Tag Archives: Friend

What Friendship Needs (Not Preachy I Promise)

Friendship doesn’t need effort. It needs courage. The courage to reach out and say hello. The courage to not mind if they don’t say hello back. This is not the same as not caring. It’s caring, very much but not letting that stop you.

It needs a little bit of madness. The madness of looking at a total stranger and following a spark that you don’t even know why it’s there. The madness of turning into words and actions that feeling of ‘I don’t know why but I think you and I could be a part of each other’s lives.’ The madness that turns that ‘could’ into a ‘should’.

It needs selective amnesia. Forgetting who spoke first. Forgetting how many times they snatched an argument from you. Forgetting to keep tally of who made more effort.

And it needs a generous sharing. Not just of things that are big or impressive. In fact, probably none of those kinds of things. And all of things that seems mundane, likely to not be noticed, never get the repayment of acknowledgement or gratitude back.

I guess you could say all these things about love. I guess friendship is a kind of love.

A few months ago, I exchanged DMs with someone who had only been a Twitter name since so far back, neither of us can remember (selective amnesia, I told you). On an impulse I said, “Let’s meet!” and equally impulsively she said, “Yes! Today!”. There’s madness.

Never mind what happened after that. That’s not really as significant as the two actions of courage that led to us meeting, led to us happening.

Sometimes I send her a photo, a snapshot of where I am, what I’m doing. I think she might like seeing where I am when I think of her. She responds with the kind of curious, funny thoughts that run through all our heads but we rarely share because they seem so silly or mundane. Sharing mundanities seems to be a very important part of friendship, practically the spice of it.

Every now and then she writes about her life, deeply personal things, profound insights and cranky complaints alike. And once, then twice she mentions me in the same sentence as ‘peace’, ‘relief’, ‘listening’ and ‘perspective’. Also ‘beautiful’ and ‘big ear’ (though she meant that in the way that deep listening happens :D). It makes me happy to see her grow daily. And it makes me so, so YAYYY to suddenly find myself in her thoughts.

“We all need a witness for our lives.” I heard in a movie I once saw. Now isn’t that true? I need not just watching but involvement. Participation in my life and mine in others. My cup overfloweth today. I’m so very happy. And Reema, you make it so. 🙂

Ideart: Mere Pass WOGMA Hain!

Another Ideart opportunity and my marketing mind tells me this should be called co-branding. 🙂 At the Mood Indigo-BlogCamp Dec 2010 that happened over the weekend, I had a chance to showcase one of my works.

I first met Meetu at a common friend’s party. A few months later, we connected at the 2008 BlogCamp at IIT Powai. We kept in touch, our blogs establishing a mutual admiration society. Last year, I called to tell her I’d be in Pune and she invited me to crash at her place. I don’t know if she has had a chance to regret that (!) gesture as yet but her place feels like my home away from home to me now. I have also had the honour of being a guest author at WOGMA, the blog that makes Meetu famous.

So it was nice to have the opportunity to show my solidarity for WOGMA and Meetu in a very personalized way, the Ideart way! Meetu wanted a fun WOGMA tee-shirt to wear to the BlogCamp event. She also sent me the inscription and a detailed description of the design. I think she was quite happy with the result. 🙂

The tee-shirt says,

Tumhare paas
…actor hain,
director hain,

Mere paas,
…WOGMA hain!!

(a filmi tribute to Deewar)

I considered two fonts for the message. Since Deewar came out in the 70s (my favorite decade of pop-culture!), I first wanted the curly-wurly psychedelic font that characterised those references (think the title of Om Shanti Om). But the message was too long to fit such a complex font onto the tee-shirt and I didn’t want to risk taking away from the WOGMA logo.

So I picked the other font which was what I think of as a ‘Las Vegas’ font, since Hollywood movies often show casinos and clubs with their billboards flashing names and surrounded by bulbs around each letter.

As with many Ideart projects, the conceptualisation took up the bulk of the time. Once I knew what I was going to do, actually carrying it out took very little time. The main words were painted on with a flat brush and touched up with the hairfine point. Once dry, I applied tiny yellow spots on top of the black letters. You can’t actually see the yellow dots too well and the effect isn’t quite what I had imagined with the Las Vegas lights. But it does brighten up the otherwise severe black strokes without detracting from the colourful WOGMA logo.

I was quite nervous about the WOGMA logo since this was the only thing that Meetu really wanted replicated as closely as possible. The logo on the site is an online print and I was not sure I’d be able to reproduce it in fabric paint. So I took some liberties with the shades and tried to stay close to the shape of the coffee-stain style ‘O’. I used my favorite technique of dabbing water-diluted colours and blending them where they met, before they dried. The ‘W’, ‘G’, ‘M’ and ‘A’ were done in a slightly narrower flat brush using a maroon colour (I didn’t have the plum shade of the actual logo, sorry Meetu!).

The back of the tee-shirt was even easier since I just replicated the WOGMA logo and practically scribbled the ‘movie reviews from a part of the audience’ that Meetu had asked for.

There was still something missing and it looked too much like the kind of tee-shirts that corporate types give out at conventions. So I gave it a neckline to make it look less like a tee-shirt and more like a dressy top. The same yellow-dotted black stripe ran around the V of the neck in the front. I didn’t have a chance to do the back and I figured Meetu’s long hair would cover that anyway. The entire exercise took all of one hour but a lot of frantic phone calls to Meetu. 🙂

Garment: Standard V-necked women’s tee-shirt

Material: Tee-shirt cotton

Background colour: Plain white

Paint colours used:

  • Fevicryl no.02 Black (for basic script)
  • Fevicryl no.302 Pearl Lemon Yellow (for dots & ‘O’ of WOGMA logo)
  • Fevicryl no.311 Pearl Spring Green (for ‘O’ of WOGMA logo)
  • Fevicryl no.303 Pearl Pink (for ‘O’ of WOGMA logo)
  • Fevicryl no.24 Vermillion (for ‘O’ of WOGMA logo)
  • Fevicryl no.10 Indian Red (for ‘W’, ‘G’, ‘M’ and ‘A’ of WOGMA logo)

Reverb 10.15: Five Things To Remember From 2010

Here’s another Reverb10 list-prompt! And this time with a fantasy-time travelly theme to it!

December 15 – 5 Minutes

Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010.

(Author: Patti Digh)

  1. Mr.Everyday (of course!) – Specifically, I never, ever want to forget that one magical autorickshaw ride in June. We’d been on nodding and smiling terms with each other for months, even spoken on a couple of occasions. But that 30-minute ride changed the course of both of our lives, hopefully forever. 🙂
  2. The first week of October – September ended gloomy, grouchy and with no promise of better weather (which always impacts my mood). Then October came in with writing projects. A column. A commissioned article. Another writing commission. And the book, again. Magical week.
  3. The best friend moving across the world – Goodbyes are never pleasant memories for me. But this move marks an important milestone in my 16-year friendship with Lady P. She moved to a new country and a new life, one she had been needing for a long time. We fought, we cried then we made up. And true to our history, we came back stronger than ever.
  4. First draft – If I never manage to get the novel published, if I have to go back to working with that horrible tag of ‘failed writer’ looming over me, it will not take away from the fact that I managed to plow through and toil over a complete first draft. YEAAAHHH!!!
  5. Swimming.

And….there’s the timer. That’s that. Five wonderful things about 2010.

Reverb 10.9: Party

I couldn’t think of what to write for this Reverb 10 prompt, at first. December has always been the social month for me. Friends from out of town come back home. Employers are a little more indulgent (or just busy planning their own social calendars). Vacations happen. Parties happen. Outings happen. Fun happens.

I ran through the list of things that have happened earlier this year, focussing on the second half since that’s when the cheery part of the year began. It’s not that there weren’t great things. There were a lot of good times (lucky me!) and it was hard to pick one that was the best. Also, in all truth, each of them was special in a very personal way (like the anniversary where the wonderful boy and I cooked together). That, I figured, didn’t quite fit this bill. Looking through my picture albums for memories, I hit upon just the one! And what’s more, it had happened in the otherwise dark part of my year, early on in January.

December 9 – Party

Prompt: Party. What social gathering rocked your socks off in 2010? Describe the people, music, food, drink, clothes, shenanigans.

(Author: Shauna Reid)

I got to know Reena at The Wall Project. She was a friend of Adi, who I had just gotten to know the week before and invited to the said event. He brought along Reena with her twinkling eyes and brilliant smile. On our first meeting, when she came to pick up Adi from the lunch he’d had with me, I grinned at her and said,


“You’re so beautiful!”

Of course she was (and is) and it also seemed perfectly natural and possible to say something like that to her on the first meeting.

The Wall Project was a mad and merry day of colour, silliness and laughter. Reena’s wall echoed her sunny, colourful and romantic self as she painted,

You’re one fairytale waiting to come true!

Six months later, I was a little surprised to receive an invitation to her wedding. We had gotten along but I never thought that she liked me enough to invite me to her wedding! In high spirits and after much planning, Adi and I made our way to Vasai. The weekend that was, is chronicled here.

Without doubt, Reena and Melroy‘s wedding in lovely, green Vasai and the warmth of her family and friends who hosted us, was the high point of my social calendar in 2011. It wasn’t just the great decorations, the mad dancing and the greenery of the place. It was the friendliness, the tangible warmth, the genuine hospitality (as opposed to the flashiness I’m used to in Mumbai) that really made this event memorable.

Playground Politics

A very friendly place where nobody is your friend, can be a very scary place indeed. Like a mad funhouse. Or the Palace of Mirrors.

…or so I thought, back in 2006. Well, guess what? I own the circus now. It’s still not friendly. Or sane. But it isn’t scary. The shivers persist, though.

Tiny Tales: Emderatology

Close to midnight on Saturday, the coffee server on duty reported two dead people in the shop. The couple had been seated in the back booth of the cafe for over three hours, he recalled. When asked why she didn’t report it earlier, she said that she only noticed when he went over to tell them that it was closing time.

Inspector Clue-so deduced that the death must have happened a few minutes prior, when the couple was presented with the bill, since the bodies had not started ‘to steenk up the place and were probably ‘fresh’. This theory however, was dropped when the young server pointed out that both bodies were freezing cold and rigor mortis had set in. The lady, who admits to being a investigor in her sparetime (which she says is more than the time the job takes), was quoted as saying

“They were just sitting there staring at each other. For all I know, they had died ages ago but I just thought they were in love.”

Investigating experts were confounded by the abnormally red colour on the cheeks of the deceased. It was surmised that the excess rush of blood to the face caused the brain to stop functioning. Two slimy, fist-sized objects were also found fallen between the table and the wall, which were later identified as human hearts. Speaking to this publication, the coroner said,

“I must admit I was surprised to see two bodies without hearts inside them. How they came to remove their hearts I will never be able to tell. No wonder they died. Poor things.”

It wasn’t until the police began interviewing the friends of the couple that the truth emerged. The first to come under suspicion was Mr.McMohan, a close pal of the male victim, aided by the fact that his first reference to the victim was that he was staying at his place but was in the toilet at that moment. This charge was however dropped when it was revealed that the victim often used this as an alibi to explain his social activities to his family. On hearing the charge, he confessed that he himself had been in Pune all weekend (even at the time of the call) and could present an alibi but which he requested not be revealed to his family.

Following this train of thought, Inspector Clue-so next went to the best friend of the deceased lady. This was the turning point of the case (and also what salvaged the good Inspector’s career from the wreck of the first hypothesis). The best friend (name withheld on request) explained the history of the two dead people.

“I didn’t even realize that they were still in touch but it must be recent. They haven’t met since they broke up ten years ago. After all the drama is over, you really don’t want to face the person you shared your first awkward kiss with. It’s dreadfully embarrassing meeting that one particular ex-, you know.”

Wrapping up the case, Inspector Clue-so was quoted as saying,

“And ze key to ze mystery was found zere. You see, ze two people entered ze shop separately but it was very crowded. Zen ze spotted each other and thinking eet rude to do ozzerwize, decided to share a table. Zat is why our esteemed young friend behind ze counter does not remember zem coming in together. Ze got to ze table and discussed ze weather and how heeedeeous zis year’s fashion week was.”

The reporter interrupted this account to ask how he arrived at this conclusion and was rewarded with the following explanation.

“Because of zis.”

said Inspector Clue-so holding up a promotional leaflet whose copies were on all the tables of the shop. The image showed a boy and girl both wearing jeans. Both characters bore penmarks on them, depicting a different set of clothing.

“Obviously zey had good taste.”

said the Inspector with a distinct sniff.

“After zat, zey must have run out of topics. Ze young man had just broken up with his girlfriend, as was told to us by his friend in Pune. Ze young lady in turn was considering breaking up with her boyfriend. Zen zey found each other. Eet was like fate! But memories prevailed. Ze embarrassment of zere last encounter and all ze memories of the years after zat. Ze emotions must have been overwhelming. Hysteria built up inside both of zem till zey could take it no more! Both of zem blushed and blushed till zere hearts could take it no more and then zere hearts jumped out of zere mouths at the same time! And zey died of extreme embarrassment!”

As a reward for her help, the young coffee server has been deputed to be a trainee under the brilliant Inspector, starting next Monday.

————————————————————————

Note: The science of embarrassment is called emderatology.

What The Cards Say

Someone recently asked me if I would do a tarot reading for them. I found a polite way to decline and recommended a friend who does this and related things for a living. Then they asked if this person was any good, whether it would work. And I had trouble finding an answer.

It took my two weeks and it came to me during a break in between reading Death: The High Cost of Living, when I was brushing my teeth (as many such wonderful ideas and solutions to life-changing problems often do). The words scrolled through the teleprompter inside my head and I saw what I had to say and even what I would think but not say.

“She is a good friend. I’ve learnt alongside her. I’ve read for her, with her and she’s read for me. But any tarot reader, astrologer, trainer, adviser, psychiatrist or even physician – they are all only guides and no one can know what is happening inside you better than yourself.

My friend sincerely believes in what she does and that’s the best I can say, with certainty. They do say the road to hell is paved with good intentions. Yet, how else can we survive? Hopes, our own and other people’s, serve as guiding lights on this path. The best we can do is keep our eyes open and pick out our steps. Or if seeing is so painful, you can choose to walk blind, holding on to other people’s guidance. But if you do, how can you be sure the other person isn’t walking blind, using your outstretched hands as guidance too?”

I hold reason, cold rationale in one hand and the flowing cup of belief in the other. My life is a constant balance between these two and occasionally the remnants of other beliefs that have passed through the cup. I wouldn’t believe in something that I didn’t first examine and learn to do for myself. But that’s just me. Seeing is hurtful but walking blind is downright scary. I dare not close my eyes.

I thought of all this and so I wrote it down. Because there is much to remember and everything is already known. But sometimes I forget and so I leave little reminders for myself to serve as guidance in my moments of blindness. Or forgetfulness. Or just faithlessness. I pick a card, I pick a memory.

Neil Gaiman’s Delirium in Sandman: Endless Nights

Tiny Tales: A Birthday Story

I ring the doorbell and it’s opened by my friend Salim, bouncing up with all the energy of his 21-year-old self. It is his birthday and the gift I am carrying is a book I know that he’ll enjoy. Salim and I have been classmates and bonded over a common love of stories. We’re buddies and we spar in the way good friends do. The ace in my sleeve is the two month headstart I have over him, in life. He introduces me to his other guests as the girl who gave him his personal Bible – Mario Puzo’s GODFATHER.

In a little while, his mother arrives, wiping her hands on a towel and we strike up a conversation. Grinning, I tell her that her son promised to marry me the day he turned 21 but that he has jilted me that very morning. She grins back and says,

“Yes, I heard. I told him he’s being a fool and that he won’t get such a great girl again!”

And we laugh together. The birthday boy comes back and starts to tell us a story.

“Irfan was 24 when he left home with Rs.200 in his pocket to make a career in the film industry. Vijaya was studying for her masters in law, living as a paying guest till the day she could return home to Mangalore and follow in the footsteps of a her father, a respected judge. Anybody seeing these two would imagine that they had nothing in common. They did, actually, have something in common – they were both in Mumbai, living in the same building.

They’d smile at each other, then they got to talking. It wasn’t until Vijaya went home for her vacations that Irfan realized how much he missed her. Then she came back and they began a whirlwind romance, movie theatres and beach dates.

Vijaya knew her family would never agree to a love match, with a North-Indian, with a boy who didn’t have an impressive degree and most importantly, a Muslim. And yet, they persisted. The couple endured the backlash, even the death of Vijaya’s father and managed to get married. They say that time heals all breaches after all. And the parents usually come around, once they hear the word ‘grandchild’.

A few blissful months later, Vijaya was pregnant. In the time-honoured tradition of South-Indian mothers-to-be, she left for her own mother’s house to go through the pregnancy. What she was completely unprepared for, was the family’s continued resistance to the union.

“Don’t worry” her mother assured her, “We’ll take care of everything.”

“Abortions are possible.” her sister chimed in, “ And there are still boys lining up to marry you.”

“We can just forget everything and put it all behind us like a bad mistake.” finished her mother.

Vijaya was trapped, a prisoner in the house she had grown up in, the place that she once called home. Frantic, she managed to send off a letter to Irfan, back in Mumbai.

A few days later VIjaya’s mother received a letter. She opened it and something fell out.

“A plane ticket” said Vijaya’s sister, picking it up.

It was from Irfan and was accompanied by a note.

‘My wife is over eighteen years old and a legal adult. She married me of her own free will. I will be waiting to collect her from the airport. If she doesn’t arrive, I’m filing a police complaint for kidnap and unlawful detention of an adult.’

Salim stops his account suddenly and gives me a huge grin.

“And then?!”

I cry, caught up in his story.

His mother comes back into the room with a tray balanced with snacks and juice for all of us. She smoothly flows back into the discussion, weaving in and out of conversations about books, our futures and our jokes. I look at her, deep admiration. She’s a cool lady, the modern mum, a real role model for my generation.

Then uncle comes by to pick up a magazine. Salim introduces me and he turns to me, a slow smile forming on his face as he says in Hindi,

”Yes, beta, I remember. We have spoken on the phone a few times. You are Salim’s friend.”

I smile back at him. He’s the traditional papa, warm but reserved with women, even his kids’ friends. And I wonder just how two people, so different from each other could get along, what they would find to say to each other.

I turn back to Salim, willing him to complete his story. He smiles again and says,

“And that is how I was saved, in the nick of time. That baby was me.”

And I think to myself, there’s no doubt from where he gets his flair for drama.

~O~O~O~O~O~

*Based on a true story

Forgiveness, Actually

Yes, there’s more.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Do banished memories go to hell? I hope not, ‘cos I’ll only end up meeting them there again. Besides they deserve better, so much better than the  darkness in my mind.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

A friend who hurts you
….is the one most likely to come back and apologize
….is the one that deserves forgiveness the least.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

If intimacy is what happens when love and hate collide,
Then seperation is when they lie together in the same bed…or grave.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I would hold onto any scrap of you that I can get,
Even if it is only a painful memory.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

I would make sure the memory of me never fades in your mind
Even if it means having to leave only a memory of me behind with you.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Love means never having to say you’re sorry.

I take that to mean, the situation of being sorry never arises. After all, what else is love but taking the other person’s happiness as one’s personal responsibility? Even if that’s impossible, so is love.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Forgiveness is admitting the humaness of the other person
And divinity in oneself.For

I think I can live with being just human.

~o~o~o~o~o~o~o~

Forgiveness is for the world at large, a fair exchange for our own peace of mind. But anyone who is special enough to love, is special enough to never be forgiven.

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