When the friend-ship sinks

 We have all read reams and reams of philosophy and poetry written to express the pain of broken love. We also have lots of songs telling us friendship is great. Like Ye Dosti hum nhi todenge or Yaaron, dosti badi hi haseen hai.

But there is hardly any poetry or song dedicated to the nuances of a broken friendship. That shit hurts. Don’t you feel friendships are way deeper than our romantic liaisons? That we are more invested in our friends than we are with our partners? Probably because we have known our friends way longer than many other people in our life. They are the ones who have seen us growing up. In many a sense. It may be from childhood to adulthood. Or coming out of a bad relationship and turning wiser. Getting married or even turning parents, and becoming responsible. 

We have all had out hearts broken by friends, haven’t we?  Maybe in school. Or college. Or workspace. I have had many a fights with my friends. But the first time I had an actual breakup with a friend, that was painful. It was like someone had slipped the rug from under me. One day, everything was fine. The next thing I knew is that I had been replaced. Without warning. Without a question, or an answer. I kept going over the incidents of the last few days to think of what I may have done wrong. I made up possible scenarios of what it could be. I tried to tell myself I was over thinking. It took me sometime to convince myself that it indeed was over. There was no closure. And that took me a longer time to come out of it. I haven’t known heart break of the romantic kind. But I feel a friendship breakup is pretty close. 

For a romantic discord, there is “breakup”. But for friendship – nothing. You know nobody addresses it because there is not even a term dedicated to it like, freakup or something. By the way, that word I just made up is pure genius. Don’t you think? Anyway. You are not allowed to grieve for a freakup like you do for your beloved. You just pretend to move on. Like a very important person in your life did not just move away. Like the person was your go-to for 5 or 10 or more years did not just leave you in a lurch.
“Oh, she would have laughed at this”, or “oh, he would be so mad at me for this”. Situations remind you of your friends and all the good times you shared. But you would be a schmuck to go all sentimental about someone you were not even in a “relationship” with. Why, isn’t friendship one of the most important relationship you form outside of your family? Sometimes, even THE most important.

Friends grow apart for various reasons. For reasons that are difficult to categorize as right or wrong. But they do grow apart. Life, as they call it. There are no Arijit Singh songs to help you grieve. There are no alcohol sessions to help you rant. There are no drunk dials or messages to the “ex”. Just silence. You maintain “dignity” and “grace”. No washing of dirty linen in public. Just wondering what went wrong. Just wondering what would your life be like today if (s)he were here. Just continue living as if one of the most important relationships in your life did not just end. 

I say, when that friend-ship sinks, go down like the Titanic. Open the bubbly and sing Channa Mereya. Put on that music full blast and dance to “Breakup kar liya“. Go ballistic. Cry and rant. Because God knows you need that closure. Because don’t we all know, pyaar dosti hai

Corona-tin thoughts

This year started pretty much like any other year. I woke up on the 1st Jan, 2020 without any resolutions. Practical, right? But then things escalated quicker than the milk which boils over when you aren’t looking. One day we were all “normal”, making all sorts of plans. And the next day, we were wringing our hands in desperation, reaching out to families and friends, and hoarding groceries like the apocalypse was coming.

No, the threat hasn’t passed yet. In fact, it is far from over. If CDC is to be believed, the worse is yet to come. I am like, what? Here I am, an introvert, wanting to go out and meet people. Here I am, a lazy AF person, wanting to put on a good dress and do my hair. Here I am, a never-exercise person, doing yoga every morning. Here I am, cook-to-survive person, and cooking expansive Indian delicacies everyday. And they are saying the worse is yet to come? What are they expecting? That I will wake up at 5 in the morning, with sooraj ki pehli kiran, don a saree and say, Hey Prabhu, what’s up? 

And then there is this whole schooling at home thing. I was pretty confident I was going to nail it. I mean, my daughter is in Kindergarten. They do letters and numbers and addition and reading and what is it that I couldn’t possibly know?! Boy, was I WRONG! The English Kindergarten teacher started revising the phonics, and I was like, I don’t know some of this but it’s fine. We were never taught that. And then, the teacher told the students over a recorded video that no English words end with the letter ‘U’, except “You”. And I was like, really?! When I shared this on Facebook, some of my friends commented with fancy words like “Flu, Impromptu, Menu, Adieu”.  And I was like, “Bienvenue, mes amis cul intelligent“. It basically means “Welcome, my smart ass friends” in French and that’s because the above mentioned words have French origins. They are not English words. 

The other day I got an email from the Art teacher saying that we were late in submitting our assignment. And I went on a rant to my husband saying, who teaches art during lock down, and even if they want to, why do we need to do an assignment and blah blah. Pretty Indian in my temperament, no? Anyway, so I hauled myself to listen to the “Art lesson” and sat there with my mouth wide open by the time the lesson ended. I did not know there were a million types of lines, and you could do a ‘Project’ about each of them. So I left my pride and scorn behind and sat to watch the second Art lesson some days ago. The teacher discussed a Picasso sculpture. And Abstract Art. With Kindergartners.
I give up, people. I studied for roughly 18 years, only to realize that I cannot teach Kindergarten level English or Art. Is CDC still saying that the worst is yet to come?!

I am definitely coming out of this quarantine a changed person. More respect for my extroverted friends. I feel you, people.  And empathy for you during this unprecedented time. More respect for our English teacher, if that’s even possible. But a deference of another level for the Art Teacher. 

 

Perspective and Epiphany

So I was reading this book to Lil S last night.
I read the below lines and turned philosophical.  I was like, wow! One can get inspired anywhere!

Sometimes kids’ books say the most profound words. I kept reading these words again and again, marveling at how much sense they made in the current scenario. The sameness, the boredom of Social Distancing. But there is a window open. Probably of hope. And of knowledge that ‘Nature reigns supreme’. 

And then I looked at the illustration thinking about the emotion on the face of the animal. Somehow it didn’t look bored. It looked ecstatic.  And then I realized that these animals had in fact found an open window to get into, relieving them from the boredom. So that explains the ecstasy.

And then I realized, WITH HORROR, that these animals are bats. Which have escaped. Out of boredom. Into an open window.

The book is called “Bats at the Library”

And if you notice, the author’s name is Brian LIES. 

Needless to say, this epiphany left me quite sleepless last night!

Dev

Dev is the protagonist in Anurag Kashyap’s Dev D. Devdas is a cult movie which has been adapted in many languages, originally a novel by SaratChandra Chattopadhyay.

Dev is a man deep rooted in patriarchy but is unaware of it. Dev and Paro have a long time long distance relationship.  Both of them are in love with each other. Their age warrants raging hormones and none of them is in denial. At Dev’s request,  Paro sends him her “pictures” which she gets developed at a photo studio first. Dev is Ok with it till he believes that Paro is only his. Their rendezvous continues even when Dev comes back to India.

 

But the problem arises when Dev hears loose talk about Paro. It comes from rumors spread by a spurned lover. But much like village folk, totally leaving behind his foreign education and thinking, he believes everything he hears. When Paro confronts him, he breaks up with her. He has no idea what he is doing. Giving up on his childhood love on hearsay rumors. Paro is heartbroken and decides to marry the guy her father chooses for her. It’s only when Dev sees Paro on her wedding day that it finally hits him. And there after, he goes down that long road of alchohol, drugs and self destruction.

Dev is a character I find hard to empathize with. He comes across as a very selfish person who only cares about what he wants. Even Chanda, who he meets later and who takes care of him, is left alone because he finds out about her background and the reason why she forays into prostitution. 
I feel like Dev is caught between his patriarchal thoughts and western sensibilities. He cannot handle a Paro who is independent,  owns her sexuality and is not afraid to ask for respect. Dev’s deep rooted patriarchy doesn’t allow him to accept what his heart wants. He is a narcissistic person who chooses the path of self destruction over anything worthwhile that he could have done with his life. This character is iconic for the way it has been portrayed by both the Abhay Deol (the actor who plays Dev) and Anurag Kashyap (the director of the movie).

Carrie Bradshaw

It’s funny I am doing a character biopsy of Carrie Bradshaw because she is a writer and does the exact same thing for a living.  Sex and the City  is a famous show featuring four women friends, who wade through life having each other’s back. All four are pretty strong characters in their own right, but the one that moved me the most is Carrie.  She lives in NY and is weekly columnist for New York Observer.

The first thing that made me feel connected with her was the fact that she was a writer AND she wrote about relationships, feminism, sexual freedom and promiscuity. Carrie falls in love with a certain Mr. Big, handsome but commitment phobic. Mr. Big develops cold feet on the day of their wedding, leaving Carrie at the altar. She is angry, depressed, and dejected all at the same time. While all her friends tell her that they have never trusted Mr. Big, Carrie still cannot believe it. This stuff always happens in the movies. Or to other people. For her, she had the perfect relationship. She had been hit by a running train.

Carrie is a deeply emotional person and a hopeless romantic at that. She loves Mr. Big deeply and wants him to reciprocate the same. But Mr. Big is commitment phobic and is quite open about it. But Carrie is so deeply in love with him that  even when she confronts the truth, she doesn’t want to accept it. She wants to go right back to the safety of the knowledge that Mr.Big loves her as much as she does. Eventually as she and Mr.Big break up, she takes a long time to come to terms with it. 

After a few inconsequential one night stands, she ends with the very sincere Aidan. He, is exactly what Carrie thinks she wanted. He is all things that Carrie ever wanted in Big. Aidan loves her deeply, for the person that she is. He never has any qualms admitting it either. For sometime, everything goes well. They even get engaged and Carrie thinks that  he is the one for her until one day, she bumps into Mr. Big at a party. He introduces Carrie to his girlfriend who he is about to get married to. And that throws off Carrie, right into that deep tunnel where she was after being dumped at the altar. She cannot understand why he didn’t marry her but was ready to marry this new girlfriend. She doesn’t want to admit to her herself that she cannot take it. Probably she is jealous. Or maybe she never got over him. And after a couple of short meetings, Carrie finds herself in Mr. Big’s bed one night and understands what she’s gotten into. She is the cheater in her relationship.

Carrie is also a very honest person. And so, one fine day she reveals the truth about her affair to Aidan, leaving him in pretty much the same state as she was after being dumped by Mr.Big. Aidan didn’t know what he lacked. What could he have done to not let this happen. And while consoling Aidan, it finally hit Carrie that there was nothing that Aidan could have done. Because the problem lied with her. And it also made her understand that it was also not her but Big’s commitment phobia that led to their breakup. It wasn’t her. 

Later, Aidan and Carrie do get back together only to part ways one more time. Aidan could never get back to loving Carrie or trust her as before. But Carrie finally finds herself free of any baggage and ready for a fresh relationship. Eventually she does fall in love with a French guy, Aleksandr, who convinces her to move to Paris with him. Long story short, things do not work out with him and in the meantime, Big’s marriage falls apart too. And he finally realizes that he has always loved Carrie. A very melodramatic reunion later, they do end up getting married.

The sexual freedom and promiscuity of western society aside, I connected a lot with Carrie’s personality. The depth of love she has for Mr. Big comes from a place of deep emotions. Even though she is a writer and can decode relationships for friends and the entire city of New York, she herself is at the mercy of her own heart. She loves her friends and they have all been there for each other through multiple heart breaks, child birth and even cancer. They have all discussed retiring together and being there for each other without needing a man. That, not marriage is the only “happily ever after” in a woman’s life. It may have been true for some others, but the Carrie I know and understand would never ever be satisfied with just that.
This is what she is, in her own words:

I’m looking for love. Real love. Ridiculous, inconvenient, consuming, can’t-live-without-each-other love.