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Anatomy of a friendship

"You can't make old friends, you can only lose them and in losing them you walk around with a void inside that you can never adequately explain", says Beth Kephart in Into the Tangle of Friendship.

I recently read this in the Readers' Digest's 'Quotable Quotes' section and it made me think of my old friendships and those that still continue to this day. I am still friends with my oldest friend, who I met when we were in class II of primary school. And of course, I have lost touch with scores of people, even cut off ties with some forcibly as things warranted.

One of them in particular, doesn't exist anymore due to a difference of opinion between me and my then close friend (whom I shall call B). It has been three years now, since B and I had our spectacular, inter-continental, cyber fallout and though we do send each other one line missives regarding the most earth-shattering occurrences in the other's lives, the friendship that once existed has well and truly died a memorable death.

When I was a little girl, I used to think that, much like our movie heroines, once I hit my teens, I would also have this big group of chattering friends, who would do pretty insane things together. Slumber party, midnight feasts (thanks to Enid Blyton), movies, trips to exotic locations, the odd song and dance number, you name it, we'll do it. We will be the Notorious G.I.R.L.S and we will set the world on fire.

As always, reality was much different and rather than queening over one huge group of friends, I had two distinct groups of mates, which rather became a lifelong pattern. At school, our class was split into two different groups, according to our second language preferences. So we had the all Tamil groups and the all Hindi groups and I was the only one who ended up straddling these two groups - I was the only Tamil girl in a gang of four other Hindi girls. So I generally found myself occupying that unenvious no-man's land - not really fitting in 110% with the hindi lot and being an outsider with my tamil lot as I wasn't conoodling with them all the time.

Things didn't change much when I went to college though my all-hindi gang remained my closest mates. Though our gang had split up by now, with each of us going in different ways, three of us, moi, B and other one whom I shall call A, still kept in reasonable touch and hung out whenever possible. These two were there for my milestones - broken heart, graduation, wedding, P's first birthday (well one was - the other one was miles away in America) and life went on. These two were the ones I blabbed my heart to and though I met only A during my periodic visits home, I was quite thrilled when my trip coincided with B's first trip home from US.

As this would be the first time B will be meeting two and half year old P, I was real excited. But days and weeks of planning never bore fruit and before long, it was time for B to return. To say I was disappointed that she didn't meet P was like saying I am a quiet soul. I continued to feel the ire long after and A used to rag me about it. Months afterwards, when the three of us were in our different continents, I still couldn't believe that one of my closest friends couldn't even spare the time to see my child. The hurt went much deeper than most realised or understood. Even A used to rib me by saying 'you are the only one who can have a proper, full-on fight on the Internet'. But what I felt wasn't trivial or something I could just pooh-pooh away. It felt like a rejection; it felt like we did not matter to B anymore. She's got her new family and friends and the child of an old mate doesn't rank very high in the importance scales.

Looking back, I think the cracks started soon after I moved to the UK and B got engaged. I only found out by chance that she had got engaged in the first place, well after the event. When I saw the photos, I felt real upset as beaming at me from the pix was another one of our friends from school days who's still B's close friend. Never one to let sleeping dogs lie, I asked B how come she couldn't find time to even tell me about her engagement when obviously, she had enough time to get everything else organised and could take the other girl with her. Though we made up after I had finishing ranting and raving, I still felt inordinately upset. As I sat nursing my feelings after the fallout, I couldn't help but think of B making a trek to another city to visit this same friend whilst she couldn't spare a few hours to visit me when we were in the same city, after four long years!

Am I sad over the dead friendship? Hell yeah! As A once told me, it was a friendship that had lasted for several years. Do I want a revival of the friendship, even if B's for it? I am not sure. A childhood quote comes to mind:

Friendship is like a mirror:
Once broken, even if it is put back together
Cracks will always remain.

Posted by DesiGirl 7:15 am  


  1. apu said...
    Girl, I so get you....

    What we think of friendships, and how they turn out, is something I've realised we can never predict.

    Also, because you have to keep putting effort into it all through. You cant take any relationship for granted, no matter how old it is. So how we treat each other 'now' keeps it going...not just what we once were to each other...
    apu said...
    And - I have you on my google reader, so I'm here very regularly now :)
    DesiGirl said...
    I knew you'd get it, inspite of all the ragging! You're right when you say relationships take effort - as you were when you said three years back that if I'm not getting anything from that friendship, it is ok to cut it off.
    I am not such a saddo after all, eh? :)
    ps: I did wonder about your increased presence here!
    Robert said...
    Oh sweetie! ofcourse broken friendship can be mended and trust me with the passage of time everything will be better than before...its true that in our lives, we fail to reach out to our friends when they need us but that doesnt signify that the friendship is no sure your friend must have felt the similar pain like u...believe in friendship and forget all that has happened in the past..start off everything afresh and in case you need some can always drop by my blog..see ya!
    Cosmic Voices said...
    It is just that people change with time and with that their priorities change too.

    Another thing is that the differences (or rather uniqueness) often manifest very visibly when erstwhile friends begin to live in environment different from ours.

    The result? The once non-stop chatterers end up saying "what else?"
    DesiGirl said...
    Cosmic voices:
    It isn't the lack of anything to say I am talking about. I'd suggest you read the post once more to get my point.
    Cosmic Voices said...
    I was just trying to speculate why people drift from my experiences.

    Silence is just one of the symptoms of changing relationships. In my experience, often the first one.
    Jessica said...
    Oh dear! all I can say is the best way to deal with the harsh realities that life brings your way is to smile at it and take it in your stride and move on. Anyways, do keep faith in your friendship coz what remains more than friends are the golden memories that we built around our friendship. Do drop by my blog coz I have shared many thoughts on friends and friendship.

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