Category Archives: Friends

>Blue Christmas…

>…is not for me! I really didn’t think I would be doing up our Christmas tree this year, being in the mood that I was. But the holiday spirit taken over me! And I surprised myself with shopping for some more things to put up on our gigantic tree. Doing up the tree was just another excuse we needed to call our friends over. Which is exactly what we did on Monday.

We first did up the tree together

A ladder was put up to put the lights high up on the tree
We used a lot of stuff from last year. Such as this:
And some new stuff too

And this what the tree looked like in the end. Ot at least one side of it. Like it?

I also got really cute Santa caps for everyone
And being typically, pathetically mathematically challenged, I got only ten of these star-lit caps when there were going to be 14 of us huddling around the bonfire after putting up the tree. We ordered pizzas which we had with beer and scotch and vodka and whatever-your-choice-of-drink could be. And since we were hungry again by the time it was time to go home, we had some piping hot Maggi and anda bhurji by the fire.
And while we’re on the topic of Christmas, here’s a question I want to ask you: Who’s the Santa in your family? That’s the question they’re asking on Radio Mirchi for their Christmas Special. And it’s a question that got me thinking… who is the one person in my family who seems to have a mental note of everyone’s wish list, waiting to fulfil all of them? It’s sad but it’s true that the person who could have fit Santa’s bill in the entire khandaan is no more: my late uncle – my masi’s husband – who passed away five years ago.

He was the favouritest son-in-law for Nana and Nani because he knew before they could said what they needed. He was the favouritest uncle among his nieces and nephews because he never forgot a birthday or a gift. He was standing by anyone who needed him – at weddings and funerals, times of joy and sorrow. He was a brother to brother-less sisters, a son to so many parents, the shoulder you could lean on always. He was everything Santa should be because he never asked for anything in return.

Who’s the Santa in your family?

Think that over and have a Merry Christmas!
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>My Best Friend’s Wedding

>Have you ever lost a friend to a marriage, or to their spouse?

It’s the hardest kind of loss to face because it’s not a loss anyone has prepared you for. One moment you’re best friends with someone and the next you’ve sacrificed your friendship at the altar of your friend’s wedding!

In the last year or so, two of our (The Guy’s and mine) very good friends have taken their wedding vows, both of whom we used to hang out with almost every other day, both of whom sat and poured their hearts out to us discussing their confirmed bachelor status versus arranged marriage, both of whom broke the news of their engagement to us before anyone else, both of whom went shopping with us during the wedding preps, both of whom had us dancing like idiots in their baraats, both of whom disappeared pronto after their weddings! Now, if you ask me to understand that, you’re asking for a little too much!

You see, I’ve been there – I’ve gotten married and been newly-married. And I’ve not lost track of my friends because of that. Nor has The Guy. And we haven’t asked each other to get rid of any friends because either one of us didn’t get along with them. How do I make sense of any of this then?

I can quite understand when you’re newly-married and the new relationship is taking all of your time and energy, but I do not understand how it’s impossible to get out for a coffee break once in eight months! Explain this, if you can. Just because your wife doesn’t like me will you give up on our friendship? And how will you explain this when you know that there’s plenty of time to socialise with other people?

As a couple, do you give up your individuality? Does marriage mean leaving behind things you did as a single person, leaving behind friends as well?

I take a long time to make friends but once I do, I give to them all that I have to give. Once I have given of me like that, how should I understand why you’re holding back now? I feel cheated. I feel like I was used because when there was no one, I was there. And now that there’s someone else, you dispose me off (?)

I know how the advisory on the ‘How To Handle a Newly-wed Friend’s Spouse’ manual goes. And I have done everything in the book: taken the initiative, tried establishing a relationship with the spouse, tried to understand what isn’t even apparent, tried giving space, even time and got zilch in return. So let me tell you that none of it works if the better-half of your best friend is bitter about your friendship with him.

I have finally given up on these friends and friendships. But I hold a grudge. And a fear – of my other best friend’s wedding!

>What’s your score on the popularity index?

>And if that’s a relevant question for you, let me also ask: would you rather be popular than right? Because sometimes I see people losing the line that divides the two. They lose that distinction between real and fake because they are trying so hard to be popular.

And if truth be told, I’ve done it too: faked a smile, an expression of joy, a familiarity with people where none exists. But friendships? No, those cannot be faked, not by me.
But then, I’m not popular either, you see. And not half as desperate as some others to notch up a few brownie points on the popularity chart to actually fake a friendship.

It’s the art of social networking, I’m told, and the investment of time and energy apart from money of course, pays rich dividends. You throw parties for perfect strangers, lavish them with the best of wines served in the most expensive crystal, open your house to the scrutiny of those strangers, show off your outrageously priced furniture and what-have-you and indulge in some mundane conversations – just so that you can call those strangers friends.

It’s the desperation to be seen with the rich and the famous of your city, to have your name on the invitation list of the high profile parties in town. Don’t mislead yourself to believe that any of that is friendship because friendship isn’t about enjoying meaningless conversations, or pandering to appearances. It isn’t not about toeing the popular line, or mouthing the ‘right’ words. It’s not about using someone’s contacts for your benefits or dropping names to show your clout. It’s not about popularity.

I don’t need to say this, but I want to: friendship is about standing up for a person, about wishing him well, about treating him as more than fodder for gossip. It’s about being able to laugh at somebody’s face and not behind his back. It’s about knowing how you’re different from your friend and accepting him for who he is. But not accepting him for what he is because he’s rich and famous. It’s about being able to tell him he’s without fear of your name being struck off the invitation list to his party.

I may not be popular, but I hope I’ve been a friend.

>Finding a title for this post is as difficult as finding a suitable boy. Or girl.

>To marry, that is. I may regret having met The Guy when I was barely 18, but I do not regret having found husband material so soon. On the contrary, I think I’ve been lucky when I compare myself to friends who’ve been there, done that but still can’t find themselves the kind of person they would like to marry. And no, I’m not talking about the kind of people who do not believe in marriage. I’m talking about the kind of people who want to marry, who’ve not found love yet, would be okay with an arranged match except that this whole arranging a match has turned out to be quite an ordeal.

So my 27-year old, successful lawyer friend’s fretful mother is spending sleepless nights over her marital status. And the friend’s quite tired of her single status too. But where’s the boy who’ll be her match? The successful boys have been too stingy (one refused to even share the bill at Barista!), the generous ones too ugly, others too conservative. The interrogations and telephonic interviews can get quite exasperating, I am asked to believe. And I believe it.

For the story for my 30-year-old bachelor friend who has finally sown his wild oats isn’t too different. He’s looking for a career-oriented girl now who’ll fit into the family as well as take care of his business. Of course, the stapes stay: compatibility and looks. The almost-perfect-for-him girl’s family turned out to be totally weird, another was too orthodox, still another not ambitious enough. He goes so far as to make a comparison chart of the suitable girls on Excel sheets. And all the analysing has been of no help till now! He’s still single, still wants to get married and still has no idea how he’s supposed to know a girl in one look, one meeting, one conversation!

And then there’s my dapper 27-year-old cousin who still can’t imagine himself living with a girl whom he won’t get bored of! He’s officially “settled” – roti, kapda aur makaan all taken care of – and promises to work on his commitment phobia as his family goes hunting for his life partner. His mum is sweet enough to say she doesn’t care for the girl’s complexion, age or height for her good-looking, fair and tall son. But despite those concessions, the prospective brides are conspicuous by their absence.

And you would think marriages could be arranged overnight by overexcited relatives, matrimonial ads and websites, all the networking – social and otherwise that goes around us and what have you!

I remember the snide remarks that my parents had to hear when my sister announced her decision to marry the man of her choice not of our caste in 1999. A few years hence, my “love marriage” raised no eyebrows because by then people around us had understood the judiciousness in letting your adult children choose their own partner in life. Some of that understanding may have to do with their inability to find a suitable match for their children in arranged marriages.

Gone are the days when the girl and boy would meet once, talk for five minutes and make up their minds. Gone also are the days when the parents’ word could be taken as final while looking for your prospective spouse.

These are times of great expectations. Everybody seems to be rich and successful, almost everybody is presentable. And there’s no way you can really know anything else about a person in two, even three or four meetings even though you so want toe. So how do you narrow down on the right person?

The expectations are also different now. For one, the rich NRI guy is no longer so wanted. Neither is the “fair, homely, convented girl”. As if the boys’ wish lists weren’t long enough, now girls have theirs too: a career after marriage, their surname too, a nuclear family and lots of space. Marriages must be made in Heaven, especially these days, because down here, things are getting pretty tough on that front.

And I ask, what’s the world coming to if the convenience of an arranged marriage is also no longer to be had?