Day 110: Surprised by Forum 

A late night, last ditch effort to study. Economics of education. Bus to Uni. Missed a Volvo and found a beautiful blue bus. Peace at college. That morning big, strong coffee. Rants and revisions with A. Annoying male supervisor with his ‘stand up for question papers’. Three hours of hand-breaking pain. Choices, choices, choices.  There should be a better way to test. Walk to the parking lot, but I have no car. Lunch plans for bitching. The hunt for Clinique continues. Forum has a front and a magical back entrance. Love it. Didn’t find Clinique. Ran away from parottas and chole bhatures. Plans for Melt flopped by crazy traffic that won’t let you cross the road. Soup, corn flake chicken and Lassi. True stories of DubaiCassanova. Gossiping is for girls. Reminder about fun conversations in the past. Have I missed these for too long? Blue and green buses are hot ovens. Back home. Scotch needs psychiatric help. Kitchen is in shambles. All dishes for washing on the floor. She tried to help. Bakeware sacrificed. Didn’t scold or hit her. Muzzled for an hour. Hurt me more than her. She’s the boss. Another dog, maybe?

“I told you I loved what you cooked yesterday. And you give me just a slice? So, I tried to help myself to all the goodness still stuck in the pan. In all the excitement, shit got real.” Scotch

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Day 64: Friends

Dia is H’s local sweetheart. The mother and H bonded over their pets, her pug and our Scotch, and Dia grew up around both these little animals. When I inherited H’s social circle, which basically included just Dia, her mum and her pug, they landed up being the only ones I socialized with in the apartment complex as well. I’ve told you already about how poor my socializing skills are.

These days, because of Dia, there are a few other 6 and 7 year olds that have joined my friends’ circle. They yell, squeak and scamper away every time I walk out with Scotch. They dare each other into petting Scotch when we sit in the park in the evenings. Not Dia of course, she needs no dare to touch her big beast.

I had a very interesting conversation with Dia, and her friends, lets call them Seetha and Geetha (because I don’t know or understand the overly complicated, mythological, and extremely cryptic name that their parents gave them after spending a few too many hours on ‘100 unique baby names’ websites).

As I pull into the apartment at the end of the day, the three girls leave their game of examining the dirt on the path to the parking lot, and move over to the side. They see my car and me behind the wheels and start waving frantically; I lower my window and the conversation begins.

Me: Hello, girls!

Dia, Seetha, Geetha: HIIIIII! Where’s the dog?

Me: I left her in college. She wanted to study something about eating children.

D, S & G: <Teeeheeeee> Did you get any friendship bands today? Look how many we got?

<And they go on to count the 5 on Dia’s wrist, the 4 on Seetha and Geetha’s>

Me: Very nice. I dint get any; looks like I don’t have any friends after all.

D, S & G: <Gigggle, giggle>

S: Look at the one that Dia gave me, and this one Geetha gave me, and this one is from my school friend Anivaary.

Me: WOW! Where is mine? You dint give me a friendship band.

S: Noooooo! Because you are not my friend, and nobody gave you friendship band anyway.

Me:

D: Here you go! You can have mine.

<And she handed me this bright pink, bedazzled friendship band that she was wearing in her hand>

Me: Awwwwh! Thank you, Dia. But you keep it. I don’t want one.

S: Arrey. Anyway that band wont fit her hand, na?

And with that tiny, baby-sized bruise to my ego, I drove away.

A few things moved me about the conversation. One, Dia and I have spent very little time together. There was that one time when she told me about her plan to put a ladder all the way up to the moon. We got stuck in the electric cables. But, beyond that, we haven’t spent as much time as she and H have in the past. And yet, she did not think for a second before sacrificing her own friendship band for me. Some kids have such an open definition of friendship. Or, maybe some kids attach very little value to that outwardly display of friendship through a band. I’m happy for this young girl no matter what.

Second, Seetha already has a sense of some very adolescent concepts like cliques, popularity and standard behaviors. Kids at this age already know what it means to be cool versus being a nerd. They already consider the number of friendship bands to automatically signify the number of friends; and more friends automatically makes you the popular catch of the class. It’s these expectations that will translate very soon into the number of friends on social media, real or not. This is definitely not a new trend, because I remember the craze for friendship bands even when I was in school. Even back then there was a craze to join the popular girls’ group, or look up to them for the latest fashion trends.

Of course, when I was in school, we dint have the dark monsters of the virtual world, watching and stalking us every step of the way. We had real monsters, but they somehow seemed more manageable.

“Wow! You are very morose, aren’t you? Such a sweet and innocent concept called friends, especially from 6 year olds, and here you are already connecting it to stalking, molestation and rape. Take a chill pill now and then, S.

What’s this here? Smells off.” Scotch

 

Day 35: BFFs

While it started off looking like a typical eat, sleep, clean kind of day, the Sunday was made interesting by a visit from an age old friend. As we sat at a quiet tea room, sipping on our kadak chais and catching up on the years gone by, I recall the way we met and became the thickest of friends.

He was in my class for three long years, two or three roll numbers behind me, and I barely spoke more than 10 times to him. Well, neither did he. He was getting awfully close to my ex-BFF in college, and as she and I started growing apart, he seemed to be at the center of it all; the attention hogger that took my BFF from me. Flash-forward to after graduation, and we go to the same abandoned town for our training, exchange a few pleasantries and before I know it, we’re hanging out most of the time. It surprised me how much we had in common and how littler we spoke about it during college days. This was 2005. We’ve come a long way since then. Stayed across continents and in the same continent, across cities and in the same city, and he’s even gotten married, and yet we continue to stay in touch, sharing each other’s lives when time permits.

As I drove back home, after a quick catch-up with Switch, I realized that we’ve grown out of our teenager phase of the friendship, and into the adult version of it. We spoke about investments, and savings and property to buy. We did not talk about the latest movies or the newest book read. We spoke about in-laws and families, ours and theirs. We did not talk about the latest photography gear to oogle at. We spoke about pain in the joints, and the latest gym sessions. We did not talk about the next travel adventure to be planned, the rock concert to attend or the newest gadget in town. Somehow, over the course of growing up, life’s struggles had come out the winner and we had lost our interests, it seems. There were promises of a new location, bringing in newer changes to life. But how effective are these changes, only time will tell.

If it was these interests that got us together in the first place, and if these interests no longer exist, then what binds us together now?

“Thanks to this old pal of yours, I got to ride in the car after a whole week and…what now!? Was that a cat?” Scotch