unfair.”
Hah! I feel so smug! I cannot stop grinning.
Even as I type this they’re playing table tennis without a table, with a bouncy ball shouting in laughter during their break – the break which started out at 15 minutes and has stretched to almost an hour. I just don’t have the heart to break up their camaraderie. They talk and laugh and wrestle and play computer games together.
I am going to grab complete credit for this transformation. The truce is so charming I am almost glad of the exams. Almost. I hope it extends beyond the exams too.
And so here’s the learning for the day:
If you want your kids to become best buddies try turning into Mean Mom.

 

PS: It has the side benefit of getting their studies done and may also be useful in inculcating some great habits.

 

Keep your friends close

Keep your friends close

On my blog here, I generally haven’t been very forthcoming with my opinions on happenings around me in the country or the world. All I talk about is my small little universe here with the twins and the Husband. It does take up most of my thoughts (I am obsessivemom, remember?).
That’s not to say I don’t have opinions. How can I not, living in this age of information overload? We have unlimited access to news 24X7 and yet the truth remains ever more elusive. How weird is that! It might have to do with the fact that our media is so highly polarised. We get umpteen versions of the same truth. No matter what side we’re on we find more than enough information to sustain our point of view.
And so we end up believing what we want to and can continue to stick with it and argue about it without even considering that a different viewpoint might exist.
Many times when I’ve been reading a piece that doesn’t resonate with me I’ve shut it down in disgust because it made me so very frustrated and angry. I’ve unfollowed and unfriended for my peace of mind simply because some points of view unsettle me so.
However, there’s a bit of a danger in that, a danger of the formation of an ‘us’ and a ‘they’ – people who think what I think and those who don’t. That certainly cannot be healthy.
So how then do I get a reality check?
I get mine through friends. Friends who come from different backgrounds, belong to different parts of the country, friends who think differently, who support different parties, who come up with arguments different from mine and who argue vociferously.
I keep them close.
You should too.
The other day I was out for dinner with a bunch of them. Between spoonfuls of cheesy pasta and some first class biryani our conversation veered towards a recent political development. Before we knew it we were in the middle of an argument, a rather heated one. Ten minutes later we were back to the biryani and the baby potatoes and all was well with the world.
And that is how it should be.
As long as you don’t make each argument a point of prestige, as long as it’s not about winning or losing, as long as you’re willing to be convinced, to admit you didn’t see it like that, that you didn’t know a certain fact. It will be fine.
There will be times of course when you won’t agree at all and days when you won’t part on a happy note. But that’s fine too because you’re friends and you bond on many many levels not just on that one political or social point. And so you will come back to each other sharing exam woes and teen troubles while laughing over ‘fat’ jokes even as you plan breakfast outings or lunch dates.
Just as pasta and biryani share my plate happily making it richer for the difference, so can different thinking friends stay together and make your life that much richer, make your viewpoint broader, more tolerant.
Keep your friends close and your ‘different thinking’ friends even closer.
End note: If you find me getting into an argument with you it means I consider you a dear friend, a very dear one.


How can I not be grateful? #gratitudecircle

How can I not be grateful? #gratitudecircle

When I sat down to write the last post of the year, which was supposed to be my gratitude post I drew a blank. Gratitude posts don’t come easily to me. However, later when I was posting the new year wish on my Facebook timeline I realised the one thing that had cheered me through the year had been my friends and family.
And there it was – that one single thing, which I mentioned ever so casually, was the biggest blessing anyone can ever want – the love of friends and family. And this year has been more bountiful than ever because I met up many friends, actually many many friends, some for the first time, in person, face to face.
In all of my ten years of blogging I hadn’t ever met any of my blogger friends, in part because I am in one rather isolated corner of the country and part due to my own rather unexplained reluctance to do so. It was momentous then, that I met Shilpa a dear BARmate right at the beginning of the year. And we chatted for hours like familiar friends, easy and comfortable.
That set the tone for the entire year.
A friend from my journalism days dropped by. Seriously, there really is no gossip as delicious as office gossip. I caught up with who-had-moved-where, who-got-the-pink-slip, who-moved-to-television and who-will-always-stick-to-print. I do miss all of that sometimes.
Then came another friend from my Mumbai days. She was my roomie in the working women’s hostel. She’s the one who would ‘save’ tea and breakfast for me while I slept in on Sunday mornings, the one with whom I trawled Churchgate pavements for books and Fashion Street for clothes. She’s the one who made hostel life bearable.
I travelled to Delhi during the summer and met up with a bunch of school friends. The years fell away as we chatted about dreaded teachers and well-loved school mates and made as much noise as we made during ‘tiffin-time’ at school.
I spent a few days with my first ever mommy friend. Our kids were almost the same age and we reminisced how we celebrated when they first went to play-school, how we’d felt at once bereft yet relieved when we had those two hours of me-time. It’s amazing how the toughest days make the best of friends.
Later in the year, I ventured to the Pune Lit Fest, meeting up another writer friend who was soon to launch a book. She’s the one who prodded me to write my first ever story for the Chicken Soup series. I wrapped up the year at her launch event feeling very proud and very happy for her because I know exactly how hard it is to write a book with two sons and a house to run.
But the most momentous occasion of all was meeting up with my cousins – the Super Six. We recreated a two-decade old childhood photograph and it was absolutely the best thing to have happened. I wrote about it here.
Lastly, most importantly, each time I have been happy or upset I have had all of you to unburden myself to. We haven’t met and we may never meet, yet how can I not be grateful for your presence?
I might not have broken any records, or won any lottery, but the year was crammed with scores of super-happy moments. How can I not be grateful?
Thank you 2016.

Friendship lessons

Friendship lessons

I spent over two decades of my life in a North Indian town with barely any exposure to the outside world other than the books I read. None of them told me what to really expect out there. However, when I left for a job in Delhi I had firm views on just about everything, hanging on to prejudices and preconceived notions that come with lack of exposure. 
That’s how I would have gone through life had the powers above not been on my side. Fate has, since then, worked overtime to systematically rid me of all my said ideas.
I used to dismiss Punjabis as loud and crass. And God gave me a friend born and brought up in the gullies of old Delhi. Her FB status once read ‘Punjabiayn di battery charge rehndi hai’. She was loud as the loudest yet she was also generous and thoughtful and always available when I needed her. Before I knew it I was borrowing from her memories of her grandmom and quoting in Punjabi, pathetically stilted Punjabi I might add, not everyone can get that endearing accent quite right.
I thought South Indians were closed and conservative. And God gave me a roomie straight from Chennai. Together we traipsed around the streets of Mumbai walking at Marine Drive or shopping at Fashion Street. She taught me that South Indian food went beyond idlis and dosas. She could talk books till the sun went down and came up again. She has since then, set up her own library. We could laugh at our respective accents and would compare how ‘love’ was pronounced in each of them – her luvv to my lau.
I thought Maharashtrians were stuck up and spoke weird Hindi. Along came a friend who was completely unstuck herself. I discovered that there existed a tumhi along with the tu and got a glimpse of the proud Maratha history, way beyond Bajirao. We argued about everything from books to religion over hot cups of chai at a different roadside joint each time. I found my Hindi turning into a taporier version – no longer chaste yet nice and colourful and way more interesting.
I thought army wives came with a chip on their shoulders and I got a friend who taught me to appreciate their discipline and the way they stood up for their own. I grudged them their ‘benefits’ but stories of hazardous postings, sad accidents and lost lives made their tribulations only too real. Another one would laugh with me at the Army Wives’ ‘parties’ yet go hunting for the right sari because it was ‘flower theme’ at the meet. ‘It’s crazy but it’s so much fun. I love it,’ she’d say.
I thought SAHMs were all about shopping and kitty parties and God turned me into one making me want to kill anyone who asked ‘How do you kill time?’ Oh and along the way I also questioned where’s the crime in a ladies’ day out or shopping (unless it’s excessive, and then the trouble is with the ‘excess’ not the shopping).
Finally there came the biggest, craziest most miraculous mind changer – I thought kids were a nuisance and God gave me twins. Nuisance they most certainly are, but they’re also the best thing that ever happened to me.
Dear people know that stereotypes may be true – after all they are stereotypes for a reason. However people are different in a million ways and are definitely more than just a bunch of generic qualities.
So make friends – all kinds – across ages, and sex, race and city and nationality if you can. Open up, meet, talk, debate, argue, empathise. That’s the very best way to remain non-judgemental and open minded.
God knows we could do with some tolerance.

Meet me on Instagram @obsessivemom06

Load More
Something is wrong. Response takes too long or there is JS error. Press Ctrl+Shift+J or Cmd+Shift+J on a Mac.

RSS On my other blog

  • A Man Called Ove – A Review
    Title: A Man Called Ove Author: Fredrik Backman Some books leave you in a warm fuzzy haze that stays like a happy feeling in your heart for a long time. A Man called Ove did that to me. This is the story..  …. of 59 year old Ove. He is the quintessential angry old man, […]