Dedicated to all my friends and Aswini for all the mental madness we went through together.
My life means a lot to me.
Not because I love my life,
But because I love the people like you in my life
The world says they are called ‘Friends’
I call them my ‘WORLD’
Friends; Pick up any dictionary and the meaning states ‘associates, acquaintances, links or contacts. My set of friends’ did not feature in any of the categories above. They were my FAMILY. We lived together, fought bitterly, made up after that and still love each other fondly.
We all have friends. It’s very rare for someone to not have a friend. Even the loneliest of loners would admit that they have had at least one person come up and talk to them in their lonely life. Friends make you do things that you wouldn’t have thought of doing yourself. They also bitch and make you do things that you feel ashamed of later.
I have managed to have a good set of friends’ right from my childhood days. The ones that were inconsequential were slowly erased from my memory as I grew older. However, I attracted a unique set of friends from all walks of life, castes, gender and levels of madness. The first group I’m going to talk about is what you would call “Chaddi Buddies.”
Pampers, powder, petting and puff. The 4P’s for toddlers. At the mention of these words, fathers get up and running, searching for the stuff that sound more like Greek and Latin otherwise. I had the fortune to be introduced to some of the lovely young mothers who cuddled me non stop. My mother sensing my discomfort relieved me from one of the young mothers and we left the nursery as one happy family.
I grew up in Mumbai (erstwhile Bombay) in a colony with a lot of kids. My memory is not that good to remember those early days of childhood but soon enough when I was three, I moved to a nice area called Andheri (E). My fondest memories have been over here. My first friend in this new place was a small little boy who looked like a little monkey. His name was Yogesh.
Being the son of a Police Officer, he was brought up in strict discipline, but adhering to the rules laid down by his father never bothered him. The two of us would climb water tanks, heckle at the security guards everyday, fight with the kids from the other compound and at six in the evening, go to the temple next to our colony where the Pujari would give us Tamarind (Imli). Those days were fun.
We would play cricket in the field next to our house, swim in the gutter to fetch the ball, get back home black as coal and listen to our mothers’ about the dangers of the gutter water and the hazardous things in there. We weren’t bothered about that. We enjoyed each and every day together without a care in the world. Along with us, there was another kid by the name of Dheeraj with his elder brother Ramesh. We would play football in the mud during the monsoon season too.
When I moved to Bahrain after staying in the colony for 3 years, I had tears in my eyes. I did not want to leave this place which had given me such a memorable time. There were dreams of a new life for me elsewhere. My father sensing my sadness assured me that we would always come back to our house every year during summer vacations so I could enjoy with my friends once again. With those words, I bid adieu to my Chaddi Buddies and moved on to my next group of friends – “School Friends.”
My schooling years passed by very quickly without much thought. There were only a few people out there who really made a difference. Few of the people who I had a good bonding with were Paul, the twins Floyd and Fletcher, Githin and Godwin. The six of us used to move around like a small rat pack. Always up to no good and rarely getting caught for the trouble we created. I say rat and not wolf because we could squeak away without being noticed after our usual bouts of madness.
Our formative years were involved in the constant talks of video games, movies and technology. Each day would begin with the talk of a new application that came out in the market and our collective opinion would be taken on how the market would react to it. Neither of us earned enough pocket money to go and buy any of those applications but we dreamed big.
I was the only one among the rest who had friends of the opposite sex yet, the fun that I had with my rat pack was a whole lot crazier and I could never compare it to any of the girls that I had spent time with. I miss these guys a lot when I think about them but all of us move on right? During this time, I also had another set of friends and these are my “Bus Friends.”
When you’re bored of the madness in the school, the school bus is your throne, where you reign over the less inconsequential ones and administer all types of punishment on them. Now, I’m not as bad as I sound, but my best friend Tapas and I did rag (bully) quite a few of the gullible ones in our bus. We were kept away from each other for a good reason by the teachers in our bus and for a good reason it was too as we kept plotting on who our next victim would be. Over time, we kept talking new things and doing new things that people used to keep blasting us.
There used to be people counter plotting against us but they could never match up to our genius. This time spent in the bus, from home to school and back was some of the most wonderful times we spent. The only time we would shut up was during the exams when all of us would be busy studying, trying to cram every bit of information that we could before we were sent to the gallows. It took me a good few years of enjoyment before school life was over for me and I was led to the gates of a college to forge a new chapter in my life. And thus, enter, the “College Friends.”
If you’ve thought that you’ve had fun all this while; you’re wrong. The fun is just about to start mates. And it gets crazier every minute. I would love to go on about this in detail but that story will just have to come out another day because it’s that special ;). My three years in college were a mixture of so many emotions that sometimes it was quite overwhelming for me. My college life was over and I was swept into the corporate world wave and this is where I met a unique set of friends who I’d like to call, “Work / Extended College Friends.”
Work / Extended College Friends:
When I was small, I used to see dad coming back from work stuffing his briefcase to the side and rubbing his temples while mum prepared a nice hot cup of tea to soothe his aching nerves and I used to wonder, that maybe, work is cut out for only the parents and no one else. It had a kind of prerequisite to it; you need to be married and over thirty to work etc. Little did I know that I would be twenty-one and start to work at a place with people of my own age group. Nice!
It was a whole new level of Wow for me since I thought that I would be totally sad about college getting over and I’m not going to meet my friends ever again. Now, I was going to work with some of them and this was going to be one hell of a ride. Nothing changed between us friends. We rocked the work and rocked even harder on the weekends. It also became my second family as I was spending close to 9 hours a day with them every day.
Life after Work:
This can be a painful phase to tell you the truth. Some people treat work as their bread and butter, while some, their passion. I treated it with passion. But somewhere down the line I knew that in order for me to proceed further in life, I was going to have to sever some ties to build new ones and I cut off the umbilical cord binding me to my work. I was never going back there.
For those of you, who’ve spent a good part of their lives at work, you will be able to understand this perfectly. For others, no matter how much you work hard at your job, there will be a day when you will have to stand face to face with it and ask yourself if you and job is progressing together. If you both aren’t on the same level, then amendments need to be made. Fast! When Life + Work = Happiness, it means, you’ve achieved what you’ve been looking for all along.
Hopefully, you’ve still got friends to call your own when this day comes. I’ve been blessed all my life with friends like these and I wish the same for you.