Friendship is not always convenient. There was a time when you dropped everything that you did for a friend. And friends did the same for you. Now is a time when people ask you to drop by “If you are this side” or “If you are not doing anything” and making plans to “catch up” which they have no intention of keeping.This is an age of promises, of “must do” and of “like.”
Why doesn’t anyone say, “Come and see me?” or, “Can I come and see you?” Why would I want to do anything else if you want me to do something with you? After all, you are my friend and you happened to me much before the trappings of marriage, motherhood et al.
And yet, friendship, unfortunately does not operate on autopilot and takes work. Sometimes much more than a relationship. Since most of us have more friends than relationships, it takes work on different counts. And some people are more demanding, more complex, less articulate about their feelings than others, so you have to read between the lines.
I thought I was good with the motions. I never wanted to be one of those people who ‘forgets her friends once she is married,’ so I try harder to prove myself. Sometimes it is confusing, as people still look at you suspiciously when you say, “Call any time you want to unload, or you feel like a home-cooked meal” (that much therapy I can do for friends anytime).
But when you move from the world of singles to doubles (in my case, threesome, or fivesome, if you count the cats), there is a kind of reluctance that comes in making a plan with you. It’s like you are being punished for leaving the singletons’ clan, or that you have to try harder to be taken seriously, or that you are guilty until proven innocent. I think it’s unfair.
Yes, it is about maximising, and yes there are friends who would club you with airport rides or visits to Oshiwara furniture market, and it’s not that Bombay is such a large city, but I am willing to let that pass. It’s almost as though the motions of friendships have changed from calls to text messaging. And that’s another can of worms altogether.
The instant reply versus the delayed reply. The instant call-back versus the delayed call-back. It’s like saying, “Yes, I know you called/texted, but I have a life full of things to do, so it took me time to reply.” Do people really think that an instant revert means you are just sitting around with nothing to do?
So then, there are friends I have known for decades, now all measured about putting themselves out, and I am left wondering what did I do. Why so? Why has friendship (aside of a few exceptions, and thank god for that) become political? My theory is: it’s the imbalance of life. There will always be someone who has more money, a better job, a dream house, more sex, more friends, better networking capabilities than you, but in my world, friendship has always transcended such politics. Or has it really?