Saturday, December 11, 2010

Old Friends

The inspiration to write this post came from some old friends who were over for a housewarming dinner last night. Now here is the thing...I am rather old. So old friends to me always meant really old friends i.e. from school and Dakshina park days, basically childhood friends.

I never ever thought I that would have a different set of ‘old friends’. And here I must add- old is referring to the amount of time I have known these friends and not a dig at anyone’s age. But last nite got me wondering about the different sets of ‘old friends’ I have now gathered. The ones in Singapore are still relatively ‘new’ compared to the ones in Bombay- but after a decade plus of being here, well they have reserved their spot in the ‘old friends’ club as well.

OK, so what is the point of this? Actually am not sure myself! This is so going to be one of those rambling posts (even more so than the others!). So brace yourself (if you are still with me that is.)

This morning I woke up and the first instinct was to thank God for all my wonderful friends. It was almost of a reflex prayer and something I do not do enough of- thank God, rather than just ask for more. And that is the reason why I started writing this post. Am still not quite sure where I am going with this...but I shall make it up as I go along...

Friends are God's way of taking care of us. So starting from the oldest to the newest, here are my forever friends:

1) My Cousins- I am extremely lucky as my family counts as my closest friends. My brothers and sisters are the very best! Jyoti, Deepu, Kamal, Bunty, Heena and Vinky- without you childhood would have never been half as much fun!

2) Dakshina Park friends- They are the oldest friends I have ever had. I am a very different person now from what I was when they knew me. My good nature ;) and bad temper is consistent- which frankly my each set of friends will vouch ( for especially the bad temper part- they all will have at least one story each about when I have completely lost it). I used to be a very shy child, did not make friends very easily, was rather chup-chup. You had to get to know me to see my friendly and talkative side.

And here’s is a big thanks to ones who thought it was worth spending that time. Special mention to Anubha, Rashika, Monika, Bijili/Nikki, Chaitali and Sadhvie. Many of the others have gone different way, some still live on Facebook and others I meet every year when I go back home in Dec (which is in a week’s time!). My first old friends are my DP friends.

3) School friends- Now here is the thing- I had a hand few of close school friends. Goes back to me being terribly shy. And those close ones- I can’t find them on FB! And one of my regrets is that I did not try hard enough to keep in touch after we left school. So Shakuntala, Jaspreet and Ujju- wherever you are, hope you are healthy and happy.

4) College friends- Life kinda went into top gear when I was 16 and started ‘college’. FYJC and SYJC (first year junior college and second year junior college) were the most fun years of my life. And the friends I made there have stayed with me since.
From ‘do you think he likes me?’ to ‘do you think I should marry him’. From crushes to crashes. From miniskirts to halter neck sari blouses. From sitting next to each other in class room (or Ladies Common Room) then to brunches now. From sharing our first drink (and smoke) then to finishing bottles of wine now. We have grown up together and seen each other through many ups and downs. Unni, Sash, Daisy, Rash, Janu, Mich, Geeta- the best girl friend gang EVER.

I read somewhere "A good girl friend is a sister that destiny forgot to give you." And this rings true for you Unnati!

5) MBA friends- This was supposed to be the time I got serious in life- about growing up, planning for the future, choosing a good career path. Yeah. I never did any of the above. I had more nonsensical type of fun in my MBA days than I had in ungrad. And planning for the future...well I could not choose my major until the absolute last minute. I actually had to pull my application out of majoring in HR into Marketing just the evening before. And finally I ended up in advertising! For which you don’t even need a graduation degree let alone an MBA.

But it was all worth it! Pallavi, Nikhil, Tewari, Meenal, Apruv, Sumi, Aps, Sree, Deepak, Pat- thanks for making the 2 years super fun!

6) Ambience friends- Ok once I stepped out of the ‘education’ phase (and I use that in quotes) to the “career” phase (and I use that in quotes too- double ones), I thought I would never make real friends anymore. I would meet new people and like some of them and have a good time in office. But that would stay within the confines of office. My friend Divya shared the same sentiments. But to both our surprise, life had different plans for us. 13 years later and we are still close friends- Divya, Sonul (yes it’s Sonal with a ‘u’) and Monisha. And all our kids are almost the same age- which makes us even closer.

From here onwards starts my journey in making and finding friends in Singapore (are you seriously still with me? If so, kudos to you!)

7) First office friends (Lacek and ICLP)- And the friends who inspired this post. My newest bunch of ‘old friends’. I met them in my first job in Singapore and the rest as they say is history. Here is to Kevin, KC, Mas, Christina, Adeline, Neeta, David and Goldie. From old T&T jokes that actually never get old ;) to new experiences that we continue sharing with each other (ideally over my fabulous mojitos).

8) Tanjong Ria friends- These set of friends made family life so pleasurable. From potluck lunches to Diwali card parties. From Tanjong Rhu walks to ECP holi celebrations. I have enjoyed my motherhood and family years in their company tremendously! Alpna, Rashi, Isha, Purnima, Nimisha, Sona, Nidhi, Vijaya, Manjusha, Pamela and Priya. Even though we are not in Tanjong Ria anymore, its lovely to know you all are still a part of my life.

9) The boys- Andrew, Neel and Nadim. Sorry was not sure where to fit you guys. Under “McCann” friends seemed rather lame, as we have been friends much after those McCann days are over. So here is to the best guy friends a girl can ever have!

"A real friend is one who walks in when the rest of the world walks out."

I read this quote somewhere and it stuck with me. Last 2 years have not been the easiest ones in my seemingly long life. And these friends entered my life at the point when I needed new friends the most. And they stayed. When many other old ‘friends’ chose not to.

Archana, Riva, Manisha, Ashu, Kaushal, Arjun, Aarti-1, Aarti-2, Vidya, Amit, Anushka, Bharti, Rach, Dibyo, Kaylin and Cherylene. The last 2 years would have been almost impossible to bear had it not been for you all. (BTW C, Rach- I don't have any pix with you guys so there is no photographic evidence of us being friends. May be screen grabs of daily IM chats?)

Well I am getting to the end of the post (yes it is ending soon. I now can understand how Ashutosh Gowariker feels. It’s difficult to edit when there is so much to say).

Now that I have so many sets of old friends and new entrants who I sincerely hope will be old friends too some day, is the friendship journey is complete? The way friends have popped into my life- many times when least expected- I think not.

Again to borrow a quote: "Strangers are just friends waiting to happen." So am looking forward to making a new set of friends. And if one of them can be a charming, good humoured, tall, handsome guy with a 6 pack and biceps and intellectual and cultural sensitivities, then life would be kinda perfect. Well...a girl can a dream ;)

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