Posts Tagged ‘Friendship’
Dhri was not happy to leave her friends behind in Bangalore. She did not like that she had to leave her favourite school too. She loved the house and her room, not to mention cuddling up in her bunk bed. She belonged there.Though she never told anyone, she would miss Ryan too. Her friend, her soul mate. How will she be able to survive without seeing Ryan everyday. Of course, Facetime and Skype will help but it will not be the same. Sigh.
Everyday she was told about how good the new school would be and how great the new residence was. She was told about this new city, the city that never slept! Mumbai, city of dreams!! It sounded more like a nightmare. Though all were trying to perk her mood up, there was no way that she would feel excited about this new development. But she was 16 and she had to comply to her parents wish of shifting base to Mumbai. She looked like a little girl when she boarded plane with tears in her eyes and pouting. She kept staring out of the window, tears streaming down her face, throughout the flight. It was as if her world was crumbling around her.
Blue tarpauline lined slum houses and littered roads, continuous honking and traffic snarls of Mumbai dampened Dhri’s spirits even further. Affluent ambiance, perfectly trimmed Mehndi shrubs, evenly spaced trees, landscaped garden, swimming pool and cheering children on their bicycles at her new housing society did not do much to lift her mood. New abode was as good as her Bangalore one, if not better. It seemed to Dhri that nothing, nothing can ever make her happy now that she was uprooted.
Days passed and Dhri’s family started liking their new place. Her brother made new friends and both her parents started settling down at their new work place too. Neighbours were quite helpful and welcoming. Only Dhri resisted being happy. She still sulked and did everything to show how unhappy she was at every opportunity she got. School was still closed for summer vacation so there was no way to make new friends unless she ventured out of her new apartment, which she did not! She just wanted to show her parents how they had ruined her life by getting her away from her comfortable and contended life. It was working in part as her parents were now getting worried looking at their once happy-go-lucky daughter brooding for days. No amount of pacifying or reasoning seemed to work and one day Dhri’s father lost his cool. He admonished Dhri for her irrational behaviour.
That night Dhri cried herself to sleep. It was not even midnight when a sudden noise in her room startled Dhri and she woke up with a start. It took time for her vision to adjust to darkness. She thought she saw a shadow near her french window and she shrieked. Sweat beads broke out on her forehead and she struggled under the grip of the shadow who was now trying to stop her from screaming. As her effort to free herself reduced, she realized that the shadow was trying to talk to her. She stopped fighting. The shadow released her and it turned out that he was a young lad and a very handsome one at that! Fear went out of Dhri’s being, she kept staring at him. He was saying something to her but Dhri was lost. She blinked her eyes and he was gone. Dhri could not believe her eyes. She wanted to run to her parents but decided against it thinking she might have had a nightmare. She tried sleeping again but it eluded her that night.
Next night she tried staying awake to see if what happened the previous night was really a dream or not, but dozed off. A light shake woke her up. The shadow was there, looking down at her, smiling. Dhri, disoriented, looked around. She was indeed at her own home and this guy was in her room, smiling! Confused, she smiled back. His name was Hrim and apparently, he saw her everyday mopping around the house and just felt like meeting her. He liked her and wanted to talk to her. He was of her own age and was a neighbour. If that was the case, why he did not come and meet her like a regular visitor, she asked. He guffawed. Dhri liked the sound of his laughter and she smiled, a wary smile still, too. He started talking to her like he was her childhood friend and they always knew each other. Dhri warmed up to this cute chap and it was beginning of a new friendship. They talked and talked and Dhri slept off somewhere near dawn. When she got up she had a smile on her face. She felt good and light. After ages she hummed a song as she went to shower. Everyday she waited for the night to fall, waited for Hrim. They loved talking, shared their dreams and fears, teased each other and fought too. Her scowl had transformed into a happy, silly grin and it did not go unnoticed. Her parents were happy that finally their daughter had accepted the change and was being herself again. Again she was irritating elder sister, loving daughter and generally a happy teen. She was herself!
Hrim came to meet Dhri every night, which went on for a few weeks. One night as they were engaged in their usual banter, there was a knock on the door. Dhri was surprised since everyone was supposed to be asleep. Were they too loud? What will they say if they saw Hrim in her room at this hour? She looked at Hrim and he just smiled and nodded for her to open the door. Her parents rushed inside the room and looked worried. They demanded to know what was going on and whom was she talking to and laughing with. Dhri looked over her shoulder and saw Hrim had vanished. She smiled at her friend’s quick reflexes. “No one”, she replied and kept her naughty smile in check. Her mother gave anxious look before leaving her alone and asked her not to lock the door. Hrim did not come for a couple of days, rather nights, and Dhri realized how much she was missing him. It had not occurred to her to ask for his mobile number neither had he asked hers. She did not even know, if he was her neighbour, which was his apartment. She cursed herself for being so stupid. Now, there was no other choice but to wait for him to come over. There was no way she can contact him. Hrim came over on the third day, as usual, with his trademark smile intact. Dhri giggled with joy but took care to keep her voice low. They got lost in their repartee. Opening of her bedroom door startled Dhri. She rushed to her fuming parents to pacify them. She was sure that this time Hrim did not have enough time to escape. Her father pushed her aside, rushed to the balcony beyond the french window for he was sure that whomever Dhri was talking to had to be there. To their utter disbelief there was no one. Dhri was happy that Hrim had pulled off the disappearance act again but this time her parents did not let her off the hook. They goaded her and after a while Dhri spilled the beans. They looked at each other in bewilderment and with incredulity at their 16 year old.
How was this possible, their home was on 26th floor?!
Mrinal inhaled deeply, she loved freshly baked cake aroma. She peeked from the transparent oven door and sniffed again. This one was his favourite, chocolate cake. She was sure he would love it. She smiled to herself. Today was their “friendship anniversary” and she wanted to surprise Saaras on their special day.
“How time flies…” Mrinal thought wistfully. It was two years since they first met at the contemporary painting exhibition. They hit off instantly. They were different and yet there was something special that bound them. After that first meeting they met again at a few more shows and their friendship deepened. For Mrinal he was a wave of fresh air. She loved listening to his ideas. It was not that she agreed to everything that he said but Saaras’ passion for art and culture drew her closer to him. She loved their good natured banter. Sometimes Mrinal’s husband too would join them but mainly he was happy to see his wife getting a friend with whom she could share her love for art, who understood her world of colours. Mrinal loved spending time with Saaras. There was something magical about their togetherness. It was difficult to give a name to their relationship. Friendship was the milder and more acceptable term. Though their feelings ran deeper than mere friendship, there was not even one instance where anyone can point fingers at them.
Mrinal was awakened from her reverie with a beep from oven indicating that the cake was ready. She took it out, looked at it and smiled again. She looked at the clock and rushed to get ready. She wanted to be at Saaras’ place before he was back from work. She wore a beautiful peacock blue saree, looked at herself in the mirror and was happy with what she saw. A small bindi between her brows made her babyish face look even more beautiful. There was no other make-up needed.
Saaras was already home when she reached and was surprised to see Mrinal. She enthusiastically wished him “Happy Friendship Anniversary” and smiled broadly. Saaras smile at her childish exuberance but he seemed miles away. Mrinal sensed that there was something wrong but shook the doubt out of her mind and went on gushing about how happy she was. She proudly showed the cake she had baked and went on to get the knife. She had even got candles for them to blow together. She set the cake on the table and called Saaras to cut it with her. Mrinal offered him a piece of cake out of her hand and hugged him with childlike ebullience.
Instead of his usual friendly hug, his arms tightened around her waist. He drew her closer and held tightly. Mrinal looked up into his eyes and was taken aback at the emotions that lurked there. She tried to wriggle out of his embrace. She freed herself and looked at Saaras with a questioning look, almost accusing him.
“What happened Saaras?” Mrinal asked more for herself than him.
Rather than answering her, he went and sat at the edge of sofa with his head in his palms. He looked miffed. Mrinal was surprised at his reaction and went to sit beside him. He got up with a jolt and looked at Mrinal again with unfathomable expressions.
“What happened Saaras?” Mrinal asked again, a little scared.
Something snapped in Saaras.
“What is all this Mrinal? You are a married woman. All these talks of friendship and platonic love are nothing but bullshit. This is nothing but lust. And when I hold you, you look at me as if I have committed some crime!” Saaras shouted.
Looking at Mrinal’s mortified face, Saaras regained his senses. He swore under his breath and went to Mrinal, to hold her, to appease her, to ask for her forgiveness for his callousness. Once again she looked in Saaras’ eyes with her own moist ones. She got up and went out of his home, without looking back!
“If only you knew, how much I love you, Mrinal!” Saaras sighed longingly after her.
May be one day they will be together again, like old days… may be not!
When Zoe first kissed Shrey, he wrinkled his nose and immediately wiped it off. Looking at his expressions Zoe giggled and went to kiss him again. But this time Shrey was ready, he crawled away as fast as he could. Zoe followed him steadfastly. Looking at Shrey’s plight both the kids’ mothers burst out laughing. The innocent chase of turtle and rabbit, as they were known as, went on for years.
They weaved a cocoon around them and nobody was allowed to penetrate it. Once, Shrey picked up a fight for Zoe when one of their classmates made a pass at Zoe. Shrey beat the light out of him. But when Zoe went up to him with a smile, he gruffly told her to behave properly. And his tone was such that Zoe’s eyes brimmed with tears instantly. Looking at her crestfallen face, Shrey sighed and hugged her. She just shrugged his hands off and walked down to their school bus. She did not talk to him for the entire time till they reached home, but by evening all was well again. Tiff forgotten, Zoe and Shrey’s were playing tennis by evening. This was not an isolated incidence, but eventually Zoe would forget her anguish and they would be together again, as always. Zoe and Shrey became inseparable, two sides of one coin, always together but never seeing eye to eye.
However, as they grew up it was evident that how much ever they loved each other or cared for each other they were not cut out to be together. Zoe was bubbly and effervescent while Shrey was a thinker and loved to read. Zoe would go on chattering away her thoughts while Shrey would just nod or give monosyllabic answers. It was difficult to know what went on in Shrey’s mind whereas Zoe was an open book. Shrey would like to keep to himself while Zoe constantly sought his company. So much so that she would expect him to shop with her too! Their adolescence being at peak, things started changing, or say, Zoe started realizing how much she was imposing on Shrey. She realized he needed space. His gruff behavior started hurting her more; she started reading more into his monosyllabic answers and felt left out. There was a time when she would drag him out of his bed just to go on a long drive or go window shopping. Now, she felt embarrassed or sometimes insulted when he would just refuse to be with her. Shrey’s behavior was probably the same, but Zoe was growing up and her natural vanity wanted to be pampered.
All her grievances went up like a smoke in the air the day she came to know that he was going to US of A for higher studies. It was just for a few days that they were together and the thought of being alone filled her with dread. She could not think of her life without him. She went to see Shrey and could not hold herself back when she saw him packing. All the wonderful years of their childhood came to her like a flash. She just stood in the door way looking at her best friend. Shrey sensed someone in the room and turned around to see Zoe’s crestfallen face. She saw the same turmoil in his eyes and the hell broke loose. She just threw herself in his arms and he held her tight, as tight as he could. Both were crying openly now. They never had any friend other than each other all their lives and now the thought of being without each other was killing them. They sat on the edge of his bed, holding each other’s hands, caressing softly. Words failed them but they were not needed today.
“You be good, rabbit! Don’t go on hopping here and there.” Shrey said softly.
“And you pick up some speed, turtle. Else you won’t be able to find any girl for yourself.” Zoe tried to make their mood light.
“I am not going there to chase after some stupid girls. I am going there to study, got it!”
With that the spell was broken and they laughed together. There were no promises made, none were needed!
Time flew by and life went on at both the ends. Whoever said, “Distance made hearts grow fonder” was proving to be wrong in this case. The good natured sparring turned to tiffs and finally heated flare ups. Increasingly the feeling of not belonging to each other started creeping in. The joy of being together was turning into a dread. Zoe was getting possessive about him, while Shrey was feeling suffocated with all the love and devotion. He hated to be answerable. Zoe tried to keep tab on his online life, Shrey hated it to core. The final blow to their friendship came on the New Year eve when Zoe called up Shrey to wish, and made a passing remark about some hot young man in the party. A heated and hurtful argument followed, and how much ever they regret it later, the damage was done.
That was a decade ago.
Fate brought them face to face again. Their eyes met and the world around them ceased to exist. They did not know how long they stood there, in that crowded room lost in their own world. After what felt like an eternity, Zoe noticed someone tug at her pallu, she looked down and Shrey’s eyes followed her gaze. A little girl looked up at her and Zoe smiled at her daughter. Little Zoe clung to her and shyly looking at the man getting all her mother’s attention. Just then a little boy came bouncing and jumped into Shrey’s arms. The boy looked at Little Zoe and asked his father,
“Dad, doesn’t she look like a rabbit!”
A happy, contended smile spread over their faces and the lost years fell by!
“Come on, yaar! I think when one is older the need of a spouse is even more. Be it a man or a woman.” Pankti remembered her own words when she had vehemently defended elderly remarriage among her group.
“What if, God forbid, your father was to do the same? What will be your reaction then? Pankti, it is one thing to talk about something and other when you actually have to follow it!” Krish had argued.
“No, I will always be at my dad’s side if he chooses to remarry after my mother!” She had replied strongly. The discussion went on and ended without a consensus. That was about two decades ago.
Pankti had never, ever thought that she would have to take such a decision in her life. The only difference was that the decision was to be taken for her mother instead of father. Why call it a decision? Her mother had given her a choice… a choice for her mother’s life!
Of course, Pankti was not averse to the idea. Or was she?
Why, then, since she has heard of it is she so upset?
Were her debates and the talks of (elderly) remarriage just empty talks? No. And, anyways, who was talking about marriage here? They just have decided to stay together, a few days at her mom’s place and a few days at “his” place.
“Then what’s your problem?” She asked herself.
Though she was still not comfortable with the whole idea, she had agreed to meet with “the man” whom her mother thought was a “very nice person” and “she would love to meet him”!
As the duo approached him, pankti was increasingly feeling nervous. She looked at her mother and could make out that she too was not in her usual chirpy mood. Pankti went into a kind of a shock when she met Mr. Shah. He was not at all what she had conjured up in her mind. He was a slight man with a pleasant personality and slowly she became comfortable in his company.
“What did you expect, idiot!!” She reprimanded herself. “He is supposed to be 65 years old, about your mother’s age.”
But his grey cells were nowhere near 65 years… he was a jovial man and well versed too. Slowly Pankti relaxed and forgot how apprehensive she was before coming here. And she looked at her mother, her smile was worth anything.
Later that night when she was thinking about Mahadeve i.e. Mr. Shah, she realized that she never had any problem with her mother being friends or more with anybody. But she was afraid of how the other person might turn out to be. It was as if she was thinking about her child’s matrimony and not her mother’s!
Today when she endorsed their friendship with a smile she truly felt she had become her mother’s mother!! 🙂
His eyes turned into saucers when he saw her for the first time. And when he saw what she was offering him, he was on cloud nine. He simply loved candy-floss! But the moment she kissed him on his cheek he wiped it clean.
Kush didn’t like girls kissing him, yet! In his entire life of nine years he had allowed only his mother to cuddle him and kiss him. He loved being held by her. Oh, how he loved it! But it was more than a year now since she did any such thing. He blamed himself for being naughty and requested God often to send his mother back. He promised him he would behave himself and never, ever upset his mother. But God never listened to him. Now it was only him and daddy. And daddy too had changed since mom went away. He rarely smiled and was keeping himself busy all the time. Though he played with him and also told him stories at night, Kush’s young brain analyzed that his father was also missing his mother the way he did!
But for the last couple of months, daddy had started smiling more often. Yesterday he even whistled while making him the breakfast. Kush felt good. He missed his mother but he wanted his daddy to be happy, very happy!
Daddy said that one of his friends was coming home for dinner tonight and so he had to complete his homework earlier. Kush loved guests. And the attention they showered on him.
And true to that this sweet aunty got him candy floss. He loved candy floss, but that I have already mentioned earlier.
She seemed to be sweet and talked and laughed a lot. And daddy, too, was laughing a lot. It’s been so long ago that daddy had laughed like this that Kush didn’t even remember.
He sat there with them eating his candy floss and sulking. Usually he would not sit with his daddy’s guests for long. But today he refused to budge. He didn’t know why he was suddenly feeling so low and why his eyes were brimming with tears.
“That Lady”‘s visits became more frequent and Kush started feeling alienated. His temper tantrums increased. Daddy was at lost. He didn’t realize what was wrong with Kush suddenly. He was getting worried. He tried to talk to Kush, he tried everything possible but it seemed as if Kush had shut doors. When Kush didn’t light up while watching “The power rangers”, daddy couldn’t take it any more.
“Kush, I want to have a talk with you, a man to man talk. Can I trust you?” daddy asked.
“Man to man?” Kush looked at his father, a bit confused, but intrigued. This was the first real response daddy got from Kush in weeks. He got strength to go on further.
“I am in a dilemma. And I need advice from you. I think you are the only person who can help me.”
Kush didn’t know what to say but he was all ears now and felt very important as his father thought him to be his confidante. He looked at daddy intently and urged him to go on.
“You know Jui, the friend of mine!”
Kush got tensed at the mention of “That lady”. Daddy felt the reaction and was now doubly sure about the problem. He had hit the bull’s eye.
“I am thinking whether I should continue my friendship with her. I do like her company but… you know, I am not really sure. She is a girl, you see!”
Kush’s face lit up. Daddy felt a tug at heart.
“I like her a lot and she seems to be the best friend I had in a long time. But I am not very sure. What do you say?”
Kush was in a dilemma now. He had not anticipated this.
“I think you are the only person whom I can talk to and can rely on the opinion. Do think and tell me.”
With that daddy bade good night with a peck on his forehead.
Kush’s little heart went into topsy-turvy. He sat there for a long time and thought “hard”, as hard as a nine year old could think.
But before he went for the sleep he had made the decision.
After a long time Kush slept with a big smile on his face.
How many years have passed!! 10? No, it was exactly 12 years since she last saw this sea. She used to love coming here. When Maanushi was a toddler, her parents used to bring her here and she would giggle and laugh and loved riding on her father’s back. As she grew older, parents’ place was taken by a bunch of friends and they used to hang out here. Sometimes till wee hours debating on anything and everything! How many times had they saved this world from economic crisis, from terror attacks and even UFOs!!!
It felt like home coming. She inhaled deeply as if to keep the essence of the sea within her. She was elated and way too nostalgic!!
It was getting darker and she decided to head to their “once favourite” café. Maanushi felt as if nothing had changed in these years and yet, so much had changed.
That applied specifically for her friends, Ketki and Manan.
Maanushi was to stay with them till she got her accommodation from office. She tried to convince them to stay in a hotel, but they would not hear of it. In a couple of days she could make out that Ketki and Manan were not whom she remembered from her past. They had grown to be different people.
Ketki was not as bubbly and Manan has become considerably quieter. In all those years they talked on phone or kept contact on chat, she never felt anything amiss! She attributed this soberness to the hectic work schedule they followed.
Though Ketki was happy to have her, she seemed aloof; not only with her but with Manan too. Something was seriously wrong. Both were tight lipped and she too didn’t want to prod.
As the days passed, her friends’ drift was the last thing on her mind, as something else was eating at her heart and mind. In the last few weeks she realized that Manan was popping in her head way too many times than needed. His thoughts kept Maanushi occupied even at night. Just a thought of Manan sleeping in the adjoining room gave her a warm feeling. She kept going back to their conversations, replayed them in her thoughts and kept staring at her laptop screen during work hours.
She knew, Manan was not to be blamed for the state of her heart. He had never, ever given any hint in that direction. She tried reasoning to herself saying that this is just a physical attraction since it’s been a long time since she had a male company.
But that did not change the fact that she had fallen head over heels for her best friend… and best friend’s husband!!!!
She wanted to be held by Manan, not like his usual hugs. Not a friendly hug but a hug of a lover. She wanted to be close to him, close enough to hear his heartbeats. She wanted to be the part of his being.
She had dated a couple of men earlier but she had never felt this way for any of them.
She was confused with her own feelings. She did not feel guilty. And, yet, she knew these feelings were not acceptable to the society and probably will not be acceptable to Manan too!
But who is going to tell him, anyways!!!
No, she will not run away from him. She can’t even think of doing that. But she can’t tell him and risk the rebuke. Also she needed to understand her own feelings, whether it was temporary attraction or pity or what???
No, she won’t run away. Instead, she would test the waters. Who knows what is in store for her! 😉
“Hi, Shree! This is Komal.” answered her best friend from the other end.
Shree was happy to hear Komal’s voice. Though they talked almost everyday, they never seemed to have any dearth of topics to be discussed or dissected.
“Hey, wait a sec, I will put off the gas and come!” Shree knew her conversation with Komal is not going to end before at least half an hour.
As they resumed their talk, Shree sensed that Komal was not in her jovial mood.
“What’s the matter Komal? You don’t seem to be yourself today.” Shree got worried.
“There’s something I want to tell you Shree, but don’t know how to!”
Komal was a chatter box and she never had qualms about anything in life. This was the first time Shree had heard her best friend in a dilemma.
“I am already worried for you, yaar! Don’t create suspense. Shoot!”
“You said Abhi was out of town yesterday, but I saw him in the late afternoon at CCD with a woman, in-fact a girl!” Komal blurted out. She didn’t know how to put this softly. She loved Shree too much to cause her any pain, but at the same time she didn’t want her to be cheated on.
Shree didn’t know what to say. Their conversation ended in less than 15 minutes.
She forgot all about her lunch and sat staring at the telephone. Shree was in a state of numb shock the whole day. She didn’t know what to do. She had trusted Abhi and loved him with all her being. And in their 5 years of marriage he too had given her everything or so she thought! Though theirs was an arranged marriage, she had fallen in love with this down-to-earth person from the first day they had met. And the love had grown deeper with each passing day.
Five years of their marriage went in front of her eyes like a film reel. And the more she thought, more she was resolved to save her marriage. She had trusted and loved Abhi and she still did.
Abhi was in for a pleasant surprise. It was a while since Shree took pains to look beautiful for her husband. And the gleam in Abhi’s eyes was worth the efforts. They went for the dinner and to a movie later that night. Abhi sensed shree’s nervous efforts to please him but he couldn’t understand the reason but he didn’t want the spell to break.
Shree too was basking in Abhi’s undivided attention and she forgot the afternoon’s incidence.
But when she talked to Komal the next day she suddenly remembered about their conversation and got a bit uneasy. Though Komal didn’t broach the subject, lest it would upset Shree!
Their conversation didn’t last for more than 5 minutes.
Shree didn’t want to offend Abhi but she wanted to know about that evening.
“I trust him!” she told herself, but the fact was that she was feeling insecure.
She didn’t know how to ask Abhi without looking like a nagging wife. Her task was made easy by Abhi himself.
“Arey, Shree, I forgot to tell you that I met that girl, what’s her name?”
“Which girl?” Shree’s heart missed a beat. She was all ears.
“The one who called repeatedly for the membership of that club!”
Shree sighed. She thought, he might tell about “that girl”.
“Unh… ok!” she had lost interest in knowing about some sales girl and her club.
“Actually, the day before, I came back from Baroda a bit early. So went to office and there she called again. They had planned some get together for the prospective clients at CCD. I had an hour or so at hand so thought of giving it a shot. But, you know, I was the only person who was on time.
She really tried to sell me the membership but I think it is quite expensive for us. Wasted my hour there!”
Shree couldn’t believe her ears.
“These girls and boys are very young. They study and do part time jobs…..” Abhi was telling Shree about the event but Shree was not there to listen to him.
She was on the cloud nine. She threw the T-shirt she was folding and gave Abhi a deep smooch to shut him up. Abhi was surprised at this sudden display of emotions. Of course, he wasn’t complaining!
Shree ran to the other room and picked up the phone to call Komal. Their husbands had to sleep alone till late that night!
Chatterboxes were chattering again!!