friends

#30DaysofGratitude – Day 25

Yesterday was Friendship’s Day in India (is it Friendship Day or Friendship’s Day – grammar nazis, correct me please!). When we were children in school, this day held very very special significance, and entailed preparation from weeks in advance. Making sure all impending fights were sorted out, scouting the market for the latest trends in Friendship bands, allocating time to hand-make bands for the special few friends (the days when n >= 10). Because believe me, the anticipation as you approached school on the day-of, was even more intense than the look on Jamie’s face when he saw Drogon and Dany fly over Highgarden with the Dothrakis! I kid not.

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The goal at the end of the day was to walk away with the maximum number of bands on your wrists, hence being hailed the undisputed Friendship King/Queen. The competition began on the school bus itself. A few over-ambitious ones woke up early and got a headstart by covering friends in their neighborhood. The look of jealousy on kids’ faces when one boarded the bus with 20 bands on their wrists already, was worth sacrificing an hour of sleep for. Try explaining that to your ignorant parents! At the end of the day, the coolest kids always walked away with both their forearms covered with bands, till the elbows! Uggghhh how we hated them, but wouldn’t dare NOT tie them a friendship band!

For many, the day was an occasion to proclaim their “more-than-friendship” feelings to those special someone’s. As Bollywood movies of those years taught us – Love is Friendship. Pyaar dosti hai. Perfect marketing opportunity for Archies and Hallmark, to introduce aptly titled ribbons and bands too! So it was not uncommon to see the beginnings of new romantic relationships on the day, all of which were discussed to death, on the bus ride back home. The fact that those relationships didn’t last more than a week (if lucky), didn’t matter – just fodder for more gossip!

The advent of cell phones in college meant that the Friendship bands were replaced by sappy SMS-es and monochrome MMS-es to the many friends who had moved to other cities – despite the surcharge rates by telecom providers. We’re friends after all – what is Rs. 5 in comparison ?! Cut to 2017, where WhatsApp is free, but no special messages were exchanged among my friends (where n <=10) and I could not be happier !

I was thinking about how much time and effort I wasted on some of those meaningless friendships, the silly fights and arguments on everything from clothes to boys to grades.. If I had to give my 10-year-old self any advice, would I ask her to rethink her entire friendship strategy? Ask her to invest her time only on those people who stayed through those crazy teens and 20’s ? Probably not. These experiences are likes rites of passage, no? – I wouldn’t have the people I call my own today, if I had not met those many others who came and left. It was probably my fight with a “friend” who ridiculed my hair behind my back, that led me to this other curly-haired-girl who has stayed with me for 23 years. And had I not gone through this whole “I-hate-the-girls-in-my-group” phase, I would have never met my now best friend and the first guy I ever spoke to!

So while there will be no sappy messages and friendship bands any more, I cannot help but thank those crazies on my school bus who led me to the crazies I have with me today!

 

#30DaysofGratitude – Day 14

I love how Google and Facebook have this wonderful ability to bring up special moments from the past, that you may have forgotten about but when you see that picture on your Newsfeed, it transports you back to those significant days that changed your life for the better.. Memorial Day is a special weekend for me. In 2011, Memorial Day weekend, I made my big move from Rochester, New York to Davis, California. Now I’ve made bigger moves before and after, but this particular one was specially significant because it marked the onset of a truly spectacular phase of my life. I moved for a job I truly enjoyed, with the most amazing boss and team I have ever worked with – and if you’ve had your share of bad bosses like most of us, you know how much of a rarity this is! I still draw inspiration from the way my boss at Siemens used to lead our team – with so much humility and kindness.

And more importantly, this move introduced me to the most special group of friends I have had the pleasure of knowing.. If you are like me, you’re not the kind of person who has a huge social circle. I have a handful of very special friends who I have known since my childhood and college days, and I cherish them with all my heart. I met my friends in Davis when I was 24, which is not when you expect to meet people who will really integrate into the fabric of my life. So when that happens, it is really something to be grateful for. In the past 6 years, we have seen each other through marriages and breakups and new cars, new jobs, new homes, babies – you name it! Just scrolling through our first set of pictures from 6 years ago (bless Google Drive backup!) makes me realize how much our lives have changed ever since. But we are still in it together, trying our best to be there for each other through it all!

That is the thing about friendship really – I’ve come to realize that it does not matter how alike or different you are. What matters is real acceptance of the other person, and knowing that your relationship is more important than a difference of opinion. I really believe that you are the average of the five people closest to you. So I make it a point to surround myself with people who inspire me to be better every day, and who allow me to go through my phases when I am particularly anti-social, and love me regardless of it, and who constantly remind me of my strengths, but at the same time, can be real with me and tell me off when I’m being a wuss.

Here’s to special moments that change your life for the better! 🙂

#30DaysofGratitude – Day 12

Some days will just be remembered for a really really long time! I woke up today at 3:45 AM with the sound of my phone buzzing away.. (Side Note: I know I should be sleeping with my phone away from me, but that’s not the point here. I’m not addicted to my phone! :P) I woke up to umpteen messages of my dear dear friend in the US having gone into labour !!! Sleep just vanished from my body and there I was, in the middle of the night, 14,356 kilometers away, waiting excitedly for the big moment! Finally a few hours later, she had given birth to a beautiful, adorable baby girl! We are a close-knit group of 6 friends and this is the first baby in our group! She has wanted to be a mom for so long, and she is sooooo ready for it! I am so so grateful that she finally got what she has wanted and I can only send all my good thoughts and energy her way!

Also, how awesome is technology, especially WhatsApp – here I was, thousands of miles away and I could be updated every minute along the way! And actually see this little baby girl, just minutes after she was born!

Good people raising kids right – that’s how the world will change! 🙂