I thought I would do this post simply because I never realized all this before this birthday of mine. Usually on my birthdays I sit and write a letter to my best friend. This year I wrote down my realizations about what the relationship has been like.
There is this incredible connection that is there. Distance, and marriage and children and none of the life events had altered that connection. In many vital ways , me and my friend we define each other, and are a comfort for each others world-weary spirits or so I had thought and felt from what we shared till 2010.
We would both grieve in the event one of us is left to face the others death and life would be different with one of us gone forever. Parts of us would die with the friend forever as each hold some things about our personalities that make up for the good parts of our selves, parts of our selves that we have come to appreciate and respect and cherish, without these parts of our thoughts and experiences, we are rendered just mundane and ordinary, but with that part we are special, stand out from the rest of the people around us.
The past two days I had been poring over all the letters we have exchanged in the course of the fifteen years of knowing each other, and this is what I discovered.
Am sure better people find better things to do – am me, I did what I wanted to do and felt like doing.
In random order then,
- My BFF never ever sent me a birthday card – not even once in fifteen years
- My BFF never called or wished me on my birthday not even once in fifteen years
- Never sent me a Diwali card – or wished me – in fifteen years not even once
- Never wished me or sent a card for Christmas – not even once in fifteen years
- Never called me on any of the festive days, to wish me or just share a moment together – ever, not even once in fifteen years
- Was never there for me on the “eventful” days, like when my father passed away. There never has been a condolence message or a phone call to console or just support or to make me feel good.
- My BFF never wrote to me because I wanted ir or needed it but only when they had the time to do so.
- My BFF never once called or sent a card or a letter saying “I wanted to share this with you, you know?”
- Never ever spent a dime on any kind of a present or whatsoever, never a book, or just some music or some knickknack or a blanket or a scarf
- I heard I am the godmother to their first born but never heard the voice of my godson that I kept sending stuff to, ever once in five years since he was born and now he can actually write. I remember our families made us write thank you and loving notes to please grandma and relations that sent us love from the time we were two years old. Later, when we were admitted to school and could hold a pencil, we would draw these terrible pictures and say “thith is mamoy” they would elaborately write that message down on that piece of paper sometimes they were just the back of cardboard boxes in which toys came in and sent them to relatives and it always made everyone so happy, we know because we got lotsa hugs when we met.
- There never has been a “just wanted to see what you were up to” calls, even though my best friend could afford the call.
- Never acknowledged gifts I sent to the friend, or the spouse or the children
- Never ever was there for me – no indeed, my best friend has never exactly been the proverbial friend in need at all
- There has three assault attempts on me in my own house, the third time was in 2014, and I had been scared and traumatized, and they never even called.
- “Don’t make me come and get you.” – yeah but when that was really required, they were not there to come and get the friend in real danger and genuine distress because they did not think it was a distress I could not sort out by myself.
Well, generally speaking, even though I always lived my life and have taken risks thinking I had a best friend to rely on if anything went wrong, it took me forty eight years of my stupid life to realize I never really ever had any “best friends” to speak of.
The time when my train was 24 hours late and I was stranded in a crowded station all alone, with my luggage or the time when I lost my job, or the time when I got hurt, really hurt – and was in tremendous pain, inside my head, unable to walk, talk, leave my bed, or think straight, or the time when people forced entry into my apartment in the middle of a cold December night, dragged me out downstairs, beat me up, then threw a shawl over my head and tried to stifle me dead for good measure with my mother just standing there and staring away doing nothing to either save me or stop them, or when I was faced with the trauma of being forced to come home and live with those very people that had done that to me, or the time when those people attacked me again and tried to force their way in into my apartment another night in summer last year, no – none of these times was my best friend there, either at the end of phone line or physically there.
Nothing that ever happened in our collective lives ever was good enough or important enough for my best friend to either invite me over to their place or actually come on over to mine.
My life has spiralled, had started spiralling downward, dissolution, deaths, dangerous encounters, distress, trauma, accidents, mishaps, loss, pain, since we met and became friends. My ‘best friend’s’ life was spiralling upwards, with marriage, children, new home, expanding business.
So, the thing is you have to be walking in the same direction and in the same path to be friends with people. Two people walking in two different directions perhaps cannot be friends unless both keep up the good work.
It does take some work to remain friends.
During my darkest hour of need for human support and connection, total strangers came forward to help, with care packages, mail, books, music, and shuttles and thread, well some sort of way to reach out. Some even called long distance from overseas, even if they could not afford such a long call just to comfort me and I have not been able to do much for them yet, except sporadically to send out some little tokens of gratitude. But someday I hope I get a chance to return their kindness not that one can do that of course bit just to put my mind at ease. But the thing is, when I needed my friend the most – my best friends were not just there.
Sometimes I would save for months together to be able to send my god child or my friend something for Christmas because I like these traditions and they make life beautiful and interesting this act of giving. My best friend has never given till it hurt, or ever known what it is to have to do such a thing. My best friend has never really felt the need to reach out in meaningful ways except to send in an email over free mail system when it suited them, when they had the time for it.
I have been a best friend to my best friend, I have taken a day off from work so I could go post their mail on time. Have stayed up late at night, taken time off from work, did what I had to, when I felt I needed to sit and be with my best friend or rejoice with them.
But I do think, tonight, as I sit here on the verge of another new useless meaning less addition of more time to a life that really has meant nothing to anyone or for anything, it is better to have lived like that violet in the forest where no one ever visits than to not have lived at all.
Well, it is not really, but that is what they expect you to say, and that is what they like to think, that is what they delude themselves into thinking is ‘normal’ and ‘healthy’ way to deal with out various little jail-cell existence.
I know I had written about the concept of “Ichhyamrityu” or auto destruct among the Hindus of India, once pointing out the outdatedness of the IPC 309 of the IPC. and since then, others have written about it, and I saw this about the Modi government having abolished the section and decriminalized attempts to self-destruct, but the implications are not very clear yet.
The thing is, people should be allowed real freedoms like the kind recorded in Hindu legends. When you know your work is done, you are no longer being useful in anyway that pleases you, you should be able to set yourself free from the shackles of routines and mundane existence and leave with dignity and not continue to exert upon the already limited resources of the world around you. You should have the choice to do so. choose the moment and nature or manner of your own goodbye to the world.
But then people that frame laws or run a country can be control-freaks of epic proportions and basically lack insight or courage to let people be the way nature had intended them to be. So there is a catch in that.
And so, there is just this mindless rolling on, on the wings of the fancy – knot upon knot, knot upon knot, rings, chains, flowers, and curves, shapes and sunlight playing through the mesh of my thoughts, soft threads cascading over the still firm skin of my olive hands (feeling warm) and flowing endlessly through my pensive fingers shuttling on…
On a personal note, my dear best friend that never was, to whoever or whatever is telling you your friend is trying to exploit you or use you to get out of a difficult and unhealthy environment for a little relief, let em know you have never actually given her anything much, she never ever expected nor asked for anything ever except that one time she really truly genuinely needed help, had reached out. In her darkest, most terrible time of need you not only abandoned her but had actually emailed that she should help herself. If we are going to help ourselves we should be by ourselves, live in the jungle. This is not going away ever. On my birthday, I wanted to remember this because this is Christmas, and it means something to me, it means we be there for those who need it the most and I had needed it badly when I had called out for help, Grinch had needed Christmas but Cindy Lou wasn’t there to make it happen.