When i was little, i used to believe in having one best friend. Like every one around me, kindergarten and the early primary school years were all about finding ‘the ‘ best friend with whom to share your lunch breaks, and generally hang around with in school. The funny thing about this is that the best friend used to change approximately every two weeks, the rift caused by a tiny tiff or an argument in the playground. It was then time to begin the epic search for the next best friend. Every one seemed to be engrossed in the same search, almost as if a best friend is something one can just order off a set menu. Little girls would exchange notes with each other, depending on who was in which camp, that read ‘will you be my best friend?’. Funnily enough, that friendship would last anywhere between a week and a year, only to lead on to the ‘next’ best friend. Isn’t it cute that children do not realise that ‘best’ means just that. That there can be no one better. And yet, the ‘best’ friend would change with alarming frequency.
And then as we grow older…move out of school…enter the grown-up world of college, the texture of friendship begins to change. You gravitate towards those who share similar interests, hobbies and aspirations. By the time you are 18, you have a fair idea of what you want from life. Of course, now looking back from the lofty vantage point of old age (i feel that far removed from being eighteen!), it is easy to see that no eighteen year old has the foggiest clue as to what life is all about! And yet, that is the time the strongest friendships are being forged. The years spent in the college campus giggling about boys and crushes and ‘who is dating whom’ are beyond compare. That giddy-headed sense of having the world at your feet, the stoic belief that anything, simply anything, is possible, that the world is your oyster….These friends, who bonded during the crucial college years when you are just beginning to understand, however superficially, what you want from Life, often go on to become your life long friends. Years later, you may find yourself living in different continents, communicating only by email or the odd phone call now and then..and yet, when you meet, it is as though time has stood still, and you are able to take up from where you left off. With these friends that were by your side as you were dreaming about ‘what you would be when you grow up’, you don’t have to think of what to talk about. The words simply flow.The giggling does not stop. You once again turn into the eighteen year olds you were when you first met all those years ago.
And then, life happens…a slow merry-go-round of taking up a job, getting married, having kids, struggling with mortgage begins…It is time then to meet new people, secure in the knowledge that your friends from the heady days of college are firmly entrenched in your heart and life, never to be displaced. For after all, we need to forge friendships in every stage of our lives. And so, attired in the garb of our grown-up personas, we now embark on friendships that again are of an altogether different texture. What we share in common has now changed if compared to friendships from our younger days. With those precious friends we had shared giggles and heart breaks, bunking boring lectures and being doubled over in hysterical laughter at our own bravado. With these new relationships, we now share the trials and tribulations of our adult selves. These are the friends we call up to discuss child-rearing, how to find the best play group in the local area, and some times even to complain about our annoying spouses. Having been formed in a much later stage our of lives, these glorious friendships have a deep and meaningful role to play in our day to day existence.These are the friends we will call up for an impromptu coffee date once the kids are at school or go for the late night movie with, munching popcorn and sipping frozen Coke, giggling once again while watching a ‘chick-flick’ like the school girls we once were.
And it is at times like these, for a brief moment in time, the boundaries seem to overlap, and you are once again the giddy-headed girl you once were. The funny thing about us women is that we have the innate capacity to giggle whether we are five year olds in a noisy school playground, or 18 year olds in a college campus, or over-tired, sleep deprived mums yelling at our strong-willed children. The one thing we share in common with all the friends we make along the journey is our innate capacity to giggle and laugh at whatever life throws at us.
And so i celebrate every single friend i have made along the way…I met you at different crossroads of my life…but you have enriched my life in ways that are beyond words.
If you too have had such friends, do write back to me and tell me what you think.