We moved to Bangalore in 1999. Our son was one and a half years old. Rents and advance money was so high that we thought it might be a better idea to get a housing loan and buy our own place, at least we would be getting closer to owning our house when we started paying back the loan.
And that’s how it started—my friendship with Uma. I am sure we were destined to meet. Her husband was Sury’s colleague and we naturally went over to their place to meet them. The moment she opened the door, her million watt smile greeted us, and her kindness was like an aura around her.
It wasn’t just me; our son also fell in love just a little, I think! Thus started a wonderful relationship in my life. Eventually we bought an apartment in the building next door, and that made it easy for us to keep in touch and visit each other. She has two daughters, who are now employed. Sometimes I can’t believe so much time has gone by, watching our children grow, sharing our joys and angst, laughing so much together and not feeling a day older than on the day we met.
I adore Uma—that’s an understatement.
I’ve met few people who’re kinder and more cheerful than she is. Loving to her family, dotes on her daughters. And the feeling is wholly reciprocated.
We’d enjoy going to the nearby market together. We’d love marathon phone calls even though we lived so close to each other. We pray for each other. We cry on each other’s shoulders. We never have to censor our language when we talk to each other.
My Mom was very fond of her and her daughters loved to come hang out with her.
Our friendship has blossomed over the years. We know every little thing about each other and that includes headaches, tummy aches and other progressively more serious things.
If I don’t call her for a few days, she’ll call and yell at me and give me a good verbal spanking, then we’ll laugh our heads off.
A few years ago, they moved to a different area since her husband changed jobs and I was a wee bit upset. But then, the road to a friend’s house is never long – it just happened to be quite close to my son’s school and I found a workaround – I’d drop him at school and head over to her place for a coffee and chat.
On days her daughter’s school transport was iffy, I’d ferry her and then go home.
When my son was a 11th grader, he inherited her daughters’ books.
Her daughters loved to go shopping with me because they think I am “cool”.
When her older daughter was to get married, we went together to shop for her most important jewelry.
Each time I visited her, I’d ask if she wanted something from the ‘city’, and shop for her. And she would do the same.
In the 17 years I’ve known her, I am quite convinced she looks exactly the same to this day!
She’ll keep track of my son’s exams and his results and always land up with a pack of ice cream of his favorite cake to celebrate.
We go on family picnics together.
I am so grateful for her support and encouragement.
But the moment that stands divine in my mind is the day before Mom passed away. The doctors at the hospital had told us that we were free to decide to “pull the plug” since they did not think my Mom would survive for long on the life support. How could I even think of a decision like that? I still remember how Uma held my hand and said it would never come to that. When she left reluctantly, I stood at our gate watching her walk away. A few steps later, she suddenly stopped and turned, and said, “Don’t worry. Mom would never put us through that dilemma” and it seemed like a glow enveloped her. I recall thinking that I saw the Goddess we worshipped in her form. And just as she said, my Mom took the decision right out of our hands.
I’ll never forget how Uma has always been there for me, although she loves to claim that I am the one who always cheers her up. I secretly think that we were both born with a grin on our face, because we believe in laughing over everything. A lot!
I love the way she makes it a point to come over on my birthday, and insists we “loaf around” the market and have a snack or lunch, depending on the time of day and makes it memorable for me.
Oh! I love her!
So yes, I get a little mad at her when we meticulously plan to meet and it doesn’t happen, and even joke about how our friendship would suffer had it not been for the landline phone. I also freak out a little when she doesn’t turn up when she says she will. But that doesn’t mean I don’t wait for her, because I know she’ll turn up later than sooner!
Only recently, we started connecting on WhatsApp—yes, we’re so tech savvy like that. But our friendship does not depend on technology. She’s not on social media. She does not blog. We are blessed to be able to just rush over and meet each other and spend time together whenever we feel like, which is quite often.
We don’t feel the need to explain things to each other. Our minds are in total sync.
We don’t keep score over who did what and how many times.
Yet, we’re deeply involved in each other’s lives.
So what brought on this solid sentimental post?
We are big TV buffs at home and worse than that, addicted to channel surfing.
So we settle down to a few programs eventually, but not before we check everything one.
On one such trip via the remote control, we chanced upon Zee TV’s promo about their upcoming program Yaaron Ki Baraat, which will start to air from October 8 at 8 p.m.—that’s tomorrow.
The premeire episode will see two of my most favorite actors and living legends of Bollywood reminiscing over their friendship spanning four decades: Amitabh Bachchan and Shatrughan Sinha. I’ll never stop kicking myself for disposing off the bulging scrapbook I kept about Amitabh Bachchan. I even had “DON” sewn on the pocket of my jeans. Sigh. The show will be hosted by Sajid Khan and Riteish Deshmukh.
I was telling Sury I can’t wait to see this and he casually asked, how come I’ve never blogged about Uma—which triggered this post. Of course it does not do our friendship justice at all, because there are so many more memories to bask in and gloat over.
What can I say? I am blessed!
It is so crazy that we don’t have a lot of photos together. Somehow, I was always behind the camera and we’re both selfie-shy. But last week on my birthday, she insisted we should have a pic together. I am so glad we did!
Here’s a photo from… 2001, I think!
And here are some selfies we attempted last week, amid much laughter and giggling.
And of course we didn’t get a single one right! One of us would always look in the wrong direction!
Despite the selfie with God!
Do you have a BFF or four? A soul mate? What do you love about him/her?