Monday, January 30, 2012

And We Became Friends..

“Since there is nothing so well worth having as friends, never lose a chance to make them”

They make up for countless memories and a significant presence in your life. You laugh with them shedding all inhibitions and seek them in times of need. Ever thought of how life would have turned out without so many friends around?

Friendships, like every other relationship, go through their ups and downs. Some friends are for companionship, some for convenience and some are there to stay. Once you made a friend, it would be for life, really I would much rather have it that way but all these years of changing places and meeting people tells me otherwise. You forget some of them, several forget you. Some disappoint you when you count on them; while a few others feel let down by you.

I take the quote above pretty seriously. I have friends from kindergarten and I have friends from yesterday, never missed a chance to make friends.

Everybody has friends they can never forget. A kind action or a thoughtful gesture, a helping hand or an ear to listen; these are things you remember of a friend even if the friendship is no more. And though every friendship is dear to me, this post goes out especially to all the friends I made after leaving home and to some of them a little more, for what they did for me. That little more is for the extra effort taken by them to make my life better. Simply put - there are friends you find and then there are friends who find you. And I cherish them here in no particular order with great affection and gratitude utilizing my limited dexterity with words.  

The Savior
An unfortunate accident led to harrowing consequences.  Our car, the only transportation that can take you places in the snow covered paradise was also gone. The helplessness of lying in bed and not being to able lift a finger to soothe your crying baby is beyond words. Adversity makes you miss home even more.

An acquaintance we hardly knew came to know of our plight and paid us a visit. Genuinely concerned, he offered any kind of help we needed. A couple of days passed and things didn’t improve much. Apart from dealing with shock and slower recovery, me and my family were clearly missing home cooked meals. Food, specially known food can be very comforting and God did we need comfort! One afternoon out of sheer desperation I looked up a phone number and dialed. His wife was home and picked up. At a loss of words I didn’t know what to say, just introduced myself and told her how we knew her husband through a colleague. She immediately picked up on the situation and asked me how I was feeling and if there was something she could do for us. My voice choked as I asked if she could send us a home cooked meal that evening.  Even today when I think about it, it brings tears to my eyes, how desperate our situation must have been for me to ask a nearly total stranger; someone I had never met to send over food.  If she was hassled by the short notice, it didn’t show in her voice at all. 

That evening, their whole family came to visit us and brought food, simple home cooked Dal, Rice, Roti and Subzi, just what we were dying to eat. I was lying in bed and she stood at the bedroom door wishing me a speedy recovery. Without my glasses, I could just make out her form and nothing of her face. Dizzy from the painkillers, I nodded my head in gratitude. It may not seem like a big deal when something like this happens in your own country, surrounded by friends and family and somebody steps in to lend a helping hand. But in a foreign land and under adverse circumstances, it felt nothing short of a blessing. She could have nagged her husband for being the kind soul and putting her in a spot. He could have made up an excuse on her behalf later in the day; after all, they too had a small kid to look after and no help at home. But they did what one usually doesn’t do for strangers. They cared enough to help a family in need. They didn’t just deliver food and leave it at that, they followed through on our well being even after that. I can never forget their kindness and I will leave it at that.

The Sparkler
There are some people who just stand out by their sheer presence. The ones who can be distinguished even in a crowd. I met her at a kids’ inflatable zone, the kind where moms have to go up a red colored slide to please their children. We were brand new in town, barely 3 days old and so I wasn’t even looking for familiar faces. After what can be termed as a reasonable period of bouncing and jumping, we settled in the party room next doors for a slice of pizza being served for free. Across the table, she sat with her 2 year old, coaxing him to eat some more, not really an unfamiliar scenario as I was doing the same on this side of the table.  I don’t remember when and how the conversation started but soon we were talking.  We just moved, I told her. “I know how it feels like; we were in the same boat couple of years back. You can save my contact number and call up if you need any help settling down”, she said. I have never thought of myself as a very transparent person, but that evening, the skepticism that comes with a life altering change must have been evident  because that instant I felt like she really understood and that she meant every word. Sure enough, she called a month later and left a message inviting us over.  A known person, a house to visit, someone to ask about the local favorites, sure did make settling in easier.

The Counselor 
I had always presumed that friendships made in school were the ones that lasted forever. Even if you didn’t meet them so often or spoke to them after ages, childhood friends had that special place and the undisputed advantage of growing up with you and hence knowing you better than others. Mind you this was simply my opinion, a notion I hung on to, based on my own friends and experiences (since I happen to have the most wonderful friends from school one could ever have, hell my best friend is still someone I started kindergarten with).  But someone came along and revolutionized that perception.

This friend never had to cook meals for me or help me discover a new city. What she did and continues to do is believe in me. Like food for soul, she is fuel for my sense of worth. An intelligent and a balanced person, I look to her for advice now and then. Whether it’s a new idea or a recipe, I can discuss anything with her in total confidence and expect a truthful reaction. Our weekly tête-à-tête covers a broad range of subjects from facebook updates to pondering over future. I do not keep a count of who calls whom first and neither does she, pretty sure that if there’s something to talk about the phone will ring.

And why does she deserve a mention in this post alongside the others? Because, I did not hope to find this kind of a friend so late in life. 


  1. Gauri, my eyes are wet after reading The Savior. I totally understand and feel the pain you had gone through in such a situation. I get tensed when I'm down with fever even for 2 days thinking of the little ones so I understand how bad it can be. I remember my first pregnancy when I was puking out all day and had my throat bleeding by eve, and only God knows how I wished the support of my loved ones which is impossible home far away from home. You are so true, we just need some simple homemade dal rice sabzi and a friend you come up with helping hand on such situation is really a savior. Loved reading your write up and yes they brought back a lot of memories about my loving friends as well :)

  2. Gauri, a wonderfully written article.
    Its so damn true , when we say our friends, are our extended family.Specially in the land of strangers, that one hand which comes forward to help, that one smile makes the difference.Those actions get engraved in our hearts for lifetime.

  3. Lovely post....I don't have any close friends from kg/school, we moved around often while growing up. I do have close friends, and I also have few ex-close friends. I feel I am my best friend though, and I do my best to be there for the people I care about. The Savior....I've been on both ends, and although I don't take it for granted, I feel its simply how life should be lived. And to cross paths with such similar minded people...that's a blessing :)!