Posted in Women & Family

Tell me your friends, I shall tell you who you are.

the easiest way out is to fake and get into everyone’s good book. so why are some of us not doing that.

I penned a nasty post recently and shared it with my school friend. She was put off by what I wrote and immediately denounced me. She said, I had lowered my standards by blogging that one. I trashed my note the next moment. I realized I needed such friends who will chide me, condemn me, who will dissuade me, discourage me, talk me down, who will point out my mistakes and correct me. I need my friends to chastise me and ridicule me. I need friends who would spank me, who would tick me off, who would set me right if I go wrong, who would steer me to the proper way ahead so that I don’t go astray even unwittingly. I need friends who would ask me NOT TO SHOP. I need friends who share with me their family news first. I need friends who ask me to act my age. I need friends who show me the spiritual path reminding me that what lies ahead is a shorter life for me than what distance I have traveled so far. I don’t require my true friends to sugarcoat bitter truth for me. I want their brutal honesty. We have argued umpteen times, left group etc., but we have always returned to each other: we are not sisters by blood rather we are sisters by heart – we the school friends. My friends give me a hi-five when I say its almost three years since I hit a beauty salon. My friends ask me not to henna my hair. With my friends I have been to most ancient places of worship. We share tips on cooking, puja mantras, kids, home management mostly. We go dutch whenever we dine out. We know each others families from school days. Our parents were friends, we are friends, our spouses are friends, in laws know each other and our kids too sometimes would hang out. If my friends give me a dressing down, I take it with all my heart. They are my well wishers. They wouldn’t want me to lose my integrity, dignity or honour by any means. After all this is the only wealth we middle class behold with such a pride. Our shame is our only treasure. Our self-respect is our protective shield.

I have been shuttling in and out of India since 1998. Yes, for almost a quarter century, I have been having one foot in India and one foot abroad. Where I mix overseas, ladies boozing is not uncommon. We are all social drinkers, no denying that. But we are married to very serious minded career professionals who enjoy a stature in the society we have come to belong in. We are well aware of our own responsibilities. I share a healthy relationship with all my acquaintances and friends that I acquired walking this arduous but interesting road holding hands with my spouse. We have never had help whatsoever on our way. We are entirely selfmade. Our earnings are dharmic. We are now a senior couple. Younger people touch our feet for blessings. This promotion in life is god’s blessings.

Imagine at the age of 53 as a grandma, when some friends I acquired at a later age trying to convince me to have casual intimate chat with strange men just for cheap thrills. Telling me I am rigid and inflexible. Telling me its fine to hit the liquor bars. Admitting to me of being alcoholics – addicted. I have always boasted to one and all that none of my friends boozed (regularly) and everyone had an impeccable character. The point is, at one stage you find out that you cannot carry on with this kind of girls any more. We share nothing in common. The discovery was made by me pretty late. I am not the unreliable friend. The fault lies with those who played double games and won our trust hoodwinking all. This is betrayal of highest order. To realize that we have a friend’s husband calling the girls to bed is shocking enough. To see the girls fraternizing the offender’s wife seems ominous to me. Such a compromise on family values of those who I thought were my friends, is dealing a raw blow to my heart and soul. I am still unable to heal because I trusted too much, and now I know too much.

On advice of my school friends I broke up with my friends who I met in my 40s without a second thought. I have no intention of compromising on my principles. I don’t want corruption of my mind and dilution of my upheld standards. I don’t believe in too very liberal way of life after all, I discovered to my own surprise. Their way is ‘bhog’ and mine is ‘yog’ – as simple as that.

I am the normal. I don’t want to regularize and mainstream the abnormal as passable or acceptable in my life. I have since raised my bar even higher up. It is okay, who I have for friends are my fortress. I don’t regret speaking up the truth.

Character and self-respect and dignity and honour are most important virtues to me. There is no way I can tolerate compromise on these ethical and moral principles that I hold dearest to my heart. This is how my parents raised me in their absence. Where would I have been had I traded in my most basic belief system. My spirituality leans on my strong and unwavering principles.

To some of my friends or perhaps ex-friends I am not sure, I would like to say here, you need someone like me to rub in the truth into your shameless skin. Don’t expect me to tell you what you want to hear. I will not do that. I can be cruel and unsparing but having someone like me in your life is for your own good. Never in a million years I will belong with you.

புடத்தில் இட்டால் தான் தங்கமா தகராமான்னு தெரியும், We judge a man by what he becomes in the times of crises. Everyone can play god when all is hunky dory. The acid test of life – I have passed with flying colours like my simple minded sweet school friends who will never sell their soul for naya paisa.

Family, faith and dignity and respect come first for us friends. Blessed to belong with my old girls. We are the duskiest, we sag, we are crowned salt and pepper, we have love handles, we have tummies, we are the bummiest as well, we have BP, sugar, cholesterol what not – but our trophies are our families. Our bodies have taken the worst beating in life and we wear our scars on our shoulders like stars. Our husbands love us the way we are – with our marks. In fact, love us more for what we are, what we have become. We girls don’t have loads of money. We girls don’t live in flashy bungalows. We friends are not decked up in diamonds and rubies. We have hardly stepped into a star hotel. We don’t groom or accessorize well. In fact we are the fashion fax paus. We unwind on red oxide floor and eat heartily in each others’ homes. We laugh and cry together. But we live a genuine life. We live for ourselves. We don’t seek validation from any quarters. We are happy the way we are.

We are today like the lighthouses, showing right direction to seekers. We friends are like the shade giving trees. We girls will never misguide or give wrong encouragement on anything to anyone. We can be the bitches as well. You will see the beauty in us only if you have a beautiful heart.

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