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

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. 

Book Review – The Things We Do For Love

“From the moment they meet, Angie sees something special in Lauren. They form a quick connection, this woman who is desperate for a daughter and the girl who has never known a mother’s love. When Lauren is abandoned by her mother, Angie doesn’t hesitate to offer the girl a place to stay. But nothing could have prepared Angie for the far-reaching repercussions of this act of kindness. In a dramatic turn of events, she and Lauren will be tested in a way that mothers and daughters seldom are. Together they will embark on an intensely moving, deeply emotional journey to the very heart of what it means to be a family.”
 

When I read the synopsis of the book, it sounded like a very run-of-the-mill-kind story. But I picked it up solely because I absolutely loved the author’s other book, The Nightingale. Her writing style, how she developed her characters of the two sisters, the dramatic WWII setting et al. I was absolutely in awe. I knew I had to read another one.

 
Truth be told, I kept at this story till the end only because I had great expectations from her. But the story and the writing style just didn’t sound like her. I had to remind myself a number of times that it was Kristin Hannah and not Jodi Picoult.
 
There were some sections of the book that I totally loved. Liked Angie’s parallel story with her husband or how her Mama kept talking to her Papa. It was very endearing and the author did manage to get the readers to look for their tissues. Other than that, it was very one dimensional and been-there-done-that!
 
I feel that I am biased against the book only because I found The Nightingale fabulous. But then, that’s also the reason why I picked this book up in the first place.
 
My rating: 3/5

 

The little girl


Bastard and illegitimate were just some of the words that her new born had often been labelled with. The baby was born to her and her live-in partner. They had decided to keep the baby when they found out, at 12 weeks. As expected, their parents had not agreed to the match or them having a baby together without getting married. 

The little baby girl is 5 years old now. She is young and vivacious, and her innocence personified features make her look angelic. Her maternal grandma has come down to meet her, finally. One look at her and she can’t help but exclaim, “Oh dear! You are so beautiful!” while the proud father looks on.

The little girl’s mother sighs in a corner, “Ma, that’s because she was made when we made love. Not when we had sex”. She then starts humming her favorite song to drown the voices in her head which screamed “desperate, lust, stigma, sex, illicit, bastard, illegitimate”.

Heartbreak!

Our house still reeks of love. I think it always will. All the unsaid words and feelings, I can feel them floating around. You love me, you say. I believe you. Only that your love is biased towards your own self. 

 

I toy with the idea of moving away. I know it will be difficult, but necessary for my self-respect. I wouldn’t be able to survive in this house anymore. My place of refuge, my place of solace, has turned into a prison.

I wonder if I would ever meet another man and fall in love. Again. It seems impossible. No man would be like you. And for me, love is you. I wouldn’t have it any other way. I couldn’t. 

Our house reeks of love. I think it always will.