When I wrote about Dhanya in the previous post, I had mentioned that there are countless other friends I have made along the way who are a valuable part of my life today. Being an only child, I had a lonely childhood and my single-most wish those days was to have a sibling. I even used to coax my parents to adopt a child so that I will have company. This was the only thing I used to pray for until one day amma found out and she sat me through and explained that I should not be praying for such specifics and only accept whatever comes your way. I don't think I have prayed for anything else after that. But I guess universe has this weird ways of fulfilling your heart's desires 😉
I have had friends who always got my back at each stage of my life. When I look back now each of those stages had it's own characteristics. School time we had a small group of very close friends. Those days were all about giggly conversations, crazy inside jokes, homework and punishments, favorite teachers , lunch time games , science/math exhibitions, competition between four houses, youth festivals and what not. Each of these used to be so important for us at that time and it filled our conversations and thoughts completely. After spending the entire day at school together (and of course talking all day), we still spoke on phone as soon as we reached home (and got scoldings for that). Of course knowing each other's families was an added advantage. Even now their parents are like a second family to me. They knew us and trusted us and turned to each other for advice and to conspire against our mischief s too 😄 These school friends were, still are, and will always remain the most uncomplicated and endearing friendships I ever had.
The PUC time was about enjoying the freedom from the uniforms and the protected life we were leading. We got permissions to go on our own to town, take out our cycles which wasn't very common for girls in a small town like ours in those days. We enjoyed exploring the city we lived in; checking out exhibitions, book shops or even a couple of lunch outs or an ice-cream treat . I still remember going to current books and we decided to take the full Round rather than cut across through 'Thekkinkad maidanam' (Sorry only Thrissur people will know this technicality 😈) as we had no clue which exit to take even though had lived in Thrissur all our lives. Thankfully, I was able to maintain the same friendships in school although we were in different groups. Most of us had been in the same school from pre-kg till 10th and this was the first time we were mingling with people who we haven't known from childhood and this helped us expand our circle of friends too. We had a very hectic schedule with entrance coaching, assignments, tuition, labs and such but I guess it was the time we most enjoyed as well. College fests, college elections, onam/x-mas celebrations, the very long lunch sessions , small small pranks in class, strategising against the roadside romeos 😁 - I really don't know how those two years flew by. It was also a time of intense emotions and standing for what is right. I remember few of us wrote a long letter to our sir in tuition class when we felt one student misbehaved with one of the girls (even though the victim chose to keep quiet) and made him take action.
Then came the engineering days and for some reason I was not comfortable at all. Probably the separation from the childhood friends (all of us were in different colleges or even cities) or the shift to a co-ed or having to choose a field I wasn't too keen on pursuing. In fact there are quite many people in my class whom I hadn't spoken at all during those years 😔 Of course, I did make new friends that time but I guess the friendships deepened much later probably towards final year or even after most of us came to Bangalore for jobs. Also some of my PUC friends were in Vimala College which was just opposite our class and I guess I have eaten from Vimala canteen most of the times and have visited GEC canteen only once or twice. In fact, those days the only thing I looked forward was when our school gang reunited during holidays. This was the time we got permissions for a night out or for an early morning trip to Guruvayoor taking a private bus.
Moving to a new city for job gave a whole range of friends from all over the places - Hostel-mates , Housemates, Teammates , Travel-mates , Volunteering friends , even counterparts and expats. I will have to write pages and pages if I need to write about all of them whom I met at different phases. This was the period of independence, greater responsibilities, new places, new experiences , discovering new hobbies or in short - growing up. There were the happiest of times and also the most depressing times as well. There were occasions where I have taken the role of agony aunt trying to support others and there have been many other occasions where I have experienced the caring support from all these angels around me. Probably one unique thing about this time is that over the years I have made friends across all age groups. There are few who are in the parental domain, some just a couple of years elder to me, while some even decades younger. I am waiting for the day when a teammate comes to me and say I was not born when you started working 😁
I am ever grateful for all these priceless relationships and hopefully some more in the years to come. They are the family I handpicked and answer to my childhood prayers 😍