Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai Kya?

--------Continued from where i left in my last post...rather too long but i had to say and divulge everything...my own failings included.

My son had said and asked, " Ma i have realized you've turned into a recluse...are you okay with that? i mean when i was small you were such an extrovert and a people lover...are you doing good Ma... ?"
To him i had said boldly at first, " Sure Sonna...you know i have a lot of interests to keep me occupied and i actually enjoy this...having all the time to satisfy my fancies and desires without much distractions..."

Then unable to hold myself any longer i had confessed. He heard my sobs too and i hate myself for that.
He suggested some good music and movies and told me something that sounded like genuine words of appreciation that any child has for his mom. Those words warmed me up and made me feel normal once again.Then we bid our cheerio byes and he hung up.
i was alone but not lonely, not this moment at least.

However i felt like our tete e tete was hasty and incomplete. i have not responded fully well to his enquiries.
There was a strong urge to explain so that he could understand better when and how i met with what seems to be my tipping point.

* i wish i could explain to him how through the years this reverse transition gradually happened. From being  gregarious to being an introvert.
* i wish i could tell him that i can't single out one because there were many that i wanted to run away from... pretenses, superficiality, shallowness, politics, dishonesty, jealousy, insensitivity, narrow mindedness, then always being misinterpreted for my honesty... scared and bored the hell out of me. Some of these also extinguished my natural vibrancy and spontaneity those two most beautiful attributes that initially saw me center stage. Maybe i was too late to reach that juncture when i could shrug off everything, be me and say, " I DON'T CARE " .
Or else,  i was too meek/weak to stand up for myself. Whatever...
* i wish i could tell him that i was tired of impressing and getting impressed even for something that could have been a simple dinner or get together. These felt more like competitive exams whether i was the one invited to or the one in which i was playing the host. i was sick and tired of all those attempts of not only keeping up with the joneses but also those efforts that could make me stand out in the crowd. Whether it was of dressing up differently or digging out an exotic dish to impress the janta (public).
* i wish i could tell him that the membership to the coterie i  had always wanted to be a part of was rejected and ignored in spite of my sincerity.

The company of those i desired neither had the inclination nor the time to be interested in me although i must be thankful to them for accepting my dinner/lunch invite each time and every-time. How i longed for their companionship only i know. In fact these lunches/dinners painstakingly organised were cunning excuses on my part just to indulge into their company and know more of them and about them.
One of this very desirable who stayed very close and whom i tried to help to the best of my ability when she was undergoing a rough phase, never ever invited me home what to talk of reciprocating. News from others, what facebook depicts as 'Mutual Friends' would reach me that she did entertain her friends. It hurt bad to realize that i was not the chosen one.  Her ignoring me and dropping from the list felt as if she's trying to say, " You don't belong to my successful group ...can't have you any closer...stay put where you are..."
It's funny though how eager i am to talk to her and be with her still,  like always.

Whosoever said that friends are the only relations you have full liberty to choose was not thinking very logically i would say.
Here i  am...having a number of friends but land up feeling used sometime and forsaken most of the time.
The ones i choose don't accommodate me while those who accommodate me are the ones i'd rather stay as far as possible from.
Tragedy! indeed!

To an outsider it would seem that i am rich with a wide variety of friends but this variety leaves me baffled mostly.
Although i see a bit of myself in every one yet i feel i can't single out even one from that lot, one who reciprocates my efforts and goodwill with the same enthusiasm and honesty. Many a times they even start getting on my nerves.
For instance this old pal from school who stays abroad and who is in her mid forties just like me chooses to dress up and behave hopelessly like a wannabe Western teenager, gets on my nerves. i do not begrudge her dressing or her wanting to be like a youngster, actually i enjoy all that but what puts me off is this.
She analyses every sentence i utter, brags incessantly about her fancy house, frequent barbeque parties that she throws, shows me the kind of dresses that she wears while passing through Marks and Spencers, is on a never ending spree to meet everyone more to declare her flamboyant lifestyle than anything else, later gossips negatively about all the disappointments suffered in the meet because they didn't match up to her, advises me in a manner that mocks, to incorporate in my life all those i avoid (because i can't handle)," Shivani don't be judgmental, meet up with X,Y,Z...." ; this friend thwarts all my attempts of a great comeback and forces me to turn away in disdain.
Unfortunately i am cursed with more that can be slotted into this genre easily and effortlessly.

Also over the years i realized that some friends remember me only when they have to ask for some favors. Not all but some of them.
Still there are others who have materialized thanks to facebook, come home, size me, my family and my belongings up and disappear with the same vaporous quality that saw them sitting in my living room one fine day. There are absolutely no messages nor any calls. No keeping in touch after that.
i feel discarded first like i didn't match up to their expectations later start questioning myself.
"Was it something i said or did? Was i not appealing enough? Is it because i am not pursuing a career? Is it my status then...is it...?"
These friends leave me in the lurch by first seeking me out and then abandoning me.

A few days earlier i left my phone numbers with some whom i felt would reciprocate but excepting one none has bothered. i feel thankful and happy about that one.

Some insult me to the point of ignoring me completely in their conversations on the social networking site.
Another failed attempt i should say about my seeking them out.
i self pat some consolation and tell myself that i should not take these sites seriously and move on.
Move on with added gusto with my own interests.

My reading, my embroidery, my music and movies, my plants, my walks, my window shopping alone, book browsing alone, going to theaters alone then suffices and better still keeps me content if not permanently but temporarily.
Although it would feel great to have not many but few or even one with whom i could share these interests. One who is  genuine and doesn't seem like an acquaintance who meandered into my life randomly.

Someone who could take these walks with me, browse through books which sees us joyfully comparing notes, shares my music and movies also suggests me some more from her own selections, chides me when i am mean or even mocks me when i am goody goody, stops by on my blogs and if nothing else is there then sits by me quietly and watches the sunsets, parrots, pigeons...and provides me with that warm and silent companionship. Someone real who enjoys my company while i look forward to hers. Some one who need not be impressed in order to want me. Loves my ordinariness as much as i love hers.
i shun the re-unions because sometimes some friends start seeking favors from my husband the moment they come to know of my husband's designation. Sometimes the favors are easy to deal with and oblige but many a times my husband feels embarrassed and uncomfortable when his efforts fail to give the desired results. It feels awkward and annoying for me too. 
Nowadays i have learnt to state the facts honestly. i entertain these requests, try not to feel annoyed or worked up and tell them that i cannot guarantee surety. i tell them that my husband will try.
Earlier it was the other way round. i traumatized my husband with my sulking.  i sincerely regret doing so today. Like i said, i woke up to the futility of the exercise called appeasement rather late. But i am glad i did.

Also these re-unions are a big sham i feel with all the fake wow wow's about career, children's success, physical fitness, beauty, accouterments etc. i  have sensed the inherent detachment, jealousy, negative vibes despite the best efforts made to impress and appreciate. i have heard the backbiting too that goes on after these re-unions and it disgusts me to be a part of such meaningless hypocrisy.
Therefore i stay away and prefer personal meeting up that is more one to one.
Here too i can't say that all those one to one refreshed me and saw me happy and fulfilled.

There is another important aspect that can't be ignored rather it is too blatant too be ignored.
All those who have willingly decided to be happy with their homemaker status are mercilessly ignored by the so called career oriented women friends.
i don't feel proud of myself when on an introductory," What do you do?" instead of a '' How have you been?", i run to my defensive explaining how i got bored and tired of my teaching and decided to enjoy a non-hurried, relaxed life by staying at home.
i am not exaggerating on this but my own best friend from school ignored me for many years at a stretch, she still does and i get this vibe from her every time i try to establish contact that conveys subtly though," I'm not too keen for you now...". She never calls. Of late she too has joined the bandwagon where virtual pleasantries are exchanged and status messages are left, the aftermath comments of which is perhaps a great ego booster to her just like the rest of the gang.
Once again i'm rattled by questions.
"Has she forgotten that i was better in grades than her when she and me were best friends? " Does my homemaker status make me less intellectual in any way? It's ridiculous but can it be so...can it be so...?

Sure, people change but i'm just not too comfortable with this change. It hurts to discover that my down to earth, unassuming school buddies are now snooty snobs, decrying the at home friends as behenji's (rustic/ not hep) or not up to the mark and not reciprocating.
Strange but true,  it is from this pretentious crowd that i hear that my silence and keeping away has been misconstrued. Some view me as depressed, others, the kinder ones discuss among themselves that i am dealing with my empty nest syndrome and seeking solace in spirituality.
As for me it never ceases to amaze me, the ability of my friends to justify themselves for what they say or do and never feel guilty.
But mostly i am cursing myself for having huge expectations.

It's rather sad that these uncomfortable and painful experiences changed me too.
Prompted, pushed... and i don't realize when all that scuffling and shuffling cracked something, the faults of which deepened through the years.  i began to drift apart a few years ago, gradually and slowly at first, indulging into my own interests and eventually i find myself in this new predicament where the word RECLUSE fits me to the T.
My son is not wrong on this.
Nobody is if they use this word for me.
What's more, i don't seem to mind it either.

i wish and hope they are able to hear and decipher my silence. And in any case, i also have reached that comfortable zone from which i look confidently and say, " Keep assuming  whatever you want to, it's no big deal..."

To my son definitely one day when he has the time i shall tell him my story. Not that i want him to take back his word but for the simple reason that my story should be able to give him some insights and some valuable lessons.

i was blissful for a long time in my solitude but the concrete twins http://shivanidiwani64.blogspot.com/2011/09/some-pages-from-diary-of-nobody.html brought it all out...spilling my beans...drawing skeletons from the cupboard... bringing me down on my knees.

Maybe it is all my fault. i am just too uptight.
i definitely need to relax these rules for the tenants that suit my taste and can occupy that corner that still has a cold TO LET. The cold getting warmed by longing .
i'll try.

i am trying but things have been rather tacky and the plate that warms up turns cold again in waiting.
Not that i've given up.
But that tug of inhibition that holds me back, other times a regular fear returns and chokes the ignition off.
Then those limited attempts of my trying fails to bring that reciprocity that germinates as a sincere longing every time i try.
How to get rid of that fear? That fear that i might be digging my own grave by inviting the wrong kind of people to create ripples of disturbance and annoyance in my life.
How to get rid of my own inhibitions?
Fear-They who won't reciprocate, might ask awkward for my husband and me favors, would disturb me with nonsensical long calls that bore me to death, may want to always drop in and be entertained at my cost, would establish stern fixed boundaries that leaves me in the lurch, would seek me out only for the privileges that begets me and last but not the least would not even squeeze a wee bit of time to read my blogs and supply me with that happiness that one feels when a friend comes visiting home at your behest.
So what if my blogs are not that appealing but aren't friends supposed to provide you with their honest inputs? When i have nothing against any, not even that which says, " You bored me sleepy...silly!!..."
Inhibitions- i am good and that status should not be the only thing that defines me and proves my worth.

i'm responsible for my loneliness and should accept reality. The reality being that a treasure called TRUE FRIEND is hard to find.
If i let go off my inhibitions who knows someone might enter my cold domain and warm me up. One who is a nobody like me and together we would become invisible to the rest of the world and stay happily ever after.
Secure, sure and content with our anonymity.

Before i quit i must stress that i am well aware of what we call a mutually interdependent society and appreciate virtues such as HELP and would want to keep those virtues alive in me but i'm dead against this opportunistic behavior from those of whom i would want to nurture warm thoughts about, whom i would want to love deeply, whom i cannot do without, whom i am always eager to look forward to.
And since i'm not the one who belongs to that upwardly mobile corporate world i actually don't need networks whom i would party with, as friends.

Till i find that someone or till that someone seeks me out i will deal with my loneliness and would remain satisfied with my virtual world that has one best aspect about friendship. It is one easy friendship with NO STRINGS ATTACHED.

In narrating my experiences about friends i forget the analogy i made earlier in my last post between the rock and me, also i forget about being an island that mourns for company.
And in this re-living the past and then forgetting i have figured out the truth.

This bitter truth expressed aptly in the form of poetry by Nida Fazli http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nida_Fazli. The composition is famous and perhaps has been sung by others too. However, the one i choose is by the popular Ghazal singer Jagjit Singh and our ' Nightingale' Lata Mangeshkar. The essence of which is ' Feeling lonely in the Crowd'. The entire composition reverberates with mine and instills more solace in me to know that i am not alone at last. There are others too dealing in their own idiosyncratic ways with their loneliness.

Har taraf har jagah beshumaar aadmi
Phir bhi tanhaiyon ka shikar aadmi
In every direction, everyplace, there are several people
Even then , man is a victim of loneliness.

Subah se shaam tak bojh dhota hua
Apni hi laash ka khud mazaar aadmi
From dawn to dusk, he bears the burden
The man is a grave of his own corpse

Har taraf bhaagte, daudte raaste
Har taraf aadmi ka shikaar aadmi
In every direction the paths are running
Everywhere, man is a victim ( hunted by) of another man

Roz jeeta hua, roz marta hua
Har naye din naya intezaar aadmi
Everyday he lives, and everyday he dies
Everyday is a new waiting for man

Zindagi ka mukaddar, safar dar safar
Aakhri saans tak bekaraar aadmi
The fate of life is, journey after journey
Till the last breath, man is always without peace.

It could be that my school friend who stays abroad is lonely too and so are the others prowling around on the social networking sites trying to create an impression, bragging about their achievements and those of their kith and kin, posting pictures of get-togethers exhibiting their bum chum ness, and last but not the least leaving status messages that once again shrieks, " Give me some attention!" ...perhaps all of them are lonely too.
Truth prevails and not everything pertains to just sharing and keeping in touch.
There is a lot out there that meets the eye and out of this lot something that stands out huge but terrified, petrified, is loneliness itself.
As if it's losing it's severity each single day with each single display and is becoming more and more common.

No! No! i am not sad rather i am accepting that there's life the way it is and the life, the way it should be. Unfortunately, we have to live with life the way it is.
You could spend minutes, hours, days, weeks , or even months over-analyzing a situation trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could've, would've been.
You can leave the pieces on the floor and MOVE ON...

Haaaaaah!( Sigh of relief)
i think i've said all and now it's time to move on but not without the color for the day which inspires me to look forward to another and move on...flow with the tides and times...and move on...
                                                            Color for Wednesday- Green

Bells of Ireland
*My sincere thanks to Vrinda and Uncle Som of  http://www.bollywoodlyrics.com/community/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=1532
in helping me find the lyrics of Har Taraf Har Jagah and the English translation too.

NB: The title of the post is a question in Hindi which translated in English should be- Is Each and Every Single Friend Important? The Idea borrowed from the tagline/punchline of Airtel commercial on television which asserts and assumes that every friend is important.
'Har Ek Friend Zaroori Hota Hai'
Every Single Friend is Important
(i like the commercial for it's images of cool friendships but it is rather difficult for me to endorse in full honesty the tagline thus the ? if all friends are really important in your life.


  1. Dear Shivani..only half way through your post but wanted to comment this now-
    TAKE CARE. I am sure you are living your life as per your wish now, which is very important to be happy.

    More soon...

  2. Dear Shivani, Just started reading this post..didnt get even half way but I want to comment now-


    I will write more once I am through your feelings. I hope you are living life now on your own terms and seeking contentment.
    Wishes, Shaifali

  3. @Shaifal...thank you dear for your patience and inclination to hear my story.
    The story relating to life could stretch like a novel... like this one has.
    Visualise my experience one bit at a time at your own pace and at your own free time.
    Tell me of your own too.
    i shall look forward to words from you.
    i am living life now at my own terms...sometimes content and other times yearning for the presence of a real companion whose physical presence supplements and compliments me.
    Stay put and take care
    Am extremely warmed by your concern. Thank You

  4. 'Cheer Up! U know there r some people around u who wont let u down .This is the problem of a metro, where everyone seems to be rushing for something 24 hrs . '

  5. @Navita u really had that patience to hear it all in one go just like i had to say it in non-stop.
    Thank you to the one who calls me regularly, is concerned about my well being and is always there when i need a friend.
    i only wish you were here near to me.
    i miss being with you physically and sharing our common inerests.
    About the rest...maybe it was not new for u. U already know.
    Thank you for sharing my angst and understanding it too. :)

  6. @Navita pls excuse me for that typo error.Read interests for inerests.

  7. Shivani, can't help taking pride in your public shunning of hypocritical values where monetary worth and social status only seem to hold stead. What matters for meaningful existence is that one adheres to value that are close to one's heart. You are doing it - its an achievement!

  8. Like those cartoons....especially the vintage ones.

    And no one took me seriously when I have been shouting from the roof tops almost a decade ago "where have all the sparrows gone?"

  9. @ Sabina,
    So good to see you here.i feel satisfied that you have understood clearly what has irked me to isolation. Although i wish i really had someone i could be proud about and comfortable with.
    At least...door hi sahi...tum to ho na?
    In any case when i hear you render words from deep within you i feel you are so near...

  10. @Haddock...i wish you could feel the warm welcome... and my happiness to see that there is someone out there whose shouting the same slogan...along with me. Maybe u started it somewhere a decade back and it reached me.
    Would love to be on ur blog now to see what more you have to say.
    BTW i was jiving too...loved the audio clip.
    Thank you so much and hope to see more of you.:)

  11. There is always hope :). There is no harm in being optimistic.


  12. @Aakaash...so good to see u here Sonna.Don't know if i should be happy about you reading what i wanted to explain personally.
    Take it easy and cool...your Ma sure is more optimistic than ever.
    i know now clearly the kind of friends i would be more than happy to be with and look forward to.That's one POSITIVE outcome and so would love to be a recluse whose close, very close to a very selected few.
    Thank you for taking that time out from your hectic schedule and listening to the how when and why.
    Maybe i am happy to know that you know. :)

  13. cheer up.u r not part of the mob,but class apart. Be proud of that n enjoy..

  14. @Anonymous thank you so much not only for making time for listening to me but for considering me special. i do feel nice and yes i shall enjoy but my reflections, my experiences shall continue as i indulge into what i call Self Discovery.
    Some might have a sad tone and some happy but i'm sure going to take it with a pinch of salt and move on. i hope u know that already. :)

  15. Hey Shivani!

    I think I wrote what I wanted to in the first part of this post. (Well, I think I will keep writing to this one again n again).

    I am recently reading poetry by Late Shri HarivanshRaiji Bachchan. This is what I want to share here (it is from a random page that I opened, and thought may be this is YOUR answer. It indeed is my OWN answer)-

    जीवन में दोनों आते है
    मिटटी के पल, सोने के क्षण,
    जीवन से दोनों जातें है
    पाने के पल, खोने के क्षण;

    हम जिस क्षण में जो करते है
    हम बाध्य वाही है करने को,

    हँसने के क्षण पाकर हँसते,
    रोते है पा रोने के क्षण;
    विस्मृति की आयी है बेला,
    कर, पांथ, न इसकी अवहेलना,
    आ, भूले हास-रुदन दोनों
    मधुमय होकर दो-चार पहर.
    है आज भरा जीवन मुझमे,
    है आज भरी मेरी गागर.

    Be happy, does not matter you are in solitude/you are alone or you are lonely.....if you are content & don't raise finger to your own existence, hurt no body, then just sing along.


  16. @Shaifali Thank You! You've quoted the best words and that about sums it up.
    Sure will always remember, " hurt no body, then just sing along... hai aaj bhara jeevan mujhmein, hai aaj bhari meri gaagar."
    Wish you the very best for the new journey to a new place.
    Will always be eager to hear more from you.
    Wish you safe journey and smooth settling down in the new place. :)

  17. Uff.... that was really long.... sorry.. (sheepish grin :D)

    I am person who got a huge lot of friends... but if you ask me who's your closest...mayb one or two.. that too the intensity is decreasing as we are distance apart. And I think people come n go in your life and some do stay... I have also ignored my friends when they try to contact me and its not coz I dun wanna be with them. .. bt rather I prefer been alone at that particular moment. ..nd luckily my frndz understood my insanity and was ready to forgive me multiple times.

    Friends do bring out the best and also the worst in ourselves. I could whatever just smile and move forward and next time when you see a random person sitting alone build a conversation. ... who knows maybe he/she can be your friend. ... Cheerz :)