India Trip – 1

So finally I am back, again! And as promised, I’ll start with a roundup of our (now not-so) recent India trip. There’s so much to write though that I thought I’ll do it in episodes, to keep things short and interesting.

So let me start with the highlight of my trip – attending my childhood friend A’s engagement ceremony the very day I landed in Mumbai. Living in the US, I have missed many such weddings and social occasions in the past two years. Add to it the fact that A actually postponed her engagement by a day so I could make it – her boyfriend was keen on Valentine’s day and she had to really push him to agree for the 15th – and I was naturally ecstatic!

A has been my best friend since we were toddlers. We were neighbors and our moms were best friends. So with both our dads working abroad, our families spent almost every evening together. Our home was on the ground floor, A’s on the third. Be it A’s mom, V mavshi, coming home from work or A and her brother coming home from school, a trip to the third floor hardly ever happened without a longish stop on the ground floor!

The two moms went for walks and vegetable shopping in the evening, while A and I played outside or chatted and giggled behind closed doors in our teenage years, struggling to get rid of A’s pesky younger brother as we got older. We watched our evening television together and the night meal was usually shared as well, to the delight of the bai who cooked in both homes!

This cosy semi-family unit was shockingly shattered one day when V mavshi was diagnosed with leukemia and passed away soon after. We were all heartbroken but A took it the worst. Sadly, our friendship too did not survive this loss.

We were both sixteen then and about to enter college. We made new friends in college and got busy with our new lives. Not that it had to, but something changed in our friendship that year. It’s hard to say what and I’ve been struggling with the why for many years now but from ‘best friends’ we turned into ‘good friends’ and later, just occasional acquaintances.

The change was hard for me to accept. I was never a gregarious person – I’ve always had just one or two close friends at any point of time and for many years, A and I were so close that I had no need for anyone else. She was like the sister I never had and people often mistook us for twins when we were out together.

I could see A withdraw into a shell after her mother’s death. In many ways, this was perfectly understandable and I tried my best to support her in those difficult times. But gradually I got the impression she resented my efforts to get close to her again. She had made new friends in college and she very obviously preferred their company to mine. I tried discussing it with her, but her response was always the same bland – no, nothing of that sort, you are imagining things. I had no choice but to let go after a point.

Was I not a good enough friend to A in her time of need? I struggled to answer this question for years. Perhaps not. Or maybe I really was imagining things. Did we simply drift apart? My hunch is this – my mother and I reminded A of those good old times when all of us had so much fun together and she wanted to stay away from those bitter-sweet memories and therefore, us.

I had accepted that I might never get to know the real reason. But I was pleasantly surprised when A got in touch with me last year. She called, wrote a pretty emotional email and generally behaved as if we had never drifted apart! And then the engagement invite. Which was just a day before when I was scheduled to land in Mumbai.

‘I really want to come’, I said. ‘Yes, you should be there’, she insisted. ‘But my tickets are booked, they cannot be changed!’ ‘No problem, we’ll get engaged on the 15th instead!’ ‘Really, can you do that? But isn’t your boyfriend keen on V day?’ ‘I’ll manage him, don’t you worry’, A grinned! Needless to say, I was thrilled!

And that is how I managed to attend my childhood friend A’s engagement on the morning of 15th February, only a few hours after I landed in Mumbai. The ceremony was lovely, A looked radiant, she squealed and ran to me as soon as she spotted me – I couldn’t have been happier. It was a perfect start to my India vacation!


12 responses to “India Trip – 1

  1. Wow! I think you are right at thinking that you reminded A of her fun days when her mom was around. Losing a parent is not easy. It is a big blow. I don’t even know how kids manage to come out of such a tragedy.

    But what a perfect way to reconnect πŸ™‚ I am glad for A…

    Me: I agree. Perhaps it made sense to her at that time. Which is why I don’t want to hold any grudges – just so happy that she reached out to me again!

  2. I am so glad for A and you.

    You were part of her “mother” days. At the age of 16 it’s difficult to accept, and in her own way, A must have tried to reason out why what happened. And she decided to close her eyes to anything that reminded her, like say, you. It is not unknown for things to come full circle and for someone to reach back for old happy memories, at a time which is so significant in her life, that she wants her mother there. You are probably the next best, given her memories of those days.

    Me: Yes, the timing for her reaching out again must be significant, I agree. And she really was very happy when she saw me that day. We didn’t speak about V mavshi specifically, but she was in our thoughts all day.

  3. This ended beautifully. I am so happy for A and you. This does happen … for reasons sometimes we never come to know. You are fortunate, you both – that you are friends again πŸ™‚
    Made me miss my old friends.

    Me: Yeah. But there’s no way we can be that close again. There’s the physical distance for starters. 😦

    Am I being grumpy…? Sorry!

  4. So well expressed. I really thought was reading a story. But glad you both are friends again and you were a part of an important moment in your friend’s life.

    Me: Thank you!

  5. The drifting apart has happened with me and a BEST friend too. Really crave for those old days together and wonder what went wrong?

    So very happy for you..A is finally back in your life and how!

    The first piece of post on your India trip was so cool..I can’t wait to read the rest πŸ˜€

    Bring’em on!

    Me: I know – it’s the not knowing what went wrong that troubles the most na?

  6. happy for you and A. pudhcha part kevha yenar?

    Me: πŸ™‚ Took me a month to write this one ga… mahiti nahi, honestly!!! I don’t want to sound like a stuck record but I’m unusually tied up with work and home activities these days… kay karu?

  7. Hey!

    You know, come to think of it – this girl must have always loved you or must have treasured you as a good friend ‘always’. I’m glad you understood the reason behind her drifting away. Loosing a mum can be devastating at any age, imagine at 16? It can change a person’s life.

    I say this because when you are truly happy (specially when getting married) you don’t really bother with much around, because your emotions are too high. You care about the attendance of only loved and close ones. The fact, that she thought of you speaks volumes and how sweet of her to postpone her big day. Who does that ?

    Even though there was this distance of that many years, but I suggest you continue on to be her friend for life. I know, the physical distance is a hurdle. But C’mon an occasional email or phone call is all it takes!

    I have learnt being alive for 29 years that ‘good friends’ are rare gems. If you find them, guard them with your life and always reciprocate their love selflessly.

    OK, i better stop. This ain’t my blog πŸ™‚

    Me: Feel free to go on Nam! Long comments are the best compliment, don’t you think? πŸ™‚ And you are right, I am glad we never made things bitter despite everything and could carry off from where we left when we met again…

  8. wow great. A is really great too, hving postponed her engagement for you to attend. and i m so glad you girls finally got together.
    wish you all the best. may this friendship always prosper.

    Me: Yeah, that was soooooooo sweet of her! Aapke muh mein ghee shakkar! πŸ™‚

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